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16nm / DDR4! MediaTek Helio X30 / X22 Exposure

Recommended background information on this same blog:

  1. MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy for devices, wearables and IoT [March 10, 2015]
  2. MediaTek CorePilot™ 3.0 with Tri-Cluster™ [July 3, 2015]

Aug 3, 201516nm/DDR4!联发科Helio X30/X22曝光- MTK手机网 by MTK mobile phone network (MTK手机网) as has been translated by Google and Bing with my manual edits as appropriate by the meaning

MediaTek has earlier launched a solution, code-named Helio X10, the MT6795 [Aug 1, 2014] kind of high-quality product [see in the background post No.1], but at the end of this year, with a more advanced technology, a higher performance 10 core processor Helio X20 will come [see in the background posts No.2]. Now follow-up products in the Helio high-end product line have been exposed, and with that more violent MediaTek’s solutions will be available.

Weibo user named @Kuro_Ne_Ko released a message a few days ago, in which the Helio X30 was announced and some information was published on Helio X22. According to the released content Helio X30/X22 will be the next push of the MediaTek’s flagship program, i.e. a significant upgrade to the X20.

It is reported that Helio X30 uses a 16nm FinFET technology and a ten core design as the X20, but the architecture is different. Helio X30 uses a more aggressive four clusters processor design. The first group has four [Cortex-]A72 performance cores, clocked at 2.5GHz; the second group of has the same Cortex-A72, their number is 2, and the frequency rate is 2GHz; and the rest is integrating 2 [Cortex-]A53  CPU cores at 1.5GHz, and the 2 other [Cortex-]A53 CPU cores at 1GHz.

This is all for a 10 core, 2xA53+2xA53+2xA72+4xA72 design. On the basis of the Helio X20 Tri-Cluster architecture [see in the background post No.2], the increase of the number of clusters, as well as the number of Cortex-A72 CPU cores will let the Helio X30 work under different loads more efficiently, one can imagine. Helio X30’s performance when going into a full play will undoubtedly be even better than that of the X20.

In addition to the architecture and technology upgrades, other specifications of Helio X30 could also be upgraded, such as memory. Helio X30 finally supports LPDDR4 (dual-channel /1600MHz/4G), in storage [functionality] can support the eMMC5.1 specification, and supports POP [Package on package] packaging. On the other hand Helio X30 will integrate a 800MHz ARM Mali-T880MP4 graphics processor that supports a camera of 40 million pixels (24fps), or 16 million pixels (60fps) as well as 8 million pixels (120fps).

Another Helio X series high-end product has also been exposed, code-named Helio X22. This new product is an upgraded version of Helio X20, the clock frequency will be increased, while other specifications should be close to Helio X20.

This year is the starting year for building the high-end MediaTek brands. The results achieved are also obvious, its current top-end product Helio X10 has been used by HTC, Gionee [金立], VIVO and OPPO, makers of flagship products. Supported by stronger performances, Helio X30/X22 are also expected to be used by a large number of manufacturers. After all it is already apparent that Mediatek products have the advantage of low power consumptionHowever, taking into account that the recent Helio X20 has to wait until December or so to be listed, Helio X22 and X30 should be for a more later date.

The New HTC EYE Experience for HTC phones and the New HTC Desire EYE phone already embodying that

auto selfie [0:25⇒]; voice prompts, Voice Selfie [0:53⇒]; Split Capture [1:10⇒]; Crop-Me-In [1:55⇒]; face fusion 2:25⇒]; face tracking [3:00⇒]; screen sharing [[3:00–>]4:17⇒]; the New HTC Desire EYE phone [5:12⇒] (for more see: HTC – Innovations | HTC Eye Experience | Selfie and Video Smartphone Software and HTC Desire EYE specs – Phone Arena). All that just the start of “Double Exposure” launch event of Oct 8. HTC EYE Experience will roll out to the following models (full feature list to be confirmed at roll-out): HTC One (M7), HTC One (M8), HTC One (E8), HTC One mini, HTC One mini 2, HTC One Remix, HTC One Max, HTC Desire 612, and HTC Desire 816 in the coming months.

HTC RE camera hands-on! (Android Central)

They took a look on the announcement day (Oct 8. 2014) at the HTC RE camera, the first foray into the post-mobile world from the Taiwanese manufacturer. It’s a small, handheld camera with a 16MP sensor that can shoot on its own, or connect to an Android device or iPhone for tethered shooting.

Bloomberg (Businessweek) legitimizes Allwinner and Rockchip as challengers to Intel and Qualcomm via the tablet space, as well as Spreadtrum in the smartphone space

Although the title is just:

  1. Qualcomm, Intel Threatened as Allwinner Nabs Tablet Share [Bloomberg, March 17, 2014]
  2. Qualcomm, Intel Threatened as Allwinner Gains Tablet Share: Tech [BloombergBusinessweek, March 17, 2014]

Note that for me there is nothing new about those titles as I introduced a whole new blog to the “Allwinner phenomenon” as evidenced with a specially designed banner on the right here:

And the first post of mine, “Hello world! Here is the Allwinner SoC and the ecosystem built around it”, was created 16 months ago, on November 26, 2012. For very well founded reasons which were explained in quite a detail in that post. Please read them as you will learn much more about the Allwinner case than from the whole Bloomberg (Businessweek) articles. Your interest will be more satisfied with quite a number of additional posts in January 2014, October 2013, September 2013, June 2013, April 2013, March 2013, January 2013 and December 2012.

Allwinner’s success is explained now in the Bloomberg (Businessweek) articles by the following quote:

Local chipmakers benefit from their proximity to the device manufacturers because it bolsters their ability to anticipate and react to new features that are in demand, said Ben El-Baz, head of U.S. marketing for Allwinner.

“Shenzhen is really the electronics hub for the world,” El-Baz said in a phone interview. “We are so close to the market that we’re able to come out with new solutions faster than our competitors. We can do it at lower cost.”

as well as the fact that:

The surge in cheaper devices hasn’t gone unnoticed by more established computer makers. Hewlett-Packard this year began selling the HP 8, a $170 tablet that runs on an Allwinner quad-core processor.

In [1], however, the internal text contains reference to Rockchip as well:

Note that this same blog of mine started to recognize Rockchip 2 years ago with MWC 2012: Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics post which was followed 10 months later with another one claiming no less than China’s HW engineering lead: The Rockchip RK292 series (RK2928 and RK2926) example. Under the Rockchip tag you could find even more recent ones.

Intel Corp. (INTC) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), the two largest U.S. chipmakers, are under threat in the fastest-growing part of the tablet market from a band of upstarts with names like Allwinner Technology Co. and Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics Co. that are little known outside southern China.

Allwinner, based in Zhuhai near the manufacturing center of Shenzhen, became the No. 2 tablet-processor maker behind Apple Inc. in 2012 as demand for cheaper tablets stoked sales of its low-cost chips, according to IDC. Qualcomm ranks third, while Intel comes in at No. 6, following Rockchip.

Success at Allwinner, which was founded in 2007, and Rockchip, established in 2001, is being driven by increasing demand for inexpensive tablets in their home market, where some devices sell for as little as $50, and in other developing economies. Sales of tablets that retail for less than $150 and don’t carry a brand name will rise 36 percent this year, IDC estimates, driving a 22 percent increase in total tablet shipments. The market for tablet processors grew 32 percent in 2013 to $3.6 billion, according to Strategy Analytics.

Allwinner accounted for 18.2 million of the 88.3 million tablet processors shipped in the fourth quarter of 2013, IDC said. That was more than three times what Santa Clara, California-based Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, shipped in the same period. Rockchip sold 9 million.

Rockchip representatives didn’t return messages for comment.

Update: China’s Parallel Universe [EE Times, March 26, 2014]

SHENZHEN, China — When I’m in China, I often feel as though I’ve dropped into a parallel universe. But worse, once I get back to the good old US of A, I feel even more lost.

This is because I run smack-dab into Western-centric preconceived views on market trends, design requirements, and market leaders that don’t often apply to China.

When I recently sat down with Eva Wu, marketing manager of Allwinner Technology in Zhuhai, she set the record straight. “Yes,” she told me, “there were 10 apps processor vendors in China, all competing for the tablet market in 2012. But by early 2014, those dominating the tablet market are now pretty much down to only three companies — Allwinner, RockChip, and MediaTek.”

I have always felt that a winnowing-down among China’s apps processor vendors was necessary and would happen sooner or later. But I didn’t expect such a drastic change so quickly.

The following table, compiled by Chinese industry sources, is a snapshot of China’s tablet apps processor market. The 2014 market forecast shows a clear upward trend for Taiwan’s MediaTek, doubling shipments and holding its own in China.

