Five years ago we watched the wireless industry completely shift away from regular handsets to smart phones. Now the industry is getting ready to transform itself again.
Let’s take a look at where were we, where are we today and where will we be in the next few years? This information is important for industry workers, investors, customers, partners and the media to answer the question, what’s next?
Five years ago the wireless industry handset market was lead by RIM Blackberry and Nokia.
Then the Apple iPhone jumped into the wireless market and changed the direction of the entire industry. In fact this iPhone craze is the reason for the terrible spectrum shortage we are now threatened with as an industry.
That sudden transformation created a new direction, new opportunities, new leaders and new losers.
Today’s leaders are Apple iPhone and Google Android. Today we jumped from a few hundred Apps to hundreds of thousands. Today the Internet browser is spectacular.
The Google Android activity in the space has really supercharged several handset makers like Samsung, Motorola and others. In fact Google just acquired the Motorola handset business and we can expect to see more innovation coming.
The regular handset market is still active, but the wild growth is coming from this new super-smart-phone arena.
Past leaders who were rising on their Wave over the last decade, suddenly crested and started falling down the backside.
We have seen new leaders transform the space. They are now on the upward side of their new growth Wave.
So what’s next?
Just as the industry shifted and new leaders have taken the limelight, the same shift is about to occur again.
What new technologies and new leaders will lead going forward?
Today in the networks space companies like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless are leaders while Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile are followers.
Of course we will see past leaders like RIM trying to re-enter the field with their updated Blackberry later this year. We also see Nokia partnering with Microsoft on the Lumia.
But if we pull the camera back we see other, bigger and more important industry re-shaping changes coming.
One of them is Facebook.
They will enter the wireless space. They must. They need to grow now that they are public. Wireless is their next natural step.
Will they succeed? Will they transform wireless? If they don’t, they will suffer looking forward. So they must.
How will they do this? Well they will either acquire or partner with a handset maker and network.
Perhaps we will see Facebook partner with Nokia and Microsoft on their smart phones. Perhaps Facebook will partner with or even acquire Nokia.
What about networks? The question is will they acquire a network like Sprint Nextel or T-Mobile, or will they simply stick to the handset business?
Of course they could act like a reseller to one of the networks. Sort of like the Apple iPhone did with AT&T early on. Or like Tracfone does with AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, but on the smart phone side.
There are lots of opportunities for them to take this next wireless step. They don’t yet know which direction to choose, but they will take this path. Perhaps they will start slow, test, then jump in.
That means the industry should look very different looking forward.
And as Facebook takes this wireless step I also see other social sites and companies getting active in the wireless space as well.
Wireless will look much different over the next few years.
Perhaps you will be able to buy a Facebook phone, or Twitter phone or LinkedIn phone. Perhaps an iPad type computers. Could Facebook get into the tablet business? Perhaps you will also buy generic handsets giving you various social network Apps to connect to your social networks.
That would in essence, turn your favorite smart phone or tablet into one of these Facebook devices.
And what are the next big companies that are not even on the radar yet? What you thought Facebook was it?
Yes the wireless smart phone world is about to transform itself once again in a variety of ways, and social networks will play an increasingly larger role.
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Other press releases from Jeff KAGAN Tech Industry Analyst, Columnist and Author
- Apple iPhone Sales Weaker Than Expected | Jeff Kagan Industry Analyst - January 14th, 2013
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- Nokia Not Out of Woods Yet | Jeff Kagan Wireless Analyst - January 10th, 2013
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- Sprint Nextel Acquiring Clearwire for Wireless Data | Jeff Kagan Industry Analyst - December 17th, 2012
Contact InformationJeff KAGAN
Title: Tech Industry Analyst ~ Columnist ~ Wireless Analyst ~ Telecom Industry Analyst
Jeff KAGAN Tech Industry Analyst, Columnist and Author
PO Box 670562
Marietta, GA 30066
Phone: 770 579 5810