Irina Sandu

on mobile and Mozilla

Month: January, 2012

Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 4

Every week I post an overview on what’s been happening in the mobile (browsing) world and is relevant to Mozilla.

  • Dolphin HD will come preloaded with add-ons, reveals new beta release
  • Sony Ericsson joins HTC and Motorola with low Q4 2011 results, but will revamp strategy as it becomes Sony
  • HTC to integrate IBM business solutions on devices in effort to consolidate on the enterprise market
  • Apple on path to 20% smartphone sales  marketshare for 2011 after record Q4 2011 results
  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz devices on their way, by Samsung
  • Mobile payments rushing towards mainstream availability in the US and Europe
  • RIM has a new CEO, no strategic changes planned

 

Dolphin HD was updated to v7.3.1. beta, which adds by default 5 add-ons into the browser: Dolphin Comparison (battery usage optimization tool), Web to PDF, Dolphin Screen Cut (screenshot tool), Dolphin Translate and Shiny Shake Dolphin (theme switcher). The add-on pool for the browser also increased this week, with 2 additions: Skitch (webpage annotation and drawing tool) and Evernote.

 

Sony Ericsson, the third largest Android phone producer, has announced a 16% drop in device shipments for Q4 of last year, joining HTC, the second largest Android OEM, and Motorola, in experiencing losses. For the next quarters, Sony Ericsson, which in the meantime became Sony, will likely see a revamped production of Android devices, likely to be optimized towards integration with Sony’s other consumer technology products. Motorola, as well, will employ a different strategy in releasing Android devices, pending regulatory approval of its acquisition by Google.

 

HTC made a partnership with IBM to integrate business-centric software from IBM on its upcoming phones, in an effort to capture the enterprise segment. Given the concerns on the security of mobile platforms and Android in particular, it is expected that mobile devices geared towards the business consumer will likely include significant optimizations to ensure security and privacy of data.

 

Apple announced its earnings for Q4 of 2011, which surpassed all analyst estimates and produced record revenue for the company. In the quarter Apple sold 37 million iPhones, an increase of 128% year-over-year and 15 million iPads, which accounted for a 111% increase year-over-year. The iPhone produced 53% of total revenue, followed by the iPad with 20% and the Mac with 14%. The record results can be partly explained by the occurrence of the iPhone 4 launch and the holiday season in the same quarter, both events that trigger an increase in sales. Traditionally, Apple has released a new version of its phone in Q3 and this year’s delay was visible not only in Q4 results, but also in Q3 sales, when Apple sold 17 million iPhone units and missed analyst expectations, for the first time in a long time. For the full year 2011, Apple is expected to reach a 20% worldwide smartphones sales marketshare, pending result announcements from other OEMs.

 

The Samsung Galaxy III, presumably Samsung’s next flagship device, is rumoured to feature a quad-core 1.5 GHz processor and Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone is expected to launch in April of 2012.

 

In Sweden, the four leading mobile phone companies have formed an alliance meant to bring a combined mobile wallet service to 97% of the country’s subscribers by summer of this year. Using NFC technology, mobile payments efforts are rushing all over the world to mainstream, backed by mobile operators. The US, UK, Denmark, France and Germany are also countries where the main network operators have joined efforts to bring an inter-operable mobile payment solution to their subscribers. In the US, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will launch the ISIS system in 2012 starting with Austin, Texas. Besides support from mobile operators, mobile payment platforms need collaboration from retailers in adapting their Point-of-Sale payment terminals.

 

Thorsten Heins is RIM’s  new CEO, who was promoted from the position on COO to replace co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. The new leader of the Canadian phone maker plans to steer the company in the same direction and has not announced major strategic changes. analysts and investors have not shown appreciation for this decision, as they are hoping for new measure that would turn-around the company’s recent drops in sales marketshare and share prices.

Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 3

Every week I post an overview on what’s been happening in the mobile (browsing) world and is relevant to Mozilla. 

 

  • Motorola and Intel entered a multiyear partnership to produce Intel-based Android devices
  • CyanogenMod picking up among early-adopters, with the support of OEMs
  • Samsung announced the intention to merge Bada and Tizen. no decision yet
  • Nokia to reach a 11% smarthphone shipments marketshare in 2012, down to 8% in 2013
  • Web-enabled feature phones picking up interest from phone vendors
  • In 2010 an estimated 28% of all mobile handsets were smartphones in Western Europe, with an expected 37% in 2012 and 49% in 2015, reveals the European Mobile Observatory

 

Motorola and Intel announced a multiyear, multi-device partnership in which the OEM will use Intel’s Atom processors to power its Android products. The first device will be launched this year and it will be part of Motorola’s revised strategy of releasing fewer, but more focused devices.

 

The trend of 3rd-party ROMs to be installed on Android devices continues to pick up, although not at a rate that would significantly impact the Android ecosystem. CyanogenMod, the most popular non-official Android fork, had been installed on more than 1 million devices. The creators of the Cyanogen might also launch an app store for apps rejected from the official Android Market. OEMs, like Samsung and HTC, are responding positively to this trend by providing bootloader unlock tools.

 

Samsung announced an intention to merge their Bada operating system with Tizen, an open source OS backed by the Linux Foundation and Intel. The OEM did not confirm the decision, but said that it is “carefully looking at the option”. After the potential merge, Bada would be kept as on option for lower-end smartphones, with Tizen for more premium devices. Bada currently has 2-3% of the smartphone shipments marketshare.

 

Nokia will sell an estimated 37 million Windows Phone devices in 2012, followed by 64 million in 2013. This performance would put the OEM at 11% smartphone marketshare for 2012 and 8% in 2013, down from the 33% it enjoyed in 2010.

