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.

November 21, 2013 00:16 lsui

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) services recently published the report : Global Handset Distribution by Channle by Region. It forecast handset distribution flows by 7 channels for 6 major regions and 3 key countries from 2012 to 2017.

We forecast pure e-commerce retailers (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Jingdong etc.) to grow fastest from 2012 to 2017, increasing the global volume by +248% during the period. China led the pack with the higest pure e-commerce presence of 10% in 2014, way above the global average of 4%. We believe Jingdong and Taobao T-Mall are among the largest e-retailers in China. Improved broadband / mobile broadband coverage, competitve pricing position and marketing promotions, as well as enhanced online shopping experiences, are the key drivers behind the surging online players.

WDS clients: please click here to access the full report.


September 26, 2012 23:04 nmawston

There has been widespread speculation for most of this year that Amazon would enter the mobile phone market with a "Kindle Phone" or "K-Phone". Several rivals, such as Apple and Google, are already in that space. However, at a recent Kindle press event for tablets and ereaders in the United States, no mention whatsoever was made of a Kindle phone. Why has Amazon delayed entering the handset market? How likely is such a move in 2013? Is Amazon a credible brand in mobile? This published research note, available to subscribers of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, analyzes those questions and more.


December 21, 2011 16:30 Alex Spektor

The impending avalanche of NFC phones, which our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service projects to grow at an average of 67% per year over the next five years, has everybody thinking about contactless payments. With all the buzz around Google's soft-launched Wallet service and the US carrier joint venture ISIS, which should roll out in 2012, it makes sense. Indeed, the simple fact that money is directly involved in this particular application of NFC rightfully encourages the whole wireless value chain to think about potential revenue opportunities.

However, there is one often overlooked application for NFC -- intelligent device pairing. The idea is simple: instead of inputting PINs, passkeys, or even 26 hexadecimal digits to pair two wireless devices, the user simply "taps" two NFC devices together. The concept can be applied for any pairing event, regardless of which enabling technology, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, is used to make the actual connection.

So far, only one handset vendor has actively promoted NFC for this application. Nokia's latest NFC-enabled handsets and Bluetooth headsets can be paired together using this very concept. Unfortunately, the latest Windows Lumia devices are not yet in this category, as Microsoft has not yet added NFC support to its platform. Nevertheless, Nokia's attention to NFC tech is a positive sign for the vendor's future portfolio. Nokia's strategy holds two key benefits: it future-proofs handsets, getting them ready for mobile contactless payment services once they eventually roll out, and it improves the usability of a typically cumbersome process.

Chip supplier Broadcom, whose interests span Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC has also recognized this useful application of the emerging tech, and we expect its chipsets and middleware to help device vendors think beyond mobile payments as they develop their NFC smartphones and tablets.

Alex Spektor
Wireless Device Strategies


December 14, 2011 11:28 nmawston

Strategy Analytics forecasts worldwide HTML5 phone sales will surge from 336 million units in 2011 to 1 billion units in 2013. HTML5 has quickly become a hyper-growth technology that will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge through cloud services.

We forecast worldwide HTML5 phone sales to hit 1 billion units per year in 2013. Growth for HTML5 phones is being driven by robust demand from multiple hardware vendors and software developers in North America, Europe and Asia who want to develop rich media services across multiple platforms, including companies like Adobe, Apple, Google and Microsoft. We define an HTML5 phone as a mobile handset with partial or full support for HTML5 technology in the browser, such as the Apple iPhone 4S.

We believe HTML5 will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge in the future. HTML5 will be a pivotal technology in the growth of a multi-screen, 4G LTE cloud that is emerging for mobile operators, device makers, car manufacturers, component vendors and Web app developers. With its potential to transcend some of the barriers faced by native apps, such as cross-platform usability, HTML5 is a market that no mobile stakeholder can afford to ignore.

However, despite surging growth of HTML5 phone sales, we caution that HTML5 is still a relatively immature technology. HTML5 currently has limited APIs and feature-sets to include compared with native apps on platforms such as Android or Apple iOS. It will require several years of further development and standards-setting before HTML5 can fully mature to reach its potential as a unified, multi-platform content-enabler.

The full report, Global HTML5 Handset Sales Forecast, is published by our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found at this link: http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=6901.


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.


