Smartphone market feels 'iPhone effect'

Manufacturers are expected to add touchscreens, touchpads and accelerometers to stay competitive in the face of Apple's device
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

The "iPhone effect" is filtering through the rest of the handset market as other manufacturers add new features to remain competitive in the face of Apple's touchscreen device.

Among the features likely to proliferate, in terms of enhancing user-interface experiences, include touchscreens, touchpads and accelerometers allowing tilt and shock-sensing, as well as haptics for providing tactile feedback, according to analyst house ABI Research.

The market for smartphones will grow from around 10 percent of the total handset market last year to 31 percent by 2013, the analyst house predicted, partly because of mobile operators' desire to grow their data revenues and also from a general trend pushing "smart" operating systems down into middle-tier devices.

Smart operating systems are being optimised to run on processors with lower performance and there is a move towards supporting smart operating systems in single-chip, mid-range devices in order to unlock more data revenues, said ABI Research vice president Stuart Carlaw.

Carlaw said that, while the market is currently dominated by Nokia and Symbian, Linux and the "growing stature" of Windows Mobile will put pressure on the establishment.

Separate research from MultiMedia Intelligence calculates that 500 million music phones were shipped worldwide last year, outnumbering shipments of personal media players, such as the iPod, by almost 300 million units. The company predicted that, by 2011, more than half of all mobile phones could be considered music phones, as they will feature music-codec functionality (such as MP3 or AAC) and a memory slot which allows users to carry a personal music library.

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