Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

June 25, 2012 17:02 sbicheno

Ever since new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins announced a broad-based strategic review designed to identify how best to create shareholder value, rumours about the potential sell-off of some or all of the company have abounded. The latest one to do the rounds (again) is that Facebook or Amazon are two of the most likely acquirers.

With mobile having supplanted the PC as the dominant technology platform of the age, it’s easy to see why companies that owe their success to date to the internet accessed via PCs would be keen to strengthen their position in mobile by owning their own ecosystem. The Apple ‘walled garden’ strategy of controlling the hardware, software and services in order to optimise the user experience has become more fashionable following the success of its mobile devices, with even Microsoft imposing considerable restriction on Windows Phone licensees.

Amazon has already demonstrated its desire to optimise the mobile user experience via the Kindle Fire, while Facebook has yet to solve the problem of duplicating PC-based commercial models on Mobile. Acquiring RIM would give both instant significant capabilities in hardware design, their own OS and the kind of distribution network it would take years to establish from scratch.

However there are no fewer factors that warn against such a move. Assuming they have to buy the whole company, much of it would be superfluous to their core needs and they would then have to choose between shutting down those parts or partake in areas far from their core business, as well as trying to reconcile two very different corporate cultures. Also to be considered is the fact that RIM’s handset sales are in rapid decline, and the sale of a national champion may be met by significant resistance in Canada.


June 22, 2012 07:06 nmawston

In 2010, Apple introduced the world to the iPad, a high-tier tablet that has surged in popularity, selling cumulatively more than 60 million units to date. Many companies have tried to duplicate this but have had only limited success, with Apple retaining the majority of marketshare, especially in the 10-inch category. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others have had some success with lower-priced 7-inch models, leading to a largely bifurcated tablet market. Will Apple introduce a 7-8 inch iPad Mini / Nano during the second half of 2012 and perhaps dominate the entry-level segment, as well? If so, how many would Apple sell? What would be the consequences for Amazon and Barnes and Noble? Is RIM a target? Those questions are answered in this published report, available to download by clients to our Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies (TTS) service.

June 22, 2012 06:55 nmawston

Global smartphone industry trade revenues rose +42% annually during the first quarter of 2012. Apple dominates the premium category of smartphones, while Samsung is forging ahead to develop a lead in the entry-tier segment. Apple's success in the premium segment has been driven by a premium iPhone hardware design supported by premium pricing, premium sub-branding and premium retail self-distribution. This published report, available to download by clients of our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, provides quarterly global smartphone shipment, ASP, and revenue metrics for nine major vendors, including Apple, from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012. Global smartphone vendor marketshare by price-tier, and global revenue-share tracking by price-tier, for all nine vendors are also included. The report is a valuable tool for monitoring the financial health of leading brands such as Nokia, HTC, RIM, Samsung, Apple and others.

June 22, 2012 06:49 nmawston

Global smartphone sales will grow by 40% in 2012. Asia Pacific will remain the largest region, accounting for 41% of global smartphone sales in 2012. The two largest countries by far in 2012 will be the USA and China, which overtook the USA for the number one smartphone spot in Q3 2011. These two countries alone will combine for 40% of the worldwide smartphone market in 2012. This published report, available to download by clients to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, forecasts global smartphone sales, for 88 countries worldwide, from 2007 to 2017. Almost every major country worldwide is covered, including United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. This report can be used by operators, software developers, content developers, handset vendors, component makers, car manufacturers and other stakeholders to determine or prioritize the size and growth rate of the huge global smartphone market.

June 19, 2012 19:21 David Kerr

Yesterday Microsoft held an event in Los Angeles where they announced the Surface, a self-branded tablet device that will be available in both ARM and x86 versions. The device features an impressive build quality in an attractive form factor as well as some interesting features. We believe the Surface will resonate well with the enterprise community and help Windows 8 OS garner interest, developer attention and market share.

Microsoft has learned well at the PR altar of Apple and executed perfectly at this ?secret? launch. Microsoft has not just imitated Apple but has potentially even outdone Apple in terms of attention to detail on the covers, keyboard, perimeter venting, digital ink and that?s all before you even talk about the device applications and features.

Given the anemic progress of Android vendors (Samsung aside) in tablets and the terrible historical track record of Microsoft?s Oems in tablets, introducing a competitive product which showcased the ability of Window to compete in the category really was in the critical path.


First impressions are of a device which has seen millions of man hours (ok maybe not quite that much) dedicated to not just designing a product but placing a market in the tablet market which has not but surely will cannibalize the PC market at some point.

Microsoft is smart to have showcased both the RT and Windows 8 Pro versions and to provide a roadmap and a challenge to its existing OEMs to match that!



An event that lived up to the hype and expectations, what a surprise. Well done Microsoft. The Surface announcement do not materially impact our forecasts for tablets by OS as this was already factored into our thinking.

