Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

April 22, 2015 20:24 nmawston

Following Day One at the global Huawei Mobile analyst event in China, compared to the first day where there were a lot of keynote speeches, Day Two events were separated by a couple of different tracks ranging from consumer business, enterprise business, enabling ICT transformation and SDN, through to digital business innovation. Our analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS)service joined the consumer business track.

As stated in our Day One blog, "connection" is the keyword for this event. In its consumer business, Huawei plans to give consumers a “smart life” in the future with solutions of wearables, smart homes and vehicle-mounted devices for the connected person, connected home and IoT, by centering on smartphones to create a consistent user-experience. Huawei has cooperated with various wearable partners such as Tencent, Baidu, Codoon, Jawbone, Google, Myfitnesspal, Auto Navi and Boohee. It also partners with Mercedes and Audi in vehicle-mounted devices.

For wearable devices, Huawei currently provides two products: Talkband B2, which is released in China on April 22nd and begins to sell on April 23rd, and its predecessor Talkband N1. Huawei will also launch (slightly delayed) its Watch in the third quarter of this year. There will be three colors of Huaweil Watch: gold, silver and black, with 40+ watchfaces. It is a full-circle outlook, with a 42mm diameter, Sapphire crystal cover, 1.4-inch AMOLED display with 400x400 screen-resolution. It will be sold outside China first due to the well-known Google (Mobile Services) issue in China.

As smartphone products will still be centric to its consumer business, Huawei will still pay a lot of attention to this segment in the future. Huawei targets more than $40 billion revenue and 15% marketshare for its global smartphone division in 2019. Huawei will maintain its dual-brand (Huawei and Honor) smartphone approach, but it plans to reduce its number of products and focus on technical innovations to improve product competitiveness and sales volume of single models.

Huawei plans to grow its revenue of the smartphone segment from overseas to be over 60% in 2015 and higher in the future (currently around 50%). To achieve this goal of global development, it will continue investing in global retail stores, promoting the Honor brand outside China, and enhancing Huawei’s brand image and global influence by high-end marketing, Internet marketing and emotional connections.

To be sure, 2
014 was a banner year for Huawei and it has kept on doing very well in the first quarter of 2015. Will this momentum continue into 2016? It will depend on its "connection" with the whole ecosystem.

April 21, 2015 08:48 lsui

 There are over five hundred analysts and media worldwide attending Huawei's 12th Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, China, today. Our analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service also joined the event.

The key theme of Day One is about the corporate overall performance review and strategy outlook. Looking in the rearview mirror, 2014 was a banner year for Huawei. Financially, company overall-revenue increased +21% YoY to RMB 288.1 billion (US$46 billion). Company overall-profitability also improved, with 9.7% net profit in 2014, up from 8.8% in 2013, mainly thanks to a streamlined organization and management structure, as well as improved average selling prices (ASP).

The operator business still made up the lion’s share (67%) of overall group revenue, but consumer (26%) and enterprise (7%) divisions have been growing faster in 2014. The consumer business group (smartphone, dongles, and other products) posted RMB 75.1 billion (US$12 billion) revenue in 2014, up 33% YoY, leading the pack among all three business groups.

Geographically, China contributed to 38% of total revenue in 2014, up from 35% in 2013, mainly thanks to the uptake of 4G LTE in China. Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America also saw healthy growth. In contrast, its North America performance remains lackluster and saw a decline last year.

For the smartphone business, in which Huawei ranked the third largest smartphone vendor by volume worldwide in 2014, according to a report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Huawei reiterated its commitment to the sector but indicated it will continue focus on profit rather than scale. Compared with the two industry giants Apple and Samsung, the operating margin on Huawei's smartphone business is still quite slim, so there is scope for growth. Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service tracks the world's top-16 smartphone vendors by value and profitability on a quarterly basis in this extensive report.

Moreover, Huawei outlined some initiatives to upgrade the service-driven platform for its smartphone products, including building up offline-service networks, building a full-service online platform in key cities across 100+ countries, as well as establishing an operational excellence center (OEC) to realize synergy across online and offline channels.  We look forward to more details in the Day Two session tomorrow.

Connection is the keyword for this event. “Open road to a better connected world” is their slogan and can be seen everywhere at this event. We understand it refers to the connection between Huawei and customers, between consumers and service / product providers, between people and people, and between IoTs, etc. In the Consumer business, will Huawei extend into a more cross-product connected ecosystem, from its current smartphone and dongle-focused product lineup? How will Huawei execute its service-driven platform to provide consumers with full-lifecycle services? Please stay tuned for our Day Two blog.



February 11, 2015 06:30 nmawston

As expected a few months ago, the world's first Ubuntu smartphone will finally be launched commercially today, Wednesday 11th February, 2015. Right before Mobile World Congress (MWC), the cellphone industry's biggest annual tradeshow.

The device in question is a repurposed BQ E4.5 mid-tier Android model -- but with Android software replaced by Ubuntu.

The new device will be distributed online (in Western Europe only) in a "flash sale" today, followed by three more such events by the close of February.

The BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has a 4.5-inch screen, 1GB RAM and dual-SIM connectivity. The hardware specs are good, but not groundbreaking, at that midrange pricepoint.

