Entries in RIM (1)

The iPad effect is real. Is the computing industry about to enter a phase transition?

Yesterday HP declared that they are to exit the tablet race after only 49 days, but more than that, HP CEO Leo Apotheker made it clear that they are also looking to spin-off their PC business, the largest PC business in the world.

On Monday Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for a massive $12.5 billion in cash.

At the end of June a consortium including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony purchased 6,000 Nortel patents and patent applications that encompass wireless, data networking and internet technologies for $4.5 billion.

In February Nokia CEO Steven Elop announced that the company would be moving their entire smartphone lineup from Nokia's own Symbian operating system - which at the time had the largest marketshare in the smartphone market - to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system, a new OS with around 1% marketshare.

What is going on?

Yesterday HP CEO Leo Apotheker stated, “The tablet effect is real and sales of the TouchPad are not meeting our expectations. The velocity of change in the personal device marketplace continues to increase as the competitive landscape is growing increasingly more complex especially around the personal computing arena”.

Seeing as how the combined total of all non-Apple tablet sales is only a small fraction of iPad sales, what Apotheker really means is that the iPad effect is real. But what is the iPad effect, and is it responsible for some of the seismic shifts that we are seeing in the computing and mobile industry in 2011?

It seems to us that the iPad effect is part of a larger shift in computing from Windows based PCs to other computing platforms. The computing platforms of tomorrow appear to be iOS, Android and HTML 5. On the hardware front, the industry is moving away from desktops and laptops towards tablets and pocket computers (smartphones). This change to tablet and pocket computers is happening faster than almost anyone imagined.

Phase transitions occur throughout nature. The most common example being when liquid water transitions to gas or ice. During a phase transition it appears as if nothing much is happening, then change occurs very quickly and is completed throughout the system with surprising velocity.

We don't claim to be technology analysts, but it seems to us that the computing industry is about to enter phase transition. The education, business, mobile and home markets all seem to be pushing for the same thing; tablet and pocket computers with touch screens, vibrant app/media stores and ability to run Cloud apps based on HTML 5.

The post PC era

Apple is perhaps the most prepared for the new post phase transition computing landscape, but Google and Microsoft are tooling up for it too. Others, like Nokia for example, are looking to form partnerships with companies that seem sturdy enough to make it through the transition. That leaves a handful of companies that appear to be ill prepared, these include RIM, HTC, Samsung, Sony and Nintendo to name just a few. RIM seems to be on the decline with no easy route back. HTC and Samsung are probably too reliant on Google and either one should consider picking up webOS from HP. Sony and Nintendo seem surprisingly oblivious to the full impact of tablet and smartphone gaming on their core businesses.

We had a feeling that 2011 was going to be an exciting year for technology, but we never imagined that it would be quite this epic.

Is the computing industry about to enter a phase transition? We would love to hear your opinion on the matter. Please let us know in a comment below.