EGHAM, England -- Mobile phone shipments continue to sizzle after surprising growth in 1999. Handset volumes are now expected to reach 410 million units in 2000, an increase of 45% from 283 million in 1999, according to a new forecast from Dataquest Inc. analysts tracking mobile communications here.
In 1999, mobile phone shipments surged by more that 65% from 171.6 million in 1998, said Dataquest. Last year's growth in handset shipments surprised just about everyone, including chip makers, which have struggled to keep up with strong demand for flash memories, digital signal processors, and other key components.
Despite much attention being placed on high-end and next-generation cellular phones--such as handsets using the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)--growth was driven by entry-level units last year, according to Dataquest.
But most chip makers believe momentum in cellular phones will eventually hinge on new features and Internet connections. "The next step is enabling new features in wireless handsets like streaming audio, video, and mobile e-commerce through wireless broadband capabilities," said Gilles Delfassy, vice president and manager of the worldwide wireless communications business at Texas Instruments Inc., who was speaking at a technology investment conference on Thursday.
Delfassy told the Goldman Sachs Technology Symposium in Palm Springs, Calif., that TI believes digital wireless handset shipments will grow 60% in 2000, reaching 435 million units.