Smartphones at the top of consumers' Christmas lists

Get ready to start packing your stockings with the next generation of mobile technology: smartphones are set to be the highest-selling consumer electronic product during this year's holiday season.

A swarm of high-powered, ultra-capable sleek-looking mobile devices are due to hit the smartphone market (or have just been released) in time for this year's Christmas shopping season.

Microsoft has unleashed its latest mobile operating system (OS) Windows Phone 7 and with it a host of new devices; Google continues to surge forward with brand new devices based on the Android OS; Nokia has its sights set on converting the market with its flagship N8; and Apple's iPhone 4 remains a highly desirable smartphone for those with a gadget addiction.

Industry insiders are predicting this alluring new technology will prove too much to resist for many shoppers, even those who already own a cell phone.

Smartphone sales in the latter half of 2010 will be fueled by purchases by both new and repeat buyers, said research firm Parks Associates in an October 21 statement, while the arrival of "iPad-killing" tablets during the latter half of 2010 will also influence consumers to dedicate more money to gadget buying.

During the first half of 2010 around 63 percent of broadband households in the US purchased at least one consumer electronic product, said Parks Associates, a figure that is expected to remain stable during the second half of the year.

Twenty-one percent of broadband households say they intend to buy a smartphone before the end of 2010. Around 28 percent of those respondents said they intend to purchase an iPhone, 23 percent said they would purchase a Blackberry and 20 percent said an Android-based phone would be the handset of their choice.

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