It wasn’t so long ago that smartphones such as RIM’s Blackberry were only toted by nomadic executives on the road.

Now it would seem that even teens have their eyes on the high-end handsets that are as prized for their multimedia functionality as for their business tools.

A Sprint Nextel survey into US consumers’ intended purchase plans showed that 35 per cent would consider buying a smartphone for someone between the ages of 13 and 17.

Just how much credit Apple’s iPhone can take for this shift remains to be seen – but it has undoubtedly played a big part.

There is also the question of how well parents understand the cost implications of buying junior the latest smartphone – not least the usual two-year contracts over and above the handset cost.

It’s also worth noting that after last Christmas a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, showed that Smartphones (excluding the iPhone and Blackberry) were the most returned electronic technology products of the holiday season.

Just over one-fifth (21%) of smartphone buyers returned their purchase to the retailer.

Let’s hope that lessons have been learnt for this year.

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