February 05, 2009

2008 Smartphone Explosion

The smartphone onslaught continues. Supposedly, in 2008 the smartphone market exploded. OK, that might be understandable given the advent of the iPhone and the various new Blackberry's (Bold, Storm, etc.). It's also true that these devices have been increasingly picked up by average consumers who aren't really corporate power users but needed a phone that did just a little bit more. And that's what the cellular providers wanted. You see, with the average phone, you can't really do much with your calendar, there's no to-do list, and you can't add many extra applications. Whatever functions the phone has, that's what you're stuck with. However, smartphones give you much more freedom to add new things and do more -- but they come at a price. Not only is the device pricier, but increasingly there's mandatory data usage packages tacked on to your monthly voice fees. In some cases this can double your bill. Which, especially in this economy, is music to the provider's ears. So yes, 2008 probably did see the explosion of smartphones. It remains to be seen whether any of these people will get sick of paying the higher fees and drop down to a normal phone. After all, you could have a normal cell phone but keep something else on you like an iPod Touch for all other functions, including wireless web browsing, to-do lists, calendar, and even tons of third-party applications. A data package for 1 year from a cell provider is $360 ($30/month), while the iPod Touch is roughly $250, and it's a one-time cost. We'll see if this catches on and becomes an attractive option.

Some smartphone-related Palm news to pass on: looks like one of the founders of the company, Donna Dubinsky, is leaving. She's been there more as a figurehead and member of the board of directors for the past few years, asd is simply making room for someone else to join the board.
In other news, the Palm Pre just might be available in March (from Sprint). Some sources are disputing this, saying it will more like June/July, so we'll see. Palm's got a lot of buzz going right now with this thing, and the sooner they can deliver it to customers, the better.

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