Tablet Application Processor Vendors for Chinese Tabletsimage
Source: Compilations of China’s industry data

It’s easy for the Western players to dismiss what’s happening in China, on the presumption that “those guys are playing only in the Tier 2 market.”

Know your tier 2 players
Maybe so, but I find that knowing your Tier 2 players (the guy below you on the ladder) is vitally important. Some of those players are very ambitious and climbing fast. They have no intention to remain Tier 2 forever.

Allwinner’s Wu proudly told me that Allwinner was the first AP vendor to achieve the Android 4.4 Google Mobile Service certification. Noting that the certification tells the world the stability of Allwinner’s apps processor, Wu said, “You have to pass the certification test in order to play in the US market. US retailers like Walmart or BestBuy wouldn’t accept the products without it.”

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Wu noted that Allwinner’s apps processors are getting designed into Tier 1 tablets — such as Sony’s tablet projectors and Samsung’s tablet designed for printers.

Parallel universe for STB SoCs
Meanwhile, the same parallel universe characterizes the set-top box world. Over here in China, the so-called over-the-top (OTT) market has exploded as Internet companies like Alibaba have gone whole-hog with video services over the Internet. This dates back to the third quarter last year.

The OTT market is growing fast, according to Wu, with as many as 2 million OTT boxes sold in a month at its peak.

For Chinese consumers, there are three ways to receive digital video services. They’re available on smart TVs, which cost around 10,000 RMB (US$1,630). Another route is OTT boxes, priced between 200 and 300 RMB ($33 to $49). The last option is an Android USB stick that you can plug into a TV, selling for between 100 and 200 RMB ($16 to $33).

To Chinese vendors comparing tablet SoCs with IP set-top SoCs, it’s clear that key subsystems — including CPU and GPU — are already common. Allwinner is among many Chinese vendors leveraging their tablet SoCs to enter the exploding OTT market.

Of course, back in the USA, leading cable set-top chip vendors like Broadcom have a very different view of the set-top box market. When I chatted with Stephen Palm, senior technical director at Broadband Technology Group, this week, he pointed out that requirements in today’s set-tops in the West are nothing like what current mobile SoCs are capable of handling.

End of update

while both articles contain a whole paragraph devoted to Spreadtrum as well:

Note that this same blog of mine started to recognize Spreadtrum 27 months ago with World’s lowest cost, US$40-50 Android smartphones — sub-$100 retail — are enabled by Spreadtrum post which was followed 7 months later with another one claiming no less than Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets. Under the Spreadtrum tag you could find even more recent ones.

Spreadtrum’s Relationships

Like MediaTek, Shanghai-based Spreadtrum Communications Inc. is building on its relationship with handset makers serving the China market and exporting from there. The company, founded in 2001, supplies both processors and modems for smartphones that can retail for as little as $25, said Diana Jovin, a U.S.- based vice president at Spreadtrum.

Her company, which is owned by the Chinese government, has learned that quickly providing adaptable solutions is needed to succeed in a rapidly changing market, she said.

“A significant part of the mobile-handset ecosystem is centered in China,” Jovin said. “We’re the only vendor located in China serving those customers. We’ve expanded our portfolio quite rapidly and have the breadth and depth to compete effectively on a global basis.”

Spreadtrum, which has supplied chips used in Samsung’s Galaxy Star model and HTC Corp.’s Desire, is looking to build on its China base just as Qualcomm, the largest maker of semiconductors used in phones, is trying replicate its worldwide market dominance in that country, the biggest global mobile-phone market.

Regarding the question how the western chipmakers could meet these challenges:

Intel Priority

Intel Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich — who has made catching up in mobile computing a priority since taking over the company in May — said he’s aiming to quadruple tablet-chip sales to 40 million this year and processors from his company will make their way into devices costing less than $100. To speed adoption, Intel will provide tablet makers with subsidies — what it calls “contra revenue” — to make the cost of its chips competitive. That will cut into profitability this year.

Kathy Gill, a spokeswoman for Intel, said the company is “absolutely accelerating” its roadmap for its Atom line of low-power, low-cost processors for phones, tablets and budget laptops.

New Chips

Qualcomm has already responded to the demand for lower-cost devices made in China with new chips, said Cristiano Amon, the head of the company’s chip division.

The adoption of a faster wireless-data technology called long-term evolution, or LTE, particularly by No. 1 wireless carrier China Mobile Ltd., will open the door for Qualcomm, the San Diego-based company says. While other companies including Intel, MediaTek and Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) have announced LTE-capable chips, Qualcomm has been in the market for more than two years and has 100 percent market share in devices that have integrated modems, according to IDC.

Qualcomm’s Edge

Qualcomm’s advantage in LTE modem chips will be tough to beat. Unlike for stand-alone processors, there’s no source of off-the-shelf modem designs [there is, however, highly advanced semiconductor IP on the market with CEVA as the lead vendor in that space which is dating back to CEVA Introduces Low Power, Multi-Mode LTE-Advanced Reference Architecture for the New CEVA-XC4000 DSP Architecture Framework [press release, Feb 21, 2012] – you can find more about that in The future of the semiconductor IP ecosystem post of mine], and building one takes years of experience, testing and qualification work with phone-service providers, according to Will Strauss, an analyst at Mesa, Arizona-based Forward Concepts Co.

In processors, “everybody can get in, thanks to ARM and the ease of implementing your own applications processor. They’ve lowered the bar,” Strauss said. At the same time, “the barrier for entry for LTE modems is still very, very high.”

The articles end, however, with a kind of gloomy outlook for the leadiong Western chipmakers:

I would be much more sceptical about the Western SoC vendors’ capabilities to withstand the onslaught of Chinese SoC vendors (including MediaTek). Even the “lack of modem technology” argument given above applies only to a limited degree as:

See more in:
Chinese smartphone brands to conquer the global market? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 18, 2014]

Still, Chinese companies have created an obstacle that their more established rivals may struggle to overcome, said Jim McGregor, an analyst at Tirias Research. While the volumes are huge in China and emerging markets, the devices’ low prices leave little room for profits — particularly for companies like Qualcomm and Intel that have shareholders who are accustomed to wide margins, he said.

“We are not just talking about a billion here, but several billion units,” McGregor said. “It’s foolish to avoid that kind of market. The problem is with a publicly traded company, it’s against their instincts to go for it.”

Chinese smartphone brands to conquer the global market?

The smartphone market in China became saturated between Q3’12 and Q4’13 as per the below chart from Analysys International (EnfoDesk):

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Note that this chart corresponds to Chinese writing traditions, i.e. in Q2’11 16.81 million smartphones and 51.01 million feature phones were sold, while in Q4’13 97.63 million smartphones and 9.2 million feature phones. Source: 易观分析:2013年第4季度中国手机销量增速放缓,智能手机市场呈现饱和态势 (Analysys analysis: China mobile phone sales growth slowed in the fourth quarter of 2013, the smart phone market is saturated) [EnfoDesk, March 11, 2014]

Chinese Handset Vendors Will Account for Over 50% of Mobile Handset Sales in 2015 [ABI Research press release, March 10, 2014]

ABI Research reports that Chinese handset vendors will account for over 50% of mobile handsets in 2015. Chinese vendors already accounted for 38% of mobile handset shipments in 2013 and the ongoing shift in growth to low cost handsets, especially smartphones, will increase their market share.

Greater China has long dominated the mobile handset manufacturing supply chain, but now its OEMs are beginning to dominate sales at the expense of the traditional handset OEMs, including even Samsung.

Many of the Chinese OEMs have focused almost exclusively on the huge Chinese market, with little activity beyond its borders, but this is set to change. Huawei (6th in worldwide market share for 2013) and ZTE (5th) have already made an impact on the world stage, but other Chinese handset OEMs like Lenovo—the Motorola acquisition is a clear statement of intent—and Xiaomi are set to join them.

Chinese vendors already take up five of the top ten places in terms of worldwide market share, despite three of them only really shipping into China. The Chinese vendors highlight the changing shape of the mobile handset market, as the Chinese manufacturing ecosystem, specifically reference designs, enable the next wave of smartphone growth in low cost emerging markets and amongst price conscious consumers everywhere,” said Nick Spencer, senior practice director, mobile devices.

“South East Asia has already experienced this trend, but ABI Research expects to see the impact of these Chinese vendors increasing in all emerging markets and even advanced markets, especially on prepay,” added Spencer.

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The New Phone Giants: Indian And Chinese Manufacturers’ Fast Rise To Threaten Apple And Samsung [Business Insider India, March 15, 2014]

The top Indian and Chinese smartphone manufacturers are classically disruptive. They produce products that are “good enough,” at a fraction of the cost of comparable models from premium brands. These ultra low-cost devices are the key to nudging consumers in massively untapped markets like India and Indonesia onto smartphones.

