Are Good Times Over for Apple & Xiaomi Smartphones?

 Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Are Good Times Over for Apple & Xiaomi Smartphones?
Dec 172015

All good things of life must come to an end sooner or later.

And that holds true for the wunderkinds of the smartphone business too.

After a great run for the last few years, the good times appear to be drawing to a close for the two smartphone darlings, Apple and Xiaomi.

Xiaomi, Apple Face Hard Times in Growing Smartphone Sales

Challenges Loom

Both Apple and Xiaomi, wildly popular with millions of users, now face a seemingly insurmountable challenge in growing sales – market maturity in major markets like China (for Xiaomi) and North America (for Apple).

A lot of consumers including yours truly are also holding on to their older generation (Xiaomi and iPhone) smartphones for longer periods.

iPhone 6s

Apple faces an additional challenge due to its step prices, which makes its smartphones unaffordable to most people in high growth but low-income markets like India.

Not surprisingly, Apple has been forced to slash the price of its best-selling iPhone 5S model in India by nearly 50% in December 2015. Continue reading »

Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue

 Android, Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue
Dec 042015

It seems there is no light at the end of the Windows Phone tunnel.

Market research specialist IDC has put out a new report on smartphones with a depressing take on the Windows Phone.

IDC’s number crunchers estimate that Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market (currently at a pitiful 2.2%) will grow by just 0.1% through 2019 to 2.3%.

Despite pouring billions into its smartphone business, Microsoft has little marketshare to show it.

Disdained by consumers, ignored by developers and brushed-off by mobile operators, Windows Phones continue to languish at the bottom of the smartphone pile.

Tough Times Continue for Windows Phones, Says IDC

Here’s what IDC had to say on the Windows Phones:

Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years. In 2015, IDC expects the average selling price (ASP) of Windows Phones to be $148, which is $71 lower than Android’s ASP of $219. This was brought about by the Microsoft/Nokia push into the low-end mass market. While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of -10.2% in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support.

Although Android devices account for the bulk of smartphones shipments, Apple makes the majority of profits in the smartphone business.

Reflecting the turbulence in its mobile unit, leading Android smartphone vendor Samsung recently changed the head of its mobile division.

Koh Dong Jin has been named the new chief of Samsung Electronics’ mobile division replacing Shin Jong-Kyun.

8 Devices Doomed to Fail

 Linux, Products, Smartphones, Tablets  Comments Off on 8 Devices Doomed to Fail
Jul 082015

In the digital media world, failure is the norm and success an aberration.

For every Xiaomi, MacBook, iPod and iPhone that rock the world and win millions of happy fans, there are countless Surface, Google Glass, Apple Watch, Windows Phone and Zune devices that should never have seen the light of day and ultimately kiss the dust after blowing through hundreds of millions of dollars!

And the story of failed music players, stick PCs, tablets, mini PCs and smartphones plays on year after year with scores of devices shunned by customers, languishing on store shelves and ultimately ending in fire sales.

No Hope Devices

In this post, we’ll look at eight consumer electronics eight devices that are currently available but have an extremely slim chance of success in the marketplace.

Intel Linux Compute StickIntel Ubuntu Stick

1. Intel Ubuntu Stick – It’s hard to believe thinking minds in Intel conjured up a Linux PC stick with 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage (actual storage is lower because of space taken up by the OS). Onboard storage is pitiful and the RAM so woefully inadequate that the device offers little value. If this gadget is around for even six-months, it’ll be a big surprise. Truth be said, it’s doubtful if Intel can get traction even for the Windows stick PC which comes with slightly better specs.

2. Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet – Against the backdrop of declining tablet sales, Sony executives must be living in la la land to dream that the pricey Xperia Z4 tablet has any hope of winning the favor of consumers. A modest improvement over the company’s Z2 Android tablet, the 10.1-inch Z4 tablet made it to Europe in June 2015 after its debut at the Mobile World Congress.

Sony Xperia Z4 TabletSony Xperia Z4

Poor quality speakers, bloatware apps, compulsory bundling of a mediocre dock (in UK), disappointing camera and a ridiculous price ($771 with the keyboard) guarantees that consumers will show little interest in the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet. The LTE version (available for pre-order) costs $897 (including the keyboard). Continue reading »

LG G4 Lands in US But Does Anyone Care?

 Smartphones  Comments Off on LG G4 Lands in US But Does Anyone Care?
May 272015

LG's New Flagship Smartphone G4

LG’s new flagship smartphone, the G4, has arrived stateside, landing first at T-Mobile.

And LG is currently enjoying its 15-minutes of fame thanks to the launch of the new handset earlier this month.

T-Mobile customers can order the handset online and expect to receive it before sales start in store June 3.

Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular will also start peddling the G4 in early June 2015.

Do Consumers Care?

But the big question is, do consumers really care that LG’s G4 is now available for purchase? Continue reading »

Storm Clouds Gathering in Smartphone Market

 Android, Smartphones  Comments Off on Storm Clouds Gathering in Smartphone Market
May 272015

As the Chinese market witnesses saturation and the Indian market embracing low-end cheap devices, the outlook for smartphone vendors is starting to look grim in 2015 and the coming years.

A new report from market researcher IDC sees growth in the smartphone business slowing to 11.3% in 2015, down from 27.6% in 2014.

Smartphones Growth Seen Slowing Down in 2015

China – Slow Down

IDC expects 2015 will be the first year in which China’s smartphone growth, projected at 2.5%, will be slower than the worldwide market.

In a development that must be sending shivers down the spines of most vendors, smartphone shipments in China fell year over year in the first quarter of 2015.

In a related forecast, IDC’s number-crunchers see Android smartphone shipments growing slower than the worldwide market at 8.5% in 2015.

Although Apple is beginning to make inroads among wealthier Chinese citizens, China has largely been Android territory.

China accounts for 36% of total Android smartphone shipments and any slowdown there should ring alarm bells at Android’s parent Google and partners like Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony etc. Continue reading »

No Takers for $25 Firefox OS Smartphone

 Smartphones  Comments Off on No Takers for $25 Firefox OS Smartphone
May 222015

I find this hard to believe!

Mozilla has pulled the plug on its low-end $25 Firefox OS Linux-based smartphone on the ground that the phone had few takers.

So is everyone in the world, including dirt-poor Africans and Asians, hankering only for a $800 fancy iPhone or the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 Android device.

Firefox OS Smartphone

Mozilla’s CEO Chris Beard said in an e-mail to his staff:

We will reconsider the ultra-low-cost smartphone program (e.g. Tarako) We have not seen sufficient traction for a $25 phone, and we will not pursue all parts of the program. We will focus on efforts that provide a better user experience, rather than focusing on cost alone.

Continue reading »