To be a great analyst, it's not sufficient to say what will happen. The best analysts make the call and tell clients what actions they should take as a result. But before creating those client recommendations, it's vital that an analyst correctly predicts what will happen. Otherwise, those recommendations are based on the wrong foundations.
Earlier this year, we published our Smartphone Trends 2011 report, which I wrote back in November. In it, we set out the key trends that smartphone-related product strategy needed to be built around. There are numerous predictions in that report. But already at the end of the first quarter, we have successfully predicted numerous events. Read the report now for the rest.
Events that we predicted include:
- The arrival of 3D smartphones from HTC and LG. We identified 3D smartphones as a trend that would arrive in western markets. It has: LG's Optimus 3D was announced at Mobile World Congress in February and goes on sale in Q2 in Europe. It's being sold in the US as the AT&T Thrill. HTC's 3D Evo was announced at CTIA for US CDMA networks and is coming to Europe too. My colleague Nick Thomas will be publishing a report on 3D product strategy across all devices soon and what actions firms must take now.
- Nokia's switch from Symbian. We wrote that Symbian would die as a smartphone brand, and with its last signifiant backer announcing a switch to Windows Phone 7 for its primary smartphone OS, Symbian is now confirmed as a platform that is on the way out as a smartphone OS. It's now what Nokia calls a "franchise platform" — i.e., one with tactical investments that will have little third-party app support compared to the main smartphone players. Also, we forecast that Windows Phone 7 would end 2011 stronger than it began — with the world's largest handset maker now backing WP7, this seems highly likely to come true, too. Read our take on the implications of the Nokia-Microsoft agreement in this report: Nokia And Microsoft Tie The Smartphone Knot.
- Nokia will ship just one more MeeGo device and then reallocate resources. We wrote that MeeGo would be still-born as a smartphone OS. It may still succeed in other device categories, but its potential in the smartphone market is small now.
- Dual SIM smartphones. This was a controversial call. But TCL/Alcatel showed a number of Android-based dual SIM smartphones at MWC. MediaTek also showed designs. For those cynics that see no role for these devices in operator-controlled markets, consider this: these devices could smoothly combine users' work and home lives with two numbers. Instead of locking the handset to a single number, a savvy operator locks the handset to two, and sells two lines and associated services.
- Dual-core smartphones. We predicted a split between the new era of high-end devices and cheap mass-market models. LG was first to market with a dual-core phone, the Optimus x2, but Motorola beat them to the announcement with the Atrix. Samsung's Galaxy S II is an especially interesting model with an elegant thin design and a similar dual-core engine under the bonnet. What does this mean for apps and strategy? Read the report.
Already in Q1, there have been numerous other announcements, launches or events that are consistent with predictions we made in the report. But for these, it's too early to judge if we were right. Read the report now to see what those are!