Convergence and multi-modality will take off this year in the mobile and wireless space, according to IDC telecommunications analyst, Jerson Yau.
But this could spell trouble in the channel, he warned, as resellers would find it increasingly difficult to compete with vendors and carriers.
Yau pointed to the recently announced partnership with Dell and Vodaphone in Europe, where Dell planned to integrate Vodaphone 3G wireless broadband with its notebooks.
"Vodaphone gets to reach the business market in a way it has not been able to and also reach consumers through a totally different channel, and it totally cuts out the reseller," he said. "If the Dell and Vodaphone deal works, then it is new ground for the convergence market that does not involve a reseller."
But despite his dire predictions, it's not all doom and gloom for resellers.
"There will always be a demand for resellers in the SMB space. There is no way a tradesman is going to go to IBM and ask for help," Yau said. "He will feel more comfortable approaching a reseller because they both speak each others' language."
Yau said resellers would need to step up to systems integrator (SI) status.
"They will need to be able to step up and be 'super resellers' to stay competitive," he said. "Things are going to slow down for resellers trying to just push hardware, and SIs are going to step in and pick up the slack."
IDC has forecast an increase in the number of mobile viruses this year, as 3G-enabled smart phones will make up 7 per cent of mobile phone shipments by the end of 2006.
"Perhaps this is another area where resellers can step in and differentiate themselves [by offering antivirus technologies for mobile devices]," Yau said.