Mobile Broadband Enabled Consumer Electronics Devices Will Expand in 2008

Friday, October 5th, 2007
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There is a new class of devices emerging on the horizon: a convergence of everyday consumer electronics and mobile broadband.

Consumer electronics increasingly will include Wi-Fi for connectivity within the home and to the Internet; Wi-Fi-enabled portable consumer electronics devices are a bridge to the mobile consumer electronics devices. Service providers will offer services to these devices in addition to handsets and laptops. SK Telecom is doing this today for Samsung’s HSDPA-enabled camera, and Sprint Nextel and Clearwire will heavily promote connectivity for a wide range of WiMAX-enabled consumer electronics devices.

Phil Solis, principal analyst for ABI Research, says, “The market for cellular-enabled consumer electronics devices will gather momentum in 2008 and 2009 with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform. As mobile WiMAX networks increase their coverage, more WiMAX-only devices will be sold. And between WiMAX network deployments and devices using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform or Freescale’s MXC platform, the 2008-to-2009 time period will be critical for the development of this market.”

Solis continues, “Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform should reduce dramatically the cost of including cellular connectivity in consumer electronics devices by bundling wide-area connectivity with short-range wireless technologies and a multimedia processor. Even so, this market is dealing with consumer electronics manufacturers who feel that even the integration of Wi-Fi is nearly cost-prohibitive.”

“The benefits outweigh the additional costs, but the challenge for vendors is to sell consumers on those benefits.”

By offering all the processing power and connectivity functionality (WPAN, WLAN, WWAN) that a mobile consumer electronics device would need, the Snapdragon platform should be an attractive package for consumer electronics manufacturers. Reference designs should be available by 4Q 2007, and products using the Snapdragon platform should be in the market during the 2008 time frame. Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela have the greatest opportunities for mobile consumer electronics within Latin America, but pale in comparison with the Asia-Pacific and North American regions.

ABI Research expects Qualcomm to make several relevant announcements regarding its Snapdragon platform at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show, at a time when many WiMAX-enabled consumer electronics will be announced as well.

ABI Research’s recent study, “Mobile Broadband-Enabled Consumer Electronics“, explores how the market for mobile broadband-enabled consumer electronics will play out from 2007 to 2012. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of each air-interface, and indicates which will dominate at the beginning and end of the period. It forms part of the Mobile Broadband Research Service.