A newly released report from MultiMedia Intelligence forecasts that worldwide unit shipments of multimedia feature-rich mobile phones will exceed 300 million units in 2008, outnumbering shipments of TV sets.
The report, titled “Wanted: Multimedia Handsets: Consumer Desires Meet Operators ARPU Needs,” also found:
If the definition of a multimedia handset were limited just to phones with an image sensor, MP3 audio support and video playback, 60 percent of handsets would have basic multimedia functionality. By 2011, almost nine out of 10 handsets will fit this description.
Handsets are playing an increasing role in operators’ efforts to attract and retain subscribers, with the major operators demanding exclusive multimedia handsets, innovative form factors and rich multimedia features in smartphones from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson, as well as other top handset suppliers.
Integration trends are driving silicon providers to integrate baseband and applications processors into single chips like Texas Instrument’s LoCosto platform. While this trend is currently focused on low-end handsets where cost is an issue, it will migrate to higher-end handsets over the forecast period.
Bluetooth will be the most ubiquitous connectivity option in handsets, while WiFi will likely have the biggest long-term impact on handset usage.
According to Frank Dickson, chief research officer for MultiMedia Intelligence and the author of the report, the increasing price pressures on voice services are prompting operators to leverage data services to sustain revenue growth and offset declining voice APRU, leading to an increased demand for feature-rich multimedia handsets. The result of these factors, he said, is that “the mobile phone has become the world’s most ubiquitous entertainment platform.”
The report defines multimedia phones as having at least 1-megapixal image capture, MP3 audio, video playback, Java, USB, Bluetooth, 16-bit screen color, QVGA resolution, WAP and MMS.