Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

September 27, 2012 16:02 awu

MirrorLink is an in-vehicle technology that enables seamless connectivity between a smartphone and the in-vehicle infotainment system. With the appropriate applications (currently compatible applications include Nokia Car Mode and Samsung DriveLink), drivers are able to control their smartphone via the in-vehicle infotainment system, allowing for safer usage.

In September 2012 Strategy Analytics’ Automotive Consumer Insights service (ACI) conducted a heuristic evaluation of a MirrorLink enabling app, the Samsung DriveLink, on a Samsung Galaxy SIII with a MirrorLink enabled head-unit Sony XAV-601BT. 

Strategy Analytics identified following benefits brought by Samsung DriveLink:

  • Bringing a consistent smartphone and in-vehicle interaction experience;
  • Allowing drivers to use the apps installed in smartphone on the in-vehicle infotainment system;
  • Enabling drivers to use the data plan that they already have on the smartphone to navigate and listen to online music;

However, the interface of the Samsung DriveLink app still needs further optimization and a further integration of the smartphone voice control systems.

To find out more benefits and usability issues of the Samsung DriveLink please find the report: User Experience Evaluation: Samsung DriveLink with MirrorLink-Enabled Sony XAV-601BT.

Strategy Analytics’ user research in automotive consumer behaviors is available to Automotive Consumer Insights clients or for purchase here. Strategy Analytics’ research in wireless device consumer behaviors for Wireless Device Lab clients can be found here.

September 27, 2012 08:33 nmawston

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Firefox OS will capture 1 percent (1%) share of global smartphone shipments in 2013. Firefox OS will target entry-level smartphone users, a segment currently dominated by Android.

Firefox OS is an emerging operating system for smartphones being developed by Mozilla. The platform is designed to be open-source, licensable, and relatively low-cost. Firefox OS supports HTML5 Web apps and it is gaining interest from several hardware vendors and operators, such as ZTE and Telefonica. We expect the first Firefox smartphones to launch commercially in Latin America or Western Europe in the first half of next year. We forecast Firefox OS to capture a niche 1 percent (1%) share of global smartphone shipments in 2013.

Firefox OS will initially target entry-level smartphone users, which is a segment currently dominated by the Android platform in almost all regions worldwide. Overcoming Android will not be an easy task. To expand beyond niche status, Firefox OS will need to address at least three main challenges; they are low brand awareness among smartphone consumers worldwide, a limited retail presence in the influential United States market, and a relatively modest ecosystem of supporting apps and services.

Our full Firefox OS smartphone forecast -- for an extensive 88 countries worldwide from 2013 to 2017 -- can be viewed by clients here.

September 19, 2012 18:02 sbicheno

HTC launched its new range of smartphones based around Microsoft's yet-to-be-released Windows Phone 8 operating system today. Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service had some hands-on time with the 8X and 8S, and here are our first impressions.

1. Hardware: Both devices use colourful polycarbonate cases that are not dissimilar to those used by Nokia for its Windows 8 smartphone generation, which are designed to complement the colourful appearance of the OS home screen. The flagship 8X has a 4.3-inch 2.5D display, while the mid-tier 8S has a 4.0-inch screen and a twin-colour design.

2. Software: Both phones, of course, run Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has yet to formally launch the latest version of its smartphone OS, so we were not given the opportunity to try it out. Among the known upgrades are a more customisable home screen and greater convergence with the PC version of Windows, but more details will have to wait until the end of October, when the formal unveiling is due.

3. Components: Both phones run Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC’s, with the 8X having a 1.5GHz variant and the 8S a 1GHz one. Only the 8X supports LTE, but not the 8S, which is a weakness for a flagship model in developed markets.

4. Services: We’re not aware of any HTC-specific apps or services beyond what will be standard on Windows Phone 8. These are, however, the first HTC Windows Phone handsets to feature ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ branding.

