Mobile Computing Beckons, and We're Responding

Category: Andy Marken's blog Published on Monday, 15 November 2010

On the Road, Staying in Touch for Business, Pleasure

“Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.” – George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) – Easy Rider (1969), Columbia Pictures


Think about it…Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, you hittin’ the road on rad bikes.

How freakin cool!  How free!!

How far to the next electrical outlet because your notebook, tablet, smartphone, iPod batteries are in the red zone?

Some say it was Jobs that put you on the road to adventure.

First, the iPhone that did everything but make a call.

Then, the iPad that does even more of everything, still doesn’t make a call.

But it’s the best of breed combination that has seeped into every moment of our personal/professional lives:

-                             faster, lighter, more powerful notebooks for content/material development

-                             tablets for content consumption, showing, sharing

-                             smartphones for smaller content consumption/communications

-                             a gazillion applications for all three platforms for every task you could imagine.

IT execs see what is going on at home and on desktops as on-demand service finally looks practical..

Increased security, portable devices improves business agility.

Virtual work styles/practices across all employee demographics is improving productivity.

Figure 2--World Going Mobile – You’d expect the younger generations who never knew life without a cellphone in their hand/pocket to lead the mobile movement; but today, men/women of all ages are staying informed, staying in touch and getting their news, information, entertainment on the go.  Source -- Forrester

Leveraging the consumerization of devices, organizations increasingly are allowing folks to BYO the device(s) they’re comfortable with to work.

Sure, some Wall Street analysts say that introduction of the iPad crippled notebook sales.

Billy scoffs and says, “Man, everybody got chicken.”

They seem to forget that at our house, we paid:
-          $200 for new smarphones X3
-          $800+ for new tablets X2

The $1,000+ notebooks (four) we might have replaced are only “a few” years old. They still deliver good performance.  They’re light.  They’re powerful.

New extended performance batteries enable us to do a lot of work off-the-cord.

We can stretch those purchases out.

We’re not alone.

As George Henson noted, “They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.”

UBS analysts said what everyone knew -- the tablet isn't a true computer replacement.

Nope, it’s another mobile device that is letting computer buyers put off replacing or upgrading a computer in the same timeframe.

Don’t agree?

Well, Apple may sell as many as 28 million iPads next year; but there are no signs that tablets or smartphones are negatively impacting Mac sales.

Despite economic conditions, mobile computing still has a lot of user demand.

We’re seeing sleeker designs, new form factors, and pent-up business demand.

IDC projects 13.6 million units WW for this year, 29.6 WW for next year.   

Notebook shipments will reach 291 million units in 2014 and account for 52% of the total computer market.

Yes, there’s a struggle at the low-end of  the Internet-centric devices -- tablets and netbooks.  But notebooks will continue to be the overall demand driver as people focus on lighter and lower-cost PCs.

At the same time, business users (and a few others) are moving to mainstream and high-performance mobile platforms because they want it all. 


Figure 3--All of It – Once people begin experiencing the convenience and personal/professional value of content on the go, they want it all.  Simply staying in touch is the tip of the information/entertainment iceberg for people.

The iPad captured the imagination and minds of people in all walks of life, even in business.

Before, in meetings folks who tapped away at their Blackberry appeared to be locking out everyone else in the room.

Sit there with an iPad and even if you’re streaming a video – with the audio off – people think you’re doing serious business research.

When the device is used for collaborative work, people don’t mind sharing their iPad screen; but you just wouldn’t think to do that with your smarphone or notebook system.

As Captain America observed, “You do your own thing in your own time. You should be proud.”

All the other device and computer folks took notice as well.  They followed George Hanson’s advice, “Here's the first of the day, fellas!.”

As a result, virtually everyone will be offering a tablet – most Android OS, some Web OS, some Windows.

They aren’t back street knockoffs either.  

They’re serious iPad competitors from serious industry players.

George Hanson looks in amazement at the dizzying array and says, “Is that what that is?”

The new offerings include:
-          better video offerings with full 1080p
-          USB ports
-          Flash support
-          Dual-core ARM, 1GHz chips
-          3G, WiFi connectivity
-          HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) – connecting to big screen

All of the tablets will be “aggressively,” competitively priced.

