Forrester Research offered a scheme where prospects and liggers alike could download a free report. Never morally hamstrung, we have decided to critique the two reports that we downloaded.
Trends 2005: Consumer Technology by Paul Jackson and Charles S. Galvin outlines what the authors call the 'five macro drivers' affecting the success of consumer electronic space:
- Broadband adoption goes hand-in-hand with online usage, home WiFi and music downloads.
- Ease of cconnectivity through WiFi in the home continues to gather momentum
- Product design is improving. After having seen PC makers walk themselves into hypercompetition and Apple gain 30 per cent profit margins, technology companies are now starting to think about product design. Hell they might even start thinking about brand and develop grown-up marketing strategies
- The rise of digital content services. iTunes Music Service has shown companies the way
- Mobile devices are no longer just for voice. Forrester thinks that the triggers to growth will be music, photos and downloadable games
Player or the Played?
The report authors predicted the following winners and losers:
- XP Media Centre - appealing only to a very niche market of sad-os
- Portable Windows driven video players - purchased by people who go to sci-fi conventions and think that they ever had a daughter they would call her 7 of 9 after the Star Trek babe. For the rest of us, common sense and the lack of killer content means they are a non-starter
- Format wars - iTunes does not give my music freedom, boo hoo. Consumers however are like sheep and will not really care so long as you give them white headphones
- Smartphones will remain niche, as professional-orientated devices
- WiFi will pipe music around the home a la Apple's Airport Express
- Camera phones will outsell cameras. (Mainly because it is virtually impossible now to buy a new camera-free cell phone in many European markets)
- Ring tones will go beyond 30-seconds. Motorola's iTunes enabled phones will unseat the carriers nice little money machine from ringtones. Carriers will be leery of letting canny Motorola play unless a a revenue sharing model is put in place that allows more snouts in the trough without putting consumers off
- Devices will put messaging ahead of voice. The kids apparently want email, IM and texting, but this isn't a smartphone?
- Games console wars, maybe. Forrester expects that the next-generation consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will hit the market by Q4, 2005 at the earliest
- HP laptops that can play DVDs are expected to be a hit with kids, but why bother with in car and portable DVD players. The HP units won't be multi-regional