A new survey has found that more than 1.6 million people now have a smartphone in Ireland.

The latest Eircom Household Sentiment Survey reveals that the proportion of people using smartphones has risen from 39% to 50% in the last six months.

The poll was carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes in February and March among a sample of 1,000 adults.

It found that the number of people who own a tablet computer has doubled since the last survey six months ago.

The authors estimate that based on people's buying intentions, there will be 1.2 million tablet owners by the end of this year.

People's love affair with technology and their need to be connected continues to grow, with the study revealing that 1m people admit to checking emails first thing in the morning, while over 250,000 now check work emails on holidays.

Over half of those surveyed revealed that they will not and cannot switch off their devices in the evening and at weekends.

Twice as many people perceive Irish men to be more tech savvy than Irish women, although female ownership of smartphones is higher than male.

Underlining the diverse range of places that smartphones are used, 71% said they use their smartphone sitting in their car, 51% on public transport, 33% in the bathroom, 78% in the bedroom and 27% while on the toilet.

As communication usage trends shift, three quarters of those aged 16-24 say they now prefer to send text messages rather than have a phone conversation.

However, there is growing evidence of social media fatigue, with a quarter of people surveyed saying they are growing tired of social media channels.

In a warning of the perils of technology, 19% of respondents admitted to having agreed to something without realising it while using a digital device.