smartphone demand could be to blame, depending on your perspective, but regardless of semantics, a new study put out by J.D. Power and Associates has found that surging interest in high-end handsets is causing the average purchase price of mobiles to shoot upward. Compared to 2007, consumers are currently paying around $9 more on average per phone. The average price rose to $101, up from $92 just six months prior, and it also marks the highest figure found since the study's inception in 2003. Analysts are pegging recent demand in RIM, Palm (saywha?) and Apple devices as the primary culprit, and it's noted that the average price paid for a smartphone these days is $208. Not surprisingly, these folks also found that the percentage of customers who receive free phones on contract has sank from 36% to 33% in the past six months. If you're the number loving type, be sure and hit the read link for lots, lots more where this came from.