Convergence offers opportunities to new players: Ovum

Entitled 'Wireless Internet: New Frontiers for Cellular Terminals,' a new report from consultancy Ovum predicts that globally, revenue from sales of mobile handsets is set to jump from $US27 billion in 1999 to $US 67 billion in 2004.

By 2004 sales of $19 billion are expected in the Asia-Pacific, according to the report, and sales of smartphones and data-centric cellular terminals will represent 65 per cent of the market.

The report has outlined the ways in which convergence in computing and communications industries is offering opportunities to new players.

Already vendors are forging new joint ventures and alliances to take advantage of mobile data applications, but the market is currently hindered by a lack of standards with various alliances supporting different standards and technologies.

"Which alliances win or lose will have a profound effect on what standards and technologies gain dominance" observed Eden Zoller (Eden Zoller), senior analyst, Ovum. "A cellular terminals market dominated by the Microsoft camp and CE operating system will be a very different world from one where Symbian and its EPOC operating system hold sway."

According to Ovum, while voice traffic will continue to dominate, demand for information services and Internet content will have an impact on vendors' strategies.

The report points out that vendors' strategies will differ depending on their background: Mobile handset vendors such as Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola will look to succeed in the emerging smartphone market, while computing vendors will start to expand their product lines producing PDAs if they are not already doing so.

Ovum asserts that for many vendors success will require enhancing voice services, improving ease of use and embracing technologies such as Bluetooth.

"The success of Bluetooth makes incorporating the technology a recommended strategy for all terminal vendors. By putting 'Bluetooth inside', vendors will be able to provide operational integration between devices, enabling a range of communications, computer and consumer electronic devices to communicate with each other," Zoller said

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