Lots of Smartphone Stories

Two big news items came up this week in the mobile space: AT&T says that it will open up its network to allow VoIP (welcome back to Skype on the iPhone), and Verizon is partnering with Google to bring Google’s mobile operating system, Android to Verizon phones.  The FCC chair, Julius Genachowski applauded these two actions, and introduced a four part plan for the mobile industry to continue to drive economic growth. The  FCC will unleash more spectrum for the wireless industry, (“Spectrum is the oxygen of the 4G networks”),  remove any regulatory obstacles that can slow progress of mobile 4G broadband networks under construction, develop fair rules to preserve the openness of the Internet, and empower consumers by supporting a transparent and competitive marketplace. The Mobile Broadband Agenda also includes net neutrality to ensure that consumers receive access to legal content on mobile wireless networks. Here’s an overview of his speech to Wednesday’s wireless mobile conference.

On the heels of these events, Gartner gave a big boost to Google (as if Verizon didn’t do enough for it already) by predicting that the company’s Android system can come to dominate the global smartphone market by 2012.  Which is pretty interesting since it now commands a 2% market share – Gartner is anticipating this to jump to 14% in the next two years. A Gartner analyst says that because Android operates in an “integrative and open environment, [they] could easily top … the singular Apple,” Android will also run on phones from several manufacturers, helping its growth, especially when compared to the iPhone. So, if Gartner’s prediction is correct, it will run a close second to the current leader, Symbian, which is the operator on Nokia phones.  Trailing these will be Apple (with a 13.7%) share, Windows Mobile  (12.8%) and Blackberry (12.5%). Computerworld has the story.

So more people will have Google run phones, but that doesn’t mean they will be totally satisfied with them.  JD Powers’ 2nd  Wireless Phone Satisfaction study came out this week, and they found that Apple ranked highest in satisfaction among both business and personal users of the device. In other findings, some wireless carriers are giving phones away – literally. 43% of traditional mobile phone users says that they had gotten their phones for nothing, but their satisfaction with these devices is fairly low, since they don’t typically offer features that people want.  So these phones can be seen almost as place-holders, until people can purchase more feature-rich mobiles, and so much for customer loyalty. Another finding of note is that over 40% of smartphone users have gotten rid of their land-lines entirely, whereas only 27% of regular handset users had done so.  Still, that’s a growing number from both parties, and probably presages the kiss of death for the landline.

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