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 9, 2015 06:25 woh

This year's CES trade show in Las Vegas is coming to an end, with many stories and 'wow' experiences created across a lot of displayed consumer, automobile and mobile products. Our analysts from WDS (Wireless Device Strategies) research service are in Las Vegas to watch and experience those thrilling products the whole this week.

You can read our daily blogs from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 along with pre-blog.

These are three key trends and important device models that our analysts have identified at the event on Day 4 (Thurs):

1. Various Operating Systems for Smartwatches to be Showcased during CES 2015: While the global smartphone industry is dominated by two major OS's, Android (from Google) and iOS (from Apple), which many people dub them as 'two-horses races', it is likely that we are going to see some more various operating systems in global smartwatch industry, on top of Google (Android Wear) and Apple. Tizen, on which Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear S from Samsung are built upon, is already capturing the number one market share in global smartwatch shiments in Q3 2014, and Samsung is expected to enlarge its Tizen ecosystem for their wearable strategy. The second cadidate is WebOS on which LG is building its 'G Watch R' device customized for its smart car partner, Audi. Undoubtedly LG is one of strong champions of Android Wear based smartwatch, so it is still not clear whether LG will sell WebOS-based versions to the general public. The third candidate is a customized Alcatel own proprietary OS implemented on their Alcatel One Touch Watch. Strikingly, this Watch product is speculated to be compatible with all the major smartphone OS's such as Android, iOS and WindowsPhone. Android device vendors are using smartwatches as a new inflexion point to try to break free from the shackles of Android. 

2. Dozens of Price-Friendlier LTE-Capable Smartphones to Flood the Hall: 4G LTE-capable smartphones have been regarded expensive until the end of 2014, but we are seeing more and more OEM's displaying price-friendlier 4G LTE smartphones, priced below US$400 to $450 retail, at CES 2015 from Samsung, Huawei, TCL-Alcatel, Lenovo, ZTE, ASUS and Acer. A growing number of users from developed to developing countries don't want to spend much money to buy 4G smartphones, but as they are hungry for faster LTE services, device vendors are targeting to tap into this market as another high-revenue generating chance. Samsung didn't launch the new smartphones this year at CES 2015, but is showcasing less priced Galaxy A3 and A5 than premium Galaxy S and Note series, and TCL-Alcatel is unveiling its new lower-priced 4G smartphones dubbed Pixi 3 (4.0/4.5/5.0 inch) and the new line of POP 2 line-ups in three different sizes. Huawei displays Budget LTE Handset Honor 4X in the CES 2015 with 3,000 mAh battery. Also Lenovo is unveiling an affordable LTE smartphone, A6000 at CES 2015, which will be available in India later this month. ZTE's new phablet, Grand X Max +, will be hitting the US market at US$199, and two Taiwanese vendors, ASUS and Acer, are unveiling mid-priced 4G smartphones, ZenFone 2 and Liquid Z410.

3. Struggling, but still Powerful Vendors: Blackberry's showcased Passport looks good with the stonger support of Android applications, and this vendor is gearing towards IoT and BBM monetization. HTC is quite bullish about 2015, and is expected to focus on flagship leadership, Desire family, software, services and connected productsMicrosoft is segmenting their target markets into three areas, from high-end to affordable to first, and they are ready to release the appealing products for each segment. Sony didn't bring its new Xperia Z4 to the general publich here, but as this Japanese vendor is focusing on smart home during CES 2015, we believe that Sony will try to gain more traction in mobile space with upcoming Xperia Z4 and the  SmartWatch 3 launched at CES 2015.

This has been the daily blogs from CES 2015, and we look forward to seeing you again at CES 2016 in wonderful Las Vegas.

 


January 2, 2015 03:21 woh

Analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service will be attending CES 2015, one of the most important mobile and electronic trade shows, in sunny Las Vegas, US, next week, from Tuesday 6th to Friday 9th January, 2015.

Just like the last several years, mobile devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches, will be an integral part of the event. We will be blogging live from the show every day.

