1. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Number of teens with smartphones surge - The Boston Globe


    The Boston Globe
    Teenage dream devices
    Smartphone makers see youth market as key proving ground


    Thirteen-year-old Dora Agali didnt like her last phone, a Samsung Star, because she could only do one thing with it.

    The last one didnt have any Wi-Fi at all, and basically I only used it to call people, she said.

    Now the South Boston middle schooler is much happier with her iPhone 4, which she uses two hours a day to play games and check e-mail and Facebook whenever she wants.

    As smartphones become ubiquitous and more affordable, they are leaping into the hands of teens, and mobile makers have taken notice. The number of teens with smartphones nearly tripled to 4.8 million in April from 1.7 million during the same period in 2009, according to market research firm ComScore.

    Currently 28.7 percent of teen cellphone users carry smartphones, and analysts expect that more than 50 percent will have one next year.

    AT&T Inc. is releasing two phones this summer that will cater to teens - the HTC Status and the LG Thrill 4G. The Status allows users to instantly share information to Facebook with the click of a button, and the Thrill is a smartphone, featuring 3-D graphics (no glasses needed). Both will run Google Inc.s Android operating system.

    When Apple Inc.s newest operating system, iOS 5, comes out this fall, it will come equipped with iMessage, a service that will go head-to-head with Research in Motion Ltd.s BlackBerry Messenger service, which teens love.

    Matt Thornton, a senior analyst with Avian Securities, an information technology research firm in Boston, said the growing teen market is an important demographic for companies like Apple, Google, and RIM.

    Obviously, capturing teenagers when they move to their first smartphone is a push by these companies, and they want to lock them in, Thornton said.

    Once smartphone users find a platform that fits their needs, they are less likely to switch, he said. IPhone apps purchased through iTunes, for example, cannot be transferred to an Android device, and users who switch phones have no choice but to rebuild their application portfolio from scratch, Thornton said.

    But satisfying fickle teens can be difficult. This young audience cares less about allegiances and more about the phones IQ.

    A smartphone should act like a handheld computer, allowing users to surf the Web and download applications.

    For teenagers, it doesnt matter what the brand is, but what really matters is what the phone does for them, said Freddie Benjamin, research manager for mobileYouth, a research firm that studies youth marketing and behavior. It is the key to their social life, it is an extension of them.

    BlackBerry is a case in point. RIM, better known for being in hands of high-powered executives, dominated the teen smartphone market about a year ago with a 40 percent share.

    RIMs popularity was a product of price, availability, and the popular Messenger service that texting teens are innately drawn to.

    But the popularity did not last long. RIM slipped to 23.8 percent of the teen smartphone market as Googles Android operating system skyrocketed to a 36.3 percent share this year, according to ComScore.

    Googles strategy is to get Android in as many hands as possible through deals and low prices, said Mark Donovan, senior vice president and senior analyst at ComScore. From the HTC Thunderbolt to the Samsung Dart, Android is available in more than 90 different models of phones at varying prices in the United States.

    Thats the kind of aggressive markdown and merchandising you dont see with the iPhone, he said.

    But the iPhone has a built-in following because teens are familiar with Apples operating system through their iPods and are drawn to the variety of applications. The company, which sells more smartphones than any other manufacturer overall, has 29 percent of the teen market, a slight increase from a year ago. Two possible reasons: the iPhone 3GS dropped to $49 with a two-year contract with AT&T, and parents upgrading to the iPhone 4 are passing down their older model.

    It is too early to tell how teens will view the iMessage application, which allows iPad, iPhone, and iPod users to send free text messages. Among many features, the application shows users when their message is read and when others are typing.

    RIM declined to comment on its efforts to maintain teen users.

    Regardless of which smartphone system teens are using, studies show they take full of advantage of the modern cellphone - more so than adults. According to ComScore, teens are more likely to use applications, play games, text, take and share photos and video, and access social networks directly from their phone.

    That same study also found that few teens pay their own cellphone bills - only 9.3 percent, while 76.5 percent are on family plans.
    07-08-11 11:51 AM
  2. rollingrock1988's Avatar
    Hey RIM hurry up, put a product out and market it so people love it.
    07-08-11 11:57 AM
  3. _StephenBB81's Avatar

    That same study also found that few teens pay their own cellphone bills - only 9.3 percent, while 76.5 percent are on family plans.



    THIS is a KEY piece of information for RIM!

    They need to use BIS and allow family's to control smartphones!
    IF a parent could buy the family BB's with BIS control at the Carrier level they could limit the teens data usage, be it a monthly things or no surfing before dinner on week days... or control when the teen can send / receive txts, the amount they COULD be offering with a web based client for BIS control it could even be a monthly service fee! I know MANY parents who would pay for it.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    07-08-11 11:58 AM
  4. Laura Knotek's Avatar

    That same study also found that few teens pay their own cellphone bills - only 9.3 percent, while 76.5 percent are on family plans.



    THIS is a KEY piece of information for RIM!

    They need to use BIS and allow family's to control smartphones!
    IF a parent could buy the family BB's with BIS control at the Carrier level they could limit the teens data usage, be it a monthly things or no surfing before dinner on week days... or control when the teen can send / receive txts, the amount they COULD be offering with a web based client for BIS control it could even be a monthly service fee! I know MANY parents who would pay for it.
    The problem is that those features are already available for other devices, but not for BlackBerry, on certain carriers. For instance, AT&T offers parental controls for older iPhones. AT&T Smart Controls: AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless
    07-08-11 12:03 PM
  5. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    The problem is that those features are already available for other devices, but not for BlackBerry, on certain carriers. For instance, AT&T offers parental controls for older iPhones. AT&T Smart Controls: AT&T Smart Limits for Wireless

    That just the surface of control RIM can Apply though BIS, since we know the level of controls a BES admin can have over blackberry's things like controlling app installation, access to App world, what communication you want to control, AND if it is User controllable you can use it as a punishment tool, it looks like you set it up with AT&T and they control it,

    can't block incoming calls!


    it would be a usable feature set I am sure, (ideally I'd like them to include truncation controls!!! so I can turn it off and on depending on the place I am traveling)
    07-08-11 12:08 PM
  6. diegonei's Avatar
    BPS - BlackBerry Parental Services?

