It is difficult to scan the business and technology news today and not see article after article about the SmartPhone adoption rates. Today, I read with interest that one industry leader speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, said the price of smartphones need to drop into the $30 range and data needs to be around $10 a month. Last year, Eric Schmidt of Google predicted that in 2013, SmartPhone prices would be at parity with feature phones. It’s hard to imagine when Smartphones ownership will actually reach those price points, but the only really safe prediction is that 6 months from now, the price of Smartphones will be lower than they are today. The challenge of course is that few local SMBs are prepared for that eventuality. As we have posted here before, today, just a handful of early adopter SMBs are prepared to engage the bourgeoning market of smartphone consumers.
As reported in the Washington Post, a couple of technology and commerce giants recognize the severity of the problem – and they’re doing something about it. Google has teamed up with Intuit to help accelerate the web presence of the local SMB market. The initiative enables businesses to secure a free Website, Google business listing, and free Web-hosting for a year. Many will say well "of course it is Google’s self interest to get as many of the millions of SMBs online" but the truth is, if they don’t get online soon, they will be left to using sandwich boards to get their marketing message heard. DudaMobile, a company that vSplash works with, is also part of the solution, offering SMBs an easy way of transitioning their desktop sites to mobile optimized sites.
It’s hard to say how many SMBs will take Google and it’s partners up on their offer, but it is fairly certain that at today’s pace of change, the local business ecosystem might well break and consumers and SMBs will be at a loss for finding each other and engaging in digital local commerce.