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back to article Handset sales drop for first time in mobe history

It had to happen sooner or later - handset sales in Europe and Japan have dropped for the first time, and growth in the US is looking a bit sleepy too. Sales have dropped by 16.4 per cent in Europe, with Japan likewise losing interest to the tune of ten per cent. US sales are up, but only by a measly 2.4 per cent compared to the …

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Have consumers finally realised...

That they don't need the latest phone with loads of extra features you only use once to make a phone call and that their old handset is absolutely fine?

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Dead Vulture

The title

Mobe might be unbanned, but anyone who actually uses it surely deserves to burn in a special level of hell.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: The title

Heh. You'll never take me alive.

Anyway, in this case it was necessary - 'handset sales drop for first time in history' would have drawn a deluge of quips about how the ancient Egyptians didn't buy many handsets either. And I don't think anyone wants that.

MOBE.

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Anonymous Coward

18month contracts?

Possibly more to do with most operators only offering 18month contracts.

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Pirate

18 month minimums

The AC above has a good point. I wasn't allowed any decent phones if I dropped to a 12 month tariff with my supplier, so was forced into an 18 month contract as I'm sure many others are to get any sort of functionality from a handset at all.

Still, won't be long till we have them embedded in our flesh, then it's gonna be a pain in the arse to upgrade (although I'd like to think thats not where they'll be embedded.........)

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Linux

@AC

Hate to agree with anyone afraid to sign thier name to a post but the main reason I have not changed to the new HTC model is that the company want me to sign up to a 18 month contract.

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Alert

Push to sim only

remember in the uk at least, sim only deals have become more common...

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No Shit

Who's really surprised by this? If the mobile manufacturers are surprised it just goes to prove how out of touch they are with their customers. All I want is a phone.

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Happy

@ Hedley Phillips

Most (western) consumers' CURRENT phone has all the extra features, hence no real need to upgrade?

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Coat

Re: The title

Well, technically sales can only drop once they've started - trying to say that the ancient Egyptians bought fewer handsets than the cavemen isn't really true because zero isn't less than zero...

ok, ok, I'm leaving...

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Jobs Horns

Uh, they are all waiting for the iPhone 2.0 in June

Sales dropped because everyone is waiting for the second coming of the iPhone.

BTW Nokia may rage in sales, but I'd be curious to know what their US sales are as I can't think of anyone right now with a Nokia phone here across the pond.

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Go

re: title

Could have been worse ---

"Mobe probe go slow dough flow"

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Alert

Mid-range

Hm... even if I am now a Blackberry owner, I used to go for the mid-range ones. The SonyEriccson W300 is good enough for what I wanted: mp3, radio, bluetooth, camera, and it uses m2 memory sticks (so I can up the storage capacity if I want). When I was originally searching for a replacement, it seemed like SonyEriccson decided to go all "high-end" and none of the snazzy new models convinced me. There was nothing like my ole W300 out there, and I wasn't about to sign an 18-month contract just to get... another W300.

So I went for the Blackberry 8300, as it had at least an unlimited data plan. SonyEriccson lost because it thought I wanted a non-clamshell phone with dozens of stuff I don't want, and a handset that looks shiny enough to get mugged for.* And given the entire mobile range, it seems like people are shifting back to the "simple, but works" handsets. Luddites would do well with the Motorola F3... but using it for SMS is really, really ugly. If that thing had a good display for SMS reading, that would be the phone of choice for a lot of people, I'm sure.

* There's been a rise in muggings with the sole purpose of stealing mobiles over here. So "shiny handsets" rate low on my scale, as I don't want to pay more to *increase* the probability of me being mugged over a stupid phone.

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Unhappy

@Jamie

I shouldn't bother with HTC if I were you. Got an MDAIII on an 18 month contract. After 10 DAYS, screen cracked. Rang mobile company and turns out so-called insurance not worth paper it's written on as screens not covered.

