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GSIM 3 - The True Cost of Free

The smartphone is in overdrive. The launch of Apple’s iPhone 4S, while perhaps not as emotionally fervent as was expected - dulled as it was by the company’s failure to produce a true fifth generation model - was nothing short of spectacular economically, global sales of the 4S reaching a record-breaking 4million handsets in its first three days on shelves.

That initial run of 4million will go some way to fuelling the continued global rise of the smartphone, market research firm IDC forecasting the shipment of some 472million such devices in 2011, up on the 304million that the firm tracked during 2010.

This near 200million rise in devices shipped worldwide is mirrored by the equally phenomenal success of the app. An industry that existed only on the fringes just a few short years ago, some estimates place it at a global value of some £12billion by 2012, representing a total download figure that is fast approaching 50 billion.

But apps are not the only driving force behind the smartphone revolution. International digital analytics firm ComScore highlighted at the end of 2010 that 30 percent of US and 22 percent of European mobile users are now using their device for email, creeping slowly towards the levels of SMS usage (68 percent and 88 percent respectively).

While many consumers look to Apple’s iOS to lead the way within this growing market, it does not sit alone in this buoyant arena. IDC research shows that Android is expected to capture almost 39 percent of the worldwide smartphone market this year, with Symbian following in second place with almost 21 percent and Apple a close third at 18 percent.

And Android is expected to dominate well into the future as well. IDC sees the Android OS holding almost 44 percent of the market by 2015, Symbian having fallen away to just 0.1 percent, with Windows Mobile expected to take its place with a 20 percent share.

As the sophistication of these operating systems increases, so too does the functionality and our ability to do more with our smartphones. But what is the onward impact on both our privacy and the security of our information when we use those facilities?

This report looks in more depth at how the rise to power of the smartphone has created a number of new security threats to consumers, and to what degree users are aware of these issues.

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