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.


October 16, 2013 18:00 nmawston

An analyst from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Neil Mawston, presented at the GSMA's NFC Mobile Money Summit (MMS) in New York, US, on Tues 15th and Weds 16th October, 2013.

The event was well attended from across the globe and slickly put together.

Our analysis from Day 1 (Tues) can be viewed here.

Three conclusions we drew from the presentations during Day 2 (Weds) include:

1. Plenty of operators had NFC wallets on show, like Turkcell of Turkey -- but few wallets were truly multi-carrier and multi-bank solutions. Scale is clearly still a challenge for the NFC industry;

2. Transportation is a killer app for NFC phones. For example, Vimpelcom, a carrier, desires to take a small commission on NFC subway tickets in Moscow, Russia;

3. As expected, Safaricom, with M-Pesa, in Kenya, was often held up as a poster-child for mobile money in emerging markets. It is simple, cheap and relatively secure. Roughly half the country's mobile subscribers use it.

That wraps it up from sunny New York,

Clients or journalists who require additional analysis on the NFC Summit or NFC market trends can contact us here.


October 15, 2013 20:00 nmawston

An analyst from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Neil Mawston, presented at the GSMA's NFC Mobile Money Summit (MMS) in New York, US, on Tues 15th and Weds 16th October, 2013.

The event was well attended from across the globe and slickly put together.

Three important conclusions we drew from the presentations during Day 1 (Tues) include:

1. The GSMA indicates 74 countries worldwide offered mobile money programs commercially in Q3 2013. From Austria to Zimbabwe. It is a truly global movement;

2. International NFC roaming for most is a distant prospect. The NFC industry remains too fragmented. Mega profits for carriers from international NFC payments are years away;

3. SMS payments and QR codes are giving NFC phones a run for their money in some countries, like China. NFC is NOT the only game in town.

More to follow from Day 2 (Weds) tomorrow.


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.


January 12, 2011 21:17 Alex Spektor

After years of public speculation, AT&T has finally lost its US exclusive on Apple’s megastar smartphone. As consumers prepare for the arrival of the Verizon Wireless (VZW) iPhone, we address some questions about the impact of this development.

Just how many iPhones will they sell?clip_image002

AT&T customers bought an average of around 4 million iPhones per quarter in 2010. Even if VZW achieves a conservative half of that run rate, it could mean 8 million CDMA iPhones shipped domestically in the first year. In addition to newcomers from other carriers, buyers will include existing subscribers, whose contracts will steadily come up for renewal over the next two years.

Of course, no longer the only option for iOS enthusiasts, AT&T volumes of the iPhone are likely to suffer this year. We can reference the end of iPhone exclusivity in Western Europe for an example of what may happen. As our Handset Country Share Tracker service shows, Apple’s peak share at exclusive carrier O2 UK was 10%. By the time the phone was also introduced at Vodafone and Orange, Apple’s share was roughly just 5-6% with each carrier.

Thus, while Apple’s total volumes are going to benefit as a result of this week’s announcement, neither carrier should expect to see the iPhone account for anywhere near the huge 70% of smartphone volumes that AT&T recorded in Q3 2010.

What impact will the network have?

Aside from a revised radio section and some cosmetic tweaks, the availability of a Wi-Fi hotspot feature is the only official new feature of the VZW iPhone. But AT&T defectors may find one other difference – the inability to simultaneously use voice and data on a CDMA network. As Droid users know, Wi-Fi data access can be used as a limited substitute, but expect outcries of a “lesser” experience from some frustrated buyers. Of course, the inevitable LTE iPhone (in 2012, perhaps?) will eventually equalize this matter.

Unlike AT&T, VZW does not have a bandwidth cap on its US$30/month plan. AT&T’s US$25/month plan provides just 2GB, which protects the carrier’s pipes from overloading, but prevents carefree use of compelling, but bandwidth-hogging apps like NetFlix. Coupled with broad perception that VZW is more reliable, it could mean an upside for the phone’s new carrier. However, we can expect AT&T to send a heavy message about its HSPA network being faster than its competitor’s EV-DO Rev. A.

How will this impact the competition?

AT&T has been preparing for the loss of exclusivity since at least early last year, adding a broad range of Android (and later Windows Phone 7) models. Expect an onslaught of high-end Android handsets (such as the Motorola Atrix 4G) to quickly replace lost iPhone volumes at AT&T, benefitting the likes of Samsung and HTC.

Meanwhile, VZW’s strong Droid brand of Google-phones is likely to take a hit. VZW subscribers looking for a less complex experience than Android’s will find the iPhone to be a gem, cannibalizing the carrier’s own volumes. The real impact, however, will be felt by RIM. The BlackBerry portfolio still lacks a solid full-screen touchphone, and unless the Canadian vendor comes up with one soon, it stands to lose further share with VZW.

