At one time cellular handset designers ruled the roost. They could exercise creative and technical genius safe in the knowledge that the market was driven by the products they developed. Fast-forward to today and the picture is very different. Handset designers are under intense pressure from a variety of different sources. Operators demand handsets with functionality that will boost Average Revenue per User (ARPU), consumers want user friendly, fashionable products at a low price and manufacturers want a low bill of materials—and all this constrained into shorter product development cycles. Cellular handsets are now mainstream consumer electronics products, where brand, distribution and time sensitive features determine the success of a product line. This article discusses the challenges faced by this new requirement paradigm and offers a few suggestions on how to address it.

Reprinted in its entirety from ARM IQ Vol. 4, No. 2, 2005