5 things to do when your social media platform is down

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”

Sweet quarter for Apple in China

iPhone 8
The iPhone 8 helped spur Apple’s growth in Q3.

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.

Continue reading “Sweet quarter for Apple in China”

Enter the gaming smartphone

Razer Phone
Play Final Fantasy XV on the new smartphone.

Finally, a smartphone that’s made for gamers. Razer has launched in London the latest high-end smartphone with a focus on mobile gaming.

But what makes this phone different from others in the market? And how does it enhance the mobile gaming experience?

Continue reading “Enter the gaming smartphone”

Smartphone makers in a rush?

Google Pixel 2 XLIn 2016, Samsung had battery overheating issues with its Note 7. Recently, Apple is constantly pushing out iOS 11 fixes to improve battery life for the iPhone 8. And now, Google is working on a solution to address the screen burn-in issues of the Pixel 2.

What’s happening? Are smartphone makers in such a rush to launch new phones that they are cutting short quality tests? Admittedly, this is the probably the hottest segment of the consumer technology market and every player is trying its best to outdo each other.

According to IDC, the worldwide smartphone market will reach a total of 1.53 billion units shipped in 2017, up 4.2 percent from the 1.47 billion units shipped in 2016. That’s a lot of phones and perhaps the reason why makers are hurrying to snare a share.

Continue reading “Smartphone makers in a rush?”

Google sets up online Singapore store

Hurray, Google has finally set up an online store for Singapore! Amid the flurry of announcements made yesterday, this is probably the most significant for those in Singapore. After all, what’s the point of reading and hearing about all the launches in recent years without being able to buy the products anywhere in the country.

The bad news, however, is that only three products were listed on the Google Wifi, Google Chromecast and the newly-launched Google Pixel 2 XL.

Google’s latest smartphone sports front-facing stereo speakers, and front and rear cameras capable of producing amazing shots using fused image stabilisation of optical and digital zoom. Though the headphone jack is gone, Google has introduced Pixel Buds that can translate up to 40 languages on the fly. Continue reading “Google sets up online Singapore store”

Google snares HTC hardware talents

Google is flexing its muscles in the hardware business with the acquisition of a team of hardware talents from HTC.

The move marks another milestone in a decade-long relationship between the two companies.

“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property,” blogged Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google.

 

New Apple iPhone is real X — for eXpensive!

Even though the X in the newly announced iPhone X is supposed to be pronounced as “10”, it can be interpreted as eXpensive. At S$1,648 for the 64GB version and S$1,888 for the 256GB iteration, the new iPhone X is a costly device, bringing it right into the price range of notebook computers.

Apple seems to be pushing the price ceiling on how much consumers are willing to pay for a high-end smartphone. It may even cause some die-hard fans to consider if it’s really worthwhile upgrading to this new rendition. The iPhone X comes with a six-core A11 Bionic processor, GPU, a bezelless super retina display, wireless charging, dual 12-megapixel rear cameras with optical image stabilisation, and Face ID. Most of these are already available in other high-end smartphones without such a hefty price tag.

Face ID, which lets users unlock and pay with the device, is probably the most unique value proposition but is this enough to justify the high price?

Guess the answer will be known when the iPhone X becomes available in Singapore on November 3.

New Android devices boost Australia smartphone market in Q2

New Android mobile phone launches spurred growth in Australia, leading to year-on-year growth of 18.4 percent to 2.16 million units, exceeding expectations in Q2, according to IDC.

Smartphones accounted for nearly all of the shipped phones — totalling 2.06 million.

Android returned to being the most popular smartphone OS in Australia. Recently, iOS had overtaken Android as the most popular smartphone OS in Q4 2016 as it held over 54 percent of the market compared to 47 percent for Android.

Continue reading “New Android devices boost Australia smartphone market in Q2”

The 8s are coming

This is the year of the 8s. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is expected to be revealed on August 23 in New York City, according to invitations sent to the media. Samsung will be hoping that this new iteration can wipe away the disappointment of the ill-fated Note 7.

