Sales of mobile handsets were down in 2008, but given the slowing economy that’s not really all that surprising. However, ABI Research has released some interesting numbers, and it seems that mobile handset sales for 2008 still had an annual growth of 5.4 percent, down from a year earlier of greater than 16 percent. What is more surprising is that Apple, despite the hype and hoopla actually still only has a rather small percent of the overall market. But Jake Saunders, Asia-Pacific VP of ABI Research says vendors are doing a lot to try to push handsets in new ways, and it won’t be just Apple who are making the smart push.
“What is certain is that handset vendors will be trying to convince everyone they should own a smarphone,” says Saunders. “Welcome to the Year of the Smartphone.”
The signs that this is the year of the smartphone are already showing up, especially as many developers are working on new apps specifically for these smarter than the average handset. Here are a few notable apps that caught my eye this week.
Phanfare Photon – This iPhone app allows users to wirelessly synchronize all of their photos and videos between an iPhone or iPod Touch and Phanfare’s secure servers. This new version, which is now available in the Apple App Store, features some nifty options including bulk uploading, photo and video slideshows with music, image stabilization, photo editing and even offline access. Key editing tools offer the ability to crop, sharpen and even auto-levels your images on your phone. While not quite Photoshop Mobile, this is pretty much the next best thing! There is even an option for unlimited online storage for $54.95.
WeatherBug – This free to download app for the Storm is befitting of the Blackberry’s name. This mobile weather app displays an icon that updates itself based on where you are. So if it is sunny you get a big bright sun, and if it is raining the icon adjusts accordingly. OK, so is this useful if you are already outside? Of course not, but for those cubical workers thinking of running out for lunch, it can help save a trip back to the desk for the umbrella. Think of this as a window to the world of weather.
TalkLock – Storm users have found that it is a bit too easy at times to just accidentally put someone on hold when their face presses against the display. So to save yourself from a situation where you might accidentally press the hold button, and then continue talking for 20 or more minutes (that can happen), this app likes you deactivate the touchscreen. So when your call is connected, the screen automatically locks and you can unlock by running your finger over the screen again. It’s so simple it should have been built in, but fortunately you can lock and load or rather download and lock.
Check back next Friday for news on the latest mobile