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Go

Market saturation + lack of innovation

Beyond the 18 month contract issue, there are many factors here: a) Sony Ericsson have fallen behind because they have failed to innovate of late. I owned the excellent K800i until recently and it offered better features (such as the excellent auto focus camera) than any of their more recent phones - and did a lot more too. They have launched nothing but mediocre devices since. b) I just got a Nokia N95 8G and it does almost everything well, and today in the UK, I have noticed that the most popular phones are the K800i (still!), the N95 series and the innovative and fun LG Viewty. This proves that versatility IS important. Why? People in the fashion aware UK dislike carrying multiple gadgets as it makes them look geeky. I don't mention the iPhone as while brilliantly executed and a joy to use, it is not actually that versatile, lacking an FM Radio (great when you want to 'discover' new music you may one day download), a decent camera - and stereo Bluetooth - something I use constantly as it means the phone can be hidden away from prying hands!

For sales to pickup, there has to be a compelling value proposition. My money is on these next gen phones helping things: Samsung F480 (not the F490 as reviewed by El Reg today), LG Secret (a matter of taste), 3G iPhone (assuming Apple get it right!) Nokia N96, HTC Diamond (this has a few really usefull innovations, such as firing up the notepad when you remove the stylus! Sweet!) To return to Sony Ericsson, some of their new phones do feature innovative touch screen features, but are prob too little too late as the screens are low res and smaller than the competition. The X1 may help them as it's got a nice slide out keyboard and a high res display. If you're still on the fence, K800i is still the best phone ever made. Great battery life, RDS FM Radio, camera with real flash and a semi-intelligent OS. For me, if the 3G iPhone is pants, I'll stick with the N95, as it records DVD quality video, which is really nice and useful - and the still camera is on par if not better than K800i - but it's a bit bulky.

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Happy

doing my bit

"US sales are up, but only by a measly 2.4 per cent compared to the first half of last year."

I can claim some credit for this, as I just bought a new phone last Friday.

Of course, it was only a $49 Kajeet pre-paid (to replace a $39 Tracfone pre-paid, which I seemed to have mislaid). It's a very nice little Samsung m300; pretty basic, but it does have Bluetooth, so resistance was futile and I've been assimilated.

I basically use it to call my mom since I don't have long distance on my land line.

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Happy

Ha Ha Ha

At last the penny is dropping.....The Iphone has stuffed them all.

Motorola is sacking execs. Now Nokia is going down the tubes....

About time too

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Heart

re The Title

Sorry, I have been away a bit but since when was mobe un-banned. Can some link me the official ruling?

This could be the end of our relationship Sarah Bee.

Will

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Flame

Nokia 8210

Well ever since the Nokia 8210 came to market in September 1999 the only new features of a Cellular Radio Telephone (CRT) has been a colour screen, higher resolution colour screen, increased phone memory for contacts and SMS, oh and stupid features people dont want like "mobile Internet" (WAP - WTF), perhaps a CCD okay thats alright, so is this any surprise?

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Coat

@ Will

Here ya go, all the gory details:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/01/mobe_liberated/

(Do you know how hard it was not to title this "Fire @ Will"?)

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Unhappy

S'not?

S'not the handset mate, it's the contracts.

I got an 18 monther from Orange courtesy of Dell-boy or one of his relatives.

Now I seek a VOIP doable, MAC-talkable bit of kit and the sooner the better.

Orange? (Just a longer way to say not very good!)

Abstract: the kit don't really matter whereas the contracts tend to hurt. Decrease in sales = a natural consequence boyo.

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CTG
Flame

Mobe unbanned...

'Tis a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance.

Shame on you Sarah.

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Phones

I don't use the phone a lot. I have my old Sagem MY-X5 on Tesco mobile (used £15 in 3 months), and when I upgrade, I want a smartphone, in particular the HTC Kaiser.

Orange have the handset, but charge far too much for data

3 want £30/month for the Nokia, thats too much.

T Mobile have the best data charges, but the handset is their Micky Mouse branded Kaiser. Even then on a decent package for me it would cost £120.

The handset on its own is £450, and when not getting a phone with airtime packages, its too expensive. I will keep my Sagem.

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Time to market

I think the other reason, is that the operators are far far too slow at bringing out the handsets. Take the HTC Diamond, it was announced ages ago and Orange was mentioned as being the first operator to have, and its still not on the Orange web site.

Now it might be the old paper launch trick, if so the operators really should group together to force the manufactures to only launch when they actually have product!

Personally I've gone to sim free, more choice of better phones, and I can upgrade whenever I like. As long as your sensible and upgrade every 1y/1.5y your not going to loose any more money than with a contract upgrade.

