Triple Play Netbooks

Netbook vendors shipped 30.2 million units worldwide during 2009, according to Strategy Analytics. That’s a 79% annual growth. North America and Western Europe were key markets for netbooks in 2009.

Alex Spektor, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “According to our Netbook Share Tracker service, top vendors in 2009 were Acer, Asus, HP, and Dell. ABI Research expects consumers to purchase 140 million netbooks by 2013, compared with only 15 million sold in 2008. Apple is expected to sell some two million iPads in fiscal 2010 and six million in 2011, predict some analysts.

“Although netbooks are small today – maybe 10% of the PC market at most – we believe over the next several years that could completely change around and that could be 90% of the PC market,” said ARM chief executive Warren East.

Peter King, Director at Strategy Analytics, thinks the category is poised for further growth in 2010, as chipset makers battle for dominance in the portable device segment. “Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia and others will continue to push new processors that promise to do more, while taking up less space and consuming less power.”

While ARM has so far failed to succeed in the netbook market, it is prepping faster, multicore versions of its Cortex processor, running up to speeds of 2 GHz. The goal? Take on Intel’s Atom and cement ARM’s space in the smartphone market, says PC Mag.

Meanwhile, Asustek has been playing around some radical new design ideas, including a sophisticated wrist-top computer, a laptop that folds like a newspaper and a TV that works with gesture commands.

The number of PCs shipped rose 15.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a decline of 0.4 percent a year earlier, according to research firm IDC. “A substantial portion” of that growth came from the sales of netbooks, says IDC analyst David Daoud.

Sales of PCs and netbooks pale compared to cellphones.

Global handset shipments reached 1.132 billion units worldwide in 2009, according to new figures from Strategy Analytics. In the U.S., 39 percent of the 127 million new wireless devices sold in 2009 were smartphones. The largest makers of ARM-based tablets could turn out to be cellphone manufacturers — Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony-Ericsson and Motorola.

Interoperability between handsets and netbook/tablets will be enabled with ARM chips in both devices. Android and Chrome OS, rather than Windows, would be the operating system of choice in this model. ARM processors also use less power.

Motorola’s Devour is the latest Android device. It’s supplementing Verizon’s Droid and may also be available on T-Mobile USA and AT&T.

The Devour is rumored to run on the Qualcomm 600-MHz MSM7627 which has two ARM cores integrated into a single chip – a dedicated CPU core and a dedicated modem processor. The interface uses the Motorola-developed “Motoblur” for easier access to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Verizon’s nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access, and Nationwide Talk & Text plans begin at $59.99 monthly access. A Data Package for smartphones is $29.99 for unlimited monthly access.

AT&T is now matching Verizon’s $69.99 per month (voice calls only) offer. Text message plans will remain $20 a month for unlimited usage, so they’re matching Verizon’s $89.99 unlimited voice + text offering too.

Smartphone owners will have the option to get unlimited voice plus data for $99.99, a discount over previous $129.99 unlimited iPhone plans. But you still have to pay $20 on top of that if you want unlimited texting too. So that’s $119.99 for truly unlimited iPhone usage. Verizon and AT&T’s ‘Price War’ May Boost Revenues, says Business Week.

Cellular fees are the hidden cost of tablets and netbooks — unless you use WiFi all the time. White spaces and WiMAX could provide cheaper broadband options.

Job one of the cellular carriers is to control any “free” competition. Organizations such as the NAB are probably too clueless to invest in ad-sponsored WiMAX networks. That’s a job for entrepreneurs — this generation’s Ted Turner.

The platform has arrived. It’s global, interactive and wireless. Triple play.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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