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.

February 28, 2012 23:02 nmawston

Day 3-- Tuesday 28th February, 2012 -- of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain, is here. The weather today was sunny then cloudy.

Android continued to dominate the show for a second year running. Every major vendor -- from LG to Huawei to Samsung to HTC and others -- has new 3G / 4G / WiFi smartphones or tablets on display.

Component makers were out in force. Renesas Mobile, for example, has an impressive LTE Cat-4 modem that is market-ready for dongles and smartphones. Ericsson and Kyocera are among the early adopters.

Asus demoed its PadFone. It is a phone that uses a dock to transform into a tablet or a notebook. Nice design innovation, but niche for now.

Big, thin screens are everywhere in high-end 3G / 4G handsets. LG's Optimus 4X HD, for example, is 4.7 inches. Five inch will soon be the new four inch.

Tomorrow is Windows 8 tablet day. Can W8 truly compete with Apple iPad and Android?...

February 27, 2012 22:07 nmawston

Day 2 -- Monday 27th February, 2012 -- of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain, has arrived. The weather today was sunny but chilly.

Phones and tablets continue to draw the biggest crowds, while software and services proliferate. Nokia's press conference was the main event of the day.

Nokia unveiled its impressive 41MP camera phone, the 808 Pure View. It wows technologically, but it is wrapped in a bulky hardware formfactor and a perceived aging Symbian OS, which will limit volumes.

ViewSonic's ViewPhone 4S is a dual-SIM Android ICS smartphone for European markets. We have long advised clients that dual-SIM is a high-growth market. However, not all operators are keen on dual-SIM, due to churn issues.

Vodafone and Visa are teaming up for mobile NFC payments. SA expects NFC phone sales to surge in the next decade. The UK, with its large financial sector, could become an NFC innovation hub.

Ericsson and Western Union announced a strategic alliance to enable mobile-money-transfer services for carriers. WU is keen to mobilize its in-store money-transfer service, especially in emerging markets (e.g. Africa) and near-emerging markets (e.g. Italy).

Tuesday is day three of MWC. Time to take a look at LTE and LTE-A...

February 26, 2012 22:41 nmawston

Day 1 -- Sunday 26th February, 2012 -- of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain, has begun. The weather is warm and sunny. Approximately 60k attendess are swarming into the city. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic is busy but well managed.

MWC seems to start earlier every year, and this year is no exception. Multiple companies briefed or launched their new products and services on Sunday, when in previous years they might have waited until Monday or Tuesday to break cover. Such is the ferocity of competition.

* HUAWEI Ascend D Quad set the ball rolling on quad-core smartphones. Huawei is moving aggressively to upscale and verticalize its portfolio;

* SONY demoed its Xperia P, S and U Android models. Some of the models have bright screens for outdoor use. However, we find Sony's new sub-branding hierarchy to be slightly illogical. For example, the S is positioned in a higher tier than both P and U -- despite U being positioned in a higher alphabetical order than S and P;

* HTC launched its One S, One V and One X models. The One X is a Tegra 3 quad-core model -- a good win for NVidia. Like Sony, HTC's sub-branding is also alphabetically confusing, with the V being less powerful than the S and X;

* SAMSUNG showed a Galaxy Beam projector smartphone. The beamer can project still or moving images, up to 50 inches in size, on a wall. It can be a TV in your pocket, a home cinema in your pocket, or a projector in your pocket. Projector phones are a niche market at the moment;

* LG introduced the Optimus 4X HD. This is its first quad-core, Android ICS smartphone. NVidia Tegra 3 is again the chip winner here. At 9mm, it is impressively thin. Distribution is unconfirmed, but it should be aimed at premium users wanting a PC-like smartphone experience in the US or Europe.

Sunday at MWC was about quad-core phones and Android phones...

Monday will be about camera phones, Windows phones, and LTE phones. Watch this space...

February 26, 2012 19:53 Neil Shah

Its a Sunday with a day away before the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 kicks off in sunny Barcelona, Spain, and, we have already seen LG, Fujitsu announcing top-line high-spec smartphones. LG took two steps ahead with its aggressive LTE multi-core smartphone strategy targeting high value developed markets launching its latest quad-core LTE superphone LG Optimus 4X HD powered with NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor sporting a true 720 HD IPS display running the latest Android 4.0 ICS.

The quad-core play was on the cards from the Korean & Japanese vendors at MWC 2012, but the biggest surprise of the pre-MWC announcements has been by Huawei, the world's sixth largest handset vendor. The fast growing Chinese vendor has been looking forward to extend its portfolio up in the high- to premium-tier segment with cutting-edge high-spec handsets challenging big boys such has Samsung, LG and HTC in smartphone race. This intent was depicted today as Huawei unveiled premium-tier handsets under its new Diamond Series : Huawei Ascend D Quad, Ascend D quad XL, Ascend D1 building upon its "Ascend" sub-branding with earlier promising announcements of Ascend P1/P1S at CES 2012 last month.

