Its no secret that mobile was a key trend at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. A plethora of smartphone products were announced, which underscores the view that an already competitive smartphone market will become even more so in the coming months as these announced products start to hit the shelves.
CES: harbinger of rising smartphone competition
Aside from last week's formal Google Nexus One announcement, Samsung, Motorola
Clearwire announced plans for a WiMAX powered smartphone, but that the device won't be available until the end of the year. I suspect the device, which is expected to make phone calls over Sprint's
Wireless continues to move beyond mobile phones
Aside from sharing a portion of its smartphone strategy, AT&T described some of its efforts to bring wireless service to other markets and devices. One such example is wireless-enabled car entertainment systems and other consumer devices, such as a Photo Mail LED Digital Photo Frame by Pandigital. All in all, AT&T claims to have forged deals to add wireless services to almost 20 consumer devices, such as e-readers, mini-computers, and digital photo frames.
AT&T is far from alone and I would expect other carriers to make announcements in the coming weeks and months, particularly as more devices -- tablets, e-readers, netbooks, smartbooks, connected photo frames, and more are likely to hit the market in the coming months. Also of course is the much-anticipated announcement from Apple
Suppliers poised benefit as more wireless devices come to market
All in all, these announcements reinforce my view that smartphones are the next great technology battleground, and a competitive market will become even more so in the months ahead. As shelf space at mobile carriers becomes more difficult to come by, and price points come under pressure, the smartphone market is poised for a shakeout. Past winners in the mobile phone market may not be the new ones. Consider that IDC lists the top three players in the smartphone market today as Nokia, Research In Motion, and Apple. More dominant feature phone-makers like Samsung, Motorola, LG, or Sony Ericsson now lag behind. At the same time, mobile carriers and other consumer electronic companies are bringing new devices to the marketplace with wireless connectivity.
These two trends, not to mention the migration from current to next generation wireless technology, bode well for RF and key mobile suppliers as their addressable market and dollar content per device expand.
In my view, key players poised to benefit from this smartphone and mobile connectivity explosion include RF Micro Devices
Fool contributor Chris Versace owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple and InterDigital are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool has a disclosure policy.