Over the last year handset vendors have flooded the market with multiple handset designs including nearly every combination of shape, size, and feature. Phones can be purchased with multiple radios: analog, multiband digital GSM or CDMA, FM, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Their processors can manage phone lists, games, images, or MP3 music files. They can download data—or limited voice transmissions—over GPRS, 1xRTT, and EDGE enhanced networks. Handsets are targeted at "soccer moms," mobile executives and teens. To make sense of the handset marketplace, JupiterResearch has identified key attributes that define each category. Four of the categories represent device types actively marketed in the US market today: Voice, voice-plus, App-extensible phones, Media-centric phones and PDA with telephony.
The wide choice of handsets is a boon for consumers, but it complicates support for carriers and actually limits
opportunities for mobile software developers. Nonetheless, vendors and carriers continue to aggressively promote smart
phones—a catchall term for app-extensible phones, media-centric phones, and PDAs with telephony. The key for vendors to
remember is that voice/telephony remains the most important feature for consumers. Any phone that compromises on this
functionality is going to have a hard time in the marketplace.
Source: Jupiter Research (6/03)
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Michael Gartenberg is vice president and research director for the Personal Technology & Access and Custom Research groups at Jupiter Research in New York. Contact him at email@example.com. His weblog and RSS feed are at http://weblogs.jupiterresearch.com/analysts/gartenberg.