ABI Research says copycats are doing themselves more damage by mimicking Apple

Plenty of wannabes, but no iPhone killer in 2010

This year will not see the emergence of an iPhone killer, but that doesn’t mean there will be a shortage of iPhone wannabes, according to ABI Research.

 

Apple Inc. is extremely good at developing, marketing and selling concepts, and the iPhone is really a concept as well as a piece of hardware, said Lance Wilson, research director for ABI Research’s wireless infrastructure group. “The iPhone has been an unqualified success and everybody wants to get a piece of the action,” said Wilson.

 

The proclamation is part of the New York-based research firm’s predictions of what will not happen in 2010.

 

Copycats will look to continue mimicking certain innovating things about the iPhone, like its physical construction, the touch screen that operates as if the user is actually pushing a button, and its overall consistent user-friendliness, said Wilson.

 

But Wilson doesn’t think emulating the iPhone is the way to go, and if anything, copycats are doing themselves great injury, because a rip-off rarely does as well as an original. “The industry as a whole would be better off if it tried to develop the next concept in mobile devices,” said he said.

 

Wilson can’t yet say what that next concept will be, but estimates it will emerge in five years or so. “I hate to think only Apple can only come up with something new,” he said.

 

Another ABI Research prediction of what will not happen in 2010 is that GSM will not die. While the industry has been predicting the demise of GSM for the past several years, Wilson said the continued rollout of GSM in developing countries is keeping the technology alive. GSM is relatively inexpensive and is often applied in third-world regions for online primitive banking using SMS, said Wilson.

 

Also, RFID (radio frequency identification) spending will not decrease in 2010 among organizations that are using, deploying or piloting the technology. Spending will be driven by continued growth in contactless payment and ticketing and UHF (ultra-high frequency) markets like retail and supply chain. Michael Liard, RFID practice director with ABI Research, expects there to be more innovative uses of RFID as vendors focus on building vertical-specific tools like asset management offerings for warehouses and transportation. “Usage dynamics of RFID continue to change in very favourable ways,” said Liard.

 

Here are some other things ABI Research predicts will not happen in 2010:

 

Telepresence will not move into mainstream use. While travel costs are driving adoption, continued hardware and software interoperability issues between vendors will hinder growth.

 

When Hewlett-Packard Co. acquires 3Com it will not be free of trouble. Not only are the corporate cultures vastly different, but there is duplication in small and mid-sized switching equipment.

 

Social networking will not be safe from security breakdowns. There will be an increasing number of malware attacks in the world of social networking.

 

eReaders will not reach mass market consumption beyond early adopters, who are thus far business travelers and voracious readers.

 

Fake Chinese Shan Zhai Ji handsets will not flood the developing mobile markets and hurt device manufacturers Nokia and Samsung. Brand remains important for that market.

 

Mobile person-to-person payments will not gain mass market acceptance in the U.S. Currently, the market is very niche, primarily for eBay users.

 

Internet video will not bring about a mass exodus from pay TV. Not only does it remain difficult to navigate through content, but vendors haven’t yet figured out the economics.

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