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Is 2008 the Year of the Smartphone?

Aug 17, 2008
Once upon a time our mobile phones were only for making telephone calls. Today, more of us want our mobile phones to be fully loaded with every imaginable feature: Internet accessibility, MP3 capabilities, GPS navigation, email devices. As these so-called smartphones become increasingly popular, some are predicting 2008 will be the year they go mainstream.

Apple's iPhone: Starting it All

The rage over smartphones didn't start in 2008. It actually began last year when Apple released the iPhone to an eager audience of buyers. Within its first year, the original iPhone sold 5 million units despite being available only in the United States and select parts of Europe. Was it any wonder that the 3G iPhone would shake the industry up in a much bigger way?

Industry Statistics: Telling the Story

Just as the 3G iPhone was preparing to make a highly anticipated launch around the world this July, the mobile phone industry released its latest statistics on the smartphones and their impact on the market. According to Gartner, Inc, smartphone sales have increased worldwide by nearly 30% just since 2007.

In the first three months of 2008, many parts of the market saw enormous leaps in sales for these devices. More than 11.7 million smartphones were sold from January through March in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, for example. That was up almost 40% over the previous year's first quarter results.

In North America, however, the rise is even more prominent. During the same period, sales for smartphones increased by 106%. That means their sales more than doubled in comparison to the first quarter sales of 2007.

Apple's Impact on the Mobile Market

Even though the iPhone isn't the only smartphone on the market, its success has clearly opened the eyes of other mobile manufacturers about the needs and wants of consumers. While smartphones, like those created by Blackberry, were once considered only desirable by on-the-go business professionals, consumers today seem to love the idea of being constantly connected to the world around them. They want news, entertainment, communication, music, and navigation all wrapped up in a single, sleek package.

And the best news for phone makers is that consumers clearly don't mind paying extra for these added features. Remember the iPhone originally launched at an astronomical US $499 for the 4 GB model and that was including a discount for signing a 2 year contract with a service provider.

New Smartphones on the Horizon

With the popularity of the iPhone, it's no surprise that other mobile phone companies are going to be hitting the market soon with their own smartphones. Samsung, for example, is releasing the Tocco which is smaller and thinner than Apple's model. It has a touchscreen and allows for the dropping and dragging of widgets for the user's convenience.

Still at the forefront of mobile phone sales, Nokia isn't going to be left out of the smartphone race. They are currently working on a touchscreen model prototype currently referred to as Tube. With built-in GPS and a nice widescreen display, the phone will fit in nicely with the competition. It's also believed to support handwriting recognition.

Blackberry is also releasing its own 3G model known as the BlackBerry Thunder which should launch in Q3 of 2008.

Clearly, Apple is leading the way for a great year in smartphones both for consumers and for the industry.
About the Author
Insure and Smile offers competitive mobile phone insurance for all models of mobile phones and smartphones. Insure a mobile for as little as 2.99 a month against theft, breakdown and water damage with 48 hour replacement.
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