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Cortex-A53 is used alone in higher and higher-end devices as the result of increased competition between MediaTek and Qualcomm
We’ve learned a lot during the last one a half years about the superiority of the Cortex-A53 cores for the mass produced SoCs. Some major points about that you see on the right:
My prediction back in Dec 23, 2013 was that The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on. Such a prediction is a reality now as no less than 291 smartphones are listed as of today in PDAdb.net, which are using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916 quad-core SoC based on Cortex-A53. The first such device, the Lenovo A805e Dual SIM TD-LTE was released in July, 2014.
Meanwhile Qualcomm’s downstream rival, MediaTek is moving up fast with its offerings as well. There are 8 devices based on quadcore MT6732M since Dec’14, 27 devices which based on quad-core MT6732 since Nov’14, and even 6 devices based on octa-core MT6753 since Jan’15. Note however that there are 3 such products from the Chinese brand Meizu, and one each from another local brands, Elephone and Cherry Mobile. Only the ZTE model is from a 1st tier global vendor yet.
My prediction was also proven by the fact that interest in that post was the highest on this blog as soon as the respective new SoCs, and commercial devices based on them arrived:
Now even higher end, octa-core smartphones based on Cortex-A53 alone are coming to the market from 1st tier device vendors
June 1, 2015: Asus ZenFone Selfie (ZD551KL)
(launched on the ASUS Zensation Press Event at Computex 2015)
from the product site:
ZenFone Selfie features the industry’s first octa-core, 64-bit processor — Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615. With its superb performance and superior power-efficiency you’ll shoot sharp photographs at stupefying speed, record and edit Full HD (1080p) video with minimal battery draw, and enjoy using the integrated 4G/LTE to share everything you do at incredible speeds of up to 150Mbit/s!
expected price in India: ₹12,999 ($205)
(Re: “coming in an incredible price” said in the launch video about the earlier ZenFone 2 (ZE551ML) which has the same price, but a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z3560 processor, only 5 MP secondary camera etc.)
from the ASUS Presents Zensation at Computex 2015 press release:
ZenFone Selfie is a unique smartphone designed to capture the best possible selfies, quickly and simply. Featuring front and rear 13MP PixelMaster cameras with dual-color, dual LED Real Tone flash, ZenFone Selfie captures beautiful, natural-looking selfies in gloriously high resolution. The rear camera features a large f/2.0 aperture lens and laser auto-focus technology to ensure near-instant focusing for clear, sharp pictures — even in low-light conditions where traditional cameras struggle.
ZenFone Selfie includes the brilliant ZenUI Beautification mode for live digital cosmetics. A few taps is all that’s needed to soften facial features, slim cheeks, and enhance skin tone to add vibrancy, and all in real time — injecting instant verve into any composition. ZenFone Selfie also has Selfie Panorama mode, which exploits ZenFone Selfie’s f/2.2-aperture front lens and 88-degree field of view to capture panoramic selfies of up to 140 degrees. With Selfie Panorama mode enabled, selfies become a party with all friends included — plus the ability to capture panoramic scenery for stunning backdrops.
ZenFone Selfie has a large 5.5-inch screen that fits in a body that’s a similar size to that of most 5-inch smartphones, for a maximized viewing experience in a compact body that fits comfortably in the hand. It has a high-resolution 1920 x 1080 Full HD IPS display with a wide 178-degree viewing angle and staggering 403ppi pixel density that renders every image in eye-delighting detail. ASUS TruVivid technology brings color to life in brilliant clarity, making selfies and other photos look their best. Tough Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 covers the display to help protect against scratches and drops.
ZenFone Selfie features the industry’s first octa-core, 64-bit processor for the perfect balance of multimedia performance and battery efficiency — the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 615. This extraordinarily powerful chip equips ZenFone Selfie to provide the very best multimedia and entertainment experiences, carefully balancing high performance with superior power-efficiency.
June 19, 2015 by SamMobile: Samsung’s first smartphones with front-facing LED flash, Galaxy J5 and Galaxy J7, now official
Samsung has announced its first smartphones with a front-facing LED flash; the Galaxy J5 and the Galaxy J7. Specifications of these devices were previously leaked through TENAA, and their UI was revealed through Samsung’s own manuals. Now, they have been officially announced in China, where they would be available starting this week, but there’s no clarity about their international launch.
All the mid-range and high-end smartphones from the company released recently have started featuring high-resolution front-facing cameras, and the same is the case with the Galaxy J7 and the Galaxy J5. To complement their 5-megapixel wide-engle front-facing cameras, they are equipped with a front-facing single-LED flash. Other features include a 13-megapixel primary camera with an aperture of f/1.9, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, dual-SIM card slot, and LTE connectivity. Both these smartphones run Android 5.1 Lollipop with a new UI that is similar to that of the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge.
The Galaxy J7 is equipped with a 5.5-inch HD display, a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, a 3,000 mAh battery, and is priced at 1,798 CNY (~ $289). The Galaxy J5 features a slightly smaller 5-inch HD display, a 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, a 2,600 mAh battery, and is priced at 1,398 CNY (~ $225). Both of them will be available in China in three colors; gold, white, and black.
The Galaxy J5 and J7 are targeted at the youth and compete with devices like the HTC Desire EYE, Sony Xperia C4, and the Asus ZenFone Selfie, all of which have high-resolution front-facing cameras with an LED flash.
The selfie phenomenon is about to kick up a notch with the introduction of Xperia™ C4 and Xperia C4 Dual – Sony’s next generation PROselfie smartphones, featuring a best in class 5MP front camera, a Full HD display and superior performance.
“Following the success of Xperia C3, we are proud to introduce Sony’s evolved PROselfie smartphone,” said Tony McNulty, Vice-President, Value Category Business Management at Sony Mobile Communications. “Xperia C4 caters to consumers that want a smartphone that not only takes great photos, but also packs a punch. Benefiting from Sony’s camera expertise, the 5MP front-facing camera with wide-angle lens lets you capture perfect selfies, while its quality display and performance features provide an all-round advanced smartphone experience.”
