First and foremost, it’s a growth market. Smart phone shipments reached 12.6 million units in Q2 2008, up 28% on the figure one year ago. Even though that’s actually a slowed growth compared to the figure put forward for the first quarter (year-over-year growth of 44%), this makes Q2 the second biggest quarter in terms of volume ever. Canalys estimates that smart phones represented 13% of all mobile phone shipments.
Nokia is still leading the market with over 71% market share, even if their competitors in this segment are taking up market share at a much faster pace. The other vendors in the top five posted much higher than average year-on-year growth, with second-placed RIM closing the market share gap by several points, and HTC, Motorola and Samsung more than doubling their shipments. Canalys cites Apple as an upcoming competitor with the launch of the iPhone 3G in several European countries.
According to Canalys’ estimates, 58% of the smart phones shipped in EMEA in Q2 had integrated Wi-Fi, 13% had touch screens and 38% had integrated GPS.
But are these high-end features being used?
“Today, many owners are not making full use of their smart phone’s features,” said Canalys senior analyst Pete Cunningham. “Concern over usage costs is still a big barrier, though wider availability of flat rate data plans will help, and usability still needs to improve for certain applications on many devices. People are also wary of draining their battery and not being able to make calls. Battery life isn’t helped by having GPS and Wi-Fi turned on, nor by having a large, bright screen for navigation or web browsing. But there is clear demand for those features and applications, and advances in battery technology would enable quite substantial changes in usage patterns, with all the service revenue benefits that would bring.”
In a previous survey of 4,000 mobile phone users in March, Canalys found that battery life was the aspect of their phone people were least satisfied with.