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  1.    #1  
    Most Americans still don't have smartphones - CNN.com


    Most Americans still don't have smartphones

    By Amy Gahran, Special to CNN

    (CNN) -- If you're a tech news junkie (and that's why you're reading CNN.com Tech, right?), you might have gotten the impression that everyone already has -- or at least wants -- a smartphone. Or that smartphones and tablets are the only mobile devices that matter.

    But new research from Forrester indicates that while cell phone penetration is high across all U.S. demographics (82 percent of consumers own a cell phone, and 73 percent report that cell phones are their "most used device"), only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone.

    This is true even among the most digitally savvy generations: Gen X (roughly ages 31-40) and Gen Y (roughly ages 18-30).

    According to Forrester, Gen Yers and Gen Xers are most likely to own smartphones. However, less than one-fourth of cell phone users in both of those age groups own a smartphone.

    Also, Forrester reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.

    All of which means that the vast majority (more than 75 percent) of the "digital native" generations does not use smartphones. Instead, they rely on cheaper, simpler-feature phones and limited access to mobile data-supported services.

    Of course, feature phones are getting smarter. Many of the the most popular feature phones can do a lot beyond voice calls -- from text and multimedia messaging to e-mail, to social media, to web browsing, to even running simple apps based on JavaME.

    Granted, feature phones generally offer a more difficult and limited digital experience (especially for web browsing). But that doesn't stop people from using feature phones in sophisticated ways.

    In fact, according to Forrester's figures, just under half of all U.S. mobile owners have internet access from their cell phone. So, since only 17 percent of U.S. cell users have a smartphone, this means that the vast majority of Americans who are able access the mobile internet use feature phones.

    But being able to do something is not the same as actually doing it. Just under a quarter of U.S. mobile owners report going online from their phones.

    The simplest mobile activities remain the most popular across all types of cell phones. Topping Forrester's list is SMS text messaging, which nearly 60 percent of all U.S. mobile owners use.

    Despite the booming popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Forrester found that social networking services are one of the least popular non-voice mobile communication functions: Only 14 percent of U.S. mobile users access such services from their phones.

    In this report, Forrester seems to be trying to spin its findings to make smartphones sound like the most important current mobile trend. For instance, the report says, "Gen Yers and Gen Xers are the most likely to have smartphones and unlimited data plans, providing the tools needed to lead in mobile Internet adoption" -- despite the fact that they're describing the behavior of a minority in that age range.

    I'm not saying smartphones are not important. Indeed, they're very important.

    Smartphones have spurred considerable growth in (and demand for) mobile services. They've got people thinking more creatively about how to use mobile phones -- all kinds of mobile phones.

    And they've hastened the development and expansion of the mobile internet. Doubtlessly, in the future, all phones will continue to get smarter.

    But for now, and for the near future: Smartphones still cost far more up front and over time than most feature phones. While smartphones are getting easier to use, they still generally have a steeper learning curve. Also, smartphones generally offer far worse battery life.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. economic and employment scene remains tough and isn't bouncing back quickly. So the $90-plus-a-month two-year contracts that U.S. wireless carriers tend to lock smartphone users into (along with prohibitively high early termination fees) can seem like a significant financial risk.

    When considering the mobile landscape, it's important to pay attention to the phones and services that people are using.

    So smartphones are interesting, but in general they get far more attention and weight in the mainstream media (especially the tech press) than they probably warrant. Less expensive, simpler phones make up the vast majority of the U.S. mobile market -- and lots of innovation is happening in the lower end of that market. This trend is likely to continue for some time.

    So if you don't have, or don't want, a smartphone, don't worry. Depending on how you use your feature phone, you're not necessarily getting left behind. You're also part of the overwhelming majority -- and when it comes to mobile, numbers count.
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  2. #2  
    I don't think anyone disputes that there's room for growth in the smartphone market. What's in question is just how much room there is for WebOS to carve out given the suffocating lead Android and iOS have.
  3. #3  
    The lead can be closed or overcome if you throw enough money, devices in and manipulate the marker with strong arm tactics. But if HP comes in and says here, here's a WebOS tablet or here you go, webos phone, so what. You need convergence. MS know this, so they are doing Zune and Xbox. The webos phone was a laugh a minute with the iTunes drama. HP needs there own synch mechanism with music intergration. HP best get to gettin' the music and video peps on board.

    Webos has to about more than the loyal couple of thousand fans and what they want, it needs to appeal to a broader audience. And dump the keyboard. It's old school. The market has overwhelmingly shown that smart phones without keyboards sell.
  4. #4  
    Another issue I see is with webOS generally being pushed more strongly as a Cloud platform, just how much is it going to get strangled when all the carriers start to follow AT&T's lead with data-caps.
  5. #5  
    I also feel it is just the beginning of the game, not the doom and gloom that many people in here feel.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by nappy View Post
    I don't think anyone disputes that there's room for growth in the smartphone market. What's in question is just how much room there is for WebOS to carve out given the suffocating lead Android and iOS have.
    Well the most interesting thing about this number is the phones could endlessly fight over the 17%, but lets say that doubles in the next three years. If webOS comes out with a strong platform and grab up this new growth through whatever pathway, webOS could easily catch up. There really isn't such as think as suffocation in a growing market, especially one so dependent on new hardware and software innovations each year.
  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by netwrkr9 View Post
    I also feel it is just the beginning of the game, not the doom and gloom that many people in here feel.
    No my friend, the game has moved from the beginning. You can't come in at the beginning. We are now in the what else can Android, IOS and the future MS device can do stage. All of those phones will be doing more than just being a phone. Since there is no other real contender to the iPad, we will have to wait and see what other tricks there are for the tablet market.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by nappy View Post
    I don't think anyone disputes that there's room for growth in the smartphone market. What's in question is just how much room there is for WebOS to carve out given the suffocating lead Android and iOS have.
    The same was said about Android a year ago, when they had 8.000 apps and iPhone had 100.000. People said smartphones are a one-player market like PCs.

