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Smart Phones Go Mass Market

High-end handsets are increasingly going mainstream, with marked new popularity in Europe and among women

The introduction of stylish and sleek smartphones—a class of handsets with a mobile operating system such as Symbian, Microsoft OS, RIM or Palm—is moving beyond the traditional business-user niche, a new research shows.

This is especially true in Europe where smartphone consumer demographic has already shifted toward the mainstream with young professionals leading the charge in ownership, according to analyst firm Telephia.

The report also noted the gap has closed between smartphone and the general mobile user profile among all other age groups in the latest quarter. In addition, the proportion of women smartphone owners is increasing although they currently still seem to be predominantly owned by men in most countries.

It is also in Europe where consumers have been faster to adopt smartphones compared to their American counterparts, the report added. In Q3 2006, smartphone penetration in Western Europe was 8.8 percent among recent device buyers; more than double that of the US which was 3.8 percent.

Italy is leading the adoption by far with more than 95 percent of all Italians owning a mobile phone and almost one in five buyers of new phones in the last six months (19.2%) bought smartphones.

Reza Chady, Telephia’s managing director for Europe, said this is not surprising since as Italians consistently spend the most on devices and data usage as compared to the other European countries.

"Moreover, Italian Internet penetration is less than the UK or Germany for example and smartphone devices with advanced capabilities provide an excellent opportunity for content owners to entice Italians accessing the Web using their phone."

Provided by Telecom Asia—Copyright: © 2006 Questex Media Group, Inc. > All right reserved.

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