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Memory is New Must-Have Mobile Accessory

Revenue from shipments of removable memory cards for mobile phone handsets is expected to be over $7 billion in 2007, compared with $5 billion expected from headset shipments -- including both Bluetooth and wired headsets -- according to ABI Research.

In fact, memory cards will continue to be the highest revenue-generating mobile phone accessory category over the next five years.

ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey says, "With few exceptions, memory cards for handsets are bought by users separately from the handset purchase, whereas an increasing number of headsets are now being supplied in-box with the handsets."

"Earlier handset vendors only provided wired headsets, but now even Bluetooth headsets are being presented in-box with the handsets. Therefore, greater after-market sales of memory cards versus increasing in-box sales for headsets are resulting in stronger growth and higher revenue from memory cards when compared with headsets."

The recent announcement by Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Spansion, STMicroelectronics, Micron Technology, and Texas Instruments of support for the creation of the UFS (Universal Flash Storage) specification for use in mobile phones, digital cameras, and other CE devices is likely to fuel the rapid growth of the memory card market.

The UFS standard, expected to be finalized in 2009, will provide a unified memory solution for embedded memory and removable memory cards -- eliminating the need to have adaptors for different memory card formats.

"In the coming years," adds Pandey, "a greater number of handset accessories (including memory cards) will be supplied in-box as handset vendors recognize that to boost sales of high-end, feature-rich mobile phones and smartphones, they need to offer accessories that allow users to benefit fully from the multimedia features in those handsets."

ABI Research expects the market for mobile phone accessories to grow steadily in the next five years, generating over $80 billion in revenue in 2012. The continuing innovation and further advancements in technology -- coupled with the increasing desire of customers to personalize their handsets -- bode well for the future of the market.

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