Vertu no more

Imagine paying more than S$34,000 for a phone? Well, it’s hard to imagine that kind of price tag for mortals who already consider the Google Pixel, iPhone and Samsung S8 expensive.

It’s not surprising then that the luxury phone brand Vertu has breathed its last. Established by then mobile phone giant Nokia in 1998, the British manufacturer was acquired by Turkish businessman Murat Hakan Uzan this March. However, Vertu still struggled financially and is shutting down.

Vertu was renowned for producing hand-made phones made with expensive materials such as gold, leather and diamond.

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360-degree camera demand to rise

abi researchWhat was popularised by Google Earth is now easily available and affordable for consumers. That is the 360-degree camera, of course.

Demand for such cameras is expected to surge among prosumers and professionals.  ABI Research expects professional grade cameras and mid-tier, prosumer 360-degree cameras to hit nearly two million shipments by 2021, with consumer 360-degree cameras to top four million by the same year.

“The most prominent force driving 360-degree video content and hardware is virtual reality (VR). And though VR has been experiencing a period of content starvation due to its novelty, small early install base, and the high cost of premium VR, support from major content platforms will lessen this for 360-degree video,” said Eric Abbruzzese, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.

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Attached rate of factory installed car navigation units to rise to 38% in 2019

abi researchOnce a luxury item, embedded in-car navigation systems are now increasingly becoming less expensive and are offered in mass-market cars. At the same time, more and more car navigation units are becoming connected and multi-functional as they converge with other technologies in the car.

The attachment of embedded in-dash factory installed navigation units is expected to increase from 22 percent at the end of 2013 to 38 percent by 2019, according to ABI Reseach. This represents a compounded annual growth rate of 13.6 percent.

“However, this growth will be eclipsed by the number of smartphone-based navigation devices used in the car, particularly off-board devices, where navigation is performed in the cloud as opposed to on the device,” said Gareth Owen, Principal Analyst of ABI Research, which forecasts that shipment of handset-based navigation services will reach 1.68 billion globally by 2019.

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Large screen smartphones gaining popularity

CanalysThe numbers are clear. Big is getting more popular. Large screen smart phones (five-inch and above) accounted for 22 percent of the quarter billion smartphones shipped in Q3. This is the highest number ever and translates to a staggering 56 million units.

Samsung is the dominant player in the large screen segment. Breaking this down further, 66 percent of the 56 million smart phones had a five-inch display, 31 percent had screens between five and six inches while just three percent had six-inch or larger screens.

According to Canalys, the smartphone market grew 44 percent year-on-year in Q3. The top two vendors, Samsung and Apple, maintained their positions, with market shares of 34 percent and 15 percent respectively. Huawei, Lenovo and LG completed the top five.

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Nokia redefines zoom with Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020In an effort to make an impact in the smartphone market, Nokia seems to be banging the camera feature. Boasting a second generation 41 megapixel sensor, the new Nokia Lumia 1020 reinvents zoom, delivering more details than the eye can see so people can take photos first and frame later.

With Nokia’s innovative PureView technology and a new application called Nokia Pro Camera, it claims to be able to produce some of the sharpest images possible by any digital camera. Nokia Pro Camera makes it easy to capture, edit and share photos and videos.

The Nokia Lumia 1020’s 41 megapixel sensor features ZEISS optics with six physical lenses, plus optical image stabilisation. It also captures blur free videos with stereo sound even at the loudest concerts thanks to Nokia Rich Recording, which handles sound pressure levels six times louder than conventional smartphone microphones.

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Gartner: APAC led mobile phone growth in Q1

GartnerThe Asia-Pacific region grew 6.4 percent year-on-year in Q1 mobile phone sales, the only region in the world to register growth, according to Gartner.

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totalled nearly 426 million units this period, only a slight increase of 0.7 percent from the same period last year. Worldwide smartphone sales hit 210 million units in the first quarter of 2013, up 42.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

“More than 226 million mobile phones were sold to end users in Asia-Pacific in the first quarter of 2013, which helped the region increase its share of global mobile phones to 53.1 percent year-on-year,” said Anshul Gupta, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner. “In addition, China saw its mobile phone sales increase 7.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013, and its sales represented 25.7 percent of global mobile phone sales, up nearly 2 percentage points year-on-year.

