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.

July 28, 2012 18:11 nmawston

The New York Times reported this week that Apple has allegedly discussed buying a roughly ~5% stake in Twitter.

If correct, why might Apple have been -- or perhaps still be -- interested in Twitter? Well, real-time mobile social networking is, of course, hot. It is the topic du jour. Our Wireless Media Strategies (WMS) service is keenly aware of the potential for Twitter, Facebook and others in the mobile space. Twitter has millions of eyeballs and mobile adverts, something which Apple and others may prize. And Apple may desire to get closer to Twitter to better integrate its popular service into iPhones and iPads.

The NYT reports that discussions regarding Apple and Twitter were limited, they took place a while back, and talks are NOT ongoing at the present time. However -- in my view -- if Facebook steps forward with a Facebook phone or a Facebook OS next year -- an event that would threaten Apple iOS -- then Apple could well be picking up the phone for another chat with the folks over at the Twitter offices just a few miles away in northern California.

July 28, 2012 17:38 nmawston

According to recent research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, ZTE captured 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market during the second quarter of 2012. ZTE remains the fourth largest cellphone brand on the planet. The vendor, based in China, has grown relentlessly in recent years by selling cost-competitive, operator-friendly handsets to 2G prepaid subscribers in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. However, we estimate ZTE's global cellphone share has recently dipped by almost a point over the past year. We believe the firm's profitability is less strong than it once was. What is causing the pain? Well, there are at least three reasons: first, local Chinese rivals, such as Lenovo, have massively upped their game in the Asia region this year. Second, the global CDMA market, in which ZTE is a major player, has plateaued. And third, ZTE's impact on the 3G / 4G handset category is still work-in-progress. More analysis for ZTE and others can be downloaded by clients here.

July 28, 2012 17:02 nmawston

According to our recent research, Samsung shipped a record 50.5 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2012. This was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single quarter. Not even Apple or Nokia have yet gotten close to such a big quarterly total. Samsung has been able to deliver hit models in most major price segments across most major regions, from the high-end Galaxy Note phablet in Asia to the mass-market Galaxy Y in Europe. As the 2012 Olympics begin in London this week, Samsung -- an official Olympics sponsor -- surely deserves a medal for its timely operational performance. However, with a rumored next-generation Apple iPhone and iPad Mini on the horizon in September or October, and Nokia and LG ramping up their LTE output, Samsung cannot afford to get complacent. The joy of the Olympics Games will soon be replaced by more smartphone games!

July 27, 2012 03:17 Alex Spektor

According to the latest research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 1 percent annually to reach 362 million units in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung was the star performer during the quarter, capturing a record 26 percent marketshare.

Ongoing macroeconomic challenges in mature markets like North America and Western Europe, tighter operator upgrade policies, and shifting consumer tastes were among the key reasons why global mobile phone shipments grew just 1 percent annually to reach 362.0 million units in Q2 2012. Fuelled by record-high smartphone shipments, Samsung was the star performer, shipping 93.0 million handsets worldwide and capturing a record 26 percent marketshare to solidify its first-place lead.

Nokia’s global handset shipments continued to decline, albeit at a more moderate minus 5 percent annually, reaching 83.7 million units in Q2 2012. Nokia’s Windows Lumia family of smartphones has made a relatively encouraging start, but shipments are not yet high enough to offset rapidly fading volumes for its Symbian platform. Nokia’s feature phone volumes showed healthy, single-digit annual growth, bolstered by Nokia’s expanding portfolio of dual-SIM and Asha models for emerging markets.

Apple shipped 26.0 million handsets worldwide in Q2 2012. Apple delivered 28 percent annual growth, which was bolstered by solid demand in Asia. Apple’s next major task is to ensure that the upcoming release of its rumored iPhone 5 upgrade is a success. The hardware design, screen size and any integrated new technologies for the iPhone 5 will need to wow consumers and make the new model stand apart from competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S3.

Other findings from the research include:

  • ZTE captured 5 percent of global handset shipments as shipments slipped minus 16 percent annually, partly because of weakened demand in major markets of Western Europe and China;
  • LG’s shipments nearly halved year-over-year to 13.1 million units, as its feature phone volumes continued to slip. However, its global smartphone shipments encouragingly improved on a sequential basis.


