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Connected devices will steal phones’ thunder, ABI predicts

Dec 22, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Shipments of mobile devices will nearly double in the next five years, according to a report from ABI Research. While that might not sound surprising, the research firm adds that fewer and fewer of them will be mobile phones.

In its newly issued "Mobile Devices Annual Market Overview," ABI Research says the number of mobile devices shipped during 2009 will have reached 1.2 billion by year's end. Forecasting steady growth, the firm adds that by 2014, yearly shipments will have nearly doubled, to a total of 2.25 billion.

At first glance, these numbers don't seem very surprising: After all, mobile phones seem to have garnered the attention that was once reserved for personal computers (which, of course, smartphones essentially are). All over the blogosphere, enthusiasts search for rumors about new phones — sometimes months in advance of their actual release — and debate the merits of their operating systems. (To find out how closely you've been paying attention, can you name the Android phone pictured at right? Answer is farther below.)

"Today, wireless handsets [indeed] rule the roost," ABI analyst Michael Morgan states. Of the 1.2 billion mobile devices shipments in 2009, the vast majority were phones, with stand-alone cellular modems accounting for only 60 million, and "other mobile devices" — apparently defined as MIDs (mobile internet devices), UMPCs (ultra-mobile PCs) or netbooks that include 3G connectivity — just 40 million, according to the firm.

But, adds ABI Research, handset shipments actually decreased during 2008 and 2009 due to the global recession. At the same time, cellular modems and other mobile devices actually "grew very aggressively," the firm adds.

Morgan writes, "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."

It's connectivity that counts most, not the device that provides it

Meanwhile, "cell phones are ruining the country, writes PC Magazine columnist and resident curmudgeon John C. Dvorak. "The proof, to me, is the endless chatter about cell phones themselves."

Dvorak adds, somewhat tongue-in-cheek no doubt, "We need to refocus on the desktop computer, a device that did indeed improve productivity. We need to stop looking at, talking about, and reviewing these phones. In fact, let's just stop using them!"


According to ABI Research, its "Mobile Devices Annual Market Overview" is divided into 12 sections, with 49 different tables. The report is said to cover mobile phones, netbooks, MIDs, UMPCs, mobile broadband modems, WiMAX devices, and other connected mobile consumer electronics devices. It reviews shipments of each product type, providing historical data from 2006 through 2009, and predicted data through 2014, the firm adds.

While pricing was not provided, more detail on the report and the included sections may be found on the ABI Research website, here.

As for the mystery phone shown above? That would be Samsung's Galaxy Spica, of course, an Android model now available in Europe from Telefonica's O2 network. If you guessed right, according to Dvorak, you are not only ruining your country, but the entire world. Congrats!

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