5. Operators: 8X will be available in 50 countries beginning in early November with 126 mobile operators. The 8S will be available in 52 countries beginning in November with 146 mobile operators. This is a good level of worldwide distribution that is not far from that offered by rivals Nokia and Samsung.

6. Competitors: The comparison with Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 smartphones is inevitable. While Nokia has a special relationship with Microsoft, HTC is claiming publicly to be the Windows Phone 8 launch partner. The other main competitor is Samsung, which was the first to announce its Windows Phone 8 offering, and which is keen to lessen its dependence on Android. However the biggest competition is with other platforms: Android, iOS and BlackBerry.

* Our First Impression: HTC has produced some relatively innovative designs for its new Windows Phone generation of smartphones, but their success relies more on the willingness of Android and iOS consumers to try a different OS. Being a lead Windows Phone 8 partner should help.


September 19, 2012 11:56 sbicheno

The new Apple iPhone 5 will account for a large proportion of total 2012 global handset subsidies, according to Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, despite only being on sale for the final four months of the year. With demand for the first 4G iPhone likely to be higher than ever, carriers will need to dig deep into their subsidy budgets to ensure they capitalize. The addition of a larger screen, better processor and 4G connectivity is likely to ensure Apple has another hit on its hands, as implied by pre-orders topping 2 million in the first 24 hours. Clients can read in-depth analysis into the implications of the iPhone 5 launch here.

September 18, 2012 17:28 sbicheno

At a launch event in Central London, attended by our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Motorola and Intel teamed up to launch the first high-tier smartphone to run an Intel processor. The launch of the RAZR i marks an important juncture for both companies. Moto has not seen anything like the demand for its smartphones in Western Europe as it has in the Americas, and the location of this launch is most likely intended to address that. Meanwhile Intel’s Ultraphones have yet to set the industry alight, and the chip giant will be hoping to raise the profile of its handset offering with this launch.

Our first impressions of the RAZR i are that it’s a solid, well-designed device with some noteworthy features. One of the main differentiators for us is the ‘instant-launch’ camera, which allows you to go from sleep mode to taking a photo in around a second - no need to unlock, just one click to activate, and another to shoot. The Intel ‘Medfield’ chip is now clocked to 2GHz, but there is still a claimed 20 hours of ‘mixed-usage’ battery life, which seems to address any concerns about Intel’s ability to produce power-efficient mobile handset chips.

Whether all these features translate to significant sales, however, remains to be seen. Smartphone consumers are spoilt for choice by strong offerings from a large number of OEMs across several platforms, and it’s not yet clear whether Intel’s strong PC brand translates to the mobile handset sector. The Motorola RAZR i will launch in the U.K., France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in October, with other countries to be announced shortly, and with the right pricing could give the dominant OEMs and mobile chip-makers in those countries cause for thought.


September 12, 2012 15:08 nmawston

Apple launched the new iPhone 5 superphone today. Strategy Analytics' Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service was at the event. What are our first impressions of the flagship model?

1. Hardware: Formfactor of the phone is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It is a 4.0-inch Retina screen with an 8MP camera and low-light mode. The device is made of sleek glass and aluminum in a slate design. It has a smaller connector, as expected. The iPhone 5 is thinner (8mm) and lighter (112g), roughly a one-fifth improvement on the prior version. The display will look modest in size when placed against Samsung's 4.8-inch Galaxy S3. Sharpness, thinness and pixelation of the screen are a main selling-point for the iPhone 5. We anticipate the wholesale (trade) price of the iPhone 5 has increased slightly, but this will be offset by heavy subsidies from megaoperators in several countries (e.g. AT&T in US).

2. Software: The phone has added more camera-friendly software, such as smart filtering and better low-light performance. This is not dissimilar to what Nokia and others are doing already. The new iOS6 platform has improved maps, also not dissimilar to Nokia's existing strategy. Facebook is integrated into Siri, so the user can "talk to Facebook". The iTunes service have been enhanced for iOS users (e.g. integrated iCloud, sharing photos).