They’re new device category is so attractive, so hot that IDC analysts project a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 123% through 2014.

Figure 4--Beyond Computing – The computer industry has tried to get people to use tablet systems for years.  They have achieved their greatest use in special applications.  It wasn’t until some folks decided they liked the iPhone but wanted something a little bigger that they caught on and in a big way…finally!!  Source - IDC

But replacing notebooks?

Captain America looked around warily and said, “It's not every man that can live off the land, you know.”

As if you didn’t have enough in your bike’s saddlebags, smartphones have rejuvenated the cellphone industry.

Smartphones are rapidly replacing feature phones.

Source -- Forrester
Figure 5--Smarter Option – Tough to remember how slowly cellphone sales grew when you see the volumes that are sold every day now.  The buying public quickly moved up to feature phones and the fastest transition has been to smartphones that allow people to handle work and personal activities as well as be informed and entertained on the go.  Source -- Forrester

By the end of the year, more than 80% of the population of industrialized countries will have units.

By 2014, ABI research projects at least 80% of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China).population will be connected.

As handsets change, so do mobile consumption and usage patterns.

Fortunately for iPhone users, voice is becoming less relevant and everyone is focusing on data.

The Apple iOS got the mobile space on the road to fun, excitement, adventure, profit.

Captain America looked at his and said, “I'm hip about time.”

But the Android platform will take second place this year (behind Symbian’s 24+%) with an estimated 16+% share of smartphones shipped WW.

Android-based unit shipments grew 55% this year to nearly 270 M compared to 173.5M last year.

More than 119.4 M smartphone units were shipped in the first six months of this year or 55.5% more than the same period last year.

However, growth will shrink according to IDC's five-year forecast period, with the market forecast to rise only 13.6% in 2014.

Phone folks like Android because it lets them tailor the smartphone their way compared to Apple’s walled garden approach.

With the short replacement cycles, feature phone to smartphone upgrades don’t expect any OS to dominate the field.  Analysts say the smartphone market will remain fragmented but healthy.
Figure 6--No World Dominator – With shorter product replacement cycles and more advanced capabilities and features, there will always be steady customer churn moving from service provider to service provider. Source – Piper Jaffey

But it will be applications that are driving the demand for/use of smartphones at home, on the road, in the office.

While there are 10s of thousands, few users have more than 33 on their device and most people use only six on a regular basis, according to Nielsen Company.

Apps Used in the Past 30 Days

Figure 7--There’s an App for That – Just let your mind go wild about an app that you want to use or just have to have, and you’ll find it.  While application support varies from OS to OS, there are more than a half million to choose from even though most people use a few on a regular basis.  Source – The Nielsen Company

The applications becoming mainstream tools in business are those that enhance productivity, foster collaboration among colleagues and sharpen time management skills--some leverage the cloud.

GPS and localization are the applications that marketing people are eyeing because they hold the promise of reaching consumers at or close to the point of purchase.

The demand for “useful” mobile apps is leading firms to implement in-app ads as well.

According to Parks Associates, nearly half of the mobile device users are indifferent to or willing to endure ads in their apps, which means companies will increase their efforts in developing creative and personalized ads to more efficiently, more effectively engage consumers.

Since Gen Y, Gen I folks can’t seem to shake their desire to consume all forms of content and stay in touch, social media is also going mobile…rapidly.

Sweet…another place you’ll be able to see marketing messages!

But portability is going to be in the eye of the beholder.

Figure 8--Eyes of the Beholder – In the final analysis, there’s no one contact/communications system that is going to meet everyone’s needs.  Most people will end up with one of each they’ll use all the time.

Portability, connectivity, suitability for the task will continue to be the key consideration factors for the devices that people select and use for business, personal tasks.

For the kids, their smartphone is never out of reach…even at dinner.  It’s the tablet for web searching, document/content sharing.  The notebook for all the heavy lifting.

George looks at the digital array and says to no one in particular, “You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.”

Billy checks for his battery chargers before hitting the road and says, “That's what happened.”
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