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ARC Group report: growth in smartphone use
Posted on 23-Apr-2003 07:40 | Tags Filed under: News

ARC released new paper titled "Future Mobile Computing: Device Trends and Wireless Solutions 2002-2007", where it says high-end-smartphone shipments accounted for 0.3% of the total handset market, and by 2007 this ratio is not expected to exceed 5%.

By smartphone the ARC Group means a class of phones with smart capabilities, not only the branded Microsoft offering. This includes Symbian and Palm powered mobiles as well as Microsoft Windows Smartphone.

The ARC Group expects annual shipments of these devices to grow from around 3.5 million units in 2002 to 45 million units by 2007. Despite the growth, however, the analyst firm says the connected handheld market will remain a small segment of the total handsets market over the course of the next 5 years.

Smartphones, which were initially designed primarily as mobile phones with data-communications functionality along with advanced computing capabilities, have the ability to handle and host a number of applications letting them behave exactly like handheld computers according to the ARC Group.

There is currently a great diversity of technology associated with the mobile computing market in general and handheld devices in particular. This, together with the variety of wireless connectivity options available, make it complicated for device vendors, carriers and others to build an appropriate business case for incorporating an increasing number of new features and wireless functionality into the small form factor of these devices.

In 2002, high-end-smartphone shipments accounted for 0.3% of the total handset market, and by 2007 this ratio is not expected to exceed 5%. The value attributed to this market segment could be as high as 20% of the total handset market, however, due to high-end smartphones offering extra features and functionality, and therefore remaining more expensive than traditional handsets.

Symbian is currently the most used OS for high-end smartphones, with an overwhelming 60% share in 2002. However, the ARC Group expects Symbian's worldwide share of this market to decrease over the years, falling to around 39% by 2007. Palm OS currently holds the second position in the market rankings with a share of 22%. However, with the emergence of Microsoft's Smartphone 2002, the ARC Group finds that Microsoft OSs are likely to gain momentum and mainly eat into Palm's share.

The Palm OS market is expected to fall drastically to just under 5.5% in 2007, while Microsoft currently holds third position in this market with a modest share of 6.6% in 2002. MS OSs are expected to rapidly catch up with Symbian by 2007 with a share of 40%. Nevertheless, such high market share growth will very much depend on the alliances that Microsoft is able to forge with operators and device manufacturers around the world.

I've found this information on Infosync and on ARC Group's website. It's an interesting account of current state of wireless computing and the course of the industry.

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