Growing Smartphone Ecosystem Creates New Jobs, Ventures

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Worcester Business Journal

Apple unveiled its iPhone 5 last month, and it’s sure to make a bundle from its latest gadget. But forget about the $108-billion tech giant and its various competitors for just a moment, and turn your attention to a fast-growing Central Massachusetts ecosystem that has quickly sprung up because of the smartphone. Companies have shifted their focus or have formed entirely because of the increasingly popular gadget.

The firms run the gamut from mobile media to mobile advertising, enterprise softwaremakers, programmers and refurbishers. There’s no definitive count of how many jobs the mobile industry has created in Central Massachusetts, but judging from U.S. Census data on computer programmers, software developers and other roles, a conservative estimate puts it in the thousands.

Though the original iPhone launched in 2007, smartphones quickly went mainstream; half of Americans own one, and that’s projected to keep growing. Smartphones have been adopted at 10 times the rate of personal computers in the 1980s, twice as fast as the web in the 1990s and three times as fast as social networking, according to a recent report from research firm Flurry Analytics.

And 77 percent of people worldwide are using their smartphones for both personal and work tasks, according to a recent survey by Framingham-based IDG.

Matt Yorke, president of IDG StrategicMarketing Services, said his own experience matches up. “For me, it’s almost impossible to have a meeting and not see a row of tablets in front of me,” he said. And one would have to wrack his brain to imagine a device more personal than a smartphone, he added. “It sits by my bed, it’s the alarm clock, it’s the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning,” he said. And he’s probably not alone. All those signs, Yorke said, point to a steady march toward a “truly mobile society.”

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