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« I was totally wrong about Trump and Hillary. And obviously this will be my last Trump-related blog article | Main | Q3 Smartphone Market Numbers, Top 10 brands, OS Wars, Installed Base (oh, and our brief smartphone market recession is already past) »

November 18, 2016

Comments

RickO

Tomi - good to see you are back. I hope you only needed a good rest after your epic election summary - FAIL. I live on the other side of the planet and I could what was about happen, well before the final vote.
A word of advice - stick to what you are good at - I have always enjoyed your informative articles on smartphone tech, marketing, strategies and your well informed (with some inside knowledge) summaries of the smartphone market. Cheers.

Wayne Borean


Some Android phones are phoning home - to China.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/15/android_phoning_home_to_china/

Abdul Muis

It seems to me that Tim Cocks is really not Steve Jobs.

While Steve certainly want apple to have the best of the best, Cooks is more concern about material cost.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-18/apple-chip-choices-may-leave-some-iphone-users-in-slow-lane

"The component at the root of the performance gap is the modem, a tiny chip buried deep inside a phone’s innards that turns wireless signals into data and voice. The iPhone 7 is the first Apple phone for several years to have versions with different modems. Verizon users get an iPhone 7 with Qualcomm’s latest X12 modem -- capable of downloading data at up to 600 megabits per second. AT&T customers get a handset with an Intel modem that tops out at 450 megabits per second.

Apple likely went with multiple suppliers to keep component costs in check.

In field tests by Twin Prime, the Verizon version is a little faster than its AT&T stablemate -- but not as fast as it could be. The firm proved this by doing the same tests on the Samsung Galaxy S7, which also runs on Verizon’s network and uses the Qualcomm X12. The S7 was about twice as fast as the iPhone 7 running on the same network with the same modem chip, Twin Prime found. This was based on data from more than 100,000 phones downloading an image in large U.S. cities."

Abdul Muis

https://www.blancco.com/press-releases/apples-newer-iphones-ipads-fail-almost-twice-much-android-devices/

Key highlights from the Q3 2016 trend report include:

Newer iPhone and iPad models struggled with higher failure rates, including iPhone 6 (13 percent), iPhone 6S (9 percent), iPhone 5S (9 percent) and iPad Air 2 (2 percent).
Apps crashed on 65 percent of iOS devices, which is nearly triple the rate of crashing apps on Android devices (25 percent).
Pokemon GO app ranked as one of the most instable iOS apps (5 percent), while the Google Play Services app crashed frequently (10 percent) on Android devices.
LeEco’s Le 2 had the highest failure rate (13 percent) among the failing Android devices, followed by Xiaomi’s Redmi 3S (9 percent), Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 (9 percent), Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge (5 percent) and Lenovo’s Vibe K5 Note (4 percent).
Android users worldwide experienced repeated difficulties with their devices’ battery charging (7 percent) and screens (6 percent).

paul

Nokia's "return to smartphones" confirmed for 2017

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-smartphones-2017_id87955

Hubert Lamontagne

Yeah... to make the Nintendo Switch into a Phablet, they'd have to run Android on it, or dual boot between the game OS and Android like those Sony Experias that could run PSP or PSVita games. Android isn't really optimized for gaming... like, it works okay most of the time, but it's hard to prevent stuff like lag spikes, due to design choices like running Java. One video about Android dev team guys trying to get Android to support low latency audio is informative about this kind of problem. Nintendo could still totally use Android, but then they'd risk ending up with another OUYA.

Tomi T Ahonen

Thanks paul

I posted link to my TW followers and credited you for picking up the story. Thanks!

Tomi Ahonen :-)

John A

I dont know how big succes those retro brand like Kodak, Blaupunkt and other will have in the smartphone market. There is a Commodore smartphone to (the old computer brand)

I think they will have no chance against the new Chinese brands like OnePlus. Or the upcoming Vernee etc...
And of course Nokia that coming back.

Huber

@John A:

You are basically right. But the underlying problem is that you can't just put a BLAUPUNKT or C= Commodore or Nokia sticker onto an average phone and have the delusion that people will buy your phone because of the nice brand alone.

What I expect from a Nokia is:

- It has to have good build quality, even better would be if it is built like a tank, like the Nokias of old. My 2009 Nokia X6 wasn't as nice as the iPhones back then, but man was it sturdy.

- It has to have good reception. If it has the same Qualcomm modem than every other device with the same reception, why even care?

- It has to be open. Locked bootoaders without unlocking machanisms aren't tolerated, end of story

- It needs a replacable battery and SD card support

- Bonus points if it looks good, has better than average battery runtime and if the alarm clock works when the device is switched off

Give me all of this and you have a sale. Release an average phone with a Nokia sticker and I won't care at all.

John A

@Huber

I think Nokia has a advantage since they never left the feature phone business. And they even releasing new feature phones like Nokia 216:
https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/phone/216/

So the brand Nokia have never been "dead" so to speak, and are still valid in many markets.