We all like a high-profile selfie – so go ahead and get snapping:
You can now stage the perfect selfie, getting everything – and everyone – in shot, thanks to the powerful 5MP front camera with 25mm wide-angle lens. Sony’s Exmor RTM for mobile sensor, soft LED flash and HDR features means the pictures will always be stunning, even in those ‘hard to perfect’ low light conditions. Superior auto automatically optimises settings to give you the best possible picture and SteadyShot™ technology compensates for any camera shake.
With 13MP, autofocus and HDR packed in there is no compromise on the rear camera, which delivers great shots for those rare moments you’re not in the picture.
You will also be able to get even more fun out of your smartphone with a suite of creative camera apps such as Style portrait with styles including ‘vampire’ and ‘mystery’ to add a unique edge to your selfie. Moreover, apps such as AR maskgive your selfie a twist by letting you place a different face over your own face or others’ faces while you snap a selfie.
Experience your entertainment in Full HD
Now you can enjoy every picture and every video in detail with Xperia C4’s 5.5” Full HD display. Watching movies on your smartphone is more enjoyable thanks to Sony’s TV technology – such as Mobile BRAVIA® Engine 2 and super vivid-mode – which offers amazing clarity and colour brightness. Enjoy viewing from any angle with IPS technology.
Great video deserves great audio to match, so Xperia C4 features Sony’s audio expertise to deliver crisp and clear audio quality. With or without headphones, you can sit back and enjoy your favourite entertainment in all its glory.
The design of Xperia C4 has also been crafted with precise detail and care to ensure every aspect amplifies the sharp and vivid display. A minimal frame around the scratch-resistant screen enhances both the viewing experience and the smartphone design, while its lightweight build feels comfortable in the hand. Xperia C4 comes in a choice of white, black and a vibrant mint.
Superior performance, with a power-packed battery that just keeps going
Whether you’re running multiple apps, checking Facebook, snapping selfies or listening to the best music – you can do it all at lighting speed thanks to Xperia C4’s impressive Octa-core processor. Powered by an efficient 64-bit Octa-core processor [Mediatek MT6752], Xperia C4 makes it easier than ever to multitask and switch between your favourite apps, without affecting performance. Ultra-fast connectivity with 4G capabilities means it’s quicker than ever to download your favourite audio or video content and surf the web without lag.
The large battery (2,600mAh) provides over eight hours of video viewing time, meaning that the entire first season of Breaking Bad can be binged uninterrupted, while Battery STAMINA Mode 5.0 ensures you have complete control over how your battery is used.
Xperia C4 is compatible with more than 195 Sony NFC-enabled devices including SmartBand Talk (SWR30) and Stereo Bluetooth® Headset (SBH60). You can also customise the smartphone with the protective desk-stand SCR38 Cover or with a full range of original Made for Xperia covers.
Xperia C4 will be available in Single SIM and Dual SIM in select markets from the beginning of June 2015.
For the full product specifications, please visit: http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/phones/xperia-c4/specifications/
June 1, 2015: The stakes have been raised even higher by a higher-end octa-core SoC from MediaTek with 2GHz cores which is also 30% more energy efficient because of the first time use of 28HPC+ technology of TSMC
MediaTek Expands its Flagship MediaTek Helio™ Processor Family with the P Series, Offering Premium Performance for Super Slim Designs
P-series the first to use TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, which reduces processor power consumption
MediaTek, a leader in power-efficient, System-on-Chip (SoC) mobile device technology solutions, today announces the launch of the MediaTek Helio™ P10, a high-performance, high-value SoC focused on the growing demand for slim form-factor smart phones that provide premium, flagship features. The Helio P10 showcases a 2 GHz, True Octa-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 CPU and a 700MHz, Dual-core 64-bit Mali-T860 GPU. The Helio P10 will be available Q3 2015 and is expected to be in consumer products in late 2015.
The P10 is the first chip in the new Helio P family, a series which aims to integrate into a high-value chipset, premium features such as high-performance modem technology; the world’s first TrueBright ISP engine for ultra-sensitive RWWB; and, MiraVision™ 2.0, for top-tier display experiences. The features available in the P series include several of MediaTek’s premier technologies, such as WorldMode LTE Cat-6, supporting 2×20 carrier aggregation with 300/50Mbps data speed; MediaTek’s advanced task scheduling algorithm, CorePilot®, which optimizes the P10’s heterogeneous computing architecture by sending workloads to the most suitable computing device – CPU, GPU, or both; and, MediaTek’s Visual Processing Application – Non-contact Heart Rate Monitoring, which uses only a smartphone’s video camera to take a heart rate reading and is as accurate as pulse oximeters/portable ECG monitoring devices.
“The P series will provide OEM smartphone makers with greater design flexibility to meet consumer demands for slim form-factors, which provide dynamic multimedia experiences,” said Jeffrey Ju, Senior Vice President of MediaTek. “The P10 enables state-of-the-art mobile computing and multimedia features all while balancing performance and battery life.”
The Helio P10 is the first product to use TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, which allows for reduced processor power consumption. With the help of the latest 28HPC+ process and numerous architecture and circuit design optimizations, the Helio P10 can save up to 30% more power (depending of usage scenarios), compared to existing smartphone SoCs manufactured using the 28 HPC process.
“We are pleased to see MediaTek’s achievement in producing the world’s leading 28HPC+ smartphone chip,” said Dr. BJ Woo, Vice President, Business Development, TSMC. “As an enhanced version of TSMC’s 28HPC process, 28HPC+ promises 15% better speed at fixed power or 50% leakage reduction at the same speed over 28HPC. Through our competitive 28HPC+ technology and process-design collaboration with MediaTek, we believe MediaTek will deliver a series of products which benefit smartphone users across the world.”
As with the entire line of Helio SoCs, the P10 is packed with premium multimedia features. With a concentration on advanced display technologies, premium camera features, and HiFi audio, the P10 delivers leading functionality around the features most used on today’s mobile phones:
21MP premium camera with the world’s first TrueBright ISP engine:
Enables ultra-sensitive RWWB sensor to capture twice as much light as traditional RGB sensors in order to retain true color and detail, even in low light. The RWWB sensor also enhances the color resolution, even when compared with RGBW sensors.