And these companies are starting to aim higher – producing 4G LTE smartphones that have the same processing power as Samsung and Apple premium devices.

They’re also far more innovative than they’re given credit for in terms of their strategy, supply chain management, and hardware.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we explain why global consumer Internet and mobile companies will increasingly need to work with companies like Xiaomi and Micromax – not to mention Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, Coolpad, Karbonn, and others – if they don’t want to miss out on mobile’s next growth phase in emerging markets

  • Major local manufacturers now account for two-fifths of China’s smartphone market, and one-fourth of India’s. Xiaomi already sells four of the top 10 best-selling Android devices in China, and operates one of the top five app stores.
  • Combined, the top five manufacturers in China and the top two in India – the “Local 7” in the chart above – are now shipping about 65 million smartphones every quarter, more than Apple, and coming close to drawing even with Samsung.
  • These local manufacturers wield influence in various ways. They run their own successful app stores, mobile operating systems, and mobile services. They also hold the keys to which apps are preloaded on their phones. When BlackBerry wanted to take its BBM messaging service for Android into India, it signed a deal with Micromax.
  • The local manufacturers are not provincial outfits producing knock-offs, as some might be inclined to assume. But their main competitive tool, for now, remains price. Local manufacturers in China and India match the features of more expensive devices and manage to produce comparable hardware at a fraction of the price. A Micromax handset comparable to Apple’s iPhone 5C costs less than one-fourth as much.
  • Xiaomi has used a four-point strategy in its three-year rise to produce four of the most popular phone models in China. We discuss all four aspects, including tight inventory management and crowdsourcing product development feedback.
  • These manufacturers will continue to expand overseas, in search of new growth opportunities. Micromax is in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Xiaomi has its eyes on Malaysia and Brazil. Huawei is already in the U.S. For example, it sells a 4G LTE handset on MetroPCS.

Smartphone Prices Race to the Bottom as Emerging Markets Outside of China Come into the Spotlight for Future Growth, According to IDC [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

Singapore and London, February 24, 2014 – Emerging markets have become the center of attention when talking about present and future smartphone growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in 2013 the worldwide smartphone market surpassed 1 billion units shipped, up from 752 million in 2012. This boom has been mainly powered by the China market, which has tripled in size over the last three years. China accounted for one out of every three smartphones shipped around the world in 2013, equaling 351 million units.

Recently the surge in growth has started to slow as smartphones already account for over 80% of China’s total phone sales. The next half billion new smartphone customers will increasingly come mainly from poorer emerging markets, notably India and in Africa.

“The China boom is now slowing,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for mobile devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. “China is becoming like more mature markets in North America and Western Europe, where smartphone sales growth is slackening off.”

Emerging markets in Asia/Pacific outside of China, together with the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, account for four fifths of the global feature phone market, according to IDC data. “This is a very big market opportunity,” said Simon Baker, Program Manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA. “Some 660 million feature phones were shipped last year, which could add two thirds to the size of the current global smartphone market.”

India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. “Growth in the India market doesn’t rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than US$120,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.

“Converting feature phone sales to smartphone sales implies a relentless push towards low cost,” added Baker. IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than US$100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than US$50.

“The opportunity gets larger the lower the price falls,” continued Baker. “If you take retail prices without sales tax, in 2013 nearly three quarters of the US$100-125 price tier was already accounted for by smartphones. Within US$75-100 the proportion was down to just over half, and between $50-75 it was not much more than a third.”

Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China. Even Hon Hai, one of the largest contract manufacturers for handsets in China, has announced plans for a plant in Indonesia to furnish a lower production cost base.

In addition to the table below, an interactive graphic showing worldwide sub-$100 feature phone shipments by region is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

Worldwide Sub-$100 Feature Phone Shipments by Region, 2013

Region

Shipments (M Units)

India

212.3

Middle East & Africa

150.0

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan, China, and India)

140.7

Latin America

76.4

PRC

68.1

Central & Eastern Europe

43.6

Western Europe

39.8

North America

13.9

Total

744.9

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, February 24, 2014

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Analysys International: Xiaomi Ranked Among Top Five in Q4, 2013 [March 11, 2014]

The statistics from EnfoDesk, the Survey of China Mobile Terminals Market in Q4, 2013, newly released by Analysys International, shows that the market share of Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, Coolpad and Xiaomi ranked the top five of China smartphone in Q4, 2013. The market share of Samsung shrink slightly over the previous quarter, but it still accounted for 15.07 percent of smartphone market and maintain the leading position.

The release of Apple‘s new product has brought efficiency in Q4, and its market share slightly rebounded. Owning to the release of MI3 (Xiaomi), the market share of Xiaomi up 3.85 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. MI3 still should be bought from booking and the booking is relatively frequent. Meanwhile, the purchase restriction of MI2(Xiaomi) and Red MI(Xiaomi) has been relaxed, coupled with the strategic cooperation between Xiaomi and mobile operators, making it easier to buy custom models as well as contributing to the  enlargement of Xiaomi’s market share. It can be expected that Xiaomi will put more energy into the complement of its retail capabilities and continue to increase their market share.

From: UMENG Insight Report – China Mobile Internet 2013 Overview [UMENG, March 12, 2014]

– The number of active smart devices in China exceeded 700 Million by the end of 2013.
– The five fastest growing mobile apps categories (excluding games) are : news, health & fitness, social networking, business, and navigation. These areas will bring new opportunities for developers in 2014.
– Socializing your apps is the key to success for developers. Currently among the top 1,000 apps (apps and games) in the Chinese market, 55% of them provide links to Chinese social networking services (e.g. Sina Weibo, Wechat, QQ, Renren) The amount of app content sharing to social network platforms per mobile Internet user per day has tripled in the last 6 months.
– Social network sharing in game has become incredibly popular on all social networking platforms, 48% of in app sharing traffic to social networks are from games.
– High-end devices (pricing above 500US$) have a significant market share in China, contributing 27% of total devices. These users have dynamic needs on mobile apps . The users of below 150US$ phones prefer casual games for their entertainment requirements.
– The year of 2013 became known as the first year Chinese developers took IP seriously with many developers licensing IP from rights holders. By the end of 2013, among the Top 100 games, 20% license 3rd party IP.
– Over the course of 2013 the percentage of iOS jailbroken devices in the Chinese Mainland fell by 17% to 13% of all devices. Domestic users are becoming more hesitant to jailbreak their devices.

700 Million active smart devices in China

  • By the end of 2013, the number of active smart devices in China had exceeded 700,000,000, including smart phones and tablets.       
  • In the 4th quarter 59% of new devices were bought by smartphone users upgrading their existing hardware. The remaining new devices where bought by users buying their first smartphone. As smartphone use becomes more commonplace in China new sales are increasingly driven by existing users upgrading, rather than from users purchasing their first smartphone.               

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The market for budget Android phones is strong in China with 57% of devices under 330 USD price range. However over a quarter of users are using high-end smart phones costing over 500USD, 80% of these are iPhones.

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Fragmented Android device market

  • In the 4th quarter of 2013, Samsung and XiaoMi (a local brand) prove to be the most popular Android brands as between them they manufacture all of the top 10 active Android devices.
  • However the Android market is still highly fragmented with hundreds of different handsets on the market. Samsung who manufacture many devices in all price ranges control 24% of the device market, while the domestic manufactures are battling it out with the international brands to extend their market share.

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  • In 2013, changes to device connectivity saw a large growth in WiFi connectivity, from 38% at the beginning of  the year to 52% at year end. Mobile Internet infrastructure has become better in China. However Chinese users are still price sensitive to mobile data tariff.       

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  • Glossary:   
    Active Device: active device refers to device which has activated at least one app covered by Umeng platform in the stipulated time frame. All  the “devices” in the report refers to “active devices”, not the actual shipment.

  • Data Source:   
    Analysis data in the report is based on over 210,000 Android and iOS apps from the Umeng platform. All data was collected from January to December 2013.

From: More than 247 million mobile handsets shipped in India during CY 2013, a Y-o-Y growth of 11.6%; over 70 million mobile handsets shipped in 4Q 2013 alone [CyberMedia Research press release, Feb 26, 2014]

According to CMR’s India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2013, February 2014 release, India recorded 247.2 million mobile handset shipments for CY (January-December) 2013. During the same period, 41.1 million smartphones were shipped in the country.

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India Smartphones Market

The India smartphones market during 2H 2013 saw a rise in shipments by 60.3% over 1H 2013, taking the overall contribution of smartphones to 16.6% for the full year. Further, 65.8% of the total smartphones shipped in the country were 3G smartphones during CY 2013.

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Commenting on these results, Tarun Pathak, Lead Analyst, Devices, CMR Telecoms Practicesaid, “CY 2013 was primarily the year of smartphones for the India market, particularly for local handset vendors. A first for the India market was a marginal decline in featurephone shipments on a year-on-year basis. This trend is likely to continue with more vendors focusing on entry level smartphone offerings aimed at the consumer segment.”

