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 16, 2014 14:36 nmawston

According to a new report from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global dual-SIM handset sales will grow a healthy +18% YoY in 2014. Asia, China, India and Africa remain the key markets for popular dual-SIM phones. Nokia, Samsung, Lenovo and Micromax are among major players with high marketshares driving the industry worldwide. Dual-SIM, dual-active (DSDA) models continue to find niche traction in higher-tier segments. Consumers like dual-SIM phones for their flexibility, while carriers dislike them for their churn potential. Our published report, available to clients, contains extensive forecasts for global dual-SIM (multi-SIM) handset sales in 6 major regions and 2 key countries, including China and India, from 2004 to 2020. Qualitative analysis of key vendors and key technologies in this market are included too.


January 3, 2014 19:15 nmawston

Smartwatch sales in the huge United States market will grow almost 500% in 2014. We expect technology heavyweights -- such as Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, ZTE, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Intel, Broadcom and Google -- to expand the market significantly in coming years. Smartwatches will initially be companion devices for smartphones and tablets. Fitness and health are the first "killer apps".

This published report, available to clients of our Wearable Device Ecosystems (WDE) service, forecasts global smartwatch sales, for 88 countries worldwide, from 2012 to 2017. Almost every major country worldwide is covered, including United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. This report can be used by hardware vendors, semiconductor and component suppliers, operators, software developers, content developers and other stakeholders to determine the size and growth rate of the important global smartwatch market.


February 26, 2013 19:49 nmawston

Our mobile phone and tablet teams are blogging daily from the show floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, between Sunday 24th to Thursday 28th February, 2013.

The Day 1 (Sunday) and Day 2 (Monday) blogs, from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, can be read here.

Three announcements stood out from Day 3 (Tuesday):

1. LG Buys webOS: LG purchased most of the webOS assets from HP this week. LG indicates the OS and UI knowhow will be implemented in smart TVs in 2014. Some mobile geeks hope the webOS platform will eventually make a full comeback in smartphones or tablets. This is unlikely, as webOS is a tarnished sub-brand. Instead, we think elements of the UI, such as card-stacking, could well find their way into LG's future software roadmaps.

2. Samsung & Visa: Following on from our recent analysis that NFC is everywhere at MWC this year, Samsung and Visa announced they will deepen their NFC-payment partnership. Visa's payWave wallet will soon be preloaded on most Samsung NFC smartphones. This is a good win for both firms. However, whether influential US mega-carriers, like Verizon Wireless and ISIS, will be willing to adopt the "SamVisa" solution remains to be seen.

3. Fujitsu Stylistic S01: Fujitsu is re-expanding into Western Europe this year. Its first new product will be a niche seniors phone -- the Stylistic -- at Orange France from Q2 2013. We trialed the Android device today and found it to be user-friendly, with a crisp, proprietary UI supported partly by targeted healthcare services. The S01 should resonate relatively well with mature consumers in the 40 to 75 age bracket. To my mind, the Stylistic may well be the best seniors phone on the European market today. Doro, Emporia and others will be looking anxiously over their shoulders.

See you tomorrow (Wednesday) for Day 4.


February 25, 2013 18:58 nmawston

Our mobile phone and tablet teams are blogging daily from the show floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, between Sunday 24th to Thursday 28th February, 2013.

The Day 1 (Sunday) blog can be read here.

This is the Day 2 blog (Monday), from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service.

Three announcements stood out from Day 2:

1. Nokia 105 / 301: Nokia is the king of feature phones. It is the clear number one player worldwide. The launch of the new 105 and 301 feature phones will help to strengthen its leadership. The Nokia 105 will be priced at an estimated US$15 wholesale -- that is impressive. It will be available in ChIndia and elsewhere from Q1 2013. The 105 will ship tens of millions of units globally this year. Arguably, one slight negative for Nokia is that profits at such a low price-point are likely to be modest.

2. NFC Everywhere: Most smartphones from Nokia, Sony and other big brands are now launching with NFC technology. Companies like G&D, Visa and MasterCard are clearly interested in this trend. However, one major player is absent from this trend -- Apple. We await their next move in this space with the new iPads and iPhones later this year...

3. Sony Xperia Z Tablet: This is one of the world's slimmest tablets, measuring 7mm thin. It has a 10-inch screen and employs Android OS. It is waterproof, so the tablet can be used by adults or children in the kitchen, garage, bathroom or living room. It will be available in Europe from Q2 2013. Retail pricing will be set at iPad-like levels, which may cap volumes. Sony has so far struggled to gain traction in the tablet market, but the Xperia Z Tablet is a desirable product that will give Apple and Samsung pause for thought this year. The XZT wins my informal "Device of the Day" award.