Other features include a new de-noise/de-mosaic HW, PDAF, video iHDR, dual main camera, less than 200ms shot-to shot delay, and video face beautify.
Hi-fidelity, hi-clarity audio achieves 110dB SNR & -95dB THD
Full HD display at 60FPS with MediaTek’s suite of MiraVision 2.0 display technologies:
UltraDimming – Dimmer background lighting for more comfortable reading, even in low-light situations.
BluLight Defender – A built-in blue light filter that saves more power than conventional software applications.
Adaptive Picture Quality – Ensures the best picture quality when using different applications. True-to-life colors when in camera preview; vibrant colors when watching videos.
The MediaTek Helio P10 will be released in Q3 2015 and is expected to be available in consumer products in late 2015.
Note that Helio P1 is a significant step in MediaTek’s strategy already outlined in the following posts of mine:
– March 4, 2014: MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC
– March 10, 2015: MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy for devices, wearables and IoT
E-Ink Innovations @ IFA 2014 [lesen.net YouTube channel, Sept 5, 2014]
New commercial products:
- Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)
Sony expands SmartWear Experience range with two new additions for Lifelog – SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 [Sony Mobile press release, Sept 3, 2014]
SmartWear Experience is Sony’s vision for smart, wearable technology founded on three principles: lifelogging, flexible style and intelligent notifications
SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, bringing call handling and voice control from your wrist, with an always-on curved 1.4” e-paper display
SmartWatch 3 is the first smartwatch specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates
Desktop web interface, and open API for Lifelog app later in 2014, bringing new experiences and further opportunity for personalisation
Announcement of Roxy collaboration for limited edition SmartBand SWR10 styles
Sony Mobile today announced the addition of two new products to its SmartWear Experience range, Sony SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3. Both talk to the popular Lifelog, the accompanying app designed to help you understand more about the way to live and move, so you can improve and enrich your life.
SmartWear from Sony – waterproof* wearable technology [Sony Experia YouTube channel, Sept 3, 2014]Looking for innovative wearable tech? SmartBand, SmartBand Talk, and SmartWatch 3 are waterproof* and wearable 24/7. Log your life, smash your fitness goals, and automatically track activities. The sleek and durable designs in a range of contemporary colours mean you stay stylish – wherever you are, whatever the weather.The time has come to wear Android technology on your wrist. A beautiful stainless steel silver core unit lies within the changeable wrist straps, so SmartWatch 3 changes as often as your wardrobe does. Experience real time life logging and the power to handle messages and calls even when your hands are full. With waterproof* durability, SmartWatch 3 will even work come rain or shine. It’s here, it’s waiting and it’s all in the details.Connect your Sony SmartWear to the innovative Lifelog app on your Xperia smartphone, then automatically track your activities day and night. Whether you’re walking, running, or even climbing stairs, Lifelog tracks your movements, communications, entertainment and physical activity then lets you look back on the day to see where you went and how you got there – including pictures you took and music you listened to. Why track only steps and calories when you can log your whole day?SmartBand Talk from Sony doesn’t just make great arm candy, it can also handle calls, activity tracking, and voice commands. Why settle for good tech, when you have have great tech?Experience the innovative freedom of wearable waterproof technology with Sony Smartband Talk. Equipped with intelligent Lifelog technology that tracks your activity 24/7, a smart E-Ink display and voice control straight from your wrist. Take calls on the run, view appointments at a glance and listen to your favourite music, hands-free.
“Life is a journey, and journeys are made up of stories and experiences that define you – this is the underlying principle for Lifelog, the Android app at the heart of our SmartWear Experience. We’re going beyond mere fitness tracking and number crunching, to help you log and preserve those emotional moments that matter” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. ”As a pioneer of smart and wearable technology, SmartBand Talk, SmartWatch 3 and Lifelog don’t merely affirm Sony’s leadership in the space, but as the innovators who dare to be different – bringing the world choice; products and services no else can, or will.”
SmartBand Talk – a powerful lifelogging wearable, with intuitive features
SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, built for users who live life to the fullest.
With its built-in microphone and speaker, SmartBand Talk comes equipped with a short call function so you can talk into it and hear your caller, with HD Voice support – perfect for when you’re on the move or your phone is out of reach. Through Sony’s integrated Voice Control1technology, you can also assign your own sounds to life bookmarks and use your voice to carry out specific smartphone operations.
SmartBand Talk’s curved, always-on 1.4” e-paper display is a fresh creative approach, based on consumer feedback. It’s low-power but highly visible and clear; you can monitor Lifelog activity, view notifications and the time at a glance.
New built-in accelerometer and altimeter sensor technology feels how you move – and how much – to provide an accurate overview of your daily physical activity; whether it be walking, running or climbing. You can see how active you were and how you have been communicating, as it pulls all of your information from your smartphone and then enables you to view it on its e-paper display screen, wherever and whenever you like.
As you’d expect, SmartBand Talk is waterproof2 (IP68 rated), and launch styles will include Black and White, with extra vibrant colours available later in the year – so something for everyone, whether blending in with your work clothes or a fun accessory to a casual outfit, allowing you to express your individual style.
SmartWatch 3 – Sony’s latest generation “smartwatch”, powered by Android Wear
After leading the market since 2007, SmartWatch 3 is Sony’s latest generation SmartWatch, but the first specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates in close collaboration with Google. This partnership matches Sony’s leadership in smart, wearable products with Google’s software and platform expertise to create a unique wearable experience founded on both hardware and software innovation.
Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. You can get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance. It could be flight information, tips based on your interests or messages of any kind, so user input is seldom necessary. But if you need to interact with Android Wear, voice is easiest way.
Even without your Android smartphone, SmartWatch 3 is a fun and useful accessory with impressive standalone functionality. The built-in microphone, and Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro and GPS sensor technology means more accurate, more powerful lifelogging.