If they can add some nice android phones to the portfolio it makes sense. Foxconn will of course building them but with the Nokia brand. And HMD Global got many old Nokia employes, so I suppose they will have much input on the final hardware and software. Many rumours suggest they (Nokia Android) will be launched at mobile World Congress 2017 in Spain/Barcelona.

E.Casais

"if the alarm clock works when the device is switched off"

Wait -- this is no longer a given nowadays?

Which "smart" phones do not have that feature?

E.Casais

"they even releasing new feature phones like Nokia 216"

It is an S30 device.

Does anybody know who maintains S30 nowadays and where?

chithanh

@Hubert Lamontagne
> Yeah... to make the Nintendo Switch into a Phablet, they'd have to run Android on it, or dual boot between the game OS and Android

No, they wouldn't.
A hypervisor that manages two operating systems (one for gaming and one for the phone side) would be enough, similar to what Blackberry uses already.

> it's hard to prevent stuff like lag spikes, due to design choices like running Java.

Also that is false, both the premise and the implication.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@chithanh:

No, what Hubert wrote is entirerly correct. (Disclaimer: I am an Embedded Systems software Engineer, I have written a couple of games and I do know what goes into making both software and hardware work correctly)

In a game, you do not want those lag spikes. They happen in both Windows and Linux, too, except in those environment the games usually output a steady 120 FPS and thus a spike of 60-70 FPS is barely noticeable.

An Android phone is not quite a realtime system. It does have realtime components of course - but an Android system does not allow any single program to hog the CPU.

In theory this should be pretty simple - the foreground process gets say, 50% of the available system CPU, Memory and other shared resources, and this ensures background processes won't starve, but also that foreground process can work pretty much flawlessly, with the absolutely highest priority etc.

In practice, Java and other technologies are not quite designed for this, so you do get these unintended lag spikes... Which sucks. :(

Of course, I'm not familiar with Google's Android-specific Java implementation and I could be wrong about this, so if you got any facts about this that you could point to, let me know. But from my understanding, the Android system is not nearly the same OS as you would find in say, the Wii or Playstation 4.

John A

@E.Casais

Microsoft sold the feature phone business to Foxconn so they do all future Nokia featurephones with the Nokia brand. As I understand they will open a factory in India for them to. Beside the existing Vietnam factory.

And Nokia have now confirmed they will be back in smartphones in 2017. Also in VR, digital health, smartwatches etc..
(Withing will be rebranded to Nokia)

http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_smartphones_are_coming_in_2017_the_company_confirms-news-21713.php

Earendil Star

On the "Windows 10 is dead on mobile" topic.

First, MS is still working on the platform, albeit now only with business customers in mind. They are still propping this One Windows story, but unless Universal Apps really are there, Continuum -the only potential strength of Windows on a phone- is just a vacuum concept. What is really dead is the Lumia brand. But I am sure MS still counts on the Surface brand and devices, which I suspect will come in 2017, to microsoftly compete with the likes of the HP Elite X3.

