2010: A mobile phone odyssey
It’s a matter of fact that the mobile phone industry can only get bigger. We take a look at what the mobile scene will look like in 2010.
In the last two years, we've seen the mobile market explode in terms of handset functionality. Whether studying smartphones or non-smartphones, features such as GPS, advanced internet browsers and high-resolution cameras mean that separate technology devices are becoming obsolete.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can expect to see happen in the market by 2010, according to Matt Hatton, an analyst at Analysis Mason.
"By 2010, we'll see more touchscreens, attempting to replicate the success of iPhone. There will also be more embedded GPS modules aimed at offering more location-based services," he said.
"In the pantheon of mobile services, only two features on mobile phones have seen any real success: voice and SMS. The former is a demand-led service, the latter supply-led Some developments will be driven by user demand, i.e. bigger screens and better UI for a better mobile web browsing experience, while others will be driven by manufacturers seeking to drive additional sales, for example DVB-H."
It's what's inside that counts
But it's not just about the hardware. Content and services will also enjoy a boost.
Hatton believes that we will see a greater integration of web-based content, for example Nokia's Ovi, and embedded clients for social networking sites.
This statement is supported by a study carried out by communications watchdog Ofcom, which showed 800,000 people subscribed to mobile social networking in the UK between when it was introduced and October 2008.
"Phone usage in general is growing, so the type of usage is inevitably going to grow and change too," said John Barton, UK sales and marketing director at LG Mobile. "One of the major areas of growth is the use of social networking sites. More and more consumers want to stay in touch with their online communities while on the move."
The decision makers
The first step in analysing what the future will hold for the mobile industry is looking at who decides how the market will develop, according to Alex Reeve, head of Windows Mobile for Microsoft in the UK.
"Different people want different things from a mobile. [Some] 68 per cent of our users want a Windows Mobile handset for business applications including email, IM, corporate. The others want different things such as music, photos and he ability to download things onto the PC," he said.
Reeve added that even manufacturers such as Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung are taking this into consideration now by opening up their previously Java only-based operating systems by adding more open' operating systems such as Windows Mobile, Symbian and Android so users can get more from their mobiles.