Razer’s first smartphone will be available for pre-order in Singapore on November 23.
When WhatsApp was down for a few hours last Friday (November 3), Facebook timelines were filled with panic posts by people unable to communicate on WhatsApp. Snapchat is reported to be down at the point of writing and again, there is frenzy over the outage. Continue reading “5 things to do when your social media platform is down”
The launch of the iPhone 8 and drop of prices of older models have helped Apple turn in a sterling quarter in China, with shipment rising 40 percent to 11 million units this Q3.
By Edward Lim
It’s official. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is my longest lasting phone. After 30 months, I’ve finally moved on to another smartphone — the Google Pixel (I’ll share more about this in another post).
Why have I decided to keep the Edge for so long? Well, there are several reasons:
- My daughter bought it for me in December 2014.
- My phone was working perfectly fine. Slower yes but fine.
- There was no compelling reason to upgrade to any phone throughout this period, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 issue notwithstanding.
Just like I shared “5 reasons why I like the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge” three months after I had it, let me share my 30 months’ experience with what I think is a wonderful device.
- It makes a marvellous talking point. Even when newer smartphones with curved edges came out, people were still asking me about the Edge and its unique one-sided curve. Talk about longevity!
- It has replaceable battery, something some of the competing top-of-the-line range lack.
- Simple adding of storage when needed. Despite been a fairly heavy user, particularly of photos, I never found storage space a problem. When I needed more space, I just swapped to a higher capacity micro SD card.
The downside of prolonged usage is the same as other devices. The Note Edge did slow down considerably with each software upgrade. The most noticeable was the activation of the camera function. It takes a while to load, resulting in many missed photo opportunities.
Other challenges with owning a Note Edge is the lack of good screen protectors. I paid for a supposedly good one but the protector just couldn’t stick well onto the curved portion. There is also the lack of choices of phone covers/cases.
Overall, I was very pleased with the smartphone. It’s been a great companion throughout the past 30 months. Best of all, it survived numerous trips around the world without a single scratch on the screen — and without a screen protector in place!
A slew of demand for semiconductors is helping the industry to hit a targeted 7.2 percent growth to hit US$338 billion this year.
Apple and Samsung are among the many IT vendors that have unleashed new products in recent months, spurring the growth in the semiconductor market.
“Semiconductor revenue set an all-time record in the third quarter of 2014, fueled by a strong electronics build for the holiday season. Get ready for a flood of new product introductions, ranging from simple low-cost tablets to high-end ultramobiles and smartphones. Demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been robust, but there is concern for other types of devices planned for the holidays,” said Jon Erensen, Research Director of Gartner.
Android once again dominated Q1 shipment for smartphone advanced operating systems with 80 percent market share (including AOSP) of just under 300 million smartphones shipped, according to ABI Research.
“Interestingly, basic mobile phones lost five percent market share and Android picked up almost all of these users, suggesting Android is set to gain almost all of the billions of mobile subscribers still upgrading to smartphones. Certainly, Android looks set to completely dominate the high growth developing markets and increase its market share still further,” said Nick Spencer, Senior Practice Director of Mobile Devices at ABI Research.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone continued its steady progress with 16 percent sequential growth and an increase of one percent in market share. “Microsoft Windows Phone is currently the only viable third ecosystem. BlackBerry has faded on all fronts (BlackBerry 10 and OS) and while Firefox remains a potential low-cost challenger, it has yet to make any significant impact,” added Spencer.
High ownership of smartphones, tablets and phablets in Hong Kong have been positively impacting sales of complementary products such as headphones and headsets, as well as mini-speakers, according to GfK.
The surge in audio accessories sales come at the back of consumers’ fixation with smart mobile devices, having spent more than US$4.2 billion on nearly 8.4 million units of such devices in the past 12 months.
The combined market of headphones, headsets and mini-speakers generated nearly US$77 million in the last one year, reflecting a 10 percent surge over a year ago. While sales revenue for headphones and headsets expanded by nine percent, mini-speakers sold 83 percent more in volume and raked in additional 32 percent in sales dollar.