“Nearly 70 vendors operated in the highly competitive India smartphones market in CY 2013, with ‘Tier One’ brands like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, HTC, LG and Blackberry capturing close to 53% of the total smartphones market, followed by India brands capturing close to 43% of total smartphone shipments. The remaining market of roughly 4% smartphone shipments was captured by China OEM brands, where we expect a few more players to enter the India market directly, instead of continuing as ODM partners to Indian brands”, Tarun added.

Rapid Growth In Smartphones Offset The Slump Witnessed In Feature Phone Sales In 4Q13, Says IDC [press release, Feb 26, 2014]

India was one of the fastest growing countries worldwide in terms of smartphone adoption in 2013. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2013 the smartphone market surpassed 44 million units shipped, up from 16.2 million in 2012.  This surge has been mainly powered by home grown vendors which have shown a tremendous and consistent growth over the past 4 quarters of 2013.

The overall phone market stood at close to 257 million units in CY 2013 – an 18% increase from 218 million units in CY2012.

CY2013 also witnessed a remarkable migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones primarily due to the narrowing price gaps between these product categories.

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Q413 Perspective:

The India smartphone market grew by 181% year over year (YoY) in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13).  According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) APEJ Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 15.06 million smartphones in 4Q13 compared to 5.35 million units in the same period of 2012. 4Q13 grew by almost 18% Quarter-on-Quarter.

The shipment contribution of 5.0inch-6.99inch screen size smartphones (phablets) in 4Q2013 was noted to be around 20% in the overall market. The category grew by 6% in 4Q13 in terms of sheer volume over 3Q13.

The overall mobile phone market (Feature Phones and Smartphones) stood at 67.83 million units, a 16% growth YoY and a meager 2% growth quarter over quarter (QoQ).The share of feature phones slid further to make 78% of the total market in 4Q13, with the market showing a decline of 2% in 4Q13 over 3Q13.

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The fourth quarter of 2013 witnessed a spike in the smartphone shipments by smaller homegrown vendors like LAVA, Intex which have shown tremendous growth in the past couple of quarters.

“The growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones”, said Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.

“The international vendors have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience ” comments Kiran Kumar, Research Manager with IDC India.

Top Five Smartphone Vendor Highlights

Samsung: Samsung maintained its leadership spot with about 38% in terms of market share. Its smartphone shipments grew by close to 37% from 3Q 2013 to 4Q2013. The fourth quarter saw quite a few new launches across price points by Samsung – however the low-end Galaxy portfolio in smartphones contribute to 50% in terms of shipment volumes

Micromax: Micromax held on to its second spot with about 16% in terms of market share in 4Q2013. Some of the top selling models were the entry level smartphones like A35 Bolt and A67. The Canvas range of devices has also done well in terms of volume contribution owing to the marketing campaigns launched around them.

Karbonn: The market share for Karbonn in 4Q2013 was close to 10%, some of the top selling models for this brand were A1+ and A51.

Sony: Sony managed to make a comeback in the top-5 smartphone vendor list in 4Q13 and garnered a market share of 5%. The top selling models included Xperia M Dual and Xperia C handsets, which are targeted at mid-tier price range.

Lava : Lava managed to hold onto the number 5 spot in the top-5 smartphone vendor list. The continued traction around the XOLO and IRIS range of devices helped the vendor garner a market share of 4.7% in 4Q13. Some of the top selling models include the newly launched XOLO A500 S and the existing models like IRIS 402 and IRIS 349.

image

IDC India Forecast:

IDC anticipates the growth in Smartphone segment to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localized product offerings. Vendors who are able to differentiate their offerings at affordable prices will maintain a competitive edge and secure a strong position in the mobile phone market in CY 2014.

From: Gartner Says Annual Smartphone Sales Surpassed Sales of Feature Phones for the First Time in 2013 [press release, Feb 13, 2014]

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2013 (Thousands of Units)

Company
2013
Units
2013 Market Share (%)
2012
Units
2012 Market Share (%)
Samsung
299,794.9
31.0
205,767.1
30.3
Apple
150,785.9
15.6
130,133.2
19.1
Huawei
46,609.4
4.8
27,168.7
4.0
LG Electronics
46,431.8
4.8
25,814.1
3.8
Lenovo
43,904.5
4.5
21,698.5
3.2
Others
380,249.3
39.3
269,526.6
39.6
Total
967,775.8
100.0
680,108.2
100.0
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q13 (Thousands of Units)

Company
4Q13
Units
4Q13 Market Share (%)
4Q12
Units
4Q12 Market Share (%)
Samsung
83,317.2
29.5
64,496.3
31.1
Apple
50,224.4
17.8
43,457.4
20.9
Huawei
16,057.1
5.7
8,666.4
4.2
Lenovo
12,892.2
4.6
7,904.2
3.8
LG Electronics
12,822.9
4.5
8,038.8
3.9
Others
106,937.9
37.9
75,099.3
36.2
Total
282,251.7
100.0
207,662.4
100.0
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
Top Smartphone Vendor Analysis
Samsung: While Samsung’s smartphone share was up in 2013 it slightly fell by 1.6 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013. This was mainly due to a saturated high-end smartphone market in developed regions. It remains critical for Samsung to continue to build on its technology leadership at the high end. Samsung will also need to build a clearer value proposition around its midrange smartphones, defining simpler user interfaces, pushing the right features as well as seizing the opportunity of bringing innovations to stand out beyond price in this growing segment.
Apple: Strong sales of the iPhone 5s and continued strong demand for the 4s in emerging markets helped Apple see record sales of 50.2 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013.
“However, Apple’s share in smartphone declined both in the fourth quarter of 2013 and in 2013, but growth in sales helped to raise share in the overall mobile phone market,” said Mr. Gupta. “With Apple adding NTT DOCOMO in Japan for the first time in September 2013 and signing a deal with China Mobile during the quarter, we are already seeing an increased growth in the Japanese market and we should see the impact of the last deal in the first quarter of 2014.”
Huawei: Huawei smartphone sales grew 85.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to maintain the No. 3 spot year over year. Huawei has moved quickly to align its organization to focus on the global market. Huawei’s overseas expansion delivered strong results in the fourth quarter of 2013, with growth in the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Europe.
Lenovo: Lenovo saw smartphone sales in 2013 increase by 102.3 percent and by 63.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. Lenovo’s Motorola acquisition from Google will give Lenovo an opportunity to expand within the Americas.
“The acquisition will also provide Lenovo with patent protection and allow it to expand rapidly across the global market,” said Mr. Gupta. “We believe this deal is not just about entering into the U.S., but more about stepping out of China.” 
Gartner expects smartphones to continue to drive overall sales in 2014 and an increasing number of manufacturers will realign their portfolios to focus on the low-cost smartphone sector. Sales of high-end smartphones will slow as increasing sales of low- and mid-price smartphones in high-growth emerging markets will shift the product mix to lower-end devices. This will lead to a decline in average selling price and a slowdown in revenue growth.
In the smartphone OS market, Android’s share grew 12 percentage points to reach 78.4 percent in 2013 (see below). The Android platform will continue to benefit from this, with sales of Android phones in 2014 approaching the billion mark.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2013 (Thousands of Units)

Operating System
2013 Units
2013 Market Share (%)
2012 Units
2012 Market Share (%)
Android
758,719.9
78.4
451,621.0
66.4
iOS
150,785.9
15.6
130,133.2
19.1
Microsoft
30,842.9
3.2
16,940.7
2.5
BlackBerry
18,605.9
1.9
34,210.3
5.0
Other OS
8,821.2
0.9
47,203.0
6.9
Total
967,775.8
100.0
680,108.2
100.0
Source: Gartner (February 2014)

Linux client market share gains outside the Android? Instead of gains will it shrink to 5% in the next 3 years?

The Linux Foudation quite proundly referred to ReadWriteMobile: The ‘Year of the Linux Desktop’? That’s So 2012 [Feb 3, 2013]

For those Linux enthusiasts still pining for the mythical “Year of the Linux Desktop,” the wait is over. In fact, it already happened. In 2012 Microsoft’s share of computing devices fell to 20% from a high of 97% as recently as 2000, as a Goldman Sachs report reveals [”Clash of the titans” downloadable from here, dated Dec 7, 2012]. While Apple has taken a big chunk of Microsoft’s Windows lead, it’s actually Google that plays Robin Hood in the operating system market, now claiming 42% of all computing devices with its free “Linux desktop” OS, Android.

