App Stores Set To Hurt Carriers As SmartPhones Explode

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Smartphone sales have proved recession-resistant, claims research Company Telsyte with the industry witnessing the stellar rise of new vendors, the fall of established ones, and carriers’ role in content delivery being undermined by the mushrooming of mobile app stores.

Given the arrival of “the fourth screen” and intensified battle in consumer cloud computing, the competitive landscape is poised to change yet again in the next 12 months. Apple, BlackBerry and Google’s Android are expected to gain more ground while Symbian and Microsoft will continue to lose momentum.

Now used by 16% of the workforce and 12% of consumers, smartphones are projected to make up nearly one in every three mobile phones sold in 2009. The research Company claims.

 “About 40 smartphones will make their way to the Australian market this year alone, with almost half of those launched between now and Christmas,” said Warren Chaisatien, Telsyte Research Director and Principal Analyst. BlackBerry’s lead in the business market has strengthened notably, thanks to user confusion around Symbian’s future directions and the exit of Palm and i-mate from the market. The biggest winner has clearly been the Apple iPhone, which, within just one year, has emerged as the country’s second most popular smartphone, encroaching on Nokia’s leadership in the consumer segment.

The rapid growth of vendor app stores and greater availability of “over the top” content are bypassing mobile carriers’ “walled gardens”, slowly relegating service providers to “dump pipe” providers. “Mobile operators will be fighting back to put themselves in the picture again by introducing “open garden” portals in the next couple of years, where content and applications are personalised and made user-relevant through network-based intelligence and billing relationships,” predicted Mr Chaisatien.
   
Cloud computing will be the next battlefield in consumer IT, being fought across three screens – the PC, TV and mobile. The race to win consumers’ hearts and minds on the PC screen will inevitably impact their smartphone preference as convergence and interoperability become key. Mr Chaisatien observed: “As if three screens were not enough, Australians will be surrounded by “the fourth screen” – a highly portable, wireless Internet-enabled tablet computer – in the coming year. Amazon’s Kindle is just the beginning of a slew of new mobile devices to hit the local market next year.”

 

These research findings are from Telsyte’s latest research report titled, “Comparative Analysis of Australian Smartphones and Vendors, 3Q2009.” This study provides a detailed comparative analysis of leading smartphones and vendors as well as major developments driving the Australian smartphone market. It also offers recommendations aimed at assisting smartphone vendors and their mobile carrier partners take advantage of the anticipated growth in the Australian market.

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