The "Smartphone" Is Dead: Long Live Smart Phones And Smart Gadgets
This is the first document in the "Smart Mobile Devices" series.
by Ian Fogg with Michelle de Lussanet, Laura WiramihardjaForrester spoke with leading mobile firms, including executives from Apple, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and Research In Motion (RIM). Those executives identified three categories that typically indicate a phone is smart, such as whether the phone has the ability to install new applications, the use of particular operating system software and whether a phone has features such as GPS, Wi-Fi, camera, MP3 player or Web browsing capabilities. Apple's and Google's arrival in the mobile market is causing knock-on effects throughout the market and is opening up opportunities. All mobile handsets are becoming smarter and Internet-capable. Yesterday's smart high-end phone is today's midrange phone and tomorrow's entry-level phone. The "smartphone" category is no longer useful as all phones become smart. Instead, we propose three new frameworks to segment the smart mobile device market: openness and extensibility; consumption and creation; utility and entertainment. All mobile strategies must adapt now: Consumer electronics makers must decide on their response to widely available smarter phones and the mobile Internet; handset makers must leverage software to play the mobile Internet game and differentiate long term; media, finance, retail, and other Internet companies' strategies must exploit mobile opportunities now or lose ground to faster rivals. But the mobile market will remain fragmented with no single platform — no Windows PC equivalent — anytime soon on mobile devices. Therefore, mobile strategists must analyze their target consumers carefully before embarking on large mobile investments. The report says nearly all mid-range phones now have core features that were in the past reserved for smartphones, essentially rendering the term “smartphone” meaningless. The report cites a JupiterResearch European Mobile Forecast from July 2008 that showed that by 2013, nearly 98 percent of all phones in Western Europe will come equipped with multi-megapixel cameras. According to the report, the mobile market will continue to fragment with new operating systems and software. While the report acknowledges the importance of hardware, it appears software will be the differentiator of the future.
AT&T today announced a new ad campaign that will highlight the carrier’s relatively high number of smartphone subscribers. In a press release on the company’s Web site, AT&T cited "independent market research" that shows twice as many smartphone users have chosen AT&T over any other U.S. carrier. AT&T said a new TV spot features a businessman e-mailing with his boss and sending files on a bus that’s morphed into a harried workplace.
The idea communicated is that twice as many smartphone users have chosen AT&T because with AT&T, they have confidence they can always stay connected. The new ads will begin running over the weekend. Until recently, AT&T had claimed to be the nation’s largest wireless carrier. However, Verizon Wireless recently acquired Alltel, and subsequently an additional 13.2 million customers. In its first-quarter earnings, Verizon reported 86.6 million total subscribers, while AT&T had 78.2 million.
comScore was the research firm responsible for showing that AT&T in March had 11.8 million smartphone customers, which was more than double the 5.1 million that the combined Verizon Wireless-Alltel unit had and 47 percent of U.S. smartphone customers overall, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “We’ve taken integrated devices mainstream and nearly a third of our postpaid customers use one,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a press release.
AT&T said it expects total capital expenditures to be $17 billion to $18 billion in 2009, with more than three-quarters of that supporting mobility and data.