The CE Sweet Spot
It’s worth noting that not so long ago we were wondering how much impact netbooks might have in the computing market. The eminently portable but limited devices made substantial strides and were poised for a promising future. Then tablets hit the scene and the forward movement of netbooks was derailed. eReaders, on the other hand, have retained their viability, in part because of mainstream acceptance and rapidly falling ASPs. Looking ahead, the focus will be on how fast - and how effectively -ultrabooks can impact the sector, or if the tablet surge can conceivably dissipate in the foreseeable future.
Smartphones, which ultimately defined 2011 in terms of sales and consumer adoption, will become more affordable and functional in the years ahead. Larger screen sizes and the possibility of mobile payment options will certainly be buzz-worthy topics in the coming months. OEMs this year will introduce a rich portfolio of smartphones, ranging from devices with screens larger than 4 inches, 4G connectivity and Quad Core processors. At the same time, lower-end phones will amp up competition with low price points. Even as we've seen extraordinary adoption rates, the year ahead should promise more of the same.
What does all of this mean for the industry at large, and what can manufacturers and dealers take away from these developments? The connectivity trend has major implications for segments as diverse as audio and automotive. Consider the evolution of headphones, which in a few short years went from being cheap accessories to specialized gadgets selling consistently at price points of $100 and more. Innovative thinking and awareness of the trends toward mobility helped transform the very concept of what people wanted and would pay for products that used to be an afterthought.