Wireless Device Strategies

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March 4, 2015 18:00 nmawston

Strategy Analytics' devices team (WDS service) is this week on the showfloor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 -- the world's largest tradeshow for the wireless industry -- in Barcelona, Spain.

We blogged previously here on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

These are the "big three" events that caught our eye on Day 4 (Wednesday 4 March):


1. 5G Phones : The mobile industry loves a good buzzword and there is plenty of talk about the next big one -- 5G. We expect 5G handsets and tablets to be soft-launched in 2018 and hard-launched by 2020. South Korea, Japan, Scandinavia and the US will lead the way for early introductions. Real devices and networks are years away, of course, but the planning for 5G is taking place right now and it is gathering pace at the proposed 5GPP standards body and among major companies like Ericsson, Orange and Samsung. What will first-generation 5G smartphones look like? Expect them to be expensive, heavy, short on battery life, with lightning data-speeds and ultra-low latency. The industry's vision calls for 5G cellular, "5G WiFi", "5G IoT networks" and "5G satellites" to be meshed together as one seamless network -- it is clearly a very ambitious roadmap, and the complexity of it strikes us as very high. That can surely mean only one thing for 5G in the coming years -- arguments and delays!;

2. Tizen OS : We trialled Samsung's Z1 cellphone this week, which incoporates the new Tizen OS for emerging markets like India. We can report that software usability is good and the speed of the user-interface is very fast for what is an entry-to-mid-tier device. We think Android users will find it easy to learn Tizen and make the switch if they want to (the UI looks "familiar"). In short, the software is very good. By contrast, the hardware still needs some improvement. For example, we found the camera quality a little lackluster and the formfactor slightly ho-hum;

3. Ubuntu OS : BQ of Spain is making its presence felt at MWC by carving out an early niche with its Aquaris E4.5 handset with Ubuntu OS. We must say, this device surprised us (in a positive way). The menu-system is intuitive and the UI is easy to learn. Mass-market consumers will like it. However, we found the Aquaris E4.5 is let down by its modest formfactor design and weak camera functionality and BQ obviously has some extra work to do on the next-generation Ubuntu models.


That completes Day 4.

Check back tomorrow for the final Day 5!


March 3, 2015 20:00 nmawston

Strategy Analytics' devices team (WDS service) is this week on the showfloor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 -- the world's largest tradeshow for the wireless industry -- in Barcelona, Spain.

We blogged previously here on Day 1 (Sunday) and Day 2 (Monday).

These are the "big three" events that caught our eye on Day 3 (Tuesday 3 March):

1. FUJITSU IRIS (EYE) AUTHENTICATION : The Japanese company has developed an iris-authentication system for smartphones and tablets. You look at the smartphone screen, your eye gets read instantly, and the smartphone self-unlocks. The system uses an infrared LED to map the iris and an infrared camera to capture the image. This is an alternative security mechanism to fingerprint-recognition, already used widely in Apple and Samsung devices. However, iris-recognition will remain a niche feature for now, due to cost, battery and usability issues -- but it is a potential differentiator for premium smartphones when the technology matures in 2016, particularly among enterprise users.

2. BLACKBERRY DUAL-CURVED TOUCHSCREEN PHONE : The Canadian vendor introduced its mid-range Leap LTE touchphone, and spoke of reviving its high-end Porsche Design handset -- but it was talk of a dual-curved touschscreen smartphone for the second half of 2015 that pricked up our ears. Blackberry, for almost a decade, has lagged badly behind rivals for mobile-display quality. Its cellphone screens have been (and still are) too small, too dull and lacking good usability. But if Blackberry can deliver a large, rich, dual-curved-display smartphone (or smartwatch) in the second half of this year, it will put Blackberry right back near the forefront of smartphone innovation. Given its past record, we remain skeptical that Blackberry will actually be able to pull this off -- but if they can, we may find Blackberry surprising to the upside for the first time in a long, long time.

3. CASH BY OPTUS SMARTWATCH : Optus -- Australia's second largest operator -- will launch commercially a proximity-payment solution for smartwatches in the second half of 2015. The goal is to replace cash and credit-card micropayments in retail stores under AU$100 (US$80). The prototype smartwatches on display today -- made by ConnecteDevices of Hong Kong -- work with Apple or Android smartphones and use NFC chipsets. This is an interesting move by Optus to shape and control an emerging mobile-payments ecosystem. In a world where most major carriers simply sit on their hands and wait for third-parties to deliver the innovation, we applaud Optus for taking charge and experimenting with its own smartwatch-payments solution. 


That completes Day 3.

Check back tomorrow for Day 4!

Innovative ... Optus created the proof-of-concept smartwatches with Hong Kong firm Connec


March 2, 2015 20:00 nmawston

Strategy Analytics' devices team (WDS service) is this week on the showfloor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 -- the world's largest tradeshow for the wireless industry -- in Barcelona, Spain.

We blogged yesterday on Day 1 (Sunday).

