IDC - Almost a billion smart connected devices shipped in 2011By Hanleigh Daniels 29 March 2012 | Categories: news
The mobile universe of smart connected devices, consisting of PCs, tablets, and smartphones, has expanded with shipments of over 916 million units and revenues of more than $489 billion dollars during 2011.
This according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC’s) combined total from its Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, Mobile Phone Tracker, and Media Tablet Tracker. The IDC stated that global shipments for smart connected devices should amount to around 1.1 billion this year. By 2016, the research firm predicts that shipments will reach 1.84 billion units, more than doubling the 2011 figure.
Dominant platform shift
In terms of platforms, the IDC expects a shift to occur between 2011 and 2016. This involves the once-dominant Windows on x86 platform, consisting of PCs operating on Microsoft’s Windows desktop operating system (OS) on any x86-compatible CPU, being reduced from a leading 35.9% share in 2011 to 25.1% in 2016.
According to the IDC, the number of Android-based mobile devices running on ARM CPUs, will increase from a 29.4% share in 2011 to a market-leading 31.1% share in 2016. Also on the rise will be iOS-based devices, as the IDC expects their share to grow from 14.6% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2016.
“Android’s growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices,” said Tom Mainelli, research director of Mobile Connected Devices at IDC.
“So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain. Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform’s smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps.”
Phenomenon of single users owning multiple devices set to increase
Research conducted by IDC has shown that many individual users own and regularly utilise multiple smart connected devices. Bob O'Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays at IDC explained that we are in the multi-device age.
The IDC believes that the number of users who employ multiple devices will continue to increase, and going forward it will become increasingly important for people to be able to integrate all of their different devices into a “unified whole”. This can be done via the use of personal cloud-type applications and services.
The company also asserted that the growth of smartphones will be driven by countries in the Asia/Pacific region, most notably China, where mobile operators are subsidising the purchase of 3G smartphones.
Will Stofega, program director of Mobile Phone Technologies and Trends at the IDC, added that for the countries where devices are not subsidised, competitive and component-based pricing will assist in driving up shipment volumes.
“Whether it’s consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust ‘app’ ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school’s computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual’s life,” said O'Donnell.
In related news, the IDC recently had to revise their forecast for tablet sales for the year ahead, increased its previous projection of 87.7 million tablets being shipped during 2012 to 106.1 million units.
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