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Gartner: All PC vendors will offer smartphones

Oct 27, 2009 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

All major PC vendors will have announced plans to enter the smartphone market by the end of this year, says a newly released Gartner report. Worldwide smartphone sales will grow by 29 per cent year-over-year to reach 180 million units in 2009, overtaking notebooks, Gartner adds.

In its report, "Dataquest Insight: PC Vendors' Move Into the Smartphone Market is Not Challenge Free," the analyst firm says that smartphones currently account for 14 per cent of overall mobile device sales, and will make up around 37 per cent of global handset sales by 2012. By then, smartphone revenue will reach $191 million, higher than the $152 million that will be gained from mobile PC sales, says Gartner.

As a result, Gartner says, the smartphone market is becoming one that "PC vendors feel they cannot afford to ignore." All major PC vendors will have announced their aim to have a presence in the smartphone market by the end of this year, says Gartner principal research analyst Roberta Cozza.

Excluding Apple, with its wildly successful iPhone, PC vendors have had a cumulative share of the smartphone market that amounts to less than one percent, according to Gartner. During the next three years, no single PC vendor — again, with the presumable exception of Apple — will garner more than two percent of the smartphone market, the firm adds.

States Cozza, "PC vendors should realize that while convergence of technologies offers an opportunity to enter into the smartphone arena, the business models, go to market and positioning of products is very different from the PC market. PC vendors will find it difficult to simply use existing supply chains and channels to expand their presence in the smartphone market. The smartphone and notebook markets are governed by different rules when it comes to successfully marketing and selling products."

As Gartner notes, PC vendors have traditionally introduced phones based on Windows Mobile, thanks to their existing relationships with Microsoft and their comfort level when it comes to dealing with enterprise customers. In this regard, Acer — which claims to be the world's number three vendor in PCs overall, and number two in netbooks — is a case in point. The manufacturer acquired E-ten last year, and has since released a range of Windows phones, such as the beTouch E200.


However, the Acer experience suggests that Microsoft — whose recently released Windows Mobile 6.5 has gained lukewarm reviews at best — is by no means guaranteed to profit from PC vendors' moves into the smartphone space. For one thing, Acer has moved fitfully, first merely renaming existing E-ten devices, then branding its smartphones as the Tempo series, and finally adopting new beTouch and NeoTouch brands. For another, Acer has also announced the Liquid (pictured at right), a smartphone based on the Linux-based Android stack.


Even more worrying for Redmond, Dell — which years ago released the Axim line of Windows-based PDAs, and is a longtime Microsoft stalwart — has confirmed that it will go with Android, not Windows, for a smartphone to be released in the U.S. next year. The phone is said to be based on the Dell Mini 3i Android phone (pictured), which is being introduced in China. Dell is also rumored to be preparing an Android-based mobile internet device.

Asus, another Windows stalwart known primarily for its PC systems and Windows Mobile phones, has taken a backdoor approach to Linux and Android, trying out the Linux-based Nuvifone G60 smartphone in its GarminAsus partnership with Garmin. GarminAsus has also released a Windows Mobile version of the Nuvifone, and an Android version is said to be in the works for early next year.

In its report, Gartner lists five main challenges PC vendors will face when entering the smartphone market, as follows:

  • Smartphones are not "cut-down" versions of mobile PCs; technical specifications are less important
  • The distribution channel for mobile phones is controlled largely by mobile operators
  • Brand and user experience are significant differentiators for mobile handsets
  • Handset vendors are set to dominate the market for mobile internet devices (MIDs) due to their better understanding of internet usage behavior
  • Consumerization opens the door to consumer smartphones in the organization — it's not the IT manager who makes the decision

Adds Cozza, "The smartphone market has never been more competitive and even established handset vendors are being challenged to maintain or expand their positions. Understanding of mobile consumer behaviors, competitiveness, and positioning of their mobile products and relationships with carriers are all barriers that cannot be overcome in the short term. This will limit any PC vendor presence in the smartphone market to low single digits for some time."

Availability

Gartner says its report, "Dataquest Insight: PC Vendors' Move Into the Smartphone Market is Not Challenge Free," is available now, though pricing was not stated. Further information may be found on the company's website, here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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