Looks like interest in the Xiaomi Redmi smartphone is very high. Just six days after its debut sold out in Singapore, another batch of the smartphones was wiped out in just six minutes.
While irate netizens are upset that they missed out on the S$169 phone, those who successfully ordered last week received their new devices and the response has been good. Besides the good value (without contract too!), the China-made smartphone looks and feels great, and is packed with what most would expect, plus dual-SIM capability.
Xiaomi has done it again! In its initial foray into Singapore, all its Redmi phones were sold out online in eight minutes — after it went on sale at noon today.
At S$169, and without contract too, the phone is reasonably priced and a major draw. Needless to say, Facebook was filled with postings of those who were left disappointed. Some even questioned whether this was a marketing gimmick.
Let’s wait for the company for the official figures.
With a focus on delivering a superior user experience, ZTE will launch the ultra slim Grand Memo II LTE with six-inch screen, one of the first Firefox OS 1.3 devices, the ZTE Open C and its brand new user interface MiFavor 2.3 at Mobile World Congress.
“This year, we are looking to work even more closely with our customers worldwide to develop the products they want and deliver a superior customer experience. They have told us that they want ever more innovative and high-performance products, so at MWC 2014 we are delivering this with the launch of two new high-profile devices, the ultra slim Grand Memo II LTE with six- inch screen and the ZTE Open C in partnership with Mozilla and Telefonica,” said Adam Zeng, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices and Executive Vice President of ZTE.
ZTE will also be showcasing its award-winning range of mobile devices throughout the show including the Grand S II flagship smartphone, the popular ZTE Blade series, and the Nubia series including the brand new Nubia 5S and Nubia 5S mini which in December outsold all other phones including those from Apple, Samsung and Nokia at trusted online store Jingdong.com.
More than just smartphones, it will also exhibit the award-winning ZTE Projector Hotspot (a mini projector and Wi-Fi hotspot in one) and the ZTE Grand Watch Smart Watch at Mobile World Congress. Alongside the new products, ZTE will also launch its brand new UI MiFavor 2.3 which will provide a superior experience for ZTE mobile users.
Global shipment of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles, and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner.
Among the operating system (OS) market, Android is on pace to surpass one billion users across all devices in 2014. By 2017, more than 75 percent of Android’s volumes will come from emerging markets.
“The device market continues to evolve, with buyers deciding which combination of devices is required to meet their wants and needs. Mobile phones are a must have and will continue to grow but at a slower pace, with opportunities moving away from the top-end premium devices to mid-end basic products,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director at Gartner. “Meanwhile users continue to move away from the traditional PC (notebooks and desk-based) as it becomes more of a shared content creation tool, while the greater flexibility of tablets, hybrids and lighter notebooks address users’ increasingly different demands.”
ZTE’s boutique smartphone brand nubia has received 2.5 million orders for the Z5S and Z5S mini on JD.com as consumers in China.
The response to Z5S, priced at RMB1,999, and Z5S mini, priced at RMB1,499, surpassed a sales record previously set by Xiaomi. The two new smartphones were designed using consumer feedback garnered by nubia and JD.com in a C2B (consumer to business) approach to deliver a customer-defined user experience. Z5S and Z5S mini take nubia’s strengths in smartphone photography to a new level, becoming the first phones in China to offer the optical image stabiliser feature.
The new NEOVISION 3.0 system on Z5S and Z5S mini bring the feature of independent white-balance to smartphone users in China for the first time, after nubia pioneered independent focus and independent light-metering. The advanced imaging technology offered on Z5S and Z5S mini have earned the new handsets the moniker of “Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) Smartphones.” In addition, nubia’s industry-leading photography technology is now available for beta downloads (nubia Camera) by users of other handset manufacturers.
Southeast Asia consumers bought 41.5 million smartphones, spending US$10.8 billion in the first three quarters of this year, according to GfK Asia.