These are the "big three" events that took place on Day 2 (Monday 2 March):

1. HTC ONE M9 : The new flagship M9 offers an aluminum-unibody, 5-inch screen and Android Lollipop OS (which some wags have labelled "Lolliflop", due to weak sales). The formfactor is thin and pretty and the hardware specs are suitably premium, such as 3GB RAM and a Qualcomm octocore CPU. The M9 will be launched commercially worldwide in Q2 2015. HTC's slick smartphones have long been popular among critics and device testers... but they are rarely popular among mass-market consumers. Can the M9 reverse this trend and strike a chord with mass-consumers? In our view, probably not -- because HTC's brand has lost a lot of its shine in recent years -- but the M9 does give the vendor a good tool in its arsenal to stabilize the struggling ship this year;

2. MICROSOFT LUMIA 640 / 640XL DUAL-SIM : The 640 and 640XL are two of the world's first dual-SIM LTE smartphones to be launched commercially in H1 2015. This is an impressive technological feat -- especially when we recall how Nokia (now Microsoft) was one of the last major hardware manufacturers to deliver 2G or 3G dual-SIM phones in the 2000s and 2010s. Along with WP8.1 and dual-SIM 4G capability (mostly for emerging markets), Microsoft will also give buyers US$69 of complimentary access for one whole year to Office365 in the cloud. The US-Finnish vendor is quietly improving the quality of its hardware, software and services, as it seeks to make Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows Phone 10 the mobile industry's "third ecosystem". But while its products are markedly better, there are still questions about Microsoft's limited retail distribution channels in China, the US and other major countries;

3. LG URBANE LTE : The South Korean company has launched almost 20 new products at MWC this year. But the Urbane LTE stands out most because it is one of the world's first LTE smartwatches and because it uses LG Wearable Platform for its OS (not Android Wear). Adding 4G to smartwatches -- without making the formfactor too thick -- is technologically complex right now, due to component immaturity. And LG is taking a bold step by dimissing Android Wear for its top wearable model in H1 2015. LG is obviously attacking the global smartwatch market very aggressively this year, and -- along, with Huawei and Xiaomi -- LG is "one to watch" in wearables throughout 2015.

That completes Day 2.

Check back tomorrow for Day 3!


February 14, 2015 06:10 lsui

According to the latest report -- Value Share : Handset Revenue, Profit and ASP in Q4 2014 -- from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Apple and Samsung together captured a huge 96% share of all global handset industry profits in Q4 2014.

Apple alone generated 88% of industry profit, significantly up from 70% one year ago, driven by strong performance of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In contrast, Samsung profit share dipped to 8% in the quarter.

Leading Chinese vendors also made improvements. Huawei, Xiaomi and OPPO were among the top 10 most-profitable handset vendors worldwide in Q4 2014.

Additional data and analysis can be downloaded by clients here.

 


January 29, 2015 01:43 khyers

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global mobile phone shipments grew 7 percent annually to reach 515 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014. It was the first time worldwide mobile phone shipments have passed the half-billion-unit threshold. Apple was the star performer, capturing a record 14 percent marketshare, due to strength in the US and China.

Global mobile phone shipments grew 7 percent annually from 481.5 million units in Q4 2013 to 515.0 million in Q4 2014. It was the first time worldwide mobile phone shipments have exceeded a half-billion units in a single quarter. Smartphones accounted for 7 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 7 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is being driven by healthy demand for 3G and 4G models across Asia, Africa and the Americas. Handset shipments reached 1.8 billion units globally in full-year 2014, an all-time high for the industry.

Samsung dipped 19 percent annually and shipped 95.0 million mobile phones worldwide, capturing 18 percent marketshare in Q4 2014. Samsung is facing intense competition from Apple, Huawei and others in the fast-growing, big-screen phablet segment across China, United States and Europe. Apple soared 46 percent annually and shipped 74.5 million mobile phones for a record 14 percent worldwide marketshare in Q4 2014. Apple’s new iPhone 6 portfolio with larger screens is the key to its success. Apple fans have been waiting years for outsized iPhones to arrive and demand for Apple’s expensive models has been exceptionally high.

Microsoft shipped 50.2 million mobile phones worldwide in Q4 2014, down 23 percent from 64.8 million a year earlier. Microsoft is experiencing decent growth in smartphones, but its core feature phone lineup continues to struggle. Lenovo-Motorola finally merged officially to capture 5 percent handset marketshare and become the fourth largest mobile phone vendor worldwide in 2014. China, Brazil, India and United States will be among the main countries targeted by the enlarged group in 2015.

Other findings from the research include:

  • LG had a relatively robust quarter, with volumes in North America notably active; 
  • A long tail of second-tier brands continues to build momentum beyond the top four mobile phone brands. Key emerging challengers in mobile phones worldwide at the moment include OPPO, Vivo, Lenovo, Xiaomi and others. They remain important players to monitor.

