Google's Android platform took a bite out of Apple -- and Symbian -- during the third quarter of 2010 in terms of global smartphone sales, according to market research firm Gartner.
With 20.5 million Android units sold in Q3, Android jumped into second place for the quarter with a 25.5 percent share of the smartphone market. Symbian maintained its position at the top with nearly 29.5 million units sold and a 36.6 percent market share, while iOS sat in third place place with around 13.5 million units and a 16.7 percent chunk of the smartphone pie.
"Smartphone OS providers have entered a period of accelerated platform evolution, stimulated by more regular product releases, new platform entrants and new device types," said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Any platform that fails to innovate quickly — either through a vibrant multi-player ecosystem or clear vision of a single controlling entity — will lose developers, manufacturers, potential partners and ultimately users."
Innovation hasn't been a problem for Google, which continues to update its Android platform at a breakneck pace. On top of it all, the Android Market has come into its own with nearly 100,000 apps and over 2 billion downloads to date, according to AndroLib.com.
With so many tablets on the horizon -- think several dozen -- it's a bit premature to anoint Apple's iPad as the go-to device. Nevertheless, market research firm Gartner is encouraging CEOs to take the iPad seriously as a business tool.
"It is usually not the role of the CEO to get directly involved in specific technology device decisions, but Apple's iPad is an exception," said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and vice president. "It is more than just the latest consumer gadget; and CEOs and business leaders should initiate a dialogue with their CIOs about if they have not already done so."
According to Gartner, tablet sales will reach 19.5 million units by the end of 2010, most of which will belong to the iPad. In 2011, that number will jump to 54.8 million, and surpass 208 million in 2014.
"Individuals are willing to buy these devices themselves, so enterprises must be ready to support them," said Mr. Prentice. "While some IT departments will say they are a 'Windows shop,' and Apple does not support the enterprise. Organizations need to recognize that there are soft benefits in a devices of this type in the quest to improve recruitment and retention. Technology is not always about productivity."
Gartner called the iPad an iconic device that's currently redefining the market, and advises CEOs to act sooner rather than later.
"While there are no certainties, the iPad looks to become a market-disrupting device, like the iPod before it," Prentice says.
In the long run, Microsoft didn't do itself any favors by releasing Internet Explorer 6 as a non-standard browser. Now all those companies who were forced to develop apps specific to the nine-year-old browser are struggling to migrate to Windows 7, according to market research firm Gartner.
Even worse for these companies is that Microsoft doesn't seem all that interested in fixing a problem it created, instead hoping to sweep IE6 under the rug.
"Microsoft would rather put the non-standard browser technology behind it," said Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner. "Microsoft needs to explore all avenues that could ease the transitions away from IE6."
Here's the problem. Businesses still clinging to IE6 told Gartner that 40 percent of their browser-depending apps don't work with IE8, which comes baked into Windows 7. Fixing these apps to run in IE8 takes a sizable investment, both in time and money, and temporary workarounds all carry downsides. Probably the most promising is to use application virtualization tools, but as far as Microsoft is concerned, that's a violation of licensing agreements.
"It's ironic that Microsoft would oppose methods that would help organizations accelerate the move to Windows 7," Silver said. "Microsoft must do more to help organizations with their IE6 problems that Microsoft helped create."
The latest global PC shipment numbers from Gartner and IDC have probably confirmed recent fears that tablets (effectively the iPad for now) are eating into secondary PC sales. Gartner expects media tablets to get even more ravenous as time goes on. The market research firm has forecast that media tablet sales will touch 19.5 million in 2010.
Next year might be 2011 according to the Gregorian calendar, and the year of the Rabbit as per the Chinese, but it’d truly be the year of the media tablet if Gartner’s sales forecast is proved correct. It expects tablet sales “to total 54.8 million units in 2011, up 181 percent from 2010.”
“Mini notebooks will suffer from the strongest cannibalization threat as media tablet average selling prices drop below $300 over the next 2 years,” Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, is quoted as saying in a Gartner release.
“The all-in-one nature of media tablets will result in the cannibalization of other consumer electronics devices such as e-readers, gaming devices and media player.”
We've been busier than ever this year covering security software, starting with our annual roundup of security suites, followed by standalone reviews of several suites that didn't make the initial cut. More reviews are planned, and according to market research firm Gartner, we'll be just as busy next year, if not more so.
