Microwave Journal

Latest Trends in Mobile Handset Design

June 14, 2010

Global mobile handset shipments totaled approximately 1.15 billion in 2009, with enhanced phones and smartphones capturing approximately 81 percent of all handset shipments, according to the latest data from ABI Research. According to Industry Analyst Celia Bo, "In recent years the major technology and application trends in handset design have focused on 3G (and beyond) capabilities including web surfing, social networking, multimedia, connectivity, better cameras, VoIP, pico projectors and more."


Current State of the Art:

  • 3.5G Models: The 3.5G handset category is the fastest-growing segment among all the models announced by vendors. Fifty-six percent of handset models in 2009 were 3.5G-ready devices, while the number of 2G and 2.5G models dropped in comparison.
  • GPS Handsets: The Global Positioning System has secured a solid position in the automotive segment and is gaining traction in mobile phones, becoming a hot wireless connectivity application for smart phone designers and manufacturers. The penetration rate in new models reached 48 percent in 2009 compared to 29 percent in 2008.
  • Form Factors: In 2009, the bar form factor led the market, accounting for 51 percent of announced handset models, followed by slider handsets at 27 percent. After a long decline, clamshell handset models picked up 19 percent market share among announced models.
  • Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows Mobile still has the highest adoption rate among operating systems of newly launched models, with Symbian taking second place.
  • Handset Chipsets: The chipset is at the heart of a handset; it integrates multiple function blocks and aligns them to different operating system platforms. While Qualcomm's Snapdragon, TI's OMAP, Intel's Atom and Nvidia's Tegra are driving the markets for 3G and 3.5G technology, the development of 4th Generation LTE and WiMAX chipsets is primarily led by Altair Semiconductor, Wavesat and Comsys Mobile, among others.