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U.S. cell phone users pick up on new features

Mobile phone customers are looking for more perks such as wireless headsets and "push to talk"--but data services are slower to catch on, a survey shows.

U.S. cell phone users are showing more interest in new mobile perks such as wireless headsets and push-to-talk options--but data services are still slower to catch on.

Fifty-four percent of consumers surveyed want cordless headsets, while 50 percent want access to push-to-talk capabilities, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, which polled 1,000 cell phone users. Simpler personal information management features were requested by a third of those surveyed.

Some U.S. carriers, looking to cash in on the rising interest in new features, have recently introduced push-to-talk services, which, similar to a walkie-talkie, need only the push of a single button to connect callers to another cell phone.

However, wireless data services, which depend on higher-speed networks, have been slow to pick up in the United States. Carriers have said that wireless data represents about 3 percent of overall revenue, compared with about 10 percent to 12 percent in Europe and Asia.

While 22 percent of cell phone users are interested in Bluetooth technology, only 13 percent of users are interested in Qwerty keypads, which are often used in handsets designed for wireless data applications. Still fewer are keen on video and music applications or games.

Strategy Analytics predicted that the growth of multimedia applications on handsets will be driven mainly by business users and tech-savvy consumers. Traditional users, which account for half of the market, would be a challenge for operators, the market researcher said.

"Users are interested in true wireless connectivity, and they want it effortlessly," Eddie Tapiero, author of the report, said in a statement. "Users would like the ability to synchronize calendars and scheduling applications and to connect to work resources without the need of base stations or wire lines."