A recent survey found that while only one in five American adults actually has a smartphone, many more plan to purchase one sometime in the next year. This is among the findings of a new survey conducted by GfK Roper and commissioned by Best Buy Mobile, which was conducted this past May.
And while many consumers are interested in getting a smarter phone, confusion remains a hurdle for many would-be buyers. Nearly half of those surveyed, who hadn’t yet bought a smartphone said the marketplace was very confusing. In fact, along with the price, confusion about technology was cited as one of the many reasons for putting off the purchase.
Some of the survey’s key findings:
- Only about one in five American adults own a smartphone in the United States
- A sizeable segment of those in their 20’s and 30’s plan to buy one
- 47% of those who do not own a smartphone said that there was confusion by the number of models and features
- 39% of respondents said they simply didn’t like shopping for electronics products
- 64% of respondents said they found smartphones to be very expensive
Given that the economy is only slowly recovering, and with gasoline prices on the rise, the final reason of cost could outweigh market confusion. But of course, given that there are so many choices, and nearly complete incompatibility between competing devices, this not a surprise that there is confusion.
The state of smartphones is very reminiscent of the early days of home computers in the 1980s, when you could go to a retailer and find literally a dozen different choices. Of course, none of these devices were compatible and that meant you had to consider what you wanted to do with the computer, and what software you wanted to run with it. And while IBM and Apple were the more serious machines, these had a rather high cost. Eventually the second tier computers fell by the wayside or adopted a standard operating system. It is possible that this same thing will happen with smartphones. And as with the computers, some consumers will find they made the wrong choice. So there is no surprise that nearly half the respondents are confused.
Skype Updates for Windows Mobile and the iPhone
Making affordable calls from your mobile phone might just get a little easier, and users might just find a few nifty new features for their smartphones. This week Skype released two new updates; one for the Windows Mobile platform and one for the iPhone.
The Windows version includes two new features: SMS and file transfer. It also enables mobile users to make calls via Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), which means free or very affordable calls. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, while calls to non-Skype users costs a few cents, but this is generally more affordable than those the mobile carrier might charge. The Windows Skype 3.0 also gives users the ability to make VOIP calls over the 3G networks, something the iPhone version can’t do, which has some users crying foul. Windows users of Skype 3.0 can send text messages when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, and this could be a major savings for those sending SMS messages internationally. The application also lets user send files, as well as photo or music files, to other Skype users.