10 Mobile Product Trends That Defined 2010

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10 Mobile Product Trends That Defined 2010

by Don Reisinger

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The Rise of Tablets

If 2010 can be defined by any single event, it must be the rise of tablets. When Apple unveiled the iPad, the company set off a firestorm of demand for the device that continues to draw more consumers and enterprise customers to the tablet design. Now, the iPad is joined by the Dell Streak, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and others. And next year, it will face stiff competition from many more firms.

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Googles Gains

Last year, most people knew that Android would be relatively successful. But over the past year, Google has not only cemented itself as a major player in the mobile market, but it has also ensured that, going forward, Android will be the leading OS in that space. There are a slew of Android-based devices on store shelves, and many more products are expected to be made available next year.

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The Bigger the Better

When it came to tablets this year, one simple fact became immediately apparent: the bigger the display size, the better. Dell offered up a 5-inch tablet in the Streak that didn't perform all that well, and Samsung's Galaxy Tab offers a 7-inch display. But it was the iPad and its 9.7-inch display that reigned supreme this year. That's probably why competitors, including Acer, are planning larger displays next year.

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The Long-Awaited Advent of 4G

Wireless connectivity is extremely important. For most of the year, it was 3G that delivered the best experience to customers. However, Sprint is now delivering 4G connectivity in nearly 70 markets and Verizon is quickly gaining ground with a 4G offering of its own. Going into 2011, it looks like 3G will be a technology of the past as 4G takes center stage.

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The Death of Netbooks?

In 2009, much of the talk surrounding the mobile market revolved around the possibility of netbooks cannibalizing notebook sales. But now that 2010 is coming to a close, there is talk about netbooks being cannibalized by tablets. It was a seismic shift in the mobility market. It's one that, at least for now, might not be something that netbooks can overcome.

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AT&T Weathers Storms

AT&T had a somewhat difficult year in 2010. The company faced outcry over its inability to handle iPhone 4 preorders, and then late in the year it got hit with a study from Consumer Reports claiming it was the worst mobile carrier in the United States. But through it all, the carrier held on to iPhone exclusivity and continued to generate some serious profits. Simply put, 2010 was yet another big year for AT&T.

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Motorola Comes On Strong

When Motorola first offered up the original Droid smartphone last year, some wondered if that would be the device to get the company back to serious growth. Now it's clear that the Droid was Motorola's ticket to success in 2010. Through the year, Motorola offered the Droid X, the Droid 2 and the Droid Pro, all of which performed quite well at retail. They proved that Motorola will long continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the mobile communications space.

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The Story of Touch Screens

Touch screens proved to be more than a fad in 2010. Apple's iPhone 4 performed exceptionally well in the retail market, followed by Motorola's offerings and HTC's Android-based devices. It was simply a good year all around for touch-screen phone makers, and it proved once again that Apple truly knows what it's doing when it comes to mobile computing.

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RIMs Decline

For all the successes in 2010, Research In Motion had a more difficult time competing in the mobile market. The firm watched as more enterprise customers turned to competing devices for their smartphone options. Meanwhile, it offered BlackBerry OS 6, an operating system that for all intents and purposes fails to deliver the experience that consumers have shown they want. It's an issue. And it's something that RIM will continue to face until it realizes the mobile market is changing.

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Forgetting About Microsoft

In 2010, Microsoft saw its mobile market share continue to decline as it failed to deliver Windows Phone 7 in time. Instead, it stuck with Windows Mobile 6.5, an operating system that would have been fine in 2007 but just couldn't offer what consumers or enterprise customers were looking for in 2010. Microsoft finally released Windows Phone 7 toward the end of 2010, but by then some couldn't help but wonder if it was too little, too late.

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