updated 12:30 pm EST, Wed March 4, 2009
iSupply on 2009 Smartphone
The smartphone field should continue to grow in 2009 in spite of the economic crash, according to an iSuppli estimate published today. Despite the world economic crash, the prediction has shipments of advanced phones growing by at least 6 percent to 183.9 million phones but also by as much as 11.1 percent if conditions are ideal. The wide range hinges on how quickly economies recover but is also said to particularly center on whether or not carriers lower the cost of entry for smartphones. Cutting the cost of data plans is particularly important, iSuppli says.
"Wireless network operators must cut fees for data services and offer aggressive subsidies to reduce consumer smart phone prices," senior wireless analyst Tina Teng writes, further adding that both the carriers and the phone makers have to "sell consumers on the value" of picking a smartphone over a simpler device.
High prices for data subscriptions have increasingly been cited as roadblocks to smartphones. Although the prices of phones themselves have regularly dropped to where a typical smartphone in the US costs just $167, carriers like AT&T and Sprint charge $70 or more per month for a combined voice and data plan for any device that qualifies as a smartphone. The cost potentially hurt iPhone 3G sales as the original iPhone had similar unlimited data for $60 a month.
iSuppli points out that the individual phone makers most likely to succeed are those that encourage a wide range of third-party apps; Android Market, Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile and Nokia's Ovi Store are all cited as evidence that phone makers are following the iPhone's App Store model and hoping to spur interest in a given phone platform by encouraging development efforts that were previously uncoordinated.
The estimate would have true growth in smartphones resuming in 2010, when smartphone shipments could top 225 million even in a cautious view of the market.