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Too many new phones not able to play real music or video

Despite the shift in focus to real music reported by most mobile-music-industry insiders, it’s surprising to see just how few of the handset models launched in seven key markets feature music players as opposed to polyphonic functionality.

According to data gathered by MM publisher Informa Telecoms&Media, just over half of the 38 models introduced by operators in China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the U.S. in June contained an audio media player of the likes of MP3 or AAC. Yet 34 were polyphonic-enabled.

The proportion of music-player phones is rising, however, jumping from just under 42% to 53% in the first six months of 2006 (MM, 5 May, 2006).

The figures for video functionality are even more disappointing than those for real music. Only three of the 20 media-player-equipped phones feature MPEG4 video-playing capabilities.

Top features in handsets released in selected markets in June
Capability No of handset Country of launch
models
Polyphonic 34 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
Web browser 34 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
Camera 33 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
MMS 26 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
Bluetooth 17 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
MP3 media player 17 China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, U.S.
Video streaming 11 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, UK, U.S.
AAC media player 10 China, Brazil, Italy, Japan, UK
Adobe Flash 5 China, Italy, Japan
TV 4 Italy, Japan, South Korea
MPEG4 media player 3 China, Italy, Japan, U.S.
Source: Informa Telecoms&Media

Also, only 11 of the June crop of phones are capable of streaming videos, and only four are TV-enabled. Of the latter, two are DVB-H phones launched in Italy by 3 and TIM, one is a T-DMB phone launched by KTF in South Korea, and another is an analog TV phone launched by KDDI in Japan, where TV is broadcast to phones equipped with antennas the same way it is delivered to ordinary TV sets (see “Japan follows,” p. 16).

Thirty-four of the 38 models introduced in the countries tracked by Informa in June featured web browsers, making browsing and polyphonic functionality the two most ubiquitous features. They are closely followed by cameras, which are incorporated in 33 of the models.

Despite the prevalence of cameras on phones, MMS does not always feature as an accompaniment to picture-taking. Only 26 models out of the total are MMS-enabled. The fact that the snapping of photos doesn’t always lead to more use of MMS can in part be explained by the fact that one of the countries tracked is Japan, where picture messaging is more likely to take place in the form of mobile e-mail attachments.

Bluetooth features in just 17 of the phone models, though whether a phone incorporates the technology seems to depend largely on geography. Most of the handsets launched in Japan, South Korea and Brazil come without Bluetooth, whereas in Europe, the U.S. and China the short-range transmission technology is more prevalent. Market-research figures published by industry body Bluetooth SIG put Bluetooth-handset penetration in Japan at just 13%, compared with 31% in the UK (see “Brands look,” p. 17).

The opposite scenario is true of Adobe Flash, which features more prominently in handsets released in Japan. Out of five Flash-enabled models launched in June in the seven countries tracked by Informa, four were launched in Japan, by NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, and one, the Nokia 6131, was launched in China, Italy and the UK, by China Unicom, China Mobile, TIM, O2 and T-Mobile.

The clear leader among handset makers in the number of multimedia-handset models deployed in June was Samsung. The same was true in December. Eleven of the handset models launched in June were from the South Korean manufacturer. In second place was fellow South Korean vendor LG, with six models. Tied for third were Sharp and Sony Ericsson, with three each. Tied for fifth were KTFT, Kyocera, Mitsubishi and Nokia, with two each. The rest – Fujitsu, HTC, NEC, Panasonic, Pantech&Curitel, Sanyo and Toshiba – had just one model each to their name.

