Okay, perhaps that is the wrong question to ask to a crowd of tech enthusiasts, as likely you all own a smartphone and the only division lies between iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. However a new repot from Pew Research finds that those non-techies we all know also have a mobile phone of some type — my parents have one, though perhaps they should actually charge it and carry with them when they go out!
A report just released announces that 91 percent of people now own a cell phone of some sort. “Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that cell phone ownership among adults has exceeded 90%”. The research begins with a November 2004 study that showed 65 percent adoption.
The results come from a survey conducted between April 17 and May 19 of 2,252 adults. The new report also tells us that the cell phone is the most rapidly adopted technology of all time.
Exceptions include “people ages 65 and older; those who did not attend college; those living in households earning less than $30,000; and those in rural areas. In this survey, it is even the case that women are statistically significantly less likely to own cell phones than men—though this pattern has not been evident in all of our previous surveys”.
The research company proceeded to break it down to 93 percent of men and 88 percent of women, with further demographics by age group.
With computer sales down and the rise of smartphones and tablets, it is really no surprise that this number continues to rise. However, smartphones and tablets are more of a disposable device, where computers can be easily upgraded. THis perhaps makes the numbers a bit skewed.
Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, hosts a database, called Sitefinder, giving the location and type of mobile network base stations. Why would you be interested in base stations? Because they’re another names for mobile phone masts or cell phone towers.
The database has been linked with the ubiquitous Google Maps so that by entering a post code or a street address, the area of interest can be shown, with markers indicating the exact locations of the towers. By clicking on the marker, you can see the operator of the tower, what kind it is, the height and the frequencies used.
91% of UK adults have a mobile phone, so it’s not surprising that there are lots of cell towers. You could use this database in two ways. First, if you have concerns about health issues relating to the radio waves you can be more informed about the towers in your area, but secondly, if you are trying to decide which mobile phone operator to use, this map will show you the closest towers to home and work and likely to give the best reception.
Facebook hit critical mass and managed to move into the mainstream and is now sucking in mass numbers of new users. Much of the value of a many goods and services revolves around mass adoption – it becomes beneificial for people to use Facebook simply because so many friends and family are already on it.
We keep hearing statistics about smartphone adoption rates. No doubt about it, smartphones are increasingly popular devices and are quickly moving into the mainstream.
How does this translate into the real world?
I came across a guy a few days ago that had recently gotten an iPhone 4.0 specifically so he could do Facetime chats with his brother. This guy was in his 50’s and had never owned a computer or dealt with the Internet in any way. I was surprised at how well he had learned to run his phone. He was clearly thrilled with the smartphone and what it was capable of. Even though this fellow had somehow managed to resist getting a computer and the Internet, the smartphone managed to pull him in. Furthermore, this guy was using a lot of data above and beyond WiFi and Facetime. Even as a novice user, he had already purchased a few iphone apps. Additionally he expressed a lot of interest when I was describing Audible.Com audio books.
There’s a segment of the population I run into personally that doesn’t like the idea of or see the need for or perceive any benefit from paying for mobile data connections. These are the people that are hanging onto more basic phone models. I suspect that these same people likely resisted the idea of getting a cell phone in the first place – in other words, they are late adopters when it comes to cell phone technologies and services.
We are now entering the phase of smartphone adoption of where mass numbers of people will get smartphones simply because everyone else has them. I believe smartphones are poised to outstrip even a service like Facebook with the total number of smartphone users.
These new smartphone users are likely to use mass amounts of data. Cell phone companies wanted people to have data plans because of the extra revenue from larger data-enabled bills – now they’d better be prepared to deliver on the promise.
IDC‘s latest press release on mobile phones and smartphones in Europe shows the sector grew 8% in the past year, that smartphones represent over a quarter of all phones shipped and that current leader Nokia is losing market share.
The total mobile market grew 8% year-on-year with over 42 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2010. Of this, smartphones were 12 million units, representing 28% of the market and up 57% on last year. Mobile phones actually dropped 4% showing the trend towards the more powerful devices.
