Home » Cloud Computing strategy » Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets while the Windows notebook shipments will shrink by 2%

Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets while the Windows notebook shipments will shrink by 2%

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Core information:


This is my conclusion after reviewing

  • The ongoing trends in the commodity and premium brand ecosystems of Android devices:
    – Smartphones
    – Tablets


  • The emerging new trends in the premium ecosystem of the Windows devices:
    – Notebooks
    – Smartphones

as reported by the most knowledgeable sources.

Updates: – ODMs see weaker profits from tablet business [DIGITIMES, March 26, 2013]

As Google and Amazon reportedly will release their next-generation 7-inch entry-level tablets in the near future, sources from the upstream supply chain have estimated that related ODMs’ profits from these tablets will be about 20% less than those from notebooks.
Since tablets have a simpler design than notebooks, the ODMs are only able to earn about US$9-10 for each tablet made, lower than US$13-20 for notebooks.
In addition, fewer components needed means that ODMs will have difficulties using their purchasing advantages to earn profits, and tablet brand vendors’ demand for specific components will also impact the makers’ profits, the sources noted.
Seeing weak growth in the notebook industry, most ODMs have turned to place their focuses on the tablet market and are competing aggressively for orders through price cuts, the sources said.

Wintel camp mulls measures to rekindle weakening notebook industry [DIGITIMES, Feb 21, 2013]

Suppliers within the Wintel camp are mulling to launch a series of measures, including price cuts for their products, in the second quarter of 2013 to rekindle the stymied notebook industry caused by growing popularity of tablets, according to industry sources.
The launch of Windows 8 has failed to ignite replacement demand for notebooks in the end markets, resulting in a prolonged inventory adjustment process at the supply chain that has been going on since the third quarter of 2012, the sources noted.
With market reports indicating that global tablet shipments are likely to reach 200-300 million units in 2013, including 150 million units in China and other emerging markets, notebook vendors will see their market share continue to be eroded by tablets, commented the sources.
While agreeing to the consensus that price-cutting will be the only way to stimulate notebook demand, related PC chip suppliers are urging the major players in the Wintel camp, mainly Intel and Microsoft, to take the lead in action so that the entire supply chain can follow.
The Wintel camp has always chosen to start cutting their product prices in the third quarter each year, noted the sources, but it would be too late to safeguard the notebook industry as well as its supply chain if Intel and Microsoft do not take actions till the third quarter this year.
Since Intel usually will cut significantly its CPU prices prior to the launch of new models, the planned launch of Haswell platform in June may persuade the chip giant to lower the quotes for its Ivy Bridge family CPUs earlier, the sources revealed.
But it remains to be seen if price cuts by Intel alone could stir up notebook replacement demand amid the squeezing-out effect triggered by the rise of tablets, mobile phones and other mobile Internet devices, commented the sources.

End of updates

Before reading the sections of this post corresponding to the above, do not forget to read my own analytical posts which are based on the new product directions and supporting SoC trends (and as such predicting the year 2013 market even better than the external analyses quoted here which are mainly based on supply chain trends and market changes observed already in 2012):
$48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15 [Nov 9, 2012]
Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets [July 26 – Nov 9, 2012]
The low priced, Android based smartphones of China will change the global market [Sept 10-26, 2012]
Unique differentiators of Nokia Lumia 920/820 innovated for high-volume superphone markets of North America, Europe and elsewhere [Sept 6 – Nov 13, 2012]
With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets [Nov 1, 2012]
Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement  – UPDATED with MT6588/83 coming early 2013 in Q42012 and 8-core MT6599 in 2013 [June 27, July 27, Sept 11-13, Sept 26, Oct 2, 2012]
MT6577-based JiaYu G3 with IPS Gorilla glass 2 sreen of 4.5” etc. for $154 (factory direct) in China and $183 [Sept 13, 2012]
China’s HW engineering lead: The Rockchip RK292 series (RK2928 and RK2926) example [Oct 27, 2012]
Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012]
Giving up the total OEM reliance strategy: the Microsoft Surface tablet [June 19 – July 30, 2012]
ASUS: We are the real transformers, not Microsoft [Oct 17, 2012]
Microsoft Surface: its premium quality/price vs. even iPad3 [Oct 26, 2012]
BUILD 2012: Notes on Day 1 and 2 Keynotes [Oct 31, 2012]
Acer Iconia W510: Windows 8 Clover Trail (Intel Z2760) hybrid tablets from OEMs [Oct 28, 2012]
Microsoft Surface with some questions about the performance and smoothness of the experience [Nov 12, 2012]

Update: The sections of this post are somewhat taking into the account the most dramatic disruption in the whole history of ICT, what I am calling the ‘ALLWINNER PHENOMENON’ (all ‘Allwinner et al phenomenon’ sometimes when including Allwinner’s internal mainland China competitors such as Rockchip into account as well). EVERYBODY SHOULD BE AWARE of the fact, however, that even in the latest forecasts by bigname ICT market researchers the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ is not taken into account at all. The two very recent updates from IDC given below should therefore be read with that in mind as the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ will add hundreds of millions to those forecasts starting as early as in 2013. Especially the numbers for the tablets will be affected. To understand more about that please read my special posts given in a newly created blog about the ‘Allwinner phenonmenon’:
Allwinner A31 SoC is here with products and the A20 SoC is coming [Dec 10, 2012]
Is low-cost enough for global success? [Dec 5, 2012]
The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs [Dec 4, 2012]
$40 entry-level Allwinner tablets–now for the 220 million students Aakash project in India [Dec 4, 2012] from this alone 220 million additional tablets would have been delivered from 2013 to 2016
USD 99 Allwinner [Nov 30, 2012]
It’s a Strategic Inflection Point [Dec 1, 2012]

Update: HTC 1Q13 smartphone shipments to grow slower than expected, say sources [DIGITIMES, Dec 18, 2012]

Affected by the launch of iPhone 5 and rapidly declining smartphone prices in China, HTC reportedly has revamped its product roadmap for 2013 and is expected to see its smartphone shipments rise 10-15% sequentially in the first quarter of the year compared to a 20-30% growth projected previously, according to industry sources.

HTC has suspended development of a number of new models for 2013, reducing the visibility of its orders for handset components, the sources revealed.

HTC declined to comment on market speculation.

However, the industry watchers believe that HTC is heading for a bumpy road ahead, since shipments of its Windows Phone 8-based smartphones have not been as strong as expected, while Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy III have continued to enjoy brisk sales.

In China, HTC is facing cut-throat competition from local white-box smartphone vendors and has been forced to enter the sub-CNY2,000 (US$321) segment, which runs counter to its established policy focusing mainly on the high-end sector, said the sources.

Update: Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market, Led by Samsung and Apple, Grew 27.1% in the Third Quarter, According to IDC [IDC press release, Dec 10, 2012]


The worldwide smart connected device market – a collective view of PCs, tablets, and smartphones – grew 27.1% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12) reaching a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion dollars. Expectations for the holiday season quarter are that shipments will continue to reach record levels rising 19.2% over 3Q12 and 26.5% over the same quarter a year ago. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, 4Q12 shipments are expected to reach 362.0 million units with a market value of $169.2 billion dollars. Holiday season growth will be driven by tablets and smartphones, which are expected to grow 55.8% and 39.5% year-over-year respectfully, while PCs are expected to decline slightly from this quarter a year ago.

From a vendor perspective, Samsung maintained the top position in 3Q12 with 21.8% market share based on shipments. Apple, which ranked second overall in shipments, led all vendors in value with a total of $34.1 billion in 3Q12 and an average selling price (ASP) of $744 across all device categories. Following Samsung’s 21.8% share and Apple’s 15.1% share were Lenovo (7.0%), HP (4.6%), and Sony (3.6%). While Samsung, Apple, and Lenovo have all grown share over the past year, HP, which is virtually non-existent in the mobile space, has dropped its share from 7.4% in 3Q11 to 4.6% in 3Q12 with shipments declining -20.5% during that time.

“The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple’s ASP is $310 higher than Samsung’s with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells.”

Looking forward, IDC expects the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge well past the strong holiday quarter and predicts shipments to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide. IDC’s research clearly shows this to be a multi-device era, although market dynamics are shifting in terms of product category. In 2011, PC’s – a combination of desktop and portable PCs – accounted for 39.1% of the smart connected device market. By 2016 it is expected to drop to 19.9%. Smartphones will be the preferred product category with share growing from 53.1% in 2011 to 66.7% in 2016. Tablets will also grow significantly with share growing from 7.7% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2016. The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the collective market ASP from $534 in 2011 to $378 in 2016.

“Both consumers and business workers are finding the need for multiple ‘smart’ devices and we expect that trend to grow for several years, especially in more developed regions,” said Bob O’Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays. “The advent of cloud-based services is enabling people to seamlessly move from device to device, which encourages the purchase and usage of different devices for different situations.”

Top 5 Smart Connected Device Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (shipments in millions)


3Q12 Unit Shipments

3Q12 Market Share

3Q11 Unit Shipments

3Q11 Market Share

3Q12/3Q11 Growth











































Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, December 10, 2012.

Smart Connected Device Market by Product Category, Shipments, Market Share, 2012-1016 (shipments in millions) 

Product Category

2016 Unit Shipments

2016 Market Share

2012 Unit Shipments

2012 Market Share

2016/2012 Growth

Desktop PC






Portable PC
























Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, December 10, 2012.