See you tomorrow (Tuesday) for Day 3.

PS. The rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 launch-date has been set for New York, US, on March 14th, 2013. Can the S4 recapture the title of "world's best-selling smartphone", recently taken by Apple's popular iPhone 5? We shall see. Pricing, screen size and supporting LTE features / services will be among key factors to monitor.


February 25, 2013 00:00 nmawston

Our mobile phone and tablet teams will be blogging daily from the show floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, between Sunday 24th to Thursday 28th February, 2013.

This is the Day 1 blog (Sunday) from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service.

We arrived at Barcelona airport on Sunday morning. The weather is sunny but chilly. An overcoat is needed. The checkin process to obtain our MWC badges at midday was efficient and painless.

Several presentations and meetings took place on Sunday afternoon. Three announcements stood out from Day 1:

1. Firefox OS & Firefox Marketplace: There are 18 operators, 4 device makers and 1 chipset vendor onboard worldwide. This is a good start for phase 1 of the launch. Huawei, LG, Qualcomm, TCL-Alcatel and ZTE are the five main hardware partners. Mozilla is gunning hard to attack the entry-level Android smartphone market with its low-cost HTML5 framework. However, Firefox will need to gain more support from giants Samsung or Nokia if it wants to really make a mega impact.

2. Huawei Ascend P2: This new flagship LTE model is being hyped as, perhaps, the world's fastest smartphone. The P2 was launched alongside a fresh "Make It Possible" promotional campaign. Huawei, the world's 3rd largest smartphone vendor, is clearly aiming to deliver higher-end products with more-emotional marketing campaigns at competitive price-points. However, its predecessor, the Ascend P1, was not a global hit last year, so Huawei still has some work to do in its attempt to become a credible premium player.

3. HP Slate 7: This is HP's first Android tablet. It is for consumer users. It will retail for around US$170 in the US from Q2 2013. It has a 7-inch screen and uses Android Jelly Bean. However, HP has so far failed to gain traction in the tablet market, and this low-cost-but-ho-hum offering is unlikely to change that trend in the near-term.

See you tomorrow (Monday) for Day 2.

Nokia, Sony Mobile and ZTE will be among the big press conferences to watch.


December 14, 2011 11:28 nmawston

Strategy Analytics forecasts worldwide HTML5 phone sales will surge from 336 million units in 2011 to 1 billion units in 2013. HTML5 has quickly become a hyper-growth technology that will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge through cloud services.

We forecast worldwide HTML5 phone sales to hit 1 billion units per year in 2013. Growth for HTML5 phones is being driven by robust demand from multiple hardware vendors and software developers in North America, Europe and Asia who want to develop rich media services across multiple platforms, including companies like Adobe, Apple, Google and Microsoft. We define an HTML5 phone as a mobile handset with partial or full support for HTML5 technology in the browser, such as the Apple iPhone 4S.

We believe HTML5 will help smartphones, feature phones, tablets, notebooks, desktop PCs, televisions and vehicles to converge in the future. HTML5 will be a pivotal technology in the growth of a multi-screen, 4G LTE cloud that is emerging for mobile operators, device makers, car manufacturers, component vendors and Web app developers. With its potential to transcend some of the barriers faced by native apps, such as cross-platform usability, HTML5 is a market that no mobile stakeholder can afford to ignore.

However, despite surging growth of HTML5 phone sales, we caution that HTML5 is still a relatively immature technology. HTML5 currently has limited APIs and feature-sets to include compared with native apps on platforms such as Android or Apple iOS. It will require several years of further development and standards-setting before HTML5 can fully mature to reach its potential as a unified, multi-platform content-enabler.

The full report, Global HTML5 Handset Sales Forecast, is published by our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found at this link: http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=6901.


November 14, 2011 12:04 Alex Spektor

In a recent report from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, we published that superphones will be the world's fastest growing sub-category of wireless handsets this year. Global superphone sales will grow 200 percent in 2011, driven by popular models such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation, increasing fifteen times faster than the overall handset market's growth rate of 13 percent.

Superphones are a relatively new sub-category of wireless handsets that first appeared on the global market in 2009, initially leveraging the now-obsolete Microsoft Windows Mobile platform. Superphones today integrate high-level operating systems like Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone with supersized displays of at least 4 inches and superfast processors of at least 1GHz.

Superphones are driving super growth in the handset market. Consumers and operators like the richer experience of larger screens and faster processing speeds that can be delivered by superphones, for applications like Web browsing, gaming, and watching HD video. Samsung is currently the world's leading superphone vendor due to the success of its Android-powered Galaxy S2 model, and Samsung has been aggressively leveraging this leadership to attack rivals with much weaker superphone portfolios such as Nokia, Blackberry and even Apple.

