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Friday, February 22, 2008

Few Users Adopt Converged Mobile Phone

I use a separate mobile phone and pocket PC, by choice. The conventional wisdom within the portable device industry is that consumers have a preference to use converged devices, meaning single devices that combine the functionality of previously separate mobile devices, reports In-Stat.

But the idea that there will be wholesale adoption of a device that simply combines multiple devices is unrealistic -- according to the high-tech market research firm. A recent In-Stat survey of U.S. businesspeople shows that users tend to remain loyal to reliable current technology, and employers are reluctant to force the issue of convergence.

"On the other hand, once a converged device proves to offer additional value and technological obstacles are addressed, adoption progresses relatively quickly," says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst. "The smartphone is a successful example of a converged device where a single device combines a PDA computing device and a mobile phone. In this case, the smartphone offers a benefit to the user in the form of real-time data, typically wireless email."

The research covers the market for mobile devices. It includes results of a survey of U.S. business users. It looks at what users say are their objections to using converged devices. Such information is important for device manufacturers and the wireless operators that sell subscriptions on which these devices operate to anticipate when the promise of converged devices will come to fruition.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- One positive sign of progress in convergence is that 8 percent of road warriors, businesspeople who travel frequently, have given up a desk phone to rely solely on their mobile number.

- Before employers can insist that employees use fewer devices, manufacturers need to address battery life (which is my main concern) and ergonomics issues for portable devices.

- The survey shows that many more users prefer to carry redundant devices than chose to have a single telephone number and a single computing device.