The silver lining when you hit rock bottom is there's no place to go but up (actually, you can move sideways as well). Flip those words of wisdom upside down and you have a situation where Android, which has been sitting on top of the world, suddenly has to deal with its first ever decline in market share, according to data released by market research firm ABI Research.
You can never really have enough USB ports, and this is especially true if you own a laptop, most of which are decked out with just three or four of them. By the time you plug in an external mouse, keyboard, and laptop cooler, you're either out of USB ports or down to one. Be that as it may, USB modems continue to outsell embedded modules by a wide margin, a research company says.
Tablets might be the talk of the tech industry, but according to market research firm ABI Research, netbooks still rule the roost. Some 60 million netbooks are expected to ship around the globe in 2011, says ABI Research, and by 2013 ABI predicts that number will double.
That's good news for Acer, the biggest netbook player in terms of market share, and one of just six vendors who dominate the netbook market with a 78 percent stake. Asus, meanwhile, has lost some ground, giving up half of its market share in 2009 after running neck-and-neck with Acer in 2008.
"Instead of having a preeminent two, it looks as if only Acer will continue to maintain its commanding lead, but at the same time there are more vendors competing head-to-head," notes principal analyst Jeff Orr. "Most of the other major names -- HP, Dell, Lenovo -- increased their market shares in 2009, while Samsung lost a couple of percentage points."
According to Orr, while netbooks continue to flood the landscape, we can expect to see "consolidation through attrition" as companies which aren't heavily invested in netbooks start to exit the market.
Say what you want about bandwidth caps, metered Internet service, and other ISP woes - when all is said and done, the broadband business is thriving, and it will continue to do so, suggests ABI Research practice director Jason Blackwell. According to Blackewell, global fixed broadband service revenue will top $210 billion in 2014.
Broadband revenue has been steadily climbing. After reaching $145 billion in 2008, fixed broadband service pulled in $164 billion in 2009, a pretty big jump considering we're dealing with billions of dollars.
What's interesting to note is that broadband revenue continued to show significant growth, even as the economy came to a screeching halt. Part of the reason is because of the popularity of services like IPTV and online gaming.
The biggest benefactor is still DSL, which claims the lion's share of the market. DSL broadband service revenue claimed nearly $100 billion in 2009 all on its own, though ABI expects that to only grow to $103 billion in 2014.
Fiber broadband revenue, on the other hand, is showing tremendous growth. ABI Research reckons fiber broadband will pull in $24.4 billion in revenue by the end of the year.
According to market research firm ABI Research, smartbooks -- a relatively new segment -- are about to get their due and will see 163 million shipments worldwide by 2015. But how does ABI define a smartbook?
"ABI Research defines a smartbook as a low-powered device running a mobile operating system that is always connected, either via Wi-Fi or using cellular or mobile broadband," explained Jeff Orr, a senior analyst with ABI Research. "Smartbooks can take many different shapes. They are a subset of mobile Internet devices (MIDS) and netbooks, and address the same potential users, usage, pricing, and market needs. The difference is that they don't use x86 processors."
It isn't entirely clear exactly how wide of an umbrella ABI is opening up for its smartbook definition, which could certainly impact the firm's prediction. Apple's iPad, for example, technically qualifies as a smartbook, and so would a number of other tablets.
"The idea of a smartbook doesn't resonate with anybody thinking of buying such a device," Orr added. "Vendors should avoid creating a separate market category with a new name, instead accepting that they are competing in an established category."
Orr also pointed out that vendors need to put more focus on entry-level smartbooks that would cost the consumer no more than $200.
Market research firm ABI feels pretty confident we're on the cusp of a tablet frenzy that will see the number of units shipped catapult from 4 million in 2010 to 57 million annually in 2015.
"Apple's iPad is not the first media tablet," said senior analyst Jeff Orr. "But it does help define this new device category. The main focus of media tablets is entertainment. A tablet will not replace a notebook, netbook, or mobile phone, but will remain an additional premium or luxury product for wealthy industrialized markets for at least several years."
It's worth noting that ABI Research defines a media tablet as having a touchscreen interface 5-11 inches in size, Wi-Fi connectivity, and video and gaming capabilities.
But no matter how you define them, will tablets remain relevant in the years to come? With Apple on board and Google not far behind, it's very likely. Then the question becomes, is there enough room for all these portable devices? Netbooks, e-book readers, and smartphones have proven that there's room for all three, but it will be interesting to see if the same holds true for tablets, or if one of these market segments end up falling by the wayside.
Enterprises take note: According to a survey from ABI Research, cell phone security for enterprise devices is seriously lacking, and a little misunderstood as well.
ABI Research pinged 250 senior executives in the U.S. and found that while 41 percent said they believe mobile phones are more at risk to interception than email and 39 percent believed the risk was the same, relatively few of them reported having adequate protection, such as encryption, in place.
"Effective email security has become routine but our research shows most businesses do ont apply anything like the same level of robust security to cell phone calls," Stan Schatt, an analyst with ABI, wrote in the report. "Equally concerning is that a significant number of people who identified themselves as being responsible for cell phone voice call security incorrectly believe the organizations' mobile calls have been protected when they have not."
What's frightening about all this is that according to the survey results, some 79 percent of organizations admitted to talking about sensitive or otherwise confidential information over the phone at least once a week, and more than half on a daily basis, but only 18 percent have "explicit mobile voice call security solutions in place."