Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mobile Phone Market in 2015

I’m no prophet, but just wanna paint a picture of what the mobile phone market will be like in five years based on what I’ve been observed so far as a consumer. Five years is a long time in this industry. Just looking back at the market place in 2005 versus what it is today. How drastic it has become! Who would have thought Apple and Google will be involved in phone? Anyway, these are my random thoughts.

In 2015…

- Apple will release iOS9 (one per year seems logical), Google will release Android 7.x (same as Apple, but interim releases are expected), RIM will have version”X” for Blackberry (I’m not familiar with this phone, but they will still be in the market), and Microsoft will ‘try’ to release Window Mobile 10 (if MS can refresh its OS once in two years, that is a blessing). In terms of technology, we should be on 5G, its predecessor will be 4G LTE.

- Smartphone’s market share in the overall mobile phone market will be around 70%. Based on the current growth rate, it is certainly logical with the diminishing growth of traditional mobile phone.

- Nokia will be a big question mark! I envision that it would either move in Android’s camp in next 2 years, or it will be driven out of the Smartphone market and become an insignificant player on the decline that produces traditional mobile phone only against some cheap China/India nameless companies.

- Under Android’s camp, HTC, Samsung and Motorola (maybe Nokia) will be the leads. LG, Sony Ericsson will still try to hang on the single digits % shares. Other makers like Dell, Acer, HP will be history.

- The hardware manufacturers in Android’s camp would be more or less non-distinguishable from consumer’s perspective. Cuz, they have to go along with what Google’s direction for Android in general. They wouldn’t be able to do much on the hardware side to further impress or improve the overall consumer experience. Simply referring to digital camera market in the last few years, jump from 300 mb to 500 mb, then to 700 mb did show differences. But the current 1200mb or above doesn’t mean much from user perspective. My thought is that, under the Moore’s Law, the exponential growth would reach to a saturation point from consumer experience’s point of view. Mobile phone hardware makers would still try to make their phone different from each other, but they will fail, because…
Software of phone is all that matter! An Android phone is an Android phone, it will be different from iPhone, but a LG Android phone won’t be much different than a HTC Android phone.

- Few hardware makers will still produce mobile that use Window Mobile, but MS will continue to struggle in the market and hanging on with its deep pocket. Window Mobile will be quite good itself, at least on par with Android. Just like Zune is actually not bad comparing with iPod, but MS just doesn’t know how to sell consumer products, their strategy is just not on par with Google or Apple.

- RIM will still be in the market with surprising resilient power. Thanks for corporate side’s inflexible, cost cutting approach in platform changes. However, the upside for RIM is limited comparing with what Google and Apple can do on the consumer side.

- The general ‘significant’ improvement on the hardware side that consumer will care would be the expansion of storage capacity to up to TB and battery life that will reach weeks of continuous usage.

- Consumer’s mobile phone performance will live or die by their experience on Apps. Apple will have over 2 millions apps in its App store, and Android will have 1.7 millions. Windows will be less than 1 million and RIM will have a quarter million apps. Since there are so many apps, apps will become a sub-industry of mobile phone market that crosses into tablet market.

- Everything on mobiles phones will be related to apps. Ads are apps, functions are apps, products (like movies, books, music) and services are apps. There will be apps about apps in order to raise user awareness about certain apps in the apps ocean. There will be tremendous development in apps management. Apps will become a subset of search results. For example, when we search ‘egg’ in wiki, Google, Safari, or Bing, any app that related to egg will be shown as a result which can be drag and drop on our mobile.

- Mobile security will be big business. Hackers will be all over apps. Security tools as apps to fight against ***ware will be a long battle that Android will be facing, which make the tight control of Apple on its Apps store a bigger selling point than ever.

Anyway, I think it will be interesting for me to check the above out in 5 years if I’m still around.

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