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Fierce Competition Adds Verve to Growing Smart Phone Market

Powerful cell phones with Web and multimedia capabilities - dubbed "smart phones" - are part of a new generation of mobile phones earning a loyal following. Spencer Michels reports on smart phones and how top industry contenders plan to offer the technology.

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  • SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Benjamin Bethurum is a composer. What he sets to music are original ringtones for cell phones, one tactic his employer, Microsoft, is using to try to appeal to the billions of cell phone users in the world.


    So when you're in a meeting, you're not embarrassed by your cheesy, you know, synthetic ringtone.


    Eighty percent of Americans own cell phones. And worldwide, three billion phones exist, a huge market that keeps growing and changing as new phones become more like computers.

    Microsoft is one of many companies hoping to cash in on the cell phone phenomenon. Bethurum's specialty: making sounds that will allow phone buyers, especially younger people, to differentiate themselves from the crowd.


    It shows who you are. It says, "Hey, I like hip-hop," or, "Hey, you know what, I like classical music, and I'm going to show it off."


    While the hits just keep on coming, a variety of companies involved in the cell phone industry are innovating on other fronts, as well. And Microsoft and its competitors, including just recently Google, are in the chase.