Smartphone Sales Rising, Making Retail M-Commerce Aggressive Moves More Possible

As retailers move more aggressively with Mobile Commerce initiatives, one of the hesitancy points has been the relatively small number of smartphones in the market. Developers always like to program for the latest and most high-tech offering, and retailers need to ratchet them down to develop for what most consumers actually have. The latest smartphone figures from ABI Research—published Wednesday (June 23)—showed a distinct uptick in smartphone sales, with more than 55 million smartphones shipping in this year's first quarter.

But ABI notes that many of these are smartphones, not brilliant phones, in that they are not nearly as fully featured as the latest Droid or iPhone. They are still considered smart, though. "These are not 'iPhone-killers,'" said ABI Senior Analyst Michael Morgan. "They’re simpler, lower-end devices, not bleeding-edge top-of-the-line technologies. But they can still deliver satisfying social networking and other basic smartphone experiences." Morgan added that "much of the fastest growth is being seen in markets previously little penetrated by expensive, cutting-edge smartphones. With new less-expensive models becoming available, the global market is becoming much more diverse." That's got to blast the ringtones for most retail M-Commerce advocates.