MOTO - NOTHING NEW ON THE WESTERN FRONT
In the Motorola corner, I find nothing remarkable to report for now. We await quarterly results.SONY ERICSSON
We'll await quarterly results but could be interesting as Sony Ericsson in 1Q 2011 sold as much phones as in whole of second half of 2010. Then again, it was only 4.9 million smartphones.HUAWEI, ZTE CHINA GROWING
In the Asian corner, Huawei might be better known for its infrastructure gains, but the company is reporting strong growth of its smartphones. They say they are on pace to do 12 million smartphones sales this year, which would put them at about 3 million level for 2Q. They would soon be nipping on the heels of say a Motorola.
And Chinese rival ZTE more known for handsets but also selling infrastructure is not to be left behind. They just celebrated their 2 millionth Blade smartphone, a touch screen Android device.
I'd like to hear how the LePhone is doing from Lenovo. After a noisy launch the smartphone whose name is translated as 'Happy Phone' in Chinese, is not really giving Lenovo the sales success we were expecting. It seems it's not that easy for PC makers to transition into handset makers ha-ha...HP WANTS TO LICENSE webOS
In the PC corner, HP is still showing nothing significant out of its Palm acquisition. A couple of handsets have been announced, nothing spectacular happening' anywhere. Now we hear from HP that they are eager to license the Palm WebOS to third party manufacturers. I can see this would be to HP's interest yes, to build a bigger ecosystem etc. But I can't see the benefit for any handset maker to go with this miniscule and unproven OS. If you want to go with a manufacturer who also makes their own phones, then going with bada will get you instantly what, a 10x bigger market and app store and installed base. And if you want to go with a new OS that is not controlled by a handset maker, then go with Intel and MeeGo, where three dozen device manufacturers are already signed up and half a dozen devices are already available (mostly tablet PCs but obviously Nokia will have two MeeGo devices this year).ANDROID IS JUST MASSIVE
The latest numbers from Google are in: Android passed the 500,000 daily activations level in June. That's an annual level of 183 million, and on a quarterly level it means that at the end of June Android was activating at the level of 46 million devices per quarter. That is not Android's actual performance in 2Q for two reasons - first, it includes the tablets, so smartphones will probably be a million or two below that - and secondly, it's the performance at the end of the quarter, when it was far less at the beginning of the quarter. Nonetheless, Android is clearly the biggest OS out there and still growing very strongly.SYMBIAN BOYCOTT
Then in the Symbian corner, we hear that the sales channel is boycotting all Symbian phones. In many stores the carriers have pulled all Nokia phones off the shelves. Nokia is releasing several cool hot new phones and most carriers are actively ignoring these, because they are on the Symbian OS. Stephen Elop initially said that Nokia would commit to 150 million more Symbian phones, which meant Symbian sales would end in the summer of 2012. Now Elop is talking of far extending Symbian's 'life' (for what that is) and is talking of Nokia supporting Symbian to year 2016. It's far too little, Mr. Elop, and far too late. You killed Symbian on February 11 and you cannot bring it back alive. MICROSOFT ALSO IN BOYCOTT
The more interesting twist to the tale is the sudden Microsoft boycott. This was already reported by several US newspaper who surveyed US resellers (Microsoft's best market) and found that there were no Microsoft phones, or the only phone on exhibit was a broken phone; and that sales staff were very actively steering customers who asked for Microsoft phones, to buy Android. Why is this? It's like I said when we learned of Microsoft buying Skype - this is the death-nail to Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The mobile operators/carriers hate Skype with a passion. It's their number 1 hated service and brand. The carriers witnessed how utterly Skype devastated the traffic, revenues and profits of the fixed landline cousins in telecoms operators/carriers. The wireless carriers/mobile operators will not allow Skype to come and mess up their nice little voice-calls based playground.
And immediately after Microsoft bought Skype, the carriers placed Microsoft based smartphones in boycott. I predict that there will be no subsidized Microsoft WP7 based phones ever. The carriers will never support Microsoft because Microsoft bought Skype. And thus, the smartphone operating system which is most guaranteed to fail - is Windows Phone 7. It is destined to fail not because the OS is good or bad, not because the ecosystem is good or bad, not because the handsets are good or bad - it's because the carriers hate Skype.
P.S. look at the biggest (and longest serving) Microsoft smartphone manufacturer, HTC, is doing. They are shifting their Microsoft-based phone manufacturing away, and onto... Android. This is the biggest Microsoft partner, actively shifting away from Microsoft to Android.
