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.

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


January 22, 2015 07:53 PLin

Browsing the Internet is more important than ever to handset users, developers and operators. There is not just a battle for operating systems taking place, but also a war for Web browsers.

Our latest report, Global Handset Browser Marketshare in 2014 -- from our  Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service-- tracks global mobile browser marketshare for all mobile phones shipped worldwide during 2014, including Opera, Safari, Chrome and others.

The report is available to download here to clients.


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.

 


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 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.


October 2, 2014 18:55 nmawston

According to new research from our WDS (Devices) service, Blackberry is planning to launch a fresh wave of unconventional cellphone designs in 2015. The recent Passport model -- with its square formfactor and touch-keyboard -- is "step 1" in Blackberry's multi-step roadmap for visually differentiated 4G phone models next year. Blackberry knows it MUST "do something different" to stand out on retailer store shelves -- and making eyecatching hardware is one way of doing that. However, there is a very fine line between "quirky good" and "quirky bad" for cellphone design. At the moment, Blackberry Passport -- which we forecast will ship 1 million units worldwide in 2014 -- hovers right in the middle between those two boundaries of good and not-so-good. Blackberry still has not yet wowed us -- but the company is thinking along the right lines.

More analysis of Blackberry Passport and the vendor's device strategy for 2015 can be viewed by clients here.


April 7, 2014 12:32 khyers

With a new strategy, BlackBerry’s challenge will be to sell software and services to enterprises while telling them they don’t necessarily have to buy BlackBerry smartphones

As BlackBerry smartphone sales remain weak, the company is embracing a strategy that will see it increasing its focus on mobile data management software and services through sales of its BlackBerry Enterprise Server. In the process, it will go head-to-head against other leading firms in the space, including SAP, IBM, Oracle, Good Technologies, and MobileIron. BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server software manages not just data to its own smartphones, but across Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices.

BlackBerry’s challenge will be to sell Enterprise Server without alienating customers who may not wish to buy its smartphones. For BlackBerry this will necessitate a change in how it sells its products and could ultimately set up a conflict between its various businesses, as its hardware division looks to leverage software and services sales to grow new business. The conflict could eventually force BlackBerry to choose which area is the future of it business, and depending on the success of its strategy, could ultimately see BlackBerry downplaying handset sales in order to drive its software and services business.

This published report discusses BlackBerry’s performance in Q1 2014 and its shifting strategy. The report – available to clients – provides Strategy Analytics’ analysis of BlackBerry’s most recent 1Q 2014 calendar performance.


February 25, 2014 18:09 sbicheno

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service is attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain.

This is a summary of some of our main findings from Day 2 (Tuesday):

Our attention was mostly caught be lower-priced smartphones on day 2 of MWC 2014. In addition to the low and mid price-tier smartphone announcements from Mozilla, Huawei and Nokia previously, several other major handset vendors played their mass-market hands today.

LG complemented the launch of the G Pro 2 phablet with the F70 and F90 Android smartphones that are designed to bring LTE to lower price bands. Lenovo went one better with the launch of three smartphones: the S660, S850 and S860, which will address a range of price-points.

Alcatel, meanwhile, maintained its rapid rate of handset launches, with the Alcatel Onetouch Pop Fit standing out as it has a tiny 2.8-inch screen and is aimed at the currently niche fitness smartphone market.

And BlackBerry has been quick to learn the lessons from the launch of the Z10 and Q10 by announcing the first fruits of its partnership with Foxconn. The Z3 is an all-touch smartphone designed specifically for the BlackBerry stronghold of Indonesia, while the Q20 will be a combination of the traditional QWERTY handset design with the new BB10 OS in a lower-priced package.