Exhibit 1: Global Handset Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q2 2012

Global Handset Shipments (Millions of Units) Q2 ’11 Q2 '12
Samsung 74.0 93.0
Nokia 88.5 83.7
Apple 20.3 26.0
ZTE 19.6 16.5
LG 24.8 13.1
Others 130.8 129.7
Total 358.0 362.0
Global Handset Vendor Marketshare % Q2 ’11 Q2 '12
Samsung 20.7% 25.7%
Nokia 24.7% 23.1%
Apple 5.7% 7.2%
ZTE 5.5% 4.6%
LG 6.9% 3.6%
Others 36.5% 35.8%
Total 100.0% 100.0%
Global Handset Shipments Growth Year-over-Year % 11.9% 1.1%

July 26, 2012 19:05 nmawston

As in the rest of the world, Android has experienced huge growth in its share of the Germany smartphone market in the past few years. Samsung, HTC and others have driven Android volumes to record highs. The Android expansion has come mostly at the expense of the Symbian, Blackberry and Microsoft platforms. We forecast Android smartphone sales to grow +76% in Germany in 2012, above the Western European average of +61%. This forecast is taken from a new report, Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by 12 Operating Systems for 88 Countries: 2007 to 2017, recently published by our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS), and available to clients, or by contacting the report's author for further information, Scott Bicheno, at SBicheno@strategyanalytics.com.

July 23, 2012 19:17 nmawston

Nokia shipped 84 million mobile phones worldwide in Q2 2012, down -5% annually. Symbian volumes continued to plummet and this was the main cause of the company’s shrinkage. However, during the quarter the Lumia smartphone portfolio expanded globally, doubling shipments sequentially. Interestingly, Nokia’s feature phone volumes increased and the company has recaptured 6 percentage points of marketshare from Asian rivals over the past year. More detail can be downloaded by clients from this published report on our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, or by contacting the report's author, Neil Shah: NShah@strategyanalytics.com.

July 19, 2012 17:29 sbicheno

As in the rest of the world, Android has experienced massive growth in its share of the UK smartphone market in the past few years. However, after reaching a peak market share in 2012, this share is set to drift in subsequent years as Apple, Microsoft and nascent mobile platforms such as Tizen and Firefox OS grow in popularity. While Android sales will grow by 84% in 2012, they will increase by a mere 2% the following year. This forecast is taken from the Strategy Analytics report: Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by 12 Operating Systems for 88 Countries: 2007 to 2017, recently published by our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS), and available to subscribers.

July 19, 2012 14:02 nmawston

Russia, of course, has the largest population of any country in Central & Eastern Europe. As one might expect, Russia is the largest smartphone market in the whole CE Europe region, far outselling big neighbors like Poland. Russia is a petro-economy and its growth in smartphones is partly linked to the price of oil. When oil prices rise and the goodtimes roll, smartphone demand increases. The global spot price of crude oil increased +19% in 2011, according to the US EIA. We estimate smartphone sales jumped +94% in Russia during 2011, one of the fastest growth rates in the country's history. More detail on smartphones can be found in this published report -- available to download by clients of our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service -- which forecasts smartphone sales for 88 countries worldwide, including 21 countries in CE Europe, from 2007 to 2017.

July 19, 2012 12:22 nmawston

As expected, Nokia's Q2 2012 financial results released today, Thursday 19th July, were not pretty. Shipments, revenues, profits, margin and ASP for the devices division were all down on an annual basis. Feature phone volumes stabilized, but smartphones continue to struggle due to weak Symbian demand. Indeed, Symbian remains a train wreck for the vendor and in hindsight it was arguably a mistake to publicly sunset the Symbian platform so soon earlier this year. All regions fell annually in handset-volume terms, except Asia (excluding China) which saw improved feature phone shipments. On the plus side, cashflow improved because of IPR payments, which will give Nokia some breathing space. We will be exploring Nokia deeper in a published report shortly on our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service.

July 17, 2012 14:24 Alex Spektor

Samsung, the world's largest handset vendor, has acquired the mobile division of CSR, a UK-based chipset maker. CSR's portfolio includes key technologies for mobile device connectivity, such as Bluetooth and WiFi, including the emerging 802.11ac standard. The US$310 million purchase brings two primary benefits to Samsung:

  1. The vertical integration of components to improve its supply chain, optimize BOM costs, and introduce a point of differentiation. Samsung already makes many of its own components, such as displays, flash memory, and application processors;
  2. The strengthening of the device vendor's patent portfolio to help with IPR battles. Samsung and rivals like Apple have been in courts around the world over patent infringement issues.

Samsung is strengthening its component assets for Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi, which should eventually strengthen its handset designs. If Samsung has great displays and great chips in-house, then that’s going to be a solid basis for technology differentiation and supply chain control that can give Samsung devices a competitive edge. Of course, in the longer term, Samsung may end up juggling too many component balls at once, and a sprawling components portfolio could potentially become a negative rather than a positive if they don’t keep things under control.