Advanced Features Not Enough to Sell Mobile Phone – Analysts

Consumers Want Software Applications in Addition to Hardware

by Anton Shilov
10/21/2009 | 04:55 PM

There are tens of mobile phones with advanced functionality and all the users have to do is choose the right balance of design, feature-set, battery life and other important qualities. However, market research firm In-Stat has found out that many consumers need special applications that take advantage of hardware features and allow new capabilities.

 

According to In-Stat, the next cell phone “killer feature” is not enough to create competitive advantage.  Consumers demand applications that leverage a combined set of features and improved performance to enhance user experiences, according to the market research firm. The big question here is whether manufacturers are willing to improve multimedia features on high-end business phones or to bring robust security capabilities to music phones. For example, Apple offers only one iPhone model that does not have be aimed at certain target group, whereas other makers with tens or hundreds models have to differentiate them.

“iPhone’s success has been a bellwether driving users expectations for cell phones. Touch screens and QWERTY keyboards, as well as accelerated adoption of open source operating systems have combined to create an innovation environment not seen in the cell phone market of the past,” said Frank Dickson, an In-Stat analyst.

What is interesting to noted is that although respondents of the In-Stat survey noted digital cameras, speaker phones and GPS as top characteristics of the “ideal phone”, trends that arise from looking at survey results from the past years highlight that features migrate from features that consumers are “willing to pay for” to features that are minimum expectations for a phone. Respondents voiced desires for improvement on the less complex features like better audio, better connectivity and simpler to use.

According to the survey, media features continue to penetrate the market and the rise of social networking has helped drive demand for integrated cameras. Survey respondents with MP3 players are up 17.3%s from 2008 and respondents with video recorders are up 26.2% points.