Handset releases in selected markets, Jun-06
Manufacturer Model Country Operators OS Features
Fujitsu F902iS Japan NTT DoCoMo Symbian 8.1 Camera, Adobe Flash, polyphonic, push-to-talk, web browser
HTC Treo 700p U.S. Sprint Nextel Palm OS 5.4.9 Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (MP3,
MPEG4), polyphonic, qwerty, touch screen, video streaming, web
browser, IM
KTFT EV-K150 South Korea KTF Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (MP3),
polyphonic, web browser, WIPI
KTFT EV-KD330 South Korea KTF Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, GPS, MMS, polyphonic, web browser, WIPI
Kyocera A5521K Japan KDDI Proprietary Camera, FM radio, BREW, polyphonic, web browser
Kyocera W42K Japan KDDI Proprietary Camera, FM radio, BREW, polyphonic, TV-capable (analog),
web browser
LG LG-MG180 Brazil Claro, Vivo Proprietary Color display, MMS, polyphonic, web browser
LG LG-MG185 Brazil Claro, Vivo Proprietary Camera, color display, MMS, web browser
LG LG-MG210 Brazil Claro, TIM, Vivo Proprietary Color display, MMS, polyphonic, web browser
LG LG-MG220 Brazil Brazil Telecom, Claro, Proprietary Camera, color display, integrated modem, MMS, polyphonic,
elemig Celular, web browser
TIM, Vivo
LG LG-KG248 China China Unicom, Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, polyphonic, web
China Mobile browser
LG LG-KV600 South Korea KTF Proprietary Camera, MMS, media player (MP3), web browser, WIPI
Mitsubishi M530 China China Unicom, Proprietary Camera, color display, MMS, media player (MP3), polyphonic
China Mobile
Mitsubishi D902iS Japan NTT DoCoMo Symbian 8.1 Camera, color display, I-mode, IrDA, polyphonic, push-to-talk,
web browser
NEC N902iS Japan NTT DoCoMo Proprietary Camera, color display, GPS, I-mode, IrDA, MMS, media player
(AAC, MP3, MPEG4), polyphonic, push-to-talk, video
streaming, web browser
Nokia Gradiente GF690 Brazil Brazil Telecom, TIM Proprietary Camera, color display, polyphonic, web browser
Nokia 6131 China China Unicom, Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, Adobe Flash, FM radio, IrDA,
China Mobile MMS, media player (AAC, MP3, MPEG4), polyphonic, push-to-
talk, video streaming, web browser, IM
Nokia 6131 Italy TIM Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, Adobe Flash, FM radio, IrDA,
MMS, media player (AAC, MP3, MPEG4), polyphonic, push-to-
talk, video streaming, web browser, IM
Nokia 6131 UK O2, T-Mobile Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, Adobe Flash, FM radio, IrDA,
MMS, media player (AAC, MP3, MPEG4), polyphonic, push-to-
talk, video streaming, web browser, IM
Panasonic P902iS Japan NTT DoCoMo Proprietary Camera, color display, Adobe Flash, I-mode, MMS, polyphonic,
push-to-talk, web browser
Pantech&Curitel PT-K2100 South Korea KTF Proprietary Camera, color display, GPS, IrDA, MMS, media player (MP3),
polyphonic, web browser, WIPI
Samsung SCH-A150 Brazil Vivo Proprietary Camera, color display, GPS, BREW, MMS, polyphonic, web browser
Samsung SCH-A915 Brazil Vivo Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, BREW, MMS, media player
(AAC), polyphonic, video streaming, web browser
Samsung SGH-P910 Italy 3 Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, media player (MP3), polyphonic,
TV-capable (DVB-H), video streaming, web browser
Samsung SGH-P920 Italy TIM Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (AAC, MP3),
TV-capable (DVB-H), video streaming
Samsung SGH-Z400 Italy TIM Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS
Samsung SGH-Z400 UK Orange Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS
Samsung SGH-Z560 Italy TIM Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, media player (AAC, MP3),
polyphonic, video streaming
Samsung SGH-ZV50 Italy Vodafone Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (AAC, MP3),
polyphonic, video streaming, web browser
Samsung SPH-B2350 South Korea LG Telecom Proprietary Camera, color display, MMS, polyphonic, web browser, WIPI
Samsung SPH-B3100 South Korea KTF Proprietary Camera, color display, FM radio, media player (MP3), TV capable
(T-DMB), web browser, WIPI
Samsung SGH-T319 U.S. T-Mobile Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (MP3),
polyphonic, web browser
Samsung SGH-T809 U.S. T-Mobile Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, IrDA, MMS, media player
(MP3), polyphonic, video streaming, web browser, IM
Sanyo W33SAII Japan KDDI Proprietary Camera, BREW, polyphonic, web browser
Sharp 770SH Italy Vodafone Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (AAC, MP3),
polyphonic, video streaming, web browser, IM
Sharp 770SH UK Vodafone Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player (AAC, MP3),
polyphonic, video streaming, web browser, IM
Sharp 705SH Slimia Japan Vodafone (Italy) Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, IrDA, MMS, media player (AAC,
MP3), polyphonic, video streaming, web browser
Sharp SH902iS Japan NTT DoCoMo Symbian 8.1 Camera, color display, Adobe Flash, I-mode, polyphonic, web
browser
Sony Ericsson J100i, J100a, Italy 3, TIM, Vodafone, Proprietary Color display, polyphonic
J100c Wind
Sony Ericsson M600i, M600c Italy TIM Symbian 9.1 Bluetooth, color display, IrDA, MMS, media player (AAC, MP3),
polyphonic, qwerty, web browser, IM
Sony Ericsson W42S Japan KDDI Proprietary Camera, color display, Adobe Flash, FM radio, BREW, media
player (AAC), polyphonic, web browser
Toshiba 705T Japan Vodafone Proprietary Bluetooth, camera, color display, MMS, media player,


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