SmartWatch 3 offers significant step ups from SmartWatch 2, including a 1.6” 320×320 TFT LCD Transflective display for visibility in bright sunlight, set within a stainless steel back panel, for a premium look and feel. It is of course waterproof, rated IP683 – and charges via a standard microUSB port.
It has a built-in 4GB local memory, that means you can sync playlists, and simply connect with a Bluetooth headset to listen. You can do this before a run, leaving the smartphone at home and still have great music offline – you can also track that run with GPS and Lifelog.
It will be available in Classic (Black) and Sport (Lime) editions, with extra colour straps available in Pink and White after launch.
Lifelog – a personal Android application, that captures and tells your story
Downloadable from the Google Play Store, Lifelog is a fun Android app built to enable you to set and achieve goals, bookmark memorable moments, and revisit memories any time, so that you get to know yourself better.
SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 both enable and present lifelogging activity and data on the wrist, but also connect to the application on your Android smartphone via Bluetooth® and NFC, once you connect to your Sony Entertainment Network3 account.
Sony is previewing a new web interface login for Lifelog, accessible from the Sony Mobile website later this year, designed to give users even more visibility and control over their lifestyle data. And, during 2014, Sony will open up the API for partners to integrate services with Lifelog or build completely fresh experiences.
Sony outlined that together with accessories brand Proporta, it would soon share SmartBand SWR10 collections featuring licensed designs from leading labels, Ted Baker and Barbour.
Sony also introduced a new collaboration with famous and popular lifestyle brand – Roxy, the female surf, snowboard, clothing and accessories brand – to bring limited edition SmartWear styles to market later this year.
SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 – the fashionable new additions to Sony’s SmartWear Experience range will launch later in Autumn 2014.
2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)
From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the [6” phablet] HERO – their headline act at IFA 2013 [press release, Sept 4, 2013]
Extend your display with the E Ink Cover. Read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with this fresh digital experience. The technology enables users to read as if physical ink and paper on their mobile device with the stable image and wider viewing angle.
E Ink SmartCover [prototype] for Alcatel One Touch Hero [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Sept 16, 2013]
From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the HERO 2 [press release, Sept 4, 2014]
HERO 2: the centre of a smart ecosystem built to users’ needs
With a host of companion devices, HERO 2 adapts to every need. It is the centre of an ecosystem of creative connected devices that users can carry, put on their desk or connect to their TV. An array of MagicFlip covers provide customised capabilities: MagicFlip DJ for music, MagicFlip LED lights up with information about missed calls, alerts or the time.
With the compact companion device Sidekick 2, users can remotely control TV, music and more. It also acts as an extension to users’ phones, allowing them to access messages, contact lists and more. The portable E-Card allows users to read notes, maps, e-books with the comfort of paper. The SmartBook functions as a smartphone in laptop form, while TVLink connects the HERO 2 to larger screens wirelessly.
With these features, accessories and companion devices, ALCATEL ONETOUCH ensures a truly versatile experience through connectivity to multiple screens. Everyone can invent their own personalized HERO 2, and unleash their unique creativity.
The HERO 2 will be available on the market in September 2014.
Reading comics with E-Card [Michael Zhou YouTube channel, July 2, 2014]
The smartphone market in China became saturated between Q3’12 and Q4’13 as per the below chart from Analysys International (EnfoDesk):
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.
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.
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
Shipments (M Units)
Middle East & Africa
Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan, China, and India)
Central & Eastern Europe
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, February 24, 2014
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
2013 Market Share (%)
2012 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 4Q13 (Thousands of Units)
4Q13 Market Share (%)
4Q12 Market Share (%)
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)
2013 Market Share (%)
2012 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (February 2014)
2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to succeed with its devices and services strategy
For the company’s most recent “ONE Microsoft” strategy see:
– Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2013]
– How the device play will unfold in the new Microsoft organization? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]
Update: There are extremely worrying signs on the horizon as per Jan 27, 2014:
– MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2
– End of the Nokia “magic” hurting European and Asian consumers while mobile carriers are uncertain about the future under the Microsoft brand
End of Update
As 2014 will be the last year of “free ride” in the smartphone and tablet spaces for ARM-based competitors of Intel – at least what Intel is insisting again [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014] it is time to summarize the ARM-based opportunities for 2014 (note that Intel’s goal in the tablet space is only 40 million units, both Android and Windows):
Compare everything to 2014 global notebook demand forecast [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 5, 2013] which estimates that global notebook shipments in 2014 will reach around 160 million units, down from a peak of over 200 million in 2011, but the drop in 2014 will be lower than the on-year drop in 2013, with new market developments, new product opportunities, and changes in the major players’ strategies all playing critical roles in the IT industry’s future trends.
Global smartphone shipments are expected to top 1.24 billion units in 2014, with Samsung Electronics, Apple, LG Electronics, Sony Mobile Communications, Lenovo, Huawei [according to the company: 52 million units in 2013 vs 60 million target] , Microsoft, ZTE, Coolpad and TCL serving as top-10 vendors, according to Digitimes Research.
Apple may see its shipments double in 2014 largely due to increased shipments to China and Japan as it will benefit from its cooperation with the largest telecom operators in the two countries, said Digitimes Research.
The growth rate for Samsung will be limited in 2014 as its sales in the US, China and Japan will be depressed by growing popularity of iPhones.
China-based Lenovo, Huawei and Coolpad are expected to step up their efforts to boost sales in overseas markets after being enlisted among the top-10 vendors due to higher shipment volumes in the home market in China.
However, TCL and ZTE will continue to ship smartphones to overseas markets mainly, but will also strengthen sales in China, with domestic sales to account for less than 50% of their total shipments in 2014, commented Digitimes Research.
This article is an excerpt from a Digitimes Research Special Report (2014 global smartphone market forecast).
Digitimes Research: China smartphone-use application processor shipments edge up 2.4% in 4Q13 [Jan 15, 2014]
Shipments of application processors for smartphone applications to China grew 2.4% sequentially and 20.8% on year in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to data compiled by Digitimes Research.
