FIH Mobile, formerly Foxconn, which makes smartphones for many of the world's best known handset brands, is rumored to be planning to design and sell its own line of smartphones directly to mobile operators, according to various news reports. FIH Mobile is a Contract Equipment Maker (CEM) for multiple companies including Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola and others. decision to sell smartphones to mobile operators would put FIH in direct competition with many of those customers. Strategy Analytics looks at smartphone manufacturing in this Global Handset Manufacturing by Country report, which is available to our clients.
FIH is developing handsets for Mozilla’s Firefox OS and is also rumored to be developing a range of entry-, mid- and high-end smartphones and phablets. FIH would mainly target mobile network operators in China while also offering its handsets to other operators around the world. FIH has quietly developed expertise in smartphone design, which it offers to smaller handset brands who either do not have ODM expertise or who want to outsource design as well as production.
FIH's rumored move is believed to be driven in part by a desire to develop new revenue streams as some of its handset partners scale back production with it. While FIH risks alienating customers for whom it provides CEM services if it offered its own line of smartphones, we believe that FIH’s handsets would offer little differentiation beyond scale and price and will struggle to make an impact in the face of competition from established brands.
Strategy Analytics examines the smartphone manufacturing market in detail in its Global Handset Manufacturing by Country report as part of its Wireless Device Strategies service, available to clients.