Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

September 18, 2014 12:03 nmawston

According to new research from our Country Share Tracker (CST) service, the Xiaomi Redmi was the world's 4th best-selling smartphone by volume in Q2 2014. The impressive performance (re)confirms how big the China market has become, and how powerful the Chinese brands are becoming (e.g. Huawei, Lenovo, TCL-A, ZTE, etc.). More analysis and data, of global smartphone shipments by MODEL for Q2 2014, can be downloaded by clients here.


September 9, 2014 22:28 lsui

As expected, the newly launched Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus did NOT contain many surprises, as some features (size and NFC etc.) had already leaked before. However, there are a few things missing that caught the attention of analysts in our WSS (Smartphones) research service:

1. No 32GB version for both models. Now, 64GB has filled the position of 32GB, and Apple futher extended this with a 128GB version. Apple is not the first vendor to launch a 128GB version (e.g. Meizu MX3 128GB), but we believe the cheaper 16GB version will still make up a big chunk of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus volumes. Meanwhile, the 64GB and 128GB models will, of course, help Apple to maintain a higher-pricing position;

2. The rumored sapphire crystal display did not come true with the new iPhones. Instead, Apple adopted it into the Apple Watch, a small-screen device. We suspect manufaturing capacity might be a key reason for Apple not adopting a sapphire display in its new iPhones;

3. Not LTE Cat 6 powered. The iPhone 5 and 5s were powered with LTE Cat 3 chipsets, and some expected new iPhones to have Cat 6, the most advanced 4G chipset, allowing 300Mbps downlink rate. However, it has ended up that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus only support 150Mbps Cat 4 category;

4. Camera function did not make a major improvement. Since the iPhone 4S, Apple has not significantly enhanced the camera function. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still feature an 8-megapixel camera, and it is not supporting 4K video-catpure. Apple is lagging here on these tech specs;

5. China (mainland) is not on the first 9-country list. Different from last year, China is NOT on the first 9-country list at launch. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be available in US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong on September 19th, 2014. We suspect China clamping down on the iPhone in the government sector may have caused the change. This could become a serious challenge for Apple.


July 17, 2014 18:25 nmawston

According to our WSS (Smartphones) research service, BlackBerry smartphone shipments fell sharply worldwide during Q2 2014. The Canadian vendor continued to struggle in all regions worldwide. However, cost-cutting and inventory destocking helped BlackBerry to trim its financial losses to the lowest level for over a year. A partnership with Amazon Appstore also improved its services portfolio and there are tentative signs that BlackBerry may finally stabilize in the second half of this year.


July 1, 2014 23:40 swaltzer

Subscribers can now view the replay and slides of our recent webinar on Strategy Analytics' newly upgraded My Dashboards ToolSee how Strategy Analytics’ upgraded Devices 'Dashboards' provide you with the data you need on the global handset and smartphone markets. Our 'dashboard' is an online, customizable pivot-table and charting tool. The new and powerful tool provides the ability to access, visualize, export, and create bookmarks of custom-cuts of our most popular market tracking and forecasting datasets. The Webinar introduced 'Dashboards' and taught you how to get the most out of our upgraded 'MyDashboards' tool.


June 10, 2014 15:50 lsui

At the breakout session today -- in ZTE's annual analyst event in China -- the keywords are online channel and voice interaction.

Like many other Chinese vendors, ZTE has emphasized the critical role that online distribution channels play in branding equity enhancement. For instance, all of its three 4G models recently launched focus on online channels by working with big Chinese e-tailers, such as JD and T-Mall. ZTE targets that 20% of total smartphone sales this year will go via the online channel. Interestingly, offline and online is not completely exclusive. In contrast, as we have seen from Xiaomi, ZTE also tries to leverage online resources to do branding, and blur the boundary between the two to bring more online models to offline channels to generate volumes. For example, it plans to open up over hundreds of Nubia physical stores this year to enhance the penetration into offline channels.

