Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 2009 update on US handset sales;mlt_related
The latest numbers support my claim from a few weeks back-the handset market in the US is bipolar too. RIM and Apple dominate the highend smartphone segment. The midrange market is ceding to the high end. The low end matters to price conscious consumers. Together, the article claims, 80% of the market by 2014 will belong to these 2 categories.

The billion $ unanswered question is.... of the 80%, how much is accounted by the high end? I will take a shot at this. AT&T just announced that data plans are mandatory for all smartphones. Clearly, AT&T is pushing iPhone apps tied to data plans. And is building out their network to accomodate future growth in this data space. But this segment (in spite of huge profits for Apple and AT&T) will not grow beyond 5% of the handset market. If AT&T unlocks iPhones and introduces competition for voice+data plans, this will grow to 25-40%. This will happen in 2012.

In between 2009 and 2012, the handset market belongs to the low end. Margins are high in the apps space-but theres so few of them, If user experience improves by orders of magnitude, the lowend can join the party!! And party on till 2014 and beyond....

Sanjay Research will focus on the low end with its voice offerings. And take a slice of the apps space hopefully.

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