Wireless Smartphone Strategies

The industry’s most comprehensive set of critical market statistics and qualitative analysis, tracking and reporting on smartphones.

February 29, 2012 23:31 nmawston

Day 4 -- Wednesday 29th February, 2012 -- of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona, Spain, has arrived. The weather today was sunny and warm.

Huawei announced it will join the Tizen Association. It could well build a small number of Tizen phones from H2 2012 onward. Whether the open-source Tizen OS can grow beyond tech-geek novelty-status remains to be seen at this stage.

The initial buzz surrounding the launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 platform for tablets and ultrabooks today was surprisingly subdued. Few attendees mentioned it unprompted, and few attendees seemed excited when prompted. Microsoft clearly has some work still to do.

Samsung's Galaxy S2 Android model beat Apple's iPhone to win Best Smartphone award at MWC's GMAs this year. A deserved winner for a well-engineered superphone. SA has long highlighted superphones as an important device subcategory.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is the wrap-up day for MWC 2012. I will summarize the main events of the week...


February 29, 2012 20:45 David Kerr

Huawei is the latest device vendor to endorse the Tizen alternative OS and ecosystem.

Tizen is an open source, cross-architecture, standards-based device software platform featuring a standards-based HTML5 and W3C standards enabling device-independent applications to be produced efficiently for cross-platform deployment. This approach leverages the robustness and flexibility of HTML5 which is rapidly emerging as a preferred application environment for mobile applications.

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Officers of Tizen Association:

http://www.tizenassociation.org/tizen-association/board-of-directors

The addition of Huawei is a significant step forward adding one of the fastest growing handset vendors in the world and reinforcing the potential for an alternative to Android to develop in both mature and emerging markets for smart devices.

The decision by Huawei to support Tizen follows hot on the heels of several other announcements all of which put pressure primarily on the Android OS and clearly demonstrate that most major vendors and indeed operators continue to hedge their bets as uncertainty and concerns over Google?s dominance continue.

? Samsung announcing a major increase in investment for its Bada platform.

? Telefonica the world's fourth largest operator with almost 239 million mobile subscribers globally announced its intent to launch Open Web Devices based on Mozilla's Boot2Gecko (b2g) HTML5 based platform

? Intel gained further traction beyond Motorola and Lenovo with Orange and ZTE unveiling handsets equipped with the firm's Atom Z2460 chip. Additionally, Indian OEM Lava International is to launch a Medfield device in Q2, 2012.

? At MWC, several emerging market operators, led by keynoter Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel, cited a lack of affordable smartphones as the key obstacle to growing data services and ? not coincidentally ? ARPU.

? Nokia Becomes World's Largest Microsoft Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011 and Nokia has exceeded expectations with the launch of a solid portfolio of Windows Phone devices in US and Europe.

All of these factors signal that the industry is not ready to settle for a two-horse race in smartphone OS and highlights the lingering concerns over Google?s ownership of Motorola (despite the reported firewall aka cone of silence) between Moto and corporate.

Can Tizen emerge as a third strong OS alternative? Possible but it?s still too early to tell. Merging Tizen with Bada and concentrating resources rather than offering fragmented competition to Android makes sense to me. The ability to differentiate from the core Android OS is at the core of this issue and will not go away any time soon.


February 22, 2012 18:47 David Kerr

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) solutions represent a sizeable and growing market opportunity for new devices, solutions and services beyond traditional voice and data. While M2M was hailed as the next big application area for many years, it was slow to take off. However, M2M is now gaining momentum and Strategy Analytics expects a total worldwide installed base of 4.3 billion M2M connections by 2020.

