With new iPhone, Windows, Samsung and even BlackBerry devices launching this year, it is no surprise that smartphone sales are predicted to reach the Billion mark in the year ahead. These mini computers have become household objects in almost every country across the world, but interestingly enough; experts state that a fifth of devices are not used to access online features.
A study done by accounting firm Deloitte showed that the new estimates in smartphone sales will catapult the number of touchscreen or QWERTY keyboard phones to 2 Billion by the end of 2013. Network competition and decreased prices are just some of the reasons that smartphones have become accessible to a larger audience.
Not too long ago, these devices were something of a luxury or statement, used by high flyers in the business world and other well-off market groups. Even today, devices such as iPhone are still cornering the higher income market, while other devices such as Nokia, HTC and Samsung have brought sought-after features and stylish design to previously untapped markets.
How Are Consumers Using Smartphone?
Statistics on smartphone usage across various countries have showed a rather surprising gap in accessibility however, with 1 in 5 devices not used online. A large number of users were shown to opt for pre-paid services rather than subscribing to a data package from mobile networks. Instead, these users utilise the standard features such as text messages, calls and camera phones.
According to Deloitte telecoms research head Paul Lee, “They are like [traditional] feature phones in a smartphone casing. Smartphone penetration goes up but data plan penetration doesn’t go up as quickly. Not every mobile will be used in the same way.”
A number of smartphones in use are second-hand devices that may have outdated software features that make it hard to connect to the internet via the device. Other reasons for a lack of online activity could be due to poor 3G connections or varying levels of internet service with mobile networks. The older smartphone market may also be wary of viruses and other online risks, or be hesitant to risk overspending of data.
As smartphone prices decrease however, and more accessible data plans come into play across the world’s mobile networks, there could well be a slow increase of online activity as more users are able to connect their devices online.