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Cell phone owners ‘smarter' than ever

The new iPhone 4S is shown by a customer at a shop in Tokyo on the launch day in Japan Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Smartphone owners now outnumber those who own basic mobile phones, with smartphone ownership jumping by one-third just since spring, research shows.

But people ages 55 and older and those with lower educations and incomes are far less likely than the national average to own smartphones, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

About half, or 46 percent, of American adults owned smartphones as of February, an 11 percentage point jump from last May, compared with 41 percent who own a regular cell phone, according to the survey of 2,253 people for Pew Research’s Internet and American Life Project.

The percentage jumped to 67 percent for 18-to-24 year olds, 71 percent for those ages 25 to 34, 68 percent for people who make $75,000 or more a year and 60 percent for those with at least a college degree, the survey showed.

The lowest ownership percentages were for people ages 65 and older at 13 percent, up 2 percentage points from May 2011; people with less than a high-school education at 25 percent, up 7 percentage points from last spring, and people ages 55 to 64 at 31 percent, up 9 percentage points from last spring.

More people can identify the type of smartphone they own, and the survey found that 20 percent use an Android device, 19 percent pledge allegiance to iPhone and 6 percent use a Blackberry.