Will Low Radiation Phones Be A Selling Point In the Future?

by Ben Bajarin   |   June 3rd, 2011

There has been mounting media over the past few years around whether there is a link to cell phone radiation and a possible cancer risk. The latest WHO (World Health Organization) report that was recently released issued yet another warning that there may be a link to cell phone radiation and brain cancer. Which leads to an interesting question: Can low radiation levels be sold as a feature of cell phones in the future?

My guess is yes. In the very near future, I would not be surprised if we begin to see more labels on these devices clearly stating how much radiation (SAR levels) they produce. I would even venture a guess that there will be consumers who will take the radiation levels of a cell phone into consideration as a part of the decision making process. Some consumer may be more concerned about the radiation levels than others but tradeoffs will be made based on what the consumer cares about.

For example if a consumer is concerned about the radiation level, they may not be able to purchase the latest and greatest device on the market at the time if it has what they consider to be too high of radiation output. Another concern would also be with young adults or the elderly whom may be in the market for a cell phone. Perhaps for that market the family member who may be buying the cell phone or the person themselves may not want to take the risk, if they felt there was one to take.

Whether by law or by choice i’m willing to bet that we will begin to see more attention given to the SAR ratings on these devices.

CTIA-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry trade group, is fighting these moves. It says there’s no hard evidence the measured ratings have any correlation with risks. As of now carriers and cell phone makers are not yet selling or labeling devices as “low-radiation phones.” However it would not surprise me if at least to a degree we see more labels distinctly calling out the level of radiation.

Spokesman John Walls said CTIA wouldn’t fight a manufacturer that wanted to market a “low-radiation phone.” But claiming a phone to be safer than any other would cross the line, he said. “They’re all deemed safe by science,” Walls said.

Despite the findings from the World Health Organization, there will still be continued research into this area I am sure. Because of that this issue will not go away until it is solved. Given that in the weeks prior to the WHO report Google search requests for terms like “cancer” and “cell phone radiation” has spiked, we can be certain the public awareness won’t go away either.

The bottom line is there is a responsibility of the handset makers to make sure there is no harm to consumers and do all they can to put the lowest radiation devices on the market.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio