More Smartphones, More Misconceptions

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Seven Sexy Smartphones

This latest batch of smartphones calls attention to glasses-free 3D technology, front- and rear-facing cameras and Snapdragon processors.

It is important for IT departments and advanced planners to keep an eye on what consumers are doing and what their understanding of technology is. The simple reason is that consumers and employees are overlapping categories. What people do at home clearly matters when those folks go to work.

The types of devices the public owns are important because the growth of bring your own device (BYOD)/employee-liable means that these are the devices IT will have to deal with. The level of understanding also will influence training and back-office billing and related activities.

Good input has recently become available on both device and awareness trends among consumers. On the device front, The Pew Internet Project said this week that 83 percent of Americans have a cell phone. Of those, 42 percent are smartphones. All told then, 35 percent of all American adults own smartphones. The press release offers interesting information on things such as usage patterns and penetration among different demographic groups. But the biggest point remains the rapid ascendency of the smartphone.

The other side of the coin is how folks understand the device and network that they are using. Retrevo Gadetology released research last week that revealed significant misconceptions about the nature of networks. The firm found that 34 percent of iPhone users and 24 percent of BlackBerry users think they have a 4G phone, though neither Apple nor RIM offer such a device. The situation is a bit cloudier with Android, since there are some 4G devices available. Twenty-nine percent of folks who own devices running on the operating system say they have 4G devices. That, taken in context with the BlackBerry and Apple numbers, probably includes a lot of folks who are mistaken.

The world of wireless and mobile communications is intensely complex. IT departments must recognize that smartphone and tablet use is growing at an almost exponential rate, but users don't necessarily understand the landscape in which their shiny new devices operate. IT departments should train and manage employees - including use of telecom expense management and other policy-based software - with these facts in mind.