Smartphones are here to stay with almost half of American cell phone users taking advantage of Internet access and apps that improve quality of life quite significantly. If used with care, a smartphone is a multitool with almost no comparison to the average consumer, as its power and mobility are called upon daily. However, there is a technological divide as seen with the other half of cell phone users using feature phones. In contrast to smartphones, feature phones are 'dumb' and increasingly obsolete. Those who opt for feature phones, with incomes insufficient towards adopting smartphone technologies, often lack basic Internet access to enjoy the same functionality that a smartphone user would have. Those buying low-end smartphones have to deal with outdated operating systems and non-optimized apps, often times with little customer support or care on the cellular carrier's end. The International Data Corporation 'more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other wireline devices.' Unfortunately, lack of reliable Internet access puts numerous limitations on people trying to enjoy the same services, opportunities, engagement and otherwise enjoyed by those with smartphones or other mobile Internet-ready devices. Wireless carriers tend to rollout services in major metropolitan areas where coverage is based on the markets that bring the companies the most income, totally disregarding the wireless spectrum that is being sat upon. Rural or less sparsely populated communities are often last to receive the latest technologies offered by carriers, which results in the technological divide that we see today. There is no question that the price and availability of Internet access causes the disparity between metro and rural, wealthy and poor. For example, those who do not wish to subscribe to wireless carriers' flavors of Internet access have options in the form of WiFi and WiMAX yet these services are not fully supported across the US outside of major cities and are increasingly beaten out by carrier's 3G and 4G LTE networks. These networks come at a premium, with forced data cell phone plans and smartphones that have been priced higher and higher as mobile technology advances. Wireless carriers and manufacturers continue to contribute to a technological gap between lower income individuals and those with padded pockets. City slickers are at a clear advantage with constant Internet access, leaving those in areas with sparse network coverage to fend to their own devices.

Posted by David Yi, Social Media and SEO Assistant at Wireless Emporium