Apple is also likely to announce the iPhone 8 in the next couple of months while Nokia is reportedly readying the launch of its new flagship Nokia 8 shortly,

30 months on the Edge

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:

  1. My daughter bought it for me in December 2014.
  2. My phone was working perfectly fine. Slower yes but fine.
  3. 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.

  1. 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!
  2. It has replaceable battery, something some of the competing top-of-the-line range lack.
  3. 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!

 

Device market to dip in 2017

Global demand for devices — PCs, tablets and smartphones — are expected to dip slightly this year, with Gartner projecting shipment exceeding 2.3 billion units, a decline of 0.3 percent from 2016.

However, the market is forecast to return to growth in 2018 with a 1.6 percent increase in shipment.

“Overall, the shipment growth of the device market is steady for the first time in many years. PC shipments are slightly lower while phone shipments are slightly higher — leading to a slight downward revision in shipments from the previous forecast, “said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.

Continue reading “Device market to dip in 2017”

China vendors corner India smartphone market

China-based vendors strengthened their grip in the India smartphone market, snaring 51.4 percent share of the smartphone shipment in Q1, according to IDC. They grew 16.9 percent sequentially and an impressive 142.6 percent over the same period last year.

In contrast, share of homegrown vendors dropped to 13.5 percent in the Q1 from 40.5 percent in the same quarter last year.

Overall, 27 million smartphones were shipped in Q1, a  14.8 percent growth over the same period last year. Unlike last year, shipment grew sequentially in the first quarter of 2017 by 4.7 percent recovering from demonetisation impact in Q4.

Continue reading “China vendors corner India smartphone market”

Huawei smartphone strides ahead in China

Huawei has taken top spot again in China’s smartphone market, edging past Oppo after two quarters of trailing in second place. According to Canalys, the Chinese smartphone giant, which launched the P10 and P10 Plus during MWC, shipped close to 21 million units to secure an 18 percent market share in Q1.

Despite strong annual growth of 55 percent, Oppo fell to second place with shipments of just under 20 million units. Third-placed Vivo had the lowest annual growth of the top three, capturing a 15 percent share with its shipment of 17 million units.

“China’s smartphone market continues to grow, with shipments increasing by over nine percent year on year this quarter. But there is a clear indication that the market is consolidating. The top three vendors are pulling away at the head of the market, accounting for more than 50 percent of shipments for the first time this quarter,” said Lucio Chen, Research Analyst of Canalys.

Continue reading “Huawei smartphone strides ahead in China”

China smartphone market hits record high

The very popular Huawei Mate 9 helped propel Huawei to the top.
The very popular Huawei Mate 9 helped propel Huawei to the top.

Everybody knows China is big but with nearly half a billion smartphones shipped last year, the market is massive — that’s one smartphone for every three person in the world’s most populous country.

According to Canalys estimates, China reached 476.5 million unit shipment, growing year on year at 11.4 percent, far exceeding the annual growth rate of 1.9 percent in 2015. China shipment reached 131.6 million units in Q4, which is the highest single quarter total in history, accounting for nearly a third of worldwide shipment.

Huawei took the top spot in the market with 76.2 million shipment, a small lead ahead of runner-up Oppo with 73.2 million units, followed by Vivo in third place at 63.2 million units.

Continue reading “China smartphone market hits record high”

China phone makers dominate India market in Q4

CanalysWhile Samsung remained at the top, China smartphone makers occupied four of the top five positions to snare the lion’s share in India in Q4, according to Canalys.

Their extremely price-competitive devices pushed out India makers, who have been hit hard by the Indian government’s decision to demonetise the INR500 and INR1,000 (US$7.30 and US$14.65) banknotes.

“Local brands’ target customers typically buy in cash and from independent retailers. With the short-term liquidity crunch caused by demonetisation, these retailers are suffering a slowdown in consumer spending. Local vendors are losing out as retailers look to shift their stock to fast-moving, current devices. In Q4 2015, Micromax, Intex and Lava took second, third and fifth place, accounting for almost 30 percent of the market. One year on and all three vendors have dropped out of the top five, with their collective share falling to around 11 percent,” said Rushabh Doshi, Analyst of Canalys.

