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Analysis of Smart Phone Market

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As smaller, cheaper, faster and more efficient components become available, portable computing has taken an interesting turn. A very competitive market has emerged between three key players; notebooks, tablets, and mobile phones. One of these devices will lead the way for mobile computing, the question is which one? As engineers and developers push past barriers previously thought impossible, components used in these devices are not only getting smaller and more efficient, but increasing with speed while lowering power consumption. These factors, combined with what people want from mobile computing will ultimately decide which of these devices takes over the portable computing market.


Over the last 30 years, notebooks essentially dominated the portable computing market. The big push in notebooks is coming from Intel who is quickly becoming the leader of mobile computing. At the 2011 IDF(Intel Developers Forum), keynote speaker Mooly Eden, asked OEMs(Original Equipment Manufacturers) to develop notebooks called Ultrabooks.2 In order to compete in the cut throat portable computing market, notebooks need to become cheaper, smaller, lighter, faster, more attractive, and use less power. Current notebooks are bulky, big, and have poor battery life, something that tablets and smart phones excel in. Intel is doing its part by developing processors that meet those requirements, but is calling on all manufacturers of notebook components to do the same in order to remain competitive. Intel is working with suppliers and manufacturers to also drive the price of the Ultrabook to prices below $1000. Although OEMs are struggling to keep prices under $1000, they state that it is very difficult to meet that price goal. This is currently a major setback for notebooks in this market as prices are not competitive enough with other portable computing devices. As the manufacturing process becomes more streamlined and components become

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cheaper, prices should drop.9 ASUS and Acer are the two manufactures who will be releasing Ultrabooks shortly. ASUS is releasing the cheapest with a price tag of $800.4 With SSDs(Solid State Drives) dropping in price, increasing drive storage and lowering power consumption, the hard drives are on track to meet Intel's goals. Intel expects to release its next line of processors named Ivy Bridge in Q2 of 2012. Ivy bridge uses a 22nm die (down from 32nm with Sandy Bridge) which will improve performance, graphics, help scale frequency, and lower power consumption.5 Also something manufacturers need to keep in mind is the need for a longer battery life in notebooks, the key is components consuming less power. There are some new developments with batteries though using a new material called nanoscoops. Nanoscoops allow lithium-ion batteries to charge 40-60x faster than current lithium-ion batteries.3 With charge times possibly becoming so fast, smaller, lighter, and cheaper batteries would be feasible. Some other exciting features of Ultrabooks include Intel Rapid Start Technology which provides an 'Instant On' feel, Intel Smart Connect Technology which keeps the computer connected to wireless networks while sleeping, and Intel Rapid Response technology which is a caching feature that improves performance.6 Also worth discussing is Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8. One of the main features of Windows 8 is its support for SoC or System on a Chip which would allow it to run on tablet computers. Some other key features include Native USB(Universal Serial Bus) 3.0 Support, multi-touch, faster boot times, better management of system resources, and other re-defining features. Microsoft has made its message very clear with Windows 8 that since the future for computing is certainly mobile; they want to be the front-runner. 7,8 With the introduction of consumer grade tablets and smart phones over the past 10 years, technologies in these devices are finally catching up to notebooks. Manufacturers of notebooks are going to have to work hard to keep up the demands of the industry.

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The term tablet personal computer (tablet PC) was made popular by Microsoft in 2000.10 Since 2010, tablet computers represent a new type of computing device. They use a different operating system than traditional PCs(Personal Computers), are finger driven, and have multi-touch capabilities instead of traditional stylus-type devices. Tablets are basically the complete opposite of notebooks - they are cheaper, smaller, lighter, more attractive, and use less power. The only exception to this is that they are not faster but are quickly catching up. Weighing in at 1.33lbs, Apples iPad2 uses a 45nm Dual core 1Ghz A5 SoC chip which is capable of running 720p video and is able to adjust its frequency on demand to save battery. 14,15 By adjusting its processor and other advanced power saving settings, the iPad is able to achieve a battery life



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