Update: IDC Raises Tablet Forecast for 2012 and Beyond As iOS Picks Up Steam, Android Gains Traction, and Windows Finally Enters the Market [IDC press release, Dec 5, 2012]


A strong competitive landscape—including surging Android tablet shipments and robust demand for Apple’s new iPad mini—has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to increase its 2012 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 122.3 million, up from its previous forecast of 117.1 million units. In the latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, IDC also raised its 2013 forecast number to 172.4 million units, up from 165.9 million units. And by 2016 worldwide shipments should reach 282.7 million units, up from a previous forecast of 261.4 million units.

“Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC. “Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple’s November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season.”

In addition to increasing the unit totals for 2013, IDC also updated its operating system splits for the year to reflect Android’s growing strength in the tablet market. IDC now expects Android’s worldwide tablet share to increase from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% for the full year of 2012. During that same time Apple’s share will slip from 56.3% in 2011 to 53.8% in 2012. Long term, IDC predicts Windows-based tablets (including Windows 8 and Windows RT) will grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 1% of the market in 2011 to 2.9% in 2012, on its way to 10.3% in 2016.

“The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space,” said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform’s low barrier to entry on manufacturing. At the same time, top-tier companies like Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS are all launching Android tablets with comparable specs, but offered at much lower price points.”

Once again, IDC’s increase in tablet shipments comes at the expense of eReaders. IDC lowered its forecast for eReaders for 2012 and beyond. While the front-lit eReader offerings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble have captured the interest of a subset of consumers who prefer a dedicated eReader, most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a ‘good enough’ reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets. IDC now expects 2012 eReader shipments to top out at 19.9 million units, down from the 27.7 million units that shipped in 2011.

Tablet Operating Systems, Market Share Forecast and CAGR 2012-2016

Tablet OS

2012 Market Share

2016 Market Share

CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)

















Grand Total




Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, December 5, 2012

Table Notes:

  • Windows shipments include Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows 7 tablets.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.

The ongoing trends in the commodity
and premium brand ecosystems of Android devices


Motorola likely to bid farewell to Taiwan handset ODMs after Google sells plants to Flextronics [DIGITIMES, Dec 17, 2012]

The partnerships between Motorola Mobility and Taiwan-based handset ODMs such as Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) will begin to fade away, as Google, the parent company of Motorola, has signed an agreement to hand over Motorola’s manufacturing operations in Tianjin, China, and Jaguariuna, Brazil to Flextronics International, according to industry sources.

After the deal between Google and Flextronics is completed in the first half of 2013, Motorola will completely withdraw from the handset manufacturing industry, and instead will transform to a brand operator targeting mainly the mid-range to high-end smartphone segment, the sources indicated.

While the streamlining of Motorola’s operations comes as no surprise to Taiwan handset ODMs, Google’s decision to sell Motorola’s plants to Flextronics, instead of its long-tern partner FIH, has raised concerns among the industry.

Flextronics is purchasing the plants in exchange for orders from Motorola since the Singapore-based EMS giant has made little progress in gaining handset orders from Apple or major players in the Android or Windows Phone camps, the sources commented.

It is also no longer necessary for FIH to buy plants in exchange for orders, as the company has transferred from handset EMS operations to focus on smartphone ODM business, indicated the sources, adding that FIH has also managed to establish partnerships with a number of major players in the smartphone sector.

However, a deepened cooperation between Motorola and Flextronics may affect the handset component supply chain in Taiwan, the sources warned.

Digitimes Research: Android phones to account for 70% of global smartphone market in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 6, 2012]

Android will further solidify its market leadership in the smartphone operating system race in 2013, thanks to a broad support from smartphone vendors and the rollout of a wide range of low-priced models for sale in emerging markets. Shipments of Android phones are expected to top 600 million units or over 70% of global smartphone shipments in 2013, Digitimes Research estimates.

iOS will trail Android to take the number two position in the OS ratings with a 20% share, while other smartphone platforms will share the remaining 10%.

Shipments of Windows Phones, including 7.x and 8.x models, will grow 150% on year to 52.5 million units in 2013 for a 6.1% share, followed by RIM’s BlackBerry devices with a 3.7% share, Digitimes Research estimates. Other platforms, including Tizen and Firefox, will take up a portion lower than 1%.

Digitimes Research: Global smartphone shipments to grow 30% in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012]

Global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 30% to 865 million units in 2013, accounting for 43.9% of total handset shipments in the year, Digitimes Research has estimated.

Factors including relationships between platform providers and hardware makers, support from telecom carriers for new models, and key developments or decisions by some vendors will affect smartphone sales in 2013, Digitimes Research believes.

Google is expected to further strengthen its control over the Android ecosystem and its production partners, which may limit the development of other platforms or variant Android models.

Microsoft’s launch of own-brand smartphones may result in a reduction in support for the Window Phone platform by hardware vendors, which should otherwise serve as a key factor to push for the growth of the Window Phone to become a third major platform in the segment.

While Amazon is likely to enter the smartphone market, 2013 may be crucial a year for Nokia and RIM (Research in Motion) to make vital decisions concerning their smartphone businesses.

Demand for high-end smartphone models in Western Europe will be affected seriously by reduced government budgets and weak consumption in the region because of the prolonged financial crisis.

However, smartphones’ growing penetration in China, Russia, India, Indonesia, South America and other emerging markets will serve as a growth driver for global smartphone shipments in 2013, Digitimes Research believes.

Google, Amazon and other vendors in China to lead pricing in low-cost smartphone segment, say sources [DIGITIMES , Nov 5, 2012]

While sales of low-cost smartphones are expected to continue growing in the next few years, Google, Amazon and other Internet service companies in China may lead price competition in the segment, according to industry sources.

Shipments of low-cost smartphones, defined as models with a selling price of less than US$150, are forecast to double every year from 2010 to 2016, increasing from 4.5 to 311 million units, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

Most of the demand (60%) is from the Asia Pacific region, where a large majority of component suppliers and manufacturing factories are located – providing both time and cost savings, said DisplaySearch.

In China, the trend for telecom carriers to continue cooperating with chipset suppliers, handset design houses and handset vendors for the launch low-priced smatphone models will continue for a while, the sources noted.

Vendors including Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad have emerged as the leading group of the smartphone suppliers in China through the offerings of low-cost models, but most of vendors has suffered losses or seen the profits of their handset business decline due to fierce price competition in the segment, the sources revealed.

Lenovo’s handset business unit is still operating in red, and Huawei and Coolpad have seen their profits decline, while ZTE and TCL have seen their handset businesses swing from profitability to loss, the sources indicated.

In order to stemming losses, or improving profitability, most branded smartphone vendors in China have been trying to expand their share in the mid- and high-end segment, while pushing their sales through local retain channels or export sales.

But other China-based smartphone vendors such as Xiaomi Technology, Internet service companies including Baidu and Shada Interactive Entertainment, as well as online retail giant 360buy, are likely to continue to adopt aggressive price strategies to pushing sales of their own models, said the sources.

In the global market, the cooperation between Google and LG Electronics for the launch of Nexus 4 at prices ranging from US$299-349 is also expected to lead to the proliferation of more low-priced Android smartphone models, the sources indicated.

Amazon, which has been aggressive in the tablet segment, is expected to release its first smartphone model in 2013 with the same price tactics, which is likely to further drive down the prices of smartphones, commented the sources.

Digitimes Research: Nexus 4 to be popular in prepaid SIM card and telecom retail channels [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 7, 2012]

Google’s Nexus 4, which comes with a 4.7-inch 720p HD display and Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, is expected to become a popular model in the prepaid SIM card segment as well as in telecom retail channels for unlocked subscribers, according to Digitimes Research.

With its high hardware specifications and pricing of US$299 for the 8GB version and US$349 for the 16GB version, the Nexus 4 will cause price pressure on other comparable models rolled by rival brands.

Sales of Windows phones are expected to grow 250% in 2013 due in part to support from telecom carriers which are seeking a third platform other than Android or iOS. However, Android will continue to lead the market with a wide margin, Digitimes Research said.

Google aggressive pricing for Nexus 4 smartphone to affect sales of other brands [DIGITIMES, Oct 30, 2012]

Google’s pricing of US$299-349 for its newly released 4.7-inch, quad-core Nexus 4 smartphone is lower than market expectations, and thus could affect the sales of Android-based smartphones launched by other branded vendors, according to industry sources.

Prior to the release of the Nexus 4 in cooperation with LG Electronics, Google had cooperated with HTC and Samsung Electronics, respectively, for the launch of three generations of Nexus smartphones with prices ranging from US$500-700.

The Nexus 4 will enjoy the advantage in pricing even compared to the latest quad-core Android models rolled out by other vendors, indicated the sources, noting that Asustek Computer’s 4.7-inch Padfone 2 is available for US$600, while China-based Xiaomi Technology’s second-generation Xiaomi phone is priced at CNY1,999 (US$320).

Other Android-based smartphone vendors, including HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Huawei Device, ZTE and even Motorola Mobility, all are likely to adjust their price strategies, since chances are high that the Nexus 4 will make a strong impact on the smartphone market, commented the sources.

China market: Nexus 4 pricing to affect sales, prices of other brands, says report [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

The aggressive pricing strategy adopted by Google for its Nexus 4 may affect sales of Xiaomi smartphones in China and may also force other brands including Samsung Electronics, Motorola and HTC to lower the prices of their offerings in China, according to a China-based 21st Century Business Herald report.

The price of US$299 (CNY1,890) for the 8G version of the Nexus 4 is more competitive than Xiaomi’s next-generation quad-core smartphone which is available at CNY1,999, the paper noted.

Xiaomi is selling its first quad-core model below its BOM of CNY2,350 and will limit initial sales of the model to 50,000 units only, said the paper, which added that Xiaomi aims to ramp up volumes to 250,000 units to bring down the BOM when it begins to offer the second round of sales in mid-November.

