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.

January 8, 2014 20:54 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service are at the CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, US, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

Our blogs from Day 1 (Monday) and Day 2 (Tuesday) can be viewed here and here.

These are three key trends and important device models we have identified at the event on Day 3 (Wednesday):

1. Phablets are everywhere at the show. They are not a new trend, but they are a growing trend. The rise of the phablet in the US surely means Apple cannot hold back the tide for much longer and it will have to finally launch a 5-inch iPhone worldwide later this year. Samsung, LG, Nokia and other phablet leaders will be looking nervously over their shoulders.

2. Bluetooth remains as popular as ever, from speakers to tablets. It is a great wirefree technology that deserves more credit for its success. Attractive new Bluetooth products continue to be developed, such as Monster's DNA Pro Wireless stereo headphones for high-end consumers. This over-the-ear model may come to challenge the best-in-class Parrot Zik.

3. Sony delivered this week its SmartWear strategy for 2014. It showcased a fitness band and a fitness app for Xperia smartphones. Sony is clearly getting into lifestyle wearables in a big way. However, we caution that Sony's limited mobile presence in the "big two" countries of the US and China, where demand will be greatest, could put a cap on its global ambitions.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages for further blogs and daily updates from CES this week.


January 8, 2014 20:52 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service are at the CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, US, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

Our blog from Day 1 (Monday) can be viewed here.

These are three key trends and important device models we have identified at the event on Day 2 (Tuesday):

1. As expected, Intel unveiled several wearable devices, including a smart-watch and a smart-headset. They are prototypes for now. What purpose do they serve? Three main reasons: first, they showcase Intel's new products, such as the Edison platform. Second, wearables offer fresh growth opportunities beyond the maturing PC market and crowded smartphone segment. Third, and most importantly, Intel's devices are a sign that more component makers will eventually become device makers as the component industry becomes more challenging. I expect Qualcomm and others to follow a similar path.

2. The new CEO of BlackBerry indicated that its first Foxconn-built smartphone later this year will be priced around the mid-tier level. This will put BlackBerry in direct competition with Samsung, the king of the mid-range worldwide. BlackBerry will have to develop something special, for hardware and software, if it wants to challenge the South Korean brand. It will not be easy.

3. Smartphones to control the digital home have been displayed at plenty of booths at the show. For example, the Belkin-Jarden Crock-Pot, available in the US in H1 2014, is a wireless pot for the kitchen where your food-cooking temperature can be controlled through a WiFi handset. This is cool and fashionable, of course, but still very niche at the moment.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages for further blogs and daily updates from CES this week.


January 8, 2014 20:51 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service are at the CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, US, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

These are three key trends and important device models we have identified at the event on Day 1 (Monday):

1. The LG G Flex will launch in the US at 3 of the top 4 carriers this year (e.g. AT&T). This is a good win for LG, in its battles with Samsung and Apple. Curved phones are a useful differentiator for device vendors, as identified in this previous blog before CES.

2. The Alcatel Idol X+ is a feature-packed, 8-core phablet. Alcatel is clearly "stepping up" its product quality and pricing. As identified in this published report during 2013, Alcatel is little known in the US, but it is a rising global star and one to watch for 2014.

3. Wearables are creating a major buzz at the show. Smartwatches and smartglasses are the main products on offer. But there is definitely a long tail of other niche wearables emerging. Everything from smart-socks to smart-sneakers to smart-medical devices. Many of them will not catch on, of course, but it does illustrate how innovative the sector is right now. 

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages for further blogs and daily updates from CES this week.


January 7, 2014 23:27 nmawston

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service predicts global mobile phone shipments to grow +6% in 2014. Samsung, Apple and Chinese vendors, including Huawei and Lenovo, will be among the main vendors driving growth, with 4G providing significant uplift in mature markets such as South Korea, Japan and the US.

This published report, available to clients, forecasts global handset, smartphone and feature phone shipments by quarter for 12 of the world's largest vendors from 2000 to 2014. Global grey phone volumes by quarter through 2014 are also included.

The report is a valuable tool for component makers, device vendors, software developers, operators, carmakers and other stakeholders to support their future quarterly planning activities.


January 7, 2014 22:10 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service are at the CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, US, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

Our blog from Day 1 (Monday) can be viewed here.