Overall, Nokia still rules the mobile market, with just under 33% of the market in the first quarter but this is down 9% in the year. Samsung runs a close second with 29% of the market. No-one else has anywhere near the market share of these two. Even Apple and RIM only have 7.0% and 5.6% respectively.
Looking at just the smartphone market, Nokia is still out front with nearly 41% market share, but again this is well down from 57% last year. Apple is second with 25%, closely followed by RIM with 20%.
HTC comes fourth with 7.5% and consequently, Android outsold Windows Mobile for the first time. No sign at all of Palm’s WebOS devices which anecdotally have only sold well in Germany.
To honest, anyone familiar with the space doesn’t need IDC to tell them that Nokia is struggling. Partly it’s because the smartphone range isn’t great, but I think Nokia just isn’t hip anymore. Forgive me if I’m being shallow but Apple = cool. Blackberry = cool. Android = cool.
The full tables are in the press release but they’re not labelled very well. The first table is the total mobile phone market, the second table is the smartphone market.
The beauty of Google Android is that it operates on a wide variety of devices that appeal to differing market segments, yet those devices can utilize the Android Market Place and run general apps written for Android. This is similar to what happened with Windows on personal computers. It’s an analogy worthy of exploration, however there are a few noteworthy differences that are actually rather revealing.
Android is nimble, stable and solid, unlike many attributes of the various versions of Windows. Over the years, something went horribly wrong with Windows. Is it possible that Android could eventually suffer the same fate?
Perhaps one difference is that phone manufacturers have a direct incentive to make certain that each Android phone model has a solid implementation. After all, phones simply have to work. Computer manufacturers, on the other hand, have often had a tendency to churn out new computer models without always fully vetting the hardware/Windows OS combination. Google seems to have taken the approach with Android of providing a basic, bare bones phone OS, whereas over the years Microsoft has taken the kitchen sink approach with Windows.
Another difference in the Android/Windows/open hardware analogy rests in the fact that Android is an embedded OS. Hardware manufacturers are forced to make it work. The better it works, the more phones they can sell. If a particular phone model is buggy, word spreads quickly and the model is a bust.
If a particular computer model has problems, its manufacturer often points the finger of blame at Microsoft, and Microsoft typically points back to the manufacturer, leaving the troubled consumer with a spinning head.
The consumer is also partly to blame. If you think about it, we tend not to look at particular computer models running Windows in the same way we look at particular phone models. We tend to look at boxes running Windows as just that – a box of hardware based on price.
My wife is a cell phone junkie, degenerate, addict, etc. You choose the word. She gets a new phone every month either on craigslist though swapping or buys one. I could care less about cell phones except to talk to people on one. Yes young people, you can actually talk on these devices. I am trying to get her to get the new Android phone with the Google operating system. I know she will like it & we are likely going to change from Verizon to T-Mobile so that will fit nicely. She has never had an iphone but I think she will appreciate the apps available for free for the Android. She mainly likes texting and weird ringtones but when she sees all this is phone can do she will go even deeper into cell phone addiction. The fact that the Amazon DRM-free music store comes preloaded is a big plus as well. I love getting music from Amazon & using it however I want to! She is starting to use her phone as a music player so this is right up her alley.
I really like techy stuff I just have not went all in for cell phones yet. One reason is cost & the fact that I am rough on the free phones I use so I cannot see paying big bucks for something I am likely to jack up pretty quickly. Another reason is I am a home body so when I am away from the house I am working & not needing a hi tech device except an mp3 player. When I am home I am almost always on the computer so that is when I do my “computing” and not on a cell phone. Obviously I am in the minority at least in the geek community but eventually I will be in the 12 step program with my wife for cell phones. And Android may be my gateway device.
Energy Vampires, that’s what phone chargers, televisions, video/DVD/CD recorders, and a host of other household appliances were called today by California state legislators who passed a bill to reuire the devices to be more efficient by using less engergy when not in use.
Continue reading Beware of Energy Vampires: appliances use energy even when not in use