Almost every company (well, except Nokia) in the handset industry seems to have caught the Android bug this year--including some non-traditional players. Acer, Dell and Garmin-Asus all released or announced their intentions to release Android devices. Acer is planning five or six Android phones in the first half of 2010, Dell just formed a new mobile phone business unit to push their Android offerings, and Garmin-Asus said it will have its first Android phone out in 2010. We think all of this is much ado about nothing.
In a market that will become more crowded next year with Android devices, we think these companies have little chance of standing out from the competition. Like CCS Insight analyst John Jackson, we think there are "high distribution and differentiation barriers and low probability of success" for these companies. In the white-hot smartphone market, it's hard enough for companies like Samsung, LG and HTC--that have made inroads with carriers and have design pedigrees--to succeed.
Computer makers with smartphone ambitions--boosted by Android--will fall flat. We think these Android devices will not be differentiated enough in form factor or user experience to stand out, and will suffer accordingly.