In the fourth quarter of 2011, smartphone and tablet shipments exceeded that of PC shipments, both desktop and portable. In 2011, an estimated 480 million smartphones and tablets were shipped, trumping PCs which are calculated at approximately 380 million.
With mobility continuing its lead, the battle of the technology giants rages. As it stands, although Apple won part of its patent war, Samsung’s influence gives it the ability to flood the market, according to Frost and Sullivan Asia-Pacific enterprise communications and contact centres research manager, Pranabesh Nath, and South Asia and Middle East ICT practice senior consultant, Abhishek Chauhan. While the top two fight on, one thing is certain: Blackberry manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM) is falling further and further behind.
RIM makeover or evaporation
It’s a case of ‘too little, too late’ for RIM, according to Nath and Chauhan. It has been battered by Google, Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, and the rollout of the BB10 has been unable to give RIM any slack.
It is blatant that RIM may not survive as a company for much longer.
At the same time, Nath and Chahaun believe that a turn-around is possible through three major moves:
- Completely revamped mobile devices, both hardware and operating system that can trump the competition.
- Developer and partner support (which has been waning as of late) to develop new and exciting applications for BB10.
- Customer confidence and interest, which has also waned considerably after RIM consistently failed to maintain pace with superior products from its competition.
Samsung vs Apple
“The patent wars between Apple and Samsung have gone on for a while now and have assumed ridiculous proportions,” Nath and Chahaun said in a statement. “For Apple this is a fight for survival and profitability since Samsung is quite capable of flooding the worldwide market with quality alternatives to the iPad, that too at varying price points – something Apple has yet to do.”
Meanwhile, Samsung has managed this with the Galaxy SII smartphone and Galaxy tablet devices, and will continue to do so unless there is further intervention from government or regulatory authorities.
“What this brings into question is the legality of seemingly generic patents that have been filed by all manufacturers over the years, and not just Apple, something that does not look like it will get settled soon.”
All in all, Apple’s win and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus ban in the US has hampered competition and innovation and customers are therefore losing out.
Don’t forget Google
While Google is losing out as Apple is set to launch iOS 6 and its own Map services to replace Google Maps, it has brought positive news for the industry and consumers with the Nexus 7 tablet, Nath and Chahaun said.
By bringing another major player to the low-end tablet market, adding to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Google is increasing awareness and providing direction for other Android manufacturers to follow.
Despite this, “Google’s track record with hardware is untested, and it remains to be seen if Google will enter into direct competition with its hardware partners or find a way to keep them happy.”