Last week’s mobility news was led by Apple. This week seemed to be all Microsoft. The surprise announcement of the Microsoft Surface tablet / ultrabook hybrid Monday and Windows Phone 8 Wednesday gave the mobility ecosystem a lot to digest. However, there was other news as well. IDC announced late last week that it has upped its global tablet shipment estimates to over 107 million for 2012. We also heard about layoffs at RIM and more bad news for Nokia.
Microsoft Announces Surface Tablet
The new Surface was presented as a tablet, but the term ultrabook was thrown around a few times. Surface is clearly a product aimed at fusing the laptop and tablet worlds and there are many aspects to be impressed about. It’s unique keyboard cover comes to mind. However, it doesn’t really strike me as a tablet. It seems to be more of a very thin and lightweight ultrabook with a touchscreen. And, maybe that is the intent. Read more on the Surface and analysis for the enterprise here.
Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8
The announcement of Windows Phone 8 is important for the industry. It is also nicely timed by Microsoft right after the flash and pomp of the Surface tablet announcement and the preview of Windows 8 and RT solutions on purpose built hardware. Windows Phone 8 is part of Microsoft’s grand strategy to unify the desktop, tablet and phone on a single platform. It is getting a favorable reception as more than half of mobile developers plan to support it. Read Windows Phone 8 analysis and see links to other content here.
iPads to reach up to 67 million 2012 unit sales
One tablet to rule them all. Microsoft may have made a big splash with its Surface announcement and raised expectations higher than may be wise. However, the Surface won’t surface in the market until at least the Fall. For people who want one today, the unchallenged king of tablets is the iPad. Analyst IDC upped its tablet forecast for 2012 again only three months after a 21% increase. It also upped the expected tablet market share controlled by Apple. What this means for the enterprise here.
BlackBerry Maker RIM Announces Lay-offs
The idea that BlackBerry maker RIM would announce lay-offs wasn’t exactly shocking. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins had already indicated he plans to cut more than $1 billion in costs this year. TechCrunch was one of the first with the story Wednesday reflecting a report on Crackberry.com earlier in the day. The notion that RIM would confirm lay-off rumors the same week that Microsoft and Apple have more good news may portray both contrast and be an accurate reflection of the state of the mobile ecosystem.
Nokia Getting Downgraded, Again
Bloomberg reported Friday that analysts at Nomura reduced its Nokia Windows Phone sales estimates by $6 billion for 2013. It is estimating that Nokia will sell only 34 million Windows Phone devices in 2013, over 40% less than its previous estimate. The source of this expected shortfall is directly attributed to Microsoft’s announcement that current Windows Phone 7 devices will not be fully upgradeable to Windows Phone 8 and there is concern that Microsoft may start making its own hardware following the lead of its Surface tablet announcement. HTC is also expected to bring out three Windows Phone 8 smartphones later this year in the low, mid and high price point range. Nokia has had essentially zero significant competition in the Windows Phone 7 market this year, but that will certainly change with Windows Phone 8. More on Nokia challenges here.