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Top Consumers’ Lists “Must Have” Features on Mobile Phones: Cameras, Bluetooth, and Music

Digital camera functionality, Bluetooth connectivity, and music/radio playback on mobile phones are the top three features that consumers consider essential for the next mobile phone they will purchase, according to a recent ABI Research survey of 1,402 current wireless subscribers in seven countries. The desire for camera phones with 2+ megapixels leads the pack with 47% of consumers listing this feature as a “must have,” followed by Bluetooth at 34% and music/FM radio functionality at 32%.

However, says Clint Wheelock, vice president and chief research officer, “Our survey results identified some surprising differences between markets. Camera phones, for example, were more than twice as important for consumers in Taiwan versus those in the US. Similarly, Bluetooth is considered essential by mobile subscribers in Western Europe and Taiwan, but penetration of this feature is very low in Japan and South Korea, so it’s of little importance to consumers in those countries.”

Other key findings from ABI Research’s global wireless consumer survey are as follows:

  • “It’s still a voice-centric world,” says Wheelock. Consumers across all mature markets still choose their mobile operator based on “the basics”: price, friends/family on the same network, and network coverage.
  • The three most common features that subscribers have on their current mobile phones are: games (64%), Internet access (61%), and 2+ megapixel cameras (58%).
  • Games and Internet access are also high on the list of features that subscribers have on their phones, but never use. Adds Wheelock, “Many mobile data and multimedia services are failing to reach the mainstream not because they’re unavailable, but because they fail to provide a satisfactory user experience and pricing model for most consumers.”
  • The handset features that are least likely to be regarded as essential are: Wi-Fi, mobile TV, and games.

A new ABI Research brief, Wireless Subscriber Profiles and Preferences,” provides an analysis of survey results from adult mobile phone users in seven countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The web-based survey, which was conducted in 1Q08, captured details on respondents’ mobile phone usage patterns, purchasing behavior, satisfaction with operators and handsets, and attitudes about a variety of voice, data, and multimedia services. [ABI Research]

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