Smartphone Uptake Could Challenge Developers, Cloud Services

More Americans are switching to smartphones, according to a new study from analytics firm comScore.

Some 47.5 percent of the feature-phone subscribers who switched to a new device in April 2012 chose a smartphone, versus 38.0 percent in April 2011. Over the same period, by comparison, the number of subscribers opting to trade their feature phone for another feature phone dipped from 60.6 percent to 50.7 percent.

Of those opting to migrate from feature phone to smartphone, around 61.5 percent went for an Android device, followed by 25.2 percent who selected an Apple iPhone. Another 7.1 percent went for a Windows Phone, and only 4.8 percent a BlackBerry.

Those rankings stayed roughly the same for those subscribers transferring from smartphone to smartphone: some 54.2 percent chose Android, followed by 33.5 percent for Apple, 9.6 percent for a Blackberry, and 3.0 percent for Windows Phone.

A rapid increase in the number of smartphones could translate into a financial boon for mobile-app developers, as well as the cloud services that undergird many of those apps. But to paraphrase the late Biggie Smalls, more money can also mean more problems, as all those additional customers place additional strain on the relatively limited resources of most developers and cloud companies.

The proliferation of smartphones has also driven developers to the crux of some hard decisions, namely whether to develop apps for a single platform or multiple ones. Many have chosen to focus on Android and iOS, although Windows Phone remains a contender for developers’ attention despite its much smaller market-share.

For its part, comScore expects the more-smartphones trend to continue. “Within the year, we expect to see smartphone owners become the mobile majority,” Mark Donovan, senior vice president of Mobile for comScore, “a milestone that represents not only the evolution of the mobile landscape but highlights the enormous potential for marketers as these powerful, ubiquitous devices open new opportunities to reach a growing audience of consumers.”

 

Image: comScore

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