Read more at ReadWriteMobile.

from which I will include here the following chart:

image

for which Goldman Sachs commented as:

The compute landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade with consumers responsible for the massive market realignment. While PCs were the primary internet connected device in 2000 (139mn shipped that year), today they represent just 29% of all internet connected devices (1.2bn devices to ship in 2012), while smartphones and tablets comprise 66% of the total. Further, although Microsoft was the leading OS provider for compute devices in 2000 at 97% share, today the consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share, followed by Apple at 24%, Microsoft at 20% and other vendors at 14%.

Note from Goldman Sachs: Microsoft has gone from 97 percent share of compute market to 20 percent [The Seattke Times Dec 7, 2012]:
I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame — as seen in the above chart — that made Apple’s vendor share jump, Microsoft’s share plummet and the “other” category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.

Microsoft was put into the “Challenged” category (along with Google BTW) by Golmann Sachs noting that:

… we estimate that Microsoft would have to sell roughly 5 Windows Phones or roughly two Windows 8 RT tablets to offset the loss of one traditional Windows PC sale, which we estimate has an overall blended selling price of $60 for business and consumer.

but a kind of more positive than negative outlook was predicted for the company by

… we expect the recent launches of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets to help the company reclaim some share in coming years.

Apple, at the same time, was into the “Beneficiaries” category (along with Facebook and Samsung BTW) by Goldmann Sachs for the reason of:

… we believe loyalty to the company’s ecosystem is only increasing and this should translate into continued growth going forward. In particular, we see the potential for Apple to capture additional growth as existing iOS users move to multiple device ownership and as the company penetrates emerging regions with new devices such as the iPad miniAAPL and lower priced iPhones. As a result, we believe Apple’s market share in phones has room to rise much further, and that its dominant tablet market share appears to be more resilient than most expect. We expect these factors to continue to drive the stock higher.

This is, however, not going to happen if taking a judgement from the stock market reflections since then with 13.7% drop in Apple’ share price vs. that of Dec 7 (the report publishing date) and a whopping 34.5% drop vs. its last peak on Sept 19, 2012 (at $702.1):image 
source: Yahoo! Finance

Why Did $AAPL Stock Go Down After Beating Earnings Estimates And $AMZN Stock Go Up After Missing? [Techcrunch, Jan 29, 2013] had the following explanation:

The moves in different directions for Amazon and Apple have been about expectations and guidance. Wall Street has higher expectations for Apple and ‘different’ expectations for Amazon. Wall Street wants Apple’s ‘gross margins’ to grow. They don’t expect Amazon’s ‘profits’ to grow. It sounds silly, but if Apple has reported lower profits and a huge gross margin increase the stock might have shot up. If Amazon had reported record profits today on decreasing margins, Wall Street might have panicked.

Wall Street has stopped caring about Apple’s profits today. They were displeased with forward guidance. Growth rates have slowed measurably at Apple which is understandable for a company of its’ size. Wall Street is worried that growth is slowing and competition from Google and Samsung are taking a toll. Apple has given Wall Street so many wonderful surprises so magic has become the norm. Now that Apple is boring, they have run for the hills.

That moode didn’t change even after Apple CEO Tim Cook was trying to assure investors at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology Conference on Feb 12, just a week ago. Read the Wrap up: Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Goldman Sachs Conference keynote [AppleInsider, Feb 13, 2013] from which I will quote only the following excerpts as the most notable ones:

Cook went on to say that introducing a “budget device” was not something Apple would be comfortable with, and instead pointed to the strategy seen with the iPhone lineup. In that model, new variants like the iPhone 5 are sold at the highest price while preceding versions like the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are sold at discounted rates.

According to Cook, the iPad is “the poster child of the post-PC revolution” and has driving the push to tablets since its introduction in 2010.

While Apple’s tablet has been the downfall for a number of PC alternatives, such as netbooks, the device is also said to be hurting the company’s own Mac computer sales. During the last quarter of 2012, Mac sales dropped 22 percent year-to-year on low demand and supply constraints. Apple’s iPad business, however, grew by nearly 50 percent over the same period.

The cannibalization question raises its head a lot,” Cook said. “The truth is: we don’t really think about it that much. Our basic belief is: if we don’t cannibalize, someone else will. In the case of iPad particularly, I would argue that the Windows PC market is huge and there’s a lot more there to cannibalize than there is of Mac, or of iPad.”

Cook noted that burgeoning markets like China and Brazil will be major players in future growth, and the company is banking on its ability to draw customers in to the Apple ecosystem with “halo products.”

“Through the years, we’ve found a very clear correlation between people getting in and buying their first Apple product and some percentage of them buying other Apple products.”

At the same conference Microsoft, similarly to Apple, declared a ‘no change’ strategy despite of the obvious failure of its Windows 8 and Windows Phone efforts so far. In the No “Plan B” for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions: CFO [Reuters, Feb 13, 2013] report one can read:

“We’re very focused on continuing the success we have with PCs and taking that to tablets and phones,” Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said

“It’s less ‘Plan B’ than how you execute on the current plan,” said Klein. “We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.”

Gartner estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, which is a fraction of the 23 million iPads sold by Apple. Microsoft has not released its own figures but has not disputed Gartner’s.

Windows phones now account for 3 percent of the global smartphone market, Gartner says, which is almost double their share a year ago but way behind Google’s Android with 70 percent and Apple with 21 percent.

To grab more share, Klein said Microsoft was working with hardware makers to make sure Windows software is available on devices ranging from phones to tablets to larger all-in-one PCs.

“It’s probably more nuanced than just you lower prices or raise prices,” said Klein. “It’s less a Plan B and more, how do you tweak your plan, how do you bring these things to market to make sure you have the right offerings at the right price points?”

So the last 3 months went against Goldmann Sachs’ November 2012 predictions. The only question now remains whether those 3 months brought any changes in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft territories which would question other parts of the Goldmann Sachs’ forecast as well?

There were no negative changes just strengthening of the already established dominant position against both Apple and Microsoft:

1. Mainstream tablets 7-inch at US$199, say Taiwan makes [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013]

Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD have reshuffled the global tablet market and consequently 7-inch with a price cap of US$199 has become the mainstream standard for tablets, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

Cumulative sales of the Nexus 7 have reached six million and are expected to reach eight million units before the expected launch of the second-generation model in June 2013, the sources said. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire have driven vendors to develop inexpensive 7-inch tablet models instead of 10-inch ones, the sources indicated.

In order to be as reach US$199, 7-inch tablets are equipped with basic required functions such as access to the Internet and watching video, the sources noted. While Google, Amazon, Samsung Electronics and Asustek Computer are competitive at US$199 for 7-inch tablets, white-box or other vendors need to launch 7-inch models at lower prices such as US$149, the sources said. Fox example, China-based graphics card vendor Galaxy Microsystems has cooperated with Nvidia to launch a 7-inch tablet in the China market at CNY999 (US$160).

2. Digitimes Research: 68.6% of touch panels shipped in 4Q12 from the Greater China area [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013] meaning that in supply chain terms there is a growing concentration on suppliers not only from Greater China but especially from mainland China:

Taiwan- and China-based touch panel makers held a 68.6% global market share for touch panels shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Digitimes Research.

China-based panel makers saw the biggest share in the handset touch panel market during the fourth quarter due to smartphone demand in China, while Taiwan-based panel makers only held a 27.5% share in the market largely due to lower-than-expected sales of the iPhone 5, said Digitimes Research.

In terms of touch panels used in tablets, Taiwan-based panel makers saw a drop in their global market share to 59.9% during the period largely due to the iPad mini using DITO thin-film type touch screens provided from Japan-based touch panel makers. China-based panel makers meanwhile held 18.6% in the market due to demand for white-box tablets in China, added Digitimes Research.

Meanwhile, Digitimes Research found that Taiwan-based TPK provided 70.9% of all touch panels used in notebook applications in 2012.

3. Touch Panel Market Projected for a 34% Growth in 2013 from 2012 [Displaybank, sent in a newsletter form, Feb 19, 2013] published to promote Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013 [Jan 30, 2013]

The touch panel market is growing rapidly due to the increasing sale of smartphones and tablet PCs. The touch panel market size in 2012 was 1.3 billion units, a 39.4% growth over 2011. The market is projected to grow 34% in 2013, growing to more than 1.8 billion units.