Indonesia led the way with sale of 14.8 million smartphones worth more than USS3.33 billion. Thailand and Malaysia were next with 7.2 million and 6.4 million units sold respectively. However, in terms of smartphone sales revenue, the ranking of these two countries are switched with Malaysia garnering US$2.25 billion while Thailand raked in US$1.96 billion in January to September.
“The increasing affordability of smartphones, particularly in the developing markets is helping many consumers in these countries make the switch from their basic feature phones to own their very first smartphone,” said Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital Technology of GfK Asia. “It is worth highlighting the significant milestone of September being the month whereby sales penetration reached the halfway mark; where one in every two mobile handsets purchased in the region is now a smartphone.”
Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass one billion units in 2013, representing 39.3 percent growth over 2012, according to a recently published mobile phone forecast from IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Despite a number of mature markets nearing smartphone saturation, the demand for low-cost computing in emerging markets continues to drive the smartphone market forward. By 2017, total smartphone shipments are expected to approach 1.7 billion units, resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.4 percent from 2013 to 2017.
While shipment has gone up, the average selling price (ASP) has seen a steady decline. Android has enabled a number of new manufacturers to enter the smartphone market supported by a variety of turnkey processing solutions. Many of these handset vendors have focused on low-cost devices as a way to build brand awareness.
In four years’ time, your smartphone may be smarter than you. It will be able to predict your next move, next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows, according to Gartner. This insight will be performed based on an individual’s data gathered using cognizant computing — the next step in personal cloud computing.
“Mobile phones have turned into smartphones thanks to two things: technology and apps,” Carolina Milanesi, Research Vice President of Gartner. “Technology has added features such as cameras, locations and sensors, while apps have connected those to an array of functions that, for the most part, add and improve our day to day life from a social, knowledge, entertainment and productivity point of view.”
What smartphones can do through apps has improved and broadened thanks to the personal cloud. “We assume that apps will acquire knowledge over time and get better with improved predictions of what users need and want, with data collection and response happening in real-time,” she added.
Several trends are affecting the market for mobile device semiconductors. Two have been the shift towards multi-core application processors and the addition of x86 and MIPS to what used to be purely an ARM play. Two newer trends are the addition of heterogeneous processing functionality and 64-bit processors for mobile devices, according to ABI Research.
The trend towards more integrated platforms is the most crucial because the revenue of standalone components is folding into integrated platforms and the revenue for mobile device semiconductors lie with the higher cost components – mostly the application processor.
While the shift from standalone components to integrated platforms is drastic over the next five years in terms of shipments, this shift is even more radical in terms of revenue. From 2013 to 2018, the share of integrated platforms compared to all application processors in terms of shipments will jump from 46 percent to 79 percent while the revenue shares of the same will be higher. Smartphone application processor (integrated and standalone) revenue as a percentage of total mobile device semiconductor revenue for the major components will increase from 71 percent in 2013 to 89 percent in 2018.
Lower-priced devices are driving the growth of worldwide combined shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones in 2013, according to Gartner. The global devices market is expected to hit 2.32 billion units, a 4.5 percent increase from 2012.
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs (desk-based and notebook) are forecast to total 303 million units in 2013, an 11.2 percent decline from 2012, and the PC market, including ultramobiles, is forecast to drop 8.4 percent. Mobile phone shipments are projected to grow 3.7 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.
Tablet shipments are expected to grow 42.7 percent this year, with shipments reaching 184 million units. Premium tablets are faced with continued price decline in the 7-inch form factor as a larger number of consumers prefer smaller form factors when it comes to content consumption.
The HTC One has gotten a bigger brother — the 5.9-inch HTC One max. Just like the recently launched Apple iPhone 5S, the new smartphone has a fingerprint scan feature. Located on the back of the device, the fingerprint scanner allows users to lock or unlock the screen and quickly launch up to three favourite applications by assigning an individual finger to each.
With a larger and full HD1080p display, users can better enjoy photos, videos and movies. Driving the smartphone is the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor featuring a quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU.
