Wireless Device Strategies

First to market each quarter with the most accurate and detailed data on handset strategies. The industry’s most timely, consistent and accurate tracking of device vendor KPI metrics, as well as handset market sales and shipment forecasts.

October 19, 2011 23:17 sbicheno

Apple reported its Q3 2011 numbers this week, for the July to September period. The iPad volumes were in-line with expectations, but its iPhone shipments were disappointing. Global iPhone shipments reached 17.1 million units in Q3 2011, growing only 21% from a year earlier. This compares with a huge 126% annual growth rate during the first half of 2011. Those contrasting ratios illustrate just how much Apple slowed down.

What caused the slowdown? 

First, we think many consumers and operators held off buying the iPhone 4 during September in anticipation of a new iPhone 4S in October. Second, waning economic confidence has capped demand for premium goods in some regions. And third, the Samsung Galaxy S2 superphone is on a roll and providing tougher competition.

Apple's guidance for Q4 2011 is that it will be a record iPhone and iPad quarter. Our forecasts agree. The iPhone 4 and iPad 2 are new products that will be heavily subsidized and wildly popular during the western holiday season.

So, Q3 was a temporary blip, and Q4 will see Apple roar back... But let's not forget that this is the second stumble under Apple's new management. We believe the iPhone 4S was a delayed launch and now Q3 iPhone shipments have underwhelmed. And if the Amazon Fire starts to chip away at the iPad 2 in November, Apple Inc. could quickly find itself in trouble.

- Scott Bicheno

October 6, 2011 20:28 Neil Shah

The latest news development reported by Wall Street Journal on Sony the Consumer Electronics giant possibly nearing the deal to buy out Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson's stake in their mobile-phone joint venture has opened up the potential for a new bigger player in this connected ecosystem race.

What is the key driver of this development? It is the need to build, expand and control the future connected ecosystem.

Post the 2009 recession, in the last two years we have seen the mobile devices landscape quickly shifting towards fast growing smartphones. This coincides well with the growing internet revolution as consumers are familiarizing themselves with the concept of accessing the internet for almost everything and from almost everywhere.

Apple has no doubt led the way benefitting from the vision of one of the greatest technical evangelist and entrepreneur Mr. Steve Jobs who will be deeply missed, in building the world's leading app-centric ecosystem. Apple has leveraged the internet by stitching the applications and services with intuitive hardware and building a highly synergized business model across the entire portfolio of devices from smartphones, iPods, MacBooks to TV (Apple TV), etc. The future is no doubt going to be dictated by players such as Apple, Samsung who are way ahead in hardware-connected-ecosystem race as well as collaboration with internet and software giants such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo who themselves are too fighting for presence across each device and each screen in the software-connected-ecosystem battle. However, Apple is an exception as it is a highly vertically integrated with footprint across hardware, software as well as services.

Sony's renewed interest to rope in Sony-Ericsson under "Sony" branded umbrella, the vendor definitely offers some promise here in its first step towards streamlining and extending control across all its products and will put life back into struggling Sony Ericsson's mind-share, market-share and brand-share. Sony cannot be discounted as a growth player who could become a top vertically integrated player and compete closely with likes of Samsung and Apple leveraging its cutting edge hardware (TV, PSP Game Consoles, Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, Cameras, Music Players, Blu-Ray Players, Semiconductor, Display and Optics Components) as well as popular content services (Music, Movies, Games, etc.) portfolio. With this acquisition Sony will close-in gap with Samsung, but to become Apple, the next steps for Sony should be:

1. Android is a good solution for short-term but for long-term Sony should own a differentiated platform offering unique top-notch user-experience and which can seamlessly tie in its entire promising portfolio.

2. Next step will definitely be to cash in by building a robust advertising and digital content sales channel via the above platform. This will also ward off any risk of competitors subsidizing the services using advertising causing potential revenue losses to Sony.

In light of this, for hardware OEMs (Nokia, HTC, etc.) and other software players (Amazon, etc.), the list of big potential ecosystem competitors has grown further - Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft and now Sony.