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Handsets World: Show me the money!

The first day of Handsets World in Berlin is now over. I'll have a story up tomorrow on Nokia's views on open source (interesting, I reckon) but in the meantime, since the people milling around this smallish event are high-level in some pretty important companies, let me give you a flavour of the presiding sentiment.
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Written by David Meyer, Freelance reporter on

The first day of Handsets World in Berlin is now over. I'll have a story up tomorrow on Nokia's views on open source (interesting, I reckon) but in the meantime, since the people milling around this smallish event are high-level in some pretty important companies, let me give you a flavour of the presiding sentiment.

First off, nobody still has any idea how to make serious moolah out of their fancypants features and apps. In one particularly enlightening panel discussion, featuring manufacturers and operators, the chair asked whether there was any real evidence of users even using these features. Some responses:

Daniel Meredith, head of handset and device marketing at T-Mobile: We in the industry are asking consumers for more input, through panels. That's why picture messaging is now easier than ever. If we get the user interface right and get the back-end working…

Christian Lindholm, partner in the Fjord handset design consultancy We are still very excited by mobile photography… Being remotely present will be a big movement…

Patrick Fisher, technical standards manager for LG: I don't want to talk about evidence it will happen. From a standards and technical point of view, we can talk about hope. In the technology we are just getting there, so services become available and usable…

Simon Rockman, head of requirements and apps, Sony Ericsson: They already are using them. We have sold more Walkman phones than Apple has iPods. It doesn't really matter if people don't use all the features, as long as they can use all the features. People adopt new stuff slowly… sometimes you just have to wait…

Dr Ari Jaaksi, VP of software, Nokia: 100m pictures are taken with Nokia phones every day. The camera is the biggest purchase element. Someone will soon figure out how to make that a business…

In other words, don't ask us guv, we just sell the handsets at increasingly low prices and pray for extra revenue to somehow materialise.

Otherwise, the main topics of the day were the iPhone (no-one had a bad word to say about it, bar Symbian research chief David Wood, who rather sniffily claimed the iPhone could "get away with" a relatively simple user interface because "it doesn't have that much functionality") and power consumption (umm, how're those fuel cells coming along? Anyone?).

There is, thus far, a lot less discussion of LTE and WiMax than I'd expected. I did learn, however, that the original iPhone cost around $215 to manufacture (that doesn't include IPR or software costs), a whopping 28 percent of which went on the display alone. That was from Niels Kellerhoff of Portelligent, a company that disassembles cool gadgets then tries to guess how much each bit cost. He loves the iPhone: "Apple chose a different route from other cellphone manufacturers. They took a top-down view saying, 'This is what we want the product to be', then waited for the components to become available to fulfil their vision of what users want to see."

Tomorrow: Androidy goodness…

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