The 16GB or 32GB onboard memory can be expanded with the microSD card slot, and with up to 65GB of Google Drive storage free for two years offered to HTC One max owners. Continue reading “HTC One upsized”
The ANZ mobile phone market has dropped by five percent quarter-over-quarter and over 20 percent year-over-year, according to IDC.
More than 2.6 million devices were shipped in Q2, a contraction that is mainly attributed to the declining feature phone segment in which shipments fell by over 45 percent compared to last year. What was shocking was the slight decline in smartphones shipments during the period.
Despite the quarter witnessing some notable product launches such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4, smartphones shipments saw a marginal fall compared to the previous quarter.
Smart watches may well provide the biggest opportunity for flexible displays in the short term, according to ABI Research.
A number of new smart watch vendors have incorporated some form of flexible display technology to maximise the screen size of the small device. Most of the digital smart watches and other fitness and health wearable devices will incorporate a flexible display over the next 18 months due to the robust and rugged characteristics of the displays.
Furthermore, flexible displays or e-ink displays could be used as secondary displays on smartphones and media tablets. Phablets are predicted to be a key application for secondary displays — it is anticipated that more than six percent of annual phablet shipments could include the display type in 2015.
China’s mobile phone shipments reached 110 million in Q2, with smartphones accounting for 86 million units, according to IDC.
“The smartphone market has maintained a two-digit quarter-on-quarter growth rate in Q2 due to two reasons. First, the substantial shipments of low-end smartphones at a unit price of less than RMB800 that support China Mobile’s 3G network. Second, the shipments prepared by mobile phone vendors to meet the market demands of students during the summer vacation,” said Antonio Wang, Associate Director for Client System Research, Imaging, Printing & Document Solution Research, Research Operation Center, IDC China.
“The sharp increase in shipments of low-end China Mobile smartphones has driven the growth of Lenovo and Coolpad. On a separate note, affected by the sluggish sales of iPhone 5, Apple’s market share has declined dramatically, but its performance is expected to remarkably improve with the launch of the new iPhone,” said James Yan, Senior Analyst for China Mobile Phone Market, IDC China.
Blackberry has agreed to be sold to Fairfax Financial Holdings for US$4.7 billion.
Fairfax, which already owns around 10 percent of BlackBerry, will pay US$9 per share for Blackberry, and take the company private. However, the deal is not done yet as Fairfax can walk away any time under the terms of the agreement.
“Unless Fairfax plans to radically change or accelerate BlackBerry’s strategy, it’s unlikely to be able to turn the company around. And that means we’re likely seeing the beginning of the end for one of the most iconic brands in mobile technology,” said Jan Dawson, Chief Telecoms Analyst of Ovum.
To most people around the world, Coolpad, Lenovo and Xiaomi don’t quite ring a bell when it comes to smartphones. But, in China, these three Chinese smartphone OEMs outsold Apple in Q2, according to ABI Research.
Only Samsung managed to hold its own but snaring a 17 percent market share. Lenovo was next with 13 percent, Coolpad with 10 percent and Xiaomi edged out Apple with 6.5 percent.
“Even though these OEMs are only selling into the Chinese market, the size of the market has allowed them to achieve shipment volumes that place these OEMs in the top 12 globally. It is not hard to imagine these OEMs as global competitors within the next two years,” said Michael Morgan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.
Tablets and smartphone shipment will continue to drive growth in 2013, according to IDC, which expects tablet shipment to surpass total PC shipment (desktop plus portable PCs) in Q4. The worldwide smart connected device market, comprising PCs, tablets, and smartphones, is forecast to grow 27.8 percent year over year in 2013, slightly lower than the 30.3 percent growth in 2012.
PCs shipment is still expected to be greater than tablet shipment for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69 percent of all smart connected device shipments worldwide.
In terms of shipment value, the worldwide smart connected device market will again exhibit double-digit year-over-year growth of 10.6 percent in 2013, but this growth will gradually slow to just 3.1 percent in 2017. The tapering revenue forecast reflects the increasing impact of low-cost smartphones and the white box tablet market.
