ABI Research just published a paper today that forecasts memory cards to have sold $7 billion this year, while headsets take second place in the mobile accessory market at $5 billion. The prime reason for this is that headsets are becoming more frequently bundled with devices, while memory cards still need to be bought separately. This shift isn’t a huge surprise, since mobile multimedia is gaining popularity and needs to address hardware bottlenecks. With high capacity SD cards becoming more widespread and the new UFS card gaining support, the memory market is looking pretty sweet.
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A recent ABI Research report is forecasting huge progress for Linux as the OS of choice for smartphones, claiming 31% of smartphones will be running it by 2012 thanks to a compound annual growth rate of 74%. Both Nokia and Palm have been flirting with Linux adoption for awhile. In fact, being more of an open product was one of the key changes Palm needed to embrace, according to a certain open letter. The report just goes to show that doing so early will get them on board with developers. Now, the BlackBerry’s fairly closed in terms of its OS and odds are it’s going to stay that way. How much of a lead could open source adoption give Palm over RIM?
After listening in on ABI Research’s recent talk on fixed-mobile convergence, analyst Stuart Carlaw has speculated that RIM will be providing SIP support in addition to its already-established UMA for the BlackBerry 8820. There was some concern earlier that the voice hand-off technology that the BlackBerry 8820 was touting (UMA) wouldn’t be compatible with the enterprise standard (SIP). ABI said that ever since acquiring Cingular, AT&T has been drifting towards SIP and similarly, RIM’s acquisition of Ascendent should facilitate PBX integration through SIP.
If AT&T’s release of the BlackBerry 8820 really is just around the corner, we’ll be finding out what it’s packing soon enough. Stuart also set UMA and SIP in a consumer versus enterprise light. If future Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerrys don’t work with both UMA and SIP, at very least we can hope that consumer-oriented products like the BlackBerry 8320 are packing UMA, and business-end products like the 8820 will be kicking SIP (even if it should have been there in the first place).
The upcoming BlackBerry OS might be packing streaming video support, but the real moneymaking could be in video messaging. A recent report from ABI Research forecasts $17 billion in revenues from video messaging and telephony services by 2012. RIM’s still getting their feet wet in multimedia devices, and to be honest, video messaging seems a long way off. Incoming video streaming is a good start, but not only will the camera hardware have to evolve, but a network which reliably supports the data stream will also be necessary for outbound video messaging to happen. Even then, data-intensive activity like that isn’t exactly RIM’s style. The consumer angle for mobile video support is obvious (who doesn’t want a webcam on their phone?), but could video conferencing functionality make a camera more of a business-oriented feature on a BlackBerry?
Numbers like this should come as no surprise to anyone, considering that Rogers charges something like $40 for an
25MB unlimited BlackBerry data plan, but I digress. Those mad mobile scientists at ABI research are reporting that enterprise-based mobile data applications and services will generate over $100 billion in worldwide revenue by 2012. What does that mean exactly? Well, email, sales force automation tools, mapping applications and Internet access are good places to start.
Principal analyst Dan Shey comments, “The industry is at the cusp of some phenomenal growth for data applications and services delivered to the handset. Although voice will still generate the bulk of revenues from business customers, mobile data services revenues will become 26% of ARPUs by 2012, a 29% compound annual growth rate.”
All told, ABI predicts that combined revenues from all mobile business categories (including voice services) will grow from $242 billion in 2007 to $389 billion by 2012. Sounds like it’s a really good time to be Ted Rogers.