Smart Phone Gets Smarter, Do We?
|Smart phones and emerging tablet devices are essential consumer tools but also play a growing role for in-field service personnel and with the appliance design process. Pictured is a user of the Sony LTE smart phone. Photo courtesy PRNewsFoto/Sony Mobile Communications|
People love their smart phones. Remember the frenzied lines of iPhone 5 lovers in late September? Mobile users are trading up from old-fashioned cellular phones, using these new-age devices for myriad applications beyond voice yapping and Web surfing.
Smart phones equipped with near field communications chips now can unlock the front door and interact with home automation systems and home area networks. Some smart phones can receive downloaded firmware to upgrade enabled appliances. Airline boarding passes can be read on a smart phone screen. Coming soon: the ability to make store purchases and pay for transit rides with the wave of a smart phone. On the tablet side, in-field service reps could soon see these units as essential repair and maintenance tools.
So smart phones as well as emerging tablet devices are burrowing into every nook and cranny of home and business life.
Which makes it essential that features must be designed into the devices to protect them from potential causes of failure. That’s the theme of one of our articles this month. In addition, appliance engineers must also be more aware of applications that will interact directly and indirectly with smart phones and tablets. The rare stumble of Apple recently centered on its built-in mapping application as the company – too quickly – moved from Google Maps to its own troubled version.
Still, based on Nielsen research, the rush to smart phones continues. A majority (54.9 percent) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smart phones, up from 47.8 percent in December 2011. And among smart phone owners, Apple was the top manufacturer of handsets while Android the top smart phone operating system. Also, data show that, similar to appliance purchases, women are asserting themselves in the purchase and use of smart phones.
Who makes up this growing group of smart phone owners in the U.S.?