While most of the world chose to standardize on a single wireless standard, the United States did not. This has lead to competing standards, of which the two front runners are CDMA and GSM/GPRS. According to a study by EMC, CDMA will still be ahead in coming years but GSM/GPRS will gain on it.
Currently, CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) has 43% of the market while GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) currently accounts for 11% of the U.S. market, up from 6% in 1999. EMC predicts that in 2007, CDMA will have 44%, while GSM will have grown to 33%, at the expense of its smaller rivals like TDMA.
Of course, this competition is really only happening in the U.S. About 80% of the phone sold in the world use GSM. The only other countries that make serious use of CDMA are Korea and China.
The Challenge for Handheld Makers
With two competing standards, handheld makers are forced to either choose one or make two versions of their wireless models. Fortunately, most of them have chosen the latter course. Handspring makes the Treo 300, which uses CDMA, and the Treo 270, which uses GSM/GPRS. Samsung has announced two versions of the i700 Pocket PC smartphone.
However, this doesn’t always happen. The Palm Tungsten W is only available for GSM/GPRS and there are no CDMA devices that run the Symbian OS.