Continue reading “China phone makers dominate India market in Q4”

End of Galaxy Note 7

samsung-galaxy-note-7-boxIt’s the final farewell for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Samsung Singapore implemented on December 28 an OTA update that completely restricted the smartphone from charging past zero percent. That’s tantamount to rendering the device totally useless. The last five percent who have held on to their Galaxy Note 7 for whatever reason will end up having a mere collector’s item.

However, all is not lost as Samsung Singapore is providing a lifeline for exchange/refund. Just call 1800-SAMSUNG.

“Samsung is thankful for the support from customers and is deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused.” was the official statement from Samsung.

Xiaomi: No money from smartphones

xiaomi-mi-maxMany of us may know Xiaomi as a leading China handphone maker with its unique business model of selling in batches online.

In an interesting revelation to Reuters, Xiaomi Global Vice President declared that the company does not make money from selling handsets.

He is essentially saying that Xiaomi is giving away smartphones because the focus is on “recurring revenue streams over many years”. The company is looking at revenue from other products, such as smart-home device, software and services.

Smartphone shipment up 6% in Q3

CanalysThree Chinese smartphone vendors — Huawei, Oppo and vivo — helped drive the global smartphone market in Q3. Together their shipment grew 60 percent while the overall global market just moved up six percent that quarter, according to Canalys.

The standout performer was Oppo, which had a stellar quarter, taking hold of the Chinese market from under the noses of its rivals. Its smart phone shipments grew around 40 percent sequentially and 140 percent year on year. Tough competition in China has affected Huawei’s global position, with it now looking increasingly unlikely that it will reach its annual shipment target of 140 million units.

Samsung continued to lead the market, but its issues with the Note 7 are starting to affect its business. It shipped just over 76 million units (excluding all Note 7s), down nine percent on the same quarter a year ago. In second place, Apple’s iPhone shipments also suffered an annual decline, falling five percent  to just over 45 million units.

Continue reading “Smartphone shipment up 6% in Q3”

Oppo tops China’s smartphone market

The Oppo R9 has helped propel the Chinese smartphone vendor to the top.
The Oppo R9 has helped propel the Chinese smartphone vendor to the top.

Move aside Huawei and Xiaomi because Oppo is now the leader in China’s smartphone market. And the number goes to vivo, another Chinese maker.

According to IDC, the China smartphone market grew 5.8 percent year-on-year and 3.6% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 with Oppo and vivo overtaking Huawei for the first time.

Oppo and vivo rose because the Chinese market has evolved beyond operator and online driven channels over to an offline structure that dovetails with Oppo and vivo’s strengths.

Continue reading “Oppo tops China’s smartphone market”

Global devices market continue to shrink for second year

GartnerWorldwide combined shipments for devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are expected to drop three percent in 2016, according to Gartner.

This will mark the second consecutive year of decline as the global devices market fell by 0.75 percent in 2015. And the immediate future remains bleak for this market.

“The global devices market is not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.

Continue reading “Global devices market continue to shrink for second year”

Explosive start for Galaxy Note 7

Galaxy Note 7 x 2

UPDATE: It’s official. Samsung is recalling the Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone has launched with a bang (literally). According to reports, some of these devices overheated and exploded while being charging — leading to Samsung to consider a recall, according to Arirang News. Meanwhile, Samsung is delaying shipment of the smartphones.

 

Samsung skips a note to jump to 7

Galaxy Note 7The stars are aligned. Samsung’s stars, that is. The Korean mobile phone giant has launched the Galaxy Note 7, bringing the phablet numerically in line with the Galaxy S series.

 

And just like the Galaxy S7, the new Galaxy Note 7 comes with curved edges for easier handling. It also sports a 12-megapixel rear camera, expandable storage and a larger 3,500 mAh battery. Among its upgrade from the previous generation are a water-resistant body, iris scanner for added security and new S Pen tricks, in particular GIF-making.

Open for pre-orders from major telcos and Samsung now, the Galaxy Note 7 will be available from August 20.

 

Huawei guns for top smartphone spot

HuaweiHuawei continues to retain resilience in a crowded and competitive global economic environment, aiming to become the top global smartphone vendor in five years’ time, according to ABI Research.

