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Gadget Census Points to Places Where Tech Rules

The Next Step in Computer Music

A first-ever "gadget census" has revealed the states and cities that have the most tech-love for smartphones, Apple's iPad, digital cameras, e-readers and more.   

The results, which were based on 7,500 online questionnaires submitted to the consumer electronics review company Retrevo, support commonsense assumptions in some cases about where certain devices might be hot.

For example, in the smartphone category, the state of Maryland came out on top with 48 percent more households owning at least one such handset than elsewhere in the country. Retrevo speculated that the oodles of federal government-issued BlackBerrries and hyper-connected Beltway lobbyists living outside Washington, D.C. might account for this high rate.

Maryland also was king in flat panel television watching. This statistic, along with the smartphone win, might have to do with the fact that the state ranks amongst the most affluent in the nation.

When it comes to the most television units per household, the greater Atlanta area in Georgia, however, has the most television fanatics, Retrevo found.

In iPad use, the state of New York took top honors. According to the survey, 52 percent more households have at least one iPad in the Empire State. In a blog accompanying the survey results, Retrevo said the tablet computer's handiness as an e-reader on the subways in New York City might well be a driver for this reported trend.

Massachusetts beat out the rest of the nation in e-reader adoption, perhaps because of all the colleges based in Boston and sprinkled throughout the New England commonwealth. In Mass. households, one is 49 percent likelier to find a bookworm reading on a Kindle or a Nook than in other states, Retrevo said.

Other statewide winners – and in one case, a loser – buck easy generalization. For instance, people in Michigan are eight percent likelier to have a point-and-click camera than other states.

Colorado, meanwhile, edged out Georgia and Minnesota in laptop use by 13 percent, according to the survey results.

Pennsylvania ranked highest in "feature phone" use – a dubious honor, according to the survey, with 14 percent more households still clinging to one of these lower-tech devices.

The Phoenix, Arizona metro area claimed the mantle of the most owners of outdated technology, with VCRs, film cameras and cathode ray, "boob tube" televisions still popular in the Southwest desert.

Tech-haven California did not claim a victory in any single category of gadget adoption. But the Golden State could be called the Green State as it boasts the most e-cycling, or recycling of gadgetry. Californians were 47 percent more likely to have recycled than the rest of the country.

The San Francisco Bay Area was also duly noted by Retrevo for being the greenest region with the most energy-efficient consumer electronics.

Retrevo's first gadget census, described as the largest of its kind, was conducted online from March through July of this year. The responses across gender, age, and location were weighted based on demographics to provide a broader estimate of gadget ownership and usage, Retrevo explained.

Overall, the picture painted jibes with regional cultural trends, and maybe Michigan is indeed the place for shutterbugs and Phoenix the last refuge for video cassettes tapes.

Live Science Staff
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