I'm heavily travelling at this point in time so let me just do quick random thoughts about some brands in the smartphone space. Note, we are about to get into the Q1 financial results, so I will monitor those and report on the major brands as their numbers come in.
Talking about numbers. Huawei posted its annual report and admitted it only sold 32 million smartphones all of last year, far less than its target of 60 million, the number that the management had been promoting as recently as February of this year. I mentioned in my final 2012 numbers that there were a lot of discrepancies with Huawei numbers from various sources and I had adjusted my Huawei annual number downward due to this, but not enough. Still, its good to know now officially.
Samsung's Galaxy S4 was revealed, all signs point to another hit smartphone and big growth for the Sammy. They keep expanding the Galaxy series as was expected and the juggernaut should continue to roll on. I found it funny that the Galaxy Camera only now arrived to American shores, we've had it here in Asia since last year. Samsung's Q1 financial guidance said massive growth in smartphones, driving up their profits.. yeah, this 'surprised' some after the Christmas season, but not our readers, we know China's gift-giving season is in January for Q1 and as Samsung is China's top-selling smartphone nowadays (used to be Nokia) that means big good sales for the Samster...
Nokia, gosh, I don't really even want to go there. Elop says he thinks Nokia can be number 1 again (he would have to say that I guess) but listen to how Nokia CEO talks about its future and Windows Phone - Windows Phone should get 10% market share - as an ecosystem by all vendors - NOT BY NOKIA. What the fu....nky? Nokia had 34% market share when Elop started now he wants Windows Phone to achieve 10%? What company CEO is the poor bastard? Can't he bother to look at his business card and notice he now works for Nokia, its been more than two and a half years already..
Lenovo admits it is shopping around and thinking about maybe buying Blackberry. They were earlier rumored to also consider Nokia and have also been looking at NEC's phone business. I think these rumors have become so common now, its pretty clear Lenovo has a plan and budget and will buy someone, question now is who and when.
Blackberry meanwhile has just released the Q10 - that is probably the real 'soul of Blackberry' device for the BB10 OS, and I would guess Q10 will end up strongly outselling the pure touch-based Z10. And the Q10 really does look quite yummy for those craving a real QWERTY keyboard but modern full-function high spec smartphone. Only its 3.1 inch screen seems tiny in the modern context, why doesn't Blackberry do a slider, that would give both the full QWERTY and the full big-screen touch-screen (or haha, where is Nokia's QWERTY slider version of Windows Phone, come on, even Jo Harlow admits Nokia customers are begging for QWERTY variants in its smartphone portfolio, a traditional Nokia staple. What is wrong with Nokia when its customers beg for things, and it just says 'neener, neener, you ain't getting it!')
Panasonic is trying to unload its underwhelming smartphone unit. HTC is in the rumors to be a possible buyer. (Panasonic was once a top 5 handset maker back in the 1990s, recently only selling phones in Japan)
LG is getting also into the branded store game (and yeah, more Nokiamisery, Nokia just shut down its Shanghai flagship store..)
HTC reported - you know it - again diminshing profits. Its the same story every time, yes, they reported some profits, but its AGAIN less than last time. What gives?
Then my current fave black horse for the year, Sony.. As I've suggested, now there are lots of rumors that Sony is indeed aiming to use Cybershot and Walkman brands to bolster its Xperia smartphone sales (and if so, there gotsta be Playstation soon or PSP branding coming to an Xperia as well). But seriously, if Nokia shook the camera world with the 808 Pureview last year, and then throws that all away, this would be perfect time for Sony to step up to the plate with a magnificent Cybershot cameraphone to take the crown and give those among us who are shutterbugs something spectacular.
Microsoft has launched a pretty ironic accusation with the EU against Google (Microsoft with its partners Nokia, and others) that Google is trying to lock out competition in mobile. And nasty Google is doing this by giving away Android for free as a 'trojan horse' haha... I think the accusation would have more merit if the accuser wasn't guilty of severely anti-competitive practises time and again for the past three decades, but hey, I guess, if Microsoft is the master at it, it would recognize when someone else is doing it, haha... But yeah, kind of smells. And yeah, Nokia is ever more closely abandoning all its 'European' attitudes and principles of fair play and sharing, rather adopting the predatory US principles of sue and get sued, as so well pioneered by Microsoft
Facebook launched a smartphone (actually made by HTC) and ho-hum, won't set the world on fire. They also launched an 'skin' for Android that wants to take over your home screen. Some may like it, others who try it will soon hate it, I don't think it has longevity but we'll see.
Thats whats been bubbling in the smartphone space recently. I'll come back with more blogs when I get a bit more time to breathe...