Study: Mobile consumers demand cameras, multimedia

Digital camera functionality, Bluetooth connectivity and music/radio playback top the consumer checklist of essential mobile features according to a new survey conducted by market analysis firm ABI Research. The survey--spanning 1,402 wireless subscribers in seven countries--reports that 42 percent of consumers consider 2+ megapixel cameras a "must-have" mobile device feature, followed by Bluetooth at 34 percent and music/FM radio at 32 percent. Nevertheless, ABI says consumers across all mature markets still select their mobile operator based on basic selling points like price and network coverage, not multimedia bells and whistles.

Other points of interest from the study: games (64 percent), web access (61 percent) and cameras (58 percent) are the three most common features found on subscribers' mobile phones. Games and web access are also high on the list of features that subscribers never use. WiFi, mobile TV and games are the handset features least likely to be regarded as "essential." Also, camera phones are more than twice as important for consumers in Taiwan versus those in the U.S., while Bluetooth is considered essential by mobile subscribers in Western Europe and Taiwan, but penetration remains minimal in Japan and South Korea.

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