For the global information and telecommunications technology expert, International Data Corporation, last year’s worldwide mobile phone market is mainly characterized by a stronger demand for smartphones and a heated competition among smartphone/mobile phone vendors.
According to IDC, there were more than 1.7 billion mobile phones which were shipped all over the world in 2012. Meanwhile, 712.6 million units sold globally comprised the worldwide smartphone market during the same year.
Last year’s top 5 smartphone vendors include: Samsung, currently the world’s leader with 215.8 million units sold. While Apple gets second place with 135.9 million units shipped globally. Nokia and HTC take third and fourth place with 35.1 and 32.6 million units sold respectively. Now named according to its signature product Blackberry, Research in Motion suffers an upsetting drop to fifth place with only 32.5 million units sold, a -36.4% year over year change compared to its 2011 market share.
The rising demand for smartphones has also propelled an increasing demand in mobile applications. In fact, in 2010 there were over 300,000 mobile apps which were downloaded 10.9 billion times, says IDC. Moreover, the Massachusetts-based telecom expert predicts that global app downloads will reach 76.9 billion in 2014, representing more than $35 billion in revenue.
Today, business professionals are among the largest consumers of smartphones and the most “appified” (those who use apps as an extension of their business lives) smartphone users as well. Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP has also become the mainstream communication platform for cost-cutting businesses.
More and more businesses are looking into ways of connecting their mobile workforce to their VoIP system via smartphones. Business elites and their workforce are also the biggest beneficiaries of business-oriented mobile apps.
Some of the most popular VoIP apps for business people include:
The VoIP app, purchased by Microsoft in 2011, now has over 280 million users globally. Skype is now considered among the best business VoIP solutions, offering its users services such as voice and video calling, instant messaging, conference calling, calls to/from phone networks and voicemail.
Skype recently introduced business tools such as TelyHD Business Edition, Skype Manager and Skype in the Workspace. These tools allow you to facilitate multi-party video calls/conferencing with up to six participants, manage your employees’ Skype accounts centrally and promote products and services by sending instant messages to current and potential clients.
BBM 7 supports VoIP calls called BBM Voice as well as instant messaging services. Although similar to Apple’s FaceTime and Microsoft’s Skype, voice calls through BBM 7 can only be made over Wi-Fi/broadband networks.
Plingm is a mobile VoIP app downloadable from Apple’s App Store. With Plingm, you can make phone calls to your Facebook friends for free using your iPhone.
Silent Circle is an innovation by two former Navy SEALs and some cryptographers. It is an iPhone, iPad and Android app that approximate military-quality encryption for VoIP calls, texts, emails and videos made via Silent Circle. What’s fascinating about the app is that it deletes mobile data as soon as one of the callers hangs up and maintains minimal data on your smartphone.
It is the pioneer and standalone VoIP app that can function on the iPhone utilizing 3G data networks. As a hosted cloud PBX phone system, it offers conference call functions for up to 10 participants and has unified business communication services such as a virtual receptionist, IM and call routing.