Although the Nexus is not yet available in China, consumers may hesitate to pick up the quad-core Xiaomi smartphones because they have to wait for several months before Xiaomi will begin delivering the devices, said the paper.

China market: Coolpad hopes to regain mid-range, high-end smartphone share [DIGITIMES , Nov 7, 2012]

China-based handset maker Coolpad hopes to re-enter the mid-range and high-end smartphone market in China by introducing smartphone products with China Mobile that will be priced above CNY5,000/unit (US$800/unit).

In the recent years, Coolpad has been focusing on smartphones at the price range of CNY1,000/unit by cooperating with China’s three telecom service providers. Entry-level and mid-range models have accounted for 85% of Coolpad’s total shipments. The firm recently introduced a new model, Coolpad 9960 (Da Guan HD), with a 4.7-inch screen, Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel front camera. The model will be priced above CNY5,000/unit.

Currently, China’s mid-range and high-end smartphone markets have been dominated by international brands such as Apple, HTC, Motorola, and Sony. Coolpad has been the only local brand that has a relatively strong market share.

According to industry sources, in 2012, Coolpad increased investment in R&D of high-end products by 20% on year and formed an R&D team of 800 staff to strengthen its high-end product line.

Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE faced with challenges to reach quarterly shipments of 10 million smartphones, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES , Nov 5, 2012]

A total of 60 million smartphones were shipped to the China market in the third quarter of 2012, and Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE shipped nine million units, 8.5 million units and 7.5 million units, respectively, with a combined market share of 41.7%, according to DRAMeXchange under consulting company TrendForce.

Except for Apple and Samsung Electronics, other international vendors including HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, LG Electronics, Nokia have not been able to attain quarterly shipments of 10 million smartphones, the sources indicated. Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE stand a chance to ship 10 million smartphones a quarter if they can strengthen their branding operations, marketing and product lines of mid-range and high-end models in overseas markets, the sources pointed out.

Lenovo has focused on entry-level smartphones priced below CNY1,500 (US$240) and relied too much on the domestic market, the sources indicated. In comparison with Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE have the advantage of cooperation with mobile telecom carriers in many countries, but their brand image is not strong enough for marketing mid-range and high-end smartphones, the sources pointed out.

PC vendors recommended to target niche smartphone market to avoid direct competition [DIGITIMES , Oct 3, 2012]

Branded PC vendors including Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Asustek Computer, which plan to reignite their smartphone businesses, are recommended to offer models with strong application platforms, sleek product design and integrated cloud computing capabilities targeting niche markets, while avoiding direct competition with smartphone vendors, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain.

Among the leading brands, HP, Dell and Asustek have not launched new handsets for some time, while Acer has made little progress in the sector although it has continued rolling out new phones, indicated the sources.

Lenovo’s performance has been exceptional, taking the second-ranked title in China’s smartphone market by optimizing an array of entry-level models priced at around CNY1,000 (US$158).

The reason major branded PC vendors are considering a comeback to the smartphone market hinges on emerging business opportunities that are anticipated to come along with the launch of Windows 8. They are hoping that sales of Windows 8-based PCs will help promote the sale of Windows Phone 8 smartphones as well.

Even so, prospects are still slim for PC brands to make a strong presence in the smartphone market, given that Apple and Samsung Electronics are currently the top-2 vendors dominating the segment, while other smartphone brands including Nokia, RIM, Sony Mobile Communications, Motorola Mobility are lagging behind with heavy losses, the sources commented.

Worldwide Mobile Phone Growth Expected to Drop to 1.4% in 2012 Despite Continued Growth Of Smartphones, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 1.4% year over year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite a projected record number of smartphone shipments in the high-volume holiday season. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship more than 1.7 billion mobile phones this year. In 2016, IDC forecasts 2.2 billion mobile phones will be shipped to the channel.

Global smartphone volume in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) is expected to reach 224.5 million units, representing 39.5% year-over-year growth due primarily to strong consumer demand. For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units. Strong smartphone growth is a result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets where carriers resell the majority of smartphones, as well as a growing array of sub-US$250 smartphones in emerging markets.

“Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

Smartphone Operating Systems

“Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is a constantly shifting mobile operating system landscape,” added Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Android is expected to stay in front, but we also expect it to be the biggest target for competing operating systems to grab market share. At the same time, Windows Phone stands to gain the most market share as its smartphone and carrier partners have gained valuable experience in selling the differentiated experience Windows Phone has to offer. What bears close observation is how BlackBerry’s new platform, BlackBerry 10, and multiple versions of Linux will affect the market once the devices running these systems are available.”

IDC forecasts Android to be the clear leader in the smartphone mobile operating system race, thanks in large part to a broad selection of devices from a wide range of partners. Samsung is the leading Android smartphone seller though resurgent smartphone vendors LG Electronics and Sony, both of which cracked the top five smartphone vendors during 3Q12, are not to be overlooked. IDC believes the net result of this will be continued double-digit growth throughout the forecast period.

iOS will maintain its position as the clear number two platform behind Android at the end of 2012 and throughout the forecast. The popularity of the iPhone across multiple markets will drive steady replacements and additional carrier partners will help Apple grow iOS volume. However, the high price point of the iPhone relative to other smartphones will make it cost prohibitive for some users within many emerging markets. In order to maintain current growth rates, Apple will need to examine the possibility of offering less expensive models, similar to its iPod line. Until that happens, IDC forecasts iOS to ship lower volumes than Android.

The BlackBerry OS will grow slowly but largely maintain share over the coming years following the BlackBerry 10 launch next year. The new operating system and devices will be valued by some longtime BlackBerry fans, particularly those who have waited for the new OS as Research In Motion delayed its release. This will allow the company to maintain pockets of strength in higher-growth emerging markets such as Indonesia and various Latin American countries. But, as with many other new platforms, the success of BB 10 will be partly dependent upon channel advocacy, like sales associates who can effectively tell the BlackBerry story.

Windows Phone will battle with BlackBerry for the number three spot in 2013, but will gain further clarity in the years that follow. Windows Phone will build on the progress it made in 2012, with Nokia establishing its presence and HTC solidly jumping back into the race. Moreover, contributions by Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei will help grow its footprint. With more vendors releasing more devices aimed at multiple segments, sales associates will be better positioned to tell a compelling Windows Phone story and to explain the value of Windows Phone’s differentiated experience compared to market leaders Android and iOS.

Linux will trail the market leaders throughout our forecast though it is expected to be the dark horse of the forecast. K-Touch has quietly built its Linux volumes this year while Haier recently released its first Linux smartphones. In addition, multiple platforms are expected to announce and launch their Linux-based smartphones in 2013, including Samsung’s Tizen and Jolla’s SailFish. Benefiting these platforms are their ties to previous platforms from the LiMo Foundation and Nokia’s MeeGo, which could lead to greater developer interest.

Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2012–2016

Smartphone OS

2012 Market Share

2016 Market Share

CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)









BlackBerry OS




Windows Phone
















Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, December 3, 2012


Android Marks Fourth Anniversary Since Launch with 75.0% Market Share in Third Quarter, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

The Android smartphone operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, total Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136.0 million units, accounting for 75.0% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in 3Q12. The 91.5% year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4%.

“Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

“The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

Mobile Operating System Highlights

Android, having topped the 100 million unit mark last quarter, reached a new record level in a single quarter. By comparison, Android’s total volumes for the quarter were greater than the total number of smartphones shipped in 2007, the year that Android was officially announced. Samsung once again led all vendors in this space, but saw its market share decline as numerous smaller vendors increased their production.

iOS was a distant second place to Android, but was the only other mobile operating system to amass double-digit market share for the quarter. The late quarter launch of the iPhone 5 and lower prices on older models prevented total shipment volumes from slipping to 3Q11 levels. But without a splashy new OS-driven feature like Siri in 2011 and FaceTime in 2010, the iPhone 5 relied on its larger, but not wider, screen and LTE connectivity to drive growth.

BlackBerry‘s market share continued to sink, falling to just over 4% by the end of the quarter. With the launch of BlackBerry 10 yet to come in 2013, BlackBerry will continue to rely on its aging BlackBerry 7 platform, and equally aging device line-up. Still, demand for BlackBerry and its wildly popular BBM service is strong within multiple key markets worldwide, and the number of subscribers continues to increase.

Symbian posted the largest year-on-year decline of the leading operating systems. Nokia remains the largest vendor still supporting Symbian, along with Japanese vendors Fujitsu, Sharp, and Sony. Each of these vendors is in the midst of transitioning to other operating systems and IDC believes that they will cease shipping Symbian-powered smartphones in 2013. At the same time, the installed base of Symbian users will continue well after the last Symbian smartphone ships.

Windows Phone marked its second anniversary with a total of just 3.6 million units shipped worldwide, fewer than the total number of Symbian units shipped. Even with the backing of multiple smartphone market leaders, Windows Phone has yet to make a significant dent into Android’s and iOS’s collective market share. That could change in 4Q12, when multiple Windows Phone 8 smartphones will reach the market.

Linux volume declined for the third straight quarter as did its year-over-year growth. Samsung accounted for the majority of shipments once again, but like most other vendors competing with Linux-powered smartphones, most of its attention went towards Android instead. Still, that has not deterred other vendors from experimenting, or at least considering the open-source operating system, as multiple reports of Firefox, Sailfish, and Tizen plan to release new Linux-based experiences in the future.