Touch Panel Market Forecast (Unit: Million)image(Source: Displaybank, “Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013”)

Smartphone and tablet PCs, major applications that use touch panels, are expected to continue to grow at a high rate. In addition, most IT devices that use display panels have either switched to or will start using the touch panels soon. Therefore the touch panel market will show a double digit growth annually until 2016, by unit. The market size is expected to reach more than 2.75 billion units by 2016.
With the explosion in the sale of smartphones and tablet PCs during the past few years, our lives have changed dramatically. They are now common place in our lives, and have a huge influence in the IT industry in general. With the introduction of Windows 8 OS in October 2012, upsizing of touch panels has begun. The impact of this event on the immediate growth of the touch panel market and the long-term effect is so immense that it cannot be estimated at the moment.
The financial crisis that started in 2008 left much of the IT industry hobbling worldwide. But only the touch panel market is enjoying a boom. Many new players are pouring into the industry, and those on the sidelines are waiting for the opportune moment to enter. As more players enter the competitive landscape, touch panel prices are falling rapidly. In addition, to gain competitiveness and to differentiate itself in the market has led players to develop and improve structure, technique and process, and seek out new materials.
The introduction of Windows 8 is leading the increase in touch capable Notebook and AIO PCs. It is still too early for the touch interface to completely displace keyboard and mouse, but the touch functionality does add convenience to some operations. We are sure to see an increase in specialized apps that capitalize on such functions. Therefore, touch functions will complement traditional input methods. As the technology is still in early implementation stages, it is used only in select high-end Ultrabooks. But it’s only a matter of time before touch functions make its way to mid-end products.
Forecasting the future of touch panel industry is not only difficult, but also outright confusing in the current landscape due to the rapid expansion; the increase in number of devices that use touch panels; more players in the market; and rapid development of new products and new processes. In serving clients, Displaybank has released “Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013” to provide industry outlook by application, product, and capacitive touch structure. The report also includes the supply chain of set makers and touch panel manufacturers; and cost analysis of major capacitive touch panels by size and type. This report will serve as a guide to bring clarity and understanding of rapidly transforming touch panel industry.

4. Cheaper components could allow 7-inch tablets priced below US$150, says TrendForce [DIGITIMES, Dec 14, 2012]

Viewing that Google and Amazon have launched 7-inch tablets at US$199, other vendors can offer 7-inch tablets at below US$150 only by adopting cheaper components, according to Taiwan-based TrendForce.
As panels and touch modules together account for 35-40% of the total material costs of a 7-inch tablet, replacing the commonly used 7-inch FFS panels with 7-inch TN LCD panels accompanied by additional wide-view angle compensation could save over 50% in panel costs, TrendForce indicated. In addition, replacing a G/G (glass/glass) or OGS (one glass solution) touch module with a G/F/F (glass/film/film) one, although inferior in terms of transmittance and touch sensitivity, can cut costs by about 70%. Thus, the adoption of a TN LCD panel and a G/F/F touch module for a 7-inch tablet could reduce material costs by about US$25, TrendForce said.
Given that the type of DRAM affects standby time only as far as user experience is concerned, costs can be reduced through replacing 1GB mobile DRAM priced at about US$10 with 1GB commodity DRAM priced at about US$3.50, TrendForce noted. As for NAND flash, 8GB and 4GB eMMC cost US$6 and US$4, respectively, and therefore the latter should be the preferred choice to save costs.
For CPUs, China-based IC design houses, including Allwinner Technology, Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics, Ingenic Semiconductor, Amlogic and Nufront Software Technology (Beijing), provide 40-55nm-based processors at about US$12 per chip which could be alternatives to chips used in high-end tablets which cost about US$24, TrendForce indicated.
While the sales performance of tablets below US$150 is yet to be seen, such cheap models are expected to put pressure upon China-based white-box vendors, and in turn intensify price competition in the tablet market in 2013, TrendForce commented.

5. Strong demand from non-iPad tablet sector to boost short-term performance of IC vendors [DIGITIMES, Jan 28, 2013]

Demand for IC parts from the tablet industry in China has been stronger than expected in the first quarter of 2013, which could help boost the short-term performance of IC design houses, while offsetting the impact of slow demand from China’s smartphone sector caused by high inventory levels, according to industry sources.

Entry-level tablets meet market demand in terms of pricing and functionality, particularly in China, said the sources, adding that demand for entry-level tablets in China and other emerging markets could top 4-5 million a month in 2013 compared to 2-3 million in the second half of 2012.

MediaTek, while seeing demand for its handset solutions from China decrease in the first quarter of 2013, has also enjoyed emerging IC demand from the tablet sector, with plans to release chipset solutions for the segment in the second quarter of the year, the source revealed.

Since the growth momentum for tablets in 2013 is expected to come from non-iPad vendors in China and other emerging markets, Taiwan-based suppliers of LCD driver, analog and touch-controller ICs as well as those of Wi-Fi, audio and Bluetooth chips will benefit from the trend thanks to cost advantages and strong business ties in these markets, the sources commented.

6. Allwinner A31 SoC is here with products and the A20 SoC, its A10 pin-compatible dual-core is coming in February 2013 [Dec 10, 2012] and The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs [Dec 4, 2012], both from my own separated trend tracking site devoted to the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ coming from mainland China and having the potential of drastically altering the 2013 device market (not taken into account at all by Goldmann Sachs report):

Allwinner Tech tell us about the new features of their A31 product targeted for tablets, smartphones and smart TVs. Based on quadcore ARM Cortex-A7.

that already resulted in huge growth of the mainland China Android tablet manufacturing in 2012, as well shown by this chart:which has already fundamentally affected the worldwide tablet market in 2012:

7. What Allwinner started in 2012 with the single core A10/A13 SoCs and which was further boosted by the quad-core Cortex-A7 A31 SoC on Dec 5, 2012 with the release of Onda V972 and V812 tablets (for US$ 208 and US$144 respectively) is an incredible strategic inflection point for the whole ICT industry, which ALL SoC vendors should compete with. Rockchip shown as the #2 on the mainland China market just followed the suite:

Rockchip’s new RK3188 chipset: quadcore ARM Cortex-A9 and quadcore ARM Mali-400, 28nm HKMG process. Plus an update on Rockchip’s involvement with products for the education market.

8. Now the most ambitious external challenger Marvell Announces Industry’s Most Advanced Single-chip Quad-core World Phone Processor to Power High-performance, Smartphones and Tablets with Worldwide Automatic Roaming on 3G Networks [press release, Feb 19, 2013] which is going to add to the competition the integrated on the SoC 3.5G modems:

Marvell’s PXA1088 is the industry’s most advanced single-chip solution to feature a quad-core processor with support for 3G field-proven cellular modems including High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), Time division High Speed Packet Access Plus (TD-HSPA+) and Enhanced Data for GSM Environment (EDGE).

The Marvell PXA1088 solution incorporates the performance of a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 with Marvell’s mature and proven WCDMA and TD-SCDMA modem technology to provide a low-cost [elsewhere stated by Marvell that this SoC is for the phones space in the “$100 range”] 3G platform for both smartphones and tablets. The advanced application processor technology of the PXA1088 enables a breakthrough end user experience for multimedia and gaming applications with universal connectivity. Marvell’s complete mobile platform solution includes the Avastar® 88W8777 WLAN + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM single-chip SoC and the L2000 GNSS Hybrid Location Processor, and an integrated power management and audio codec IC.

Marvell’s PXA1088 is backward pin-to-pin compatible with its dual-core single-chip Unified 3G Platform, the PXA988/PXA986, enabling device partners to upgrade their next-generation mobile devices to quad-core without  additional design cost.

Currently, the PXA1088 platform is sampling with leading global customers. Products based on this platform are expected to be commercially available in 2013 [elsewhere stated by Marvell thatWe’ll start seeing PXA1088-based phones in the first half of this year”].

9. Yesterday we had two significant advancements described in the Ubuntu and HTC in lockstep [Feb 19, 2013] post here. Especially the Ubuntu related part is remarkable as first time we had a new platform which can span the whole spectrum of devices: from smartphones, to tablets, to desktops, to TVs – actually all from a smartphone capability expanded via docking and other means to a screen, to a TV, a keyboard, and a mouse. This is certainly an extreme case of the new Ubuntu capability which can have implementation in different devices as well. Even in that case, however, the source and binary codes could be the same. This is also cleverly using the already well established Android drivers and Android Board Support Package (BSP) infrastructure of the most cost-efficient ARM SoC vendors. Note that this is furthest from any “license violation” attacks as the original OHA terms and conditions are stating the Apache V2 licencing which:

The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open source community. Because these innovations and differentiated features can be kept proprietary … Because the Apache license does not have a copyleft clause, industry players can add proprietary functionality to their products based on Android without needing to contribute anything back to the platform. As the entire platform is open, companies can remove functionality if they choose.

10. Finally today came Google Glass: showing how radically the user experience might be changing in the next 2-3 years:

Want to see how Glass actually feels? It’s surprisingly simple. Say “take a picture” to take a picture. Record what you see, hands free. Even share what you see, live. Directions are right in front of you. Speak to send a message, or translate your voice. Get the notifications that matter most. Ask whatever’s on your mind and get answers without having to ask. All video footage captured through Glass. Welcome to a world through Glass. See more athttp://www.google.com/glass/start “New Lipstick” by The Kissaway Trail on Google Play -http://goo.gl/v4dUf

More information: Google Glass – Home [Feb 20, 2013] where it is also possible to grasp its wonderful, non-intrusive seign like this:

image

Conclusion: There are even more uncalculated by Goldmann and Sachs advancements in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft spaces than in Apple and Microsoft ones. Just in these 3 months! Therefore it would be ridiculous if Goldmann and Sachs’ “consumer compute platform share” forecast as shown in the chart above will be fullfilled!