Clients to our Tablet and Touch Screen Strategies service can read more about our take on the Surface tablets here

June 18, 2012 15:29 David Kerr

Worldwide handset industry revenues grew +15% annually in Q1 2012. Despite a slowdown in the global economy, mobile handset revenues expanded at a double-digit rate due to robust demand for 3G and 4G models.

Apple was once again the star performer, topping the charts in most regions worldwide. Meanwhile, Samsung became the revenue leader in Africa Middle East for the first time ever. This report provides quarterly global handset revenue, ASP and shipment metrics for major handset vendors across six major regions from 2009 to Q1 2012. The report is a valuable tool for any mobile stakeholder wanting to track the financial health of major handset manufacturers.

Due to Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy mania, global operating profit margin for the handset industry currently stands at 18% in Q1 2012, near levels not seen since the peak of Motorola Razr mania during 2005.

Industry profitability worldwide has tripled in the past three years. On face value, industry profitability appears relatively healthy -- however, profits are heavily polarized around Apple and Samsung, who together captured over 90% of realized industry operating profits globally in the first quarter of 2012.

The global handset Industry grew +15% YoY and made US$62 billion of wholesale revenues in Q1 2012. It is on track to exceed a quarter-billion dollars for the first time ever in 2012.

Stripping out Apple and Samsung from our calculations, we find global handset wholesale revenues among all other vendors in fact shrank an astonishing -26% YoY in Q1 2012.

Annual Handset Wholesale Revenue Growth %

Q1 2012

Central & Latin America


Central & Eastern Europe


Asia Pacific


Clients to our Handset Country Share Tracker service can access detailed ASP, Revenue and Value by vendor for each of our 6 regions shown below in the table of content

Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST)


VALUE SHARE: Global Handset Revenue & ASP By Vendor by Region : Q1 2012


June 2012




Tab 1

Title Page

Tab 2

Contents Page

Tab 3

Pivot Table

Tab 4

Analysis of Major Market Trends

Tab 5

Global Value Metrics

Tab 6

Regional Value Metrics

Tab 7

North America

Tab 8

Western Europe

Tab 9

Asia Pacific

Tab 10

Central & Latin America

Tab 11

Central & Eastern Europe

Tab 12

Africa Middle East

Tab 13


Tab 14


Tab 15


Tab 16

Analyst Contacts

June 11, 2012 17:02 nmawston

Global mobile handset industry profits rose an impressive +44% in Q1 2012, as the product mix tilted toward 3G and 4G models. Apple & Samsung led the value growth by supplying millions of high-priced iPhones and Galaxys. Apple and Samsung continued to control the lion's share of global revenues and profits, benefitting from the weaker performance of OEMs such as Nokia, Sony, Motorola and LG which are undergoing major strategic transformations. This published report, available for download by clients to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, provides quarterly global handset shipment, ASP, revenue and profit metrics for ten major vendors from 2007 to Q1 2012. Global revenue-share and profit-share tracking for all ten vendors is also included. The report is a vital tool for monitoring the financial health of leading brands such as HTC, RIM and others.

June 11, 2012 16:54 nmawston

Mobile phone shipments in Japan grew +21% annually in Q1 2012, the country's fastest growth rate in over a year. Sharp continued to decline as Fujitsu held off Apple and gained traction at two of the big three operators. Samsung drifted sideways, while Kyocera and Sony maintained their broad upward momentum. This published report, available for download by clients to our Country Share Tracker (CST) service, tracks handset vendor marketshare by quarter at all major operators in Japan, including NTT Docomo, Softbank and KDDI. The report can be used by handset vendors, component makers, content developers, vehicle manufacturers and others to identify winners and losers by carrier in the high-value Japanese mobile market.

June 1, 2012 17:19 David Kerr

Handset tethering delivers mobile Internet access for rich content and multimedia to locally connected devices and vehicles via 3G and 4G cellular data networks. Tethering can provide mobility, flexibility, speed and convenience for subscribers and service providers.

We predict mobile hotspot handsets to surge 105% in 2012 and become a high-growth sub-category.

This extensive report forecasts mobile hotspot handsets, Bluetooth PAN Handsets and USB tethering handset sales by region from 2007 to 2016. Volume forecasts and installed base forecasts by device type, such as smartphones and feature phones, are also included at a global level. The report can be used by operators, device vendors, component makers, content providers and car manufacturers to determine the future size and importance of the mobile handset tethering market.

Major countries for mobile hotspot phones will include USA, UK, Germany, France, Australia, South Korea, Japan, China, Brazil and Russia.

Other questions answered in this report include:

How many Bluetooth PAN tethering handsets will be sold worldwide in 2012 and 2016?

What % of all handsets sold globally in 2016 will be Bluetooth Pan enabled?
We forecast global USB tethering handset sales to reach 1 billion units in 2012 but what percentage of smartphones and feature and basic phones are currently able to do tethering via their USB port.
What is the outlook for mobile hotspot tethering method?

What % of devices enabled will actually be used actively?

In summary, the worldwide mobile handset tethering market is growing fast, but there are currently several barriers to usage that the industry still needs to address.                                                           

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