LONDON A quagmire of regulatory delays in Europe is hampering the availability of mobile TV spectrum and will significantly delay the adoption of the continent's favoured specification for the technology, DVB-H, a report from Strategy Analytics warns.
The researchers also suggest delays over the next two to three years would fragment the adoption of mobile TV around the world.
"These regulatory delays, combined with the success of ISDB-T in Japan, the momentum of DMB services in Korea, the commitment of the two largest operators in the US to using MediaFLO, and the rising chorus of support for MBMS in 3GPP2 will create a much more fragmented mid-term for mobile TV adoption globally," said Chris Ambrosio, director of Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics.
However, FM radio will prove to be a valuable "check box" feature on both 2G and 3G handsets going forward. Another analyst at Strategy Analytics, Bonny Joy, suggests that by the end of 2010 a new generation of FM radio stations in emerging markets will act as a catalyst in driving FM radio features into half of handsets sold annually.
"The next challenge is for device vendors to find a way to push music into mid-tier price points without negatively impacting usability", said Joy.
"While Sony Ericsson has made huge strides in this direction with Walkman, Cybershot and Bravia sub-brands, Samsung and Panasonic are struggling to leverage strong consumer brands to drive handset sales," said Joy.
The report into handset trends also suggests that proactive suppliers such as Nokia have already started carving out differentiated streaming video-enabled product positions so as to jump on the Web 2.0 bandwagon. Strategy Analytics anticipates that in the long term, streaming video features will serve as the next major enabler beyond messaging to drive demand for smart 3G devices.
On the down side, the researchers say global camera phone shipments have slowed to 21 percent annual growth in 2006 following stellar growth rates over the past few years.
They suggest growth will continue to taper off and OEMs will wrestle to balance the opposing needs for 2 MPXL+ with supporting usability features such as auto zoom on 3G products in mature markets with low cost, VGA-enabled products driving demand in emerging markets.