At MWC, key trends to watch include:

  • Platforms critical to M2M success
  • Operators partnering to extend capabilities
  • Module vendors moving up the value chain.
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Client reading: What to See at Mobile World Congress 2012: M2M

M2M Service and Application Platforms: Critical to Service and Application Platforms: Critical to M2M Deployments

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February 21, 2012 18:09 David Kerr

The latest update of our Mobile Broadband Price Benchmarking system revealed another quarter with significant growth of mobile broadband tariffs offered specifically for tablets. The number of tablet devices offered by operators is growing, with many providing at least five different tablets. The introduction of 4G/LTE technology has brought about the first 4G/LTE tablet tariffs in Germany, with maximum download speeds as high as 100Mbps.

  • The majority of mobile operators offer between 4 and 5 different tablets, with Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPad, HTC Flyer, and Motorola Xoom tablets being the most prevalent devices. The number of tablet devices per operator is slowly growing, with the greatest number offered standing at 9 tablets.
  • Italy, followed by Germany, offers the biggest subsidies for tablets, with France and UK operators lagging behind, but showing increasing levels of subsidies; US operators continue to abstain from subsidies.
  • The increased interest in tablet devices from the market has encouraged some operators to introduce their own tablets, e.g. Orange and T-Mobile. Recently Vodafone Germany introduced its new branded tablet and T-Mobile USA introduced its second branded tablet.

Client reading


February 20, 2012 21:22 David Kerr

China remained the world's largest smartphone market in Q4 2011, with growth surging 36% sequentially. Nokia held on to the no.1 position, but Apple closed the gap in second place as a result of healthy operator subsidies and expanded distribution. Lenovo was the star performer in China this quarter, as its market share spiked five-fold due to a larger Android portfolio.

For Q1, 2011 will Apple be able to close the gap with the market leader? How many smartphones will ship? Clients to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies can read more about China quarterly share here.


February 16, 2012 13:23 David Kerr

Sony completed the long awaited buyout of Ericsson from the joint venture today. So, will Sony now be able to forge ahead and innovate with more rapid product introductions and leveraging its strong multiscreen and content presence?

Profits have remained elusive for Sony Ericsson now in the mobile handset space. Sony Ericsson shipped a disappointing 9 million handsets worldwide in Q4 2011. Market share hit a record low. Fierce competition from Apple and Samsung in smartphones, and Huawei and ZTE in feature phones, dragged down the vendor?s shipments and profit margins. Sony is taking full control of Sony Ericsson this year, and integrating it under the Sony umbrella will present a number of opportunities and challenges.

http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=7031

So how will Sony fare moving ahead. We have seen Sony Ericsson tumble dramatically from its peak around 100M phones shipped in 2007/8 to only 34M in 2011. Can they recover their mojo to close in on Motorola in 2012?

http://www.strategyanalytics.com/default.aspx?mod=reportabstractviewer&a0=6998


February 7, 2012 16:56 nmawston

This year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show will take place in sunny Barcelona, Spain, during Sunday 26th February to Thursday 1st March, 2012. It is the mobile industry's biggest trade show, which attracts exhibitors and visitors from all four corners of the globe. What major brands and hot trends should you look out for?

We recommend exploring at least these four topics during MWC:


1. NOKIA will be keen to showcase its growing Windows Phone portfolio of hardware and services. MWC is a good opportunity for Nokia and MICROSOFT to demonstrate if they have the roadmap to become the third major horse in the smartphone race alongside Android and iOS.

2. SAMSUNG is on top of its game right now. LTE will be a main focus for the South Korean vendor. The company's plans for the high-growth LTE market will be a key indicator of how the 4G handset and media industry is evolving.


3. NTT DOCOMO of Japan is always a popular choice for exhibiting cutting-edge technologies. Look for possible demos around NFC payments, 3D games, gesture-control and other similar emerging applications.

4. CHINA and INDIA device manufacturers will be more popular than ever this year. Their competitive pricing and operator-friendly customization strategies have helped them to gain traction in dual-SIM feature phones and entry-level smartphones. ZTE, HUAWEI and TCL-ALCATEL are the "big three" Asia players we recommend visiting.

What or who do you plan to visit at MWC? Let us know in the Comments box below.