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The Mobile Ecosystem - Phones
Although the mobile ecosystem consists of many different components, probably the most recognizable and important one is the mobile phone. All phones sold in the US today fall into one of three categories: feature phones, smartphones, or touchphones.
- Feature Phones: The vast majority of cell phone users in the US have feature phones. These are the basic flip phones that come free or at a low-cost with carrier contracts and pre-paid plans. Features phones get their name from the various features that come with the devices. These phones generally have camera, a handful of applications, and rudimentary web browsers. Prior to feature phones, cell phones only made calls and sent and received text messages.
- Smartphones: They makeup a much smaller portion of the US market than feature phones, but smartphones are also very popular devices, especially among attorneys. The most recognizable smartphone is the Blackberry. In addition to all the capabilities of feature phones, smartphones typically run more applications and an operating system, have a larger screen size, and utilize a QWERTY keyboard input (standard keyboard format).
- Touchphones: Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the fastest growing category of phones in the US market have been touch phones. Touchphones can be thought of as the next generation of smartphones - they have larger screens, more robust web browsers, and more powerful applications. Touchphone users are also the mobile web’s power users. A recent UK study showed that 93% of iPhone owners use their device to access news and information on the mobile web.
- Other mobile devices - iPads & tablets are also entering the mobile space and should be watched as their market share increases, especially considering that higher end models have built-in wifi capabilities.