ZTE showcased more voice-recognition usages today, such as voice-print unlocking, voice navigation, etc. ZTE claims the voice-recognition rate has improved to over 90% with its own technology by working with Nuance and other technical partners. Moreover, it will adopt more voice-interaction functions by integrating it with ZTE's own UI-MiFavor 3.0 later this year.  We like the idea very much, but it remains to be seen how users / consumers will embrace it or not -- the industry might need a more influential American player, such as Apple, to make voice-recognition adoption more widely available.

Something missing today from the session was the topic of LTE-Advanced -- it was not really covered. It is also surprising that ZTE confirmed they will adopt their own chipset mainly in modem products -- rather than their own smartphones -- in the short term, making us suspect it might still need time to improve and optimize the chipset products for cellphones.


May 27, 2014 15:25 nmawston

According to recent research from our WSS (Smartphones) analysis service, some 231 million Android smartphones were shipped worldwide in Q1 2014. Samsung remains the clear number one hardware vendor for Google’s platform. However, among the tier-two brands, there is a growing wave of Chinese players picking up marketshare, led by Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi. What can other rivals, such as Sony or LG, do about it? Clients can read additional data in this published report.


April 23, 2014 09:50 lsui

There are over three hundred analysts worldwide attending Huawei's Global Analyst Summit, held from April 23 to 25 in Shenzhen, China. Our analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service also joined the event.

The key theme of day one is about the overall corporate performance review and strategy outlook. Clearly, operator business still makes up the lion’s share of overall revenue, but the enterprise business and consumer business have been growing faster in 2013. Geographically, China contributed to 35% of total revenue in 2013, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America also saw healthy growth. In contrast, North American performance remains lackluster and posted year-over-year decline last year. Company overall profitability improved.

For the smartphone business, in which Huawei ranked the third largest vendor worldwide in 2013, according to this report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Huawei reiterated its commitment to the smartphone business but indicated it will shift focus from volume growth towards sustainable growth and profitability. Compared with the two giants Apple and Samsung, the operating profit margin on Huawei's handset business was still quite slim in 2013. Our Wireless Device Strategies (WDS) service tracks the top 12 handset vendors' value and profitability figures on a quarterly basis in this report.

Looking forward, Huawei's consumer business needs to identify its own way to fulfill its growth target, rather than sometimes copycatting other players’ strategies (e.g. Xiaomi’s online distribution, or Samsung’s vertically integrated model, etc.). To avoid a price-war and further improve profitability, it seems, is the keyword for Huawei's global smartphone business in 2014.

 

 


April 16, 2014 14:44 nmawston

According to a new report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone wholesale (trade) revenues will grow +21% over the next 7 years. Increasing smartphone volumes will be partly offset by decreasing average selling prices (ASP), 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 extensive published report, available to clients, forecasts global smartphone sales volume, revenues and wholesale average selling prices (ASP) by 6 major regions and 8 price-tiers from 2003 to 2020. Extensive analysis of the premium, high, mid, entry and ultra-low price-bands is included. The report is a valuable tool for device vendors, operators, component manufacturers, software developers, financial analysts, car makers, and other stakeholders who want to measure the smartphone market by value and benchmark their pricing strategies.


April 4, 2014 19:04 khyers

Taiwan’s HTC has released the M8, its latest flagship smartphone and successor to the One which won numerous Phone of the Year awards in 2013.  The M8 appears well positioned to bag a number of similar awards for 2014, but will near-universal acclaim be enough to drive sales?  This published report – available for clients – identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the M8 and what HTC needs to do in order to drive sales of its latest flagship device.


March 19, 2014 17:26 sbicheno

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, Chinese vendor Oppo is choosing to address the Android smartphone differentiation challenge by attempting to beat its competitors to the most cutting-edge specs. The Find 7, launched today, claims the ability to take 50MP images as its signature USP. The device itself has a 13MP sensor for its main camera, but takes a burst of images and uses software to combine them into a 50MP shot. The ultimate function of such a feature is similar to the post-processing capability enabled by the 41MP sensor in the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Other notable high-end specs in the Find 7 include one of the first QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) screens in this 5.5-inch phablet and 4K video recording at 30fps. All this is supported by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC and quick-charging technology. Oppo has so far offered little further information bar the marketing video below, but our WSS service thinks it’s significant that the latest company to attempt to raise the smartphone spec bar services primarily the Chinese market.


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