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ABI: Bluetooth gadget shipments up for growth in Asia

Posted: 17 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth? opportunities in Asia? Binary CDMA? GiGa-Fi?

While Bluetooth has been in the market for almost a decade, it has not proliferated widely in Asia and in terms of consumer awareness, the region still lags behind others. However, the picture is changing, especially when it comes to cellular handsets.

A new study from ABI Research entitled "Bluetooth: Opportunities in Asia" indicates that Bluetooth-enabled equipment shipments in Asia will reach 982 million units in 2013, representing a CAGR of 39 percent over 2006 shipments.

"One of biggest barriers for consumers is cost," said senior analyst Andy Bae. "Consumers in Asia believe that the Bluetooth headset is comparatively expensive; they also seem to underestimate its voice quality."

Bluetooth has achieved its greatest penetration to date in mobile handsets, as mobile operators have demanded continuous support from manufacturers. In South Korea, the penetration rate in mobile phones reached 51 percent in 2007.

"Streaming music services over mobile networks, such as Japan's Chaku Uta, will be key drivers of Bluetooth inclusion in cellular handsets," Bae added.

The positive uptake in the cellular sector also produces a ripple effect for other devices. With increasing consumer awareness, notebook manufacturers now consider Bluetooth to be an suitable medium for exchanging files and data with peripherals and devices such as printers and digital cameras.

Bluetooth will still face challenges from competing short-range wireless technologies. In Asia, there are homegrown technologies to deliver music, voice and video within a small radius including Binary CDMA, Wireless USB and GiGa-Fi.

"Those technologies may have superior transmission capabilities," noted Bae. "But there is no other technology as well suited as Bluetooth for the transmission of audio servicesnor does any other technology maintain the same price points or the same well-established market position."

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