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Consumers Consider PCs, Cellphones Indispensable

New York — An Ipsos/Associated Press poll of 1,066 people found that many high-tech products are now so important to people that many could not imagine life without those devices.

Personal computers led the list of crucial products, with 46 percent of the respondents stating they could not imagine living without a PC. Cellphones were a close second, with 41 percent calling them essential, and broadband Internet access was the third most important technology, with 38 percent calling it a requisite service.

The poll was conducted Dec. 13-15 and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

For each of these products an additional 25 percent to 38 percent said they would miss these gadgets, but could get by without them if necessary.

At the other end of the spectrum were portable gaming devices with 74 percent willing to go without their GameBoy and only 7 percent not willing to give it up. TV game consoles were also only truly necessary to 10 percent of those polled and 60 percent said they could now go without their VCR.

Certain newer technologies like MP3 players and DVRs have not had enough time to make consumers dependent upon their presence in their lives. Only 12 percent said they could not live without their MP3 player and 17 percent would not want to give up their DVR.

The poll also pointed out how well consumers have adopted many CE and IT products.

Ipsos read a list of devices and services consumers might have in your home or car. For each one, the respondent indicated if anyone in their household has or uses the device or service.

Ipsos also asked what CE and IT products were high on the respondents shopping lists. For the majority, the most popular devices like iPods or cellphones were not a high priority. The pollster noted that since these are well-established gadgets most people already own one, negating the need to buy another.

Eleven percent of those polled said a cellphone was on their holiday shopping list, 12 percent would be buying an MP3 player or iPod and 11 percent were out for a TV game console. Satellite radio and DVRs were only of interest to 4 percent, and 5 percent wanted to buy an HDTV for someone. None of those polled wanted a CD player, while 13 percent were eyeing DVD players.

Other interesting facts turned up by the survey are that 68 percent of the homes called had Internet service, with 61 percent of those having a broadband connection. Despite what might be heard in public, ringtones had been purchased by only 18 percent of those polled.