Alex Spektor
Wireless Device Strategies


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

June 4, 2010 20:06 David Kerr
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The inevitable movement to tiered pricing which started with Verizon Wireless acknowledging its plans to do so for LTE and has been accelerated with the much anticipated data plan announcement by AT&T this week.  So, what next?

    • Will we see significant priced based competition for mobile data among the top US operators?
    • Will we see significant movement in share of adds for AT&T as iPhone wannabees are tempted by a plan of only $15?
    • What impact will lower data plans for smartphones have on AT&T’s Quick Messaging Devices and Verizon Wireless equivalent?
    • How long before we see family data plans and shared usage across multiple devices?

The move by AT&T is a smart play to extend the smartphone momentum as the low hanging fruit of Apple aficionados, multimedia techies and style seekers willing to pay top dollar has been significantly penetrated.

There is no doubt that the iPhone remains the coolest device on the marketplace and the end to end user experience remains easily the best in class. So, reducing the TCO to attract the next 20% of customers to a paid data plans while educating customers about data usage levels and managing the traffic risk is very smart business in my opinion.

The lower price points will help AT&T maintain its current leading share of smartphone users and may be attractive to casual social networkers

  • Although the 50 photos allowance is not exactly generous! For casual messenger, and social network status checking and moderate email the new DataPlus plan is quite attractive overall and will likely attract a portion of customers who would otherwise opt for a Quick Messaging Device from AT&T or a competitive offering from Verizon Wireless.

I do expect to see some modest price competition among the big operators

  • with T-Mobile most likely to drive prices lower given their need for scale and to protect their predominantly youth centric customer base. but also expect an increasingly strong Verizon Wireless handset line up to compete strongly.

The impact on Quick Messaging Devices is in my opinion likely to be modest

  • as a traditional qwerty remains overwhelmingly the input of choice for heavy messengers in the US although there is definitely room for lowering the $10 mandatory data plan on featurephones

Family data plans and data plans which allow access across multiple devices are in the pipeline

  • but will probably not make an appearance until 2012+ as part of LTE offerings.

From a device vendor perspective, the move to lower priced iPhone plans is likely to put further pressure on vendors like LG who have yet to make a credible offer in this space as well as RIM who will find more competition in the consumer space.

The lower pricing on data plans will be music to the ears of ambitious new entrants like Huawei, ZTE who plan to bring mass market priced devices to the US & Europe. The lower TCO of smartphones as a result of downward pressure on service prices boost their addressable market.


May 12, 2010 15:05 Alex Spektor
From a total handset volume perspective, not much has happened in a year in North America. Indeed, our findings show that the region’s growth during the first quarter of 2010 has been flat on a year-over-year basis. But, if we look closer, we can actually observe a lot of movement within, as smartphone specialists face off with traditional vendors. South Korean vendors Samsung and LG have carved out a nice spot at the top of the market, controlling nearly 50% of volumes last quarter. But, while Samsung continues chugging forward—the vendor surpassed 30% market share for the first time ever—LG should be concerned. After many quarters of strong growth, the vendor is now more than 4 percentage points below its peak market share. Without doubt, its essentially nonexistent smartphone portfolio is to blame here. image Astonishingly, Motorola has remained in the top four despite 12 consecutive quarters of annual declines. However, this time around, Motorola finally yielded the #3 spot to North American neighbor Research In Motion. Of course, Motorola’s Android portfolio is ramping up quickly, with all-time-high smartphone volumes. But, as the vendor continues to shed featurephones from its portfolio, we expect further reduction of volumes. Despite moving up in ranks, RIM has not been seeing stellar domestic performance either. In fact, while everyone around them has been moving up or down, RIM has been standing still. The vendor’s North American market share has been essentially flat for six consecutive quarters. RIM has been (quite successfully) focusing on expanding internationally, but that has come at the cost of stagnation at home. A significant portfolio refresh (more touch?) will be necessary to shake things up. Nokia once again traded places with Apple, losing the #5 spot in our rankings. But, actually, for Q2, my money is on Nokia retaking fifth place. Partly it’s because Apple’s shipments will see a lull in anticipation of the next-generation iPhone. But I also see a lot of potential for the Nokia’s Nuron phone on T-Mobile USA, which offers innovative (read: affordable) smartphone data pricing. In the long run, however, Apple is much better positioned for growth in America, having essentially defined the smartphone experience for the market. Q1 2010 North America Vendor Share -Alex Spektor