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Ultra-mobile devices market set for rapid growth

Posted: 15 Oct 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultra-mobile devices  mobile Internet devices  netbooks 

The fledgling market for ultra-mobile devices (UMDs)—a catch-all term that includes ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), netbooks, and mobile Internet devices (MIDs)—is already complex, and will become more complicated as it grows, says ABI Research.

According to ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis, "Total revenues earned by vendors in the UMD market are expected to increase from $3.5 billion (Rs.15,053.71 crore) in 2008 to nearly $27 billion (Rs.116,128.65 crore) in 2013."

This year, retail sales account for only 14 per cent of shipments, while UMDs provided by mobile operators stand at nearly 30 per cent; the balance are sold directly by manufacturers. Over five years, however, that distribution mix will change significantly. Operators currently subsidise UMDs for the sake of their potential services revenue, but they would prefer not to. By 2013, only 20 per cent will be operator-provided, while retail sales are expected to account for 75 per cent.

In 2013 more than half of all UMDs will have x86 processors at their heart (largely Intel's Atom), with the balance based on ARM processors. When it comes to operating systems, in 2013 Linux will outnumber Windows devices by two to one across all UMDs, despite the higher return rate for Linux products (compared to Windows products) experienced by netbook vendors today.

Some MIDs will offer cellular voice services. "MIDs without cellular voice will be seen by users as 'companion devices'," says Solis. "They will be used in addition to mobile phones and not necessarily carried at all times. Cellular voice-enabled MIDs, in contrast, will be able to replace phones entirely; they will become the new high-end smartphones."

ABI Research has painted a comprehensive quantitative picture of the UMD market in its "MIDs and Mobile CE Market Data".

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