To add to this, the vendor's new lineup is powered not by NVIDIA, TI or Qualcomm's solutions but surprisingly by its home-grown K3V2 quad-core 1.2GHz/1.5GHz processor. The vendor claims it to be the world?s fastest quad core smartphone and features a proprietary power management system which provides up to 30% in energy savings. The Ascend D series scores high with top-notch specs and design to make it top-selling Android portfolio and compete on par or maybe higher with bigger Android vendors:  

  • Fast Processor: 1.2/1.5GHz K3V2 quad-core Processor
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Large High Resolution Screen: 4.5-inch 720p HD screen
  • Form Factor: 64mm narrow and 8.9mm slim slate  
  • Radios: HSPA+, LTE 
  • Camera: 8MP Rear Camera with 1080p HD Video Recording, 1.3MP Forward-Facing Camera
  • Battery: From 1670mAh to 2500mAh battery


Image Credits: Huawei

Huawei, thus has learnt quickly from its competitors in key areas such as powerful sub-branding (Ascend), slimmer design and bigger battery, multi-core chipsets, hint of vertically integrated play (in-house chipset design)  in producing a premium offering.

February 23, 2012 17:30 Neil Shah

Global legitimate handset shipments grew 10% annually in Q4 2011. The growth was driven by surging demand for 3G and 4G phones. Samsung was the world's largest WCDMA and LTE vendor, as sales of the Galaxy portfolio soared.

Apple crushed several rivals to capture second place in the CDMA category with just three CDMA carriers footprint globally, while HTC lost 5 points of 3G marketshare in just one quarter due to a lack of hit models. Meanwhile, ZTE & Huawei dominated the TD-SCDMA sub-segment prevalent in their home market.

Nokia remained the king of 2G GSM segment with rising demand for its low-cost dual SIM 2G feature  phones across emerging markets.

Want a deeper dive into vendor rankings and shipment volumes by technology?

Strategy Analytics provides quarterly handset shipments by protocol for the top 30 global vendors from 2001 to 2011. Key technologies covered include 2G GSM, 3G UMTS, iDEN, CDMA, TD-SCDMA and 4G LTE. This can be found in the following report:

VENDOR SHARE: Global Handset Market by Technology: Q4 2011

February 23, 2012 11:25 nmawston

Worldwide mobile phone wholesale (trade) revenues grew a healthy +26% in 2011. Turnover for device companies such as Apple and Samsung reached record highs. Despite economic turmoil across much of the planet, consumers and businesses continued to visit retail stores to stock up with the latest handsets.

What drove the +26% annual growth in mobile phone revenues? There were at least three main drivers of the growth:

1. Emerging markets boomed, especially South America. Consumers in Mexico and elsewhere are going mobile-crazy;

2. A wave of higher-priced 3G / 4G models, from Samsung and others, flooded major developed markets like the United States;

3. Apple's premium-priced iPhone persuaded rich buyers in dozens of countries that expensive handsets can be a rewarding purchase.

Following a record 2011, how strong will handset revenues be if the global economy improves in 2012?

February 22, 2012 15:45 Neil Shah

Global legitimate handset shipments climbed 10% annually during the fourth quarter of 2011. Developed markets slowed, while emerging markets raced ahead. Asia, Africa and Latin America were the world's fastest-growing regions, with Samsung, Apple, ZTE, Nokia and others driving volumes higher. Apple, HTC, Huawei and ZTE registered the highest global growth, as they moved up the rankings ending the year on a high note.


In Q4 2011, vendors such as Apple with surging iPhone demand for new iPhone 4S and Samsung, ZTE riding on Android wave dominated the growth across majority of the regions. Nokia made a comeback in some regions growing sequentially benefitting from the newer Windows Phone, refreshed Symbian and Dual-SIM feature phone launches during the quarter. LG?s volumes declined compared to Q3 2011 as the demand for vendor?s feature phones remained lackluster across all regions.

Overall, 2011 was the year of great shakeups where volume leader Nokia lost ground and slipped down the vendor rankings in key markets. Samsung on the other hand gained at Nokia?s mixed performance leading in three of the six regions globally. Apple and ZTE also swiftly moved into top 5 rankings overtaking LG in Q4 2011 and registering significant annual growth in some of the key regions.

Our report VENDOR SHARE: Global Handset Market by Region: Q4 2011 details quarterly handset marketshare for the world's top 30 vendors and quarterly TAMs in North America, Central & Latin America, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific. Historical data by quarter from 2004 to 2011 are included.