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Smartphone Design Challenges Create an Opportunity

Smartphone manufacturers need to focus on accommodating all seven core user-preferred applications in their next-generation handset designs, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

These seven applications include email, games, social networking, instant messaging, mapping and travel directions, music and radio, and the always popular weather forecast app.

Combined, the big seven apps will account for 7 billion downloads worldwide in 2014.

"In-Stat tracks 26 different categories of smartphone applications," says Frank Dickson, VP of Research. "A designer can optimize a handset for any one of the application categories. However, it's the big seven applications that phone designers need to accommodate in each and every device."

I believe that independent software developers who are able to create valuable app capabilities that result in minimal data transfers will gain a competitive edge -- because mobile phone service providers will likely favor them in their own service promotion efforts.

In-Stat's latest market study found the following:

- The three applications that have the highest compound annual growth rates through 2014 are micro blogging, mobile banking and VoIP.

- The number of Android apps downloaded is growing at the fastest rate; however, Apple applications still dominate both free and paid downloads. 2012 witnesses the last of the Palm OS application downloads.

- The high growth of mobile applications has created a hyper-competitive market putting significant pressure on prices and margins.

- Productivity applications such as mapping, business and enterprise applications and phone tools and utilities generate 59 percent of all smartphone application revenue.

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