MediaTek saw its AP shipments decline 3.9% sequentially in the fourth quarter due to inventory checks at clients and a high growth recorded in the previous quarter.
However, it was a 20% sequential shipment decline suffered by Qualcomm the fourth quarter that weakened the growth momentum of the application processor sector, said Digitimes Research.
Meanwhile, MediaTek has been shifting its focus to the high-margin segment, instead of seeking high shipment growth. China-based Spreadtrum Communications was hit with high inventory of TD-SCDMA chips and slow sales of its dual- and quad-core solutions, Digitimes Research indicated.
Qualcomm also saw its performance weaken in the fourth quarter as its QRD (Qualcomm reference design) chips were less competitive than those offered by rivals in terms of product features.
This article is an excerpt from a Chinese-language Digitimes Research report. Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about the content and price of a translated version of the full report.
Digitimes Research estimates that in 2014 global tablet shipments will reach 289 million units [Dec 31, 2013]
China white-box makers add extra value to tablets as cost reduction is no longer possible [DIGITIMES Research, Jan 16, 2014]
China white-box players have not been able to lower their Wi-Fi-based tablets’ prices since the third quarter of 2013 because there is no room for further reductions in their BOM costs.
The average BOM cost for a white-box tablet – most of which adopted a dual-core processors – stood at about US$25 as of the fourth quarter of 2013. Dual-core processor pricing could not drop any further, as their average prices came to about US$4, only less than US$1 higher than that of a single-core one.
Memory and 7-inch TN LCD panels are the two key components that account for major shares of white-box tablet BOM costs. However, most panel suppliers have been only willing to upgrade specifications instead of dropping their quotes, and therefore, white-box players have been left with upgrading their devices with better panels without an option of reducing the panel cost.
While cost reduction is no longer a feasible way to attract consumers, many white-box players have turned to push tablets with phone functions to increase their devices’ functionalities and value. The devices also provide higher gross margins for vendors.
Digitimes Research estimates that currently, 80% of white-box tablets are available in countries other than China, because white-box tablets with phone functions have seen rising demand in Russia and other markets in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia since the second half of 2013.
China white-box players’ partnerships with regional brand vendors in emerging markets have also helped raise local consumers’ demand for tablets with phone functions.
In the first half of 2013, most white-box tablets with phone functions adopted China-based Allwinner Technology’s solution which combined an entry-level single-core processor with a discrete baseband module. However, many white-box device makers have turned to MediaTek solutions for their tablets since the second half of 2013 after the Taiwan-based chipmaker also integrated a baseband chip into its tablet processor solution.
MediaTek’s solution is more expensive, but its support for product development and hardware design has given it an upper hand over competitions. Meanwhile, independent design houses (IDHs), which provide white-box players with product design services, also started to design tablets using MediaTek’s smartphone processors in the second half of 2013, which prompted white-box players to adopt MediaTek’s solutions.
Digitimes Research estimates that tablets with phone functions will account for 40% of 7-inch white-box tablet shipments in 2014, up from 20% in 2013.
In 2014, smartphones are expected to continue penetrating rapidly into emerging markets such as Russia, India, Indonesia and Latin America, while China’s smartphone shipments will see weakened on-year growth in the year, but still enormous volume. Within the top-10 smartphone vendors in 2013, four of them are from China and in 2014 more China-based vendors are expected to enter the top 10.
Three China-based handset vendors increase component deliveries [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2014]
China-based handset vendors Xiaomi Technology, Gionee and Hisense have been taking increasing deliveries of panels and touch panels from suppliers in preparation for launching new models during the peak period before the 2014 Lunar New Year at the end of January, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Other China-based vendors including Lenovo, Huawei Device and Oppo have begun to follow suit, the sources indicated.
Xiaomi has seen success in marketing its high-end Xiaomi 3, mid-range Xiaomi 2S and entry-level Hong-mi (Red Rice), the sources noted.
Gionee focuses on marketing high-end smartphones priced above CNY2,000 (US$328) through general retail chains without cooperation with China’s three mobile telecom carriers, the sources indicated. Gionee has shipped more than two million smartphones a quarter so far in 2013.
Hisense is among several licensed vendors of 4G smartphones and has launched the 5-inch X6T, its first 4G smartphone featuring TD-LTE, LTE-FDD, TD-SCDMA, WCDMA and GSM, on 12 frequency bands, the sources noted. Hisense has taken delivery of components for use in more than one million handsets to be launched before the 2014 Lunar New Year, the sources noted.
China market: Xiaomi lowers price for Hongmi smartphone [DIGITIMES, Jan 7, 2014]
China-based vendor Xiaomi Technology has reduced the retail price for its budget TD-SCDMA smartphone, the Hongmi, launched in August 2013, from CNY799 (US$132) to CNY699, heralding upcoming competition in the Android smartphone segment in China, according to industry watchers.
Rival vendor Huawei is likely to counteract by slashing the prices of its Honor-branded budget smartphones, while other local brands in China are also expected to follow suit soon, said the observers.
Optimizing its policy of offering smartphones with high hardware specifications and yet at low prices, Xiaomi has managed to ramp up its shipments to over three million units a month and is expected to ship over 40 million smartphones in 2014, the sources estimated. [According to Xiaomi: “7.2 million devices … in 2012 and 18.7 million …bought in 2013. … for 2014 – the CEO expects forty million Xiamoi smartphones to be bought”]
Asustek expected to ship 2014 target of 5 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, Jan 7, 2014]
Asustek Computer unveiled three ZenFone-series smartphones for the opening of CES 2013. Viewing that ZenFone models have comparatively high price-performance ratios, Asustek will be able to hit its target shipments of five million smartphones for 2014, and is likely to ship 8-10 million units, according to market analysts.
The three ZenFone models will initially launch in the Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia markets in March at contract-free retail prices of US$99 for the 4-inch model, US$149 for the 5-inch, and US$199 for the 6-inch.
