BAD NEWS FOR SHAREHOLDERS. Gartner has forecasted that phone shipments are going to have their worst decline ever this year.
The research firm reckons that smartphone shipments will drop by around 68 million units, which is a 3.8 per cent drop on last year. The reason, as anybody who has used a phone in the last year or so will probably guess, is that innovation has stagnated, and as handsets are fast enough, there's just less reason to upgrade when prices keep heading northwards.
Yeah, that's not news to us either.
"The current mobile phone market of 1.7 billion shipments is around 10 per cent below the 1.9 billion shipments reached in 2015," said Gartner's research director Ranjit Atwal. "If mobile phones don't provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users won't upgrade them, and will consequently increase these devices' life spans."
That's moderately good news for the planet, of course, which hasn't exactly done well out of our collective lust for new technology and the marginal gains of two-year phone contracts.
But the planet's shareholders are considerably less vocal about these things, so expect companies to look to turning this trend as quickly as possible. Gartner reckons companies will throw 5G at the problem. Predicting that by 2023, 5G-capable handsets will have passed the tipping point and account for 51 per cent of sales. That's quite an increase from the six per cent predicted for next year.
Elsewhere, Gartner forecasts flagging shipments of traditional PCs (down from 195 million to 187 million) and basic ultramobiles (down three million to 146 million), but mild growth in the premium ultramobiles market (up nearly six million to 70 million). Gartner defines "ultramobiles" as "a category of midsize lightweight computing devices, which includes tablets, thin and lightweight PCs and convertibles," if that wasn't exactly clear.
Maybe this report will lead to more innovation? More likely, we'll just get faster processors and yet more camera lenses. µ
But chips are unlikely to show up any time soon
You no longer need to cut the cord off
Before they start shipping on 24 October