3. Components: LTE (single chip, single radio, single antenna) has been added, as predicted by Strategy Analytics several months ago. It has an Apple A6 chip for faster graphics, upgraded from the A5.

4. Services: There are now 700k apps available in the Apple App Store, more than any other online store. Console-quality graphics from gaming companies like Electronic Arts, using the A6 chip, look relatively slick. Gaming, imaging and maps are clearly important for Apple.

5. Operators: Distribution is assured, of course, with multiple major global and US carriers onboard, such as AT&T, VZW and KDDI. The iPhone 5 will launch commercially in the second half of September. Apple says it got a huge 1 million visitors per day at its own Apple stores worldwide in Q3 2012.

6. Competitors: Samsung, Nokia, LG, RIM, Kyocera, Sony, ZTE, Huawei, Pantech and Fujitsu will be among the main rivals for the new Apple iPhone 5. It will compete head-on with the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S3.

* Our First Impression: Apple iPhone 5 will almost certainly become the world's best-selling LTE phone in Q4 2012. However, the 4-inch screen is not as large as some other models, like Samsung's Galaxy S3, and that will be one chink in Apple's armor that competitors will try to exploit. Apple iPhone 5 marks the start of the 4G boom.

We will follow shortly this blog with a subsequent blog and report.

September 6, 2012 18:46 nmawston

Nokia soft-launched its new Lumia 920 smartphone in the US and worldwide on Wednesday 5th September, 2012. It is a flagship 4G LTE model that runs Microsoft's upgraded Windows Phone 8 platform. Nokia and Microsoft are placing big bets on the new device (and its sister model, the Lumia 820). Will it be a hit? Is the Lumia 920 an Apple iPhone killer? This blog, published here by our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, delivers our analysis of those questions.

September 5, 2012 18:56 srobinson

Nokia announced the imminent arrival of two new Lumia smartphones at it's New York event today. The Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 devices integrate many of the things that Nokia and Microsoft having been working on during the last 18 months, including Windows Phone 8 operating system, wireless charging, PureView imaging technology and software to deliver some cool camera effects.

In brief, the key hardware specs of the Lumia 920 are:

- DISPLAY: A 4.5-inch display with a capacitive "Super Sensitive Touch" touchscreen interface that can be operated with/without gloves (utilising Synaptic's ClearPad Series 3 technology). The display delivers "PureMotion HD+", which Nokia claims is the best smartphone display technology around, combining greater than 720HD resolution with a very fast refresh rate. It also includes sunlight readability sensors and smart polarisers that change the colours and tones of the display to make it readable in direct sunlight.

- CAMERA: An 8.7MP CMOS sensor with Carl Zeiss optics, combined with Nokia's PureView imaging technology that first appeared in the 41MP Nokia 808 device a few months ago. The Lumia 920 takes excellent photos and HD video even in poor lighting conditions thanks to two key innovations: firstly an aperture of f/2.0 which allows an enormous amount of light to be captured and allows the use of a large silicon sensor in a thin form factor; and secondly floating lens technology that provides image stabilisation and allows the shutter to stay open longer without creating blurred images. Nokia claims that the Lumia 920 captures 5 to 10 times the amount of light that other cameraphones capture. The key to the image stabilisation feature is tiny springs that are mounted on the whole camera module, not just on the lens.

- BATTERY: The Lumia 920 is powered by a massive (for Nokia) 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery, but the main innovation here is the integration of wireless charging using the Wireless Power Consortium's "Qi" standard. This is a big boost for Qi and the WPC as Nokia brings other partners to the market too, including Virgin Atlantic and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, who will have charging stations in their business lounges and coffee tables respectively. This will hopefully propel Qi forward to create a single standard, increasing compatibility and reducing fragmentation in the wireless charging landscape.

