Apple Shows the Way
“Vendors Vie for Smartphone Market Position” credits the Apple iPhone with opening the smartphone market to a wider array of providers. By linking the hardware device, the smartphone, to a content delivery platform, the App store, Apple has managed to create a powerful hardware/ content combination. Thus Apple has removed one of the main barriers to entering the smartphone market: how to generate revenue out of content.
Hardware Advances Will Likely Spread
Successful advances in hardware may spread rapidly to all smartphone manufacturers. Several important developments in particular will likely be seen during the next five years:
- Smartphones will increasingly be equipped with HD video recording capabilities. Several handsets already have HD video recording available such as the Samsung OMNIA I8910 HD and Sony Ericsson’s Vivaz. Economies of scale will reduce the cost
of this component as more OEM handset vendors will adopt HD video.
- High-end smartphone devices are expected to have dual core processors by the end of 2010; by 2012, most smartphones will have dual core processors. (With a dual core processor, different applications can be split between the processors, saving on
battery life and improving processing speed.)
- New form factors are expected to emerge particularly as smartphone devices become smaller, typically to the size of a standard handset.
- Samsung’s pico projector phone, called Beam which was launched at Mobile World Congress 2010, is expected to be the first of several handsets that are equipped with projectors to get over the problem of limited screen “real estate” inherent in the smartphone device.
- 3-D technologies for video and still photos are being developed by several handset manufacturers. This is achieved by mounting two cameras on the device to replicate the distance between the eyes.
New Players Gain Ground by 2015
As detailed in the chart above, new smartphone market entrants (such as Dell, Acer and Huawei), which have virtually no presence in the current smartphone market, will account for a much larger share of the total market, forecast to encompass more than 26 million shipments.
Other providers, such as Google, which also currently have almost no presence, will represent roughly the same marketshare in 2015. A smaller, but still substantial, majority of the market will be taken by closed OS manufacturers such as Apple and RIM.
Android, iPhone OS Market Share Grow 2%
The Apple iPhone holds a significant share of the US smartphone operating system (OS) market, although less-established competitor Google Android is growing at the same rate, according to recent data from The Nielsen Company.
In Q1 2010, Apple iPhone held 28% of the US smartphone OS market, placing it not too far behind market leader RIM Blackberry with 35% market share. The Google Android OS, iPhone’s closest competitor, only held 9%. However, both iPhone and Android grew their market shares 2% quarter-over-quarter from Q4 2009.