Smarter Than Your Average Phone
10:15 am August 19, 2010
In 2010 we have seen the emergence of a new category of handsets - the “sub smartphone” (aka the Yogi Phone). Handsets like the Samsung Wave and the HTC Smart exhibit traits of both feature phones and smartphones, positioning them somewhere between the two. Making them either dumbed-down smartphones or souped-up feature-phones, depending on how you look at it. With iOS and Android driving wider interest in smartphone features, such as downloadable applications, there is clearly an opportunity here for handset manufacturers to capitalise on this by bringing these features to cheaper, mass market phones.
Inevitably, the emergence of this new class of handset has also brought up the old debate of “What is a smartphone?”. While the term is in fairly common parlance (due in part to the recent growth in sales), but you might be surprised to learn that there is no industry standard definition for the term.
It’s an issue that’s been bugging me for a while, and back at Mobile Congress in February I conducted a straw poll with a few industry analysts who cover the handset market. Analysts can normally be relied upon to help define the boundaries of a given market and so I thought I’d ask them “what is a smartphone?”. In short, there was no clear answer and each analyst house has its own definition. However, what I did find is that there are some common factors which can be used to define whether a phone is smart or not. These are, in no particular order:
- Handset Functions (Multi-tasking, full web browsing etc)
- Hardware (Processor size, GPS, WiFi etc)
- Operating System (iOS, Android, WinMo etc)
- Development capabilities –(User installable apps, Open APIs / Native development available)
So what does this all mean? As this market segment continues to grow, I think its increasingly important that the term “smartphone” gets a clear definition. I’d like to see the major analyst firms to come together and agree a definition, or if this isn’t possible, maybe it’s up to one of the industry bodies like the GSMA or the ITU to take leadership and define it, like they do with communications standards.
N.B. Interestingly, it looks like the people have taken this into their own hands and a Wiki has been set up to categorise smartphones. Hopefully this will help to lead to some kind of consensus. Watch this space…
UPDATE (15/09/2010) - The link to the Wiki has been fixed (it should direct to http://www.wikismartphones.org/). However, at time of posting, this website appears to be offline.
3 Responses to “Smarter Than Your Average Phone”
Twitter Trackbacks for Temono » Smarter Than Your Average Phone [temono.com] on Topsy.com August 19th, 2010 at 10:51 am
Simon Saunders August 27th, 2010 at 3:55 pm
Nick Dillon September 15th, 2010 at 9:28 am