Sunday, 23 August 2009

Smartphones rule as Dell enters the market

(By Richard Holway 6.00pm Sunday 23rd Aug 09) In my ‘state of the ICT Nation’ speech four years ago when I introduced ‘MyTop’ and the following year when I morphed the concept into ‘MobiTop’, this was based on a world increasingly dominated by what I referred to as Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

A lot has happened since then and the prediction looks a lot more certain. Indeed the two hottest sectors in ‘tech hardware’ – netbooks and smartphones – are both based around the MID phenomenon.
Last week Gartner (see Gartner Press Release) issued research showing that sales of smartphones surged 27% in Q2 with a 30% YOY growth forecast for 2009 as a whole. This is set against a 6.2% decline in mobile handsets as in Q2 – the 3rd consecutive quarterly decline . But let’s put this in proportion. There were 286m mobile handsets sold in Q2 of which only 41m were smartphones. Nokia is still the smartphone market leader with a 45% share
But Gartner reckons that will quickly change. By 2012 70-75% of the mobile handsets sold in Europe will be smartphones . See Daily Telegraph 17th Aug 09 Smartphones to take 70% of the market .

This fits rather well with another bit of news last week as Dow Jones reported that Dell enters smartphone handset market through deal with China Mobile. The Dell device is the mini3i. However, as it’s 2G only and lacks any WiFi, it is a long way off being an acceptable product up against the iPhone or Blackberry. But it does show how the ‘computer’ and ‘telecomms’ markets are converging – fast. HP, Acer and other ‘computer’ makers have launched smartphones recently – and, of course, that was exactly the situation ‘pioneered’ by Apple.

Readers will be weary of my views on the subject. MIDs really will rule the world. But they will come in all manner of shapes and sizes and increasingly users will have multiple MIDs. I already have three – my iPod Touch, my Blackberry Bold and my Acer Aspire One netbook. Ten years back all our hardware was from Dell. Can’t remember when we last bought anything from them. In other words, unless the conventional computer manufacturers embrace MIDs they will be doomed.

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