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Mobile outlook 2013: $99 tablets and ‘Digital natives’ take charge

by David Needle

December 11 2012

2013 won't likely be the year of the triangle tablet, but we may see a range of more conventional $99 models.
2013 won't likely be the year of the triangle tablet, but we may see a range of more conventional $99 models.

Research firm CCS Insight is out with a set of aggressive predictions for 2013 and beyond that touch on several tablet and mobile-related topics.

For example, CCS Insight predicts that by the end of 2013, the average household in Western Europe and North America will have seven connected devices.

Driving that growth are several factors, including more affordable mobile devices and the continued development of mobile networks, including free public Wi-Fi and the launch of 4G services that make mobile adoption more compelling.

CCS Insight expects $99 to become the new low end target price as platform companies sharpen their focus on the tablet market as a way of promoting their retail, digital content and advertising business models. It predicts Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble will all launch $99 tablets in 2013.

“The move effectively kills any opportunity for pure-play hardware manufacturers to profitably compete with Android tablets, forcing them to consider Windows RT,” the report says.

Extend some of these same factors (lower costs and improved networks) to the business world and there’s every reason to believe the use of mobile and web technologies in business as well as government will rise sharply over the next three years.

The research firm also notes that a kind of changing of the guard is taking place as senior positions are increasingly being filled by “digital natives” - people who have grown up with smartphones and access to the Internet.

“A generational flush will see an influx of these digital natives taking responsible roles, and this will have a profound effect on business processes and policies,” said CCS Insight.

Windows 8 versus iPad

As for Microsoft, the software giant will emphasize the advantages of having a tablet and a PC in a single (Windows 8) device.

“Partners such as Acer, Asus, Dell and HP will try to portray the binary option of an iPad or a MacBook as restrictive and unnecessarily expensive,” the report says.

“They will associate this message with a strong developer story as Microsoft expands the range of applications supporting the Windows 8 modern UI.”

The research firm also expects Microsoft and its hardware partners to release innovative designs for Windows 8 devices to provide more alternatives to the iPad.

An Amazon smartphone?

In 2013 CCS Insight expects Amazon to release its first smartphone, in fact a range of smartphones, made by HTC.

As for the iPhone, the report says Apple’s popular device will see its market share peak in 2014.

“As Apple's devices become more affordable and commonplace, they'll appeal less to trend-setters. We expect Apple's overall share of the smartphone market to stabilize, despite ever-growing sales of the iPhone.”

Getting back to the rise of so-called digital natives, the research firm asserts that the quality of life in Europe and North America over the next three years will become more and more dependent on levels of Internet literacy.

“It's no longer about who's online and who isn't, but who can take full advantage of online services and social networks,” the report says. 

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