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When Smartphones Reach Market Saturation

The next mobile phone feature, no matter how cool it's said to be, apparently isn't enough to create meaningful competitive advantage. Consumers demand applications that leverage a combined set of features and improved performance to enhance their user experience, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

"iPhone's success has been a bellwether driving users expectations for cellphones," says Frank Dickson, In-Stat analyst. "Touch screens and QWERTY keyboards, as well as accelerated adoption of open source operating systems have combined to create an innovation environment not seen in the cellphone market of the past."

However, are we talking exclusively about early-adopters when we describe these scenarios? I'm not an early-adopter of these expensive smartphones, so I have to wonder when the advanced user market reaches total saturation -- in other words, I'm wondering, are we already there?

In-Stat's market study found the following:

-Media features continue to penetrate the market and the rise of social networking has helped drive demand for integrated cameras.

- Survey respondents with MP3 players are up 17.3 percentage points from 2008 and respondents with video recorders are up 26.2 percentage points.

- Trends that arise from looking at survey results from each of the four years of the survey highlight the trends of features such as speakerphones migrating from features that they are willing to pay for" to features that are minimum expectations for a phone.

- Respondents voiced desires for usability improvement on the less complex features like better audio, better connectivity and simpler to use overall.

- According respondents digital cameras, speaker phones and GPS were the top characteristics of the Ideal Phone.

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