41 Percent Of Consumers Choosing Smartphones - InformationWeek

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Commentary
6/12/2009
12:25 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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41 Percent Of Consumers Choosing Smartphones

In North America, 41 Percent of consumers are said to be choosing smartphones instead of feature phones or plain old cell phones with little more than texting and a camera. That is good news, but it means the carriers need to invest in the networks.

In North America, 41 Percent of consumers are said to be choosing smartphones instead of feature phones or plain old cell phones with little more than texting and a camera. That is good news, but it means the carriers need to invest in the networks.The Yankee Group has released a report that also claims that by 2013, 38 percent of all phones will be smartphones by 2013. It will take a number of years to for consumers to cycle out of some of their older phones and not everyone is wowed by killer devices like the iPhone, but are content with a basic device that gets the primary job of voice communication done. If you are reading this, then you are not in that group.

As more and more people get smartphones, revenue to the carriers will jump dramatically since data plans are required to get those phones to work, but that means more traffic as well, which puts a strain on the network. AT&T has already blocked Slingbox for the iPhone from its cellular network, though it allows it on its network of WiFi hotspots. We saw at WWDC that even though Apple has introduced tethering and MMS in the third major revision of the operating system, AT&T is delaying their implementation until later this year while they do network upgrades.

I am not picking on AT&T. I doubt the other networks in the US would fare much better if they had a popular data hungry device like the iPhone on their network. But what if they had hundreds of thousands and millions of devices on their network. The Palm Pre promises to encourage the user to use lots of bandwidth. Windows Mobile 6.5 will finally have a browser that doesn't make the user cringe, so more bandwidth will be consumed as those devices are adopted.

I've already seen slowdowns at big events. I heard that at WWDC, there were some slowdowns in the network with so many iPhones in use, half of them probably posting pics to their blog from the phone. Growth in smarthphone market share is good, I just hope the networks will keep up.

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