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3/2/2006
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Cell Phone Users Tune Out Music And Video: Survey Says

A large majority of Americans say they have no desire to watch TV or movies, or listen to music, on their cell phones.

Most Americans don't want to rock with their phones or squint at the latest episode of "Desperate Housewives" on a tiny screen, a new survey said Thursday. The poll tosses a wrench into cell phone providers' efforts to make broadband applications like music and video downloads attractive to consumers.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Royal Bank of Canada's RBC Capital Markets research group, interviewed 1,001 Americans and found that three-fourths said they weren't interested in watching TV programs or movies on their handheld. Nearly as many -- 69 percent -- said they didn't care to listen to music using their cell phone.

The reason, said RBC, was that people are spooked by the quick changes in mobile technology.

"Consumers are generally deterred when it comes to adopting the latest integrated mobile devices due to concerns of obsolescence," said Mark Sue, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, in a statement. "As integrated mobile devices become more complex, a significant time lag can persist before the trajectory of growth accelerates."

But that probably won't stymie providers from pushing their plans. "Digital music, video, and web browsing wrapped in an iconic device, may help mobile device makers grab a greater share of an individual's disposable income previously allocated to other consumer electronics."

Other results from the poll indicate that Americans definitely don't want ads hitting their phones. Nearly 6 out of 10 said mobile marketing was a nuisance and "should be prohibited." Somewhat fewer -- 4 in 10 -- went even farther, and said they'd pay more for a phone or PDA that banned ads or marketing messages.

RBC's survey mirrors prognostications late last year from Forrester Research that while cell phone companies were bullish on new services such as music downloads, users were bearish.

"The mobile music experience still cannot compare with that of Apple's iPod," Forrester warned cell phone vendors. "Device-makers will have to up the ante on mobile storage, software, and processing speed to get consumers to reach for their cell phones when they want to hear Eminem."

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