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Google Keeps What Ask.com Erases

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InformationWeek Daily - Friday, Dec 14, 2007

Editor's Note

Resisting Smartphones Is Futile

Mobility is changing everything. Not only will sales of smartphones surpass laptops in a few years, but 1 in 8 U.S. households has cut their wireline telephone services in favor of wireless. Will enterprises ever cut the cord?

Smartphones are on fire. Sales of the productivity-enhancing products are surging at a 30% compound annual growth rate, and will outpace sales of laptops in just five years. In fact, In-Stat analyst Bill Hughes likens them to the Borg: Resisting smartphone adoption is futile, if you want to be as productive as your coworkers or competitors, you will assimilate and get one.

In response to a question about a recent In-Stat study, he said, "There are still many people who passionately believe they need just a (plain cell phone). I would like to see them keep an open mind. Realistically, over time people will come to see their peers with smartphones and they will just want a phone -- but they also will want to have navigation and real-time traffic, e-mail, etc. Before they know it, they will have a smartphone."

Hughes also believes that smartphone penetration in other countries will outstrip adoption here in the United States. "It's hard to communicate to an American audience how computer-centric we are compared to other regions. [We focus on] big screens, full keyboards. Frankly, a PC isn't necessary in a lot of parts of the world. The net result is that we have a hard time getting our heads around the notion of using a smartphone as a laptop replacement. At the same time, [my research shows] that if it could be done well, a lot of people would be very interested in that solution. But they consider the keyboard too small and the screen too small (on current smartphones)," he said.

I think people -- and enterprises -- will overcome these limitations. Many of them already have...

Read the rest of my thoughts and post a few of your own on InformationWeek's Mobile Weblog.

Eric Zeman

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