 

Feature phones are becoming smarter, with the creation of a niche for Web-enabled feature phones, who also support applications. Yahoo, Mediatek and the Spice Group, an Indian conglomerate, are some of the actors that are interested in the potential of this market and developing efforts in the area. A platform dedicated to this niche is the Maui Runtime Environment, which runs on MediaTek’s chipsets. The Spice Group, who has already launched an appstore called “S Apps Planet” for the platform, intends to launch research and development for Web-enabled feature phones.  Traditionally, feature phones have been able to access data services through WAP.

 

The GSMA published the 2011 European Mobile Observatory, which states that in Europe:

  • By 2015, the will be more data consumed than any other region on a per capita basis.
  • Mobile operator revenue growth rates have been declining for the past few years due to the economic climate, market maturity and greater regulatory interventions.
  • Mobile data revenues are partially offsetting reductions elsewhere with strong growth in broadband connected to sales of smartphones and dongles. Data now represents 12% of carrier revenues, up from 4% in 2007.
  • Approximately 89% of the population uses mobile services – an extremely high penetration rate. Many customers own multiple SIM cards, which have a penetration rate of 128%.
  • In 2010 an estimated 28% of all mobile handsets were smartphones in Western Europe, with an expected 37% in 2012 and 49% in 2015.

Full report can be downloaded here.

Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 2

Every week I post an overview on what’s been happening in the mobile (browsing) world and is relevant to Mozilla.

  • Opera launched a HTML5-based app store solution for TVs
  • The Dolphin browser was updated to 7.3 on Android and 3.0 on iOS
  • Lenovo to launch first Intel-powered Android smartphone, the K800
  • Samsung announced good Q4 2011 results, with 35 million smartphones sold
  • Sony announced Xperia NXT, first Android smartphones without Ericsson
  • HTC has had poor results in Q4 2011 results, selling less devices than Q3
  • 1.67 billion phones will be sold this year, with 3G and 4G chipsets on more than half
  • 16 out of the top 25 mobile companies by revenue are network operators
  • Nokia confirmed North America focus and Lumia 900 device
  • Nokia acquired Smarterphone, a producer of feature phone OS

 

Opera launched the Opera TV Store, a HTML5-based store solution for connected TVs, where developers can create and publish Web-based TV apps. The store solution’s value proposition is described as “uniting multiple devices with a single, powerful browser engine.” Opera also made a partnership with the Digital Living Network Alliance, an organization who works on standards and solutions for sharing digital content across different consumer devices.Opera will integrate the company’s solution into its Devices SDK, to allow the creation of multiple device management features. Opera also announced a licensing deal with INTEK Digital, a set-top box manufacturer, to include the Opera Devices SDK on the company’s Android-based Hybrid TV product, to launch in the first half of 2012.

The Dolphin browser on Android was updated to version 7.3. Improvements include a refreshed look of the browser chrome and its Webzine feature. Mobotap also released version 3.0 of the Dolphin browser on iOS, which also got its design updated.

Lenovo and Intel announced the first Intel-powered Android smartphone: the K800. The device uses the Medfield chip mobile platform, probably with an Atom Z2460 1.6 GHz processor. The phone will be available in China in Q2 this year.

Samsung, the world’s biggest technology firm by revenue and largest smartphone producer by volume, announced good preliminary results for Q4, with sales of smartphones rising to 35 million devices, up from 28 million in Q3. The company is predicted to sell 170 million smartphone this year, up from 95 million in 2011. Not all of Samsung’s devices run on Android, but the vast majority does.

Sony announced the first Sony Android smartphones that will launch under the brand after the buyout of Ericsson’s share from the joint venture. The smartphones will be part of the Sony Xperia NXT series, which will start with the Xperia S phone, and will launch in the first quarter of this year featuring Gingerbread, to be updated in Q2 to Ice Cream Sandwich.

HTC, the second largest Android OEM and also Asia’s second-largest smartphone maker, has seen its profits decline for the first time in 2 years. Its income in Q4 of 2011 dropped by 26%, on account of competition from Samsung, as well as a decline in operating margins. For Q1 of 2012, it is estimated that the company’s shipment numbers will continue to drop to 8.5 million, after having reduced from 13.2 million in Q3 of 2011 to 10 million in Q4.

In 2012, phone makers will ship 1.67 billion units worldwide as consumers in emerging markets upgrade their handsets, with 3G and 4G devices making up more than half of total mobile phone market for first time, a report from ABI Research reveals.

16 of the top 25 mobile companies by revenue are network operators, reveals a report by analyst Tomi Ahonen. Among the rest are 5 handset manufacturers and 3 network equipment producers. The top is dominated by mobile carriers:  China Mobile, with revenue of $77 billion in 2010, followed by Verizon (72 billion), Vodafone (66 billion), AT&T (58 billion), Telefonica (55 billion), T-mobile (48 billion) and Orange (47 billion), and followed by 3 handset manufacturers: Nokia (45 billion), Apple (42 billion) and Samsung (40 billion). Regional distribution puts 9 of the biggest mobile companies by revenue in Europe, 9 in Asia, 6 in North America and 1 in Latin America. Country-wise, 5 are from the US, 3 from China, 3 from Japan, 2 from South Korea and 2 from France.

Nokia confirmed the release of the Lumia 900 device in the US, which will feature a 1.4 GHz CPU with 512 RAM and a 4.3 inch AMOLED screen. This is Nokia’s first Windows Phone equipped with LTE technology, and it will run on AT&T network. At CES, Stephen Elop emphasized Nokia’s commitment to the North American market, with products, such as the Nokia 900, designed specially for it. Pricing and timing of the device were not yet announced.

Nokia has acquired Smarterphone, a Norwegian company that builds a licenseable mobile operating system for feature phones, specifically for the $25 to $75 segment. In related news, rumours are yet again surfacing about an acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft.

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