Ubuntu and HTC in lockstep

Update at 18:05 PM CET: Both Ubuntu’s and HTC’s countdowns have ended, and there was no relationship between the two. Ubuntu, however, managed a clever publicity this way. What Ubuntu is promising now – touch enhanced experience from a single binary through tablets to desktop and TV. It would be even possible to use your Ubuntu smartphone and dock it to a larger touchscreen and Ubuntu presents a tablet interface, add to the tablet a keyboard and mouse and your tablet becomes a desktop PC on which even Microsoft Windows application can be run via one of the thin client solutions, even the presentation may go to your TV screen.  

This is what I observed today at 12:05 AM CET on ubuntu.com and htc.com:image
imageWhat is going on? Here is the explanation from HTC HOSTING SPECIAL EVENT IN NYC & LONDON ON FEB 19, HINTS AT NEW M7FLAGSHIP [UnleashThePhones.com, Jan 30, 2013] with the invitation:
Meanwhile on HTC’s social site yesterday appeared a table with a number of devices covered by cloth, and one of them has a tablet like shape:
image(via Instagram). Interesting coincidence with the Ubuntu home page declaring:

Tick, tock, tablet time!

as seen on my lockstep screenshot above.
What is this Ubuntu thing anyway?

Ubuntu comes to the phone, with a beautifully distilled interface and a unique full PC capability when docked [Canonical press release, Jan 2, 2013]

    • Leading open PC platform with huge global following announces mobile version for network operators, OEMs and silicon vendors
    • Fast, beautiful interface for entry level smartphones
    • Unique PC experience on superphones when docked with a monitor, keyboard and mouse
    • Ubuntu raises the bar for mobile UI design, for richer and more immersive apps
    • A single OS for phone, PC and TV
Canonical today announced a distinctive smartphone interface for its popular operating system, Ubuntu, using all four edges of the screen for a more immersive experience. Ubuntu uniquely gives handset OEMs and mobile operators the ability to converge phone, PC and thin client into a single enterprise superphone.
“We expect Ubuntu to be popular in the enterprise market, enabling customers to provision a single secure device for all PC, thin client and phone functions. Ubuntu is already the most widely used Linux enterprise desktop, with customers in a wide range of sectors focused on security, cost and manageability” said Jane Silber, CEO of Canonical. “We also see an opportunity in basic smartphones that are used for the phone, SMS, web and email, where Ubuntu outperforms thanks to its native core apps and stylish presentation.”
Ubuntu is aimed at two core mobile segments: the high-end superphone, and the entry-level basic smartphone, helping operators grow the use of data amongst consumers who typically use only the phone and messaging but who might embrace the use of web and email on their phone. Ubuntu also appeals to aspirational prosumers who want a fresh experience with faster, richer performance on a lower bill-of-materials device.

The handset interface for Ubuntu introduces distinctive new user experiences to the mobile market, including:

    • Edge magic: thumb gestures from all four edges of the screen enable users to find content and switch between apps faster than other phones.
    • Deep content immersion – controls appear only when the user wants them.
    • A beautiful global search for apps, content and products.
    • Voice and text commands in any application for faster access to rich capabilities.
    • Both native and web or HTML5 apps.
    • Evolving personalised art on the welcome screen.
Ubuntu offers compelling customisation options for partner apps, content and services. Operators and OEMs can easily add their own branded offerings. Canonical’s personal cloud service, Ubuntu One, provides storage and media services, file sharing and a secure transaction service which enables partners to integrate their own service offerings easily.
Canonical makes it easy to build phones with Ubuntu. The company provides engineering services to offload the complexity of maintaining multiple code bases which has proven to be a common issue for smartphone manufacturers, freeing the manufacturer to focus on hardware design and integration. For silicon vendors, Ubuntu is compatible with a typical Android Board Support Package (BSP). This means Ubuntu is ready to run on the most cost-efficient chipset designs.
In bringing Ubuntu to the phone, Canonical is uniquely placed with a single operating system for client, server and cloud, and a unified family of interfaces for the phone, the PC and the TV. “We are defining a new era of convergence in technology, with one unified operating system that underpins cloud computing, data centers, PCs and consumer electronics” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and VP Products at Canonical.
Canonical currently serves the leading PC OEMs: ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo all certify the majority of their PCs on Ubuntu and pre-install it in global markets. Over 20 million desktop PCs run the OS today, and Canonical estimates that close to 10% of the world’s new desktops and laptops will ship with Ubuntu in 2014. Ubuntu is also wildly popular as a server platform, the number one server OS on the key major public clouds and the leading host OS for OpenStack, the open source IAAS.

With that Canonical had achieved something even much more: Ubuntu for phones – Industry proposition [celebrateubuntu YouTube channel, Jan 2, 2013]

Watch Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth explain Ubuntu’s mobile strategy and what it offers industry partners.

So this is the Ubuntu thing, most probably today to be expanded into the tablets as well.

Will add that information as released in a couple of hours or so!


Ubuntu unveils tablet experience with multi-tasking [Canonical press release, Feb 19, 2013]

  • Unique ‘side stage’ multi-tasking puts phone and tablet apps on a single tablet screen
  • Secure enterprise tablets with full disk encryption, multiple secure user accounts and standard management tool that covers Ubuntu server, PC and touch
  • Unique convergence across all four form factors: a phone can provide tablet, TV and PC interfaces when docked to the appropriate screen / keyboard / remote
Canonical today presented Ubuntu’s tablet interface – the next step towards one unified family of experiences for personal computing on phones, tablets, PCs and TVs.
“Multi-tasking productivity meets elegance and rigorous security in our tablet experience,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical. “Our family of interfaces now scales across all screens, so your phone can provide tablet, PC and TV experiences when you dock it. That’s unique to Ubuntu and it’s the future of personal computing.”
“Fashion industry friends say the Ubuntu phone and tablet are the most beautiful interfaces they’ve seen for touch,” said Ivo Weevers, who leads the Canonical design team. “We’re inspired by the twin goals of style and usability, and working with developers who are motivated to create the best possible experience for friends, family and industry.”

The new tablet design doesn’t just raise the bar for elegant presentation, it breaks new ground in design and engineering, featuring:

  • Real multitasking: Uniquely, Ubuntu allows a phone app on the screen at the same time as a tablet app. The Ubuntu side stage was invented both to enable efficient multitasking and to improve the usability of phone apps on tablets.
  • Secure multi-user: Multiple accounts on one tablet with full encryption for personal data, combined with the trusted Ubuntu security model that is widely used in banks, governments and sensitive environments, making it ideal for work and family use.
  • Voice controlled HUD productivity: The Heads-Up Display, unique to Ubuntu, makes it fast and easy to do complex things on touch devices, and transforms touch interfaces for rich applications, bringing all the power of the PC to your tablet.
  • Edge magic for cleaner apps: Screen edges are used for navigation between apps, settings and controls. That makes for less clutter, more content, and sleeker hardware. No physical or soft buttons are required. It’s pure touch elegance.
  • Content focus: Media is neatly presented on the customisable home screen, which can search hundreds of sources. Perfect for carriers and content owners that want to highlight their own content, while still providing access to a global catalogue.
  • Full convergence: The tablet interface is presented by exactly the same OS and code that provides the phone, PC and TV interfaces, enabling true device convergence. Ubuntu is uniquely designed to scale smoothly across all form factors.
The Ubuntu tablet interface supports screen sizes from 6″ to 20″ and resolutions from 100 to 450 PPI. “The tablet fits perfectly between phone and PC in the Ubuntu family,” says Oren Horev, lead designer for the Ubuntu tablet experience. “Not only do we integrate phone apps in a distinctive way, we shift from tablet to PC very smoothly in convergence devices.”
On high end silicon, Ubuntu offers a full PC experience when the tablet is docked to a keyboard, with access to remote Windows applications over standard protocols from Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and Wyse. “An Ubuntu tablet is a secure thin client that can be managed with the same tools as any Ubuntu server or desktop,” said Stephane Verdy, who leads enterprise desktop and thin client products at Canonical. “We are delighted to support partners on touch and mobile thin clients for the enterprise market.”
Even without chipset-specific optimisation, Ubuntu performs beautifully on entry level hardware. “Our four-year engagement with ARM has shaped Ubuntu for mobile” said Rick Spencer, VP Ubuntu Engineering at Canonical. “We benefit from the huge number of contributing developers who run Ubuntu every day, many of whom are moving to touch devices as their primary development environment.”
For silicon vendors, Ubuntu is compatible with any Linux-oriented Board Support Package (BSP). This means Ubuntu is easy to enable on most chipset designs that are currently running Android. Ubuntu and Android are the two platforms enabled by Linaro members.
The Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be published on the 21st February 2013 with installation instructions for the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablet devices as well as smartphones such as the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus. Installable images and source code will be available from developer.ubuntu.com.
The Preview SDK, which currently supports phone app development, will now be updated to support tablet apps as well. Uniquely, on Ubuntu, developers can create a single application that works on the phone, tablet, PC and TV because it is the same system and all services work across all form factors.
Visit us at Mobile World Congress: Booth Number: 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1. The Canonical team will be available to install Ubuntu on your phones and tablets at Mobile World Congress. Note: Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview is a developer build and not a consumer-ready release.