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Happy

2 hrs is too quick, avoid slamming

I'm lucky Ilive in a Telwest, sorry Virgin Media area, so my 300 minutes and 300 text per month only cost me a £10, the catch? When I want a new phone I'll have to go out and buy one PAYG, but then, £120 for a year or £35 x 12 months or 18 months, £420 or £630 isn't much of a choice for me, and as for 'free' phones, Yeah right! who you trying to kid? free my arse!

Smiley face cos I'm quite happy with my deal, and 1 month notice period, just waiting for the silly deals to get a little bit better, free phone for a year anyone??

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Happy

I've reached handset saturation

We are a two-adult household. We were very pleased with our HTC-Wizards (O2 brand) but held off changing handsets after 18 months were up last October. As we wanted a decent camera and telephone, we changed one handset to a K850 cybershot - which is great, because it also has internet/e-mail & Walkman. We sold on one of the Wizards. I took out a W880 as i was seduced by its steely slimness and it is also a Walkman/browser & e-mailer handset. Both Se handsets offer video calling & 3G too - occassionally usefule. I've kept one Wizard, as it's great in the house for armchair browsing on the sofa and it has my continental SIM for holidays. But i also have a crappy Nokia 6233 from work. I don't mind the 18month contract as handset features don't change that much. I think next time I will be going back to Windows Mobile, but O2 did not offer such a good deal on the pocket pc type handsets this time around. I'm quite happy with my inclusive talktime, txt & data allowances. I almost never use the handset for voice calls!

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@Sarah

But if the Egyptians bought no mobiles, and continued to buy no mobiles, then handset sales did not drop - they remained static. Once the mobile phone market appeared they grew, and now they are dropping for the first time in history. So you can go back to avoiding "mobe." ;-)

Oh, and Mad Hacker - please tell me you're being sarcastic.

I agree with those who say people are finally becoming wiser. The faddish nature of the mobile market ten years ago really annoyed me. It reminded me of the Shoe Event Horizon in the Guide - eventually we were going to buy and throw away so many phones - for the crime of being ten minutes behind fashion - that they were going to form a new layer of the Earth's crust.

I probably won't buy a new phone when I renew my contract. Nothing's come out since I got it that I'd rather have, and it works just fine for me. What's the point of spending hundreds more on another smartphone just because it's new?

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@Blubster

Screens aren't covered on many laptop warranties either. Neither are the hard drive or battery. Because those are the bits they'd have to replace. A lot of warranties are a con. If you haven't noticed this yet, you really should read what you're signing more. MDA III was a good phone, then they went with smaller, inferior versions of it for many years. At some point one engineer broke free, ran off into a corner and made the Athena while no-one was looking.

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Linux

@ Blubster

I already know about the extended insurance plan. One thing that I have which really upsets the companies is I always refuse the extended plans.

The whole purpose of these extended insurance is a money making racket for the phone companies like Phones 4 U (will not go to them as the commercials annoy me), Phone Warehouse, and all the others.

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Keep it simple

I love gadgets - make no mistake.

But when it comes to phones, I like to keep it simple. I've downgraded from a fancy phone to a simple Nokia 1112. It has a mono screen which can be seen in bright sunlight. It's tough, has a superb battery life and is cheap £10-£15 on PAYG, stick a Virgin 300/300 £10 SIM (30 day contract) and you're laughing.

The only thing I miss is a calendar.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Keep it simple

Totally.

I'll see your 1112 and raise you my 3100 (with calendar).

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18-month contract here

I'm probably going to end up leaving 3 for a carrier that's not 3G exclusive, as the inability to switch off 3G mode on my phone means crap signal strength and battery life compared to my 2G work phone and I've finally decided I'd rather get signal and a phone I can have on standby for more than a few days without charging than 3G service that I don't use.

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@hkmk23

How do you get Nokia is going down the tubes when their world wide sales are up 4-5%, just cos not many in the 'mobile backward US' have them as Walmart only sells Motorola crap where you still have to pull up your aerial to get decent reception. We got rid of those phones 10-15 years ago. iPhone? Only seen a few people bother over here and most of those soon realise that their old phone does it all much better.

I laughed at all the crap phones people had State side. You'll catch up with Africa soon though maybe.

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