The two most ubiquitous products of the information era — home computers and cell phones — are currently situated in the middle of the consumer-necessity pack, with the public evenly divided about their status as a necessity rather than a luxury. A Pew Social & Demographic Trends survey finds that computers are deemed a necessity by 51% of the adult public, and cell phones by 49%. But both of these products are making a swift climb up the necessity scale. A decade ago, just 26% of adults considered the home computer a necessity, and back in 1983, when computers were still a novelty, only 4% felt that way. Meantime, cell phones were still so exotic in 1996 that they weren’t even placed on the survey. Read More