- PROCESSOR: Qualcomm's 1.5GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, MSM8960, is at the heart of the Lumia 920. It's a low-power, high-performance processor built on the leading-edge 28nm process node, delivering a stutter-free user experience and long(er) battery life. The modem in the MSM8960 supports 5 LTE bands and 4 HSPDA bands. Qualcomm's stranglehold on the Windows ecosystem is now in its third year of exclusivity.

- MEMORY: 32GB NAND Flash. Nothing sensational here and no memory card slot despite WP8 now supporting removable memory. Also, only one memory capacity option, unlike some of Nokia's competitors who offer higher memory capacity options for an extra $100, over 90% of which is pure profit. Has Nokia missed a trick here?

The Lumia 820 has some subtle differences:

- DISPLAY: 4.3 inch AMOLED display with 480x800 resolution, compared with the Lumia 920's 4.5-inch IPS-TFT with 720x1280 resolution.

- CAMERA: Same resolution 8MP main camera, but an aperture of f/2.2, compared with 8MP f/2.0 on the Lumia 920.

- BATTERY: A smaller 1650mAh battery. Still with wireless charging, this time in an exchangeable shell!


- MEMORY: 8GB embedded NAND FLASH plus a microSDHC card slot supporting up to 32GB external memory, compared with the Lumia 920's 32GB and no slot.

The Lumia 920 is the culmination and integration of technology that has appeared in multiple Nokia devices recently. It takes the best of the Lumia 900's large display size, with the aesthetically pleasing curved display on the Lumia 800 and the incredible camera technology on the Symbian-based 808 PureView and mixes them up with some cutting-edge new image stabilisation camera technology, 4G LTE support, NFC, wireless charging and of course Windows Phone 8 .... Not bad Nokia!

Read the first impressions from our User Experience Practice of the Lumia 920's appeal to smartphone users here - Will Consumers Switch OS to get a Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8?

- Stuart Robinson

September 5, 2012 14:59 nmawston

Nokia launched the new Lumia 920 smartphone today. What are our first impressions of this flagship model for Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 platform? The following analysis is sourced from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service.

1. Hardware: Formfactor of the phone is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It is a 4.5-inch, WXGA, rich, glove-friendly screen with curved glass. The 920 is a premium-tier model. Wireless battery charging is included, which is not new (e.g. Palm), but it is rare, so Nokia is right to hype it up as a differentiator. It uses the Qi standard. It has a big 2000 mAh battery.

2. Software: PureView, for optimized camera images, is being promoted heavily as a differentiator for the flagship Lumia 920 model.

3. Components: A Qualcomm processor in the flagship Lumia 920. Another good win for Qualcomm.

4. Services: Maps, location, video and imaging apps feature prominently. The phone has optical image stabilization, a rare feature, which should improve image quality.

5. Operators: Distribution at more major US carriers, like Verizon Wireless, will be critical.

6. Competitors: Samsung, LG, RIM, Kyocera, Sony, ZTE, Huawei, Pantech and Apple will be among the main rivals for the new Lumia 920 (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S3).

* Our First Impression: Nokia and Microsoft have taken another positive step forward. But the Lumia 920 is not an iPhone killer or a Samsung killer.

We will follow shortly this blog with a subsequent blog and report.


Nokia's Lumia 920, which was launched today, is the phone the firm is banking on to help it take on Apple and Google.

September 4, 2012 15:54 nmawston

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service forecasts the global smartphone installed base will grow by 33% in 2013. Asia Pacific offers the largest installed base of active smartphones by some margin, while Central & Eastern Europe has the smallest. Countries with major installed bases include China, United States, Germany, Nigeria, India, Brazil and Russia. This extensive report forecasts the global smartphone installed base by 6 major regions and 88 countries from 2007 to 2017. The report is a valuable tool for content developers, car makers, operators, device manufacturers, component vendors and other stakeholders to measure the world's installed base of smartphones by size and growth.