Here are five mega trends across the mobile device world we expect to see at CES 2015 and recommend clients / journalists focus on:

1. Wearables will be huge. More practical, diverse and fashionable devices across smartwatches, smartglasses, VR headsets and fitness bands will be there to attract a lot of attentions. You will experience not only diversified devices themselves but also empowered solutions, such as health/fitness, gaming and payment. Companies to visit will include Samsung, Sony, LG, ZTE, Huawei, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Intel, Garmin, Oculus and FitBit. Also don't forget to check if traditional wrist-watch makers such as Tag Heuer would exhibit their first smartwatches in Las Vegas.

2. Curved smartphones will fascinate the world again with the 2nd round of products such as LG G Flex 2. They are the first step on the industry's road to rollable touchscreens. Pioneering companies to visit will include Samsung and LG.

3. 2K Display will be widespread. A growing number of vendors are adopting QHD display for their flagship products. Samsung and LG will be sure to exhibit their flagships with 2K display during CES 2015, and you may be seeing more 2K products from ZTE, Sony, Xiaomi, Lenovo and others.

4. LTE-A Capable handsets will be hot. Not only Samsung and LG, but more and more vendors such as Huawei, ZTE, HTC, TCL-Alcatel and Microsoft will be likely to display their newest flagships supporting CAT 6 and above. You might want to stop by Samsung booth to test 450Mbps downlink rate (CAT 9) with the new Samsung flagship Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE.

5. Budget smartphones priced between $50 and $150 in retail will be occupying the exhibition halls during the show. Most of these lower-priced phones will be coming with appealing specifications and services, running on Android One, Tizen, Windowsphone and Firefox. They are targeting the growing emerging markets such as India, Brazil, Indonesia and of course, China. Major device makers that you have to prioritize will be Samsung, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei, ASUS, Lenovo and a slew of local vendors from China and elsewhere.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog pages next week for further blogs and daily updates from CES 2015.





November 21, 2014 14:08 khyers

Even as its share in the North American market steadily shrinks, Huawei's global handset shipments rose +15% annually during Q3 2014. Most of Huawei’s cellphone volumes now ship into developing regions like Africa, and we note the Chinese vendor is quietly evolving into an “emerging markets specialist”.  Even as Huawei focuses more of its attention on emerging markets, it is managing to steadily increase ASPs, in part by focusing on phablets. However, by concentrating on emerging markets at the expense of growth in developed ones such as Western Europe, Huawei risks ceeding market opportunties to Chinese vendors like Lenovo, ZTE, and others.

The report Q3 '14 Huawei Emerging Market Specialist, available to clients of Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Strategies service, examines Huawei's Q3 2014 performance and strategic focus.


October 30, 2014 02:35 woh

According to the latest report from our WDS (Devices) research service, global MOBILE PHONE shipments grew 8 percent annually to reach 460 million units in the third quarter of 2014. LG was the star performer, capturing 5 percent marketshare and reaching its highest level in the overall mobile phone market for three years.

 

Global mobile phone shipments grew 8 percent annually from 427.2 million units in Q3 2013 to 459.5 million in Q3 2014. Smartphones accounted for 7 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 8 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is being driven by healthy demand for 3G and 4G models across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 

Samsung dipped 15 percent annually and shipped 101.7 million mobile phones worldwide, capturing 22 percent marketshare in Q3 2014. Samsung’s growth rate has slowed recently due to tougher competition from Chinese vendors, but Samsung maintains a good product portfolio and it is still shipping more mobile phones worldwide than Apple and Nokia combined. Nokia shipped 52.2 million mobile phones worldwide for 11 percent share in Q3 2014. Nokia, now owned by Microsoft, continues to face intense rivalry from Apple and dozens of Android vendors across all price-bands.

 

Apple shipped 39.3 million iPhones worldwide in Q3 2014, up from 33.8 million a year earlier. We note Apple’s annual growth rate has almost halved from 26 percent in Q3 2013 to 16 percent in Q3 2014. Apple is finding it harder to achieve growth this year, despite a successful recent launch of the new iPhone 6 portfolio. LG had a strong quarter, capturing 5 percent share of the global mobile phone market, reaching its highest level since the third quarter of 2011. LG is performing well in the US and Europe, but we caution that China and India remain major weak-spots that the vendor still needs to address.

 

Other findings from the research include:

·         Xiaomi shipped 18.0 million mobile phones worldwide for a record 4 percent marketshare to become the world’s fifth largest vendor for the first time ever in Q3 2014. The vast majority of Xiaomi’s global mobile phone shipments take place in China, where it has a famous brand and an extensive retail presence;

·         A long tail of second-tier brands continues to build momentum beyond the top five mobile phone brands. Key emerging challengers in mobile phones worldwide at the moment include TCL-Alcatel, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo and others. They are important players to monitor.

