Smartphone unit sales almost tripled from 2004 to 2005, and increased by 50% in the first half of 2006 over 2005, reports In-Stat. The stakes are high; as well as the escalating battle for smartphone operating system dominance, the growing acceptance of smartphones offers new competition to established products such as BlackBerry, Personal Information Managers and PDAs.
"There are two reasons for caution, in spite of spectacular sales," says Bill Hughes, an analyst at the high-tech market research firm. "Many smartphone users continue to carry the very devices that smartphones are meant to replace. Also, users have been slow to add new applications to their devices. Most users have only downloaded a few applications."
Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
* Business users that received their smartphone through work are three times more likely to carry a second wireless phone for personal calls than other users.
* Many smartphones sold in 2006 serve as a combination phone and PDA. Others have power and performance comparable in capability to many laptops. Most of the smartphones sold globally, however, only enable the user to access the capabilities of basic wireless phones.
* US smartphone customers are about evenly split between Windows Mobile, BlackBerry OS, and Palm OS.
The research, "Smartphone 2006: Whose Definition Is It Anyway?" (#IN0602923WH), covers the global market for smartphones. It contains a review of the major manufacturers of smartphone operating systems. It also covers the results of a survey In-Stat commissioned to understand the perceptions and attitudes of smartphone users and non-users. Worldwide shipment forecasts by OS through 2010 are included.