Second, recounting the Nokia saga as a vindication on how spot on we were at the time, when saying that WP was a (P)OS.
It is important to repeat time and again how the covert MS acquisition of Nokia in 2010 unraveled, given that the official narrative is totally misleading. Remember what the trolls said? That MS was good at software and WP7 (yes... Window Phone 7!!!) was the way to go (vs Symbian, Maemo/Meego or Android)?! What utter BS. Six years on, MS has scrapped WP7, then WP8 and its current W10 is (by MS’ own admission) still not ripe for mobile. OMG. We are still waiting for something that actually works. Well, listen to me: the only truth about Continuum is that MS continuues to say that the "real" thing will be released in... 20XX + 1! A moving target that since 2010 has always been one year beyond in the future. What a laugh!
Truth is, something happened in the Nokia Board back in 2010, that led to the eventual screw up of the company in what has been one of the greatest value destruction events in corporate history, and MS was a clear driving force behind this.
However, MS' strategy was clear: they were losing in mobile OSs and had woken up (as usual) too late. So they had to concoct something real quick, that could provide them the leverage to gain instant market share, and thus build the third contestant in the race after Android and iOS. Clearly, Nokia was the perfect target: fantastic brand and (still) huge market share. As the initial plans indicate, the original idea was a 1 to 1 customer transition from Nokia to MS/WP.
Well, this, coupled with a botched execution of Baldmer's Redmond orders by the Elop the Flop Trojan Horse moron, led to disaster in just a couple of years. The problem was that having a MS yes man with no experience in mobile whatsoever at Nokia's helm, meant having a clueless jerk leading operations without the capability of warning Redmond on how to adapt the execution to reach the strategic goals that had been set. Catastrophe ensued, which was of MS' own making (e.g. immediately zapping the indigenous OSs before WP was ready...). Let's just remember that the Flop moron was openly stating that what counted was WP (not Nokia's) ultimate success. So, it was ultimately MS' choice of this weak character that led to disaster.
Yet, at inception, from MS' viewpoint, all made perfect sense. We have all the ingredients, and they fit together nicely:
(a) there was an issue: MS was out from mobile, after having been caught totally off guard and being initially slow to react (just think at Ballmer's reaction to the iPhone). This had already happened in the past (e.g. Netscape), but MS sloth reaction was compensated by its monopolistic grip on the PC, which does not exist in mobile.
(b) there was a perceived quick fix: overtaking Nokia and its market share and replacing it with its own
(c) there was execution plan: having a yes man at Nokia’s helm to comply with all orders by Redmond
However, what is baffling, is how this could be accepted within Nokia. Yes, because for all this to happen, there had to be some total alignment on Nokia's (board) side. In other words, if MS had openly acquired Nokia back in 2010, the steps mentioned above would have been the logical implementation of a pure and logical MS strategy. But in fact, no acquisition took place, and yet the weird thing is that it all played out as if the own interests of Nokia had no relevance at all. For instance, no contingency plans were in place in case the WP option failed. And even if it had succeeded, Nokia would have been left as a powerless OEM, and no longer the master of its own destiny as previously was the case.
So, the real issue here is, how was it possible for MS to steer Nokia as if it had acquired it, but in practice without doing it?
Some hints derive from some revelations by some previous Nokia top brass, especially Jorma Ollila: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/security-tech/technology/why-pioneering-nokia-couldnt-beat-the-iphone/articleshow/54934116.cms .
By putting together these elements, one possibility is that Nokia's board thought that they did not have enough resources to put in SW, which was emerging as one of the key drivers for success in smartphones, following the release of the iPhone and the first droids. So, they started considering some partners, and the choice probably fell on MS, which (through Elop) had already been working with Nokia on Office (Symbian) and generally in the business arena. Maybe the idea was that the risk was worth taking, given MS' huge financial strength, while the risks (e.g. the inherent weakness of MS in mobile and in SW, MS’ attitudes with partners, etc.) were downplayed. This would be consistent with a similar choice that had been originally taken with Intel, when conceiving the Meego path (vs going via Maemo alone). In this case, the bet was to partner with Intel vs the ARM battalions, which eventually succeeded. Both choices eventually led to disaster, but the real game changer was the choice on MS, also given how MS typically ends up stifling its
“partners”.
Still, some pieces of this second part (i.e. how Nokia's decision to covertly marry with MS in 2010 came to be), is still incomplete, and will most likely remain so unless some whistleblower comes out. The problem is that, despite the background may seem reasonable (partner with someone on SW in consideration of the huge investment attached), the way in which Nokia accepted it to happen made no business sense at all. What is particularly baffling is how Nokia was unable to leverage anything in its relation with MS, despite being on firmer negotiating grounds. In practice, Nokia was still market leader in mobile and was not in immediate economic distress, while MS was desperate to find a partner to achieve relevance in mobile. So, how did it all end up in a situation totally tipped to MS' advantage? Where the best outcome Nokia could hope for was to become a low margin MS OEM provider? And where no contingency plans had been considered to avoid jeopardising (MS') plan A, in blatant contravention of any sensible business conduct? (on the latter, just look at MS: despite pushing Win 10 mobile, Nadella is lowering operational risk by ensuring that its other products are also available on competing Android and iOS platforms...).
There are only two possibilities: either Nokia' board was totally out of touch with reality, despite the presence of Ollila, or something more mischievous took place. I leave it to you to decide which of the two options (or combination thereof) is more likely. What is sure, however, is that when the strategy became clear, i.e. that an agreement had been reached with MS (which paved the way to Elop's arrival at Nokia), the existing Nokia top management immediately resigned, in clear disagreement with the decision made. In retrospect, Aansi Vanjoki was totally correct and spot on. He understood the Dark Side had prevailed.

Alabama

@earendil

I agree with you. Something nefarious was going on in Nokia's board in order to accept being a host for Microsoft virus. It is like Nokia corporation had no antibodies and its immune system was totally compromised.

I still remember that Nokia's affair actually started with Nokia announcing that it has some very good partnership with Microsofg by producing Nokia laptops with MS blessing this. Afterwards more and more steange news started to appear where MS and Nokia were getting closer and closer jntil Elop came in.

I would guess that for MS would have had been enough to bribe only Jorma O (500 M$?) in order to get enough influence in Nokia's board for getting Elop in. This strategy is much cheaper than buying Nokia in 2010.

chithanh

@PWE
I don't deny that it is hard to do, or that Android isn't designed for low-latency anything.

But Java and realtime are not mutually exclusive, which invalidates his implication.
Also Android games need not be written in Java.

@Earendil Star
Naybe Meltemi was the contingency plan, which would explain why Elop had to shut it down.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Chithanh:

No, Java and realtime are not necessarily mutually exclusive - but the way it's implemented in Android, well, let's just say Android and realtime are mutually exclusive.

Same thing with Android games - they don't have to be written in Java, yes, true. But you cannot kick Android out of the equation either since that OS written on Java handles all your calls, texts, facebook and so on - and Android will simply mess with your timing in-game in ever so stupid ways...

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Everybody

The Q3 numbers are up now. Oh, a bit of good news there, we are past our first-ever smartphone market recession. The smartphone market returned to growth after 2 quarters of decline. So we are headed to a slightly better Christmas season. All the numbers are there. Enjoy

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 www.tomiahonen.com 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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