A new survey by Gartner found tablets to be the very least of what most Americans plan to spend on, while smartphones topped the list.
electronics vendors from Samsung to Hewlett-Packard and Motorola are making
giant "to-dos" over their iPad-competing tablet efforts, these devices actually
rank lowest on Americans' shopping lists this year, Gartner revealed in a Feb.
about the devices they planned to purchase in 2011, the majority of Americans
said they had their eyes on an open-source operating system (we're looking at
you, Android) smartphone. Laptops ranked second, followed by desktops, feature
phones, e-book readers and, in sixth place, tablets.
low retail pricing and widespread adoption of applications like Web browsing, e-mail,
Twitter, Facebook, GPS and games will continue to stimulate consumer
demand," Hugues de la Vergne, principal research analyst at Gartner, said
in a statement. He added that in 2010, "aggressive operator device subsidies
and lower-cost monthly data plans" helped to drive smartphone purchases.
climb still higher, Gartner forecasts that U.S. smartphone sales will jump from
2010's 67 million units to 95 million units by year's end. By contrast, mobile
PC shipments are expected to rise, during the same period, from 45.6 million
units to 50.9 million units.
according to research firm IDC, are expected to finish 2011 with 45 million
units shipping and grow to nearly 71 million units
interest in smartphones will benefit not only the high end of the market-where
Apple's iPhone and various HTC, Motorola and Samsung devices compete-but the
middle and lower tiers as well.
consumers adopt smartphones, the market will shift from the more technically
astute tech savants toward less tech-savvy comfortable conformists. Issues such
as ease of use will become even more important in 2011," said de la
Vergne. "First-time smartphone buyers may not be familiar with the range
of operating systems and the different versions of those OSes. With operators
offering generous return policies on all mobile phones, it is important that
handset producers offer devices that will appeal to the less technologically
Nokia has long
been a strong player in these lower tiers, offering a range of devices to
emerging markets, and lately its competitors are paying more attention to the
rest of the phone market. Samsung, for example, after the enormous success of
its high-end Galaxy S smartphone line, in January introduced four more-affordable,
midrange Galaxy phones-the Ace, Fit, Gio and mini
-all running Google's
appealing to first-time smartphone owners, the Gartner report suggests, are
carrier data plans with pricing options low enough to encourage new users on
service providers should expand tiered data pricing to make open OS devices
more affordable to the mass market," explained de la Vergne. "Introductory
limited data plans of $10 to $15 a month will expand the market greatly for
In the United
States, the major carriers appear to be already clued in. In October 2010,
Verizon Wireless CFO John Killian confirmed during a conference call announcing
the carrier's third-quarter 2010 earnings that, like AT&T Wireless, it
would begin offering tiered pricing, with a plan starting as low as $15.
the call Killian said that Verizon's stand-alone position in the market allows
it to "approach the marketplace from a data pricing [perspective] that's unique
from what other companies do," he said he expected first-time smartphone
owners to come on board with the $15 plan, but over time to migrate to the $30
cases," Gartner's de la Vergne confirmed in the statement, "consumers will
upgrade to higher-priced data plans over time, once they get hooked on these