Nielsen predicts Asian smartphone explosion as 50% of mobile users upgrade in 2011
Reckons Apple and RIM will be top cats
Lagging between US and Europe in terms of smartphone adoption, research firm Nielsen is billing Asia as a massive opportunity.
Consumer figures obtained by the firm suggest, while only 20 percent of mobile consumers currently own a smartphone, almost half intend to upgrade to one in 2011.
That's an increase the firm believes will trigger a surge to mirror growth already seen in the west.
Meeting of minds
However, while Android is already perceived by many to be the dominant force in the region, Nielsen believes the mindshare enjoyed by both iPhone and BlackBerry will see them come out on top.
"In our recent brand surveys, iPhone was second amongst all handset brands in Vietnam in terms of top-of-mind recall, while in Indonesia, BlackBerry was in fourth place, ahead of many longer established handset brands," said global executive director of telecom practice Hanis Harun on the Nielsen blog.
"Mind share will likely play a key role in determining which brands will do well in the region, and the iPhone and BlackBerry have much higher mind share relative to their current market positions."
As a result, Harun asserts both Apple and RIM will be able to grow their businesses in key Asian markets far quicker than rivals that already enjoy a strong base.
From smartphone to tablet
Nielsen sees the adoption of smartphones having a knock-on effect on the growth of tablets in the region.
"Sales in the US and Western Europe have been surpassing expectations, and there is no reason for this trend to be different in Asia Pacific," added Harun.
"As the substitution effect of tablets tends to be against laptops, PCs and netbooks, many - if not most - tablet owners will also own a smartphone."
It's Harun's belief that smartphone owners in Asia will look to adopt the same OS for their tablet devices as long as the platform holders offer a consistent and "seamless service and content mobility" across the ecosystem – a trend that would offer iPad an immediate advantage.
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