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OZ Mobile Craze Over?

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 25/09/2013

Mobile, tablets slump for the first time ever.

Appetites for electronic devices - phones, tablets, notebooks and PC's among Aussies and New Zealanders declined for second time in six months, say IDC. 

Its "not surprising" the notebook market contracted, but the tightening of tablet and mobile phones market is a first for ANZ," says IDC's Senior Analyst, Amy Cheah.

Tablet were the biggest victims of the tech slump - down 20% in Q2, last. 

Demand for notebooks fell 6%, while phones like iPhone and Samsung S4, too fell 5%. This figures also includes 'dumb' phones.

Cheah blames "device fatigue" as every vendor (and its mother) from early arrivers Apple, to Samsung, and now Google, LG and Microsoft all looking to get a piece of the mobile pie.

 "The hype [around smartphones, tablets]  is starting to fade away", she told CN. 

But the rise of wearable tech - seen as the next big thing - is also blame.


Tech To Wear 

Wearable tech accessories - including Samsung Galaxy Gear, Google Glass and Jawbone UP,  will take some "mindshare" from smartphone and tablets in the future, Cheah believes.   

Google Glass, as worn by Google's Sergy Brin
Wearable technology, still in its infancy, will evolve - smartwatches may soon even replace the mighty iPad and smartphones that everyone is clutching in their hands with enthusiasm - for now. 

Smart accessories like Galaxy Gear, which, currently is a companion device to Samsung's Note 3 phablet and select phones, is still at "an early stage and will evolve into standalone technology," the analyst believes. 

Think its impossible that a watch could replace a smartphone? Its not, says Cheah. 

Take tablets, which are are basically the evolution of a smartphone into a notebook. 

However, it may not over for iPhone and Co just yet. 

Analysts read the fall in mobile as a "normalising" of the market, after years of hyped-up demand (think iPhone and Samsung Galaxy all-night queues). 

Smartphone demand is set to grow again in Q3, following the release of iPhone 5s and 5c, last week, although several telco sources have told CN that demand for the latest Apple's has been far from the usual frenzied affair. 

"For hardware vendors, it will be increasingly challenging to find differentiation, especially now with software vendors such as Microsoft and Google making a move into the hardware space," says Cheah. 

In the tablet market, demand for cheap tablets has waned since Christmas. iPad continues to see its share eroded by Android tablets, particularly Samsung, and increasingly by Windows tablets.  

Local channels and retailers were also reluctant to take in new shipments to minimize risk prior to their fiscal year end quarter. 

Are Desktops Dead? 

Interestingly, desktop market recorded an 8% sequential growth after several quarters of decline, driven by strong vendor push of the all-in-one's and government demand at the end of financial year.

Acer was the standout vendor in the PC race in Q2. 

The struggling PC giant gained volume through heavy discounting of its notebooks in retail, but at the cost of profitability, notes IDC. 

4.7 million desktops and mobile devices were shipped in 2013 Q2, in total.  

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