ViewSonic Enters Smartphone Arena

The LCD maker wants to utilize its display experience to create a 3G smartphone, but analysts are skeptical of its chances to knock off Nokia or Samsung.
The smartphone market is becoming increasingly crowded, as ViewSonic on Tuesday said it plans to introduce its own 3G handset.

The company, which is known for its liquid crystal display monitors, televisions, and digital photo displays, is trying to capitalize on the strong growth in the smartphone market. ViewSonic did not release many details on what type of handset it plans to produce, but it said the smartphone would be able to handle services like mobile Internet, television, video applications, games, and e-books.

"With 20 years of display experience this is a natural extension of our product expertise," ViewSonic CEO James Chu said in a statement. "This is an important strategic step for ViewSonic, as it allows us to apply our display technology to an even larger and rapidly growing worldwide market."

The company plans to launch the smartphone in China first, and then roll it to Europe and the Americas. ViewSonic did not give an expected release date.

Industry analysts were skeptical about ViewSonic's chances of taking significant market share away from the likes of Nokia, Research In Motion, Apple, Samsung, and HTC.

"It's not hard to make a device these days, but what differentiates the devices that are successful, and the ones that are going to be, is the software," said Charles Golvin, analyst with Forester Research. "I don't know ViewSonic intimately, but nothing in their products would lead me to believe they have a differentiating skill in software or user experience, particularly in a handheld device."

ViewSonic isn't the only company to tap the surging smartphone market, as Acer took the plunge earlier this year. Dell also has reportedly been readying a smartphone that would be primarily aimed at the enterprise market.

Part of the growth in the smartphone market will be for enterprise use, and this can quickly bring up multiple questions about security and mobility policies. InformationWeek analyzed how businesses can lock down data when it's on the move, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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