AmTech Research analyst Doug Freedman expects a clash is brewing as PC and cell phone makers are expanding into new markets such as MIDs, netbooks and smartphones:
Doug Freedman, a chip analyst at AmTech Research, said the "line between cell phones and PCs is clearly blurring" and that consequently "PC and cell phone food chains will battle for market share in these new classes of devices." He calls this the "big bang between PCs and handsets."
This will happen as more tweener products emerge. "New product categories such as Netbooks, MIDs (mobile Internet devices), and smartphones all lie in the spectrum between the traditional PC and handset product categories," he wrote. "Cell phones are increasing in screen sizes, computational power and capabilities, while PCs are seeing declines in screen sizes and increases in connectivity."
This may present problems for chip suppliers as they rush to build inventory for these newfangled devices, resulting in an oversupply for device categories that don't succeed. "It's a safe bet that we'll end up with losers," he said in an interview. Moreover, there will be lower-than-expected gross margins (a crucial indicator of profitability) for some of the chips that go into these products, according to Freedman.