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"Smartphones" - What Good Are They Anyway?

These phones are labeled "smart" because they can do so much more than just be a phone. They can

  • access the internet
  • send text messages
  • download and send email
  • open your garage door
  • lock your car
  • find your car
  • lock your house doors
  • take a picture and instantly email it to a friend or family member
  • shoot a video of your son playing soccer
  • guide you through traffic
  • becomes a GPS on trips
  • turn the heat or A/C on when you leave the office or workplace and come home to a warm or cool house.

All from your smart phone. Now do you see why they are labeled "SMART'?

How do we use our "Smart" phones?

We use them to check email, as a GPS, make online purchases, and on "check-in" services like FourSquare and GoWalla, to name a few.

Not surprisingly, people using check-in services skew younger, with 18-to-34s accounting for nearly 60% of the total. More specifically, 32.5% are 25 to 34, and 26% are 18 to 24. Usage is split nearly evenly when it comes to gender, at 50.8% female and 49.2% male.

Since most people are checking in through smartphones, which kind of device is most popular? Android phones accounted for the largest share of users -- with 36.6%, followed closely by the iPhone (33.7%) BlackBerry made up 22%, while Microsoft, Palm and Symbian each accounted for less than 5%.

People using check-in services on these devices also tend to be more active than the average smartphone owner in using their handsets to shop and consume media. Nearly one-third visited retail sites, a quarter accessed shopping directories and 46% looked up restaurant information. Beyond that, 40% accessed tech news and 28% owned a media tablet, both much higher than average.

They were also more likely to be exposed to mobile advertising, and almost 40% recalled seeing a Web or in-app ad during the month compared to 27.5% of smartphone users. In that, the comScore study may not have shed much light on the value of a check-in, but it did offer more information about the potential value of check-in users to retailers and marketers.

People who replied to a survey cited two companies as being particularly successful with mobile marketing: Coca-Cola for its mobile advertising; and Target for its integration of mobile web, rewards and wish-list registry.

Mobile is clearly a fast-growing platform for marketers, but it has yet to attain its full potential,” says Bob Liodice, president and CEO of ANA (Association of National Advertisers). “With the anticipated increase in adoption this year, we expect to see fresh, innovative approaches, increased brand-building success, and better accountability for this exciting channel.”

The survey findings reveal that collectively, marketers are currently using more than a dozen distinct interactive mobile platforms. The five with the highest adoption levels, which are being used by at least by half of the firms surveyed, are:

  • Mobile websites (Do you have your mobile site?  We can help!)
  • Mobile apps (Need an app?  Let us build you one)
  • Mobile messaging/SMS (a very fast way to increase foot traffic to your brick and mortar store) 
  • Mobile display ads (QR codes are ramping up in the United States)
  • Mobile search (you need to be found. Google reports that 15% of all searches are now from mobile devices.)

With respect to Mobile Websites, there are over 1 TRILLION web pages on the net.  1 TRILLION!!  Are you part of this vast internet universe?  

Mobile phones outnumber desktop and laptop PC's combined by almost 3 to 1.  You NEED to have a mobile website so you can be found and accessed by this rapidly growing pool of customers. 

Moving forward, the rise of digital content delivery through mobile will continue to drive revenues, with the 2010-2014 CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) forecast at 16 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

In recent years, much of the success of mobile has been driven by the increase in smart phones, with that market generating around 280 million unit sales in 2010 - an increase of 56 per cent - translating to a total installed base of almost 580 million!

Smart phone operating systems and components are continuously being optimised for multimedia use, particularly for viewing video, using apps and browsing the internet. As a result, in the last year, mobile internet traffic has doubled globally, with growth in tablets expected to contribute to further expansion.