It’s Coming: Cheapie Smartphone, NFC + Data Caps

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Look out Apple, the $100 ‘smartphone’ is on the way. And so is mobile payments or NFC, more apps and -free Internet

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However, for data hungry consumers among us, no more all you can eat unlimited Internet plans. That’s according to Deloitte’s top telco predictions for 2012, released yesterday.

More than half a billion low-cost smartphones – costing under $100 mark – will be in use by the end of 2012.

The cheapie phones are likely to support email, instant messaging, web browsing, pre-loaded apps and widgets and a “basic” camera.

This year is also to see a rise in the number of devices with near-field communications technology or NFC – where users pay for goods with a wave of their smartphone – and is set to soar to around 300m by 2013.

The five top telecommunications trends that Deloitte anticipates in 2012 are:

1.    The $100 “smartphone” reaches its first half billion

2.    Near Field Communications and mobile devices

3.    So many apps – so little to download

4.    Web Bypass: delivering connectivity without the Internet

5.    More data caps: end of the  line for unlimited Internet

NFC – the transfer of small amounts of data over a very short distance – has been dominated by the ‘wave and pay’ notion of embedding a credit card into a mobile phone,  says Damien Tampling, Deloitte Head of Ttechnology research said.

Commonwealth Bank, who launched its “wave and go” mobile payment system for the iPhone Kaching estimates there are currently around 42,000 NFC readers in Australian retailers.

And there are half-a-billion NFC chips destined for handsets and more than 200 million will be are deployed in 2012 alone.

There are thousands of applications of NFC – from gambling, to gaming to healthcare, Tampling added.

However, NFC will however take some time to be embraced fully in Australia due to a number of factors including the “complex collaboration” required between telcos, banks and device manufacturers.

On the mobile apps front, the number of mobile apps available worldwide surged through the one million mark in December last and is likely to double t oa whopping 2bn between Android Market, Apple App Store, BlackBerry and Windows apps  by the end of 2012.

 

However the proportion that are paid for, remains small, Deloitte notes.

“Stores should look to differentiate by considering subscription models focused on different genres, or selected by editors, that would create ‘app bundles’,” Tampling said.

As the multi-tablet phenomenon gains momentum, the opportunity is also there for the development of more B2B apps, including those for apps for employee time sheets, logging stores enquiries, transfers.

Short-range wireless connections to transfer data is also set for a “resurgence” in the form of web bypass – cutting out the need to connect to the web at all, say analysts.

“Web bypass is likely to emerge as a third network option alongside fixed broadband and mobile for transferring information.”

Its also the end of the line for all you can eat data, with many networks pulling the plug as deamdn for web usage grows.

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