Top Six Smartphone Mobile Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (Preliminary) (Units in Millions)

Operating System

3Q12 Shipment Volumes

3Q12 Market Share

3Q11 Shipment Volumes

3Q11 Market Share

Year-Over-Year Change

























Windows Phone 7/ Windows Mobile

























Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012
Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

Android Smartphone Shipments and Market Share, 2008 – 2012 YTD (Units in Millions)






2012 YTD

Android Total Unit Shipments






Android Market Share






Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012
Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 3 Percent in Third Quarter of 2012; Smartphone Sales Increased 47 Percent [Gartner press release, Nov 14, 2012]

Samsung Extended Its Lead in the Smartphone Market Widening the Gap with Apple

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)




3Q12 Market Share (%)



3Q11 Market Share (%)





















LG Electronics





Huawei Device





TCL Communication





Research in Motion

























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 quarter-on-quarter 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



3Q12 Market Share (%)



3Q11 Market Share (%)











Research In Motion






























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.



Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments to surpass that of notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012] 

Digitimes Research expects global tablet shipments to reach 210 million units in 2013, up 38.3% on year and surpass those of notebook for the first time, with branded tablet shipments to account for 140 million units, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.
[Compare this to the notebook shipment forecast by Digitimes Research of 192 million units in 2012 expected to drop to 189 million units in 2013. See additional details of this forecast below in Digitimes Research: Windows 8 expected to have minimal impact on touch screen notebooks in 2013.]

In 2013, Google is expected to maintain its momentum from the Nexus series products and become the second largest tablet brand vendor worldwide with shipments of 19 million units. Apple will remain the largest tablet vendor worldwide, but its share in the global branded tablet shipments will drop to only 55.6% [i.e. 78 million units], down from more than 60% in 2012, and 37.4% in total tablet shipments (including white-box models).

With surging shipment growth for white-box tablets, Android is expected to become the largest platform in the tablet market, surpassing iOS. In 2013, Digitimes Research expects Android-based tablet shipments including white-box and branded models, to reach 121 million units, up 40.2% on year. [With the global 210 millions and branded 140 millions the white-box tablet shipments are expected to grow to 70 million units in 2013 vs. 50 millions this year. Therefore the branded Android based-tablets to become 51 millions, and as the Nexus tablets are said here to become 19 millions there will be 32 millions other branded Android tablets sold in 2013 .]

Digitimes Research also expects global tablet shipments will reach 320 million units in 2015 with branded tablets to account for 220 million units and white-box models to account for 100 million units.

Digitimes Research: Global Tablet Market to Enjoy Strong Shipment Growth in 4Q12 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 13, 2012]

Global tablet shipments from major brands worldwide are expected to reach 40.93 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 72.7% sequentially and 89.7% on year, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

As for the tablet vendor rankings in the quarter, Apple will remain as the largest vendor worldwide, while Amazon is expected to return as the second-largest and Google will rank third with assistance from its Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Microsoft will rank fourth, Samsung Electronics fifth, and Barnes & Noble sixth. Asustek, Lenovo and Acer will rank seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, Wang noted.

As for the tablet processor supplier rankings, Texas Instruments (TI) will return as the second-largest with Nvidia at third. Intel will also be ranked for the first time due to Windows 8.

Taiwan makers are expected to ship 36.6 million tablets combined in the fourth quarter, up 82.3% sequentially and 86.7% on year, with the volume accounting for 89% of global tablet shipments. Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) will be the largest tablet maker, followed by Quanta Computer, Pegatron Technology, Wistron and Compal Electronics.

Digitimes Research estimates that global branded tablet shipments will reach 104 million units in 2012, up 64% on year, with iPad accounting for 63% of the volume, down 2pp on year, while both Android and Windows will see their proportions increase.

In comparison the white-box tablet shipments are up by whopping 317% in 2012 at least (50 million units shipped as a minimum vs. 12 million units in 2011) according to sources given below: 

Digitimes Research: White-box tablet shipments to surpass 50 million units in 2012 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 8, 2012]

White-box tablets are expected to see a surge in shipment growth in 2012 with volumes surpassing 50 million units, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

There are three major drivers that will help white-box tablets achieve strong growth in the year: a large number of potential consumers brought in by Android handsets, mature development of China-based processors, and decreasing costs o white-box tablets. With the addition of white-box tablet shipments, Android is expected to surpass iOS and become the largest mobile operating system in 2012, while 7-inch displays will also become the mainstream specification for tablets.

As the branded tablet PC market is seeing fierce competition in terms of technology, capacity, yield rates, patents and prices, the rise of white-box tablets has already made these players a new force in the tablet market, with some white-box players even seeing higher shipment volumes than first-tier vendors.

Digitimes Research believes that brand vendors should be aware of white-box tablet players’ developments in the future, since even platform designers such as Google and Microsoft have used their resources to increase price competition in the tablet market, and the situation may gradually turn to favor China-based players with expertise in lowering costs.

Source: Digitimes Research, November 2012
or from the Chinese version of the same [Nov 9, 2012]:

China Fabless: Rockchip rattled by Android tablet wars [by Junko Yoshida on EE Times, Sept 25, 2012]

How many tablets does China make, how big is the Chinese market?
80 percent of media tablets made in China are exported

Unit: Million of units
Source: Chinese industry estimates

For more information see also: Yoshida in China: ‘Shanzhai’ clouds tablet data [EE Times, Nov 8, 2012]

In retrospect: just 4 months ago the forecast was increased from 30 million to 40 million
Global shipments of white-box tablet PCs to reach 40 million units in 2012, say chip designers [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2012]

Forecast global shipments of white-box tablet PCs in 2012 have been upward adjusted from 30 million units originally to 40 million units due to growing demand in emerging markets including China, India, Thailand and Latin America, according to Taiwan-based design houses of ICs used in tablet PCs.

An estimated 10 million white-box tablet PCs were shipped globally in 2011, and shipments increased to 18 million units in the first half of 2012, the sources indicated.

Vendors/makers of white-box tablet PCs currently cluster in Shenzhen and Dongguan, southern China, the sources noted. A large portion originally made netbooks and have stepped into tablet PCs as chips and the Android operating systems have matured, the sources said.

White-box tablet PCs are primarily competitive in price with models launched by own-brand vendors, with retail prices standing at US$59 for 7-inch models and US$149 for 10.1-inch models, the sources indicated.

China market: Domestic chipset vendors ramping up shipments to white-box tablet PC makers [DIGITIMES, July 20, 2012]

China-based chipset solution vendors including Rockchip Electronics and Allwinner Technology have been ramping up their shipments to white-box tablet PC vendors in China, cutting out market share from Taiwan-based VIA Technologies, according to industry sources.

Shipments of white-box tablet PCs in China totaled eight million units in the first half of 2012 and are expected to reach 16-17 million units for the year, compared to 20 million projected previously, the sources indicated.

Rockchip shipped at least 1.6 million tablet chipset solutions in the first half, accounting for 20% of the white-box tablet PC segment. Rockchip’s latest ARM-based dual-core solution, the SoC RK3066, is being built using a 40nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), said the sources.

Allwinner has been delivering more of its A10 solutions, which are also manufactured by TSMC utilizing a 55nm process, added the sources.

then came the news that: Demand for white-box tablets keeps growing despite keen competition [DIGITIMES, Oct 15, 2012]

Demand for white-box tablets rolled out by China-based makers remains strong currently despite the launch of US$199 models by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google, and the dominance of Apple’s iPads, according to industry sources.

Some white-box makers in Shenzhen are shipping 200,000-300,000 tablets a month, and a number of large-scale operators are even shipping one million units a month, buoyed by their tactics of optimizing hardware specifications, while keeping device prices low, noted the sources.

Most 9.7- or 10.1-inch white-box tablets powered by a dual-core CPU are currently quoted below US$200, while those comparable models with a single-core processor are priced at US$70-120, revealed the sources.

Some 7-inch models built with China-based Allwinner’s A10 solutions can be available for US$50, the sources added.

Additionally, the FOB prices of US$150-250 for 9.7-inch white-box tablets with dual-core CPUs, high resolution displays and 3G modules are also competitive in emerging markets, the sources commented.

Some tablet exhibitors at the ongoing HKEF 2012 (Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Autumn Edition) estimate that China-based white-box makers as a whole are shipping four million tablets a month currently.

Allen Wu, president, ARM China, predicts that shipments of Android-based tablets by China makers are likely to reach 50 million units in 2012 and increase to 100 million units in 2013.

Over 5.0 million Nexus 7s to be shipped in 2012, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012]

At the end of the second quarter, Google expected shipments of 2.5 million Nexus 7s in 2012 but since then it has continually placed additional orders in view of booming sales, with the cumulative shipment volume in 2012 will reach 5.0 million units based on orders released, according to Taiwan-based players in the supply chain.

While international vendors usually place orders for shipments to peak in October and November to meet year-end peak demand beginning in late November, Nexus 7 shipments are expected to remain at a high level of 700,000-1,000,000 units in both November and December, the sources pointed out.

After the launch of the 16Gb Nexus 7 for sale at US$199 and a 32GB version at US$249, Google on November 13 launched a 32GB 3G-enabled Nexus 7 for sale at US$299 and Google Play and Google’s partner AT&T have sold out available stock, the sources indicated.

While the iPad mini is thought of as a major competitor for the Nexus 7, Taiwan-based iPad mini supply chain makers indicated that Apply has not adjusted order volumes since the tablet was launched and monthly shipments remain at nearly 4.0 million units currently.

Digitimes Research: Google will become more influential in tablet market [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 2, 2012]

Senior analyst James Wang of Digitimes Research believes that Google’s recently announced Nexus 10, developed in cooperation from Samsung Electronics, and upgraded storage for the Nexus 7, are aimed at starting competition with players such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and China-based white-box tablet vendors.

Since Google has prepared a full-range of tablet products, Wang believes the company’s entry-level Nexus tablet, that has not yet been announced, will have the strongest influence on its competitors.

