Cell Phone Likes & Gripes

teen talk on cell phone, young woman, cell CBS/The Early Show

A majority of cell phone users acknowledge they get irritated at other people for using cell phones in a public place.

The University of Michigan poll found that six in 10 cell phone users say that using a cell phone in public can be "a major irritation."

About four in 10 said there should be a law that prohibits people from talking on cell phones in public places like museums, movie theaters and restaurants. Eight in 10 said cell phones are a major safety hazard if used while driving.

But cell phone users also like the convenience that cell phones can bring.

About eight in 10 cell phone users said the phones have made their lives easier. By comparison, six in 10 e-mail users said e-mail has made their lives easier.

If you are among the many who love the convenience of cell phones, there are ways to avoid the dirty looks they can generate from others when you are communicating on the move.

"People need to develop an etiquette," says CBS News Technology Analyst Larry Magid. "Almost all cell phones have a vibrate mode which you should use when you're around other people. Also, if you get a call, go off to a private area to talk and then rejoin the group when you're done with the conversation."

"People have a tendency to talk louder on cell phones than they do on regular phones. In fact it's called 'cell yell,'" says Magid. "There's no reason why you can't speak in a normal conversational tone."

Cell phone users who ignore such courtesies - for example, theater goers who have irritated performers to the point of interrupting shows - do so at their own risk.

"Cell phone users, like smokers, are becoming social pariahs," says Magid. "Before it banned smoking completely, Amtrak had smoking cars. Now some of its trains have quiet cars that ban the use of cell phones."

More than half of the participants in the cell phone poll said they like all the information that is available to them because of new technology, while about one in 10 said they feel overwhelmed.

The poll was released Monday at the start of the annual meeting of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association Expo in New Orleans, which is showcasing numerous cell phone products.

One of the most talked about is a "made-for-cellular" series of one-minute videos based on "The Simple Life: Interns," the Fox TV series starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

The series of so-called "mobisodes" is the fourth to be offered on the new V Cast mobile video service launched in February by Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC.

Unlike the first three, including a weekly cellular version of the Fox show "24," mobisodes of "The Simple Life" will cost $1 each on top of the $15 a month subscription to V Cast.

Cingular Wireless plans to offer exclusive mobile content based on the upcoming film, "Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith," and past installments of the Star Wars series.

The lineup will feature 100 ringtones, including dialogue, the voice of C-3PO and the sound of a "TIE" fighter aircraft.

There also will be nine video games, 50 animated screensavers, and about 200 "wallpaper" shots for a phone's screen. Cingular is a joint venture between SBC Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp.

Also being introduced at the CTIA Expo is America Online's picture-sharing feature for the mobile version of its AOL Instant Messenger service. Cingular has signed on as the first carrier to offer Instant Pictures, though an actual launch date and pricing has not been set.

  • Jaime Holguin

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