Smartphones Winning Over Road Warriors

The latest high tech phones are gaining in appeal with so-called road
warriors, the salespeople, executives and others who frequently do business
away from the office.

According to high tech market research firm In-Stat, business travelers
spending $300 per month or more on wireless, and business travelers on the
road 30 percent of the time, are beginning to take to the new handsets, though
there’s plenty of room for growth.

Next-generation, richly featured handsets capable of both voice and
high-speed data are starting to win mindshare and regular usage among
high-usage U.S. business travelers.

However, In-Stat also found that despite the availability of
sophisticated, converged wireless handsets and high-speed networks,
mainstream mobile users continue to rely on ordinary laptop computers and
cell phones for applications such as email, personal information management
and voice calls.

A just-released In-Stat study, “Road Warriors: High Usage U.S. Mobile
Workers,” found that heavy business mobile users are consuming about a
third of their total airtime via their secondary handsets. Also, the
highest-spending business travelers averaged more than $450 per month spent
on wireless services.

Analyst Roger Kay, who tracks mobile and PC technology for Endpoint
Technologies Associates, said cost isn’t an important issue.

“If there was an ideal device, they [road warriors] would pretty much buy
it no matter what the cost,” said Kay. “But there aren’t any yet. I like to
say using a PDA as a phone is like holding a ham sandwich to your head.”

Mobile users surveyed by In-Stat spent an average of $151 per month for
all forms of wireless (including cellular and Wi-Fi), which was 16 percent
more than what the research firm found in a study done earlier this year.

The research firm listed several challenges the next-generation mobile
phone suppliers face in trying to broaden the market.

For one, they need to create greater awareness of smartphone’s benefits,
and overcome end-user resistance to change. Also, while the “ideal device”
will likely remain elusive, developers will need to make the right technical
design trade-offs to create best-selling products.

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