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The Rise of the Treo Smartphone

One of the most interesting things about attending the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes a few weeks ago was coming to the realisation of how utterly bored I was with the ton of 'normal' mobile phones that were on display - a view which was surprisingly also shared by a great many of the people that I spoke with at the show. 

Basically I've come to the point where if it's not a smartphone (a real one not a 'feature' phone that pretends to be one) then I'm simply not interested.  I sense (strongly) that I'm not alone here and that a significant number of people are slowly but surely moving in the same direction. 

At the same time, it is becoming increasingly obvious that carriers consider the smartphone space to be an extremely important one and they are (albeit still slowly) flexing their marketing muscle to raise awareness.  For example, in the UK (one of the most important worldwide mobile battlegrounds) Vodafone plastered its BlackBerry release pretty much across every single available billboard while more recently another carrier O2 has been running some extensive TV spots for its XDA lineup - both of these campaigns will undoubtedly have been multi-million ones.  I can only hope that against this backdrop Orange will similarly make a huge push and splash for the Treo 650 when they release it in a few weeks time.

Another thing which I find important to note is that while the Treo is primarily positioned as a business tool, I have found the Treo to appeal to a much wider section of the market than any other competing smartphone.  I am therefore inclined to think that once palmOne begins to release its promised 'family' of Treo smartphones the company may be ideally placed to reap the rewards of this emerging market.

According to a recent Jupiter Research report, smartphone shipments are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent through to 2009 by which time they will account for 9.3 percent of handsets sold compared to 3.7 per cent last year.  If properly exploited and executed such a market dynamic should provide palmOne with the opportunity to successfully transition from its traditional but declining PDA base to secure a firm footing (or even leadership) in the emerging smartphone space.

But what is the source of this surge in demand for smartphones?  Mobile email is certainly a primary factor and seamless phone/PDA hardware and software integration as well as synchronisation with a PC is another.  However, as more and more portable digital gadgets vie for our attention (and wallets) it is becoming rapidly obvious (particularly among early adopters) that while we may have the disposable income to buy all of this new gadgetry we simply cannot or do not want to carry multiple devices.

According to the same Jupiter research, consumers will carry up to three devices but the majority (62 percent) of consumers are willing to make do with less functionality and, for example, compromise on size or battery life in order to carry just one digital device such as a smartphone.  In our own Entertainment Survey a few months ago it was apparent that aside from their Treo only 30% of Treonauts carried a separate digital camera and 20% a dedicated MP3 player with them at all times.

Finally, not to be overlooked in Jupiter's report is the fact that some 75 percent of consumers have clearly stated that there is one area on which they are not willing to compromise.  Namely, basic telephony.  Smartphone manufacturers should be warned to keep this in mind throughout their product development.

Smartphone shipments set to soar [VNUnet.com]

Treonauts are rising higher every day...

Posted by Andrew on March 3, 2005 at 08:54 AM

Treo Opinion

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by MacDuff | Mar 12, 2005 6:55:08 AM

This article does not present me with any surprise. I suppose I am a more or less typical Treo-owner- to- be.
I'm a sort of all- or- nothing person when it comes to electronic gadgets: I don't want any of these feature phones with 70 million games, video chat and fashion coordination softare or whatever, I have only a few basic needs: A calendar, an adress book, a notepad, and a portable music device. When it comes to mobile telephony I just want to be able to store phone numbers, make calls and send text messages. Any other "toy software" would just get in the way.
Right now I'm lugging around a slightly battered Zire 71 and a crappy old Nokia cellphone (that's right, I'm not yet a part of the mobile email community), and aside from a few minor lacks this is really sufficient for me. Unfortunately, the cellphone is running on its last leg, and I've been looking for a replacement that doesn't come with a megapixel camera and a crapload of games, to little avail. Now, I'm thinking about sticking to my little Nokia until it's time to replace the Zire also, and then splashing out on a Treo. I think it just might be worth the wait.
Mind you, the Zire also comes with a camera, and I use it, but I would have bought it without the camera also.
It's bonus equipment, just like the e-book reader.

by william | Jul 5, 2006 2:20:46 AM

You may want to look at a Blackberry. I have a Blackberry 7250 with service from Verizon and it is excellent at E-mail, notes, calendar, texting and even syncs with Outlook to keep your information up-to-date on your computer. Strictly a "business" device: very reliable.

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