New research suggests that just under half of the UK population currently own a Smartphone. Worldwide, more people than ever own a mobile phone. We take a look at how mobile phones are transforming global health.
Sales figures for smartphones demonstrate the pace at which they are becoming increasingly popular as well. During the 12 weeks up until the 2nd October this year, sales of the device made up just short of 70% of total mobile phone sales.
Smartphones are becoming increasingly popular throughout the planet, leading to the creation of significant new innovations in healthcare provision worldwide, according to new research from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Dominic Sunnebo, Kantar’s Global Consumer Insight Director, suggests that the competition is set to get even more ferocious in the near future.
“Over the next six to 12 months, the current group of Android owners will be coming to the end of their contracts and looking for an upgrade,” suggested Sunnebo.
“Our data shows that when these consumers upgrade they tend to remain fairly loyal to Android itself….but considerably less so to the handset manufacturer.”
Smartphones and Health Worldwide
The rate at which they are penetrating modern culture is phenomenal, offering millions of people access to more and more data services all the time. This has led to Smartphones being used at the forefront of some of the most inventive SMS services all over the world.
In Africa, for example two recent projects stand out. Even though mobile phone sales remain relatively low in Africa compared to the rest of the world, Smartphone sales are helping them to uses SMS services in a unique fashion.
In Zambia, a project is being trialled which sees HIV results communicated via SMS between rural health clinics and hospitals. Those involved hope the new initiative can significantly speed up the process of results being received and analysed.
Another notable project in Kenya sees SMS used to help farmers in rural areas purchase vital insurance which, otherwise, would be difficult to obtain. A group of 40 trained rural retailers, equipped with one camera phone each, act as the middle men in this groundbreaking trial.
Esendex, the SMS services business provider reports that text messages are proving so successful in health care provision worldwide because an SMS message still – even with competition from social media and messenger services such as BlackBerry Messenger – have a 95 per cent open or ‘read’ rate.
Is Android leading the way in the Smartphone race?
Carolina Milanesi, Smartphones Analyst at the technology research company Gartner, offers an intriguing caveat to the way in which the popular devices are being used by consumers. It seems that are still high on the list of uses.
“People are still pretty much using them for calls and texts,” suggested Milanesi. “What’s needed is for people to be educated more by the handset companies about they can do with the device.
“Apple is good at showing people how they can use apps, but other companies need to move away from telling people they’ve got five-megapixel cameras or whatever. But I think next year we will see people using these devices more effectively as more apps become available on low-end devices, especially as those become more powerful.”
All we can do is watch developments with great interest in the meantime.