Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

December 19, 2014 01:38 lsui

According to the latest report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services, Android forks will capture 31% of global smartphone sales in 2015, up from 29% in 2013.

China is the key market for Android forks, but India and other emering markets are posied to be new marketplaces for Android forks.

Android forks might challenge Andorid One program by Google in emering markets.

WSS clients please click here to access the full report.

December 16, 2014 21:23 lsui

Following the success of Mate 7, the 6 inch premium tier model from Huawei, the Chinese company has launched two more phablet models yesterday in Beijing : Honor 6 Plus and Honor Changwan 4X.

Honor 6 Plus comes with 5.5 inch 1080P display, triple 8 megapixel cameras (one front and two rear), TD-LTE / FDD-LTE Cat 6 chipset, dual-SIM, as well as 3600mAh battery. The full retail price is RMB 1999 and above (US$ 322 and above).

Honor Changwan (畅玩) is a new sub-brand under Honor targetting mid tier Qianyuanji market. Changwan 4X features 5.5 inch 720P display, dual cameras, TD-LTE / FDD-LTE, as well as dual-SIM cards. The full retail price is RMB 799 and above (US$ 129 and above).

Both models are powered by Huawei own Kirin chipsets (925 and 620 for 6 Plus and 4X respectively).

The launch of the two phablets will help Huawei to enhance the position in this fast-growing segment in 1H 2015, key competitors Samsung, Xiaomi, Meizu, OPPO, Vivo would have to face neck-to-neck competition from Huawei. Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) tracked phablet (with display of 5.0 inch and above) models volume posted over 200% growth in 2014, mainly taking place in Asia Pacific. We estiamte Asia Pacific contribute to over 70% of global phablet smartphone volumes this year.



October 15, 2014 00:35 lsui

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services tracked Mozilla's Firefox phone has been available in more than 20 countries across Europe, Central Latin American and Asia by Q3 2014. Espedially in India, the third largest smartphone market, a couple of Indian OEMs, including Spice and Intex, have launched Firefox phones targetting low tier and ultra low cost segment. We forecast entry tier and ultra low cost smartphones (with wholesale price of US$ 99 and below) will make up nealy half of total smartphone volumes in Indian in 2015. Android based smartphones are currently dominating low cost segments in emering markets. Firefox low cost smartphones would intensify the competition and grab grand from Android.

However, compared with the leading position of Android, Firefox still has a long way to go. In Q2 2014, our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services estiamted Firefox only took 0.1% volume share in global smartphone market, while Android reached a new record of 85%. It will take time for Firefox to ramp up in global smartphone market, but with extened OEM and operator partners in more markets, it is well-positioned to fule futher growth in the foreseeable future.


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.


September 20, 2014 06:20 lsui

According to the latest report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service: Global Smartphone Sales Forecast for 88 Countries : 2007 to 2020, global smartphone sales will grow +13% in 2015, offseting the slowdown in feature phones.

Asia Pacific will remain the growth driver, accounting for half of global volumes in 2015. China and US will remain the largest smartphone sales countries through 2015. India will surpass the US to become the 2nd larget market by 2019. Central Latin America and Africa Middle East will see strong smartphone growth through 2020 and play a role as a new growth engine for the global market.

The world's top 20 countries will account for 8 in 10 of global smartphone volumes in 2015.

September 15, 2014 22:47 lsui

Google unveiled three new smartphones based on the previously announced Android One program at an event in New Delhi, India, on September 15th, 2014.

The 3 new models are the Spice One Dream UNO Mi-498, Micromax Canvas A1 and Karbonn Sparkle V. They are all based on the Android One platform (KitKat) and come with the Google Play Store preinstalled.

Our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service forecasts Android One to account for 1% of global smartphone sales in 2014. It is a niche-but-growing program for superphone vendors to target the "next billion" users in emerging markets.

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.

September 3, 2014 01:33 lsui

According to a new report from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service -- Value Share : Global Smartphone Revenue and ASP by Vendor by Price-Tier : Q2 2014 -- Lenovo became the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume in the entry-tier category in the second quarter of 2014. This is a first for the company.

However, we note the vast majority of Lenovo's smartphone shipments are generated in its home market of China. Outside China, Lenovo remains a tiny second-tier smartphone brand at the moment.

More analysis of Lenovo and smartphone shipments by price-tier can be viewed by clients here.

August 8, 2014 06:03 lsui

According to the latest report from our Wireless Smartphone Strateiges (WSS) services : Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare by Region : Q2 2014, Chinese brands take 6 of top 10 spots. Samsung and Apple take the top 2 positions, while Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi take the rest 3 spots in our top 5 list. Coolpad, ZTE and TCL-Alcatel rank No. 7, No. 8 and No. 10 respectively.

Xiaomi, TCL-Alcatel, Huawei and Motorola were the star performers among top brands this quarter, growing way above the industry average rate.

Chinnese vendors now account for an impressive 6 of top 10 spots in our global smartphone rankings. We are moving into the "Chinese decade".

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.