Chromebooks, Surface Tablets, Windws 8 Crowding Into Cluttered Market

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2012-10-20 Print this article Print

"The iPhone, being one of the most popular devices ever sold, still only accounts for less than 40 percent of the market in smartphones. Even the blockbuster devices still only capture one small piece of the market," he said.

Making the argument even stronger, he said, is that Amazon just unveiled its latest Kindle tablets in September and is still working on its own rumored smartphones for the marketplace, said Silva. "I think Amazon's moves are a vote for this market remaining shared," he said.

Maribel Lopez, principal analyst with Lopez Research, said that in the big scheme of things, "we're moving into a different phase of computing" that's not about the devices themselves or their hardware features. Instead, she said, "it's what consumers are doing with their devices. It's the activities they can accomplish."

In the past, PCs were the vehicle to get every kind of content for consumers, said Lopez. "Now what we've come down to is we've fragmented that concept," with people seeking different content through different devices.

"So it's going to come down to price and what people can do with the devices and that’s going to create the winners," she said. It will come down to things like what companies have the content; what companies have the services and which ones can bring it all together for consumers, she added. "That's the anchor that will bring consumers in."

Lots of companies let users do all kinds of things with their devices already, but much of the future success of new devices will come down to companies that already have the credit card numbers of consumers via their app and content stores, said Lopez. "They will have the lead in that department."

Dan Olds, principal analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group, agrees that consumers are magnets for owning multiple devices and for bringing in additional ones as they want them. "People aren’t buying an iPad and then taking a baseball bat to their laptop or their desktop," said Olds.

"None of these devices today are absolute substitutes for another class of device," he said. "A smartphone isn’t a substitute for a tablet, and a tablet isn’t a substitute for a laptop, and a laptop isn't a substitute for a desktop for a lot of people."

Of course, that could change at some point, said Olds.

"There are reasons that we have all of these devices and that we haven’t yet gotten to the point where one class of device is a complete substitute for the others," said Olds. "But watch this space, because there is stuff happening out there where this could be true later."


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