Questioning the Value of Phone Forecasts

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Perhaps the classic grist for the tech journalism mill is the analyst report, especially one that includes forecasts in the form of pretty graphs. But you can't take them too seriously, argues Matthew Miller at ZDNet.

After looking more closely at and thinking further about the latest Gartner predictions that show Symbian falling 10% over the next four years, Android rising 12%, RIM falling 6%, iOS falling 0.5%, and Windows Phone falling 0.8%

I have to say I think these type of forecast reports are interesting to talk about and discuss, but should not be taken too seriously. The smartphone market is not like the PC market. The smartphone market moves very fast and just because one platform is extremely popular at the moment and shows major growth does not mean it will continue for years.

Another way of putting this would be that you can take forecasts seriously, but only as quantifications of current market movements. That would actually be how most serious futurologists would want their work to be seen: a reflection of the now rather than a crystal ball into the future. We know that nearly every precise prediction is wrong and that divining the future is futile, but that doesn't mean extrapolating trends isn't useful. 

Read the full story at ZDNet.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/09/questioning-the-value-of-phone-forecasts/62847/