All three models are equipped with Intel Atom processors and Asustek will launch 3-4 models also with Atom processors in the second half of 2014, the sources indicated.
Since Intel has offered incentives to attract PC vendors to adopt its platforms for smartphones, Asustek is expected to procure Atom processors at discount prices and receive subsidies from Intel for marketing the devices, the sources said.
Asustek likely to release smartphone orders to China ODMs in 2H14, says paper [DIGITIMES, Jan 15, 2014]
Asustek Computer does not rule out the possibility of tying up with handset ODMs in China for the production of smartphones in the second half of 2014, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) has quoted company CEO Jerry Shen as saying.
After unveiling five new models at the recently concluded CES 2014, Asustek plans to launch another five smartphones in the second half of the year, and therefore it needs more ODMs to support production, Shen was quoted as indicating.
The three ZenFone-series smartphones out of the five models unveiled by Asustek at CES 2014, with displays sized in 4-, 5-, and 6-inch, will be available for US$99, US$149 and US$199 unlocked, respectively, and are designed to take on China-based rivals in the entry-level smartphone segment.
The possible switch of orders to China-based ODMs may affect its current production partners in Taiwan, including Wistron and Pegatron, said the paper.
Digitimes Research: Asustek ZenFone smartphones have lower price-performance ratios than comparable models from China [Jan 17, 2014]
Asustek Computer unveiled three ZenFone-series smartphones at CES 2014 and will initially launch the models in the Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia markets in March with prices comparable to low-cost models offered by China-based Xiaomi Technology and Huawei. But the price-performance ratios of the ZenFones will be still lower than rival models from China-based vendors due to the use of different marketing channels, according to Digitimes Research.
China-based vendors such as Huawei and Coolpad have been duplicating the business model initiated by Xiaomi by introducing entry-level models with higher hardware specifications and marketing the gadgets mainly through the Internet.
Leveraging subsidies offered by telecom operators, Asustek has been able to lower prices for its ZenFone models to levels comparable to those offered by Xiaomi, Huawei and Coolpad, but the price-performance ratios are lower than of the Hongmi smartphone from Xiaomi, the Honor 3C from Huawei and the Great God F1 from Coolpad, due to markup costs added by channel operators in China selling the ZenFones.
Due to the lower price-performance ratios, Asustek’s goal of shipping over five million smartphones in 2014 through a low-pricing model remains hard to achieve, commented Digitimes Research.
This article is an excerpt from a Chinese-language Digitimes Research report. Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about the content and price of a translated version of the full report.
Total: ~289+ million
More information (going back to end of July 2013) which is directly related to the possible changes on the 2014 markets in terms of 2014 will be the last year of “free ride” in the smartphone and tablet spaces for ARM-based competitors of Intel – at least what Intel is insisting again [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014]:
Nokia should introduce an Android forked smartphone for the $75-120 range in order to enhance its Asha Software Platform strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014]
China market: Acer launches CNY599 7-inch tablet [DIGITIMES, Jan 17, 2014]
Microsoft to open Allwinner entry into Windows RT, for the production of 900 yuan (US$149) level Windows RT tablet [‘USD 99 Allwinner’, Jan 16, 2014]
The first wave of computational photography capabilities from Qualcomm for its new Snapdragon 805 SoCs [‘USD 99 Allwinner’, Jan 4, 2014]
The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 23, 2013]
MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 22, 2013]
The future is here: Yes, it is Microsoft Surface 2 with modern apps only! (And ARM, not x86/x64!) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 17, 2013]
Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
The first multimode Android tablets and laptops from Lenovo [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 7, 2013]
Why Intel is pressed to go as far down as to $99 with its Android tablet prices (but not with Windows 8.1)? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 16, 2013]
Dell’s all Intel tablets and laptops targeting the evolving mobile workforce even with their most consumer specific Android tablets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 3, 2013]
Amazon’s move into overall leadership: Kindle Fire HDX with Snapdragon 800, “revolutionary on-device tech support” (Mayday), enterprise and productivity capable Fire OS 3.0 forked from Android 4.2.2 etc. PLUS a significantly enhanced, new Kindle Fire HD for a much lower, $139 price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 27, 2013]
2nd generation Microsoft Surface family of productivity tablets priced upto $2420 (when for an All-in-One configuration) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 24, 2013]
The long awaited Windows 8.1 breakthrough opportunity with the new Intel “Bay Trail-T”, “Bay Trail-M” and “Bay Trail-D” SoCs? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 14, 2013]
The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Xiaomi announcements: from Mi3 to Xiaomi TV [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3, 2013]
Assesment of the Xiaomi phenomenon before the global storm is starting on Sept 5 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 30, 2013]
Android to overtake the overall PC market? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 20, 2013]
Google Play catchup with iOS App Store and its way of assuring compatibility across Android 1.6 to 4.3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 15, 2013]
Superphones turning point: segment satured with Tier 1 globals while the Chinese locals are at less than 40% of the Samsung price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 3, 2013]
Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 1, 2013]
GiONEE (金立), the emerging global competitor on the smartphone market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22, 2013, Jan 17, 2014]
[‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22-29, 2013; Jan 27, 2014]
With Android and forked Android smartphones as the industry standard Nokia relegated to a niche market status while Apple should radically alter its previous premium strategy for long term
Here is the chart reflecting the performance of the market-leading mobile phones upto Q2’13:
From this the most visible things are:
- Android and Android-forked (Xiaomi etc.) smartphones are the undisputed industry standards to dominate the market in years to come
- Both the Symbian to Windows Phone and S40 to Asha Full Touch smartphone platform transition strategies from Nokia could survive the continued Android onslaught but only in a niche market status
- There is no room for Apple’s further growth, and both the platform and the company could face a gradual decline in the smartphone market
My other observations about the state of the smartphone market after Q2’13 were already presented in the following posts:
- Superphones turning point: segment satured with Tier 1 globals while the Chinese locals are at less than 40% of the Samsung price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 3, 2013] OR Samsung is leapfrogging Apple while the Chinese local brands are coming close to Samsung but at less than 40% price. Meanwhile the superphone segment of the market becomes saturated.
- Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 1, 2013]
- GiONEE (金立), the emerging global competitor on the smartphone market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22, 2013]
- Eight-core MT6592 for superphones and big.LITTLE MT8135 for tablets implemented in 28nm HKMG are coming from MediaTek to further disrupt the operations of Qualcomm and Samsung [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 20-29, 2013]
- China: Entry-level dual core IPS WVGA (480×800) smartphones $65+ now, quad-core $70+ in June [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 29, 2013]
In essence we came to a point when the superphone market came down in price to as low as $110 and up, while the entry-level segment of good quality came down to a $65+ price level. Also the smartphone market became saturated in all segments which brings an end to Samsung’s ability to base its premium profitability ambitions on smartphones alone (almost), as it was reflected in 20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 2-26, 2013]:
… innovations in the broadest sense of the world: technology, hardware and software engineering and design, marketing in general and branding in particular etc.
Updates: Q2 record-high operating profit + smartphone worries deepen + overall business situation + nonproportionally high capex of the semiconductor business + the #2 capex beneficiary, the Display Panel Segment
These observations also led to much greater conclusions about the upcoming changes:
- China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 5, 2013]
- The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 13, 2013]
Below I will assess the ‘Nokia Q2’13 market situation and changes’ as well as include ‘Gartner’s own assessment of the Q2’13 overall market situation and the changes’ to complete the picture.
Nokia Q2’13 market situation and changes:
Looking at the progress of Nokia Symbian to Windows Phone transformation Q2’13 was a straight continuation of the trends noted for Q1’13 in Nokia: Continued moderate progress with Lumia, urgent Asha Touch refresh and new innovations to come against the onslaught of unbranded Android and forked Android players in China and India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 18, 2013] as you could also well observe from the chart included here as well:
Nokia was extensively discussing its Windows Phone transition in Nokia Corporation Interim Report for Q2 2013 and January-June 2013 [press release, July 18, 2013]:
Lumia Q2 volumes increased 32% quarter-on-quarter to 7.4 million units, reflecting strong demand from customers for a broadened Lumia product range.
Commenting on the second quarter results, Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, said: “ … In our Smart Devices business unit, we continue to focus on delivering meaningful differentiation to consumers around the world. We are very proud of the recent creations by our Lumia team, from the Lumia 520 – our most affordable Windows Phone 8 product which has enjoyed a strong start in markets like China, France, India, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam – to the Lumia 1020, our star imaging product which we unveiled to the world last week. Overall, Lumia volumes grew to 7.4 million in the second quarter, the highest for any quarter so far and showing increasing momentum for the ecosystem. During the third quarter, we expect that our new Lumia products will drive a significant part of our Smart Devices revenue.”
In the third quarter 2013, supported by the wider availability of recently announced Lumia products as well as recently announced Mobile Phones products, Nokia expects higher Devices & Services net sales, compared to the second quarter 2013.
The year-on-year decline in our Smart Devices volumes in the second quarter 2013 continued to be driven by the strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms and our portfolio transition from Symbian products to Lumia products. The decline was primarily due to lower Symbian volumes, partially offset by higher Lumia volumes. Our Symbian volumes decreased from 6 million units in the second quarter 2012 to approximately zero in the second quarter 2013. Our Lumia volumes increased from 4.0 million in the second quarter 2012 to 7.4 million in the second quarter 2013.
On a sequential basis, the increase in our Smart Devices volumes in the second quarter 2013 was due to higher Lumia volumes, as we started shipping the Lumia 520 and 720 in significant volumes. In the second quarter 2013, the vast majority of Smart Devices volumes were from Windows Phone 8-based Lumia products.
The year-on-year increase in our Smart Devices ASP in the second quarter 2013 was primarily due to a positive mix shift towards sales of our Lumia products which carry a higher ASP than our Symbian products, partially offset by our pricing actions. Sequentially, the decrease in our Smart Devices ASP in the second quarter 2013 was primarily due to a negative mix shift towards sales of our lower priced Windows Phone 8-based Lumia products as well as our pricing actions.
Nokia announced and started shipments in select markets of the Nokia Lumia 925, a new interpretation of its award-winning flagship, the Nokia Lumia 920. The Nokia Lumia 925 introduces metal for the first time to the Nokia Lumia range and includes the most advanced lens technology and next-generation imaging software to capture clearer and sharper pictures and video even in low light conditions. The Nokia Lumia 925 offers a variety of exclusive services such as Nokia Music for unlimited streaming of free playlists, integrated HERE services, and the option to add wireless charging with a snap-on wireless charging cover.
Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone, exclusive to Verizon Wireless. With a 8.7MP camera and Nokia’s PureView imaging innovation, the Nokia Lumia 928 delivers superior imaging and video performance that enables people to capture bright, blur free photos and videos, even in low light conditions. The sleek and stylish smartphone comes with the latest high-end Nokia Lumia experiences, including Nokia Music, HERE services, and built-in wireless charging.
Nokia started shipping in volumes the Nokia Lumia 520, its most affordable Windows Phone 8 smartphone, delivering experiences normally found only in high-end smartphones, such as the same digital camera lenses found on the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Music for free music out of the box and even offline, and HERE services.
Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphones continued to attract businesses, including Miele & Cie. KG, a global leader in domestic appliances and commercial machinery, which has chosen the Nokia Lumia range as the smartphone of choice for its global employees.
The Windows Phone Store continued to strengthen in terms of the quantity and quality of applications. The Windows Phone Store today offers more than 165 000 applications and games.
