The smartphone boon and bane

Raymond Feng/ F5 Networks

Feature phones are on their last days, if not their last breath. Consumers’ massive shift in preference for smartphones have decimated feature phone sales.

The upward mobility of smartphones contrasted with the downward spiral of feature phones has been an intriguing trend to observe. After all, it was only a decade ago when feature phones were enjoying its peak in popularity.

The upheaval of the mobile industry arrived when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world in 2007. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive back then, claimed it was the most expensive phone in the world.

Nowadays, feature phones are not ubiquitous anymore as new players from China, led by Xiaomi, continue to enter the market. These new upstarts not only produce smartphones with industry standard software and applications, but also price them very affordably.

Asia-Pacific smartphone prices are predicted to drop to an average of $215, making it the region with the lowest price. APAC will be the region with the largest increase in smartphone usage from 2013 to 2019 with approximately 2 billion new smartphone users, where Singapore ranks the highest globally in smartphone users penetration.

According to a recent survey, 90% of respondents in Singapore say they have access to smartphones. Factors which help facilitate this rapid adoption are fast connectivity and the availability of real-time information access at users’ fingertips.

As smartphones become increasingly affordable, businesses become more complex specifically the IT infrastructure. Apart from individual and personal use, businesses also encourage employees to use their own devices for work with initiatives such as “bring your own device” (BYOD).

Enterprises have gained a significant advantage with the modern development of mobile, but these positives also come with new challenges.

When it comes to devices for businesses, applications play a big role. More and more enterprises are deploying business applications on smartphones and adopting cloud-based business models.

This enables increased mobility and productivity, making businesses more efficient than ever. Unfortunately, now with various applications installed on smartphones and critical data being so easily accessible, businesses are more prone to virtual threats.

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