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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Long life mobile battery 'vital'
Image of a camera phone
With more to do for phones, "power pain" has become a big issue
Top of the list for the most desirable feature of a next generation mobile device is not some fancy new function, but a battery that lasts much longer.

Two-thirds of mobile and personal digital assistant owners in a marketing survey across 15 countries said two days' active battery life was vital.

It also showed almost half wanted more memory, and a high-resolution camera.

The findings come as the electronics industry scrambles to develop the next essential device in people's pockets.

The report by marketing firm TNS Technology said that poor battery life on mobile devices was one of the main reasons people did not play more games, music and video on their devices more often.

"The study shows that there is an appetite among consumers for powerful new applications, particularly those around entertainment media and imaging," said Hanis Harun, from TNS.

"However, the research also indicates that consumers now fully realise that such applications require enhanced battery life and increased memory and they are demanding these improvements as a priority."

Fourteen of the 15 countries in the research agreed that a battery that lasted two days while in active use was essential.

The exception was China; respondents there said that at least 20GB of storage capacity was the top must-have feature.

Bulging pockets

Currently, a 20GB non-mobile phone device can typically play about 5,000 songs and store approximately 20,000 photos.

The survey of 6,800 16 to 49-year-olds by market analysis firm, TNS, questioned people across the likes of India, US, UK, China, Brazil and Germany.

It gives some insight into what people want from future gadgets which combine many different functionalities.

Latest research from mobile analysts, Informa Telecoms and Media, suggests that being able to play and store content on mobiles will soon become key to the industry.

Mobiles that have enough memory to hold 50 to 60 full audio tracks will become increasingly commonplace, according to the report.

It also predicted that audio would be worth $11bn (6.3bn) by 2010, with downloaded music likely to double as ringtones.

Games, gambling and adult content clamour to make the industry worth $42.8bn (24.6bn) by 2010.

Image of camera phones
46% send MMS (multimedia messaging)
23% send MMS audio/video
59% camera phone owners snap once a week
46% said MMS 'too expensive' to use
22% said quality put them off MMS
15% cite interoperability problems
Source: TNS Technology 2005
The latest mobile as well as portable devices which are jostling for space in people's pockets in the run-up to Christmas have been trying to target different areas of interest that people might have.

The announcement of the Motorola Rokr mobile earlier this month left many in the industry divided, however.

Some said it compared badly with existing iPod music players in both its looks and what it can do.

Others questioned which group of consumers it was aimed at and whether people would be willing to pay a premium for such a device.

Rokr followed the recent launch of other "music mobiles", such as the Sony Walkman W800, which have tried to sell themselves to music lovers who might want to combine functions.

But there are also more multimedia gadgets moving in on the mobile phone.

Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) games device had its European debut at the beginning of the month.

Although not a mobile, it is another device that tries to be an all-in-one gadget.

Sony wants it to take a spot beside the mobile as a multimedia entertainment device.

But historically, cramming everything into one mobile device has had mixed results, mainly because of power, people's desire for choice, and usability issues.

Format wars over mobile TV
12 Sep 05 |  Technology
Designs on less complex mobiles
13 May 05 |  Technology
Apple unveils iPod phone hybrid
07 Sep 05 |  Technology
Motorola fails to Rokr my world
16 Sep 05 |  Technology
Mobiles becoming 'media channels'
26 Jul 05 |  Technology
Multimedia mobiles face the music
08 Sep 05 |  Technology
Sony's PSP breaks sales records
06 Sep 05 |  Technology

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