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Best Buy Mobile pushes for awareness on smartphone options

With high-end smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, the Palm Pre, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, Motorola’s Droid and Google’s other Android devices creating buzz among consumers, retailers are expecting a surge in handset revenue in 2010.

So what does the top mobile executive at the country’s leading consumer electronics retailer think about the mobile medium? Mobile Commerce Daily’s Dan Butcher interviewed Scott Anderson, senior director at Best Buy Mobile, Minneapolis, MN, about his projections for the mobile retail space in 2010. Here is what he had to say:

From Best Buy Mobile’s perspective, what were the most popular smartphones in 2009, and what do you expect to be the most popular handsets in 2010? 
In terms of 2009, there was not one phone that topped all others in terms of popularity.

Obviously, the iPhone was very successful, and we see that continuing in 2010. But 2009 was also the first big year for Android phones, and we saw some really hot devices on that platform including the HTC Hero on Sprint, HTC My Touch on T-Mobile and Motorola Droid on Verizon.

Palm had a resurgence with the Pre, and BlackBerry continued to put out great products for customers.

So, it was a very active year for cell phones, and it would be impossible to land on just one device.

For 2010, Android will continue to be a big platform for all carriers, in addition to what I said earlier about iPhone. The same goes for BlackBerry.

Will Google’s Android challenge Apple’s iPhone for smartphone OS marketshare? What is your opinion of the prospects for RIM’s BlackBerry, Palm’s WebOS, Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile? 
Customers will ultimately make the call in terms of what sticks and what doesn’t, over time.

Obviously, Android has certainly earned a lot of attention this year. At Best Buy Mobile, we believe that customers like all of the increasing choices and options available in mobile phones.

The reality is consumers have varying needs and tastes, and thus their opinions are very different. Some want a smartphone for work while others want to use it to stay connected to their social networks.

We don’t look at it so much as certain platforms winning marketshare, as much as it is platforms serving different needs for different people.

What levels of adoption do you expect for other types of mobile devices such as media players, netbooks and hotspot products?
We fully expect smartphones to continue to become more popular and more accessible for all customers.

That is the real focus at Best Buy Mobile right now: helping consumers understand all of the smartphone options—from platforms to carriers to manufacturers to no-contract—and get them the device that best meets their needs.

At the same time, we expect consumers to continue to adopt and adapt to new technology, especially with broadband options and netbooks, as they look for new and better ways to stay connected to family, friends and work. 

Will applications continue to grow in popularity in 2010?
Most definitely. Applications will continue to be a big part of the cell phone story in 2010 and a key reason why smartphones will continue to gain in popularity and usage.