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 31, 2015 15:05 nmawston

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research team visited the "big 3" mobile industry tradeshows in the first quarter of 2015. They were:

1. CES in the US;
2.
MWC in Spain;
3. Baselworld in Switzerland.

Our published report -- available to clients here -- outlines the main conclusions and takeaways from those three important events. Our analysis includes major disruptive developments in the handset, smartphone and wearables markets, such as fingerprint readers and faster battery charging for pocketable or wearable devices.


February 17, 2015 12:48 nmawston

Mobile World Congress (MWC) takes place in Barcelona, Spain, between Sunday 1st to Thursday 5th March, 2015.

MWC is the world's most influential tradeshow for the mobile industry.

Our WDS (Devices) analysts will be on the showfloor -- click here if you would like to meet us at MWC.

These are the "top five" companies and themes we recommend visiting at the event next month:

1. Wearables -- The hottest topic in mobile right now. The booths from LG, Samsung and Alcatel will display multiple swartwatches across multiple price-bands. There is unlikely to be an "Apple Watch killer" at MWC, but it will be fascinating to see how next-gen features and apps are evolving (e.g. health, fitness, email alerts, etc.);

2. LTE / LTE-Advanced -- There will be hundreds of 4G / 4.5G phones on show. At the higher-end, Samsung's flagship "S6 / S6 Edge" with a funky screen and Android / Microsoft apps will be the model to watch. At the mid-range, check out Huawei or Microsoft (Nokia). At the entry-level, we expect Alcatel to showcase competitive designs;

3. Chinese / Indian Brands -- Many will focus on the fashionable brands of today, such as Lenovo and Xiaomi. But our research indicates their best days of growth are pretty much over. Instead, we recommend visiting the emerging brands of tomorrow, such as OPPO, Micromax or Vivo. Their LTE models are quietly building a solid fan base;

4. Ubuntu -- This UK-based, open-source smartphone platform is trying to break the stranglehold of Android, by offering low-cost software and innovative "scopes" (apps). So far, reaction to Ubuntu has been mixed. MWC will be a great chance to handle the actual, new Ubuntu models from device makers, Meizu China and BQ Spain;

5. Acer / Microsoft Smartphones -- Windows Phone holds a tiny 3% share of the global smartphone market today. Microsoft badly needs new hardware vendors (beyond the Nokia takeover) to adopt its ecosystem in 2015. Help may be coming in the form of Acer, which is desperate to shift from PCs and laptops to tablets and smartphones. We expect Acer to introduce one or more WP handsets at MWC. We expect pricing to be competitive.

Our device analysts will be presenting, meeting and researching at MWC 2015. Please check back here every day -- from Sunday 1st to Thursday 5th March -- to read our daily blogs from the showfloor in sunny Barcelona. 



January 5, 2015 22:00 nmawston

Following the pre-show blog of what to expect by our WDS (Devices) analysts at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, USA, this is a summary of our "top three" findings for the mobile industry from the showfloor (pre-opening) on day one (Monday):

1. Sony SmartWatch 3: A stainless steel version of the pioneering smartwatch (first launched in 2012) will be introduced commercially worldwide during February 2015. Its timing is clearly intended to counter the rival Apple Watch, due in a window between February and May. However, whether consumers will warm to Smartwatch 3's slightly unattractive hardware design remains open to question;

2. Samsung Milk VR: A content-delivery system optimized for the company's Gear VR headset. It offers much-needed content for the virtual-reality device, such as videos. VR headsets remain niche, of course, but this will help to make them more attractive to early adopters worried about a lack of available services.

3. LG G Flex 2: A curved Android smartphone with Snapdragon 810 (an industry "first") to be launched commercially worldwide in H1 2015. The banana-like, curved formfactor (pictured below) will standout on store shelves and make handling it in the palm of the hand more tactile. One compromise, though, is that the 3000mAh battery is NOT removable, which may upset some consumers.

Back tomorrow for day 2!

CES 2015: LG G Flex 2 hands-on - Sexy curves 2


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!