Google’s Nexus 7 shipments performed better than expected, and are forecast to reach 4.3 million units in 2012, accounting for about 20% of non-Apple tablet shipments (excluding white-box models), while the volume in the fourth quarter is also expected to enjoy sequential growth despite the weak global economy, Wang pointed out.

Digitimes Research estimates that Google’s Nexus series tablets will see total shipments of 19 million units in 2013 accounting for 50% of non-Apple tablet shipments. [In a later estimate Wang raised the shiments of other branded Android tablets to 32 millions, see also here in the beginning, so Google’s Nexus marketshare now is only 37% in its own category.]

But note: Nexus 7 not yet allowed to enter China market [DIGITIMES Research, Sept 11, 2012]

While the Nexus 7, the tablet co-developed by Google and Taiwan-based vendor Asustek Computer, has been witnessing booming sales in major markets around the world, it is difficult for the model to be available for sale in the China market because the China government has not yet approved its import, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

The China government’s negative attitude is interpreted as a response to Google’s announcement of withdrawing from the China market in March 2010, the sources pointed out. It is difficult for the Nexus 7 to enter the China market, even through sale of Asustek’s marketing network there, the sources indicated.

Without the Nexus 7 in the market, China-based white-box vendors of tablets are under much less competitive pressure, the sources indicated. This is because the Nexus 7 has the advantage of Google’s and Asustek’s brand image with commensurate product quality and is expected to be strongly competitive with 8GB Android 4.0 tablet models in the 7- to 9-inch range launched by China-based white-box vendors, including Ainol, Onda, Teclast and Cube, at US$149, the sources pointed out. In addition, the Nexus 7 will bring competitive pressure on tablet PC models of equal specifications offered by Samsung Electronics and China-based vendors Lenovo and Hasee Computer in the China market, the sources indicated.

Without the China market, the cumulative global sales volume of Nexus 7 will reach an estimated 3.5 million units at the end of 2012, the sources noted.

Google attitude against modified Android may lead to split in Android, say Taiwan handset makers [DIGITIMES Research, Sept 18, 2012]

Google’s opposition to Taiwan-based vendor Acer’s launch of the A800, a smartphone based on the Alibaba-developed operating system Aliyun, reflects Google’s attempt to check development of modified Android platforms, but if Google cracks down on this, developers of modified Android platforms may be forced to offer own-brand smartphones or tablets and give up on Android, resulting in an increased split in the adoption of Android, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers.

Google explained that Aliyun is incompatible with the Google ecosystem and therefore unable to ensure a consistent user experience among developers, makers and consumers, the sources noted. In response, Alibaba emphasized that Aliyun, while based on open-source Linux as Google is, is not part of the Google ecosystem and therefore is not necessarily compatible with the ecosystem, the sources indicated.

Developers of modified Android platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba are not members of the Open Handset Alliance and are Google’s competitors, they need not care about Google’s attitude, the sources pointed out. However, smartphone vendors need to cooperate with Google to offer Android models and therefore have to be concerned about Google’s attitude against modified Android platforms, the sources indicated.

If Google cracks down by prohibiting smartphone vendors from adopting modified Android platforms, developers of modified Android platforms, such as Amazon, may skip vendors to directly partner with ODMs to offer their own-brand devices, with such platforms to set up their own ecosystems and thereby become more competitive with Android, the sources pointed out. For some China-based smartphone vendors which have adopted many locally developed applications, because losses arising from forgoing Android may be small, they may shift to a modified Android platforms.

Among China-based smartphone vendors, only Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Lenovo, Haier, Oppo and a few others joined the Open Handset Alliance, the sources noted. As China is the largest smartphone market around the world, Google had better pay attention to response from web service operators, smartphone vendors and consumers, the sources pointed out.

Commentary: Is it a blessing for Asustek to have Google backing? [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

Asustek Computer has seen its brand image improve in the US and Japan recently thanks to the launch of dual-branded Nexus 7 in cooperation with Google. Asustek is proud of its product design with regard to the Nexus 7, and also aims to capture the top-vendor ranking in the Android tablet segment. But it remains to be seen whether Asustek will be able to continue to expand its brand image based on the charm of the Nexus 7, since Google has announced its Nexus 10 in conjunction with Samsung Electronics.

Google has been backing Asustek in the development of the Nexus 7, offering the Taiwan-based hardware vendor the priority to design-in its latest Android OS and to penetrate into the US tablet market jointly.

Due to aggressive pricing set for the Nexus 7, industry watchers have wondered whether the Google-Asustek cooperation would generate profits for Asustek before the production of the 7-inch tablet reaches economies of scale. But for Asustek, the dual-brand marketing was not aiming at generating profits initially but rather improving its brand image, particularly in North America.

Optimizing Asustek’s design capability and Quanta Computer’s manufacturing muscle, the Google-Asustek team is able to set the price of the Nexus 7 lower. The low-priced tactics is working as sales of the Nexus 7 have been better than expected, while Asustek’s notebook sales in the US are also improving.

Some industry watchers now estimate that total shipments of the Nexus 7 are likely to reach 4-4.2 million units by year-end 2012, while Asustek will also be able to sell more of its own brand notebooks in the US.

But the skepticism about the merits of the Google-Asustek tie-up still remains, since Google has showed its intention to control the development of the Android market, optimizing the production of the 7-inch Nexus 7 at Asustek and the 10-inch model at Samsung. Furthermore, the latest market rumors also indicate that Google may also team up with Lenovo for penetrating into the China market.

Does Google treat Asustek as a brand partner or an OEM supplier? John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, seems to have an answer to the question.

When approached by the New York Times during a recent interview seeking a confirmation of Asustek’s remarks that current shipments of the Nexus 7 have reached as many as one million units a month, Lagerling replied, “We haven’t announced numbers. We typically don’t allow our partners to announce numbers.”

The message clearly indicates that Google treats Asustek as an OEM partner, but not a dual-brand partner.

In the worst-case scenario, Google may tie up with other vendors such as HTC and Lenovo to develop its next-generation Nexus tablets, which will place Asustek under fire from rivals vying for the Android tablet market.

Asustek has estimated its tablet shipments to reach 6.3 million units in 2012, of which the Nexus 7 will account for over four million. In other words, shipments of Asustek’s own brand Transformer and Padfone tablets are limited.

Asustek’s competitive advantage will wane further if it fails to win the design-in priority for the next-generation Nexus tablets.

The emerging new trends
in the premium ecosystem of the Windows devices

[Windows] Notebooks

Third-generation ultrabooks may be able to achieve 40% of notebook shipments, say players [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2012]

As Intel failed to achieve its goal of having ultrabooks account for 40% of total notebook shipments with its Ivy Bridge platform, and the proportion only reached about 10%, sources from notebook players believe the goal may be achievable with the upcoming Haswell platform, which is set to launch at the end of second-quarter, 2013.

The sources pointed out that compared to Ivy Bridge, Haswell’s stronger performance and cheaper price, plus the expectation that Windows 8 should become more standardized by then, should mean ultrabooks have a chance to account for 40% of total notebook shipments by the end of 2013.

Although vendors have released ultra-like notebooks with prices around US$699-899 as alternatives, since these devices lack attractiveness in terms of design and weight, while ultrabook models with specifications similar to the MacBook Air have prices a lot higher than the MacBook Air, most consumers have turned to purchase Apple’s product instead, the sources noted.

Digitimes Research: Surface tablet to mainly devour notebook demand in the short term [DIGITIMES Research, Oct 30, 2012]

Microsoft’s recently launched own-brand Surface tablets have raised the question of whether Surface will devour consumer demand for tablets or notebooks, or maybe even both. In terms of hardware, Surface is capable of satisfying consumer demand for notebooks, but to replace other tablets, it still requires a more complete app software ecosystem, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

Currently, the major difficulty Surface faces in gaining a competitive edge in the tablet market is the lack of a complete app software ecosystem, which means that if Surface can achieve growth in the short term, it will mainly be at the expense of demand for notebook products.

To let Surface to become a tablet killer instead of a notebook killer, Microsoft must expand shipments of Windows RT devices to attract application designers to join and establish an ecosystem. However, due to Android’s existence in the market, most notebook vendors are hesitant about joining the Windows RT market.

Although IBM, Microsoft and Intel were able to defeat Apple previously with an open platform strategy, due to Android’s existence, Microsoft will be unable to compete against Google in terms of business model and will be forced to head to the same business direction as Apple of having a closed platform with integrated software and hardware, making it even more difficult for Microsoft to build a complimentary ecosystem built on the Windows RT platform.

The most popular strategy for platform competition is to offer a free or low-price product or service to attract users and establish an ecosystem to strengthen consumer loyalty, and then seek methods to gain profit. Apple, Google and Amazon’s strategies are all similar – by abandoning profit from some segments including hardware, operating system, software, digital content or advertising, they are able to increase their profits from the remaining segments; however, for Microsoft, since all the above segments belong to different business units, internal struggles and external industry fluctuations will all affect Microsoft’s performance in the future.

Digitimes Research: Windows 8 expected to have minimal impact on touch screen notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 13, 2012]

Shipment growth for touch screens used in notebooks throughout the fourth quarter of 2012 and most of 2013 will at large not be affected by the release of Windows 8, according to Digitimes Research.

Research indicates that consumers are more likely to purchase tablets throughout the time period because of the wide variety of tablet products available, and because of the difference in pricing between tablets and notebooks.

The notebook shipment forecast is expected to drop by 192 million units in 2012 to 189 million units in 2013 as a result, as well as due to a lack of recovery in the global economy.

