Launch of latest smartphones by Apple, RIM, Nokia and Samsung will ensure handset markets enjoy strong end to 2008

Some impressive mobile phone product launches between now and the year-end will help the world’s mobile handset markets finish 2008 with strong sales, according to ABI Research.

Spurred on by the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPhone, rival handset vendors such as RIM, Nokia and Samsung are also expected to debut new models in the second half of 2008.

Kevin Burden, director of ABI Research, said such “iconic” models generate a lot of interest around the handset industry and get consumers thinking about replacement.
“2008 should still be a very good year for the global mobile phone market,” he said.
“While Q2 performance figures are still preliminary until finalised at the end of July, early indications do not point to an aggressively weak quarter.

“Historically, the second half of the year has always outperformed the first, and despite nearly global economic problems, a second half lift is still expected, although likely lower than the near 20 per cent increase the worldwide market has seen in recent years.”

Burden said that greater simplicity in handset design had been a powerful driver in new adoption over the last two years.
He said a lot of advanced technologies and applications hade been built into phones but there had often been technical or ease-of-use barriers that prevented wide adoption.

“The trend now is about making better use of what we have rather than introducing a flood of new services and network features,” he said.
“That’s going to go a long way towards ensuring users’ acceptance of new phones and new applications.”

Burden was speaking after the release of the latest update to ABI Research’s Mobile Device Market Share Analysis and Forecasts.
It reports that many usability issues will also be progressively worked out as the industry increasingly moves towards standardised operating systems.

Proprietary real-time operating systems can be painful to manage for operators as well as for users.
Open operating systems will continue to migrate down phone vendors’ product lines, increasing the penetration of devices using standardised and predictable platforms and boosting overall ease of use.

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