19% of mobile consumers in U.S. now using smartphones, according to study

As the entry fee for smartphones drops lower and lower, the wallet friendly price point found with most feature phones (or, as some might say, “dumbphones”) is beginning to lose its luster. In a day when obtaining a smartphone requires little more than 50 bucks and a 2-year promise, what’s the point of going for anything less?

According to the “Mobile Market View” study released today by The Kelsey Group, 18.9% of mobile consumers in the United States are now toting smartphones, with 49.2% planning to pick one up within the next two years.

Mobile search activity is also up across the board. When they surveyed mobile consumers on how they’d been using their handsets, they found the following:

  • Downloaded or looked at maps or directions: 17.6 percent, up from 10.8 percent in 2007
  • Searched the Internet for products or services in their local area: 15.6 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2007
  • Searched the Internet for products or services outside their local area: 14.3 percent, up from 6.4 percent in 2007
  • Obtained information about movies or other entertainment: 13.7 percent, up from 8.2 percent in 2007
  • Connected with a social network, such as MySpace or Facebook: 9.6 percent, up from 3.4 percent in 2007

To state the obvious, it’s quite apparent that consumers are more ready than ever to embrace mobile devices into their daily lives. What isn’t as apparent, however, is the responsibility the mobile industry has to get their act together and make use of this. Unless they’re damn sure they can come up with something worthwhile, it’s time to adopt open and royalty-free platforms. Drop the horribly misguided efforts to create new, proprietary platforms which do nothing but increase segmentation and confuse users. With only 19% of US mobile users owning smartphones and nearly 50% looking to jump on board, we’re going to see a whole lot of new smartphone owners soon – so lets make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy it.

(Image via Jacob Bøtter)