A wireless catalog and e-tailer released cell phone service activation growth figures for the first half of 2004 that show a strong demand cell phones across all carriers. Overall shipments have grown 35% compared to the same period in 2003.
In August, 1-800-Mobiles reported a 59% increase in camera phone and a 73% jump in GPS enabled phone sales from the prior month. "While our normal growth continues to center on BlackBerries, Palm Treos and international Tri-Band handsets, new features such as high resolution camera phones and GPS capabilities are now taking the stage," notes Mr. De Luca, Sr. Vice President of Sales.
"As cell phone pictures resolution is now nearing printing quality and even make it into family albums, consumers are delaying purchases of advanced digital cameras in favor of the latest 1.3 megapixel camera cell phone, saving money and pocket space" Mr. De Luca added.
But the largest single growth category has been in GPS-enabled cell phones. As the FCC is requiring wireless carriers to make all phones GPS enabled in order to locate 911 calls by the end of 2005, manufacturers like Motorola, Sanyo and carriers such as Nextel and Sprint have jumped on this opportunity and allow this technology to also be used for navigation and location services.
In particular, there is a strong interest on the part of business customers and consumers alike for Nextel GPS enabled phones such as the Motorola 730i that allows them to get voice activated driving directions to nearby addresses, restaurants, businesses, or even locate the exact position of their children.
As Mr. Deluca sums it up, providing an interesting glimpse on future arrivals: "a range of exciting future marketing drives are in the pipe as MP3 cell phone downloads are already a reality in Europe with handsets like the Motorola E398 that are already capable to store 2 hours of MP3 music files and carriers like Telecom Italia that are streaming TV programming directly on 3G generation phones."