From last year’s advances, to recent developments, it appears that 2010 will certainly become a significant year for smartphone growth:
- Smartphone Sales – As contracts expire for regular cell phones, many buyers will make their first smartphone purchases. With advancements in mobile technology, prices will continue to decrease and smartphone sales will grow.
- The Application Industry — Apple has created a new, profitable industry with its app store business. Currently, Apple has over 99% of a business which last year had sales of over 4 billion dollars, with nearly one billion dollars profit for the company. It’s only natural that Android, Palm and Windows want some of that action. The consumer could benefit from the competition.
- Social Media & the Smartphone –The smartphone versions of Twitter and Facebook successfully duplicate the user experience of their web counterparts. A recent Ruder Finn study states that 91% of mobile users spend more time socializing than non-mobile users (79%). Smartphones and social media are made for each other and will both benefit from each other’s success.
- Android OS — Google’s wise strategy in making Android an “open source ” platform, has encouraged a creative environment for app developers, allowing a faster release time for content that would otherwise be delayed for approval processes. 25,000 apps have been created in a relatively brief period of time. Many of the major handset makers have Android OS phones in development, which every carrier will soon make available. Android’s market share more than doubled in December from its’ September numbers and Gartner is forecasting that by 2012, it will rank second globally, ahead of the iPhone, Windows Mobile and Blackberry. (Verizon’s successful marketing campaign for the Droid must also be mentioned for effectively promoting a smartphone other than iPhone.
- Verizon Wireless and Skype Partnership — The recent announcement that Verizon will soon be incorporating the popular Internet calling service to nine of the carrier’s smartphones, has been a pleasant surprise for their subscribers. And the fact that Skype offers lower international calling rates than Verizon which will not be counted against a users voice or data plans, is an enormous attraction to potential smartphone purchasers. Whether this is no more than competing with Apple, it’s the kind of competition that the marketplace needs to maintain a healthy business.
The economy of the past two years certainly had an effect on smartphone sales. Last years’ $1.2 billion US mobile commerce number is now expected to double in 2010 and reach over $115 billion by 2015. It will be interesting to see how new users accept and incorporate all of the commerce and communication applications their wondrous new phones will soon offer.