Until recently, smartphones had been viewed as  the tech toys belonging to those consumers lucky enough to work for generous employers. The recession has definitely taken its toll on the growth rate of 47379_mobile_phone_searching___smartphones. However, Infonetics Research predicts that the number of units sold in 2009 will increase, worldwide, by 14.5% over 2008 levels. In addition, Infonetics Research analyst Richard Webb notes that “smartphone sales will  easily outstrip the combined revenue of standard mobile phones by 2012.”

Currently, smartphone market share by major players in the U.S. breaks out as follows:

  • BlackBerry (Research in Motion) 40%
  • iPhone (Apple) 30%
  • Pre and other Palm models (Palm) 7%

Industry experts note that until now, smartphone operating systems (OS) have formed the basis for much of the market competition. In-Stat surveys indicate new features could change the dynamics of the market. For example, more users may make purchase decisions based on functionality such as touch screens or Wi-Fi connectivity options. In-Stat analyst, Allen Nogee predicts that open source operating systems could also be a game changer and he is looking for Google’s Android phone to impact the market in 2010.

Up to 39% of mobile phone owners now have smartphones. As their sales begin to outstrip traditional mobile phones, marketing programs should increase along with the competition in this industry.

[Sources: Infonetics Research release, 11.03.09; Seals, Tara. iPhone Hits 30% Market Share, Von, 10.28.09]