Using your mobile phone – which hand do you use?

Nokia N900 lifestyle shotThe recent launch of Apple’s iPhone 4 and the issue with its antenna has pushed the subject of handedness front and centre. Well, it pushed the issue of the iPhone 4’s design front and centre, but I’d like to put handedness right in there too.

In case you missed all the fuss, that issue was of course that the iPhone 4’s wraparound antenna could experience signal degradation, or even signal blockage, when held in the usual way a left-hander would hold the phone.

Yet again we left-handers, the sinistral, the downtrodden of the handedness world, are left to make the best way we can in a world that thinks it’s right to be right. Handed.

But I’ve been wondering for a little while now, how many people are left-handed in the mobile phone world? I’ve just begun to take more notice of this while I’m wandering around out there in out there land.

I am left-handed, though not exclusively. I am what is called mix-handed, otherwise known as possessing cross dominance. I write left-handed, as well as surf, skateboard, use cutlery and play snooker. Golf, cricket, tennis… right-handed. Football, I prefer my right but I can kick almost as well with my left. Not that I do any of these two things often, but I shoot a rifle left-handed, and a pistol right-handed. I live in handedness hell.

My default position is to use my mobile phone in my left hand, but if I have to write something down while I’m on the phone it’s easy for me to switch the phone to my right hand, enabling me to write with my left hand. I don’t think that’s why I use my left hand to make and take calls, like all things in handedness it just feels right.

So, anyway, I was going to start my own little observational poll, and then I ran across an interesting post on the Nokia Conversations blog. Back in April, before ‘Antennagate’, or the ‘iPhone Death Grip’, call it what you will, it ran a poll on mobile phone handedness.

Eight hundred people responded – not a large data set, but not small either. The results?

  • Right-handed – 44%
  • Ambidextrous – 38%
  • Left-handed – 16%
  • Other – 2%

Interesting numbers. For one thing, it’s estimated that between 8% – 15% of the population is left-handed. So the percentage of left-handed mobile phone users is right there on the top end of the estimated numbers of left-handers. And that’s a high number of ambidextrous phone users – add that to the right-handed numbers and you’d think that having to hold the iPhone 4 in the right hand doesn’t affect a high number of users. Just the poor, and pure, left-handers.

Then there’s the wording of the question – ‘In which hand do you use your phone?’ I wonder if those responding read that as holding the phone to their ear, or operating the phone, pushing buttons, performing actions, etc. Actually, now that I think about it, pushing buttons on my phone, I’m right-handed.

So I think I’ll continue my observational poll, and see what people are really doing. How about you, gentle readers? Righty, lefty or bothy? Does your handedness stay consistent, do you use the same hand to operate the phone AND put it to your ear? Scroll down the page a little, and drop a comment in the ‘Leave a reply’ section.

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