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 18, 2014 23:13 yli

Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service recently published a report : China LTE Phone Sales Will Rocket to 135 Million Units in 2014. In there, we predict China Mobile will concentrate on three-mode and five-mode LTE cellphones this year. China Mobile has since reported a shift back toward five cellular modes (TD-LTE / FD-LTE / WCDMA / TD-SCDMA / GSM) for all customized and procured LTE phones via China Mobile's operator channels from June 2014 onwards. We have confirmed this move with China Mobile.
 
We believe the shift to five-mode phones will slow down LTE handset prices penetrating down below the RMB 600 level this year. However, three-mode (TD-LTE / TD-SCDMA / GSM) LTE handsets will continue to be available via open channels (e.g. Gome), and make up a meaningful portion of open-channel LTE volumes in 2014.
 
The shift will also resolve the roaming issues for end-users and save some R&D costs for device vendors. Qualcomm and Marvell will benefit from the move. Both are among the key LTE chipset suppliers for China's LTE market at this moment. However, local chipset makers, such as Spreadtrum, may face some headwinds from it.
 
Apple and Samsung remain major 4G handset suppliers in China at the moment -- however, we expect leading local players, such as Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad and Lenovo, will play an increasing role in this fast-growing market. Meanwhile, second-tier and third-tier local brands, such as Tianyu, Hisense, Gionee, Vivo, OPPO and Changhong, are likely to be aggressive challengers in the LTE segment later this year and worth keeping an eye on.



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.


February 25, 2014 10:02 nmawston

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Lenovo’s global mobile phone shipments grew an impressive +50% annually in Q4 2013. The Chinese brand was a star performer. However, Lenovo’s mobile phone / smartphone division continues to make very little profit, and taking over the loss-making Motorola unit will not improve financial matters in the short-term. More analysis of Lenovo's challenges for 2014 can be viewed by clients here.


February 24, 2014 16:15 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 1 (Monday)

Nokia
has a rich history of announcing major strategic initiatives at Mobile World Congress and the clear highlight of day 1 was another such bombshell. Nokia announced the Nokia X, X+ and XL: a family of smartphones running Android Open Source Project (AOSP) software, rather than the Windows Phone platform, on which all its Lumia smartphones are based. Since one of the main reasons for adopting Windows Phone three years ago was to enable differentiation from Android devices, this is quite a significant U-turn by Nokia, and is made especially intriguing as it comes just weeks before the acquisition of Nokia’s devices division by Microsoft.

The stated aim of the launch is principally to enable entry price-tier smartphones, with the Nokia X having an estimated wholesale ASP of US$85. Nokia is positioning these new smartphones as a bridge between the Asha and Lumia families. The other theoretical primary benefit to end-users is access to Android apps, although since the Lumia X family will not have access to the Google Play store, this will require developers to resubmit their apps to the Nokia store.

The other most prominent device launch of the day so far has been from Sony, which bravely decided to launch a smartphone and a tablet sharing the same name. The Xperia Z2 is the new flagship Sony smartphone, although with its 5.2-inch screen it’s actually a phablet, and continues its predecessor’s focus on waterproofing and imaging. The Xperia Z2 Tablet is a 10.1-inch device that claims many of the qualities - waterproofing, thinness, screen quality - of its smaller sibling, hence the naming scheme.

The other big device announcement of the day is from Samsung this evening, when it is expected to unveil the Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone. We will update this post as soon as the details are made public.

UPDATE: As expected Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 this evening in Barcelona. Since its predecessor was one of the best-selling smartphone models globally in 2013, Samsung has gone for an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to the Galaxy S5. The look, feel and size appear very similar to the S4, but Samsung has ensured it matches the innovations of flagship smartphones from competitors such as Apple and Sony by introducing a fingerprint scanner and making the device waterproof.

 


February 23, 2014 21:01 sbicheno

The annual celebration of all things mobile is upon us once more and Strategy Analytics devices team will be blogging their first impressions daily. While Mobile World Congress doesn't officially start until tomorrow, handset vendors often look to beat the rush by making their announcements on the Sunday, and this year will be no exception.

Chinese telco giant Huawei was one of the first out of the starting blocks with the launch of the Ascend G6, which aims to bring the popular P6 design and 4G connectivity to the mid price-tier. Huawei has also launched a couple of tablets and unveiled its foray into the wearables market, which is set to be a major theme of this year's show, as is the mid price-tier smartphone segment, which is where we forecast a large chunk of handset sales to come from in the near future.

