The future is coming up fast.
The smartphone is marching towards ubiquity. At this point, the expense is still more than most consumers can bear. But that is quickly changing. As the cost of low-end and mid-range devices drops, so does the barrier to entry. ComScore will release their year-end summary later today. It will include the announcement that 27% of Americans with mobile accounts now own a smartphone. That's a 10% increase, year-over-year.
European adoption is at 31%, also a 10% boost from last year. Network quality and cost were the two prime purchasing motivators for customers worldwide. There's a reason AT&T and Verizon get so nasty when they start quibbling over network quality in their ads. A bad reputation is the worst thing a carrier can have.
Nokia is the #1 OEM in most of Europe, while Samsung heads up France and the US. It is also in the top three in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. If the Galaxy S 2 sells another 10 million units, you can expect things to look even worse for Nokia. Samsung threatens to gobble them up, bit by bit.
In 2010 36% of Americans and 29% of Europeans browsed the mobile web. 34% of Americans accessed the mobile web via applications, as opposed to 28% of Europeans. "Across regions", mobile browsing and app use seems to be growing at a rate of between 7-9% per year. We're using the mobile web more...and social media seems to top our list of things to do on it. The number of mobile users who connected to a social networking site grew by 56% last year. It grew by 75% in Europe.
We're on the cusp of an absolute explosion in the mobile industry. By this time next year, we could see close to half of mobile Americans with a smartphone. Yeah, tiered data plan pricing is pretty much the only way this can all shake out.