By: Steve Lohr, The New York Times Company
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
In today's recession-racked economy, penny-pinching is a national pastime. But people are still opening their wallets for smartphones.
Sales of BlackBerrys, iPhones and other smartphone models are rising smartly and are projected to increase 25 percent this year, according to Gartner, a research business. Widely anticipated new models like the Palm Pre, which went on sale nationwide on Saturday, will help fuel that growth. Meanwhile, total cellphone sales are expected to fall.
The smartphone surge, it seems, is a case of a trading-up trend in technology that is running strong enough to weather the downturn. And as is so often true when it comes to adoption of new technology, the smartphone story is as much about consumer sociology and psychology as it is about chips, bytes and bandwidth.
For a growing swath of the population, the social expectation is that one is nearly always connected and reachable almost instantly via e-mail. The smartphone, analysts say, is the instrument of that connectedness - and thus worth the cost, both as a communications tool and as a status symbol.
"The social norm is that you should respond within a couple of hours, if not immediately," said David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. "If you don’t, it is assumed you are out to lunch mentally, out of it socially, or don’t like the person who sent the e-mail."
To read the article, see the The New York Times website at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/technology/10phone.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1244631800-mvMTBaznzqCAMCnxPzf26g