Well the totally dead summer of 2015 in smartphones is past and we are just starting to get a tiny inkling of bits of news, mostly just noise but at least something. So whats going on.
Apple celebrates its 13 million unit sales of iPhones in the first weekend. That sounds like a massive jump of 30% more than last year when they sold 10 million in the first weekend. Until you notice that last year the first weekend didn't include China (the world's largest smartphone market where roughly speaking almost one third of all smartphones are sold). So no China last year, now there was China sales, that accounts for at least 3M of the 13M (probably more) and what do we get out of it? When we consider honest apples-to-apples comparison, at best the first weekend sales are as good as last year, at worst, it is worse than last year (if China was actually more than 3M out of the 13M now). What does this foretell? Very very VERY preliminary sign yes, we may see flat iPhone sales this Christmas quarter compared to last year's Christmas quarter. That... is not exactly how I am seeing most tech and business analysts greet these numbers, but alas, they are blinded by the Apple Distortion Field.
Blackberry hasn't quite yet died. And now they have officially shown the world the new physical QWERTY-slider (narrow format keyboard like Blackberries had always, not wide like Nokia Communicators for example) and its called the Priv. Best of all, it also runs Android! Wanna see the pictures? Slash Gear has the Blackberry pictures. For the record, I think this is a brilliant move and will see Blackberry smartphone unit sales jump once those Priv units are offered widely - and I personally will buy one. How big will the boost be, is anybody's guess because its been so long since we've last seen a proper slider solution to a large touch screen and a physical QWERTY but yeah, I bet it will sell well. Lets see if this can save the company.
Coolpad has launched an entry-level Android basic smartphone in the USA on T-Mobile. Good luck. But clearly Coolpad like most Chinese brands who climb into the Top 10 get very hungry to want to expand internationally.
Talking about international expansion. Xiaomi's first international market was India and they have now celebrated a cumulative 3 million smartphones sold there in more than half a year. Not exactly setting the world on fire outside of China (as I predicted).
Lenovo is doing better, its Motorola brand has sold nearly double since it returned to India, and announced 5.6 milion sold so far. Meanwhile on the parent Lenovo brand, a new phablet. Ho-hum...
Samsung is rumored to be working on a foldable screen smartphone (so you fold it like a book, get twice the screen area. Oh, and Samsung's mobile wallet launching in the USA.
In the minnow category, Russian Yotaphone is expanding to China. India's largest domestic phone maker Micromax is targeting a USA launch for next year.
I think thats the bullk of relevant news. Microsoft's Lumia continues to be dead, its last new sales market share was down to 2.5% and after the latest cuts, expect that to approach now the 2% level. And alongside Lumia, Windows Phone continues to be dead. The installed base of Windows Phone OS out of all smartphones is at 2% and falling. There is no hope on this platform that all smart developers have already abandoned or are now jumping off the sinking ship. More news as some emerges..