Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jack Gold: Blackberry Security, Palm Treos and the Future of Smartphone OSes

Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates has published his latest Technology Brief (pdf file) newsletter. In the latest issue of his newsletter, he writes about how the Blackberry now has enough scale to be the target of viruses and malware. He sees this as a warning for enterprises to start addressing their mobile security policies.

Gold also writes about the Palm's move into Windows Mobile land . He thinks "Palm needs to be less concerned about the OS built into its smart phone devices, and more concerned about how it will enhance the end user’s experience," which has been Palm's real strength. Gold predicts that:

Palm to continue to build attractive and user friendly sevices, and to maintain a substantial share of the higher end smart phone market, especially with enterprise and professional/executive users. We further expect it to continue to diversify its line and include devices based on a Linux kernel (which is where PalmOS will ultimately end up) and potentially even Symbian (to be more appealing to the European market) in the next 2-3 years.
Gold closes out the newsletter by writing about the future os smart phone OSes. He expects to see "a dramatic growth in deployments of smart phone devices over the next 3-4 years, despite the fact they will remain relatively expensive ($200-$400 after carrier subsidies). Smart phones will represent 20% of the worldwide mobile phone market by 2010
(approximately 200M units), with fastest adoption in established markets (e.g., Europe, North America, Asia/Pac), followed by a smaller but substantial market in emerging economies (e.g., China, India)."

Gold thinks the market for smart phone OSes (2009/2010) will play out as follows:
  • Symbian will maintain its market dominance of the smart phone market, driven primarily by Nokia with its Series 60/80 platforms, but also by players such as Sony/Ericsson. Symbian-based devices will garner 50%-60% of the market.
  • Microsoft Windows Mobile will pick up market share over the next few years as vendors such as Palm, Motorola, HTC, HP etc have more impact on the market, particularly with enterprise users. We expect Windows Mobile powered devices to achieve 15-20% of the market, becoming number two behind Symbian. Device selection will often be driven by compatibility with enterprise systems (e.g., Exchange) and programming architectures (e.g., .Net), making Windows Mobile an attractive choice for many enterprises and giving them a competitive advantage in the selection process.
  • Palm (the OS, not the HW company) will achieve 10%-15% of the smart phone market, as it moves from a pure OS to a user interface built on top of a Linux kernel. This will be accomplished despite a significant portion of Linux based smart phone devices using manufacturers’ proprietary interfaces.
  • Linux will grow from near zero to 10% of the smart phone market, particularly at the low end of the range, and especially in emerging markets (e.g., India, China) where Linux’s near zero cost is a major differentiator/advantage.
  • Blackberry will continue to thrive, despite its relatively low share of 3%-5% of the smart phone market. However many devices powered by other OSes will include Blackberry Connect SW and as such, will expand the BlackBerry market beyond the relatively small installed based of BlackBerry OS devices. The relatively large number of Blackberry Enterprise Servers installed in large organizations will require compatible devices and assure a Blackberry legacy despite a number of competitive threats, though several competitors will thrive as well.
  • Other proprietary implementations based on real time OSes will have a small share of this market overall at less than 5%. The lack of user interfaces and applications will relegate these devices to a specialized corner of the marketplace.