1A.3 Current weather conditions in the smartphone market

Monday, 24 January 2011: 2:00 PM
606 (Washington State Convention Center)
Russell Heilig, Davis Instruments, Hayward, CA

The advancement of technology in the area of wireless communications is measured in months, not years. The smartphone market continues to grow at a double-digit rate in all parts of the world. Despite the global economic downturn, worldwide smartphone shipments grew a solid 16% year-on-year in 2009 – far outpacing the wider mobile phone industry.[1] 2010 is seeing a continuation of this market shift.

As more and more consumers adopt a smartphone as a primary provider of communication and information, wireless carriers, phone hardware providers, and web developers are all pushing to increase their share of the overall market. This rush to lead is driving innovation at every link of the chain between the provider and the user.

Some recent developments include the announcements of new phone hardware, new phone operating systems, as well as new data phone plans, as all of the players attempt to add to their customer base. Even companies and software makers that were unknown only five years ago have made great strides to enter this market.

Most importantly for the weather industry, developers continue to target the segment, and regularly release new and more targeted solutions to deliver weather data to their customers. These companies are acting in accord with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt's smartphone comment: “That is the re-creation of the Internet. That is the re-creation of the PC story”.[2]

With the mobile platform's ascension as the predominant source for internet information, traditional desktop programming skills are falling away in exchange for hordes of web developers. PC vs. Mac vs. Linux arguments are now shifting to ones where Android vs. iPhone vs. Symbian are debated. The competitors are well-known. Google, Apple, ATT, Verizon, and Motorola are only some of the Fortune 500 who believe this is where their future revenues largely lie.

The companies who compete to deliver weather data to their customers are taking the future of smartphones just as seriously. Although the forecast for how weather information will ultimately make its way to customers is still cloudy, smartphones are certainly a source of increasing pressure.


1. The Canalys annual mobile trends report, August, 2010 2. Wired Magazine, Issue 16.07

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