Smart phone war fought on smarts

Stacey Vanek Smith May 22, 2009
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Close=up of a a Blackberry Curve 8310 David McNew/Getty Images

Smart phone war fought on smarts

Stacey Vanek Smith May 22, 2009
Close=up of a a Blackberry Curve 8310 David McNew/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Maybe the heat of the summer causes people to talk on the phone more.
Or there’s a little more spare time to go cell phone shopping. Whatever the case, companies are rolling out some new high-tech devices that could make “smart” the new tan. Here’s Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: Last week, T-Mobile introduced its new Sidekick. AT&T unveiled the Samsung Jack. Palm is about to release the much anticipated Pre. Oh, and the new iPhone is on the way. Welcome to the smart-phone wars.

Jeff Kagain: We’re getting ready for another exciting summer.

Telecom analyst Jeff Kagan says don’t expect big discounts. This won’t be a price war. It’s more like a “my phone’s smarter than your phone” war.

And here’s how smart smart phones have become: You can use them to text message, watch TV, surf the Internet — all at warp speed. Kagan says even now, people are willing to pay up for the shiny new gadgets.

Kagan: If this economy happened 10 years ago, people would have cancelled the cell phones and they would have kept using their traditional landline phone. But today it’s completely reversed — we’re seeing people keep their cell phones and if they have to, they’re cancelling their regular phones.

Sales of smart phones, which can cost several hundreds dollars, are growing about 20 percent annually. They are expected to make up two-thirds of all cell phone sales by the end of the year.

Ross Rubin studies the industry for the NPD group:

Ross Rubin: As the value of the Internet has grown to consumers, they are looking for ways to stay connected, even when they’re away from a computer.

And the phone companies are looking to keep them connected to pricey long-term contracts.

I’m Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

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