One billion smartphones are expected to be shipped this year, helping the global mobile phone market to rebound from just 1.2 percent growth in 2012 to 7.3, percent in 2013, according to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
The overall mobile phone market is growing faster than previously forecast thanks to a stronger-than-expected first half of the year driven by strong gains in emerging markets and the sub-US$200 smartphone segment. IDC previously projected 5.8 percent growth for the year. Vendors are now forecast to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017.
Worldwide smartphone shipment is forecast to grow 40.0 percent year over year to more than one billion units this year. High smartphone growth is the result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets, as well as a growing array of sub-US$200 smartphones. Total smartphone shipment is forecast to reach 1.7 billion units in 2017.
Android’s smartphone mobile app revenues are projected to reach almost US$6.8 billion by the end of 2013, nearly doubling its revenues from the previous year, according to ABI Research.
The Android platform has some way to go before catching iOS’s smartphone revenues but the smartphone app market will be Android’s most fruitful hunting ground compared to other devices.
ABI Research estimates that Android smartphone app revenues will increase from 59.1 percent to 65.9 percent when compared to iOS smartphone app revenues over the next 12 months.
Shipment of smartphones costing under US$200 are expected to grow from 238 million in 2013 to 758 million by 2018, driven by the low penetration of smartphones and large subscriber bases found in BRIC countries, according to ABI Research.
The low hanging fruit for low cost smartphones is to drive smartphone adoption in emerging markets where handset subsidisation and disposable income are scarce.
“Despite the low cost moniker, research has shown that the feature gap between low- and high-end smartphones is decreasing, making low cost smartphones a ‘good enough’ solution for price sensitive consumers in all markets,” said Michael Morgan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.
Reference design solutions from Qualcomm and Mediatek are permitting regional and Chinese OEMs to deliver dual and quad core smartphone solutions at or below US$200. White label and regional tier II smartphone OEMs are increasingly squeezing device margins to win on price and capture market share from tier I smartphone offerings. Low cost OEMs, such as Alcatel, CoolPad, Huawei, and ZTE are leveraging their increased market share to build brand recognition and move up market, putting pressure on the tier I OEMs to respond.
“We are increasingly seeing low cost smartphones appear as a solution for prepaid operators in developed markets. By 2018, ABI Research believes low cost smartphones will account for 44 percent of all smartphone shipments as the market looks to capture the next billion smartphone users.,” said Jeff Orr, Senior Practice Director at ABI Research.
Samsung and Apple grew smartphone shipment by 55 percent and 20 percent respectively to maintain first and second place in Q2, according to Canalys.
However, both lost market share to Chinese vendors as the top 5 China vendors (Lenovo, Yulong, Huawei, ZTE, and Xiaomi) now account for 20 percent of the market, up from less than 15 percent a year ago.
Altogether, some 238.1 million units were shipped in Q2, an impressive 50 percent year-on-year gain.
Samsung has a device for every price point, giving it leadership in all, bar one category — the high end where it faces Apple.
According to ABI Research’s Device Portal sales channel analysis, the balance of power remains with Samsung/Android and Apple and looks set to remain so in the foreseeable future.
“This leaves little room for the other vendors to compete, especially the other Android vendors and those using uncompetitive operating system ecosystems. Despite some carrier’s efforts to create a more balanced smartphone device vendor industry with their use of subsidy, ultimately they are obliged to fulfill consumer demand and at the moment that means Samsung/Android and Apple,” said Nick Spencer, Senior Practice Director of ABI Research.
ZTE has grabbed five percent of the global smartphone market, catapulting it into fourth worldwide, according to Strategy Analytics. The 11.5 million smartphones shipped in Q2 represented a 79 percent year-on-year increase.
The China smartphone maker will leverage its strengthening position to develop products focused on three key segments: 4G, high-end devices and phones based on newer platforms such as Intel chipsets and the Firefox operating system.
To fuel its development of high-performance products, ZTE plans to unveil its self-developed chipset to power 4G devices at the PT/EXPO COMM CHINA 2013 conference in Beijing in September. The ZTE chipset will be the first in the industry to attain 4G standards in communications and data throughput.