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« Quick Notes from Smartphone Wars - Kodak, Nintendo, Lenovo and Blaupunkt | Main | Handset Installed Base Passed Tipping Point. Now More than Half of All Mobile Phone Handsets in Use are Smartphones »

November 21, 2016


Karl Heinz

Could you please give an exact number of Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile smartphones according installed base by OS data?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Karl

It's far under 1% and vanishing so the numbers get pretty useless at that scale. In very rough terms it's under 20 million. If you need 'a number' to plug into a table or spreadsheet, you could use say 19 million but note, it is now falling so fast (oldest phones being replaced by very few new ones) that by now, mid November, the number is probably around 16 or 17 million and will be below 15 million by the end of December. When you're under 1% of a dying platform, the exact number is really meaningless..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Peter F. Mayer

If you sum up the BBK Electronic brands (Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus) you would get an differentTop 10 listing, like 1. Samsung 2. BBK Electronics 3. Apple 4. ...

Abdul Muis


The BBK electronic ( have a new brand - IMOO. The target of IMOO brand of BBK group is student (

So, BBK Electronic is Oppo + Vivo + OnePlus + IMOO

Abdul Muis
"Galaxy Note 7 recall did not damage Samsung brand in US: Poll

A global recall of fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphones did not appear to hurt U.S. consumers' willingness to buy Samsung Electronics phones, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Sunday showed.

The survey conducted Oct. 26 to Nov. 9 found that current Samsung smartphone users were as loyal to their brand as Apple Inc iPhone customers. It also found that people who knew about the recall were as interested in Samsung phones as those who did not.


The poll found that Samsung's customers were fiercely loyal to their brand. Some 91 percent of current Samsung users would likely purchase another Samsung smartphone, and 92 percent of current users would probably buy another Samsung product in general.


Abdul Muis

If the above poll were correct, samsung will have a surge in next Q3 2017

Karl Heinz

Thank you very much, Tomi!

Abdul Muis

"HTC Might Sell Its Smartphone Business in 2017

A new rumor now claims the company has already decided to sell its smartphone business, which was bleeding money for a few years now. Ms Cher Wang, HTC general manager, is said to have already sent a message to her closest collaborators that the smartphones business will be sold in the spring, next year.

Even though the Taiwanese media reports that HTC has denied these rumors, analysts claim that this is exactly what companies usually do before signing up the sale agreement.

The same source state that there actually four companies interested in buying HTC's smartphone business and one of the them is from Taiwan, the handset maker's home turf.



Tomi - is this the first signs of a new but bigger version of - Smartphone Bloodbath - happening in the next year or two. MicroSlop dead and nearly buried, CoolPad came and went, Sony is slowly disappearing, so who else outside of the top 10 could crash and burn. Unless a company needs production facilities for extra volume urgently, it would be a very risky business shelling out all those dollars to buy a dying brand name. Nokia brand will re-appear early next year as well to add to the congested Android market.

Abdul Muis

I really wonder what went wrong with Sony. Their device quality have a great quality. Their flagship is really great.

I own Xperia Z & Nexus 4, while both device have almost the same specs (snapdragon S4 /2GB RAM), I feel that my Xperia Z is more smooth, faster and have better battery life.


Just read - Gartner has (sales to end users) Oppo 6.7% Vivo 5.3% Iphone 11.5%. Interesting.
Also just read - LeEco is apparently having financial problems. So who else is.
As I said months ago - Iphone sales will pick up leading into and through Xmas - BUT - I still predict that 2017 could be iPhones year to hell but possibly back with the iPhone 8 later in the year.


@Peter F. Meyer

"If you sum up the BBK Electronic brands (Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus) you would get an differentTop 10 listing"

I concur.

Aggregating the vast array of brands corresponding to the Chinese manufacturer Tinno, and the top-10 ranking will have an even more intriguing outlook.

It is a bit like Volkswagen, General Motors or Fiat: to gauge their actual market power, one must consider the whole conglomerate, not just individual brands.

@Abdul Muis

"I really wonder what went wrong with Sony."

Inconsistent product line-up, with devices often more expensive than the competition for the same feature set.

Locally Sony might still go strong, though.

In Switzerland for instance, Sony is still very much present in the offerings of electronic shops and mobile phone retailers.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

My linear "toy" model based on past performance seems to have caught up as well, it suggested 376M based on past performance so not that far off. Of course this model does not take into account things like Samsungs exploding batteries or other stuff like that so don't base anything off it, it's just a hobby excel sheet I run for fun, based on past and current growth rates. :) It suggests a total market of around 1500M units (and 74M iPhones), Tomi, is that plausible numbers?

In related news, Apple moving average marketshare is down to 14.6% if anyone cares, now we shall see what the iPhone 7 will respond to that.

