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Is this a handset?

Week 41, 2007

Handsets can communicate voice, they can also receive data and content such as mobile television. Already now, in Japan, most people spend more time watching their handset than talking in it. Unlimited data communication plans have been available for years. But what works in Japan is not always easy to extend on a worldwide basis. Even when 3G is available, mobile TV is still stuck in a standards struggle, and the business model is not yet transparent and globally accepted.

The whole industry is dreaming of transforming a handset into a transaction device with NFC, or eWallets. We see a new NFC trial being announced every week, generally with slightly different technology options, and different investigations into the business model. No doubt these pilots will lead to a common understanding and a common demand for NFC applications.

Since the majority of mobile phones are now equipped with cameras, many applications are now developed around 2D barcodes.

The news of the week is the acquisition of Navteq, a specialist in GPS technology and devices by Nokia. In some time, we will experience the integration between handset connection capabilities with GPS technologies. We will be able to get the location-based services the industry has been dreaming of for years.

Let's combine all this with today's smartphones….. We get devices that are able to manage your diary and contacts, connect to the internet, carry some money and make transactions, check for data on the internet in relation with advertising in the physical world, and direct you to the location where you'll get the services you need. This is not science fiction, just the combination of current technologies… And, oh yes! You can make phone calls too!

The handset market is to become more and more diverse between the basic handsets targeted for developing markets and priced well below US$ 100 (EUR 70), and the high-end devices that will change your digital life for ever.

Thierry Spanjaard
Chief Editor
Smart Insights