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January 28, 2016



IDC out:

IDC: Smartphone shipments hit a record 1.43 billion units in 2015

IDC gives Samsung 22.7% market share and the iPhone 16.2%.


Strategy Analytics also out:

Total 1441.7 million units.
Samsung market share 22.2% and the iPhone 16.1%.


Samsung Mobile's profits were way off expectations, which suggests that the Galaxy line is still struggling, though, and that they are increasingly reliant on chips. There are also rumors that Samsung has canceled plans for a S7 Edge+.


@Wayne Brady:

"So Sammy is now less than 10M smartphones ahead of Apple for the qtr. They must have had an absolutely disasterous premium segment result. This doesn't bode well for Apple going forward. Much of Apple's ability to grow is going to come from poaching the premium Android customers. Apple may already have taken most all of them."

Are you still holding that moronic belief that all premium customers favor Apple?
None of the people I know would even THINK of doing that!

Samsung's problem is simple: Their last batch of premium phones was shit. Android customers are not interested in shiny but fragile metal cases, they want something that doesn't break when it accidentally falls down, and they certainly are not interested in feature regressions of the kind Samsung tried to shove down their throat.



The S5 was obviously better than the S6 so that is where the buyers went or kept. The same was true of HTC and their top phone.

You use the number of $200 huawei phone and ask "just as good?" but if you do it with a $400 phone than the answer is yes. Apple will experience this next year


@Wayne Brady
Tomi posted stats on this very blog, telling us what are the deciding factors when people buy a smartphone, and the most important of all was the screen size.
So yes, essentially Huawei's $400 phone is as good as their $600 phone for most consumers, and the difference will only matter to a few.

Some who would be perfectly content with a $400 device will still buy the $600 simply because the true cost is a hidden loan in their mobile contract. This concerns only limited regions.


I haven't a clue with Huawei and how good their own soc's are but with snapdragon based phones it is yes


In other news, Microsoft reported selling 4.5 million Lumias in the last quarter.

So for the full year they are at 8.5+8.4+5.9+4.5 = 27.3 million which would be between 1.8% and 1.9% marketshare depending on the size of the total market.


@Wayne Brady:

"Is Huawei's $400 home as good as Huawei's $600 phone?"

For 90% of all users, yes.
Seriously, for most a $200 5'' phone would be good enough because they never need the features the more expensive phone has.

The biggest reason for more expensive phones are high performance games but since no game developer can afford targetting the bleeding edge exclusively, even for most casual gamers the phones one or two price categories will become interesting.


Some amazing phones are coming out for around $100. For example, Xiaomi Redmi 3, which has gorgeous full metal build, and specs which would have landed the phone in upper end just last year. It even has 4100mAH battery which outclass many of the flagships. It's not just Xiaomi, other Chinse OEMs are also coming out amazing phones for fraction of what flagships cost. The trend is obvious, gap between flagships and entry level Android phones are shrinking fast. I used entry level Xiaomi phone along with Samsung flagship for over a year, and I would say Xiaomi wins by huge margin in bang for buck as well as providing a very good user experience.


Good points, Wayne. There are great PCs out there. They are priced like Macs and get panned for being overpriced. Which means we get lots of junk running Windoes 10. Hopefully Apple can keep its very lucrative niche in Mobile. It's the only thing keeping the premium segment alive.


@Tester, when the service costs $80/mo what's $400 vs $200 or $600 for the phone? It's peanuts.


If literal "unlimited everything" LTE subscription (let me repeat, NO LIMIT on the amount of voice, texts or data) costs $32 per month and unlimited everything 3G subscription costs $27 euros per month, does your argument become invalid?
(Those were actual prices taken from Finland. And that was not a limited time offer which can be LESS.)


ignore the "euros" in the previous. It was a typo, both prices were in USD.


@Wayne: " I do believe that Samsung sells more premium priced handsets than anyone by far. Feel free to tell me who's picking up all those customers Samsung is losing besides Apple."

Easy answer: Nobody.

Samsung and HTC are in the same position than Apple before releasing the iPhone 6: There is demand for high-end Android phones, but a lot of customers are waiting until a really worthy successor to their current phone is available.

I use my Samsung Galaxy S4 since June 2013. I simply skipped the phone-update last year when I switched contracts. I pay a few € per month less and can take a new subsidized phone any time I like now.

And this I will do as soon as a worthwile successor comes along or my phone breaks down, and not a day earlier.

The SGS4 is not updated beyond Android 5.01 by Samsung, but you can install 6.0.1 AOSP-based ROMs which were released by the indepenent developer community. The Google-Apps can be installed manually, so you get the newest Google features without any problems.

