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.