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Report questions “mobile office” market potential

May 31, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Shortly before Palm unveiled its “Foleo mobile companion”, market research firm 451 Group released a report questioning the potential for “mobile office” devices such as smartphones. The Group estimates that only 20 million smartphones ship each year today, with volume unlikely to grow much beyond that.

The finding is from a 110-page 451 Group report entitled “The Unbound Office.” The report concludes that voice and text messaging suffice for 95 percent of mobile phone consumers, with only five percent eager for email, Internet access, document viewing/editing, and organization and planning capabilities.

Naturally, other analysts disagree. Only two days ago, Berg Insight projected a smartphone market size close to 400 million units within five short years, for example.

And, PDA and phone vendor Palm yesterday unveiled its Foleo device concept, a device pretty well described by the term “mobile office.” The Foleo is designed to mate with an Internet-connected smartphone, augmenting its office capabilities via a larger screen and full-size keyboard.

For their part, Palm investors appear cautiously pessimistic about the mobile office, with shares sliding about half a penny since the Foleo's unveiling a day and a half ago by Palm founder Jeff Hawkins and CEO Ed Colligan.

Additional information on the mobile office can be found in the 451 Group's report, described in further detail here. More about the Foleo can be found in our earlier coverage, here.

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