Outlook for Connected Devices Looks Promising

By Ed Silverstein November 18, 2010

The outlook for connected devices looks good for the current quarter and beyond.

For example, AT&T Inc.'s emerging-devices business is expected to have a "very solid fourth quarter," the head of the division told Dow Jones News Service. "The desire for mobility devices has stayed very strong even through these tough economic times," Glenn Lurie, head of emerging devices, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the fourth quarter is typically the strongest for the purchase of consumer electronic devices. Obviously, that comes from consumers purchasing gifts for winter holidays.

As an added plus, this is the first fourth quarter in which AT&T is pushing connected devices, with more netbooks, tablets and laptops – featuring a cellular connection, the Journal says.

In addition, e-readers remain in demand with consumers, according to Lurie. AT&T provides the cellular connection for three popular readers.

Lurie adds that devices that integrate a global positioning system chip and location-based services will "break loose" in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Journal. New products include those that track cars, packages, or children as they come home from school, the Journal said.

In addition, there is more good news for connected devices. The Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM), better known as the GSMA, has formed a task force of mobile operators to explore the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. The move is expected to enable the design of new form factors for mobile communications. It will also speed the development of M2M services by making it easier to bring mobile broadband to non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and e-Readers, as well as smart meters.

"The traditional SIM has been an important innovation in mobile telephony, and has provided many benefits to consumers in terms of security, portability of contacts, and ease of portability of devices across networks," said Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA. "As our industry moves from connecting phones to connecting a wide range of devices, it is apparent that the embedded SIM could deliver even greater flexibility. The embedded SIM will provide assured levels of security and portability for consumers, as well as provide additional functionality for enabling new services such as e-Wallet and NFC applications."

The GSMA-led task force comprises a group of technical experts drawn from operators including: AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. The group will work in cooperation with major SIM producers.

The group is expected to complete the analysis of market requirements by January 2011. Devices featuring the new SIM activation capability are expected to appear in 2012.

On another front, Bloomberg reports that Intel, whose processors are in about 80 percent of PCs, plans to introduce a new kind of chip that goes into televisions in 2011 for Internet-enabled products. There is a growing demand for TVs “that allow viewers to buy on-line video games and applications that do anything from forecasting the weather to measuring the string tension of a tennis racket,” Bloomberg reports.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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