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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dawn of smartphone era

This is what everyone has been predicting and waiting for -- dominance of the smart mobile device that will keep everyone networked all the time. Emerging figures not just validate the hypothesis but give us an idea of how information would be created, disseminated and consumed.  

Worldwide, for the first time ever, in 2011, smartphone shipment surpassed that of PCs. Canalys reports that while 488 million smartphones were shipped last year, the figure for PCs was 415 millon. Smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 made a 47.3% jump compared to the corresponding period in 2010, says Gartner. Sales figures too reflected the same pattern -- smartphone sales last year touched 472 million units, up 58% from 2010. Records are tumbling in India too. Shipments for 2011 crossed 10 million units for the first time, in November, says Cyber Media Research.

The useage too has seen a surge, The entry-level phone is no longer the low-end feature phone -- nearly 80% of smartphone users in India are first-time users, says a Google-IPSOS survey. And, youth are taking to them in a very big way: 36% penetration in the 18-29 age group and 17% penetration in the 30-49 age group, in cities.

With 97% of owners saying they are heavy users while at home, smartphone has clearly become the inalienable multipurpose device for the Indian. As many as 77% listen to music, 35% either read newspapers and magazines or watch TV, 78% use it for search, and 76% to access social networking sites.

Lalit Katragadda, India Head, Products, Google, says the surge has been driven by poor landline/ broadband connectivity, combined with the growth of the cloud technology, “There is now a huge appetite for information, especially among the youth. Everyone now knows that information is just a few clicks away. Nothing like getting it on the move, and on demand.”

Interestingly, though India has less than half of the US’s mobile users, Indians are outscoring Americans in their urge to go online. As many as 76% of Indians access social networking
sites on smartphones versus 54% of US citizens; and email access on smartphone in India is 81% while in the US it’s 73%, the survey shows. “Indians are device savvy, and it could just be a perception that Indians are not tech-savvy,” says Katragadda.

With 66% users saying they would access internet on mobile more in future, the smartphone revolution is bound to peak further.

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