 

Exhibit 1: Global MOBILE PHONE Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q3 2014  [1]

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Samsung

120.1

101.7

Nokia (Microsoft)

64.6

52.2

Apple

33.8

39.3

LG

18.3

21.8

Xiaomi

5.2

18.0

Others

185.2

226.5

Total

427.2

459.5

     

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q3 '13

Q3 '14

Samsung

28.1%

22.1%

Nokia (Microsoft)

15.1%

11.4%

Apple

7.9%

8.6%

LG

4.3%

4.7%

Xiaomi

1.2%

3.9%

Others

43.4%

49.3%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

9.4%

7.6%

     

Source: Strategy Analytics

   

 

 

 


[1]  Numbers are rounded. The term “Mobile Phone” is defined as smartphones plus feature phones combined.


October 22, 2014 11:31 nmawston

Unconfirmed rumors are arising yet again in the mobile industry that Lenovo of China will soon try to purchase part or all of Blackberry in Canada. Such rumors have been around for 2+ years, of course -- but the sound of the drumbeat has recently gotten louder again.

Why would Lenovo be interested in Blackberry? Our WDS (Devices) service indicates there are at least three main reasons. They are:

1. Deeper distribution among global carriers and companies;
2. Good OS software for phones and cars (e.g. BB10);
3. Mature mobile security software.

Should Lenovo try to takeover Blackberry? In our view, it would be a risky move. First, the Canadian government may forbid a partial or full merger, due to security or economic reasons. Second, Lenovo today is already struggling to close the deal on its loss-making Motorola takeover. And third, Blackberry is showing signs of financial stabilization right now -- for the first time in years -- Blackberry executives may no longer want to rollover and just "give up".


October 22, 2014 10:15 nmawston

Qualcomm, one of the world's largest component makers, is starting to promote 4K content and 4K video-recording for cellphones in 2015 (e.g. see page 7 of this published Qualcomm report). Device vendors and component builders are keen to sell more 4K phones next year because the integrated technology can differentiate their brands and raise average selling prices. Consumers are certainly interested in 4K phones, but relatively high costs, limited 4K content, and slightly confusing marketing ("what is 4K") are challenges for the category in the near-term. A forecast for global 4K phone sales by region through 2020, from our WDS (Devices) service, can be downloaded by clients at this link.


October 8, 2014 20:48 khyers

If it’s October, then Google must be putting the final touches on its next Nexus smartphone. Google’s next smartphone, the Nexus X (aka the Nexus 6 or Motorola Shamu), is rumored to be released soon, though an exact date has not yet been officially announced by Google.  The next generation in Google’s powerful yet affordable lineup of smartphones is speculated to be a 5.9” phablet with Quad HD resolution powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805.  The new device follows the latest trend by device makers to super-size smartphones.  While, given their size, these phablets are polarizing for many users, they allow device makers to show off their best-of-breed technologies, and though they make up a small proportion of the total smartphone market, phablets typically command premium prices and higher margins for vendors. 

The Next Nexus?

 

Strategy Analytics forecasts phablet and other handset sales in our WDS (Devices) report: Handset Sales Forecast by Type: Phablet, Superphone, Smartphone, Feature Phone & Basic Phone.  The phablet and superphone segments look especially promising as a super-high-growth market, bolstered by consumers' preferences for display sizes bigger than 4 inches. These comprehensive report forecasts global mobile phone sales by type from 2003 to 2020, and it identifies which categories will grow at above-average rates during the next 7 years. Types of devices covered include super-phablets, standard phablets, superphones, standard smartphones, smart feature phones, standard feature phones and basic phones.


September 12, 2014 16:14 nmawston

According to new research from our WDS (Devices) analysis service, global LTE mobile phone industry revenues rose +44% annually during Q2 2014. Apple remained the world's largest 4G handset vendor by revenue, followed by Samsung and LG. Chinese vendor ZTE delivered the highest revenue growth among major 4G players, driven by its volume expansion. Our extensive report -- published here for clients -- provides quarterly global LTE handset shipments, wholesale (transfer) pricing, and revenue metrics for 20 major vendors from Q1 2011 to Q2 2014. The report is a vital tool for monitoring the financial health and tiered marketshare of leading LTE brands such as Nokia, HTC, BlackBerry, Samsung, Apple and others.


