MANILA, Philippines ? Smartphones are becoming more popular in use as these are becoming more affordable. Th availability of applications, meanwhile, is a key factor in driving the use of these type of devices that do more than voice calls and text messaging.
The growth of smartphones in the Philippines has been steady, thanks to aggressive pricing schemes by phone manufacturers and even some bundling promos by the telecommunications providers.
Smartphones are devices that provide more than just basic voice and SMS (or text messaging) capabilities. Current trends in smartphones include adding wireless capabilities such as Bluetooth and Wifi for Internet connectivity.
Many smartphones use Windows Mobile and the Series 60 operating systems. A few use Linux, Flash, and the new Android operating systems from Web search firm Google.
HTC Philippines Country Manager Mark Sergio said applications that maximize mobile phones? capabilities are key drivers for demand.
He said that good user experience is also another factor, which can also be brought about by having good applications on smartphones.
In many cases, smartphones are fashion accessories in the Philippines but many early adapters of smartphones come to realize that their phones can do more when installed with usable applications.
?Some early adapters also promote their phones because they find out that it can do more, so it becomes apparent that people will buy the phone because of the good apps and the good experiences that other people get from it,? Sergio said.
Even while the market remains small in the Philippines, Sergio said the pricing for smartphones has been declining, making them available to a wider market.
In the case of HTC, its entry-level Viva phone, priced at around P14,000, contributed to around 40 percent of their sales in the Philippines.
He also noted that HTC, despite its reputation for carrying mid-to-high end phones, is looking to introduce models that are under P14,000 pesos.
?There is huge potential for smartphones for all segments of the market in the Philippines. The great thing here is that the availability of applications and a great user experience are key drivers for higher adaption of smartphones. You?ll see more of that in the coming months,? Sergio said.
The company recently launched its second model to run the Google Android operating system, the HTC Hero. The phone is a follow up to its first Android phone, the HTC Magic, launched in the middle of this year.
The HTC Hero has most of the features of its Android predecessor, including a 528 Megahertz Qualcomm processor, 512 megabyte ROM and a 288 Mb RAM; and 3G, Wifi, and Bluetooth connectivity.