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The mobile handset market 10 years after

Posted: 01 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile handset market? mobile phone? Nokia?

By 2018, 55 percent of the world�s population will own a cellphone. (Click to view full image)

In 1998, 5 percent of the world�s population owned a cellphone. Nokia Corp. was the top vendor then, and most of the handsets purchased were of bar or clamshell format.

At the start of 2008, global mobile penetration had skyrocketed to 40 percent. The Nokia kingdom still reigns supreme over the others, and slider phones are fast catching up with bars and clamshells as the most popular design.

Now we ask: How will the mobile handset market look in 2018?

Strategy Analytics has gazed into its crystal ball and seen several trends that will be emerging over the next 10 years. Here are some of the market researcher's findings:

By 2018, 55 percent of the world�s population will own a cellphone. Almost everyone living in a city or town will be mobile-equipped. Only very remote rural areas in Asia and Africa will remain unconnected.

Asia will manufacture 80 percent of the world's mobile phones by 2018. (Click to view full image)

Strategy Analytics believes Nokia will still be the number one handset maker. Solidifying this position are Nokia's famous global brand, unmatched economies of scale and huge retail presence. However, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and Apple Inc. will be following close behind.

Centers of production
By 2018, eighty percent of the world�s mobile phones will be manufactured in Asia. China and India will be the main centers of production, due to low labor costs and proximity to billions of customers. The unending quest for cheaper manufacturing will eventually drive new factories to be built in Vietnam.

New form factors such as rollable displays will revolutionize cellphone design.

Most devices will be extra smart within a decade. All but the ultralow tiers will employ a multitasking OS. Software will be more valuable than hardware, while high-tier handsets with more than 10 radios will be widespread.

New form factors will revolutionize the way cellphones are designed. Small will be the new big. Rollable displays and transformersmuch like the toys of the same namewill excite shoppers but cause headaches for component suppliers.

Online distribution of handsets will become more important. Consumers will routinely be able to design, purchase, update and repair their own handsets via the Internet. One tiny pioneer already working with this model is zzzPhone of China, which enables users to build and buy a smart phone via its Website.

Ten years ago, most of the handsets purchased were of bar or clamshell formats.

Greener phones
Like the automotive industry, the mobile world will get more eco-friendly during the next decade. Making and marketing devices for their green credentials will soon be standard practice.

How will the mobile handset market look in 2018?

It will be big, smart, soft, rollable, green and probably made by Nokia in Asia.

- Neil Mawston is director of wireless device strategies at Strategy Analytics.

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