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The Rise of the Smartphone

Posted by Andrew at 4:59 PM on September 23, 2012

Today I was relaxing in a cafe, taking it easy on Sunday. As I looked around the other tables, everyone else was either looking at a smartphone or else had one resting on the table. They weren’t students or young professionals either; these were mums and dads, grandmas and grandpas.

Brewing coffeeHere’s the tally of what I saw:

Getting away from “my phone is better than your phone”, what might this highly unscientific observation say about the mobile communications market, at least in the UK?

First, it’s diverse. While Nokia and Windows Phone is nowhere to be seen, the three other operating systems seem to be pretty much holding their own.

Second, Apple has iPhones and RIM has Blackberries. Is the Samsung Galaxy now the de facto Android brand? The popularity of HTC seems to have fallen dramatically with the rise of Samsung.

Third, no-one was actually using their phones to make phone calls. In all the time I watched, there wasn’t a single call made or received but there was plenty of reading, swiping, tapping and pecking. It always seems that the PDA was lost in the convergence with the mobile phone, but the reality is that the PDA won the battle and “voice calling” is one feature among many.

Fourth and finally, smartphones are now ubiquitous and cross-generational. There wasn’t single ordinary phone to be seen and the range of the users suggests that age is no longer a discriminating factor.

As I said, entirely unscientific but still an interesting snapshot in the evolution of the smartphone.

Coffee brewing photograph courtesy of BigStockPhoto.

2 Comments

  1. From JD at 5:51 pm on September 23, 2012

    On a plane to NY the other day I did a similar count… in the seats around me, I got about 9 iPhones and 2 Blackberries and I think one Android (wasn’t sure what kind, there are so many)

    When traveling it seems everyone has them. iPhones seem to make up a very good percentage – more than what is quoted by sales stats. I assume the blackberry’s are corporate devices.

  2. From Andrew at 12:10 am on September 24, 2012

    In the UK, Blackberries are popular as personal phones, particularly with teens and students. I believe the keyboards are the desirable feature.