9 Comments

Summary:

[qi:053] Given the fast pace of the developments in mobile, it pays to take a step back and review all the big news from the last quarter. At GigaOM Pro (subscription required), we’ve compiled the important news and analysis from the previous three months to help […]

[qi:053] Given the fast pace of the developments in mobile, it pays to take a step back and review all the big news from the last quarter. At GigaOM Pro (subscription required), we’ve compiled the important news and analysis from the previous three months to help identify the big themes for the sector as we move into the second half of 2009. An overview of that compilation is below.

Economy Continues to Beat Down Forecasts

The global recession continues to place downward pressure on the wireless market. Providers in Asia, Europe and North America alike have so far reported declining revenues as compared to 2008. In the U.S., Sprint said its first-quarter 2009 revenue fell 12 percent from the first quarter of 2008; AT&T said revenue dipped 1 percent.

Battle of the Superphones

AT&T’s relative success is largely due to the iPhone, which continues to dominate the smartphone market in terms of devices sold, data consumed and usage-driving apps. In light of the release of the new 3GS iPhone, Apple is expecting to see a surge in device sales to 7 million by the fourth quarter from roughly 4 million in the second quarter. Meanwhile, In April, the iPhone accounted for 43 percent of mobile web usage and 65 percent of HTML usage.

ref_iphone3g_pair

The iPhone, and AT&T, are facing challenges from other devices, however, such as the Palm Pre, the new Google phone (myTouch) and the BlackBerry Curve, which was the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2009. The Palm Pre launched in the second quarter and quickly became an iPhone competitor. Indeed, Palm is placing a lot of stock in its success. But while the new phone is promising, it’s unclear whether it will be enough to save the struggling Palm.

Netbooks Eat Notebooks

netbookIn addition to handset news, netbooks continued to make waves. Sales of these new scaled-down notebooks are in the tens of millions and are taking a big bite out of notebook sales.  With such strong sales, there is a great deal of competition heating up in the space, particularly among OS creators as they strive to develop a claim on this uncharted territory.

WiMax and LTE March Forward

Even in the bleak environment, carriers are positioning their 4G strategies, and the battle between LTE and WiMAX continues. WiMAX had a positive quarter, with Clearwire adding Atlanta to the current coverage in Portland, Ore. Additionally, by mid-quarter, Clearwire added 25,000 new subscriptions, and users in Portland, Ore., where the service launched in January, are using twice the bandwidth than those in its pre-WiMAX markets. Intel also made a significant investment — of $43 million — in Japanese communications provider UQ Communications. This is the latest in Intel’s $2 billion investment in WiMAX over the past four years. LTE is also marching forward, and with the DTV conversion finally past, a significant barrier has been removed.

Battles continue to be fought in the mobile market. On the device, carrier and network fronts companies are trying to lay claim to a piece of this rapidly evolving space. The remainder of 2009 promises to lend insight into how it will develop, fleshing out the winners and losers, both in terms of companies and technologies.

A more in-depth look at these trends and others is available in the latest Quarterly Wrap-ups in our four focus areas — Mobile, Green IT, Connected Consumer, and Infrastructure. These quarterly reviews are available to GigaOM Pro subscribers, along with dozens of detailed research briefings and in-depth articles on specific topics in each of these areas. You can subscribe here.

  1. Gadget Sleuth Monday, July 20, 2009

    For my money, the Pre is a nice phone without enough of an audience. As the kids today say: Fail.

  2. Chris Albinson Monday, July 20, 2009

    Interesting post – missing the impact of wifi on this market which is a big story in the last 6 months. (i) AT&T moving to wifi offload of iPhone to stop the 3G network from being crushed – acquired Wayport, Starbucks deal,(ii) Cablevision now with 3M users/month on their wifi network, (iii) Sprint & Verizon wave the white flag on wifi, (iv) 81 carriers with iPhone globally moving to embrace wifi to save their 3G networks, and (v) Intel/Google writing down Wimax investments. Net net – App phones require wifi to make the economics of mobile data work. WiMax is dead – no volume on devices resulting in non-viable economics. The battle for 4G is between wifi and LTE. 1B devices will ship with wifi over the next 36 months vs. maybe 40 M with LTE and less with wimax. Much the way ethernet migrated into the core of carrier networking, wifi will be a large part of the core of 4G.

    1. Hey Chris – you make a great point in Wi-Fi being important near-term band-aid given crush of apps related data usage on 3G. I think, similarly, video is doing the same thing and is actually going to be the biggest long-term hit on total bandwidth consumption. The question becomes does mobile broadcast become the savior – remember, in Japan and South Korea, mobile broadcast adoption is actually fairly high, mostly due to early embrace of free-to-air – or is it Wi-Fi and/or both.

  3. Tech News » VC investing rebounds in Q2, still at mid-1990s levels Monday, July 20, 2009

    [...] What Happened in Mobile in Q2? [...]

  4. Mobileinsider Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    I think the WiMAX vs LTE debate overshadows the ‘fact’ that Mobile WiMAX is actually loosing ground to HSPA – its real competition. Signals Research (today) jut sent out a good piece on WiMAX eco system and its progress and on July 1 they posted a test of HSPA in Australia. My views at Blog: http://tinyurl.com/ctw83x

    Twitter/mobileinsider

  5. I have been using HTC TOUCH and i am well satisfied with it. Wi-Fi is just one important thing that i really need in my mobile. see how many application uses your WIFI . I use vopium on my other mobile and it uses WIFI to provide me cheap calls

  6. Internet Marketing, Strategy & Technology Links – July 21, 2009 « Sazbean Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    [...] What Happened in Mobile in Q2? (GigaOM) [...]

  7. SmartPhones Sales Up, But Mobile Startup Funding Down Sunday, August 2, 2009

    [...] has continued through the first half of of 2009 with only $354.7 million invested. (Related post: What happened in Mobile in Q2 2009. You can also sign-up with GigaOM Pro to get the latest research on mobile internet for $79 a [...]

  8. Despite iPhone’s Success, BlackBerry Curve Was on Top in Q2 Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    [...] Jennifer Martinez | Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | 10:53 AM PT | 0 comments In the battle of the smartphones, RIM’s Blackberry Curve edged out the competition to take the top spot as the best-selling [...]

Comments have been disabled for this post