Mobile, Smartphone Market Forces in Flux

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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While most experts agree that the mobile and smartphone market is a hot technology area in 2010, the landscape is changing as subscriber rates top out. Market research firm IDC has identified four key market forces shaping today's market that VARs should keep an eye on to maximize the integration opportunities at their clients.

While some VARs may have stayed away from the smartphone business because they can’t complete the transaction for their business end customers, others are starting to embrace the devices and the smartphone integration services they can provide to customers.

That’s what a handful of VARs have told Channel Insider—the opportunity is not in the hardware sale, it is in making the device work with existing applications such as Microsoft Exchange, CRM apps and other business software infrastructure. And that opportunity gets bigger every time a vendor introduces a new operating system—Android, for example.

Android's market entry, along with a few other upstart OSes in the mobile space, was one of the market forces identified by research analyst firm IDC in a report about the changing mobile marketplace.

The research firm says the mobile sector is now worth $850 billion globally, or 57 percent of the total global telecom market. It’s also the fastest growing market and will make up 62 percent of the total telecom market this year, the firm said.

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IDC identified the following four major trends that will be shaping the mobile industry in the years to come that VARs should watch as they work to provide integration services in this space:

  • As revenue growth slows for voice services and hardware sales, the importance of mobile data, mobile broadband and applications will continue to grow.  
  • Smartphones have emerged as a driver of the global mobile market, with 15 percent of all devices shipped. Another driver will likely be the emergence of connected devices, such as embedded laptops and industrial/machine-to-machine (M2M) devices.
  • This year, 2010, will bring substantial transformation in the mobile operating system landscape as newcomers such as Android and Mac OS X and webOS infiltrate a market that had been dominated by BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile.
  • In the infrastructure segment, mobile broadband will continue to be the focus this year with operators in mature markets implementing HSPA. WiMax will be a key driver in many emerging markets, while LTE will begin to take hold toward the end of the year and into 2011.

"The mobile sector is in transition from its prior focus on subscriber growth," said Courtney Munroe, group vice president of Worldwide Telecommunications at IDC. "The expanding demographics of smartphones and new operating systems, the arrival of mobile broadband, and the explosive growth of applications and content are combining to reshape the landscape of mobile telecommunications."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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