Navigation, email, and Internet access top the list of features that consumers look for when purchasing new wireless phones, according to research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The study, Wireless Phone Data and Entertainment Services, found that 40% of American adults plan to purchase a new wireless handset within the year. Although only 11% of adult cell phone owners say they own a smartphone, the number is likely to grow in the near future as consumer awareness of and demand for wireless services including music, video, and Internet access steadily increase.
"While smartphones were once mostly for business use, they are becoming mainstream, as new wireless services like navigation and Internet access are included in more handsets," said Steve Koenig, CEA's senior manager of Industry Analysis. "These devices will slowly but surely supplant standard handsets."
Consumers may soon have even more wireless services to look forward to, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concludes its auction of the 700 MhZ analog television spectrum in the coming weeks. The FCC hopes the auction will propel advanced features such as mobile Web browsing and video. The winning carriers are also expected to use newly acquired spectrum to improve existing services in the near term.
CEA estimates that in 2007 unit shipments of smartphones accounted for 15% of the total handset volume, a three-fold unit share increase in just three years. In 2008, smartphones are expected to reach more than $8 billion in factory-to-dealer sales.