I'm sure that you're all very aware that the wireless industry is no longer just about the handset. Even though this statement seems obvious, however, some people cannot alter their old perception. To me, saying that the industry is comprised solely of the wireless handset market is like saying that the television industry revolves around the remote control. Maybe it is a ludicrous comparison, but something needs to drive this point home. The wireless industry and its health are too often defined according to handset sales. So when a company like Nokia lowers its earning expectations, people go into a tailspin.
I agree that the handset is important. After all, it's a key driver in the wireless industry. But it is just a platform. Remember that remote-control analogy? Regardless of its brand or model number, the remote control can be used to turn on the TV. Once the TV is on, however, its operation is only unique because of the content that the user can access. Years ago, local affiliate stations like ABC, CBS, and NBC were the only choices in town. Back then, consumers were attracted by the functionality that was offered by a certain type of TV or remote. Now, consumers want to know if the television can access HDTV or the plethora of new cable channels.
When you think about it, the handset market has gone through changes just like the television market. Handsets went from simply providing audio to offering video and access to data. Wireless-Internet connectivity now permits consumers to access a host of "channels." As a result, users long for robust content. They've stopped focusing entirely on the handset.
For the consumer, the cellular handset makes wireless connectivity possible. Then again, so does the mobile PC, a Blackberry, or a PDA. More and more, it's become clear that it is the content delivered by these devices that really makes them shine. Isn't that what having access to information anytime and anywhere is all about? In other words, the key to the wireless market is the content—not just the device that delivers it to the user.
For an accurate pulse on today's wireless market, I suggest that people look deeper than the handset market. Investigate areas like WLAN technology, wireless-Internet infrastructure, mobile entertainment, and wireless security. By doing so, they might just get a clearer view of the true direction of the wireless industry. From where I sit, the handset is just the tip of the iceberg! Send me your thoughts at [email protected].