LAS VEGAS —
An accelerating technology-driven replacement
cycle is driving cellular’s growth in the face of
slow economic growth and is prompting more suppliers
here at International CES to enter the market, others to
maintain their pace of product introductions, and other
companies to launch cellphone-connected products
that add such features as ATSC-M/H (Mobile/Handheld)
Multiple companies will also launch 4G cellphones,
USB modems and mobile hot spots equipped with
700MHz LTE (Long-Term Evolution) for the Verizon Wireless
Three cellular newcomers are Vizio, ViewSonic and
Korea’s Enspert, all entering the U.S. cellular market with
For its part, Novatel Wireless will show its first 4G MiFi
Mobile Hot Spot and its first U.S.-market 4G USB modems.
All are due in the first quarter, but it wasn’t certain
at press time whether they would incorporate the Mobile
WiMAX or LTE 4G technologies.
For its part, GreatCall will launch a new cellular service.
In cellular-related products at the show, attendees will
• at least two new devices that add mobile ATSC-M/H
DTV reception to an iPhone or iPod Touch. They’re from
Valups and Cydle.
• at least one device that turns tablets, iPod Touches
and other devices lacking GPS into portable navigation
devices (PNDs). The product, from Dual, also improves
the accuracy of cellphones with embedded GPS.
In a related development, the Open Mobile Video Coalition
said it is encouraging Nokia to bring out a wired
hands-free headset with embedded ATSC-M/H tuner,
turning any smartphone with a USB port into a portable
DTV. Nokia already offers such as product in Europe with
embedded DVB-H DTV tuner at 40 Euros for use with an
app for Symbian-OS phones.
The developments come amid optimistic forecasts from
many marketers that handset growth will continue into
2011 following 2010 and 2009 growth. In 2010, growth
was driven by the economic recovery, smartphone demand
that is accelerating the replacement cycle, resumed
net-new subscriber growth, and expanding prepaid options,
marketers and analysts told TWICE.
The market has been so resilient that North American
sell-in during the depths of the recession in 2008 fell only
1.6 percent in units, rebounding 4.4 percent in 2009, according
to Strategy Analytics.
This year, the value of cellphone shipments could
grow faster than unit growth, given the growing share of
smartphones. Smartphones’ unit share of cellphone sellthrough
in North America will grow to 42 percent in 2011,
from 35 percent in 2010, according to Strategy Analytics.
Sales of smartphones will continue to rise as carriers
launch lower-priced models and market new tiered data
plans with lower cost options, marketers told TWICE. Carriers
are also driving smartphone adoption as “operators
continue to heavily subsidize smartphone devices in an attempt
to drive data-service adoption,” said Patrick Stokes,
president and COO of Brightstar U.S. and Canada
The growing affordability of smartphones
will also drive up smartphone share, marketers
said, as new low-cost models hit the market at
$49.99 and less and more tiered data plans are
launched, allowing for data-plan options that are
less expensive than the $29.99/month all-youcan
eat plans that had been alone in the market.
The prospect for continued industry growth
was a significant factor in enticing ViewSonic
to enter the market here, said Adam Hanin, marketing
VP for the Americas. The ability for consumers
to customize the functionality of their
phones with apps is encouraging consumers
to turn in their old phones, and continued technology
improvements will continue to fuel the
replacement cycle, he said.
For ViewSonic, entering the cellphone and tablet
markets was a natural extension of its expertise
in displays, including TVs, PC monitors, business
projectors and digital signage, Hanin added.
Although 4G also commands consumer and
industry attention, most markets don’t expect
4G handsets to grab much share in 2011 because
4G networks are still in their infancy.
That, however, will change in the years ahead,
most marketers said. 4G will also become a key
feature in such connected devices as tablets,
mobile hotspots, e-readers and other machineto-
machine (M2M) devices, some added.
4G will also open up the market for entertainment
services to the handset, with Verizon Wireless
already having said that video would play
a key role in its 4G launch. Said Mark Louison,
president of Nokia North America, “With faster
data speeds and reduced network latency, we
expect further enhanced real-time video and true
multimedia experience, a high-performance environment
for mobile, and support for real-time
applications due to its low latency,” he said.