    Now Android is big and people are saying, well, these are the big platforms, and there's only room for two.

    I think there's room for more than three, even.
  9. bdog421's Avatar
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    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by GodShapedHole View Post
    The same was said about Android a year ago, when they had 8.000 apps and iPhone had 100.000. People said smartphones are a one-player market like PCs.

    Now Android is big and people are saying, well, these are the big platforms, and there's only room for two.

    I think there's room for more than three, even.
    That's what I've been thinking for over a year now, all when people were saying apple apple apple and then apple apple google palm and now it's apple google apple google.

    Palm stumbled out of the gate late, winmo and blackberry got old, so automatically everyone that's not apple and google is dead. Falling behind doesn't mean you lose in an instant....plenty of room and time in this game for more players to score.
  10. bdog421's Avatar
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    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by sinsin07 View Post
    Webos has to about more than the loyal couple of thousand fans and what they want, it needs to appeal to a broader audience. And dump the keyboard. It's old school. The market has overwhelmingly shown that smart phones without keyboards sell.
    There's more than thousands of webOS fans

    And your saying the G1,palm pre,droid1,epic4G,droid2,G2 nobody wanted and they should not make these devices cause thet didn't do well? I think if you compare iphone,evo,droidx, and the likes numbers, you'll find the slabs win in the popularity contest, but in noway dominate the market.
  11. #11  
    People are not locked-in to any manufacturer. Every year or two just about every smartphone owner can be lured by a great OS (webOS) on some compelling hardware ( we'll see ).

    The game has just started!
  12. #12  
    3.0 billion cell phone users world wide.

    250- 300 million current smart phone users world wide.

    2.75 billion potential remaining converts - if only half of them switch to smartphones, the almost 1.375 billion remaining worldwide users.

    Not to mention that current smartphone users will always be looking to upgrade to a newer, better device/platform, if available.

    The market is huge, and is not even out of the first inning yet.
    "The more I learn, the more I realize just how little I really do know!" -Albert Einstein

  13. #13  
    my guess is webos will never be more than 1% market.

    a little too late.. as you can tell, im not optomisitic about it. by not releasing a new phone with up to date hardware is a missed opportunity.

    after my pre plus, im moving on to a different platform.
  14. #14  
    Right now apps dominate, and that is hurting the ability for more than 2 or 3 big players to exist profitably in the smartphone landscape.

    In 5 years, when web coding technologies become so advanced (HTML 5, Advanced CSS and OpenGL are just the beginning) and faster than 4G Data becomes commonplace: apps become a thing of the past.

    No longer will it matter what phone OS you use as long as you have a good browser in it that supports all of these protocols.

    Apps will just exist on the web, available to any platform, tie into your hardware API's via standardized web plugins, and automatically scale to your devices resolution.

    Then, you will see a multitude of different phone OSes pop up, because it wont matter what OS you go with, except for a couple of 'baked in' features that are important to you.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by bdog421 View Post
    There's more than thousands of webOS fans...snip
    Oh, theres millions?
  16. RafRol's Avatar
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    #16  
    Only 25% of U.S. mobile phones are smartphones.
    Only 17% of the World's mobile phones are smartphones.

    Here's a graphic below that put's things into perspective.



    BTW, this post is not about the iPhone. This post is just about the market for smartphones.
    Visor/Sprint Springboard Expansion Module > Visor Platinum > Tungsten E > Centro (work) > Palm Pre
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by rmausser View Post
    Right now apps dominate, and that is hurting the ability for more than 2 or 3 big players to exist profitably in the smartphone landscape.

    In 5 years, when web coding technologies become so advanced (HTML 5, Advanced CSS and OpenGL are just the beginning) and faster than 4G Data becomes commonplace: apps become a thing of the past.

    No longer will it matter what phone OS you use as long as you have a good browser in it that supports all of these protocols.

    Apps will just exist on the web, available to any platform, tie into your hardware API's via standardized web plugins, and automatically scale to your devices resolution.

    Then, you will see a multitude of different phone OSes pop up, because it wont matter what OS you go with, except for a couple of 'baked in' features that are important to you.
    i can't wait. i'm not a huge apps guy. except for twitter, i do most things in my browser. there are a few other apps i use, smartrunner being one of my faves. but in some cases (BOA) the app is the same as the mobile site anyway.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by RafRol View Post
    Only 25% of U.S. mobile phones are smartphones.
    Only 17% of the World's mobile phones are smartphones.

    BTW, this post is not about the iPhone. This post is just about the market for smartphones.
    Thanks, where did you get this? LOL Its great!!!
  19.    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by Amy Gahran, Special to CNN View Post
    But new research from Forrester indicates that while cell phone penetration is high across all U.S. demographics (82 percent of consumers own a cell phone, and 73 percent report that cell phones are their "most used device"), only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone.
    Quote Originally Posted by RafRol View Post
    Only 25% of U.S. mobile phones are smartphones.
    Only 17% of the World's mobile phones are smartphones.
    Competing Percentages. I wonder which are most accurate or up to date?
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  20. #20  
    we are still at the very beginning of the smartphone game...
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