-Alex Spektor

USA Smartphone OS Marketshare by Operator: Q3 2010

Global Smartphone Sales Forecast by Operating System: 2002 to 2015


May 7, 2010 17:05 nmawston

The big two Chinese vendors, Huawei and ZTE, have initially focused their handset activities on emerging markets, such as ChIndia, Africa and Latin America. Enabled by MediaTek, Qualcomm and Via chipsets, the two handset brands have achieved solid shipment growth in GSM and CDMA since 2007. Both vendors will ship tens of millions of units in emerging markets this year, mostly for low-end prepaid users, giving them a base for scale and buying power. This is phase 1.

Phase 2 of their growth targets mature regions, such as Western Europe and the US. ZTE and Huawei are using their success in emerging markets as a springboard to attack developed markets. The Chinese rightly believe carriers are king in developed countries, and they are quietly partnering with a growing number of the biggest players to deliver carrier-branded hardware. Vodafone recently unveiled 8 new Vodafone-branded models across low-, mid- and high-tiers for its European markets, 6 of which are manufactured by ZTE and Huawei. For example, the Vodafone 845 3G touch-smartphone with Android 2.1 is built by Huawei. The Vodafone 547 EDGE touchphone is made by ZTE. In the US, Huawei made the popular mid-tier Tap touchphone for T Mobile. Carriers like the cost-competitiveness and flexible customization offered by the Chinese brands, and they are useful alternatives to the European, American and Asian vendors such as HTC.

Phase 3 will eventually require a more-complex five-pronged strategy to defend against existing or potential new competitors in the operator-branded handset industry such as Sagem or  Foxconn. Huawei and ZTE will need to upgrade their companies’ competences in:

1. branding;

2. industrial design;

3. portfolio management for build-to-plan products;

4. software usability;

5. content and services.

For now, both Chinese vendors are happy to provide 3G handsets mostly as a delivery tool for operator services. For example, the Vodafone 845 from Huawei is optimized for Vodafone 360 services. But ZTE and Huawei will arguably struggle to sustainably differentiate their own brands on pricing and hardware alone. Developing a software and services (S&S) strategy beyond hardware will therefore become an important value-add for Chinese vendors to attract and retain affluent users in mature regions. An S&S strategy will subsequently open up opportunities for Chinese services brands to partner with ZTE and Huawei to showcase their products in new markets abroad. We have a Google phone and a Microsoft phone; how about a Baidu phone?


April 14, 2010 17:04 Alex Spektor

After months of industry-wide speculation about Microsoft’s “Project Pink,” the software giant recently unveiled two phones: Kin One and Kin Two. Manufactured by Sharp (the maker of most T-Mobile Sidekick phones, in partnership with Danger, whom Microsoft purchased in late 2008), the phones will ship with specs found on many of today’s smartphones: capacitive touchscreens, QWERTY, high-megapixel cameras, gigabytes of flash memory, Bluetooth, GPS, accelerometers – the list goes on. Yet, the Kins are not true smartphones, as there is no application support. Rather, the Kin family of products consists of cleverly targeted feature phones.

While the smartphone segment is growing steadily, the wireless industry is certainly not done with feature phones, which we expect to account for approximately two-thirds of handsets sold in North America this year. Earlier this year, AT&T announced intentions to give significant attention to the mid-range, messaging-centric feature phone category, which the operator calls Quick Messaging Devices (QMD).

At Verizon Wireless (who, along with Vodafone in Europe, will soon carry the Microsoft phones), the Kin will make an interesting replacement to aging handsets like LG’s enV series. In a way, the Kin family is part of VZW’s answer to AT&T’s QMD category. Expect VZW and Microsoft to back a heavy advertising campaign when the phones come out, promoting the novel user experience and social networking functions. With a low retail price and some innovation on data plan pricing (see the Nokia Nuron smartphone, which requires just US$10/month for unlimited data at T-Mobile USA), the two Kin models could drive strong volumes for the carrier.

 

clip_image002

For Microsoft, who recently painted themselves into a high-end corner with hefty hardware requirements on Windows Phone 7, the Kin family represents an interesting platform framework to get closer to the youth segment.

The high-tier Windows Phone 7 will be a natural handset upgrade path for today’s Kin user, as both platforms are forming common elements. While the short-term goal with the Kin family is to expand the addressable market by bringing messaging/social networking services through a robust framework, the long term goal is to own the consumer by highlighting the Microsoft value proposition to him/her early on.

Either way, Kin provides an interesting glimpse into Microsoft’s understanding of the future handset market, where feature phones will rely heavily on the cloud. (Like its Sidekick predecessors, the Kins store user data and content on company servers.) Add to that Windows Live service and Zune content integration, and Microsoft can be seen as gradually ramping up its strength on the multi-screen index.

-Alex Spektor