These are three key trends and important device models we have identified at the event on Day 2 (Tuesday):

1. As expected, Intel unveiled several wearable devices, including a smart-watch and a smart-headset. They are prototypes for now. What purpose do they serve? Three main reasons: first, they showcase Intel's new products, such as the Edison platform. Second, wearables offer fresh growth opportunities beyond the maturing PC market and crowded smartphone segment. Third, and most importantly, Intel's devices are a sign that more component makers will eventually become device makers as the component industry becomes more challenging. I expect Qualcomm and others to follow a similar path.

2. The new CEO of BlackBerry indicated that its first Foxconn-built smartphone later this year will be priced around the mid-tier level. This will put BlackBerry in direct competition with Samsung, the king of the mid-range worldwide. BlackBerry will have to develop something special, for hardware and software, if it wants to challenge the South Korean brand. It will not be easy.

3. Smartphones to control the digital home have been displayed at plenty of booths at the show. For example, the Belkin-Jarden Crock-Pot, available in the US in H1 2014, is a wireless pot for the kitchen where your food-cooking temperature can be controlled through a WiFi handset. This is cool and fashionable, of course, but still very niche at the moment.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages for further blogs and daily updates from CES this week.


January 6, 2014 22:12 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service are at the CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, US, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

These are three key trends and important device models we have identified at the event on Day 1 (Monday):

1. The LG G Flex will launch in the US at 3 of the top 4 carriers this year (e.g. AT&T). This is a good win for LG, in its battles with Samsung and Apple. Curved phones are a useful differentiator for device vendors, as identified in this previous blog before CES.

2. The Alcatel Idol X+ is a feature-packed, 8-core phablet. Alcatel is clearly "stepping up" its product quality and pricing. As identified in this published report during 2013, Alcatel is little known in the US, but it is a rising global star and one to watch for 2014.

3. Wearables are creating a major buzz at the show. Smartwatches and smartglasses are the main products on offer. But there is definitely a long tail of other niche wearables emerging. Everything from smart-socks to smart-sneakers to smart-medical devices. Many of them will not catch on, of course, but it does illustrate how innovative the sector is right now. 

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages for further blogs and daily updates from CES this week.


January 3, 2014 18:16 nmawston

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service will be pounding the floors at the influential CES trade show in sunny Las Vegas, US, next week, from Sunday 5th to Thursday 9th January, 2014.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones, will be a huge part of the event. We will be blogging live from the show every day.

Here are three mega trends across the mobile device world we expect to see at CES 2014 and recommend clients / journalists focus on:

1. Wearables will be hot. Smartwatches, smartglasses and fitness bands are the "big 3" product types to prioritize. Look out for smart-contact-lenses as an added "sci-fi" bonus. Companies to visit will include Samsung, Sony, LG, ZTE, Huawei, Qualcomm and Vuzix.

2. Curved smartphones, like the LG G Flex, will fascinate. Curved phones will very soon outsell curved TVs. They are the first step on the industry's road to rollable touchscreens. Pioneering companies to visit will include Samsung and LG.

3. The rise of Chinese smartphone brands in the US market. The Chinese brands dominate China, and they have now set their sights on the valuable United States market. Major device makers with major American ambitions to visit will include ZTE, Huawei, Alcatel and Lenovo.

Who will NOT be at CES this year? Apple, of course, will be the missing piece in the jigsaw. But that is nothing new. Apple rarely appear at industry trade shows and they are influential enough to "do their own thing".

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages next week for further blogs and daily updates from CES... What takes place in Vegas will NOT be staying in Vegas!


December 27, 2013 18:34 nmawston

This published report -- available to clients of our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service -- analyzes ten important trends that will emerge in the global mobile phonemarket during 2014. We identify opportunities for growth, areas for differentiation, and potential for competitive surprises. The report examines why the ten trends are important and it makes actionable recommendations for customers. Topics covered include LTE-Advanced, Bluetooth, Firefox, curved phones, wearables and 3D printing.


January 7, 2013 12:37 sbicheno

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, USA, is arguably the biggest consumer electronics trade show of the year, but with the major mobile industry event -- Mobile World Congress (MWC) -- following less than two months after, many mobile companies may choose to keep their cards close to their chest regarding major announcements. Nonetheless our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) team will be in Las Vegas this week and expect there still to be a fair bit of handset news, including:

1. The rise of the 5-inch phone. Every year it seems that the largest practical size of screen for a handset goes up, and this year will be no exception. It’s quite possible that the majority of flagship smartphones announced at CES 2013 will have screens of at least 5 inches in size.

2. Phablets snowball. The phablet (a hybrid of ‘phone’ and ‘tablet’) was one of the success stories of 2012, which means a lot more handset manufacturers are likely to jump on board. This is set to be the year of the phablet for many players.

