The 9 migrating markets

In the near future, we are going to see people migrating into various mobile, smart gadgets from their conventional communication/computing devices. There is (at least) two kinds of migration: people may replace their old device or they may use the new gadget as complementary to the old device. To illustrate the migration paths, I drew a figure about which devices people are migrating to which. I divided the interesting gadgets into 9 overlapping markets:

Desktop is your regular Pc (or a device like the Mini-Mac)
Laptop likewise is rather self-explanatory, though the smallest models get very close to Tablets. (This category would include the so called Tablet PCs, as they too are rather bulky for mobile devices.)
Tablets are a fresh category, the Pepper Pad is the best example and the upcoming Microsoft Origami devices may fall into this category. This is a fairly large device with a 7"-9" screen and a broad range of capacity.
Handtop is a high-end pad. Essentially a full PC in a very small form factor, such as OQO or Vaio U-series.
Surfboard is a low-end pad. For example Nokia 770.
PDA likewise is familiar, a Palm or PocketPC is a good example.
Communicator is a smart phone with a keyboard and various application/communication functions. Eg. Treo, Blackberry, Nokia 9500, 9300.
Smart phone is a cell phone with a capable operating system, good connectivity and capacity to run various mobile applications. This includes the various series60 phones from Nokia. Only the regular cell phone keyboard here.
GSM phone is your regular cell phone.

Tablets, handtops and surfboards define the triangle of the so called carrypad territory.

Click image to see the full picture. Bulky, less mobile devices are in the upper left corner of the picture. Obsolescent devices, from which users are only migrating from, are on the left side of the picture. High-capability, high-performance devices are on the upper side of the picture. Futuristic (many users are migrating to these), convergence devices are on the right side of the picture.

This figure is useful for assessing which markets might start growing, and when. I can see 3 key factors why users would migrate to a new market of devices:

Convergence For example a user going from a PDA or GSM phone to communicator can do multiple tasks with a single device.
Mobility A handtop can do many of the things a laptop could do, but it nicely fits into your pocket.
Capability A user who migrates from a communicator to a handtop gains not only better performance, but a larger, better screen for a better web browsing or application experience.

I didn't draw all the arrows, to avoid the picture becoming messy. For example, a user might well go directly from a PDA to a surfboard or a handtop, because she will gain capability (and convergence) while maintaining essentially the same mobility. Can you spot any other omissions, glitches or dubious assumptions in the figure?


At 17:19, Blogger Chippy said...

Its possible, I guess, that the carrypad territory remains segmented like you show. Its not really a question of technical capabilty really, I think its more a question of marketing that defines what is going to happen here. Of course, as someone who believes in the carrypad, I hope that the segment becomes well promoted and we see a good range of new devices in the next 12 months. I might finally get my dream device!

At 09:57, Blogger Varis said...

Well carrypad markets currently are very underdeveloped, and though the very few products out there might fit into these 3 boxes, they are more or less artificial and I think new market segments might develop soon enough.

In particular I think there's room for interweb players - devices between surfboards and handtops. If you look at existing products, these devices would combine the best parts of say Nokia 770 and the Archos (eg. MP-400) media players. My hunch is that Nokia will make an interweb player 1-2 years from now, and if Archos can see the convergence potential (they already have Linux as their platform, and if you figure in that Nintendo DS is getting a web browser too...) - the more the merrier.

It is not only marketing but customer demand, which I think will be more guided by media coverage. So in the end it is up to us bloggers and the more traditional press to educate the general public about the suitability of these devices to everyday use.


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