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Featurephones continue to dominate the mobile market, but for how long?

Posted By TelecomTV One , 06 April 2011 | 0 Comments | (0)
Tags: mobile Research Smartphones handsets

VisionMobile has published the results of its semi-annual list that tracks mobile software, which it refers to as “the 100 million club”. This latest data covers the second half of 2010. By Guy Daniels.

The research suggests that while smartphone penetration has increased to more than 20% in 2010 globally, featurephones continue to dominate the industry. Indicatively, S40 shipments were almost equal to total smartphone shipments. Says Matos Kapetanakis of VisionMobile:


“In terms of handset OEMs, we have two clear losers – Sony Ericsson and Motorola have been seeing declining market share for some time now, but 2010 marks the first time that these two traditionally dominant players were toppled from the top 5 leaderboard by pure-smartphone players RIM and Apple. At the same time, LG just managed to stave off competition, but without achieving a growth in shipments.

Samsung, on the other hand, has effortlessly held its position as the number two handset OEM, having been the most aggressive incumbent OEM in ramping up smartphone shipments.”


VisionMobile says the share of smartphones and the OEM competitive landscape in 2011 will be determined by three fundamental factors: ecosystems, services and price points. Hardware BOM (bill of material, including screen, chipsets and memory) is the key factor limiting how low smartphones can go in terms of price points and therefore how quickly they could replace featurephone projects within OEM roadmaps. Matos explains:


“Qualcomm has confirmed fears of a price war that is going to be taking place amongst chipsets in 2011, which will should allow Samsung or LG to deliver unsubsidized $100 retail price smartphones this year.”


Secondly, he quotes Stephen Elop as saying; “our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem”.


“The three horse race of iOS, Android and Windows Phone is a race of developer adoption. Any new horses will have to show sizeable ecosystem support in terms of 10,000s of applications and tens of millions of downloads in order to join the race as worthy contenders.”


And thirdly, with subsidies and marketing boost for smartphones coming from operators, a key determinant of device sales will be how well OEMs can drive operator services revenues. HTC and Samsung are the players to watch, say VisionMobile.


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