Wayne Brady

Given Tim Cook's statement that Apple had more than a billion active devices....I'm thinking that 562m installed base of iPhones is low


@Wayne Brady

Given that Tim Cook has included laptops, watches, Apple TV devices, iPads, iPods, iDongles and other magical iStuff in the billion he mentioned, probably 562m is about right from the point of view of number of devices (but it is too high from the point of view of the value that you get for the money you spend on these devices)


News from the land of the dead. Basically Microsoft is giving up on Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and instead is building an emulator for traditional desktop apps to run on ARM devices. This will fail too. Besides the fact that the mobile apps UI is very different than desktop apps UI, the problem is that ARM processors are weak compared to x86 processors that power today's desktops. On top of that, the only useful situation is if this emulator is used in conjunction with Continuum. But the problem is that Continuum is already very heavy on resources. So now the poor ARM CPU must run Continuum, then must run the heavy desktop apps on top of an emulator that makes then even heavier. Why would any sane person buy a flagship Windows phone + the keyboard and the screen and whatnot (easily over $1000 in total) just to have basically what is an underpowered laptop? Why not buy a phone and a powerful laptop with the same amount of money?

Microsoft's x86 on ARM64 emulation: A Windows 10 'Redstone 3' Fall 2017 feature


Where (geo-politically) is the market growing the most? Will Captain Krazy really try to coerce Apple into manufacturing in the U.S.?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne and Cornelius

Cornelius, thanks for responding already.

Wayne, this question comes up in many of the Quarterly update blogs. Same issue every time. Comparing my count of iPhone installed base number to Tim Cook's public statement about all Apple devices live. And we have the same argument every time in the comments. I am sick and tired of repeating myself. If it is YOU who asked this point before - then I am offended, that you refuse to accept my previous answer without responding to THAT, and rather feign ignorance and ask a stupid question now. Secondly, you Wayne have been on this blog for ages and have regardless read my ANSWER to that question, whoever posed it before, and KNOW why my number is lower. Third, Cornelius already told you.

But from me. If it was not you before, then you must have missed the recurring theme of the commentary of Apple's iPhone installed base analysis for years. I find that hard to believe. In that case, please accept Cornelius's answer, he like the other regulars has read my answer many times enough to have memorized MY RESPONSE to the question.

If it WAS you before then you are now being abusive to me personally. Stop it. The one thing I do not have much of, especially now in the busy season of the year for consulting, is extra time to waste. I don't like to repeat myself. You know the answer. Whether you like it or not, do not act abusively towards me and pretend you didn't hear the first time. Don't repeat this question EVER AGAIN Wayne or I will revoke your privileges on this blog. This question has been asked and answered so many times that our other readers know the answer by heart.

Thanks, Cornelius for the quick response to it.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

hi grouch

Just quick heads-up on the market biggest growth. Its in least affluent parts of the planet but their large countries. India, Nigeria, Vietnam, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. Countries where mobile penetration rate nationally is still under 100% and smartphone migration rate is well under 33%. But within those regions, it is their largest countries because that is where the handset makers can afford to focus on now (India rather than Nepal; Nigeria rather than Cameroon; Vietnam rather than Laos, etc). So where we recently saw a lot of buzz, countries like China, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Turkey etc these are far too advanced already for any big opportunities to remain, so their growth rates are modest at best.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Per

Very plausible numbers yes. I think your full year number is a bit too high (I expect year to end around 1,450 rather than 1,500 because of the two quarters of downturn. Of course I hope I am wrong and you are right and the year ends stronger than I had expected...).

The iPhone number somewhere in the vicinity of 75 million plus or minus a few million is very reasonable.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Peter, Abdul and E

Yeah we could also count the full consortium numbers, its certainly another fair way to do it. I could do that for the next blog which has the year-ending numbers. We do already include various owned brands with their parents in other cases like Motorola with Lenovo, Alcatel and others with TCL etc.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Everybody

I just added blog with two graphs to show the migration of handsets from dumb to smartphones. One is new sales, the other is installed base.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Wayne Brady

I honestly forgot it had been asked and answered before. Didn't mean offense, truly

John A

For the Sony Mobile division I think they might survive after all. They are strong on camera sensors on mobile, also to other brands.
And recent news say they will pushing mobile games strongly so I think that can be Interesting.
So I suppose its a advantage to have own mobiles to.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne

Hey thanks for that. Yeah it happens, its a number you don't really bother to memorize, then you see me mentioning an odd number and you think, wait, what did Apple just say..

Fair enough. Thanks. So let me also give once again the longer version answer so we deal with this properly too (I'm in a good mood today haha).

First, its apples and oranges. I count explicitly iPhone installed base while Apple reports total Apple devices connected. Of course iPhone count will be less because Apple has iPod music players who access the iTunes store, or iPad tablets installing apps or Apple Mac personal computers plus the various other iToys from Apple Watch to whatever their latest TV gambit is.

So first quick sanity check. Apple has called itself a mobile company for several years now. Roughly speaking half of their total revenue comes from the iPhone, half from all other businesses, so as a sanity check, over a few years, if half of your business is one product, then you could also expect of all those connected devices (if that is what most of the other business is) would be about half, in very rough terms.