However, Digitimes Research pointed out that the expected drop in notebook shipments will also be due to notebook makers increasing the mainstream sizes of their products to 14- and 15-inch, which will thus decrease the amount of panels available for producing notebook products.

Despite the shipment drop, the usage rate for touch panels used in notebooks is expected to increase to 10% in 2013, added Digitimes Research.

Digitimes Research: Asustek to compete with Acer for top-3 worldwide notebook vendor spot in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 15, 2012]

Weak Global notebook demand is expected to reshuffle the top-10 notebook brand rankings in 2013, with Lenovo expected to successfully take over Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) leading position. Meanwhile, Asustek Computer, which will rank as the fourth-largest brand vendor worldwide in 2012, will compete against Acer to become the third-largest vendor in 2013.

Toshiba, the sixth-largest notebook brand worldwide in 2012 is expected to be surpassed by Apple in 2013.

With top brand vendors starting to lose their edge, the four new stars in the notebook brand market – Lenovo, Asustek, Apple and Samsung – are expected to see their combined market share rise from 40.9% in 2012, to 43.2% in 2013.

As for upstream ODMs, their contributions to global notebook shipments is expected to grow from around 70% in 2011 to 75% in 2013, while electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers will step out of the design business and turn to focus mainly on manufacturing.

In 2013, Pegatron Technology and Wistron are expected to have the best performance among the top-five makers as the former will benefit from increased orders from Lenovo and Fujitsu, while the later will benefit from its enlarged cooperation with Asustek.

Source: Digitimes Research, November 2012

HP, Lenovo aim to ship 40 million notebooks each in 2013, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

Despite a stagnant global notebook market in 2012, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo aim to ship 40 million notebooks each in 2013, respectively increasing by 25% and 33.3-37.9% from 2012, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

As there have been no signals to indicate an economic rebound in the US and Europe, and demand for Windows 8 notebooks will not take off in the near future because consumers will take time to get accustomed to the new operating system, HP and Lenovo may be too optimistic about their notebooks sales in 2013, the sources analyzed.

Among other vendors, Samsung Electronics aims to ship 17 million notebooks and 40 million tablets in 2013, hiking from 2012 by 21.4% and 300% respectively, while Toshiba and Acer have set respective goals of shipping 20 million units, growing from 2012 by 25%, and 28 million units which will rise by 7.7%, the sources noted.

Lenovo 3Q12 global PC market share rises to 15.6% [DIGITIMES, Nov 9, 2012]

Lenovo saw its total global sales volume of notebooks, desktops and tablets during the third quarter of 2012 increase by 10.3% on year, with corresponding global market share rising to 15.6%, according to the company’s fiscal second-quarter 2012 (July-September) report released on November 8.

Lenovo posted sales revenues of US$8.7 billion, gross margin of 12.1%, net operating profit of US$206 million, pre-tax profit of US$204 million, and net profit of US$162 million for the third quarter of 2012.

Lenovo reached the largest PC market shares in China, Japan, India, Russia and Germany in the third quarter, and is likely to do so soon in Brazil, the company pointed out.

Lenovo shipped 8.5 million handsets in the third quarter, of which seven million were smartphones, the company indicated.

Notebook vendors headhunt R&D talent from ODM partners [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

As notebook brand vendors grow more interested in-house R&D and manufacturing to promote their brand image, sources from the upstream supply chain have seen some notebook vendors starting to headhunt talent from their ODM partners.

Sources from notebook ODMs also pointed out that vendors have changed their outsourcing strategies and will check with their chassis and hinge suppliers for component materials and prices, and have their in-house R&D teams complete industrial design before handing the work to ODMs.

The sources pointed out that the new strategy is expected to expand in the notebook industry in 2013 and should benefit notebook brand vendors in terms of gaining more control over component costs as well as keeping their product designs confidential.

Acer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have already started adopting the strategy.

Acer recently pointed out that the company will increase its R&D investment by 20% each year for the next three years. The company currently has about 1,000 R&D engineers. Lenovo will also continue strengthening its R&D and manufacturing abilities and is set to achieve an in-house production rate of 20% in 2013. Samsung’s in-house production rate is expected to maintain at 85-90% in 2013.

Notebook ODMs offer extra services to attract tablet orders [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

With notebook shipments estimated to only have a single-digit percentage growth on year in 2013, notebook ODMs including Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron, are aggressively trying to land tablet orders by offering extra services, according to sources in the upstream supply chain.

In addition to offering preferences over price, product specifications and shipment conditions, Compal and Wistron also offer their exclusive touchscreen solutions from related subsidiaries to attract downstream brand vendors to place orders.

Meanwhile, Quanta is offering services through its cloud computing expertise and the company reportedly has assisted brand vendors such as Amazon, to build data centers and successfully acquired their tablet orders.

In 2013, Compal estimates it will ship 6-8 million tablets, up from two million units in 2012, while Wistron expects its tablet shipments to reach six million units, up from 2.5 million units in 2012, and Quanta with shipments of 14-15 million units, up from 10 million units in 2012.

11.6-inch becomes niche-market size for notebooks, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Nov 15, 2012]

As global sales of netbooks have been decreasing due to competition from tablets, 11.6-inch has become niche-market size, according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.

Among notebook screen sizes, 11.6- and 13.3-inch have accounted for a relatively small proportion of total shipments, the sources indicated. However, as Samsung Electronics and Acer have launched inexpensive 11.6-inch Chromebooks and Asustek Computer has launched a 11.6-inch VivoBook touch-control notebook, an increasing number of 11.6-inch notebooks are available for sale, the sources commented.

Despite shrinking sales, demand for netbooks still exists, especially in emerging markets, the sources indicated. As most netbooks are have screen sizes of 10-inch, and 10.1-inch is so far the upper limit for typical tablet screen sizes, 11.6-inch notebooks are likely to see considerable demand in the global market, the sources pointed out.

Windows 8 may not start a PC replacement trend for enterprises until after 2014 [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

Demand for Microsoft’s Windows 8 is unlikely to start emerging until 2013 for the consumer market, while for the enterprise market, demand is expected to come at an even later time and may not appear until 2014, according to sources from the PC industry.

Although Microsoft is trying to present its latest innovations in Windows 8 to response to consumers’ fluctuating demand, it turns out that consumers need more time to understand the new advantages that the product provides and relatively delay acceptance for the new operating system.

Although notebook brand vendors have a high expectation for the year-end holidays this year, their order placement to the upstream supply chain still shows they are cautious about the shipment performance during the traditional peak season.

To prompt enterprises to adopt Windows 8, Microsoft has recently noted that the company will stop providing support to Windows XP in April, 2014 with most of the enterprises expected to turn to Windows 7 and some to Windows 8 as stability and necessity are the major considerations for enterprises to make a purchase.

Component makers concerned Windows 8 demand may not emerge until 1Q13 [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

Some upstream component makers have recently started to be concerned that the PC replacement trend expected to be brought on by Windows 8 may not occur in the fourth quarter of 2012 as originally estimated, but will take off in the first quarter of 2013, according to sources from upstream supply chain.

Since an operating system usually needs to have serious debugging after launch, the sources believe consumers may hold back their new PC purchases until some time later and their actions would impact demand for Windows 8-based systems in the fourth quarter.

However, the component makers are still placing high hopes on the new operating system to bring growth.

Notebook ODMs facing uncertainty as brand vendors take over R&D [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

Acer plans to release a new notebook that is designed and developed in-house, creating an alert among notebook ODMs that brand vendors are trying to become more involved in R&D and the component purchasing of their notebook products which could impact ODMs’ profitability, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The sources pointed out that Acer’s in-house developed notebook features Windows 8 and a touchscreen display and will be showcased at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2013, at the earliest. Related R&D has already been completed and Acer is currently seeking a partner to conduct assembly.

So far, the device is the only in-house developed project that Acer plans to release in the short term and shipments will be limited, indicating that the project is a test for Acer to try out its R&D capabilities, the sources noted.

With Lenovo also planning to expand its in-house production by establishing its own plants, if Acer also decides to conduct R&D in house, it could seriously impact the values of ODMs for their clients.

However, some ODMs pointed out that they are not concerned about the moves and believe the possibility of the new business model emerging is low since the brand vendors have already outsourced their R&D to ODMs for a long time, and rebooting their R&D capabilities will require a long period of learning.

Since Wintel is no longer dominating the PC market, brand vendors will also need to spend R&D resources on ARM and Android, which would seriously increase their burden.

At its Windows 8 product launch conference, Acer also revealed that the company will focus more on product R&D and will increase its R&D resources by at least 20% every year.

Commentary: Notebook ODMs face uncertainties in tablet market [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

The rise of tablets and smartphones, plus the economic downturn in the US and Europe, have been causing PC brands such as HP, Dell and Acer to report unsatisfactory sales results. This has been affecting the performance of notebook ODM firms such as Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron.
ODM firms have been hoping that Windows 8 can stimulate a new wave of demand as consumers switch to new PC models with the Microsoft operating system in 2013. Also, ODM firms have been aggressively fighting over tablet orders as demand in 2013 is likely to reach 200 million units.
Quanta Computers targets revenues from non-notebook business to increase to 30% of total revenues in 2012. Compal is looking to ship 6-8 million tablets in 2013, while Wistron aims to achieve its tablet shipment target of 6 million units in 2013.
Compal’s and Wistron’s targets of shipping 6-8 million tablets to a market whose total shipments are expected to reach 200 million in 2013 show how difficult it has been for notebook ODMs to obtain tablet orders.
One of the reasons is that most of the market has been dominated by Apple while other tablet vendors such as Amazon and Google have yet to see strong sales. Manufacturing orders have been over-concentrated, causing tough competition among firms. As a result, both Quanta and Compal have trimmed their tablet divisions.
The ODM firms have been facing uncertainties regarding tablet orders, such as multiple platforms, unstable orders, and different device sizes.
Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms continue to dominate the market while Microsoft’s Windows comes in third. Samsung is planning to develop its own platform and HP’s webOS may also become one of the major players. The multiple platforms mean firms need to bet on the right one to maintain orders.
As for orders, clients may place large volumes expecting strong sales in the end market. But when sales turn out worse than expected, inventory will build up and orders will be cut. That is the case with Amazon’s Kindle Fire earlier this year. For the tablet segment, manufacturing partners are under much higher pressure from inventory management.
Another uncertainty comes from the size of the devices. There are currently products that are 7-, 8.9-, 9.7-, 10.1-, and 11.6-inch. A small difference in size can mean significant differences in revenues.
In addition, profits have been unstable. Some tablet brands want to increase market share by resorting to low price and sacrificing their gross margin. This directly affects the profit margin of ODM firms.

