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TMCNet:  Smartphones are an intrinsic part of our daily lives [Financial Express (India)]

[December 27, 2012]

Smartphones are an intrinsic part of our daily lives [Financial Express (India)]

(Financial Express (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The agricultural revolution took thousands of years to run its course. The industrial revolution required a few centuries. The information revolution, propelled by mobile technology will likely reshape our world on the order of decades, says Michael Saylor, author of The Mobile Wave.

Globally, smartphones are breaching barriers to make a difference. Harvard University researchers are now using smartphones to bring medical care to remote corners of the world where people would otherwise have to walk for a day or more to seek medical help. Doctors are virtually working beyond borders.

Researchers are working on a paper chip that could be touched with a drop of blood and then photographed and text messaged to a clinic that could analyse it and offer a diagnosis. That apart, Stanford University is also helping schools in rural parts of Africa that never had textbooks by using smartphones as a source of information.

The smartphone revolution in India is also underway; the now ubiquitous mobile phone has taken quantum leaps- from being an item of luxury to a device of necessity. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, there are 900 million mobile phone users and India is considered to be one of the fastest growing cellular markets and every handset maker is trying to offer the full suite of products ranging from basic phones to the high-end feature loaded smartphones. The latter is where the action is in terms of innovation as well as consumer uptake.

The rapid adoption of new technology by Indian consumers, the need of consumers to stay connected 24x7 and to do more while on the move are some factors that are driving consumer preference for smartphones in the country. There are more than 27 million smartphone users in urban India, which constitutes 9% of all mobile users in urban India. Even in smaller cities with a population of upto one million, the figure stands at 6%, according to a study by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights. At first glance these figures may not stand to impress but what they present is a scenario where there is ample room for growth. This spells exciting opportunities for the industry as well as for those thinking of deploying innovative mobile solutions.

Smartphones are an intrinsic part of our daily lives. Communication has undergone sea change with the spread of these devices. According to a survey, youth prefer texting as it provides them the right amount of access and control over who to communicate with and how much.

The potential that lies within the Indian market for smartphones is immense. With the central government and most state governments placing priority on implementation of e-governance policy initiatives, smartphones have come to play a significant role. With smartphones making e-governance possible, the country can look at creating greater transparency and accountability among government officials and departments.

The other big idea is banking. Smartphones are making banking affordable and are ensuring that money becomes more accountable. Be it regular banking activities like account transactions, account requests, payments or be it mobile commerce, smartphone banking is getting well adopted by Indians given the growth of 3G services and the fact that most smartphones are now 3G-enabled.

According to a Nielsen study of smartphone users, 87% use their smartphones to run online searches and about 80% use it for social networking, such as Facebook or Twitter. Around 72% smartphone users chat and use webmail, and 59% stream video and use their devices for maps and navigation.

There are many more reasons why smartphones are such a hit across the world. The preference for smartphones is also growing thanks to the choice of data offered-cloud backup, push and pull email services, innovative apps, high-speed internet and social networking capabilities. Smartphones allow users to download thousands of applications-paid and free-such as dictionaries, maps, games to make life more simple, if not more entertaining. App stores provide endless options catering to nearly every area of interest. The genres are varied and the offerings are plenty.

Sales of smartphones in India have clocked phenomenal growth in the last couple of years and it is expected to grow more. According to industry figures, smartphones posted a 9% growth in the last financial year. This, however, is likely to catapult to 68% by 2015. Smart pricing has helped drive this rush for smartphones. With a marked reduction in prices in the country, the costing is now close to a feature handset with added benefits that include free content (read applications) that can be downloaded on to the phones. On the policy front, the cut in 3G tariff has worked to the advantage of smartphone sales because most of the devices are 3G enabled.

The writer is managing director, India, Research In Motion Copyright 2012 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Credit: Sunil Dutt (c) 2012 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by

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