Time for a technology change cycle to come around again?
Look back 20 years or so and the technology / mobile phone market was dominated by companies like IBM and Benefon, multinational companies providing some excellent (analogue) phones with big plans for the future. However they totally underestimated the speed at which the switch from analogue to digital would happen. Improved call quality and the extra features, especially text messaging, got the public’s attention where companies like Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola stepped in with new and exciting products. The older giants with their existing development plans could not change quickly enough and got left behind.
That was around 20 years ago. Look back 10 years or so and there was the tech. crunch from over-inflated stock market prices for technology companies combined with the arrival of 3G which killed off many of the relatively new entrants, and also caught the longer established Nokia and Motorolas of the world on the hop. So the iPhone and models from people like HTC, all with their colour screens and fast connections got the consumer’s attention.
Ten years on and is it now time for another clear-out? Over the last couple of years there’s been a marked slow down in smartphone growth, with saturated markets within parts of Europe in decline and much of less developed world not being able to afford these hi-tech products. However much of this area of the world wants (needs) communication for commerce and local trade, and it’s much quicker and cheaper to put up a mobile phone mast than trying to lay down vast amounts of physical cable for land lines. Will the current technology leaders be able to adapt and move away from high price / high margin products to cheap / low profit devices, or will some force, as yet unknown, move in and become the new super techno-power?