Its successive year-on-year rises in smartphone shipments particularly impressive, as Huawei managed to achieve its high ranking without effectively breaking out of its home market. To become a global electronics brand, the company will need to gain a strong foothold in the US and western European markets, but runs the risk of falling victim to the same plights as its larger competitors.

“Ranking by volume as third largest global smartphone vendor, Huawei is attempting to expand its reach by creating its own chipsets and mobile operating system based on Android. It may succeed with chipsets, but many other competitors tried similar OS development tactics in the past to no avail. It will be tough for Huawei to achieve this goal, even with improved global brand strength and volume gains,” said David McQueen, Research Director of ABI Research.

Continue reading “Huawei guns for top smartphone spot”

Philippines is fastest growing smartphone market in SEA

IDCThe Philippines smartphone market jumped 20 percent in Q1, according to IDC. With a projected annual growth of 25 percent this year, this makes the country the fastest growing smartphone market in Southeast Asia (SEA).

“While many of the more mature smartphone markets of the world already displayed signs of saturation, the Philippines smartphone market continues to enjoy robust growth owing to a relatively low smartphone penetration rate (30 percent in 2015), active local brand presence, and healthy consumer spending,” said Jerome Dominguez, Market Analyst for Mobile Devices of IDC Philippines.

Local vendors continue to dominate the Philippines smartphone market as they flood it with the most affordable smartphone options.

Continue reading “Philippines is fastest growing smartphone market in SEA”

Smartphone market in historic drop

It’s almost unthinkable but the smartphone market has dipped for the first time in its history.

According to Canalys, worldwide smartphone shipment fell from 324 million units in Q1 2015 to 321 million units in Q1 2016. The top two vendors both posted shipment declines, with Apple the worse hit.

Excluding Apple and Samsung, smartphone shipment grew five percent despite some of the big named international vendors outside the top five also faring badly. LG, Lenovo and TCL-Alcatel posted significant declines, while Sony plummeted by around 57 percent.

Continue reading “Smartphone market in historic drop”

PC shipment down 9.6% in Q1

GartnerWorldwide PC shipment shed 9.6 percent to 64.8 million in Q1, according to Gartner. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of PC shipment declines, and the first time since 2007 that shipment volume fell below 65 million units.

In the Asia-Pacific, PC shipment dropped 5.1 percent to 23.3 million units. The ongoing fragile Chinese economy and weak global demand continued to dampen consumer sentiment in the region.

With high PC penetration in the major cities, it was a challenge to invoke PC replacements on the appeal of new technology. The PC life cycle is lengthening as many consumers are waiting until their PC breaks down before purchasing a new one.

Continue reading “PC shipment down 9.6% in Q1”

Slower smartphone growth in 2016

Despite the launch of new models, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, smartphone growth is expected to slow down this year.
Despite the launch of new models, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, smartphone growth is expected to slow down this year.

Global smartphone sale is expected to experience just a single-digit growth this year, according to Gartner.

It estimates that global smartphone sale will reach 1.5 billion units, a seven percent increase from 2015. The total mobile phone market is predicted to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.

“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end. Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent growth respectively,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.

While smartphone sales will continue to grow in emerging markets, the growth will slow down. Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia-Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable. Continue reading “Slower smartphone growth in 2016”

China smartphone sale hit record high in Q4

IDCSmartphone sale hit a record 117.3 million in China in Q4. This represents an eight percent growth compared to the same period last year.

The phenomenal increase was partly driven by China’s annual singles day online shopping festival in November and Huawei’s strong shipments in the quarter. China’s Q4 growth boosted the calendar year 2015 growth to three percent.

“Xiaomi, Huawei and Apple are the top smartphone players in 2015. This is a stark contrast to the top players in 2013, which was Samsung, Lenovo and Coolpad – with Samsung clearly dominating other players. With operators reducing smartphone subsidy and given the volatility of consumers’ brand preference in the market, the smartphone scene has changed significantly since then,” said Tay Xiaohan, Senior Market Analyst of IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team.

Continue reading “China smartphone sale hit record high in Q4”