RealTime IT News

Egad! A Mobile Phone Without The Internet?

Americans still prefer their cell phones cheap or free, even if that means it can't play music or access the Internet, according to a study from The NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company.

Among the 33 million phones U.S. customers purchased in the second quarter, 28 percent were free due to special rebates and promotions. Another 28 percent cost less than $50.

Just 11 percent of phones purchased in the second quarter cost more than $150 and 4 percent cost more than $250. Only 45 percent of these new phones were able to play music.

The low numbers might be surprising considering the hype around Apple's iPhone launch on June 29, a day when spots in the line to buy the "game changer" device could cost over $500.

But though the iPhone's many features can win over even the most skeptical of critics, it can't change consumer habits overnight.

There is evidence, however, that consumer tastes are changing.

Though a majority of new phones sold in the second quarter are unable to play music, those that can play music increased by 11 percent over the prior quarter.

Smartphone sales increased 32 percent over the prior quarter, as well. Camera phone purchases increased 68 percent.

The 33 million units sold in the second quarter is a 17 percent decline over the prior quarter. According to the NDP Group, however, the second quarter is traditionally a slow sales quarter for mobile phone retailers.