While mobile devices may be the biggest-selling consumer electronics products in the world, with more than one billion shipping every year, the market’s under constant pressure – and the iPhone is a crucible for further change.

“Three or four years from now, no mobile device vendor – no matter what their market position today – will be in a ‘comfort zone’,” said ABI Research vice president and research director Stuart Carlaw.

Developed and developing markets for these devices are being shaped by divergent forces – developed markets are typically highly saturated, highly competitive and highly segmented, with strong product innovation, the analysts note.

Carlaw adds, “The advent of wider mobile broadband access, the drive to maximize data revenue, the desire to push smartphone operating systems down into mid-tier handsets, and rapid innovations in user interfaces will all make the mobile devices of 2010 radically unlike those of today.”

The analysts expect the kind of user interface innovation pioneered by Apple’s iPhone to continue, with wider use of accelerometers and the addition of haptic feedback to touchscreens. Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) will become an important market segment, and vendors will increasingly look to diversify their product and service offerings. 

“The mobile device market is expanding, not consolidating,” notes Carlaw, “and shows increasing micro-segmentation. Disruptive influences abound.”

 Trends set to envelope the sector include feature set explosion, the effort to drive "smart" operating systems into the mid-tier, and the diversification of business models.

Does this mean Apple will expand its iPhone range to diversify its market, or will it rely on hi-tech to see it through? Comments??


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