It has 2GB RAM and a Snapdragon 600, which is still fast enough for using the phone as phone, internet surfing, WIFI hotspot etc. Of course a little bit more speed and longer battery runtime would be welcome, but the progress must be significant to be worth the upgrade.

In 2015, Samsung lost market share with the SGS6 and Note 5 because of the built-in feature regression. Additionally, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 wasn't a good SoC at all (overheating problems, not much faster than the 805), so the competition couldn't take away Samsung's market share that easily (the SGS6' Exynos Soc was better than the 810). Would the 810 have been a better SoC, things would look different, though.

The new 820 looks much better so far. Also, I hope that the Android vendors have learned that you cannot out-Apple Apple. I have zero interest in an iPhone and hence also zero interest in a castrated iPhone-wannabe like the SGS6.

The LG G4 was handicapped by its mediocre Snapdragon 808-SoC, so this also wasn't an alternative.

So either the Samsung learns from their mistakes and release better phones in 2016, or they continue to release high-end phones with less features than mid-range phones, but with faster SoCs.

If Samsung does the latter and the Snapdragon 820 turns out to be as good as it currently seems, Samsung is in for a nasty surprise. If the 820 is a dog like the 810 and Samsung doesn't change strategy, not much will happen. Let's see...


"I use my Samsung Galaxy S4 since June 2013."

I am still on a Nexus 4 since late spring 2013 and I currently pay only a few euros a month for my subscription.

I still see no reason to upgrade. A bigger screen would be more easy to read, but more difficult to type on with one hand. I also would have less pockets to carry it in. Anyhow, for movies and reading I use my nexus 9.

The new handset offerings do not have specs or technology I need. Maybe I am not very special in this respect?


@Winter: "The new handset offerings do not have specs or technology I need. Maybe I am not very special in this respect?"

No, you are not. I know lots of people who hold out purchasing new phones.

Tha pattern is mostly the same than for you and me: The new phones simply don't have the specs which makes them a worthy upgrade.

I want a ~5" phone with faster speed, longer battery runtime, removable battery and SD-slot.

But I don't want a phone which is slimmer, but doesn't offer longer battery runtim. Or a phone which looks nicer and has less features. All of this is ludicrous.

I think the press plays a major role here: When the SGS4 and SGS5 came out, reviewers mocked their 'industrial design' because of the plastic body.

But customers didn't care much, they bought the phones nevertheless. Then the SGS6 came out, and reviewers praised it because of the metal unibody (as if I would give a shit about this).

But people didn't upgrade their old phones in droves, instead they kept them because of the features they are missing on the new phones.

This goes on until today, I've read the LG G5 will also have a metal unibody. So LG thinks that the G4 didn't sell so well because of its looks. I think it didn't sell well because of its mediocre Snapdragon 808 SoC (DDR3 memory with a 1440p display, come on!).

So my expectation is that companies which sell the products their customers want will fare much better than the ones which sell what the reviewers like.

Of course, if no Android vendor will do this the Android high-end will simply be relegated to a niche status, while most customers will buy mid-range phones. Time will tell...


"I know lots of people who hold out purchasing new phones."

One should keep in mind a factor that is important, though difficult to untangle from the other ones already mentioned:

Mobile phones are pretty much a discretionary item, and for the past couple of years the recession is hitting harder -- and spreading harshly to other countries (China, Russia, hydrocarbon-extracting countries, etc).

Hence, it is to be expected that more and more people postpone the expense of a mobile phone renewal.

I look forward to seeing statistics on the market evolution in individual countries.


AFAIK market growth next year is expected to be even less than it was this year (i.e. less than 10%). So less than 1,600 million definitely, let's say 1,550 to have clearly less than 10% growth. Even with that disappointment of the sales there is no way Apple and Samsung to meet at the half-point of their current sales (276M sold phones).
It would mean crash of market share from 21% to 17.8% for Samsung - extremely unlikely.
Also it would mean a jump to 17.8% market share for Apple - also extremely unlikely considering they already indicated UNIT sales going DOWN YoY on next quarter.

I say Samsung is safely 1st next year, Apple is safely 2nd. Unless Huawei screws up, they will keep 3rd position and the real battle starts at positions 4-10.


The press is getting ready for the burial...

You can feel the love (loL!!) for microsoft here:

Even microsoft astroturfing sites see the end too

All you microsoft astroturfers quit staring at the clock and mumbling tic, toc, tic, toc... and Yell Out: NO ONE WANTS WINDOWS ON A PHONE!!!!!! .....LoL!!!!

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