Study issues new wake up call to cell phone makers

Sections: Cellphones, Communications, Email / IM, Mobile, Smartphones, VoIP

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A new study from In-Stat predicts your cell phone will undergo a major change in the next five years. Technologies such as Wi-Fi and video will drive this change and push many consumers to smartphones. The study also says smartphone sales will continue their rise in popularity.

But it isn’t all good news for cell phone makers: “Consumers are nearing their limits adjusting to the added complexity of converged devices,” says David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst.

I am going to have to stop here and say, “duh.” Really? You needed to fund a study to come up with this info? Clearly this company doesn’t read Gadgetell (they would have saved money on a study if they did). Here is what i am talking about:


Yes, Wi-Fi is becoming more and more popular on phones, but only certain ones can take advantage of it. Phones like the iPhone, Android G1, and the Palm Pre are great web surfing phones and high speed web access makes mobile web surfing even better. But the problem with Wi-Fi is its limited footprint. The In-Stat study didn’t clarify if it included WiMAX, a new technology that increases Wi-Fi’s footprint dramatically. If you want greater coverage for Wi-Fi, WiMAX is your answer. VoIP will come just as soon as carriers figure out a way to make money off it, not just save their network some cash.


Mobile TV is huge in Europe and in Asia. There is no reason it won’t be in the U.S. as well now that we have a standard to work with. Americans tend to love their TV every bit as much, if not more than our friends to the east and west. The telecoms want to bring us this tech, so it will happen and probably be big. Not too hard a prediction to make.


“Nearing my limits?” You could read just about any review I’ve done on a Windows Mobile phone and get that info. The interface is cumbersome, fully of deep menus and ugly (possibly its biggest offense). No one is saying, “man, I wish this phone didn’t have a camera so it would have one less button.” Convergence isn’t the problem, software is.

Its the software, idiot.

Convergence is awesome. Ask anyone who follows the mobile sector and mention convergence and you’ll see the hairs on the back of their next stand up in excitement. We are seeing some awesome stuff flow from companies. Phones like the iPhone and the Palm Pre use software to make even a complex task rather simple, not to mention elegant. Most phone makers: Moto, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and others just don’t seem to get this or feel that improving the software and a low dollar phone just isn’t worth it.

Cue the iPhone Nano. Just kidding. No I am not. Apple will take their oh-so-easy-to-use software and put it in all smaller and less expensive package. Someday. And it will sell like rum drinks in the Caribbean. That is my point, convergence isn’t making the phones more complex, the software behind them is. Apple has found a way to make it all work together by compartmentalizing everything: you want to use the camera? Just open the camera application. Same for every other function, just open the application.

The Palm Pre takes a little bit different route, as those applications stay open but the idea is the same, keep it simple. The Pre has their applications talk to one another, which might cloud the waters a bit for consumers, but I don’t think so. At least, not to the market to which the Pre is aimed at.

Big conclusion

If you’ve read this far, I might have saved you the $3,495 In-Stat wants to charge to peak at the rest of the survey. I didn’t pay for the survey, nor did I get to read it other than the press release. But these conclusions the company used to tease us with don’t sound ground breaking. If anything, it seems to suggest the study is lost in the “billions of phones can’t be wrong” dogma that has allowed the iPhone to kick major retail butt.

But you already knew that. You read Gadgetell.

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