"To date, smartphone purchasers have been largely business power users, but the launch of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's BlackJack-media-playing smartphones that appeal to consumers-is giving the smartphone segment a boost and could change the dynamics of the mobile phone market," said Richard Webb, directing analyst for wireless at Infonetics Research. "Vendors will design more consumer-oriented smartphones and cause fierce competition among incumbent players."
This is already happening. Research In Motion has sprung two prosumer devices, the Pearl and the Curve, both of which have media capabilities as well as business uses. While neither has Wi-Fi, RIM did drop the 8820 dual-mode device onto the market recently. And, of course, Apple just announced yesterday that it sold 270,000 dual-mode iPhones in the 30 hours between 6 p.m. on June 29 and midnight June 30.
An important finding in Infonetics' report is that both the enterprise and consumer are more welcoming of phones with Wi-Fi on board, each for their own reasons. The enterprise is looking to integrate them into their IP PBX architectures, while consumers adopting Wi-Fi phones to take advantage of broadband connections with wireless and VoIP-enabled consumer premises equipment. Infonetics is confident that seamless handover FMC phones (such as those compatible with T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service) will represent 35% of the dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular phone market by 2010, versus 3% in 2006.
All this points to the growing appeal of advanced devices that can do more than make phone calls. As mobile phones, smart or not, become more ingrained with how we manage our business and personal lives, the more we'll demand of them.