Press Release  


Eugene Won
Senior Director of Marketing & Client Services
VDC Research
(508) 653-9000, ext.122

Global Rugged Handheld Computers & Smartphones Market to Reach $3.8B by 2020, According to VDC Research
Apple and Google race to increase platform investments to attract enterprise IT decision-makers

Urgency of IoT Driving Embedded Processor Markets, According to VDC ResearchNATICK, MA | January 10, 2017 - The rugged smartphone market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 7.9% to $3.8B by 2020, according to a new report from VDC Research (click here for more info). Market leaders Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the consumer smartphone market by a considerable margin, representing close to half of the global smartphone market combined. 

The rugged handheld market has been under extreme pressure over the past several years from lower cost smartphones and challenges associated with the migration from legacy OS platforms. Although vendors have responded to these pressures with investments in Android and the development of touch-centric devices that better map to today’s mobile design expectations, end users have reportedly been more conservative with their investments.

VDC’s research shows that the overall smartphone market is facing declining growth prospects as penetration increases and the replacement cycles among end users are extended. “Consequently, smartphone OEMs have been focusing more on the enterprise sector, expanding their sales teams and establishing strong ties with enterprise-focused solution providers,” said David Krebs, Executive Vice President at VDC. From a line-of-business (LOB) perspective, the volume of smartphones deployed is estimated to reach 34 million in 2016 and grow to 42 million by 2020. The functionality of LOB applications supported on smartphones today is typically limited to simple workflows such as mobile payment, form data entry, and inspections.

According to VDC, although Android is the leader in overall market share among smartphones, iOS is more entrenched among enterprises and is considered a more stable and secure option. Regionally, there are nuances to this with iOS showing stronger representation in North America, while Android enjoys a stronger following in the enterprise in other regional markets. VDC states that Apple and Google are both increasing investments and efforts to make their platforms more attractive to enterprise IT decision-makers, who are concerned with security and support requirements. Apple has significantly expanded both its enterprise sales channel and enterprise partner program.  

Between the two ends of the device spectrum, a new form factor has emerged: the rugged smartphone. This new category represents an intermediate step between traditional rugged devices with partial or full keyboards whose design is catered to data collection-heavy workflows and the recent trend toward consumer-grade devices in protective cases. “The availability of affordable and increasingly-powerful smartphones has significantly opened up the market for enterprise mobility solutions, mobilizing a variety of previously manual workflows,” said Krebs. “This expansion of the overall market is significant with opportunities for all classes of devices based on the industry, environment, and underlying workflow. The rugged smartphone in particular extends mobile communications and computing capabilities to an underserved yet critical segment of the workforce.”

Click here for more information on this research.

About VDC Research
Founded in 1971, VDC Research provides in-depth insights to technology vendors, end users, and investors across the globe. As a market research and consulting firm, VDC’s coverage of AutoID, enterprise mobility, industrial automation, and IoT and embedded technologies is among the most advanced in the industry, helping our clients make critical decisions with confidence. Offering syndicated reports and custom consultation, our methodologies consistently provide accurate forecasts and unmatched thought leadership for deeply technical markets. Located in Natick, Massachusetts, VDC prides itself on its close personal relationships with clients, delivering an attention to detail and a unique perspective that is second to none.



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