By Aldo Panessidi
With the announcements at the recent CES - one has to wonder - what is 2012 the year of?” Will it be SmartTVs? Perhaps it’s the year of the interactive technology? Or maybe it is 4G LTE smartphones that will steal the spotlight this year. As of this early date, it is Android devices that look to have the competitive advantage this year. It very well could be a great opportunity to win over mind and market share, but they need to leverage the lead before Research In Motion (Blackberry) and Apple bring their own 4G LTE devices to market later this year.
What kind of growth are we looking at? According to DigiTimes who published 2012 estimates, Monday, they are anticipating between 4% and 5% of smartphones shipped this year will be 4G LTE capable. When reviewing their sources it is really clear that Android manufacturers are months ahead of the competition. Samsung, LG, Pantech, Motorola Mobility and HTC were named as industry players that will be launching 4G LTE handsets.
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Depending on how quickly Apple and RIM work and how effective their messaging is, the gap could be quickly closed and the opportunity lost. More specifically, there is buzz around Apple’s to-be-released products this year, the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, which based on rumor will be 4G LTE capable.
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One point this writer would like clarified is what the ramifications of this technology coupled with the race to get smartphones with the capability to use it will be. Will the current trend continue pattern of “sign long-term contract with service provider, get free smartphone"? Or will we be able to break free from this carrier imposed yoke with unlocked cell phones that will empower us to choose our preferred service provider and negotiate a service contract that best meets our interactive needs at the right price!
Only time will tell what the implications will be. At the moment, 4G LTE has not been well-explained to the public and is potentially cost inhibitive. So, without a little tweaking it may turn out to not be the year of the 4G LTE network after all.