Electronic Design

New Features Fire Up Mobile-Phone Sales

What are we likely to see next in mobile phones? Phone makers and wireless carriers have introduced or plan to introduce multiple new features, any one of which could be the next big thing, including:

  • Gaming: While gaming in mobile phones isn't new, some recently introduced models include advanced 3D graphics accelerators that deliver a dramatically improved experience to users.
  • Location-based services: The mandate to support emergency 911 (E911) location identification has opened the door for delivering location-based services to mobile phones using the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system.
  • Smart phones: These products combine wireless communications with handheld PC functionality and larger displays. Smart phones accounted for 5% of mobile-phone shipments in 2003 and will grow to 10% in 2007. Most smart phones will come equipped with wireless-fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, iSuppli predicts.
  • Television and full-motion capture: New phones, including the Sanyo 8100, VM4500, and RL2500 (www.sanyo.com), along with the Samsung VGA1000 (www.samsung.com), can display television programming.
  • New display technologies: While the mobile-phone market is moving to color displays, most present-day screens use the relatively low-cost color STN (C-STN) technology. Some high-end phones are shipping with more advanced AM-TFT LCD screens. By 2007, color AM-TFT LCDs will gain dominance in the mobile-phone market, garnering 50% of shipments. Further down the road, iSuppli expects organic-light-emitting-diode (OLED) displays to become a major factor in the mobile-phone industry.
  • 4G: The next-generation of mobile-phone technology beyond 2G, 2.5G, and 3G is 4G, expected to roll out in 2010. Visions of 4G range from a system that would support data rates of 20 to 100 Mbits/s to a system that integrates various modes of wireless communications (e.g., wireless local-area networks, Bluetooth, radio, TV broadcasting, and satellite).
  • Other future features include removable flash-memory card storage, rotating-media storage, an electronic wallet, and Bluetooth technology.
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