Smartphones Key To Wireless Profits

A research firm predicts 23% growth in smartphone shipments between 2008 and 2009 and identifies GPS and Wi-Fi as most-desired features.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

August 4, 2009

2 Min Read

A new survey of 77 smartphone models has found that GPS and Wi-Fi are key features influencing consumers to acquire the phones, even as some carriers still resist providing phones with Wi-Fi.

The survey, released Tuesday by the research firm Ovum found that of the 77 smartphones examined, 59 had GPS capability while only 49 had Wi-Fi capability.

The firm predicted that there will be a 23% growth in smartphone shipments between 2008 and 2009 providing a compound annual growth rate of 19.5% through 2014. The compounded annual growth rate for smartphones will occur even though there will be an annual decline in the total number of mobile phones sold.

"The widespread availability of GPS across all of the major smartphone platforms is great news for developers wishing to deploy location-based applications and services," said Ovum analyst Tim Renowden, in a statement. "But so far few developers have taken advantage of this beyond basic navigation products."

Smartphones have been the brightest spot in the wireless phone universe over the past several months, delivering the lion's share of profits for both cell phone providers and carriers. Last month, Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff noted that Apple's iPhones and Research In Motion's BlackBerrys together earn 35% of the profits in the entire global wireless market, although they account for just 3% of the market total.

The Ovum report suggested also that there will soon be improvements in mobile phone processors, most of which are now based on ARM11 architecture. In the coming months, Ovum said it expects ARM Cortex A8-chipsets to begin appearing in handsets as well as Qualcomm Snapdragon and Nvidia Tegra silicon. Farther out, Ovum predicts ARM Cortex A9 multi-core architecture to begin its appearance in devices in 2010.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on smartphone security. Download the report here (registration required).

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