Smartphones will outnumber people on earth by year’s end

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HOUSTON, TX – Do you realize that by the end of 2012, there may very well be more smartphones on Earth than people?

That’s what Cisco Systems is predicting, and they expect that 7 billion-plus number to balloon to 16 billion by 2016. That’s almost a phone and a half for each person on the planet.

Who needs that?! Do smartphones really make the world that much better?

Houstonian Michael Smalls doesn’t think so. He basically just uses his phone to make calls and occasionally look up something online, “The more advanced these phones are getting, the more dangerous it is when people are driving on the roads.”

Lee High School student Gilbert Sosa, a proud iPhone 5 owner, disagrees. He grew up with cell phones, receiving his first at age nine. “It helps with homework,” he says, “You can easily look up a web page if you have a question about anything. Social networking, you need to talk to your friends or family– you can easily hit up Facebook and go look at it.”

Joana Rubio, also a student, doesn’t have a smartphone or even a cellphone, and she says that’s probably best, “When I do have a phone, I usually don’t pay attention in school ’cause I’m always on my phone.”

Warren Platt is from an older generation and worries the proliferation of smartphones could be ruining our kids. “Phones have become a distraction,” he says, “where if a parent is asking a child to do something, and they don’t even hear what their parent is saying, I believe that’s a huge negative for the respect and the growth of that child.”

Sarahy Umanzor, 18, is the rare teen who has never had a cellphone. She says her family could not afford it, but she believes it has helped her get a leg up on her peers, “I just got a scholarship, and I had to do public speaking, and that just came naturally to me because I’m not depending on communicating through my thumbs.”

Her friend Yvonne Sauceda agrees, “Texting kills the joy of hanging out with people. It’s like, you’re one way with them texting, and you’re another way with them hanging out.”

Tattoo artist Alan Lindsey uses his smartphone mainly for Instagram to check out new “tatt” pics, but otherwise, he’s not a big fan. “I don’t really care for phones,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I don’t really like people too much.”

So will more and more smartphones make things better? Who knows? One thing’s certain, though– more are coming… for better or worse.