Though smartphones are popular in Europe, they have a long way to go before that same thing happens on this side of the pond. Jupiter Research has announced the results of a study that found that when choosing a mobile phone, U.S. consumers consider small size and voice functions to be far more important than PIM apps, games, cameras, and other advanced features.
In addition, Americans also heavily figure cost in their decision. Given the choice between a free basic mobile phone or buying a smartphone, most U.S. consumers would take the free one, even if the smartphone cost as little as $49. And most wireless carriers are charging far more than $49 for their smartphones and wireless handhelds.
“Basic cell phones with voice and text messaging capability will continue to make up the majority of sales, followed by cell phones that can run small Java or BREW applications without overly increasing cell phone size or price,” said Jupiter Research Analyst Avi Greengart. “But cell phones with cameras, MP3 players and/or PDAs will not be widely adopted in the U.S. over the next 12 months.”
Because interest in converged devices is low, Jupiter Research advises companies to create single purpose cell phones, handhelds, and MP3 players, and allow them to function as a single unit using Bluetooth wireless technology.
Many of the large handheld makers are currently pursuing both strategies. For example, Palm has just released the Tungsten T2, which offers integrated Bluetooth, plus it recently announced plans to buy Handspring, which will release the Treo 600 smartphone this fall.
Opinions are completely reversed in Europe. Shipments of smartphones to the Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region were up 239% over the same quarter a year ago. Plus, shipments of these devices to the EMEA easily outnumber those of traditional handhelds.