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ABI Research Forecasts $46.5M in Always-On 5G Device Sales By 2026

February 22, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic quickened the pace of digital transformation, placing technologies at the very center of how people live and work--and that pace shows no signs of slowing down. In its new whitepaper, 38 Technology Stats You Need to Know for 2022, ABI Research has identified and highlighted the most impactful forecasts that illuminate the direction in which digital transformation is truly heading.

“From among the many millions of data points ABI Research creates each year, we have focused on the most enlightening stats that will matter most in the years ahead. The rise of always-on 5G portable devices, an explosion of edge AI adoption, a proliferation of smart manufacturing platforms, the formation of the metaverse, and a growing concentration on cybersecurity are just some of the many changes on the horizon that are indicative of a more connected, more vulnerable, and ultimately, more technology-driven world,” Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research explains.

5G Devices, Smartphones, and Wearable’s stats highlighted in the whitepaper include:

Dozens of always-on 5G portable device models will hit the market in 2022 when sales will exceed 12 million, growing to 46.5 million by 2026.

The always-on 5G connected portable device market, including tablets and notebooks, will be buoyed by the emergence of new types of mobile consumer and business applications specifically designed for this type of device, as well as access to a plethora of online mobile applications that can be ported from the smartphone world.

Cellular connected tablets and notebooks have only accounted for a small proportion of sales (<1%) due to their mostly nomadic use case and high price differential. “But the advent of 5G can bring always-on broadband experiences on the move to new device types beyond smart­phones. For the convergence of mobile and notebooks industries to happen, they will both have to position 5G connectivity as a central feature of the design with a focus on improved system performance, long battery life, thin and light designs, and always-on, always-connected experiences,” explains David McQueen, Research Director at ABI Research.

Shipments of mmWave-enabled phones will grow from 14% of 5G smartphone sales in 2021 to command a 43% share by 2026.

The global 5G smartphone market saw phenomenal growth in 2021, reaching more than 580 million units. The increase in sales was driven by an acceleration down the price tiers that improved both affordability and adoption. Says McQueen, “The increase in 5G mmWave smartphone sales will be boosted by its inclusion in greater numbers of smartphone models, driven by Samsung’s flagship devices and Apple’s iPhones, as well as by expanding ecosystem momentum. After a slow start, mainly limited to the U.S. market, the impetus behind mobile mmWave continues to build with several regions and countries targeting deployments, broadening across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, and gaining support from a growing number of chipset suppliers.”

“While there are still fundamental challenges ahead–political tumult, an entrenched endemic, and a broken supply chain–these statistics should provide insights and actionable data needed to chart a successful course in 2022 and beyond,” Carlaw concludes.

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