Exhibit 1: Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2014* 

 

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Samsung

118.0

451.7

95.0

405.0

Microsoft (Nokia)

64.8

252.4

50.2

199.7

Apple

51.0

153.4

74.5

192.7

Lenovo-Motorola

19.1

63.6

24.9

93.6

Others

228.6

763.9

270.4

919.3

Total

481.5

1685.0

515.0

1810.3

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare (%)

Q4 '13

2013

Q4 '14

2014

Samsung

24.5%

26.8%

18.4%

22.4%

Microsoft (Nokia)

13.5%

15.0%

9.7%

11.0%

Apple

10.6%

9.1%

14.5%

10.6%

Lenovo-Motorola

4.0%

3.8%

4.8%

5.2%

Others

47.5%

45.3%

52.5%

50.8%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

 

Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

9.4%

6.6%

7.0%

7.4%

Source: Strategy Analytics

The full report, Apple Becomes World’s No.2 Mobile Phone Vendor in Q4 2014, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here.

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


 


January 8, 2015 02:38 woh

It's already halfway through the official four-day schedule of CES 2015 trade show in Las Vegas, the US, and several analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service are pounding the floors across the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and adjacent hotels to check out the new trends and products, and also to directly have face-to-face meetings with many clients/prospects/journalists.

Our earlier blogs from Day 1 and Day 2 can be viewed here and here.

These are three key trends and appealing handset / smartphone models we have identified at the event on Day 3 (Weds):

1. Smartphones and Smartwatches to Control the Smart Home,  Smart Car, IoT and Smart Everything: Smart Home and Smart Car are getting in force this year at CES 2015, with many concepts and products introduced by consumer electronics companies such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and TCL, and car makers such as BMW, Toyota, Audi, Hyundai and Volkswagen,  and chipset companies such as Qualcomm, nVidia and Intel. By manipulating a Samsung Gear S and LG G Watch R, drivers can park their cars automatically. Also smartphones can remotely send several wireless commands to smart home appliances such as washers, robot cleaners and refrigerators to control and monitor them. As machine-to-machine connectivity is becoming important in Smart Home, Car and IoT spaces, smartphones and smartwatches will play a crucial role to centrally manage these complicated systems. The smartphone is your "hub".

2. Microsoft to Revive the Feature Phone with Nokia Brand: It is very uncommon to see feature phones during the trade shows recently, but Microsoft unveiled the Nokia 215, which is known as one of the most affordable Internet-ready, entry-level phones yet. Nokia 215, a smartphone-like feature phone with popular apps and services such as Facebook, Twitter, Opera mini and Bing pre-installed, pictured below, is offering a battery time of up to almost a month in standby mode after just one charging session. Available only for US$29 retail, Microsoft will be sure to target emerging market such as APAC and African countries in which many people are still eager for even 2G connecitivity.  Microsoft is not giving up on the feature phone segment and believe that there are three categories of customers to target with this kind of trusted, ultra-affordable feature phone: 1) 1st phone buyers, 2) feature phone loyalists and 3) people looking for a second phone that is smaller and less valuable.

3. Dual-Edge Bending Display To Be Available Soon: LG Display, one of the biggest smartphone display-panel providers, is showing its Active Bending display for selective customers in Las Vegas. This new prototype has a 6.0 inch Plastic OLED display that folds over the "two-sided" edges of the device, which is different from the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge with a one-sided bent display. It is speculated that Samsung is working on a dual-edge, curved Galaxy S6 at the moment, and it woudn't be a suprise if Xiaomi and LG would also release their new flagships equipped with this display in limited volume in 2015.  The question is, how smartphone vendors are making the users want this innovative device, as there are arguably few practical or appealing users cases so far. So, if more useful use-cases are to be created with this sort of dual-edged display, we believe that this segment can create a huge market opportunity as consumers remain hungry for technological differentiators.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog page, for further blogs and daily updates from Las Vegas.


January 5, 2015 14:40 nmawston

According to our WDS (Devices) service, global Bluetooth headset sales will grow 14% during the next five years. Mono headset volumes are slipping in developed regions, but there are continued signs of growth in some emerging markets like China. The stereo Bluetooth headset category is rising steadily -- but competition from corded headphones remained intense this year. Despite fierce rivalry and market fragmentation, Plantronics, Jabra, Samsung and Motorola are still the "big 4" Bluetooth headset vendors that dominated the global industry in 2014. Our extensive report -- available to clients here -- forecasts worldwide Bluetooth headset sales by region, for mono and stereo, in-box and after-market, from 2001 to 2020. It also contains global Bluetooth headset marketshare for the world's 7 largest vendors in 2005 to 2020. The report goes on to forecast global Bluetooth speakerphone sales by region and attach-rate from 2008 to 2020.


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.





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 10, 2014 13:50 nmawston

According to a new report from our WDS (Devices) research service, worldwide handset manufacturing and assembly continue to polarize around a handful of production locations, such as China, Vietnam and Brazil. Our extensive report -- published to clients here -- tracks cellular handset manufacturing (production) by 6 regions and 10 countries from 2001 to 2013. The report is a valuable tool for handset vendors, component makers, IPR owners, software developers, operators and other stakeholders to monitor global cellphone production by country.