Smartphone Market Set To Mature In 2015

Shipments of smartphones in the past year grew quite a bit last year but a lot less than the year before.“Global smartphone shipments totaled 1.167 billion units in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%, with combined shipments of Chinese brands reaching 453.4 million units.” I think that signals shipments will peak in 2015 with almost everyone on the planet who needs/wants one will have one. By 2015, someone will need to drop a smartphone or someone will need a lower price to buy one. By then Africa will be the only sure growth-market left. By then Android/Linux will be crowned “king” and that other OS can go home. Apple has already achieved its mature market and has no growth left. Africans largely cannot afford iThingies so Android/Linux is the way forward. Everyone on the planet who thinks it’s “cool” to have an iThingy will have one.

General-purpose PCs have long since made a mature market and everyone in the food-chain is desperately trying to wring “value” from the legacy PC while they still can. There will continue to be a need for large screens, keyboards and mice but with voice-input becoming feasible in mobile, it won’t be long before keyboards will be optional on desktops. In such a market, adoption of GNU/Linux is one of the few ways forward that can still provide income to most of the food-chain. GNU/Linux costs less to buy and less to maintain but there’s still enough maintenance to provide a living to retailers and IT-types. Not so with that other OS which cannot compete except on small screens because M$ gives it away. Customers are going to prefer lower cost to buy rather than higher cost of maintenance even if M$ gives everything away.

The past year has been very instructive. The low end prices for PCs have dropped from ~$350 to ~$250 but growth is down to ~1% or so. Wintel cannot survive in this domain. Intel has had to ship Atoms, which it intended for mobile applications, to remain in the market for consumers. M$ has had to give away copies of its operating system. That leaves only GNU/Linux on ARM as the way to ~$100 PCs. GNU/Linux on Intel can get to ~$150 but not much lower. Expect to see many more GNU/Linux PCs in the market this year as OEMs and retailers struggle to find market share/volume. They can’t count on ripoff prices any longer.

See Global Smartphone Shipments in 2014 Totaled 1.167B with Samsung and Apple as First and Second, TrendForce Reports.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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