Even the news from Microsoft's home market is dismal. The latest Nielsen survey tells us that even now, a year after Microsoft Windows Phone was launched, it lags the older sibling from Microsoft, Windows Mobile by a ratio of 9 to 1! Even that 'obsolete' Symbian is in twice as many pockets in America as Microsoft's mighty Windows Phone, according to Nielsen. Even the near-invisible HP owned new Palm Web OS has achieved twice the penetration than Windows Phone, and Microsoft's miracle OS can only match that of the older Palm OS, at one percent penetration - in the USA, Microsoft's best market! That is evidence that the market is truly rejecting your offering on a massive scale. In new phone sales, Nielsen says exactly the same, Microsoft, for all its amazing branding and marketing, has managed in 2Q to sell... 1% of all new US cellphones. That is miserable.INTEL MEEGO
After Nokia pulled away from MeeGo partnership, Intel is working double-time to ensure MeeGo is viable and will survive. They've had several netbooks released on the MeeGo operating system and have heard from reassured partners that they will remain with MeeGo. There are over 3 dozen manufacturers committed to MeeGo (mostly car makers, home electronics and PC makers) but also at least 4 handset makers - ZTE, Huawei, LG and Panasonic. And probably the most significant partner in the MeeGo ecosystem is China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator/carrier which alone is about twice as big as all USA based mobile phone operators/carriers added together.
When China Mobile says their preferred smartphone OS is MeeGo, they can very well dictate that to be the OS on all smartphones that China Mobile would support in its marketing and its stores and its campaigns. Still, the buzz around the N9 and the very warm reception that MeeGo got, has come as a very welcome boost to the rough year that MeeGo is having. MeeGo is the youngest and newest OS for a good reason - it can therefore also be the best. But is it coming too late. Time will tell. If Nokia had bothered to support MeeGo, it would instantly be one of the big platforms, especially after Nokia built the migration path for the 400,000 strong Symbian developer community to develop apps for both Symbian and MeeGo using the Qt tool.COUNTRY OVERVIEW: JAPAN
I want to also include a few highlights from a couple of national markets. After Stephen Elop killed Symbian on February 11, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, which has been the biggest and most loyal partner to support Nokia, immediately moved away decisively from Symbian and onto.. Android of course. We hear now that for 2Q in Japan, Android has passed past the iPhone. Same phenomenon as we saw in the USA a year ago. It is inevitable (that Android will grow past the iPhone) because of Android's 'army' of suppliers. And consider how crazy the Symbian death was - this was a closed market, where several million Symbian handsets were sold every quarter regularly as clockwork by makers such as Sharp and Fujitsu etc. Now they are shifting to Android.INDIA
In the India market, Voice & Data the market analysts calculated that the total India handset market (not smartphones but all phones) grew 15% in the past year. They measure by revenue not by unit sales but the findings are still indicative of what is happening in the Emerging World markets. Voice & Data report that Nokia sales are flat, i.e. Nokia was not able to grow where the industry grew (so in effect, Nokia has witnessed a one sixth loss in market share in one year). Nokia which has owned as high as 70% of India's market share is now down to 39%. Samsung is gaining, and grew by 22% to reach a market share of 17%. Domestic Indian brand Micromax is in third place, and grew 43% in the past year to 7% market share. And the astonishing performer in India is Blackberry where all other bigger rivals mostly sell dumbphones, Blackberries are very expensive smartphones, yet grabbed 6% of the market in India. But please remember, this measurement is not by unit sales, it is by dollar sales revenues, so of course a few unit sales of expensive Blackberries will count the same as many sales of cheap Micromax 'dumbphones'. Nonetheless, by revenues, RIM is India's fourth-best-selling handset. Quite an achievement in the world's second largest handset market.USA
Lets get back to the Nielsen 2Q study of the US domestic market. They found that 2Q was the first quarter where more smartphones were sold than dumbphones, and for the installed base in the USA, already 38% of all phones in use were smartphones. These are trends that follow leading Western European countries, which themselves follow leading global countries in smartphone adoption like Singapore, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Those three countries have passed the point where more than 3 out of every 4 phones sold is a smartphone already.
But yes, in America.. Nielsen reports that Android has 38% of the US domestic smartphone market. The iPhone is ranked number 2 at 27%. Blackberries are at 21% - but remember, Nielsen measures domestic users not business users so Blackberry's total penetration rate is higher than this. Windows Mobile the old and defunct Microsoft OS has 9%. Symbian has 2%, HP's WebOS (the new Palm OS) has 2% and the old Palm OS has 1%. Oh, and Microsoft's new Windows Phone OS has .. 1%.THATS IT FOR NOW
We await the results of the most unpredictable quarter ever in smartphones, as Nokia crashes and burns after Stephen Elop set his company's strong platforms on fire. In 1Q we only got a partial impact of that fire, now we have the first full results. Will Nokia land at 14% or 13% or 12% market share in 2Q? Who knows. It was 29% in 4Q, the last full quarter before Stephen Elop made his big announcement to kill Symbian and abandon MeeGo.
What of Apple. The iPhone had its China effect in 1Q but now for the first time in years, there is no new iPhone for the end of June. But the iPhone had spread from AT&T to Verizon, and Apple released the White iPhone (said to be very popular in China for example). How did Apple do in 2Q. We have to wait to see. And we know Android grew strong but how did the Android members fare? We heard from HTC but how about Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. We'll know during July. And yes, Microsoft? What kind of numbers do we hear from Redmond. Will they even dare to release the Windows Phone sales numbers or will they attempt to hide the numbers. This will be an interesting month to report what's happening' in the smartphones space. Stay tuned.
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