Handset market a lottery

Thirteen days to go until the Apple iPhone finally hits shelves in the US and still the hype machine is finding higher gears to shift into. But with so many questions still unanswered the only thing we can count on is that the arrival of the iPhone will change the face of the entire telecoms market one way or another.

Charles Dunstone, CEO of UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse, recently described the handset market as a “lottery for manufacturers”. The most any vendor can hope for is to get lucky with a particular model for six months before it is displaced by the next big thing, he said.

But, Dunstone added, the right brand can change that. In describing LG’s Prada phone – which many have likened to the iPhone because of its touch screen display – as not that great a device, he said, “It’s those five letters that make all the difference.”

The same brand benefits are probably to be expected from Apple’s forthcoming wonder device. But ironically, for a company seemingly clued into the value of branded handsets, Carphone is unlikely to be one of the beneficiaries of the iPhone’s ‘halo effect’.

Read’s views on how the iPhone will shake up the telecoms market.

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