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back to article UK smartphone market growth stalls

Persuading punters to upgrade from ordinary handsets to smartphone is seen as the next big opportunity for phone makers and network operators. The bad news, according to UK pollster YouGov, is that there's no well marked interest in doing so. In Q2 2011, UK smartphone ownership reached 35 per cent of adults with phones, what it …

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Might not choose a smartphone but will end up with one

If the people I know are anything to go by a fair number of the non-smartphone owners will end up with a smartphone when they next change their phone just because it's there and comes with the contract. With smartphones free for many contracts why wouldn't you get one just in case....

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Facepalm

Re: With smartphones free for many contracts

You seem to forget that a lot of candy bar users do not make enough call to even warrant a monthly contract so ... the candy bar remains. Mine will!

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Why I'm sticking with a candybar for now

* I don't want an undersized tablet, I want a compact phone (why the eternal push to bigger and bigger?!)

* I don't want a compact budget phone to have such a tiny screen, crappy resolution or naff touchscreen tech to present problems with my chipolata fingers

* I don't want a small smartphone to be compromised with a crappy ARMv6 processor (seems to be an assumption that people wanting a small phone aren't bothered)

* Camera needs to be at least as good as my current one; HTC generally fail on this, even if the megapixels are nominally "better"

* Battery life - need I say more?

Sony Xperia Ray is looking good at actually fixing most of the above - but not at £350...

So for now, I'll carry on with my SE candybar and £15/month SIM-only contract.

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My touchscreen Samsung has Opera and email and Google maps and a FaceBook app, but isnt a smartphone. Yes I'm tempted by all the Android/Apple apps, but a phone screen is either too small for reading large amounts of data, or its too big for carrying in your trouser pocket and I dont want to walk with a limp. And if it doesnt fit in my pocket, then its not going to be mobile. And seriously, who wants to be tied to a charger every night? I did consider an Android last year when I bought my current phone, but it's nice not to run out of juice by 6pm every day, mine is more like every 5 days. Only when they can fix that will I consider a smartphone next time I upgrade.

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Anonymous Coward

How to get better market peneration....

Reduce data charges. That's what puts me off (and I work with the damn things every day).

Sure, it'll be great to have net access at you finger tips, but not at the current prices.

And also - get battery life up there with good candy bars (not actually possible though, although Nokia are pretty good.).

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@How to get better market peneration...

I don't see this as an issue. I get unlimited internet and texts and a wadge of minutes for 10UKP a mo on my PAYG phone. My hubs spends 20UKP/mo and gets 800 mins a month but calls between our phones are free so not included in our usage. He has already eaten ~400 mins since the 26th.

When he was on Voda he would eat perhaps 10UKP a day (he gabs worse then me) on PAYG but now 20UKP lasts a month.

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Silver badge

Do tell more?

Who are you with? - 10 squid for unlimited internet sounds quite good (is it *really* unlimited?)

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Happy

I was offered this when I queried it.

Tesco PAYG 3x top-up to be used in a month free email, web access for 12 months and then there is a scheme to buy add-ins. Or get another sim and start again.

I got an email from them to prove it. Was thinking of iphone4 but decided at £10 every 2 months I couldn't justify it.

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giffgaff

Tell them I sent you ;)

Look at the 10 quid goodybag...

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Silver badge

Just got given a sony ericsson xperia play by work..

..as a mini touchscreen computer it's good, plays videos nicely, does iPlayer and even manages 4od with careful zooming to make the full screen button clickable.

But as a phone it's not particularly good, it's massive and the interface is pretty clunky. It's not helped by the 4 buttons at the bottom being so close to the touch screen that button presses also often result in screen clicks. Using it as a music player is also pretty awkward. So it's a nice toy but below average phone.

Still, gift horse and all that...

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Smartphone not far all

Everyone doesn't need or want a smartphone, does the industry not realise this?

The battery will never be as good as the tech in them requires so much more juice, and some people just plain hate all the extra stuff - they just want a phone with buttons on it to make calls and texts.

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Pint

Why no smartphone for me?

Big fingers, bad eyesight, have a laptop that goes with me pretty much everywhere (with mobile internet access) and smartphones are expensive when all I need is the facility to check a train time or the footie scores.

Whilst I access Facebook and read the BBC and most importantly of all, I have to have access to the register, I don't need it all to the extent that I need to screw up my eyes to peer at some little screen.

As my old man used to say, horses for courses so mobile phones for phone calls, computers for work plus internate and standing on the terraces for football.

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That explains the share prices a bit

Yesterday saw ARM, Infineon, STM and a host of others fall by getting on for 4 to 5 percent - amongst other falls, true, but this story ain't going to help.

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Anonymous Coward

Fascinating...

For a bunch of techie-types, we seem to be coming up with a lot of reasons NOT to have a smartphone! Most of which I heartily agree with. Obviously we're all looking beyond the shiny-shiny bling aspect and considering functionality. How unusual and subversive of us. The capitalist system will fail if everyone did it! Don't let Homeland Security find out or the entire readership of ElReg will be on a fast CIA flight to Guantanamo...

...and in my case add the absence of 3G anywhere in the area. However, I can see me ending up with one at some stage, if only so I can see how sites I'm designing look on one. Will probably end up just using it on WiFi in the office though with a cheapo PAYG SIM - for real use I'll stick to my 10-day-battery-life candybar.