Second sanity check. Market share from sales. Apple's annual iPhone unit sales market share has been in the 16% range. That is roughly what its installed base should be by all conventional wisdom. What I count is ABOVE that number, there should then be some reason why Apple has yes 19% of the installed base, if they only sell 16% of all smartphones. So as a simple sanity check, this suggests my number might be TOO HIGH, not too low.

But we know why that is, because Apple products have a longer life span, they get passed on to kids and family members and friends, or sold onward, so they live longer than the random Android smartphone, and far longer than say haha Windows based smartphones did, which often did not even get every unit sold when they shipped out of the factory to the stores (so for Windows the actual installed base was always significantly lower than the unit sales market share). Its BTW also why Symbian lingered on so long but Blackberry died far faster - because Nokia brand was held onto and resold so long.

So the numbers are in the rough ball-park and arguably, one should justify why the iPhone installed base market share is bigger than its units-sold market share, rather than think that number in installed base is too low and should be raised more...

Now why is this? Its replacement cycles. I have not seen replacement cycle numbers recently for really anything other than mobile. But digital music players were replaced at a far lower rate than mobile phones back in the last decade and I can't imagine any reason why any happy iPod user would need to go replace their music player every 2 years. With PCs we know the replacement cycle is roughly 4 years, so for Macs it will be about that. For tablets there haven't been any published numbers yet, as far as I can see, but we could assume tablets are certainly not replaced faster than mobile phones, and as they behave somewhat like a half-way-house between a smartphone and a notebook PC, perhaps the tablet replacement cycle sits somewhere in between, could be 3 years. For mobile phones its 2 years, give or take (Chetan Sharma just counted the latest replacement cycle now in the midst of our smartphone market recession to have stretchd for smartphones from 2 years to be 2.5 years now, so 30 months).

If you replace the phones at about twice the speed or at least 1.5 times faster than the PC or music player and also replace phones faster than tablets, it means the average age of those other Apple devices is longer. They are used for longer periods, their numbers in the installed base reflect a far longer age period. Thus a smaller number sold per year, yields still a nice total number into the famous one billion count that Apple reports.

Now with all that. I use my proprietary calculation of mobile phone installed base which I have reported on this blog for ages and my consultancy is one of the very few places where you can get that number. But AFTER I had been reporting it for years (both for dumbphones and for smartphones), we got the first international surveys of smartphone ownership data, if you remember, two years ago, via Google and separately via Pew. And those actual consumer OWNERSHIP surveys covering the planet, it was like 30 countries per survey - came up with very similar final numbers, and when then adjusting for the rest of the countries not reported, by the statistics of the nearby countries that were surveyed, I reported here the first global measured installed base of smartphones as the first 'check' on my math, based on surveyed ownership. And the numbers came close to perfect. I think we were off by five points in the percentages, that kind of scale of accuracy.

So my MATH is sound. I have a model based on a lot of data points over time, of how long people hold onto their phones, and what percentage of those are then given or sold back into the market to give more life to the phone, and derive regionally and by major phone types (and in some cases, by brands too) the life spans of all phones, smart and dumb. And based on that model, I report here the installed base, also by operating system when that was a real contest. Now as its an Android world with no rivals remaining, it may be the time to eventually stop reporting the split of the installed base. But I think I'll still do this for a while..

So unless Apple reports on an installed base of iPhones they count, I will be using my model as the best measure, and keep running the newest numbers into it, which means every quarter we delete the correct percentage from the far end, oldest phones out of use (a differing percentage by each quarter by the way, some replace their phones even after 6 months). And occasionally, when I find the model is starting to skew, I issue a correction like I did I think about a year ago if I now remember correctly.

If Apple sells 16% of all smartphones, and Apple isn't specializing on some kind of 'ultra-durable long-wearing phone' for some kind of industrial work haha, then Apple should roughly see similar installed base market share - over time - as its new sales. That is how various other brands harmonized over time. A new rising brand, like say Samsung five years ago, will see its new sales market share far stronger than the installed base. Similarly old brands who are in decline (Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry) will see their shares of installed base linger far longer than the sales have fallen. Because old phones, especially of premium brands, tend to stay longer in use, and are still resold in parts of Africa, India etc. Apple is sitting well above its sales level, where its installed base is at 19% while annual sales is at 16%. There could be some math that is slightly off, it could be up or down a point, but not more. The OTHER brands cannot 'survive' that math.

Why does Apple say 1 Billion when Tomi says 525 million? Because Apple counts other devices too but Tomi only counts iPhones. Are these numbers consistent, I think yes. Is MY number consistent with other stats from the industry, most definitely yes. I am more confident about my number of iPhones in use, than what Apple calls its 1 Billion users, because some of those music player owners may long since have ended their active association with Apple and now load mp3 files but haven't bought an iTunes song for years, and will not do again... Who knows what method Apple uses to extinguish its inactive users? But we do get new sales of smartphones every year, and the numbers do not offer us more than 525 million installed base for iPhones in use.

Howzat for a complete exhaustive master's thesis treatment of an argument of two numbers?

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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