updated 12:30 pm EDT, Tue April 1, 2008
iPhone pushes smartphones
The release of Apple's iPhone has helped to buoy the smartphone market in general, analysts pointed out at yesterday's Smartphone Summit in Las Vegas. Mark Donovan of M:Metrics observed that the number of American with smartphones doubled last year, reaching 14.6 million. This is notable not just because of previously lackluster sales, according to Donovan, but because it represents a faster growth rate than that for cellphones overall. As a gauge of the iPhone's influence, it is remarked that although 188 million Symbian phones have been sold since the OS' birth in 1999, Apple managed to sell 3.7 million iPhones in the space of six months during 2007.
Demand for iPhones also extends well beyond their official sales regions. Jonathan Goldberg of Deutsche Bank commented that when visiting Asia recently, he noticed some units being sold at a 40 percent premium, in spite of the absence of advertising and an inherently higher cost for running iPhones on unofficial networks.
Criticism of Apple at the Summit was limited mainly to Apple's European sales, which are said to be below what the company was anticipating. This is attributed to two factors: the high cost of the iPhone, when many Europeans can get cellphones for free with their service, and the absence of 3G broadband, which is de facto in many European countries. Apple is planning to release a 3G iPhone sometime this year, possibly as soon as June.