Am at an airport now, in a rush, but a few quick notes about some interesting developments in the smartphones space
I talked about Japan leading, and that all major innovations that we now have in our phones, originate from Japan. Once again that proves to be true, as Sony now is bringing to other markets their waterproof smartphones - not for the beach, but for shower and bath use. And talking about Sony? They now aim to become the 3rd biggest smartphone maker - behind Samsung and Apple. Currently number 3 globally is Huawei. Sony famously left the Symbian and Windows worlds and concentrates now only on Android.
Of Huawei? They are expanding product portfolio and spreading around the world. And if felt that the Samsung Galaxy Note screen was too small - Huawei has now broken past the 6 inch barrier in our pocket, the Android based Ascend Mate offers a 6.1 inch screen.
Then Lenovo? The company that crashed into the global top 10 for the first time in Q3 of 2012? The company that previously bought IBM's PC business? Lenovo is now pursuing a strong growth strategy in smartphones, launching a series of smartphones and spreading to several countries. Expect their growth path to continue (on Android, obviously).
What of Pantech? Never heard of them? They are South Korea's third phone maker. They have a series of Android phones they are now using to expand well beyond Asia, aiming for USA for example.
What of Salora? Don't be confused with the former Finnish TV and radio maker Salon Radio out of the town of Salo, no, there is a new smartphone maker out of India that coincidentially uses that name as brand, and they have Android phones including one which they claim has the biggest battery at 3200mAh.
Then back in the former giants, Nokia CEO laid a major bombshell yesterday acknowledging that Windows is not necessarily forever for Nokia, and an Android path is a possible future, but he claims Nokia is not currently pursuing that path. Bear in mind, Nokia and Microsoft seem to have fallen out and are no longer BFFs, with Microsoft launching its tablet, threatening to launch its own smarpthone, and at major Windows Phone 8 events, was featuring HTC, not Nokia smartphones. And at Nokia's corner, they have already been recruiting Android engineers...
And another Nokia surprise. Now the company is backpedaling on the previous statements that Symbian is coming to an end and is already in 'maintenance mode' ie no more updates to the operating system. Today Nokia revised that statement, promising more development of Symbian? Is this now Plan B (and Android Plan C) - which all suggest that the disaster that is Lumia and Windows Phone is worse than Elop ever expected...
Why is that? Well, Windows Phone is failing the consumers too. We just learned via Fortune, of a Bernstein survey of US and European smartphone owners, that reported that iPhones have 95% repurchase intent in 2012. Android comes in second at 75%. Blackberry owners still pass the mid-point where 56% are willing to purchase another Blackberry. But Windows Phone? Only 37% are willing to buy another smartphone using Microsoft's system. This is totally in line with the 2012 Yankee Group survey of Lumia owners that found that four out of ten Nokia Lumia owners rated the phone so bad, they gave it the worst rating in the survey. So yes, Windows Phone is not just a failure by carriers and retail not supporting it, and the Lumia series designed to fail Nokia consumer expectations, now we have survey data that those poor saps who were tricked into buying a Windows Phone based smartphone hate them so much, almost two thirds intend to buy any other smartphone! No wonder Nokia CEO is hectically exploring his remaining alternatives and even Burning-Platforms Symbian and Pissing-in-Pants-in-Winter-to-Stay-Warm Android sound good to Nokia now. I should note, that just prior to Elop's Burning Platforms, the Symbian-based Nokia smartphones were so highly rated by its users, it was the second highest loyalty rating of European consumers behind only the iPhone, in 2010. Yes, 'Burning Platforms' Symbian. Nokia smartphones that Elop killed, were rated second best loyalty behind only the impossible standard, the iPhone. And far far ahead of the Blackberry or Android or Windows. That, Mr Microsoft Muppet destroyed and selected this consumer-hated platform of Windows Phone instead. What a moron!
Samsung? Reported record profits driven by record smartphone sales, no surprise. Samsung's Galaxy S4 is expected during Q1 and Samsung has confirmed several Tizen-based smartphones will be launched during 2013. One of the first customers committing to Tizen is Japan's biggest network, NTT DoCoMo, who famously do not offer the iPhone. If we remember Tizen's predecessor, Nokia's MeeGo, being the only system that was regularly called better than that on the iPhone and the Nokia N9 being called a better phone than the iPhone - no other Nokia phone have ever before or since beaten the iPhone regularly (the N95 and the E90 Communicator did that occasionally) - so this bodes very well for NTT DoCoMo's first Samsung Tizen-based smartpohnes later this year. Keep your eyes on Tizen (with among others, Huawei among its handset manufacturer partners and Sprint and Telefonica among its carrier partners)
HTC reported ever shrinking profits with its struggling smartphone business. But at least its still making some profits. HTC CEO said the problem has been marketing and advertising in the past year.
And finally this is not in the news category, more of an iRumor, but the iCompany is now increasingly rumored to give us iFinally the iPhone iNano, that iTomi has been iBegging for iYears. It would be targeted at Emerging World markets (as I suggested) with an unsubsidised price around 200 USD rather than the $650 that the current model retails for; and rumors suggest it could be made from plastic rather than metal and glass in part to help lower the production costs (and to clearly differentiate it from the flagship model, and prevent the cheaper model from cannibalizing the top end sales). But yes, this is still only a rumor, but it would be high time, Apple should have had the iPhone Nano out two years ago, and it would still be competing with Samsung for the global crown in smartphones. Now Apple has lost that battle and the iPhone Nano would be more a defensive move against Huawei and the others in the pack, to try to keep Apple at least as number 2 in the smartphone races as we head into the Bloodbath Year Four, Smartphones Galore
Thats the quick update, I'll be blogging more as news comes in from the bloodied battlefield of smartphones. But if you needed the latest stats, here are the full Top 10 smarpthone manufacturers currently based on the latest reported data ie Q3, as we await Q4 numbers.
And anyone who needs more than the top line numbers on mobile phones, smartphones, operating systems etc, see my TomiAhonen Phone Book 2012 for all the stats, numbers and facts.