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Gartner: Worldwide sales of mobile phones declined 3% in Q3

Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6 percent of total mobile phone sales, as smartphone sales increased 46.9 percent from the third quarter of 2011.

While the mobile phone market declined year-on-year, Gartner analysts said there were positive signs for the industry during the third quarter.

“After two consecutive quarter of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak. In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter.”

Smartphones continued to fuel sales of mobile phones worldwide with sales rising to 169.2 million units in the third quarter of 2012. The smartphone market was dominated by Apple and Samsung. “Both vendors together controlled 46.5 percent of smartphone market leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot,” said Mr. Gupta.

Nokia slipped from No. 3 in the second quarter of 2012 to No. 7 in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012. RIM moved to the No. 3 spot with HTC not far behind, at No. 4. “Both HTC and RIM have seen their sales declining in past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings in coming quarters,” added Mr. Gupta.

While seasonality in the fourth quarter of 2012 will help end-of-year mobile phone sales to end users, Gartner analysts said that there will be a lower-than-usual boost from the holiday season. Consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets like tablets, as more attractive presents.

Samsung’s mobile phones sales continued to accelerate, totaling almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (see Table 1), up 18.6 percent year-on-year. Samsung saw strong demand for Galaxy smartphones across different price points, and it further widened the gap with Apple in the smartphone market, selling 55 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012. It commanded 32.5 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2012.

Table 1

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 3Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Company 3Q12Units 3Q12 Market Share (%) 3Q11Units 3Q11 Market Share (%)
Samsung 97,956.8 22.9 82,612.2 18.7
Nokia 82,300.6 19.2 105,353.5 23.9
Apple 23,550.3 5.5 17,295.3 3.9
ZTE 16,654.2 3.9 14,107.8 3.2
LG Electronics 13,968.8 3.3 21,014.6 4.8
Huawei Device 11,918.9 2.8 10,668.2 2.4
TCL Communication 9,326.7 2.2 9,004.7 2.0
Research in Motion 8,946.8 2.1 12,701.1 2.9
Motorola 8,562.7 2.0 11,182.7 2.5
HTC 8,428.6 2.0 12,099.9 2.7
Others 146,115.1 34.2 145,462.2 32.9
Total 427,729.5 100.0 441,502.2 100.0

Source: Gartner (November 2012)

Nokia’s mobile phone sales declined 21.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012, but overall sales at 82.3 million were better than Gartner’s early estimate, largely driven by increased sales of the Asha full touch range. Nokia had a particularly bad quarter with smartphone sales, and it tumbled to the No. 7 worldwide position with 7.2 million smartphones sold in the third quarter. The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, although it won’t be until 2013 to see a significant improvement in Nokia’s position.

Apple’s sales to end users totaled 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 36.2 percent year-on-year. “We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Mr. Gupta. With iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter of 2012, including China, and the upcoming holiday season Gartner analysts expect Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter.

In the smartphone market, Android continued to increase its market share, up 19.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2012. Although RIM lost market share, it climbed to the No. 3 position as Symbian is nearing the end of its lifecycle. There was also channel destocking in preparation of new device launches for RIM, which resulted into 8.9 million sales to end users in the third quarter of 2012. With the launch of iPhone 5, Gartner analysts expect iOS share will grow strongly in the fourth quarter of 2012 because users held on to their replacements in many markets ahead of the iPhone 5 wider roll out. Windows Phone’s share weakened year-on-year as the Windows Phone 8 launch dampened demand of Windows Phone 7 devices.

Table 2

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Operating System in 3Q12 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System 3Q12Units 3Q12 Market Share (%) 3Q11Units 3Q11 Market Share (%)
Android 122,480.0 72.4 60,490.4 52.5
iOS 23,550.3 13.9 17,295.3 15.0
Research In Motion 8,946.8 5.3 12,701.1 11.0
Bada 5,054.7 3.0 2,478.5 2.2
Symbian 4,404.9 2.6 19,500.1 16.9
Microsoft 4,058.2 2.4 1,701.9 1.5
Others 683.7 0.4 1,018.1 0.9
Total 169,178.6 100.0 115,185.4 100.0

Source: Gartner (November 2012)

Additional information can be found in the Gartner report “Market Share: Mobile Phones by Region and Country, 3Q12.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2236115.