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.

March 29, 2012 00:41 lsui

Nokia today announced CDMA version of the Lumia phone, 800c exclusively for China market to be available in Q2 2012. It features a 3.7-inch touchscreen and 1.4G processor with full retail price of RMB 3,599 (US$ 571). It is reportedly the cost-effectively 610c will be following in next few months.

According to our Handset Country Share Tracker (CST) service, Nokia has been suffering from the faster-than-expected Symbian waning in China, its smartphone marketshare dropped to 18% in Q4 2011 from 54% at the beginning of the year. Will CDMA Lumia phones help Nokia regain the lost momentum in China, one of the largest smartphones worldwide?

First, its decent ID design and Nokia brand legacy would help Nokia switch some of previous loyal Symbian users towards Lumia phones; secondly, Nokia reentering CDMA market by working with China Telecom will diversify its product portfolio and enrich product offerings; thirdly, localized applications and initiatives to build up local developer community for Windows phone OS indicate Nokia and Windows ambitious to further build foothold in this fast-growing market.

However, the premium pricing and mid-tier hardware features would hinder demand from price-sensitive buyers, especially young people who are the main targeting segment of China Telecom TianyiFlyyoung sub brand. Moreover, the newly availability of CDMA iPhone at China Telecom would put Lumia phone into neck-to-neck competition with the star model in premium band. I would doubt China Telecom would be able to provide attractive subsidies to Nokia Lumia phones given the financial burden from the commitment on CDMA iPhones. Final, it may takes time to educate Chinese people to use Windows phone OS.

It remains to be seen how Windows Lumia phone will help Nokia regain the losing ground in China smartphone market. If I were a China Telecom subscriber, think twice before going for it.

- Linda Sui

March 24, 2012 00:54 nmawston
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics' WDS (Devices) service, global LTE phone shipments will grow tenfold to reach 67 million units in 2012. It is a breakout year for 4G technology. Companies leading the growth spurt will include Apple, Samsung, HTC and others.

We forecast global LTE phone shipments to grow tenfold from 6.8 million units in 2011 to 67.0 million in 2012. Major countries driving LTE growth this year will include the United States, Japan and South Korea. Multiple operators, such as Verizon Wireless, NTT Docomo and SK Telecom, are aggressively expanding their LTE networks. Key vendors leading the push into LTE phones will include Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Pantech and Fujitsu.

The mobile industry is entering a breakout year for 4G LTE technology. Multiple operators and multiple phone vendors will be launching dozens of LTE models across numerous countries worldwide. LTE has quickly become a high-growth, high-value market that no operator, service developer, device vendor or component maker can afford to ignore.

The LTE phone segment is expanding at a rapid rate this year, but there will undoubtedly be growing pains in this early phase. Many LTE phones and data plans will be relatively expensive, which means operators will need to invest generous subsidies to make 4G more affordable for subscribers. Meanwhile, consumers will be concerned about LTE usability issues, such as shortened battery life, excessive device weight, or sudden bill shock caused by high data consumption.

Exhibit 1: Global LTE Phone Shipments Forecast in 2012 1

Exhibit 1

The full report, Global Handset Shipments Forecast by Quarter: 2012, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here.

1 Numbers are rounded. The data-table does not include tablets, dongles or any other similar devices or consumer electronics.

March 16, 2012 21:07 lsui

Global touchscreen handset shipments surged 70% in 2011. The touchphone sub-segment is growing 6 times faster than the overall market. It is undoubtedly a fast-growing sub-category.

Having initially gained momentum in high-end smartphones, touchscreens are spreading to the mass-market in developed and developing countries worldwide. Touchscreens are rippling across multiple tiers of phones, with displays ranging from 2 to 5 inches diagonally. Popular models currently include the Samsung Galaxy S2 superphone (4.3 inches), Apple iPhone 4S (3.5 inches) and Nokia Asha series Touch and Type (2.4 inches). We believe first-time touchscreen handset buyers are favoring relatively smaller displays, while multi-time buyers with previous experience are upgrading to larger screens for improved usability. In particular, we highlight that 5-inch models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, are gaining increasing traction among some affluent users as they look for enhanced Internet and video experiences. We expect the 5-inch touchphone category to grow at a healthy clip in the next two years.

Samsung maintained the No.1 position in touchscreen handsets last year. Apple is second, despite popularizing the sub-category back in 2007. Meanwhile, Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE continue to evolve across the touchphone market, thanks to their growing presence in the Android ecosystem.

The United States is currently the world's most important touchscreen handset market, with most of the key brands and trends emerging from that country during recent years, including Apple iOS and Android. China continues to expand as a popular country for 3G touchphones. A rising number of local Chinese brands, such as Lenovo and Coolpad, have been pushing into the touchscreen handset category and generating higher volumes. Furthermore, Japan has witnessed strong growth of touchscreen volumes recently, indicated by the significant expansion of Apple, which is now the country?s second largest vendor.

- Linda Sui