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.

April 23, 2013 08:37 nmawston

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) team is proud to attend Huawei's 10th Global Analyst Summit between Tuesday 23rd to Thursday 25th April, 2013. Around 500 analysts and journalists are attending the event at a hotel in Shenzhen, China, near Hong Kong. Just 20 people attended the first Summit a decade ago.

Huawei has been outlining its strategy for mobile devices, enterprises and networks in 2013 / 2014. These are three of our top findings from Day One (Tuesday):

1. Brand is king for Huawei. The Make It Possible (MIP) campaign, which aims to make the brand more emotive, is being ramped up across 30+ countries (e.g. UK);

2. Huawei Ascend W1, the vendor's first WP8 smartphone, was demoed. Its pricing is competitive, at circa US$120 wholesale worldwide in H1 2013. Usability is typical of a mid-range device -- good, but not great (e.g. mixed touchscreen responsiveness);

3. NFC will play an important role in Huawei's smartphone and tablet strategy for the next two years.

More analysis from Day Two to follow on Wednesday.


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.


September 10, 2010 20:09 bjoy
Android sales have already surpassed the iPhone and with each passing day, its building further momentum with new announcements and launches. The launch of the Huawei Ideos, a mid-tier (<200 USD) device with Android 2.2 is yet another milestone in the Android evolution as the platform now extends its reach to new segments traditionally occupied by the feature phones. Most, if not all, major operators have at least one Android model in the portfolio. The platform also has broad support from the vendor community, with major names under its banner. One question at the top of OEM and Operators is how my Android is different from your Android. Look at the Android portfolio in the US market. Aside from the glossy hardware specs and discounting the differences between the base version releases - Android 1.X/2.X – it’s hard to spot any differences beneath the skin. OEMs ability to differentiate is largely limited to the user interface layers. The HTC Sense UI, Samsung TouchWiz and Sony Ericsson Timescape are some of the leading Android skins available in the market. Under the hood, they all share the common goal of servicing the Google’s apps and service portfolio – Search,GMail, Maps and  Gtalk to name a few.   “True” Internet? An opportunity for differentiation here is to bring the “true” internet experience to consumers by seamlessly integrating services and features beyond Google products. This is a tall task for most OEMs as it’s not always easy to develop exclusive partnerships in the content or service space – and some of the most popular non-Google services like Facebook are already integrated to the core Android base anyways. But for operators, the stage is slightly different. Check out some of the most recent announcements from Verizon Wireless: •    The Verizon Samsung Fascinate, part of Samsung’s premium Galaxy S portfolio, uses Microsoft  Bing as the standard option for Maps. •    Bing will also serve as the default search engine for the device. The Galaxy S series is available under all major US operators, but except for the Verizon version, all bear the same look and feel. I’m not going to the merits of which search or maps service yield the best results, but the fact that operators are looking beyond Google’s umbrella services will provide more choice for the consumers – however small that segment be. Skype integration is another differentiator for Verizon Android devices.  Although the Android core base doesn’t have a Google branded VoIP service yet, sooner or later the Google branded VoIP service will be part of the core Android base – especially given the recent launch of integrated VoIP service with Gmail. Replacing core Google services with alternative services will not prove to be a winning formula in all instances, but it could bring the mobile Internet experience beyond Google’s umbrella brands and provide enough service attributes to differentiate from the Google’s core base. The service element is a critical element in the product planning process and product planners should pay keen attention before deciding what should or shouldn’t be replaced from the core platform.  At Strategy Analytics, we’ve tools to support our clients in positioning products with the right combination of hardware/platform/service elements. Drop us a note if you would like to know more on how we can assist your planning teams. - Bonny Joy

August 11, 2010 14:08 Alex Spektor
It may be the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US, but AT&T is also becoming an attractive option for consumers looking to buy an Android handset. Though things weren’t always as they are today. If T-Mobile was the clear early leader in Android adoption among tier-one US carriers, then AT&T was the clear laggard. Let us quickly recap highlights from the US Android timeline:
  • T-Mobile launched the first Android phone in the world in late 2008.
  • It took approximately one year for Verizon Wireless and Sprint to bring to market their own models, in time for the 2009 holiday season.
  • AT&T began selling its first Android handset quite recently: in March 2010.
Less than six months later, AT&T will have as many as five Android phones in its portfolio. This won’t be quite as many as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile, but it will put AT&T roughly on par with Sprint. AT&T will also be a leader from a variety standpoint, offering smartphones from vendors Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Dell.

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So, what are the key drivers for the ramp-up?
  • Catering to consumer tastes. Despite what Apple might tell you, not everyone wants an iPhone. Consumers looking for alternative features, such as a bigger screen, memory expansion, a more customizable UI, HDMI, etc., can find them among Android handsets.
  • Lower subsidy levels. Now that AT&T has lowered its monthly data plan rates, there is less revenue to offset the subsidy burden. Paying $200-$300 subsidy for an Android handset seems more attractive than Apple’s $400+ subsidy.
  • End of iPhone exclusivity? The Internet is always abuzz with rumors, and AT&T shifting its focus to other platforms is yet another sign that a Verizon Wireless iPhone is potentially in the works. The carrier may be strengthening its portfolio to offset potential losses once the exclusivity ends.
Regardless of AT&T’s underlying reasons, broadening the options available to consumers is a good thing for many of the involved parties. For example, shoppers get a wider selection of handsets and emerging vendors like Dell get exposure to a growing market. However, AT&T will need to be careful in managing the persistent issue of fragmentation. While developers and content providers will be happy to have a larger Android installed base for which to create applications and services, they will also be faced with the cost of addressing multiple models/processors/resolutions/etc. -Alex Spektor