By LAURA M. HOLSON
If recent history is any guide, roughly a third of the people snapping up Apple’s new iPhone are likely to tote it in a purse.
In a big shift for the phone industry, women have emerged as eager buyers of not just iPhones but of all so-called smartphones — BlackBerrys, Treos and other models.
In the last year the number of American women using smartphones more than doubled to 10.4 million, growing at a faster pace than among men, according to Nielsen Mobile, which tracks wireless trends.
The trend is mirrored in sales of the iPhone. In October, nearly one out of four owners of the iPhone was a woman, according to Nielsen. By March that number rose to one in three. The iPhone model announced Monday, with faster Internet access and mapping features, may accelerate the shift.
Smartphones are cheaper now — as little as $99 for the petite BlackBerry Pearl — and are better designed. Women have been using them for years in business, of course, but many are finding that the phones can also help manage their families’ hectic schedules and keep them in touch with friends.
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