ABI Research (News - Alert) is forecasting a 55-fold growth in shipments of mobile broadband-powered consumer electronics between 2008 and 2014.
The market – which includes eBook readers, mobile digital cameras and camcorders, personal media players, personal navigation devices and mobile gaming devices – will see total shipments reach 58 million in 2014, according to ABI Research’s Mobile Broadband-Enabled Consumer Electronics.
“While demand for products in the other categories is just starting to ramp up, consumers are already snapping up connected PNDs and eBook readers in numbers, and will continue to do so,” ABI Research senior analyst Jeff Orr, said in a press statement.
Although many of these devices have featured WiFi (News - Alert) for some time. Orr noted that “when you embed a cellular or mobile broadband modem in a device, it becomes tied to a particular operator’s service billing. That changes the device vendors’ business model dramatically.”
For eBook readers, consumers seem accepting of the model in which the price of the connection is built into the price of the content. But that’s not true for all consumer electronics gadgets.
“In the case of a multiplayer game, for example, questions arise: paying to download the game is straightforward, but beyond that what’s the appropriate model? Monthly subscription? Annual pass? Whom does the consumer pay? That very unfamiliar service aspect is scary for the device vendors,” Orr said.
Some uptake of these devices can be attributed to vertical industries, such as vehicle fleets and taxis with connected PNDs, which are popular in Western Europe.
In the business market, too, a number of companies are in the midst of updating their wireless expense management strategies as the quantity and popularity of mobile broadband devices explodes. But when incorporating smartphones into a corporate expense management plan, it’s important to outline rules for procurement, usage and security, said Panjaj Gupta, founder and CEO of wireless management provider Amtel (News - Alert).
A procurement plan should specify how managers will handle the changes in ownership of wireless numbers for new employees or disconnection of services for employees leaving the company, Gupta said.
“Management and sales may need devices with phone and e-mail capabilities; field support personnel need rugged devices and text messaging,” Gupta recently told TMCnet. “The IT administrator should be able to set up bundles for various types of users with in an organization.”
Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri