A new study by TNS Global has confirmed smartphone usage in Australia is exploding, but we still lag behind traditional comparison markets the US and the UK, as well as mature Asian markets.

The global study, now in its 8th year, uses an online panel across 43 markets. 34 000 consumers worldwide took part in the survey, with 504 Australian respondents split across gender, socioeconomic background, and age.

"The biggest surprise this year is we're starting to see smartphone usage go through the roof," TNS director of technology Marcus Pritchard tells Marketing magazine. "HTC, LG and Samsung are also becoming top of mind for replacement phones, we're seeing the death of the traditional phone."

Pritchard says consumers are becoming more open to Smartphones alternatives to the iPhone as they learn more about them.

"It's about the experience that each can deliver," Pritchard explains. "As soon as you say Android vs iPhone, people's eyes glaze over, but an app is an app and the platform doesn't matter. Ultimately, consumers just care about the end benefit. Joe Punter down the road just wants his phone to do something cool that his friends can do too, that's all."

Pritchard says the study showed Australia is still a bit behind other developed markets for technology adoption and the quality of mobile service.

"We're lagging behind mature markets like the US and the UK," he says. "Compared to Asia, we're still not huge downloaders of apps. We're quite social, we're using devices for social media."

Pritchard says the study showed Australia's data download speed is holding us back.

"In the developed Asia market, data speed is king, that is stopping uptake here.

"Streamed content isn't good in Australia. People are trying to use it, but the slow speed is so frustrating. It sets it up to fail almost, consumers willl drive for speed and consistency of speed."

As for predictions for the next year in the mobile world, Pritchard thinks the once pioneering Blackberry has big challenges ahead.

"People have been very loyal to Blackberry, that's driven from business purpose email functionality," Pritchard tells Marketing magazine. "However, as we get used to touch screens we may see that evaporate. The other phones don't have a voice in the corporate world at the moment, many workplaces forbid iPhone  and HTC. But I think we'll think we'll see smartphones becoming respected, no longer just seen as a toy or a gimmick. The challenge for Blackberry will be perfecting their touch screen offering."