Firefox OS will be hoping to be part of that growth story, with smartphones focused on the mid and low price-tiers, and Mozilla announced a new reference phone - the Firefox OS Flame - today, in a bid to boost its ecosystem. Meanwhile Microsoft is renewing its efforts behind Windows Phone with the launch of version 8.1 which will allow lower priced smartphones to be built on the WP platform.

We expect there to be further announcements on Sunday and, of course, over the course of the week. We are especially looking forward to seeing what major vendors such as Samsung, Nokia, Sony and LG have up their sleeves. With all vendors producing hardware of a high standard, differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see some novel hardware initiatives, such as bendable screens or modular handsets, make an appearance at the show.

Stay tuned for our daily update of the latest news from the show floor as MWC 2014 commences in earnest tomorrow.

Update: Mozilla also announced a partnership with chip-maker Spreadtrum on Sunday to target the US$25 wholesale ASP smartphone price point. Samsung launched the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch, which runs on its own Tizen platform, rather than Android as the previous version had, and LG launched the G Pro 2 phablet.


February 16, 2014 16:43 yli

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, LTE cellphone sales will surge +547% YoY to reach 135 million units in China during 2014. The market is set to take off. Leading brands across the LTE  phone spectrum in China during 2014 will include China Mobile, Samsung, Lenovo, Qualcomm, MediaTek and others. China will very soon be the world's largest 4G market. More analysis and data can be downloaded by clients here.

 


February 11, 2014 01:29 woh

Strategy Analytics' analysts from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) research service will be pounding the floor at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, from Sunday 23rd to Thursday 27th February, 2014. It is the world's most important trade show for the mobile industry.

We will be blogging live from the show every day.

Here are five major trends that we recommend clients / journalists / techies look out for at this year's event:

1. Wearables will, of course, be a major buzzword. Smartwatches, smartglasses and fitness / health bands will be the primary products on display. There will be also be a long tail of emerging wearable devices for niche markets, from smartsocks to smartmedics. We recommend you visit major companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei and Broadcom.

2. More curved smartphones will be on show. We saw dozens of curved TVs from Asian brands at CES 2014, and two curved smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex. Curved smartphones will gain market traction faster than curved TVs. Curved smartphones are the first step to a future of rollable touchscreens. Innovative companies to visit will be Samsung and LG. Will the new, rumored Samsung Galaxy S5 have a curved display?

3. Global expansion of the rising Chinese smartphone vendors. After dominating at home in China, many Chinese brands are now turning their eyes overseas, such as the valuable United States market. Major vendors you should visit include Huawei, ZTE, TCL-Alcatel and Lenovo-Motorola. Keep an eye out, too, for any Indian players, like Micromax.

4. The rise of affordable 4G handsets. The majority of LTE handsets available until last year have been in the premium price-range. However, the China LTE market is about to soar in 2014, due to China Mobile. Low prices will be the key to unlock rapid growth. Companies to visit include Samsung, Qualcomm and MediaTek.

5. Faster LTE-A CA (Carrier Aggregation) and TD-LTE will excite the tech geeks among us. We recommend you experience the multiple LTE-A devices and TD-LTE devices on show from numerous handset vendors, such as Samsung or Huawei. The era of "mobile fiber" is here.

Please check back to see our daily blogs and further updates on MWC 2014 every day during the show. We look forward to seeing you soon in beautiful Barcelona!

 

 


February 7, 2014 17:04 nmawston

Accoding to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Motorola’s global mobile phones shipments dipped slightly in Q4 2013. New models, like the Moto X and G, were introduced with much hype. However, the highlight of the quarter was Lenovo’s purchase of Motorola from Google. Offering an ecosystem of PCs, tablets and smartphones to carriers and corporates, Motorola-Lenovo is now a “one stop shop” for mobile and portable devices that can credibly challenge Samsung, Apple and others. More analysis of this major strategic shift in the industry can be viewed by clients here.


February 7, 2014 16:56 nmawston

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Huawei grew its worldwide mobile phone shipments three times faster than the industry average in the fourth quarter of 2013. The Chinese vendor is outperforming in Asia and Europe. However, Huawei continues to lag badly in the valuable LTE handset segment. With 4G emerging fast in China, can Huawei finally crack the LTE market this year? More analysis can be downloaded by clients here.

 


January 31, 2014 14:23 nmawston

As predicted last year in this June 2013 report -- from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service -- Chinese mobile phone makers, like Lenovo, are firmly on the hunt for takeovers of local or foreign brands.

Lenovo has recently acquired Motorola (assuming government approvals). We can tick that one off the list. Who might be next on the takeover target list? Well, we'll be keeping a close eye this year on companies such as Xiaomi and HTC, that's for sure. They are either ambitious to grow (Xiaomi) or struggling to grow (HTC). Time will tell.