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September 25, 2013

ABI Research Expects 4.7B Mobile WebRTC Devices by 2018

WebRTC may have lit up the world of telecommunications in such a way that carriers, such as AT&T and Telefonica, along with infrastructure providers like Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, have readily embraced it, but there are notable holdouts when it comes to the technology. Indeed, Apple and Microsoft have yet to join the party, and together they amount to a glaring omission and could potentially slow WebRTC’s move to mobile.

However, a new report from ABI Research entitled "Future of Voice and Messaging — WebRTC and Telco APIs" suggests that, even without Apple and Microsoft, WebRTC will do just fine in the mobile space. In fact, the research firm expects there will be 4.7 billion mobile WebRTC devices worldwide by 2018.

With WebRTC already making its way to Android via the Chrome for Android Beta channel, it’s safe to assume many of these devices will be running Google’s mobile OS, but it’s unclear whether ABI expects Safari and Internet Explorer to match this functionality any time soon.

In the case of Microsoft, at least, there’s some interest, namely its own CU-RTC alternative to WebRTC. That said, it’s possible a second implementation could deter some users away from WebRTC and will likely cause a greater delay in WebRTC support for Internet Explorer.

Apple, on the other hand, has not shown any interest in WebRTC, similar to how it cast off Adobe Flash. This situation is potentially more harmful as Apple’s devices make up a large portion of the mobile market as a whole. Regardless, neither can ignore WebRTC forever.

“WebRTC brings many opportunities; ABI Research believes major trends will start to form within the enterprise market with WebRTC. Companies will be willing to implement the new technology to aid productivity and reduce communication barriers within the workplace,” said ABI Research analyst Sabir Rafiq in a statement.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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