Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Smartphone handsets surge

Gartner released some figures on the mobile phone market, and smartphones in general. The information was covered in this article in Total Telecoms.

Last year we picked up a report by RBS projecting a full 50% of all handsets sold in the world in 2014 would be smartphones. They projected something like 1.6b units, and 800m are predicted to be smartphones.

Along comes this report to show that the world is well on it's way. While Gartner is projecting the global handset market to grow 11-13% in 2010, they are reporting 49% year over year actual growth for smartphones. With 54.3m smartphones shipped in the first quarter of 2010, it's easy to project 325m units in 2010, easily extrapolated to 800m units in 2014.

However, consider the implications of 800m smartphones shipped in 2014. Today networks are groaning under the impact of a tiny fraction of that many smartphones. And one trend which I haven't seen reported, but seems to be true in my focus group of one, is that the longer people have smartphones, the more data they use.

I think consumers become confortable with email, then venture into different elements of the smartphone experience, moving pictures, recording videos, hitting Facebook, watching YouTube videos and streaming Pandora. These last two are particular new favorites of mine.

I don't listen to the radio in the car anymore, I just start Pandora and let my smartphone deliver internet radio to my car. And YouTube has become a very easy way to kill time when I'm waiting... for the kids at soccer practice or at the airport or whereever.

The need for Smart Wi-Fi is growing as fast as the shipment of smartphones.

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