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.

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 18:49 nmawston

After years of speculation, Apple finally unveiled its hand today in the mobile payments industry. It is launching Apple Pay, which is a mobile wallet feature for the new iPhone6 / iPhone6 Plus portfolio.

As expected, Apple Pay combines an NFC phone with a secure NFC element, dynamic (changing) security codes, TouchID fingerprinting, Passbook, and ties it all in to the millions of credit cards the company has on file inside iTunes.

Apple Pay will start in the United States in October 2014. The US is the world's largest credit card market, so it is no surprise to see this is their first target. Some of the rest of the world, such as the UK, will follow by 2015.

Partners include most major banks and payment networks, such as Citi, Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard and Amex. Several big stores are onboard, including Subway, Nike and Staples. However, our WMS (Media) service estimates that just a modest percentage of all retail stores in the US can currently accept Apple Pay -- that will be an early barrier to uptake.

Rivals, such as Softcard and MCX, will be very worried by this new development from Apple Pay. Some US operators, like T Mobile, may be upset by Apple encroaching on "their" mobile payment territory.

Apple is now entering a huge NFC phone market that our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts will reach 500 million units in 2014.


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.


September 2, 2014 17:28 nmawston

IFA, one of the world's largest mobile and consumer electronic industry tradeshows, and several satellite events, will take place this week in Berlin, Germany, between Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 10th September, 2014.

Interest in IFA has been sluggish in recent years, but this year's event has something of a buzz about it. Analysts from our WDS (Devices) research service will be attending the event and pounding the show floor to bring you the latest updates.

We highlight three major trends that you MUST prioritize to explore at the IFA show:

1. Wearables: Numerous hardware makers are keen to get their smartwatches and fitness bands into the global market before Apple's rumored iWatch / iTime juggernaut arrives in the coming weeks. We recommend visiting the booths of Samsung, LG, Sony and Motorola to view their latest smartwatch models. We believe Samsung will focus partly on fitness, LG and Motorola on design, and Sony on Japanese-centric features like waterproofing.

2. Phablets: If 2015 is the year of the smartwatch, then 2014 is the year of the phablet. The global market, particularly across Asia, is being flooded with them. Samsung's Note 4 will be the highlight of IFA and the main mobile show in town. Can Samsung wow enough to outshine Apple's imminent new iPhone 6 portfolio? Will big-screen phablets cannibalize small-screen tablets next year?

3. Motorola: Expect to see an increasingly confident Motorola touting its new products. With Lenovo's money and momentum behind it (subject to various regulatory approval), the Motorola team looks very motivated right now. We expect to view the updated G2 and X+1 smartphone models at competitive pricepoints, as well as the fashion-centric 360 smartwatch with a rounded face. Europe rivals, like Wiko France, will be looking nervously over their shoulders.


August 11, 2014 11:39 nmawston

According to new research from our WDS (Devices) serviceworldwide mobile phone shipments grew +6% annually in Q2 2014. Asia and Africa Middle East were the world's fastest-growing regions, with LG, Alcatel-TCL and Lenovo all significant contributors. Huawei registered its best-ever single quarter in terms of handset volume shipments, while Alcatel recorded its second-best ever quarter and best Q2 ever. This published report, available to clients, details quarterly mobile phone marketshare for the world's top 30 vendors in North America, Central & Latin America, Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa Middle East and Asia Pacific.


July 19, 2014 00:38 nmawston

According to our WDS (Devices) research service, Motorola’s global handset shipments increased sharply during Q2 2014. New Android models, like the Moto E and G, are driving higher volumes across Latin America, Europe and Asia. After eight relentless years of decline, Motorola is finally regaining marketshare. However, North America and China remain major weakspots for the company and they are proving to be significant obstacles. Additional data and analysis of Motorola's second-quarter performance can be downloaded by clients here.


May 27, 2014 15:13 nmawston

Our WDS (Devices) research service forecasts mobile phone revenues to grow +13% worldwide during 2014. At the same time, the four BRIC countries combined -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- will all grow at rates well above the global average. Led by China, BRIC countries will generate 36% of all global cellphone revenues in 2014. Among the four countries in 2014, China will experience the highest revenue & ASP growth rate, propelled by the decrease in ultra-low tier market and the increase in other higher price range segments.

