Wirefly's Five Predictions for Mobile Phones

1. Music and mobile TV phones

Indeed, 9 out of the top 10 cell phones sold by Wirefly in 2006 were camera phones. In addition, many new models introduced and advertised in 2006 placed a heavy emphasis on music capabilities, including Walkman branded phones. In December 2006, 30 percent of all phones shipped by Wirefly had built-in music capabilities.

2. Bigger selection of smartphones with more robust operating systems

While small and slim continued to be an overwhelming trend, 2006 did see the introduction of exciting smartphones like the Cingular-branded smartphones, the Treo 700 series, the Motorola Q, T-Mobile MDA, the Blackberry Pearl and Blackberry 8700 series, and Pocket PC's like the Verizon XV6700. These phones proved that users continue to demand sophisticated functionality, but are expecting more stylish form factors as well.

3. Cell phones designed for children

Not only did Wirefly see strong growth in sales of phones made just for kids, but increasingly services are being introduced targeted specifically to kids and parents. In late 2006, Wirefly inked a deal with Disney Mobile, which is now a featured carrier on the Wirefly site.

4. Expanded GPS services

Closely related to the trend in children's cell phones are the expanded GPS geo-location services that were heavily targeted to parents, including Sprint and Disney's locator systems and alerts. The fourth quarter of 2006 also saw a significant increase in marketing of GPS services by the cell phone carriers themselves. Services like turn-by-turn driving directions featured heavily in merchandising by Sprint and Verizon Wireless, and Wirefly expects to see this trend continue.