Ubuntu for tablets – Full video [celebrateubuntu YouTube channel, Feb 19, 2013]

Watch Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth explain Ubuntu for tablets and what it offers industry partners.

Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu to be published on 21 February 2013 [Canonical press release, Feb 15, 2013]

    • Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available
    • Daily update mechanism to follow progress in Ubuntu
    • Canonical will flash phones at MWC for industry, developers and enthusiasts
    • Preview SDK and App Design Guides already available for developers building touch apps for Ubuntu
Images and open source code for the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu will be published on Thursday 21st February, supporting the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones.
They are intended for enthusiasts and developers, to familiarise themselves with Ubuntu’™s smartphone experience and develop applications on spare handsets. Tools that manage the flashing of the phone will be available on the same day in the Ubuntu archives, making it easy to keep a device up to date with the latest version of the Touch Developer Preview.
Attendees of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, 25th – 28th February can have their phones flashed to Ubuntu by Canonical team members at the Ubuntu stand, booth number 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1, where Ubuntu will be shown on a range of devices.
The code release is a milestone in the development program for Ubuntu’™s phone experience, and enables developers to port the platform to other devices. “Our platform supports a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. Developers who have experience bringing up phone environments will find it relatively easy to port Ubuntu to current handsets” said Pat McGowan, who leads the integration effort that produced the images being released. “We look forward to adding support for additional devices for everyday testing and experimentation.”
The install process and supported device list are maintained at wiki.ubuntu.com/TouchInstallProcess and will be updated as new devices are added.
The release also marks the start of a new era for Ubuntu, with true convergence between devices. When complete, the same Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experiences depending on the device it is installed on, or where it is docked. Ubuntu 13.10 (due in October) will include a complete entry-level smartphone experience.
Canonical has published a Preview SDK and App Design Guides to allow developers to create applications for the full range of Ubuntu platforms. The toolkit provides a range of documented templates to enable native applications to be created quickly and easily. The App Design Guides explain how these templates can be used to design and build beautiful and usable apps. Blackberry Touch developers will be familiar with the Qt/QML environment, which supports rich native touch apps. Developers will not need to cross-compile or package applications differently for phone, tablet, PC and TV. One platform serves all four, a single application binary can do the same.
On Ubuntu, native and web or HTML5 applications sit as equal citizens and so those developers already developing HTML5 applications will easily gain support for Ubuntu.
“This release marks the threshold of wider engagement – both with industry and community.” says Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu. “For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylish mobile interface around.”

Availability:
Go to wiki.ubuntu.com/TouchInstallProcess to download Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu from Thursday 21st February.
Go to developer.ubuntu.com to download the SDK to develop applications for Ubuntu.
Go to http://design.ubuntu.com/apps to read the Apps Design Guide giving advice about designing and building beautiful and usable apps for Ubuntu on the phone.
Visit Canonical at Mobile World Congress: Booth Number: 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1.


Introducing the New HTC One [HTC YouTube channel, Feb 19, 2013]

With a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the New HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.
With a sleek aluminum body, a live home screen that streams all of your favorite content, a photo gallery that comes to life, and dual frontal stereo speakers, the New HTC One is ready to reshape your smartphone experience.
    We introduced the brand new HTC One to the world in London and New York on 19 February, 2013. This is the full press conference led by HTC CEO Peter Chou in London

    HTC BlinkFeedTM, HTC ZoeTM and HTC BoomSoundTM Deliver HTC One’s Unprecedented New Smartphone Experience

    HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced its new flagship smartphone, the new HTC One. Crafted with a distinct zero-gap aluminium unibody, the new HTC One introduces HTC BlinkFeedTM, HTC ZoeTM and HTC BoomSoundTM, key new HTC Sense® innovations that reinvent the mobile experience and set a new standard for smartphones.
    “People today immerse themselves in a constant stream of updates, news and information. Although smartphones are one of the main ways we stay in touch with the people and information we care about, conventional designs have failed to keep pace with how people are actually using them,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “A new, exciting approach to the smartphone is needed and with the new HTC One, we have re-imagined the mobile experience from the ground up to reflect this new reality.”
    HTC BlinkFeed: A personal live stream right on the home screen
    At the centre of the new HTC One experience is HTC BlinkFeed. HTC BlinkFeed is a bold new experience that transforms the home screen into a single live stream of personally relevant information such as social updates, entertainment and lifestyle updates, news and photos with immersive images so that people no longer need to go to separate applications to find out what’s happening. HTC BlinkFeed aggregates the freshest content from the most relevant and interesting sources, giving it to people at a glance, all in one place, without the need to jump between multiple applications and web sites.
    To enable this new dynamic approach to the smartphone, HTC will provide both local and global content from more than 1,400 media sources with more than 10,000 articles per day from some of the most innovative media companies, such as the AOL family of media properties, ESPN, MTV, Vice Media, CoolHunting, Reuters and many others. For more information on HTC BlinkFeed’s content partners, visit the HTC Blog.
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    HTC UltraPixel Camera with HTC Zoe
    The breakthrough HTC UltraPixel Camera redefines how people capture, relive and share their most precious moments. HTC Zoe gives people the ability to shoot high-res photos that come to life in three-second snippets. These Zoes, photos and videos are then displayed in a unique way that brings the gallery to life and transforms the traditional photo gallery of still images into a motion gallery of memories. It also automatically creates integrated highlight films from each event comprised of Zoes, photos and videos set to music with professionally designed cuts, transitions and effects. These highlight videos can be remixed or set to different themes, and can be easily shared on social networks, email and other services.
    To enable this innovative camera experience, HTC developed a custom camera that includes a best-in-class f/2.0 aperture lens and a breakthrough sensor with UltraPixels that gather 300 percent more light than traditional smartphone camera sensors. This new approach also delivers astounding low-light performance and a variety of other improvements to photos and videos. In addition, the perfect self-portrait or video is just a tap away with an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera which supports 1080p video capture. Multi-axis optical image stabilisation for both the front and rear cameras also helps ensure video footage smoother whether stationary or on the move. HTC UltraPixel camera adds many other features and effects such as enhanced 360′ panorama, time sequencing and object removal.
    HTC BoomSound
    The new HTC One offers the best audio experience of any mobile phone available today. HTC BoomSound introduces for the first time on a phone, front-facing stereo speakers with a dedicated amplifier and an amazing full HD display that immerses people in music, videos, games and the YouTubeTM clips they love. BeatsTM Audio integration is enabled across the entire experience for rich, authentic sound whether you’re listening to your favorite music, watching a YouTube video or playing a game.
    HDR recording uses advanced dual microphones and audio processing to capture clean, rich sound that is worthy of high-definition video footage. Phone calls sound great on HTC One thanks to the addition of HTC Sense VoiceTM, which boosts the call volume and quality in noisy environments so that conversations come through loud and clear.
    HTC Sense TV
    HTC Sense TV transforms the new HTC One into an interactive program guide and remote control for most TVs, set-top boxes and receivers. Tapping the power of the cloud, Sense TV makes it simple and intuitive to see what’s on and find that favourite show.
    Metal Unibody Design
    Wrapped in a zero-gap aluminum unibody and sporting a brilliant 4.7”, Full HD (1080p) screen, the new HTC One features the latest Android Jelly Bean operating system and LTE network technology to offer blazingly-fast browsing in a package that combines premium design with breakthrough build quality.
    Available in stunning silver and beautiful black, the sleek and crafted aluminum unibody sits comfortably in the hand and showcases HTC’s unique antenna technology, which helps people achieve a crystal clear signal. The display also resists scratches and reduces glare, whilst offering incredible 468ppi resolution and rich, natural colours.
    Global Availability
    The new HTC One will be available globally through more than 185 mobile operators and major retailers in more than 80 regions and countries beginning in March. For more information and to pre-register for the new HTC One, visit http://www.htc.com.