Taiwan component makers worried about Lenovo plans to hike in-house notebook production [DIGITIMES, Oct 8, 2012]

As China-based vendor Lenovo plans to increase in-house production of own-brand notebooks and will therefore procure components instead of letting ODMs release orders, as a result Taiwan-based component makers have felt pressure of losing orders, according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.

In-house production currently accounts for 20-30% of Lenovo’s shipments of notebooks, desktops and other types of PCs, the sources indicated.

Lenovo will have LCFC (Hofei) Electronics Technology, its joint venture with Taiwan-based ODM Compal Electronics in Hofei, northern China, start volume production at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013, to increase in-house production of notebooks, the sources pointed out. In addition, Lenovo is setting up PC production lines in the US and will do so in Brazil in 2013, with volume production to begin in 2013, the sources noted.

In addition to increasing in-house production, Lenovo may set up a supply chain consisting of China-based component makers, the sources pointed out.

Compal/Lenovo joint venture expected to output 3-5 million notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES, Sept 4, 2012]

The notebook manufacturing joint venture of Compal Electronics and Lenovo in Hefei, China was reported by local media to enjoy more than 10 million units of notebook production volume in 2013, but sources from notebook players estimate that the plants may only be able to output around 3-5 million units next year as their yield rates still need improvement, while the related process of shifting orders from other ODMs to the joint venture may also affect the total output volume from the joint venture.

The sources pointed out that Compal and Lenovo’s cooperation will create benefits for both firms as Lenovo will be able to directly control the quality of its products, understand the ODM manufacturing process and reduce its cost, while Compal will be able to tighten its relationship with Lenovo and benefit from Lenovo’s orders.

The joint venture will start pilot production in October and start mass production in the fourth quarter of 2012 with monthly capacity at around 300,000 units. Initially, the plants will focus on notebook production, but will later add production for all-in-one PC. The local media has reported that the plants will manufacture about one million notebooks in 2012, 13 million units in 2013 and 20 million units in 2014.

Currently, Lenovo has 51% stakes in the joint venture with Compal holding the remaining 49% and some market watchers are concerned that Lenovo may shift all its Compal orders to the joint venture, affecting Compal’s own orders and profitability since Compal will need to share its profit with Lenovo for any order received by the joint venture.

Commenting on the concerns, Compal president Ray Chen has noted that the two firms have already signed a contract to avoid from this type of situation, but he refused to reveal further details of the contract.

In 2013, sources from the supply chain pointed out that Lenovo will still maintain about 30% of notebook shipments being in-house manufactured and will outsource the remaining 70% with the orders to the joint venture considered as outsourcing.

Compal Electronics lays off tablet R&D, testing personnel [DIGITIMES, Oct 23, 2012]

Taiwan-based notebook and tablet ODM Compal Electronics has laid off more than 100 employees responsible for tablet R&D and testing.

Compal confirmed the layoffs, explaining that the company recruited staff members to meet growing orders for tablets in 2011 but orders received have been far short of expectations and therefore it is necessary to adjust manpower. Although Compal stressed that only one wave of layoffs is planned, internal sources indicated that there may be more.

Compal’s staff cuts signal that tablet vendors have encountered difficulties and notebook supply chains are under pressure, industry sources pointed out. For tablet vendors, the iPad has dominated the high-end segment while competition in among entry-level models, which includes the Amazon Kindle Fire series and Google Nexus 7, is already intensive, the sources analyzed. In addition, tablet vendors originally rested their hopes on Windows 8 models, but Microsoft’s launch of the Windows RT Surface at US$499, and Apple’s planned launch of the iPad mini will cut into their competitive advantages, the sources said.

Compal’s tablet clients are mainly Acer and Lenovo, the sources indicated.

In September 2011, Quanta Computer laid off over 1,000 production line workers due to a large decrease in orders for tablets from RIM, and in October 2011 Inventec laid off 432 employees because Hewlett-Packard reduced its tablet orders.

Lenovo to launch a table-shaped all-in-one PC [DIGITIMES, Nov 5, 2012]

Lenovo plans to launch a Windows 8-based all-in-one PC that features a similar industrial design as Microsoft’s Surface [on June 18, 2012, a Microsoft tablet of the same name was unveiled, the original Microsoft Surface was rebranded as Microsoft PixelSense, see the About Microsoft PixelSense [Microsoft PixelSense press page, June 18, 2012]], a table-shaped PC. The machine features four legs and when the display is laid flat, it becomes like a table and can be used by multiple users simultaneously, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The all-in-one PC features a 27-inch display with initial shipments of 20,000 units.

In addition to Lenovo, Acer, Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) all plan to launch new all-in-one PCs with some models will appear as soon as the end of 2012.

At Computex 2012, Asustek chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated an all-in-one PC product under its Transformer series and the all-in-one PC can be detached and become an 18.4-inch tablet, supporting both Windows 8 and Android; however, the product, so far, still has not yet been mass produced.

Meanwhile, Acer has also launched two Windows 8-based all-in-one PCs with special designed hinge and Lenovo also displayed its IdeaCentre A720 with a function to lay out flat.

In 2012, all-in-one PC shipments are expected to reach 16.4 million units, up 20% from 13.7 million units in 2011, according to figures from IHS iSuppli, while IDC also forecast that the all-in-one PC shipments will reach 17 million units in 2013.

[Windows] Smartphones

FIH reportedly lands handset orders from Microsoft and Amazon [DIGITIMES, Nov 26, 2012]

Foxconn International Holding (FIH) has reportedly landed handset orders from Microsoft and Amazon and is set to launch the devices in mid-2013, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. However, both the parent company Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) and FIH declined to comment about clients or orders.

Foxconn is the major manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone products, while its subsidiary FIH has clients including Nokia, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.

Microsoft’s own-brand handset will adopt its Windows Phone 8 operating system, the sources noted.

The sources pointed out that Microsoft and Amazon’s own-brand handsets will only have a limited shipment volume initially and may become a new business model for the manufacturers in the future.

In addition to provide manufacturing services to first-tier brand vendors, FIH also supplies white-box handsets to regional vendors in China, Europe and the US.

Taiwan IC design houses to benefit from Samsung aggressive product roadmaps in 2013 [DIGITIMES, Dec 7, 2012]

… the Korea-based vendor is reportedly set to adopt a more aggressive ‘shotgun’ strategy wherein many models will be created in the smartphone, tablet, notebook, LCD TV and DSC sectors that cover a wide range of market segments in 2013, according to industry sources.

In the smartphone sector, Samsung will move into the Windows Phone platform and roll out models targeting the entry-level, mid-range and high-end segments simultaneously, in an attempt to duplicate its success in the Android space, the sources revealed.

Digitimes Research: Android phones to account for 70% of global smartphone market in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 6, 2012]

Shipments of Windows Phones, including 7.x and 8.x models, will grow 150% on year to 52.5 million units in 2013 for a 6.1% share

Worldwide Mobile Phone Growth Expected to Drop to 1.4% in 2012 Despite Continued Growth Of Smartphones, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units.

Windows Phone will battle with BlackBerry for the number three spot in 2013, but will gain further clarity in the years that follow. Windows Phone will build on the progress it made in 2012, with Nokia establishing its presence and HTC solidly jumping back into the race. Moreover, contributions by Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei will help grow its footprint. With more vendors releasing more devices aimed at multiple segments, sales associates will be better positioned to tell a compelling Windows Phone story and to explain the value of Windows Phone’s differentiated experience compared to market leaders Android and iOS.

Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2012–2016

Smartphone OS

2012 Market Share

2016 Market Share

CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)

Windows Phone








Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, December 3, 2012

The previous forecasts taken together mean:
– IDC: 18.7 million Window Phones in 2012 (calculated as 2.6% of 717.5 million units)
– IDC: 161 million Window Phones in 2016 (with 71.3% CAGR of that 18.7 million)
– DIGITIMES Research + IDC: 46.6 million Window Phones in 2013 (150% growth predidicted for WP in 2013 by DIGITIMES Research over 18.7 million given by IDC for 2012)
which makes DIGITIMES Research’s forecast of 52.5 million Window Phones in 2013 quite feasible for me, at least for three reasons:

  1. Samsung aggressive move into the Windows Phone platform as noted above by DIGITIMES.
  2. The kind of breakthrough for the WP8 Lumias, and WP8 in general, especially against iPhone 5, as described by my recent blog entries ragarding:

    High-end smartphones state-of-the-art:
    Lumia 920 vs. iPhone 5 (and vs. Android, Galaxy S3, HTC One X+) [Dec 7, 2012]
    Windows Phone 8 vs. Android 4.1 and 4.2 [Dec 6, 2012]

  3. The additional, not yet recognized end-user and business partner advantages as described in all detail in my:
    – Lead post: Marko Ahtisaari from Nokia and Steven Guggenheimer from Microsoft on the Internet of Things day of LeWeb Paris’12 [Nov 6, 2012]

Uncertain Windows 8 future may relatively affect Windows Phone 8 [DIGITIMES, Nov 5, 2012]

Although Microsoft has been aggressive promoting its new Windows 8 operating system (OS), a weak global economy has the notebook supply chain remaining conservative about the OS’ contribution to their performance in the fourth quarter and the OS’ uncertain future may relatively affect the software giant’s plan for its Windows Phone 8 platform, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

Microsoft’s aggressive promotion of Windows 8 touchscreen functions is meant to blur the boundaries between smartphone, tablet, notebook and desktop through a similar usage experience, while expanding its advantages in the IT industry through a unified OS platform structure and gain some benefits from the smartphone market, where the company is currently still behind.

