On the Go
Western Europe is charging ahead in the mobile phone business. IDC reports that in the third quarter of 2004, mobile phone shipments jumped 24% over the previous year, to more than 34 million units. Furthermore, even low-end handsets now offer upmarket features. More than 80% of mobile phones sport color screens, compared to just 49% in 2003, and 72% include digital cameras, a giant leap from the 11% recorded over a year ago. IDC expects 1.3 megapixel cameras to show up in mobile phones and smartphones in 2005.
Under the Influence
For small and medium-sized businesses, word-of-mouth tops the list of information sources when considering IT vendors, reports a study of 1,197 execs conducted by Forrester Research Inc. Sixty percent ask for help from their peers first. Next in line are trade publications in print, cited by 47% of the respondents. Consultants are increasing in popularity — back in early 2004, only a third of SMBs employed this resource, whereas 46% do so today. And a sizable number of SMBs (45%) also use trade shows and conventions to get IT vendor information.