Shipments of mobile devices, including smartphones, netbooks, and consumer electronics are expected to nearly double by 2014
A bright future is in store for certain electronic makers after ABI Research predicted that mobile device shipments are expected to nearly double by the end of 2014.
However, such growth will increase competition and lead to a need for devices to better set themselves apart, said the firm.
In 2009, a total of 1.2 billion mobile devices with wireless capabilities – including mobile handsets, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), consumer electrons, cellular modems and netbooks – are expected to ship. Come 2014, ABI expects shipments of such devices to reach 2.25 billion units, with consumer favourites shifting to new categories.
“The next five years will see a shift in the breakdown between types of mobile devices shipped,” said Michael Morgan, an analyst with ABI, in a statement.
“Today, wireless handsets rule the roost, with other mobile devices accounting for only 40 million shipments and cellular modems only 60 million,” Morgan continued. “While handset shipments did actually decrease between 2008 and 2009 due to the global recession, the other two segments in fact grew very aggressively.”
Strategy Analytics, in an 30 October report on third-quarter global mobile handset shipments, showed the worldwide handset market to have fallen by an average of 11 percent over the previous quarters. The third quarter, however, was down only 4 percent from a year earlier, and the firm pointed to positive growth in the fourth quarter.
ABI’s Morgan continued, “Handset sales are growing at only 4 percent, while cellular modem shipments are expected to grow by 40 percent annually, and ultra mobile devices by 67 percent. These newer categories represent very attractive market opportunities and new revenue streams for operators.”
The new categories will additionally create new competition for smartphones, said Morgan, as consumers make purchasing choices. Consequently, handset vendors will need to make low-cost and ultra-low-cost models a larger part of their businesses, while MID and netbook makers will need to better define their use cases and value propositions.
“The convergence period for cellular communications is coming to an end, and now we’re entering a period of divergence. For many devices the technology is already in place, it’s just the business and billing models that need to be built,” said Morgan.
Also anticipating mobile device growth, investment bank Morgan Stanley expects that within five years, more people will access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs. In a 15 December report, it described social networking, 3G network adoption, video, voice-over IP and “impressive mobile devices” as major contributors to the growth of mobile Internet use.