A Rising Tide Will Lift All Boats in Mobile Market

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-11-15 Print this article Print


Admittedly, not everything is as trendy or as cool as an iPad or a Galaxy Tab, but not everyone cares about being cool or trendy. Some people would rather spend their money on functionality and don't see any point in paying big bucks for functionality that doesn't specifically meet their needs. 

So the iPad is looking at a tough battle if it's to maintain market share dominance. It's bound to lose ground in terms of percentage even if it doesn't lose in overall numbers. The mere fact that there's competition means that part of the market share will go elsewhere. While the iPad fanciers may decry this, the reality is that not everyone wants an iPad-as hard to believe as that might be. 

It's much the same situation in the smart phone battle, where the iPhone is far from being the only game in town; likewise, the iPad is finding that there are other players, too. The iPhone doesn't suit everyone's needs, partly because it doesn't have a real keyboard, partly because it only works on AT&T (for now), partly because it's quite, and partly because some people just like the other choices better. 

The iPad is certain to be affected in much that same way. It's not the only tablet out there anymore. It's also not the only light, easy-to-use platform for browsing the Web, checking e-mail, listening to music, or watching video. There are other tablets, and there are other lightweight computing devices that will eat away at the overall market share for consumer devices with these capabilities. Apple is certain to see its overall share of the market reduced. 

This doesn't mean that the iPad is doomed. In fact, I'm not fully convinced that the analysts are right in that the iPad sales will be under estimates. But I do see that the market is growing, and I see that the iPad is not going to be the only game in town. But this is really good news, because the tablet market grow even if the iPad has a smaller percentage of the total pie. 

Likewise, the market for other computers that do similar jobs will grow now that netbooks are becoming capable enough and cheap enough that some of them might be worth having. Overall, this is good for the industry, even if it annoys Apple's hordes of fans. Making the tablet-lightweight-computer market into something with a broader base is good for everyone. It's even good for Apple in the long run, because it moves the iPad out of its niche and into a broader, more sustainable place in the market.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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