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Gold badge

Devolving smartphone owner here

I've got an HTC Wildfire on Android 2.2. I'm aware I could get a better phone. If I do, I think the iPhone is the way forward, Android has got its points over iOS, but in the end I'd rather sacrifice control for ease of use on a phone.

Work internet went down yesterday. Just trying to find the service status page on BT's site made me hate mobile browsing with a new passion. Again. Mobile email is useful, but massively worse than on a PC, or a tablet.

Smartphones are also worse as phones. The only way it beats my old crappy Samsung slider as a phone is being able to have all 3,000 company contacts, synched to Exchange. In the end, I'm veering towards preferring the best phone, and going back to a dumb phone.

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Devil

I recently 'downgraded'...

from Smartphones.

Last week I bought a Nokia C5-00 for 120 quid. It syncs my contacts and calender with Gmail. I can access my Imap. It has fairly decent GPS navigation that, and this is important, doesn't require a net connection, and is free. Battery life means that I don't need to worry about charging over a weekend. It is small, compared to most smartphones and happily resides in a pocket. It even has a built in SIP client.

Yes, if I needed to send email left right and centre and make sure I can browse easily during the very limited time I have not got my laptop within walking distance, it would be a pain. As it is, it is a bloody great big relief.

I know that this will not suit everyone, but I suspect that there are a majority of users out there with a smartphone who seriously do not need one. We are connected via digital leashes to our virtual online personas for what reason?

Convenience? Please.....

There are a lot of things that were easier on a smartphone, (I used android and webos, webos was nicer...), than on the Nokia. Shame they didn't pour some decent resource into Symbian. But, at the moment I do not miss having the POTENTIAL bells and whistles. I can live without angry birds. Honest.

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Funny numbers

These 'ownership' numbers seem to be nothing of the sort. They are sales numbers for new phones. So Q2 2011 sales of smartphones were 33%. What about all those people getting a used smartphone, either as a purchase or as a hand me down, to replace a regular phone when a contract is renewed?

Data charges? My T-Orange contract is £10 a month, including more than sufficient data for my needs.

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Devil

Exactly

My 9 y old son got his first phone as a hand-me down this year. I gave him his mom's Nokia N95 (she has a Xperia Mini Pro now). I was shocked to see him mindlessly thumbing the screen and expecting it to be a touch-screen. It took me a while to explain him that "this is an ancient device - it uses buttons my dear".

What I saw is indicative. The next generation of users is not expecting the phones to be anything but smart. They may not use them for anything besides phone (or occasional camera shot). They however expect to thumb it and have the thumbable UI with all the smartphone goodies.

In any case - if you want a small smartphone phone with a decent UI and usable kbd which does a reasonable job as "calling only" the Xperia Mini Pro (after an OS upgrade) is pretty much OK. Once the refreshed model comes out in August I may finally retire my E71 to "embedded GPS" duties.

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No smartphone for me

Well now as it happens I gave up on my (Win mobile) smartphone a couple of weeks ago after many tedious problems. I also found the screen just, well, too small to be of use. I've gone tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab) so that now does the clever stuff and the screen is the right size. All I wanted was a phone with a keyboard so ended up with a sim-free Nokia E5. Apparently it has things like maps and GPS and.....but I now just use it to make calls and send texts. Ideal. Will I get another smartphone? Probably not for as long as the Tab lasts.

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Anonymous Coward

Messaging Phones > Smartphones?

It's also interesting to see how well BlackBerrys are selling, in contrast to the doom-and-gloom over RIM's prospects in the US (if the Web 2.0 Twitterati are to be believed).

I suspect that's because for many people the appeal of a BlackBerry smartphone aren't the apps, or multimedia playback or even mobile internet. It's the messaging features: full physical QWERTY with BBM. That's why a phone whose core market seems to be large enterprise has got a strangely good foothold among teenage girls. Because since when did teenagers care about remote wipe and ease of large-scale enterprise deployment with Exchange support?

This may be a copy of what's happening in the US with the continued success of messaging phones (dumbphones with physical QWERTY) which sell incredibly strongly despite not getting all the tech blog attention. For most people, a smartphone is still a phone. They can listen to music on it, but they still carry their iPod. Even among those who have iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S2s and HTC Desires, I see a lot of people who download very few (or no) apps at all, and don't set up Twitter or even mobile email. In the real world, to most people, a phone is still a phone. And if it can play Angry Birds or check Facebook from it, that's a neat trick, an added bonus, not the raison d'etre for having said phone in the first place.

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Gold badge

You're right on the lack of apps (in my case)

I've had my iPad for a year, and it's got 50 apps (I only really use about 20). I've probably downloaded, tried and deleted another 30-50.

My HTC Wildfire has 3. And one of those is a new text messaging app, to replace the crappy one that came with it. I've had it for 3 months, and it's with me 24 hours a day, unlike the iPad, so you'd expect it to be the device that I personalise.

I only really use it as a phone, plus a bit of mobile email. I guess if I commuted I'd use it more, but if I know I'll need mobile internet/email. I bring the iPad, and just use the phone as a WiFi hotspot.

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