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 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 27, 2014 14:37 khyers

Lenovo’s global handset shipments grew +40% annually and delivered record marketshare in Q2 2014. Firmly planted among the top-10 global handset vendors, the Chinese company is poised to enter the top-5 if the Motorola acquisition gets approved by authorities in the second half of the year. However, despite record shipments, growth is slowing for Lenovo, profits remain elusive, and the takeover of loss-making Motorola will make achieving profitability that much harder in the near-term.

The company’s sales volumes are strong in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and particularly so in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).  Lenovo smartphones were available in 20 markets in CEE and MEA in Q2 2014 and it is entering +20 additional markets in the regions from 2H 2014.

For the present Lenovo is holding off expanding in Western European markets as it waits to complete its acquisition of Motorola.  It intends to leverage the Motorola brand, which has strong recognition and 90% consumer brand awareness to target the region.

Lenovo believes that a market shift from premium to mid-tier devices favors its portfolio, and also expects to realize economies of scale as it leverages its supply chain for Motorola handset production.  However, profitability will continue to be impacted for at least four to six quarters as it integrates Motorola into business.

This published report, available to clients, includes additional datapoints and analysis of Lenovo’s handset plans.


August 6, 2014 22:02 nmawston

According to our Devices (WDS) research service, Samsung’s global mobile phone shipments dipped annually in Q2 2014, in the face of growing pressure from Chinese and local vendors in markets worldwide. However, in the high-value LTE segment, Samsung is a clear global leader and it is well positioned to attack the fast-emerging China 4G market in the second half of 2014. This published report, available to clients, includes additional datapoints and analysis of Samsung's LTE gains.


July 30, 2014 23:06 lsui

According to the latest Global Handset Subsidy Forecast by Region & Country : 2011 to 2020 report from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global handset subsidy spending by mobile operators reached a peak in 2013. Subsidies will lessen from 2014 onwards as carriers tighten further their subsidy budgets.

Some major operators in tier-one countries, such as AT&T US or China Mobile, are trying actively to reduce handset subsidies. This means global handset subsidies will slip both in volume and value for the foreseeable future.

The US remains the largest subsidy country by value, while China will overtake the US to become the biggest subsidy country by volume in 2014.

Our extensive report, published here, provides worldwide handset subsidy forecasts by 6 regions and 2 key countries from 2011 through 2020. Subsidized handset volumes, average subsidy per subsidized handset, as well as total subsidy spend are included. Further breakdowns by device-type (smartphone vs. non-smartphones) and by subscription type ( prepaid vs. postpaid) are included, as well.


July 30, 2014 22:34 lsui

According to our latest Q2 2014 Huawei Insight Report, from our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, Huawei's global mobile phone shipments jumped an impressive +60% annually during Q2 2014, well above the industry average growth rate. For the first time ever, Huawei become the world's 4th largest mobile phone vendor, surpassing LG and closing in on Apple.

Huawei maintained strong momentum in the smartphone market, where its shipments grew +81% YoY, more than three times above the industry average. Huawei strengthened its position as the world's third largest smartphone vendor this quarter, with a marketshare at record levels.

Huawei made huge progress in the global 4G market this quarter. Its worldwide LTE handset volume share tripled from last quarter. Leveraging its own chipset platform for vertical integration, Huawei is becoming more sophisticated and it is well-positioned to grow further in the 4G segment during H2 2014.

More analysis of Huawei can be viewed by clients here.


July 30, 2014 16:54 khyers

Nokia's global handset shipments dipped slightly in Q2 2014 with smartphone and feature phone volumes sluggish. Microsoft has recently embarked on a major cost-cutting program to restore Nokia's profitability, after it lost millions of dollars in the first half of this year. Significant changes for Nokia include factory closures, employee layoffs, and a de-emphasising of the Android and feature phone range.  Signficant new introductions include the Lumia 930 smartphone with 20 megapixel camera and Microsoft Phone 8.1 OS, the latest version of Microsoft's mobile phone platform. The latest analysis of Microsoft Mobile Devices Group, from our WDS (Devices) service, can be found here.


July 30, 2014 04:23 woh

According to a recent Q2 2014 report for LG, published under our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, LG finally came back into profit for the first time in a year, due to robust shipments of LTE smartphones such as the G3, G2, G Pro 2 and G2 mini, and the widespread availability of affordable L-series 3G smartphones across both developed regions and emerging markets. However, China and India, the two biggest handset markets in the world, still remain a weak-spot for LG to address immediately, as a number of locally-focused vendors, such as Xiaomi, are growing their market presence quarter by quarter.


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.