Research firm In-Stat/MDR says that smartphone shipments are set to rise dramatically over the next five years. It expects smartphone shipments will experience a 44% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) during this period.
However, the big breakout period for these products is still about 12 to 18 months away. Yet, according to Neil Strother, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR, "This doesn't mean that this year is not an important one. As this segment builds there are many things worth knowing in order to take advantage of these business opportunities." Some of the reasons why smartphones are taking off include smaller form factors, falling prices on select devices, better integration of voice, e-mail and Personal Information Manager functionality, a growing variety of devices, and increasing demand from business users looking for integrated voice and data devices.
This segment still faces some hurdles, such as price, size, lack of 3G networks, battery life, and security concerns. But, Strother is optimistic, "Most of these hurdles can, and will, be solved, and the smartphone's best days are just around the corner."
Some of the results are interesting: only 9% had a smartphone, Sprint PCS respondents showed the greatest willingness to pay more for a smartphone as their next wireless phone, and Symbian-based smartphones will dominate over the next five years.
The interesting comment in the press release is "Microsoft's platform will be second by 2006". The study covers Symbian, Windows Mobile Smartphone, RIM Blackberry and Palm OS platforms.