Gartner says that the lucrative software security market will grow by 11 percent this year, raking in $16.5 billion in revenue, compared to $14.8 billion in 2009.
"Most segments of the security software market will continue to grow over the next few years, although a significant degree of variation is expected between the more-established and less-mature technologies" said Ruggero Contu, principal research analyst at Gartner.
We're not real surprised by any of this. If you've been following our AV coverage, then you're aware that even some mainstream vendors, like Symantec and McAfee, have stepped up their game with their latest security suites.
Market research firm Gartner went and gave its first "Chief Forecaster," Richard Gordon, a bit of blog space and the first thing he sounded off about was the effect of the European sovereign debt crisis on IT spending.
"Our assessment is that, in addition to the short-term currency effect on our forecast, it is likely that IT spending in Western Europe will be adversely impacted in the medium-term to long-term because government action to reduce budget deficits and debt will mean public sector spending cuts and tax rises and a period of sluggish economic growth," Gordon wrote.
Gordon was quick to put all this into perspective, pointing out that Western Europe accounts for less than a quarter of all IT spending on the planet, and less than 20 percent in the public sector.
Read all of what he had to say -- and there's quite a bit -- right here.
Acer is well on course to overtake Hewlett-Packard as the world's leading laptop vendor by the end of this year, according to Chairman J.T. Wang. He said that better-than-expected performance in some countries should see revenues jump 10-15 percent sequentially in the third quarter. He made the comments while addressing shareholders at a meeting.
However, Acer may have already pipped HP to the top spot in the netbook market. Gartner's research shows that the Taiwanese PC vendor finished the first quarter as the world's leading notebook seller ahead of HP, though the gap between the two was marginal – 9.49 million notebooks to HP's 9.47 million.
Wang said that the company has managed to grow even in the face of the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. More importantly, Acer hasn't resorted to price hikes to offset the recent wage increases in China. Moving forward, the world's number two PC vendor hopes to make a dent in the smartphone market aided by Google Android.
While the tech industry might like to forget that 2009 ever happened, things are shaping up much more nicely in recent times. So much so that market research firm Gartner predicts worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending to shoot past $35.4 billion by the end of 2010, which would represent a 113.2 percent increase from one year ago.
"The drive to new technology nodes will drive semiconductor equipment growth in 2010," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner. "The demand for 40nm and 45nm devices is now ramping up, resulting in heavy foundry-based capital spending. Investment at the 3x node by Intel, an increase in spending by NAND memory producers, and the transition to the next generation DDR3 DRAM memory are the key investment growth drivers."
At the same time, Rinnen warns that the growth will start to taper off in 2011 as orders start to slow down. Rinnen predicts the market will still see an upwards trend, but only to the tune of 6.6 percent.
""We could see a slight slowing in orders as 2010 ends, and the industry focuses on macroeconomic conditions. We expect capital equipment growth to continue through 2011, but at a reduced rate, as spending responds to slower growth in the semiconductor markets," Rinnen said.
Despite any talk of netbook sales starting to die down, these portable PCs continue to play a huge role in growing the mobile market. According to market research firm Gartner, notebook shipments rose by 43.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010, much of which can be attributed to a 71 percent jump in netbook sales. In addition, year-over-year growth in the laptop market was the highest it's been in the past eight years.
Over 49 million PCs were shipped around the world in the first quarter of 2010, and some 20 percent of those were netbooks. By comparison, netbooks accounted for roughly 13 percent of PC sales in the first quarter of 2009, Gartner said.
Not included in these sales figures are tablet devices, such as Apple's iPad. The reason? Gartner doesn't consider tablets as replacements for laptops and netbooks, even if Yankee Stadium might disagree.
There will be a return to growth in the IT industry this year, with worldwide IT spending expected to climb by 4.1 percent and jump past $2.4 trillion in 2010, says market research firm Gartner.
"2010 will see IT spending in all major industries returning to growth, although that growth will vary by individual sector," Gartner research director Kenneth Brant said in an announcement. "National and international government will show the strongest growth in 2010, as IT spending is forecast to grow 6.2 percent worldwide.”
At the same time, Gartner warned vendors that they should brace themselves in case technology spending growth slows down as part of a "double dip" recession. But for now, Gartner sees growth on the horizon, particularly in the banking and securities industry, and the retail sector, which should see a 4.6 percent increase to $397 billion and 4.7 percent increase to $149 billion, respectively.