Nearly 95 Million 'Ultra-Mobile Devices' to Ship by 2012

A whole new class of 'always-on' Internet-connected products, collectively termed 'Ultra-Mobile Devices' (UMDs), will become popular over the next five years, according to a new report from ABI Research. By appealing to a wide range of buyers they will reach shipments of nearly 95 million units by 2012, and should prove extremely profitable for their makers.

"UMDs are a very exciting, potentially very lucrative area," says ABI Research vice president Stan Schatt. "What makes this market so intriguing is that products will assume so many different forms. That product differentiation will be an integral part of the ultra mobile device marketing plan."

UMDs are of two types, Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs), which run Windows and business applications and are aimed at business users, and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), which target consumers and are more likely to run a Linux operating system. The latter, with their lower prices and wider appeal, will make up by far the majority of the devices shipped. Apple's iPhone and Nokia's N800 may be seen as precursors of the MID. Both UMPCs and MIDs will feature multiple wireless connectivity technologies - Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and cellular - to maintain 'any time, anywhere' Internet connectivity.

This diversity is also reflected in the range of applications that will be offered: Web browsing, music, navigation, voice, and data communications including email and IM, photo/video, and vertical commercial applications will all be popular. Some new applications, such as medical monitoring, are now in development as well.

The ultra mobile device ecosystem will ultimately contain hundreds of vendors - chipmakers, display and device manufacturers, application developers and service providers - and the new report offers strategic recommendations for all of them.


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