This might sound like an April fool's joke to some, but it really isn't: we've got a new class of phones (and screens), and someone decided to give it the (boring) name "Media Phone".
In-Stat even taken the liberty of writing a report on media phones. (free!). It is touting the media phone as "our 4th screen", after the PC, the TV and the mobile handset. I don't believe in a 4th screen paradigm, but that's for another post.
So what IS a "media phone"? The way I see it:
- Something with an LCD display of about 7" (or more)
- Something that can do more than just voice calls
I'll add to that that "Something with video capabilities (especially the communication part of it)".
Here are some highlights from the In-Stat promotion:
- Consumer media phones will generate between $4-$8 Billion in annual revenue, worldwide, by 2013.
- Business media phones will generate $3.3 Billion in annual revenue, worldwide, in 2013.
- The US media phones market will open up in 2009, with Europe coming on board in 2010.
Media phones are being released by all the leading vendors. The best ones, which aren't even covered in the In-Stat report, have been show-cased during CES last month.
My take on the whole "media phone" trend?
- Videophones and visual communication is here to stay. And grow.
- Media phones are best served with SIP. Adding H.323 to them is nice to have, and may be beneficial for current deployments of video, but SIP is where the action will be.
- Media phones are targeted mainly at the SMB and consumer markets, where video conferencing didn't penetrate much yet.
- Media phones are not our 4th screen. They are our new home/desk phones.
- These kinds of devices have the capability of dramatically increase the visual communication market (the other growth opportunity is the desktop of course).