The mobile device market is going to fragment

I just read an interesting article over on Venture Beat.  I'm bringing it to your attention not becuase I think it will happen but because it already is happening.

For the longest time, mobile devices came in clear, separate categories: laptops, phones, handheld game players, and music players. But with the arrival of smartphones, tablets, and smarter everyday gadgets, the market is exploding, mixing together, and fragmenting into different subsectors.

That’s one of the things to expect at the Consumer Electronics Show, which opens this week in Las Vegas, according to the analysts who gave the show’s opening talk to the press. The trend is a sign that companies which focus on creating more specialized gadgets will likely find customers over time, as long as they solve a problem that can’t be solved by a universal device such as a smartphone.

Later in the article they talk about how the ereader market will survive survive the onslaught of tablets and smartphones. They're wrong, actually. The ereader market itself is already fragmenting. Do you recall the several Kindle clones released this year? That's a market fragment just waiting to go in its own direction.

Or consider the Entourage Edge or the Kno. That's another market fragment which has already split off. I'm not quite sure what to call them, but I do know that they're not quite ereaders and they're not quite tablets. Their niche overlaps part of both the tablet market and ereader market. At least that's my opinion based on their features.

About Nate Hoffelder (11381 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on The mobile device market is going to fragment

  1. “Fragmentation” is a strange term to employ with regard to an industry. Do we talk about the terrible fragmentation of the auto industry or the watch industry?

    While it would be much simpler for mechanics or parts suppliers (and of course Ford) if we still all drove Black Model-Ts, it wouldn’t address the needs of the drivers. Some people need a truck, some a compact, some a moped. Same with watches, a rolex is a nice watch but some people prefer to have a Casio, some half a dozen swatches. We usually call this diversification or consumer choice. A variety of different designs are available at any given time and the market sorts out the good ones.

    I regularly use 3 tablets/ereaders, 5″,7″ and 10″ split between Android Donut and Eclair. I don’t suffer horribly from “Fragmentation”, my 5″ is always on my belt, my 7″ in my bag, and my 10″ at my bedside (or in in my bag for air travel). Each has different uses at differing times, with the 5″ always at hand for quick reference and reading in the restroom, the 7″ allows for reading, manga, and viewing video on the bus, while the 10″ provides me with a large format for bedtime reading.

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