So I took a couple minutes (it took a lot less time than I imagined) and grabbed all the mobile phone images from Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Nextel and Virgin Mobile and threw them into a big collage. Click on the picture to see the image full size. These are all the phones available from all the carriers here in the U.S. as of Christmas 2004.
It's nice to sit back and take a look at all the phones to sort of gauge where the market in general is. They're almost all color phones, and the vast majority have cameras and data access. If I had the time, I'd love to go through and get a general idea of medium cost point and functionality and all that, but I read recently that the average price a consumer will pay for a mobile phone is now around $99, up from around $88 (which is good).
From these phones will arise a "most popular" phone in the U.S. and pretty much set the stage for the next year in terms of platform in which carriers and third parties alike can build new services. So many different phones, platforms, capabilities! It almost makes you yearn for an illegal monopoly like we have on the desktop! ;-)
I've been saying for the past six months or so that the Christmas buying season is going to be really important for the next year or so in U.S. mobility. I'm predicting a huge surge in the number of people upgrading their old clunky cellphones for shiny new camera phones with data access, spurred on by carrier competition, great phones and lots of neat deals. Remember last Christmas season? SonyEricsson's T610 became the hottest selling phone on the planet and put them on the map when many people were predicting their doom. Conversely, Nokia's many phones with wacky designs caused them to lose something like 5 percentage points in market share, and AT&T Wireless did so poorly they had to hasten their sale to Cingular. What will this Christmas bring? Like all consumer products, the mobile manufacturers will sell an inordinant amount of phones during the end of the year.
It should be intersting to see what happens.