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The Smartphone versus the Feature Phone

It???s clear that our mobile phones are powerful computers with tremendous capability. The question is how to apply all of this capability to satisfy users. Do people want general-purpose mobile computing platforms onto which they can download all kinds of applications? If so, they want a smartphone, with Symbian, PalmSource and Microsoft being the leading OS providers. New research data from Canalys ( released today shows Nokia, using the Symbian OS, the device leader in this category with 50% of the smart mobile device market. Total 2005 Q1 shipments were close to 11 million devices, a small percentage of total mobile phone sales, but still a very large, rapidly growing market. However, the real action right now is in phones that use their computing power for specific functions of interest to consumers, such as taking pictures. Some people call these feature phones. Here the numbers are much higher. Strategy Analytics ( earlier this month reported a huge 257 million camera phones sold in 2004, compared to 68 million digital cameras. The next big thing for phones in my view: integrated music players that will come close to matching the capabilities of an iPod.