Wireless Smartphone Strategies

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

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).


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.

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.

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/iZIJlWGHU40?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



January 29, 2014 22:36 nmawston

Google today confirmed officially that it has sold off its Motorola smartphone business to Lenovo of China for US$3 billion. Much less than the US$12 billion Google paid for Motorola in 2012.

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, the combined entity of Lenovo and Motorola captured 6% share of global smartphone shipments in 2013.

As a result of this new deal -- assuming it is approved by US, Chinese and other authorities -- Lenovo-Motorola becomes instantly the world's 3rd largest smartphone vendor by volume, behind Samsung (32%) and Apple (15%).

For Lenovo, it is a good move. The Chinese vendor gets access to the valuable US smartphone market and the fast-growing Latin America region. This complements its existing global PC business.

For Motorola, it gains access to an ambitious sugar daddy that has a strong presence in the huge China market.

For Google, it divests a loss-making hardware division.

Companies that will be worried by the Lenovo-Motorola deal include Samsung, Apple, LG, Sony, Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, Coolpad, TCL-Alcatel and others.

Lenovo now has extra scale in smartphones and a seat near the top table. However, whether Lenovo can turnaround the long-struggling Motorola business, and what happens to the Motorola brand long-term, remain key questions that will need to be answered in the coming months.


January 27, 2014 23:24 khyers

According to the latest research from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent annually to reach a record 990 million units in 2013. Huawei, Lenovo and LG were the star performers, capturing a combined 14 percent marketshare worldwide and closing the gap on Apple.

Global smartphone shipments grew 34 percent annually from 217.0 million units in Q4 2012 to 290.2 million in Q4 2013. Global smartphone shipments for the full year were just shy of the 1 billion level, but they nonetheless reached a record 990.0 million units in 2013, increasing from 700.1 million in 2012. Global smartphone shipment growth decreased slightly from 43 percent in 2012 to 41% in 2013, due to high penetration in some major markets like the United States.

Samsung shipped a record 319.8 million smartphones worldwide and captured 32 percent marketshare in 2013. This was the largest number of units ever shipped by a smartphone vendor in a single year. Despite tough competition from a long tail of Chinese and American brands, Samsung continued to deliver numerous hit models, such as the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Apple grew a sluggish 13 percent annually and shipped 153.4 million smartphones worldwide for 15 percent marketshare in 2013, dipping from the 19 percent level recorded in 2012. Apple remains strong in the high-end smartphone segment, but a lack of presence in the low-end category is costing it lost volumes in fast-growing emerging markets such as India.

Samsung and Apple together accounted for almost half of all smartphones shipped worldwide in 2013. Large marketing budgets, extensive distribution channels and attractive product portfolios have enabled Samsung and Apple to maintain their grip on the smartphone industry. However, there is clearly now more competition coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei, LG and Lenovo each grew their smartphone shipments around two times faster than the global industry average and captured a combined 14 percent marketshare. Huawei is expanding swiftly in Europe, while LG’s Optimus range is proving popular in Latin America, and Lenovo’s Android models are selling at competitive price-points across China. Samsung and Apple will need to fight hard to hold off these and other hungry challengers during 2014.”

Exhibit 1: Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Market Share in Q4 2013   [1]

Global Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

Q4 '12


Q4 '13










































Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare  %

Q4 '12


Q4 '13










































Total Growth Year-over-Year %










Source: Strategy Analytics





The full report, Global Smartphone Shipments Reach a Record 990 Million Units in 2013, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here.


[1]  Numbers are rounded.

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.

January 15, 2014 16:56 nmawston

According to our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, global Microsoft smartphone sales will grow at a healthy clip in 2014. Microsoft will establish itself as the smartphone industry's 3rd ecosystem. However, Firefox OS, and even Tizen, will be among the fastest-growing operating systems and they will provide competition for the US giant.

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.

January 15, 2014 16:49 nmawston

Computer giant HP has a long history in the smartphone market, but with two previous failures behind it, the road back is not an easy one. Can HP be "third time lucky" in smartphones? What does it need to do to succeed?

This published report, available to clients of our Country Share Tracker (CST) service, identifies the geographies, product categories and price-tiers that will offer HP the best chance of success should it choose to re-enter the smartphone market once more in 2014.

January 9, 2014 19:25 khyers

A newly published report in our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service examines BlackBerry's most recent quarterly performance. BlackBerry continued to absorb body-blows in calendar Q4 2013, even as it took concrete steps to put the company back on a path towards recovery. From a huge loss for the handset business due to continued poor sales of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones to an inability to find a buyer who would take the company private, and finally, the replacement of senior executives including its CEO, the fourth quarter of the year capped what has by any measure been an awful year for the Canadian smartphone company. Despite the grim drumbeat of bad news, strategic changes announced by new CEO John Chen, including a partnership with contract manufacturer Foxconn, indicate that the company is making the kinds of difficult decisions that can stem the bleeding and lead the company to a second act as a maker of devices and services tailored to its core base of consumer and enterprise customers.  This published report available to download by clients, examines BlackBerry's current status and future prospects.

December 11, 2013 15:28 woh

It has recently been reported online that Nokia has been developing a smartphone, codenamed “Normandy”, which is based on the Android platform. We are not in a position to either confirm or deny these rumours, but if there is anything to them they would mark a remarkable change in strategy for Nokia, which committed 100% to Windows Phone as its sole smartphone platform almost three years ago. So we thought it would be interesting to explore the viability of such a move and ask why Nokia might consider it.

From one perspective, it fully makes sense that the Finnish vendor is trying to build its own Android devices to regain its losing market share in the low-cost handset segment, currently dominated by a lot of Android vendors including Samsung. Under the current circumstances Android is capturing more than 80% market share of all smartphones shipped during Q3 2013 identified in our published report from Wireless Smartphone Strategies, while even Nokia's Asha smart feature phone line-up, designed for low-tier handset markets, is being squeezed by increasingly cheap, but still app-rich Android devices. 

Our smartphone model tracking report for Q3 2013 forecasts Nokia's lower-priced WP-based Lumia 520 to be the most popular Nokia-branded smartphones, outselling most Asha-branded phones. This indicates that Nokia still has some market influence in the low-cost smartphone market with the appealing UI and Windows ecosystem in both emerging and developed markets. It’s possible that Nokia wants its "Normandy” to replace the role of Lumia 520 in the lower-tier markets, based on the low price, well-established Android ecosystems and Nokia's established skill in selling handsets.

Of course this is all speculation on a product that may not even exist, and even if it does it’s hard to imagine Microsoft continuing to develop an Android handset after its acquisition of Nokia’s devices business is complete. But as a vertical handset player Microsoft does need to find a way of increasing its smartphone market share. A if it’s struggling to scale Windows Phone down into the lower price-tiers it needs to find an alternative.