3. The Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung was comfortably the world’s number one handset vendor by shipments in 2012, thanks in large part to its very popular Galaxy S Android family. In order to hit the aggressive shipment targets Samsung has set for itself, it will need to launch the latest member of this family -- the Galaxy S4 -- as soon as possible. However we wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung held this launch back until MWC, choosing to focus on the recently-launched, 5-inch Galaxy Grand for this show.

4. The Sony Xperia Z. Sony also has some 2012 smartphone momentum to build on, and thanks to the company’s strong consumer electronics heritage it tends to prioritise shows like CES and IFA higher than many other mobile vendors. We expect to see the launch of a 5-inch Sony Xperia Z phablet, which will also continue Sony’s strategy of increased consumer electronics convergence for its mobile devices.

5. 4K compatibility. While ‘smart TVs’ will once more be a major theme at this year’s CES, one of the hottest trends for TVs will be 4K displays. The name references a horizontal resolution in the region of 4,000 pixels, and the technology offers four times as many total pixels as ‘full HD’. While it’s debatable how useful that many pixels would be on a 5-inch handset display, it will increasingly be found in larger TVs and projectors. This creates a new opportunity for handset vendors to differentiate themselves by offering 4K support on handsets for functions such as video streaming.


January 5, 2012 13:45 sbicheno

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place in Las Vegas, USA, from Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th January, 2012. There will be dozens of major and minor announcements vying for your attention, but here are three trends we recommend to look out for at the show:

 

1. Windows Phone LTE handsets

While the main mobile event of the year -- MWC -- occurs a mere six weeks afterwards, CES tends to feature a number of major handset launches of its own -- especially those with a strong focus on the valuable US market. This year, the Windows Phone ecosystem plans to revitalize its assault on the US market with a raft of LTE handsets to counter Android 4.0, Apple iOS 5 and BB10.

A hotly tipped 4G model is the successor to the Nokia Lumia 800, Nokia’s first flagship Windows phone, which was not launched in the US. Instead, Americans could get the opportunity to see what may be Nokia’s first ever superphone, perhaps an enhanced Lumia 800 with a larger screen and LTE, which could be called the Lumia 900 or simply the Nokia Ace. It is important that Nokia gets its sub-branding right for the American market, so we will be watching this one closely.

Elsewhere, HTC should be ready to launch its own LTE Windows Phone devices, while rumors indicate Samsung’s contribution to that market may also be imminent. Sony Ericsson, despite being a launch partner for Windows Phone 7, has been conspicuous by its absence so far. That might be about to change, however, if the ‘tile’ theme for its official pre-show teaser (below) is anything to go by.




Source: Sony Ericsson



2. Intel Medfield devices

Despite initial hype, we’ve seen few LG Windows Phone launches in recent quarters. Two years ago LG was a lead OEM partner for Intel’s Moorestown mobile chip. Unperturbed by the absence of that chip in the broader marketplace, rumor has it that the successor to Moorestown -- the 32nm Medfield chip -- could soon make its public debut inside an LG handset.

After keeping a low mobile profile in 2011 (excluding the Infineon purchase), we expect Intel to make a bigger noise about Medfield at CES this year. While it remains to be seen whether the chip giant has managed to crack the handset market, we would be surprised if Intel didn’t significantly raise its profile in tablets, with the anticipated launch later this year of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 possibly its best opportunity yet.

But the loudest Intel-related noise may well come from ultrabooks -- the ‘thin, light and fast bootup’ notebook platform designed to serve the market demand suggested by the popularity of the Apple MacBook Air and iPad. While not all of the ultrabooks will feature 3G chipsets, they are being positioned as ‘ultra-mobile’ devices, so that would eventually seem a natural feature for many to have.

3. More smartphone-to-smart-TV convergence?

2012 is the year that many major players will have a fresh crack at smart TVs. Google’s first effort last year ran out of steam pretty quickly, while Apple is publicly treating TV as nothing more than a hobby. However, we expect both companies to renew their focus on the living room in 2012, and where better to make a statement of intent than CES?

Given the expected overlap with their mobile platforms -- Android and iOS -- it stands to reason that Google and Apple will look for ways to more closely integrate your mobile device with your TV. Not only does this increase the functionality for end-users -- for example, by using the device as a remote control for media streaming -- but potentially leverages the existing commercial relationship into new product areas. Apple will not be formally present at CES, of course, but Android hardware partners we recommend investigating at the show include Samsung, LG, Sony and even Vizio.