September 12, 2014 16:10 nmawston

Apple finally caught up with the rest of the mobile industry this week -- the first phablet was launched way back in 2011 -- and announced its new "iPhone6 Plus" phablet with a 5.5-inch screen, 1080p HD resolution and 401 ppi.

Our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts Apple iPhone6 Plus is now entering a huge global phablet market that will reach 300 million shipments in 2014.

The iPhone6 Plus will launch commercially worldwide in September 2014. We expect North America, Western Europe, Japan and China to be its largest markets. Its worldwide pricing will be in the premium-tier.

The iPhone6 Plus will have a slightly better camera / HD video (hardware and software) and be powered by Apple's A8 chip (faster graphics, enhanced battery life) and M8 coprocessor.

As expected, the iPhone6 range contains LTE Cat 4. This will enable faster data access for advanced apps, such as real-time gaming. There will also be VOLTE for crisper voice calls (but it may hit battery life), quicker 802.11ac WiFi data access, and the ability to make voice calls over the WiFi network (many mobile carriers will dislike that feature).

There are now 1.3 million apps available in the Apple App Store, so the ecosystem for Apple iPhone remains strong. Apple is partnering with developers, like Gameloft and Disney, to deliver console-quality mobile games. Apple deserves credit for pushing ahead with its mobile gaming strategy, because our research indicates games are the world's most popular mobile app.

Health apps now play a key role in iOS 8. For example, the iPhone6 portfolio will measure physical activity, like your number of steps. There is also a barometer for height sensoring. None of these are new features, and plenty of other vendors, like Samsung, already have similar features in their smartphone portfolios. In the bigger scheme of things, Apple today is no doubt optimizing its iPhone portfolio for the upcoming wearables industry that is emerging tomorrow.

Overall, the iPhone6 Plus is "as expected" and there are few surprises (most of the features and apps were already leaked). The iPhone6 Plus is a solid phablet that will quickly sell tens of millions units worldwide during the rest of this year. Rivals, like Samsung, LG, Motorola and others, will be getting a few restless nights of sleep in the coming months.


September 9, 2014 18:11 nmawston

Apple finally caught up with the rest of the mobile industry today and announced its new "iPhone6 Plus" phablet with a 5.5-inch screen, 1080p HD resolution and 401 ppi.

Our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts Apple iPhone6 Plus is now entering a huge global phablet market that will reach 300 million shipments in 2014.

The iPhone6 Plus will launch commercially worldwide in September 2014. We expect North America, Western Europe, Japan and China to be its largest markets. Its worldwide pricing will be in the premium-tier.

The iPhone6 Plus will have a slightly better camera / HD video (hardware and software) and be powered by Apple's A8 chip (faster graphics, enhanced battery life) and M8 coprocessor.

As expected, the iPhone6 range contains LTE Cat 4. This will enable faster data access for advanced apps, such as real-time gaming. There will also be VOLTE for crisper voice calls (but it may hit battery life), quicker 802.11ac WiFi data access, and the ability to make voice calls over the WiFi network (many mobile carriers will dislike that feature).

There are now 1.3 million apps available in the Apple App Store, so the ecosystem for Apple iPhone remains strong. Apple is partnering with developers, like Gameloft and Disney, to deliver console-quality mobile games. Apple deserves credit for pushing ahead with its mobile gaming strategy, because our research indicates games are the world's most popular mobile app.

Health apps now play a key role in iOS 8. For example, the iPhone6 portfolio will measure physical activity, like your number of steps. There is also a barometer for height sensoring. None of these are new features, and plenty of other vendors, like Samsung, already have similar features in their smartphone portfolios. In the bigger scheme of things, Apple today is no doubt optimizing its iPhone portfolio for the upcoming wearables industry that is emerging tomorrow.

Overall, the iPhone6 Plus is "as expected" and there are few surprises (most of the features and apps were already leaked). The iPhone6 Plus is a solid phablet that will quickly sell tens of millions units worldwide during the rest of this year. Rivals, like Samsung, LG, Motorola and others, will be getting a few restless nights of sleep in the coming months.