Microsoft originally hoped to strengthen its Windows Phone 8 penetration through a PC replacement trend brought by Windows 8, but since the OS may not trigger a replacement trend as expected, while Microsoft’s smartphone partners such as High Tech Computer (HTC) and Nokia are also conservative about their Windows Phone 8-based product shipments, the sources believe Microsoft’s plans for its operating systems will be further delayed.

Microsoft’s launch of own-brand smartphones in 2013?
It is based on rumors that Microsoft Is Reportedly Testing Its Own Smartphone [TechCrunch, Nov 2, 2012]

First it built the Surface, and now Microsoft is said to be working on another new hardware product, this time a smartphone. That’s according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, which says Microsoft is currently working with Asian component suppliers on its own handset design, though it isn’t yet clear whether or not the device will ever go into mass production.
Details about what a Microsoft smartphone would look like are scarce, but the report does say that the version being currently tested has a screen between four and five inches, which is in keeping with recent designs from Apple and Android handset OEMs. It’s also probably pretty reasonable to assume that any device Microsoft puts out now will have more in common with the flagship phones from its hardware partners for Windows Phone 8, which include Nokia and HTC, than with its previous Kin smartphones. The teen-focused Kin carried Microsoft’s branding, but was made by Sharp, and lasted only 48 days on the market.
Microsoft had made a more dedicated approach to creating its own hardware with the Surface, albeit to mixed reviews. And as the WSJ reports, it’s also been more aggressive about enforcing hardware standards with its partners in recent years, both in terms of the look and makeup of Windows-certified PCs and in minimum specs for partner mobile handsets. That Microsoft could be considering an approach like Apple’s, wherein it would sell both hardware and software and control all aspects of the ecosystem, definitely seems more plausible than it has in the past.
Also, rumors have been building that Microsoft is working on a smartphone since back in June, thanks to Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund, who said that Microsoft was already working with a “contract manufacturer” to create their own Windows Phone 8 mobile device. Then at the beginning of October, Boy Genius Report received a tip that Microsoft was indeed working on its own smartphone, that would sell alongside and compete with partner OEM devices like the HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 920. The company has shown it’s willing to go there with the Surface, and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop even said on a conference call two weeks ago that a Microsoft-made device would be a boost to the entire Windows Phone 8 device sales ecosystem.
Even if it didn’t become a top seller in and of itself, a Microsoft-branded smartphone could offer Windows Phone what the Nexus line provides Android: a place to show off the latest and greatest software, experiment and build hype around the platform. I think the biggest risk would be in potentially alienating hardware partners, but so far the Surface doesn’t seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of Windows PC OEMs all that much, and Elop has already declared his support. If nothing else, a Microsoft-made Windows Phone 8 smartphone would be interesting, and generating interest is maybe the key ingredient to Microsoft’s future mobile success.

Why Microsoft believes latest-gen Windows Phones are ‘killer hardware’ [TechRadar, Nov 18, 2012]

INTERVIEW We talk to the head of Windows Phone: Terry Myerson

For the last year, Nokia has been the poster child for Windows Phone but recently HTC and Samsung have seemed more in favour.

Samsung announced their Windows Phone 8 handsets first and the HTC 8x was handed out to enthusiasts at the Windows Phone 8 launch.

We asked corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division Terry Myerson to explain how Microsoft juggles partnerships with rival phone makers and how much influence manufacturers have on the design of Windows Phone.

“We work in different ways with each of them on the engineering and on the marketing,” Myerson told TechRadar.

Nokia gets priority when it comes to development because of the commitment it’s made to Windows Phone; “Nokia is exclusive to Windows Phone and we definitely, on the engineering side, prioritise platform work to support their differentiation coming through.”

Despite the restrictions it puts on handset specs, Microsoft doesn’t want to see the same handset from every phone maker. “Our goal is that Windows Phone is a platform that our partner differentiation can shine through on.

We do spend time planning with HTC and Samsung, sitting down with them and collaborating on what a product is where their differentiation elegantly coexists with Windows Phone and what we bring. There are different cultures to each of these companies and they all have their own plans for how they want to bring their technologies to market.”

“The best devices”

He’s predictably enthusiastic about the handsets that come out of the collaboration with all three partners. “I think the result is the most fantastic killer hardware we’ve ever had, not only for the windows ecosystem – I think these devices are better than any device – well, I they’re the best devices. They’re colourful, they’re beautiful, they’re thin, amazing cameras…”

Some of what you see in Windows Phone 8 handsets is Microsoft’s idea, some comes from the OEMs. “In the case of wireless charging, that was definitely Nokia’s initiative to say they wanted that; they had technologies inside their labs, they took the initiative to put forward a number of engineering designs. There were definitely platform modifications we made to support their innovation but Nokia led on that. All the credit goes to them.”

“The Wallet feature is a place where the Windows Phone team thought about how to use NFC. Roaming content though SkyDrive, encryption; these are all features coming from Microsoft. But the wide angle camera that HTC did with Skype in mind, Nokia’s wireless charging – those are innovations coming from our hardware partners.”

Although app developers get far more access to the platform in Windows Phone 8, Microsoft is still keeping some control and treading a fine line between the free for all of Android that Google is increasingly trying to rein in and the central control of the Apple ecosystem.

We like to think of it as the structured ecosystem that allows the differentiation of partners to shine though on our platform, at the same time providing consumers the confidence that we will protect their privacy, keep malware off the platform, provide a consistently familiar user experience, and providing developers confidence they can write apps once and target our platforms. So there is more structure and structure at times can feel constraining but also there are benefits to it. It’s helpful that everyone drives on the same side of the road, for example…”

Why was the SDK so hard to get?

Myerson is unapologetic about not making the Windows Phone 8 SDK widely available before the launch (when most developers didn’t have phones to work with) and concentrating instead of key developers to get big-name apps; 46 of the top-selling 50 apps from other phones will be on Windows Phone 8 (and yes, he knows who the missing four are and is working on changing their minds).

The sheer number of apps in the Store is far from the most important thing. “It’s a balance; definitely there is magic that occurs in that long tail of apps, [you get some] delightful things… but it is also true that working with these incredibly popular mobile apps is important as well.”

Windows Phone 8 is the future and it’s getting all the marketing love at the moment, but Windows Phone 7 is far from dead. Myerson assured us. “We’re going to have more to say about 7.8 in the coming weeks,” he promised.

I would expect both platforms to exist for quite some time, from a global point of view. Windows Phone 7.8 devices will span much lower price points than Windows Phone 8 devices, initially, and given the application compatibility across the platforms, it makes the ecosystem stronger to have more device and more price points. We value every 7 and 7.8 customer we have; we’ll continue to work for them as well but it is true that Windows Phone 8 is our future platform.”

Of course that only matters if Microsoft can finally start selling Windows Phone devices in significant numbers. Just as Steve Ballmer promised you wouldn’t be able to escape Windows 8 ads, Myerson promises what sounds like an advertising blitz, focussing on Windows Phone rather than on the handset makers.

This holiday it’s very important to us to get out there and tell the Windows Phone story: how we do have this amazingly unique point of view, the smartphone that can be so personal and reflect your interests and the people in your life. Telling that in the most pure sense without confusing them which brands we’re talking about is important. We need consumers to understand and love Windows Phone.”

More advertising money

Certainly Microsoft has promised to advertise Windows Phone better before, without much to show for it, and Myerson seems happy to admit it.

“We weren’t out there with same experience as Windows, even we though shared the same brand; we didn’t have all the right teamwork in place with our partners on the go to market, and we were not advertising the product. We were not out there telling the story to consumers – and that changes now. We will start telling our story. We are going to go out there and advertise the product and tell people.”

What’s different now? In a word, Windows 8 – but also more operator support. “It’s a special time. We have a great product that expresses this unique differentiated point of view, that we are the most personal smartphone, we’ve got killer hardware from partners and we have a great partnership with the mobile operators.

“The fact that they’ve ranged so many phones at such great price points is fantastic. And of course having Windows out there at the same time is exciting; making the experience familiar to users and being the best phone for Windows; if you’re a Windows user, this is the phone for you.”



  1. […] ← Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and … […]

  2. […] these bode well with the findings in my post with a corresponding title: Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets… [this same blog, Nov 20, 2012]. Note that this new kind of consumer computing trend is directly […]

  3. […] Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets… [Nov 20, 2012]- Giving up the total OEM reliance strategy: the Microsoft Surface tablet [June 19 – […]

  4. […] is not taken into account at all. The two very recent updates from IDC given as updates in my Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets… [this ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog, Nov 20 – Dec 10, 2012] are the latest examples of that […]

  5. […] Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets… [Nov 20 – Dec 10, 2012] […]

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