The Q2’13-related improvements mentioned above and influencing the below chart were even more extensively discussed in my earlier posts:
High-volume Nokia Lumia superphones with Windows Phone 8 extended on the top for China, and on the entry level needed for Asia and Middle-East as well UPDATE: at even lower price by 27% [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 5, 2012 – March 21, 2013] Note that the Lumia 520 W-CDMA mentioned there for ¥ 1299.00 [$209] is now (Aug 17) ¥ 899.00 [$147] while in India it is even lower priced at Rs 7,667+ [$124+]
Nokia’s expanded, new risks and uncertainties for its Windows Phone strategy for 2013 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 17, 2013]
while the Q3’13-related actions of improvements in these posts:
Nokia Lumia 1020: an excellent case of Nokia’s contribution to Microsoft as a key innovation partner [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 12, 2013]
Minutes of a high-octane but also expert evangelist CEO: Stephen Elop, Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 12, 2013]
Now look again at the performance chart for the reflections:
From the further decline of Asha Full Touch you could see that the Temporary Nokia setback in India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 28, 2013] continued into the Q2’13 as well as the result of entry-level local brand Android smartphones being in heavy price competition with Nokia Asha Full Touch during Q2 while having superior hardware specifications. Even Samsung’s REX 70 competed in price with Asha Full Touch.
Nokia was talking in his Nokia Corporation Interim Report for Q2 2013 and January-June 2013 [press release, July 18, 2013] only about the following future-oriented actions that were introduced in Q2 in order to remedy this situation:
In Devices & Services, our Mobile Phones business unit started to demonstrate some signs of recovery in the latter part of the second quarter following a difficult start to the year. Also, towards the end of the second quarter, we started to ship the Asha 501, which brings a new design and user experience to the highly competitive sub-100 USD market. While we are very encouraged by the consumer response to our innovations in this price category, our Mobile Phones business unit is planning to take actions to focus its product offering and improve product competitiveness.
On a year-on-year basis, our Mobile Phones volumes in the second quarter 2013 were negatively affected by competitive industry dynamics, including intense smartphone competition at increasingly lower price points and intense competition at the low end of our product portfolio. Compared to the second quarter 2012, our Mobile Phones volumes declined across our portfolio, most notably for our non-full-touch devices that we sell to our customers for above EUR 30, partially offset by higher sales volumes of Asha full-touch smartphones.
Nokia started production at its new manufacturing facility in Hanoi, Vietnam. The new site has been established to produce our most affordable Asha smartphones and feature phones.
Nokia announced and started shipments of the Nokia Asha 501, the first of a new generation of smartphones to run on the new Asha platform. Retailing at a suggested price of USD 99, the Nokia Asha 501 offers users affordable smartphone design with bold color, a high-quality build and an innovative user interface. The new Asha platform also allows developers who write applications for the Nokia Asha 501 to reach all smartphones based on the new Asha platform without having to re-write code.
These things were already extensively discussed in my earlier posts:
- Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 2, 2013]
- New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information
- New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant development platform information
- Nokia becoming the next Samsung from its new Vietnamese manufacturing base? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 24, 2013]
And here is how Gartner was assessing the Q2’13 overall market situation and the changes:
- Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Grew 3.6 Percent in Second Quarter of 2013
- Microsoft Has Become the No. 3 Smartphone OS Overtaking BlackBerry
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 435 million units in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 3.6 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 225 million units, up 46.5 percent from the second quarter of 2012. Sales of feature phones to end users totaled 210 million units and declined 21 percent year-over-year.
“Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions.
Samsung maintained the No. 1 position in the global smartphone market, as its share of smartphone sales reached 31.7 percent, up from 29.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012 (see Table 1). Apple’s smartphone sales reached 32 million units in the second quarter of 2013, up 10.2 percent from a year ago.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market (see Table 2), Microsoft took over BlackBerry for the first time, taking the No. 3 spot with 3.3 percent market share in the second quarter of 2013. “While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users,” said Mr. Gupta. Android continued to increase its lead, garnering 79 percent of the market in the second quarter.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
Mobile Phone Vendor Perspective
Samsung: Samsung remained in the No. 1 position in the overall mobile phone market, with sales to end users growing 19 percent in the second quarter of 2013 (see Table 3). “We see demand in the premium smartphone market come mainly from the lower end of this segment in the $400-and-below ASP mark. It will be critical for Samsung to step up its game in the mid-tier and also be more aggressive in emerging markets. Innovation cannot be limited to the high end,” said Mr. Gupta.
Nokia: Slowing demand of feature phone sales across many markets worldwide, and fierce competition in the smartphone segment, affected Nokia’s mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013. Nokia’s mobile phone sales totaled 61 million units, down from 83 million units a year ago. Nokia’s Lumia sales grew 112.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013 thanks to its expanded Lumia portfolio, which now include Lumia 520 and Lumia 720. “With the recent announcement of the Lumia 1020, Nokia has built a wide portfolio of devices at multiple price points, which should boost Lumia sales in the second half of 2013,” said Mr. Gupta. “However, Nokia is facing tough competition from Android devices, especially from regional and Chinese manufacturers which are more aggressive in terms of price points.”
Apple: While sales continued to grow, the company faced a significant drop in the ASP of its smartphones. Despite the iPhone 5 being the most popular model, its ASP declined to the lowest figure registered by Apple since the iPhone’s launch in 2007. The ASP reduction is due to strong sales of the iPhone 4, which is sold at a strongly discounted price. “While Apple’s ASP demonstrates the need for a new flagship model, it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too,” said Mr. Gupta. “Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4 at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalization will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4. Despite being seen as the less expensive sibling of the flagship product, it would represent a new device with the hype of the marketing associated with it.”
Lenovo: Lenovo’s mobile phone sales grew 60.6 percent to reach 11 million units in the second quarter of 2013. Lenovo’s quarter performance was bolstered by smartphone sales. Its smartphone sales grew 144 percent year-over-year and helped it rise to the No. 4 spot in the worldwide smartphone market for the first time. Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market in China, which represents more than 95 percent of its sales. It remains challenging for Lenovo to expand outside China as it has to strengthen its direct channel as well as its relationships with communications service providers.
Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
TCL Communi-cation [Alcatel]
Sony Mobile Communications
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
“With second quarter of 2013 sales broadly on track, we see little need to adjust our expectations for worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to total 1.82 billion units this year. Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year,” said Mr. Gupta.
Additional information is in the Gartner report “Market Share Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2Q13.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2573119.