There will also, eventually, be a Meizu MX4 Ubuntu model launched in China in H1 2015. Meizu is currently the 11th largest smartphone vendor in China.

For the apps ecosystem, Ubuntu does not yet have a recognized apps store, but it does offer "scopes" that are single-screen windowpanes / homescreens on the handset for apps and services. For example, there is a "scope" (app) for Web-browsing, social networking, and so forth.   

BQ is a top-10 smartphone vendor in Spain. Like Wiko France, Xiaomi China and Micromax India, BQ Spain is a "local" smartphone vendor that is attempting to gain marketshare through local apps, local distribution and good, old-fashioned hardware price-cuts. So far, BQ has grown relatively well at home in Spain, but its international presence outside the country is tiny.

It is good to see innovation from Ubuntu, but BQ's (and Meizu's) new device will NOT worry the likes of Apple and Samsung. The BQ Ubuntu phone has limited global distribution, a limited apps ecosystem, limited developer support and limited hardware-vendor support. Our WSS (Smartphones) service forecasts Ubuntu to account for just 1% share of all smartphone shipments worldwide in 2015. Ubuntu will struggle to make headway in the crowded smartphone market.

October 2, 2014 23:21 lsui

According to a new report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service -- Global Smartphone Sales by 17 Technologies : 2007 -2017 -- HSUPA / HSPA+ will be replaced by LTE as the world's most widely used smartphone air-interface technology in 2015.

We forecast 4G technoligy to account for 38% of total global smartphone sales in 2014, rising to 45% in 2015. Moreover, LTE-Advanced will entend into more markets from 2014 onwards.

China will surpass USA to become the largest LTE smartphone market globally in 2014.


April 24, 2014 16:23 lsui

LTE, branding and retail-point expansion are the three keywords for Huawei's global smartphone business in day 2 at its annual analyst event this week. Our smartphone team is attending.

LTE is the most important growth driver for Huawei's 80 million smartphone target in 2014. China, Western Europe, as well as other emerging markets, will play a determining role in its global LTE landscape. Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service tracks global LTE phone volume and value (wholesale revenues and ASPs) on quarterly basis in this report.

Branding enhancement is an on-going project for Huawei over the past few years. Shfiting from product-centric to consumer-centric is their highlight for this year.

Open-channel retail-points have been playing an increasing role during Huawei's transition from a previous ODM / operator-centric business model to an OEM / own-branded business model. This year, Huawei will further solidify its global retail presence by setting up more branded shops, display zones and tables worldwide. The online channel for phones is burgeoning in China at the moment, however, we will not see a quick take-off of e-commerce in many emerging markets elsewhere very soon, so physical retail stores will maintain their critical role in both operator channels and open channels. Huawei's commitment on retail expansion is, in effect, a practical way to fulfill its global growth target this year. This published report, from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, forecasts smartphone sales by 7 channels for 6 regions and 3 major countries (China, India and Japan).


January 17, 2014 19:33 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the global Tizen smartphone installed base will be a niche proposition in 2014 / 2015. Can Samsung get the new mobile operating system off the ground in places like Japan and Western Europe? Can it avoid a "Bada 2.0" scenario?

This extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts global smartphone sales, by 14 operating systems for 88 countries worldwide, from 2007 to 2018. Almost every major country worldwide is covered, including the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and others.

May 30, 2013 16:00 khyers

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone revenues will grow +37% over the next 5 years. Increasing smartphone volumes will be partly offset by decreasing price points, as vendors and operators penetrate deeper into the price-sensitive prepaid market. Falling component prices will enable sales expansion in lower price-tiers, particularly for emerging markets like Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, Apple and others will continue to target the subsidy-led premium category. Our detailed report forecasts global smartphone sales volume, revenues and wholesale ASPs by six major regions and five price-tiers from 2003 to 2017. Extensive analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The published report can be downloaded by clients here.

May 30, 2013 15:39 khyers

According to our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service, global mobile phone industry revenues grew +11% annually in Q1 2013. Profits increased annually due to a greater proportion of 3G and 4G models in the mix. Samsung and Apple dominate the industry and they are tightening their grip on value share, squeezing out almost all other rivals. Our new report provides quarterly global mobile phone ASPs, revenues and profit metrics for multiple major mobile phone OEMs from 2007 through 1Q 2013. Revenue share and profit share are also supplied. The published report can be downloaded by clients here.

March 28, 2013 14:37 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, smartphone sales volumes will surge +56% in Africa Middle East this year. The rate of growth in Africa is almost two times higher than the global average. Growth will be driven by first-time buyers and 2G handset upgraders in major countries such as Nigeria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. More details can be viewed by clients in this published report, which forecasts worldwide smartphone sales for 88 countries globally, including Brazil, Spain, Russia and others.

March 28, 2013 14:29 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, smartphone sales volumes will surge +69% in India this year. The rate of growth in India is two times higher than the global average. Growth will be driven by a wave of low-cost Android and Microsoft models for prepaid users from companies like Samsung, Micromax and Nokia. More details can be viewed by clients in this published report, which forecasts worldwide smartphone sales for 88 countries globally, including India, China, US and others.