March 17, 2010 23:03 bjoy
High-end mobile handsets have more in common with the consumer electronics industry than they used to. Music, camera and GPS segments are some of the early examples that have lost increasing ground to the mobile industry. As the industry converges further, more use-cases and functions will be bundled on high-end handsets and crimp the growth of other consumer-electronic segments such as portable gaming. Retailers are closely watching the evolution of cellular devices and treading the waters carefully. Connectivity will of course be common across multiple device categories, whether it is your 65-inch Plasma TV or internet-enabled table clock – and for the most part, this is a new learning experience for major main-street retailers. Connectivity adds another dimension and requires additional training for their customer representatives – initial set up, configuration, billing, activation, rebates and contract obligations are areas where retailers need to climb up the experience ladder. Some interesting trends from the buoyant US market: Best Buy is betting its future growth on high-end smartphones and emerging connected devices such as 3G laptops. Smartphones are just the launch pad for Best Buy’s broader strategy in taking an early position in the evolving connected terminals space. Wal-Mart is embracing a different route that is aligned with their low-cost mass-market philosophy. The no-frills service plan StraightTalk, developed in conjunction with TracFone, was a big success during the last holiday season. The business is changing in the online channels as well; Amazon launched is beta program last year and connected devices are often sold at significant discounts than through carrier-direct channels. On one hand, third-party specialist retail channels will expand operators' addressable markets to new segments. Operators do not have all the necessary assets to tap the long tail of emerging 3G device segments or new service plans that are aligned more with the consumer electronics industry. In this scenario, retailers are the operators' friend. On the other hand, dilution of operators' direct channels will be a threat for operators' control, and without proper checks in place, the thousands of existing operator stores in the US will soon become much less important. In this scenario, retailers will gain more distribution power and become the operators' foe. - Bonny Joy

February 2, 2010 19:02 cambrosio
In a recent meeting I attended, Henry Ford’s quote was used to remind us that consumers are rarely the source of innovation. I would suggest that this maxim also applies to the philosophy of mobile technology professionals developing new, emerging devices. The wireless industry is still driven by the engineering-driven belief that giving users “faster horses” (read mobile broadband) will be the fundamental driver of future non-traditional devices.   To be fair, we should note that early efforts are progressing - the Amazon Kindle ignited e-book developments; rabid press coverage of the Apple iPad continues; recently, even AT&T reported that it had added 1 million new “emerging” devices in Q4 2009.  Hold your horses, though – the future appears bright for e-books, but the iPad is largely unproven and pricey. At AT&T, the majority of these are sensors adding little incremental revenue, a sign that AT&T and Jasper are making progress and less a sign of consumer device innovation. During 2010 we will continue to hear many companies heralding their new emerging devices as “innovative” offerings that will drive consumer wireless penetration into the stratosphere.So how can device OEMs define emerging device innovation? The worrisome truth is that they will have to go far beyond their staple expertise in industrial design. While this will continue to be important, I would offer a framework including five important elements of innovative emerging devices (which we'll dissect in more detail in coming weeks): 1)      Branding – Innovative device brands will partner with compelling service, content, or application brands to dominate headlines and also realized profits; 2)      Use Case - Emerging devices designed or optimized for one or a select few applications as the “primary” use will be easily understood by consumers, and more easily valued for service delivery by operators; 3)      The user experience – The UX will continue to be the most important factor driving innovative emerging devices. This will be the most formidable hurdle for traditional OEMs; 4)      The wireless business model - A transparent business model where the wireless costs are embedded in the device price will ultimately be the most consumer friendly option; 5)     Distribution - Big brands will innovate by leverage existing resources and strong consumer awareness, directly and via partnerships with content and service players, to drive sell-through in traditional and online consumer channels. Chris Ambrosio

January 6, 2010 14:01 nmawston

The Google HTC Nexus One smartphone with Android 2.1 was unveiled in the US on Tuesday 5 January, 2010. It will initially ship in the US, UK, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore. The HSUPA handset ticks most of the right technology boxes, including a 4-inch touchscreen, multi-tasking and a powerful 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The phone has a handy voice-recognition feature, which can be used for controlling text fields, and it will be a key differentiator. A user can quickly write SMS and email messages simply by speaking to the handset. Only time will tell just how accurate and reliable the voice-control solution actually is. Why has Google gotten into the handset business? Google wants to champion a flagship user-experience and limit fragmentation for Android, while simultaneously driving up its global user-base for future mobile advertising revenues.


Exhibit 1: Google Nexus One


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Some downsides: first, the Nexus One lacks a hard QWERTY and multi-touch, which may be an issue for some segments. Second, the handset's style and design are a little ho-hum and me-too. Third, the retail pricing, at US$179 postpaid and US$529 prepaid unlocked, is not as competitive as some might have expected from a company that is often associated with super-low-cost business models. And fourth, the Nexus One is initially being launched with T Mobile, which may lack the marketing clout of its bigger US rivals such as AT&T.

An interesting development is the opening of a Google-hosted online store, at www.google.com/phone, which will offer an online retail channel through which consumers in the US can buy a prepaid or postpaid Nexus One. A customer must register on the site (useful for Google to control the end-user), choose a phone model, pick a data-plan from T Mobile, then Google will deliver the phone directly to their home. In effect, Google has become a handset distributor and retailer. This is unchartered territory, and it remains to be seen whether Google can compete effectively with the likes of Apple and Amazon. The announcement is certainly good news for the online handset distribution industry. Online handset distribution, via firms such as Amazon, currently accounts for 1 in 12 of all shipments worldwide. With Google's huge marketing clout and its heavily visited PC search engine, online handset distribution is going to see a major uplift in activity this year. Google just made online distribution a hotter topic for 2010.