Our extensive report -- which can be downloaded by clients here -- forecasts BRIC country handset sales volume, wholesale (trade) revenues, and wholesale ASPs across five price-tiers from 2009 to 2020. Additional analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The report is a valuable tool for device vendors, operators, component manufacturers, software developers, financial analysts, car makers and other stakeholders who want to measure each country's mobile phone market by value and benchmark their pricing strategies.


May 11, 2014 23:01 nmawston

The recent unconfirmed rumors that Apple is interested in buying Beats, a headphones maker, for US$3 billion are an important development.

Most analysis so far in the industry has focused on Apple buying Beats for its music service. However, the reality is: Beats is a hardware firm. Its music services so far are niche. Apple is primarily buying Beats for its headphones -- wired and Bluetooth.

Put simply, a premium devices maker is purchasing a premium accessories maker. If the two firms can blend their corporate cultures, and not clash on egos, this deal will prove a good fit for both sides.

More analysis on the Apple-Beats rumors can be viewed in this WSJ TV interview with Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, which has published externsively on Bluetooth headsets and other related markets.


May 11, 2014 22:51 nmawston

According to our WDS (Devices) research service, TCL-Alcatel's mobile phone shipments grew an impressive +71% annually worldwide in Q1 2014. The firm's shipments, revenues and profits continue to increase at a healthy clip. TCL-Alcatel is perfrming well in Mexico, Russia and elsewhere. However, the vendor’s best performance was saved for the valuable United States market, where it surged past Motorola to become a top-six mobile phone player for the first time ever in Q1 2014. More data and analysis can be downloaded by clients at this link.


April 29, 2014 15:52 sbicheno

According to the latest research from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service, global mobile phone shipments grew 9 percent annually to reach 408 million units in the first quarter of 2014. Huawei was the star performer among the top five players, capturing 3 percent share and growing two times faster than the industry average.

Global mobile phone shipments grew 9 percent annually from 372.7 million units in Q1 2013 to 407.9 million in Q1 2014. Smartphones accounted for 7 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 9 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is at its highest level since 2011, driven by healthier demand for 4G and 3G models across Asia, Africa and elsewhere.

Samsung grew 6 percent annually and shipped 113.0 million mobile phones worldwide, capturing 28 percent marketshare in Q1 2014. Samsung’s growth rate has slowed recently due to tougher competition from Chinese vendors, but Samsung maintains an impressive product portfolio and it is still shipping more mobile phones worldwide than Apple, LG and Nokia combined. Nokia shipped 47.0 million mobile phones worldwide for 12 percent share in Q1 2014. Nokia continues to face intense competition from Apple and dozens of Android vendors. New owner Microsoft will be looking to Nokia’s upgraded X phone portfolio to stabilize the downturn in the coming months.

Apple shipped 43.7 million iPhones worldwide in Q1 2014, up from 37.4 million a year earlier. Apple has closed the marketshare gap on Nokia to just one point, and Nokia will have to fight hard to stay ahead in the second half of this year. LG had a mixed quarter, capturing 4 percent share of the global mobile phone market. LG is performing well in Europe, but China and India remain major weak spots that the vendor still needs to address.

Other findings from the research include:

  • Huawei shipped 14.2 million mobile phones worldwide for 3 percent marketshare to remain the world’s fifth largest vendor in Q1 2014. The company’s annual growth rate is two times higher than the overall mobile phone industry average. Huawei’s 3G and 4G Android devices are proving relatively popular in Asia and North America;
  • A long tail of second-tier brands continues to build momentum beyond the established top five mobile phone brands. Key emerging challengers in mobile phones worldwide at the moment include TCL-Alcatel, Coolpad, Lenovo, Xiaomi and others. These are important players to monitor.

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q1 2014

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q1 '13

Q1 '14

Samsung

106.6

113.0

Nokia

61.9

47.0

Apple

37.4

43.7

LG

16.2

16.4

Huawei

11.6

14.2

Others

139.0

173.6

Total

372.7

407.9

 

 

 

Global Mobile Phone Vendor Marketshare  %

Q1 '13

Q1 '14

Samsung

28.6%

27.7%

Nokia

16.6%

11.5%

Apple

10.0%

10.7%

LG

4.3%

4.0%

Huawei

3.1%

3.5%

Others

37.3%

42.6%

Total

100.0%

100.0%

 

 

 

Total Growth Year-over-Year %

-1.4%

9.4%

 

 

 

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

 

 

The full report, Global Mobile Phone Shipments Reach 408 Million Units in Q1 2014, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, details of which can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/ck93xsu.