As the industry gears up for next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, EE Times checked in with several leading mobile chip vendors to ask about trends in the mobile handset market, products and strategies going forward.
The following is from a written interview conducted with Robert Nalesnik, senior director of marketing with Broadcom Corp.'s Mobile Platforms group.
EE Times: What are the three biggest changes (new trends in business, apps, operating systems, hot features, technology, geography, etc.) you are seeing on the mobile handset market in 2010 and beyond?
Robert Nalesnik: Feature phones are getting "smarter." Capabilities previously seen only on high-end smartphones are rapidly trickling down into the more affordable feature phone category. Features like touchscreens, optimized web browsers, web widgets, GPS, Wi-Fi, highly capable multimedia and downloadable applications. These "smart feature" phones are quietly opening up the mobile Web to a much broader audience. As an example, according to Samsung, one of their recent smart feature handsets achieved the fastest ramp to 10 million units in the company's history.
"Cell phone" is quickly becoming a misnomer. It is no longer just about cellular technology; handset capability is increasingly defined by the benefits brought with integration of multiple wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, FM radio and Near-field Communication (NFC). The advent of cost-effective wireless "combo" chips is broadly driving multiple wireless standards beyond smartphones into high-volume mobile handsets. While Bluetooth is in the majority of phones today, expect to see combos drive GPS and Wi-Fi attach rates to this threshold within several years.
Your mobile phone is about to go high definition. While many phones have camcorders, they are not widely used given the low resolution and poor quality. Cell phone cameras have improved, but many are still far from compact digital camera quality or features. Mobile multimedia quality is about to take a big step forward in 2010 and beyond from major cell phone suppliers. Expect to see your new phone include a 1080p camcorder, 20 megapixel camera with image stabilization and smile detection, significantly improved video enabled web browser, console quality gaming, and connection to HDTVs via HDMI to play games and view your favorite videos and pictures.