The healing of the economy – albeit as fragile as it is – is encouraging growth in many sectors. That’s the theme this week as mobile gaming on tablets takes off, cable does well in the business Ethernet sector, Samsung raises it profile and the lithium-ion battery segment generates more juice. Hopefully, the sequestration – which can be defined as politicians doing whatever they can to mess things up – will be avoided and the tentative comeback will continue.
The growth of tablets is universally said to be great and likely to accelerate. Predictions are one thing. A lot has to happen, however, for the rate of growth actually to reach the epic proportions that are envisioned.
Juniper Research found that the use of tablets for mobile gaming is exploding. The firm found that tablet growth and in-game purchasing and virtual currency will drive a greater than ten-fold increase in sales – from $301 million to $3.03 billion -- between last year and 2016. At least some portion of this is replacement revenue: Juniper said that there will be “a clear migration” from dedicated portable gaming devices to tablets and, to a lesser degree, smartphones.
The explosion of sophistication and resulting power draw of mobile devices has led, over time, to great fears about the inability of devices to sustain operations for a suitable period of time. In short, it doesn’t matter what a smartphone can do if it conks out after 20 minutes.
The situation may not be quite as dire as it appeared a while ago. Devices are getting bigger because of the need for screens capable of satisfying video viewers. This means that batteries can grow as well. Device management – stretching the power soup as far as possible – continues to improve.
Frost & Sullivan released a study this week on the lithium-ion battery industry. Mobile devices are only a small segment of the sector, which produces power sources for many industries. The firm says that the market, which was worth $11.7 billion last year, will more than double by 2016. The good news for mobile device vendors is that such an increase in value brings with it generous investments in research and development.
Vertical Systems Group this week released its ranking of the top five providers of business Ethernet services among cable providers. They are, in order, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cablevision’s Lightpath and Comcast.
Cable operators generally are in good position in the Ethernet segment because their equipment tends to be newer than legacy telcos, which have dominated business services for decades and thus have more old gear in the field. Cable operators also are at home with Ethernet, since the networks they run for subscribers use the protocol. Last week, in a demonstration of that strength, Comcast Business became the first service provider to win Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification from the Metro Ethernet Forum.
The bottom line is that the industry is well positioned in this sector – which is growing in both size and its portion market share compared to legacy networking platforms.
Samsung has made a lot of noise lately. Last month, it said that it plans to use Magnolia, the new version of the Tizen open source mobile operating system. This is big news for those worried about the emergence of an Android/iOS duopoly.
On Tuesday, networking vendor Genband announced that it is collaborating with Samsung. Genband, the company said, is contributing its Smart Office mobile unified communications applications, while Samsung is using its Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) devices. Some of Samsung’s thinking is laid out in an InformationWeek piece from last week that detailed the company’s efforts to supersede BlackBerry in the enterprise.
Generally, the news always is sour when it comes to the state of the broadband network in the United States. Earlier this month there was a bit of brighter news, as Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released a report that gave the U.S. network higher grades than it generally gets.
The best way to trace progress is by comparison. Reuters reported this week that France has pledged almost 20 billion euros -- $27 billion – of public and private funds to construct a high-speed broadband fiber network. Under the plan, the story said, half the country will be covered by 2017. This could be a challenge to the United States which, of course, vies with Western Europe to host multinational businesses.