    Jokes apart, I don't think it would be that hard to add some parental control into the BIS solution. As simple as that, no carrier involved, just make it part of the package.

    It would be like adding a few IT policies to BIS.
    Last edited by diegonei; 07-08-11 at 12:20 PM.
    07-08-11 12:16 PM
  7. howarmat's Avatar
    i know VZW has a complete set of parental controls and tracking also. I think it can be used with BBs too actually
    07-08-11 12:44 PM
  8. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    That just the surface of control RIM can Apply though BIS, since we know the level of controls a BES admin can have over blackberry's things like controlling app installation, access to App world, what communication you want to control, AND if it is User controllable you can use it as a punishment tool, it looks like you set it up with AT&T and they control it,

    can't block incoming calls!

    it would be a usable feature set I am sure, (ideally I'd like them to include truncation controls!!! so I can turn it off and on depending on the place I am traveling)
    On the surface it may be appealing, but only to the parent. If RIM incorporated those controls to parents, teenagers would suddenly look unfavorably on the BB name. After raising two boys through to adulthood, I could easily imagine them tossing any device as branded Teen-Unfriendly to the side, and rarely get used. IMO, it would be smarter for RIM (or any mobile manufacturer for that matter) to leave parental controls to another party like the carriers.
    07-08-11 01:09 PM
  9. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    On the surface it may be appealing, but only to the parent. If RIM incorporated those controls to parents, teenagers would suddenly look unfavorably on the BB name. After raising two boys through to adulthood, I could easily imagine them tossing any device as branded Teen-Unfriendly to the side, and rarely get used. IMO, it would be smarter for RIM (or any mobile manufacturer for that matter) to leave parental controls to another party like the carriers.

    I suppose that is probably the case, though the 76.5% of bills being paid by parents is a factor, you're selling to the parents as much as the teens

    though I certainly have yet to raise a teen, so I must plead ignorance on the part of how the teen might respond.
    07-08-11 01:48 PM
  10. nomoredroid's Avatar
    kids find a way to get around it all anyway
    07-08-11 10:48 PM
  11. lnichols's Avatar
    My kids will take whatever phone I get them (3 boys, only oldest 2 have phones currently, both Curve 8330m) or not get anything at all. Sure kids may want something else, but parents still have the final say. My oldest son who is 16 sends over 5000 texts a month. I started him off on my old Palm Centro as his first phone, and he currently uses a Curve 8330m that is two years old. He never asks me for a new phone. When I bring up an all touch device or iPhone he says he wants a keyboard and something like he has now. Waiting for the OS7 phones to come out to upgrade the family as trackballs in all four devices in the family are getting issues. I like them to have BB so I can BBM with them when I'm on International travel.

    As for the increased Parental controls, yes it would be nice if they were available, and then parents could decide if they wanted to use them or not. Just because something is available doesn't mean it has to be used, and different people want different things. In the end I can't see a kid being able to tell his/her parent's he won't use a device unless they go out and buy it on their own, but then again I guess there are a lot of parent's out there who let the kids run the show.
    07-09-11 08:02 AM
  12. DenverRalphy's Avatar
    I won't for a moment refute the merits of how parents would, could, or should, (been there, I know) maintain control over their children's mobile use. But from the business perspective of any brand phone manufacturer, if they want their product to be popular with the teenage market (a significantly large demographic), the last thing they'd want to do is find their brand deemed "teen unfriendly". Teenagers can be very cliquish and trendy and businesses manufacturing any product work hard around those trends.

    Granted a majority of smartphones are being paid for by the parents. But a sad reality is that while the occasional parent will make the smart purchase decision, most parents will purchase whatever the teenager asks, demands, begs for. Whether it's from negligence on the parents part, lack of concern, or succumbing to outright defiance, more often than not the teenager will influence the purchasing decision.

    As a business/marketing decision, I just think it would be in RIM's best interests to let parental controls be a function of the carriers, and let the carriers suffer any stigma, and keep the BB name free of it.
    07-09-11 09:25 AM
  13. CGI's Avatar
    My wife and I have 3 teenagers. Only one of them has a cellphone (BlackBerry 9700) and he pays for it himself on his own plan.

    Our stance; you want "adult things" (like a phone bill) you need to have a part-time job so you can manage the responsibility of it. You lose/damage the phone, you will have to buy a new one... the bill doesn't go away just because you lost or damaged your phone... etc.

    Our other 2 teenagers have ipod touches. Yes, they complain all the time about not having a phone... but since all of their friends have phones we just call them if we need to track ours down! Haven't lost one of our kids yet! LOL
    07-09-11 10:12 AM
  14. Mark PPG's Avatar
    I pay for both my kids BlackBerry phones. I have BB Protect on them both, and I control all 4 of our devices via MY BBID. If the kids are misbehaving/p!ssing me off, I log in and lock the phone via my BB. I've also used it at parties, when I've told them we are leaving...and they don't come down. I set both of them to make loud noises via BB Protect, and put a message on it that I'm leaving :-D

    Again though...although they offer the service, its not very well known that you can manage MULTUPLE devices on it.
    07-09-11 10:44 AM
LINK TO POST COPIED TO CLIPBOARD