A new class of “always on” Internet-connected portable products – dubbed Ultra Mobile Devices – will become popular in the next five years, with nearly 95 million to ship by 2012, analysts predict.
These Ultra Mobile Devices (UMDs), will appeal to a wide range of buyers, says US based ABI Research. They are of two types – Ultra Mobile PCs which run Windows and business applications and are aimed at business users, and Mobile Internet Devices (MID), which target consumers and are more likely to run a Linux operating system.
Both types will feature multiple wireless connectivity technologies such as Wi-Fi and WiMAX, and will offer a range of applications such as Web browsing, music, navigation, voice, and data communications including email and IM, photo/video, and vertical commercial applications. Some new applications, such as medical monitoring, are now in development as well, says ABI.
“UMDs are a very exciting, potentially very lucrative area,” says ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt. “What makes this market so intriguing is that products will assume so many different forms. That product differentiation will be an integral part of the ultra mobile device marketing plan.”
ABI says Apple’s iPhone and Nokia’s N800 may be seen as precursors of the MID – with their lower prices and wider appeal, MIDs (rather than UMPCs) will make up by far the majority of the devices shipped.
The research identified several user-types who will find varying combinations of these applications appealing. These include “Frugal Generalists”, “Lifestyle Boomers”, “Soccer Moms”, “Gen Y Social Networkers”, and “Multimedia Enthusiasts.”
The ultra mobile device ecosystem will ultimately contain hundreds of vendors – chipmakers, display and device manufacturers, application developers and service providers, ABI found.