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Wireless Technology Sets Trends For 2005

Cellphone to become more than just a communication tool


February 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Few tools of modern technology have become as prevalent as the cellphone, which allows users to keep in touch as they move around on business or pleasure. Today, you can do more than just talk on your cellphone; modern phones let you send and receive e-mail and text messages or even surf the Web. However, shopping for a cell phone isn’t easy. With so many models on the market, it is difficult to know which mobile is right for you. But more confusing and even more critical than finding the perfect handset is selecting the right carrier.

It is hardly news that thousands of consumers of all ages have cellphones today. According to a C/ survey, 70% of users already are looking to replace their current cellphone while only 13% are looking to get their first one. "This trend pretty much holds true across all age groups. However, what the different groups are looking for in that new cellphone is very different," stated C/Net experts.

According to the survey, all age groups agree on a few basic features: long battery life, low price, small size, and a flip-phone form factor. But users under the age of 44 are much more descriptive about what they want. Younger users rated features such as the ability to play music and games, cool looks, built-in cameras, and Bluetooth much more highly. Users age 45 and up don’t want any of those feature, but they do favor a large keyboard.

By the end of 2005, many cellphones will be fortified with new features, including high-capacity miniature hard drives, which will provide cellphones with a wider capability for multimedia and storage. The first cell of this class, produced by Samsung, already has been shipped to Japan; and numerous manufacturers have models planned for shipping in the U.S. as early as the first quarter. Other models with a 2 gigabyte (GB) hard drive, from manufacturers such as Cornice, and larger drives (3GB to 4GB) may appear in phones later in the year.

By incorporating hard drives, cellphones will become more competitive with devices such as digital music players, and they will continue to threaten the PDA market by becoming not only cellphones but personal computers.

According to technology experts, wireless service providers likely will enter the music distribution business, streaming music to phones with hard drives. Motorola already has announced an iTunes phone that will use the same interface as the Apple iPod.

Removable flash memory cards and megapixel (MP) cameras also will move toward becoming standard on phones, and many phones likely will have 3MP cameras by the end of the year. These and other cellphone cameras aspire to deliver higher-quality images that can be enhanced by software for digital cameras.

TV could become standard on many phones in 2005, but it probably won’t go beyond a niche application. A September study conducted by Lyra Research of 1,361 cellphone users found more than half of them aren’t very interested or not interested at all in TV on a cellphone.

However, the latest report from TDG Research, "Consumer Comfort with Using a Media Phone," finds that among Internet households that also use a cellphone, 42% would be comfortable listening to music and 30% would be comfortable watching TV or movies on their cellphone.

Regarding TV on cellphones, Verizon U.S. and Fox Entertainment Group will launch three "mobisode" series designed specifically for cellphone screens. The shows include "24: Conspiracy," a spin-off of Fox’s Emmy Award-winning "24" series; and two new made-for-cellphone dramas called "Sunset Hotel" and "Love & Hate." Each series will consist initially of 24 to 26 one-minute episodes of video.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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