Monday, 8 July 2013

CASUALTIES OF THE DEVELOPING MOBILE MARKET



Is this the budget iPhone to be released later this year?
What will make the Moto X special?
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT
THE MONDAY PURGE: CASUALTIES OF THE DEVELOPING MOBILE MARKET      

#Apple #HTC #Samsung #Google #Motorola #MotoX

Good afternoon, Synapse Circuit Readers! Did you have a good weekend? I sure did! What a result for Andy Murray! It’s funny... When Murray took over from Tim Henman he was referred to as the grumpy Scotsman as his demeanour was serious and now he’s the first British man to have won Wimbledon in 77 years! Lol! The whole nation is proud! Well done!

2013 is a telling year for the mobile phone industry... According to analysts the main players shaping the mobile market, Apple, Samsung and HTC, have all been hit by disappointing sales... Gadzooks! Let’s have a look...

APPLE
According to analysts Apple is said to be 50% short of iPhone 5 sales. As a result this year has seen Apple shares drop below $400 in 10 years.

I have always said that Apple’s PR machine is all smoke and no bang. In other words, what Apple report as good sales is contradicted in the cold light of reality! It’s not easy to work out what went wrong...

The iPhone 5 was a poor design and, apart from an additional half an inch screen, the look is pretty much the same. A daft compromise in order to not be seen as saying, “Android builds are setting new and exciting trends”.

Everyone knows about the maps fiasco.

IMAGE: UNCOOL
Apple was once thought of as cool, but the constant attack on the competition has shown Apple to be anything but. The iPhone is no longer the great revolutionary handset that it once was when it was first released; the competition has not only caught up but has exceeded it. As a result Apple just look foolish in trying to maintain that the iPhone is the best phone on the market with the most “most advanced operating system in the world” when people who love technology can see that this is not the case.

They’re in a perpetual state of denial to the point where some Apple fans have not upgraded to the iPhone 5 in protest.

SAMSUNG
Analysts are saying that although Samsung has sold a record 20 million in 2 months which translates into making a profit but not as much as analysts have predicted which has also resulted in a drop in share value.

The iPhone 5 sold 34 million in 100 days which is a great achievement but given the expectations this is not good for Apple. The iPhone always sells a great amount at launch, what with the queues of adoring fans waiting to be one of the first, after that period sales have fizzle out. In the UK the iPhone 5 is constantly going on a “special offer”.

Samsung has never sold handsets the way Apple does. The Galaxy S range of handsets are sold on design, functionality and pricing – although there’s a recent trend for consumers to pay an upfront fee for that started with the Note 2 and now S4. The cost is still lower than the iPhone. When Samsung launches the latest Galaxy S it is usually the first handset that consumers consider getting when eligible for an upgrade. As you may or may not know, I was eligible for an upgrade when the S4 was released and I got it. Usually, the Galaxy S(4) is the only top of the range Android handset to consider but this year HTC One became a viable alternative.

From what I have seen over the years with regards to Samsung (and to an extent HTC) handsets is that they keep selling for as long as they are on the market. I still wonder at the fact that the S2 holds its value today and sells very well. The S3 has now gone down in price – the lowest that I have seen it is £17 on a monthly contract and I expect that budget conscious consumers will snap that offer up very quickly! I would imagine that the S4 will steadily sell throughout this and the next year. I think that for the first time Samsung sold many handsets in a fever pitch way like Apple and now sales have slowed but not stopped.

IMAGE: COOL
Samsung generally has a good public image; they are seen as innovators and quite rightly so as they gave the mobile market the “phablet” with introduction of the Note which was a surprise hit to the analysts predicting that the Note would go the same way as Dell Streak. Today other manufacturers are following that phablet lead with 6” inch and above handsets.

They don’t have a bad thing to say about the competition and during their product launch they concentrate on demonstrating the strengths of their devices. Recently it seems as though they’ve suffered a minor backlash from the exuberant S4 launch in New York and HTC have shown an amazing design without plastic.

Samsung has been criticized for using plastic on their premium handsets and this time they have been made to suffer for it! As you know, I prefer the plastic for the durability. The S4 has been, unfairly, criticized for a design that resembles the S3. Samsung must now come up with something radical for the S5 and it could very well be that the Note 3 may arrive later than anticipated for a quick redesign!

HTC
HTC are said to be hit the worse and this does not surprise me. Although HTC has done well with the fantastic looking One they have been on the financial ropes for a few years now because their handsets haven’t been as successful as Samsung in the Android arena and it seems as though Nokia are beating HTC on the Windows 8 phone front too!

I have always said that HTC has had far too many handsets out and have not invested into good advertising. The recent Desire X and One SV handsets are not, in my opinion, good examples of budget handsets. Rather than produce a decent budget handset they sprinkle the market with budget handsets that fall short of being good let alone outstanding. You should already know my opinion on budget Android handsets. Let’s hope that the One Mini will go down better.

IMAGE: COOL & RECKLESS
HTC have always enjoyed a reputation for producing great looking handsets and the One is the pinnacle of great design. I have a couple of HTC handsets, One X and Desire and the designs are really brilliant. But these handsets suffer in a few ways: One X is wonderfully designed and crafted. It’s fast and very responsive. The 8MP camera isn’t very good, resulting in grainy photos. Battery life is abysmal! Facebook, taking pictures, etc drain the battery faster than a piranha can devour a cow. That’s the bane of HTC’s coolness – they get the design right but the features wrong. Don’t get me started on the HTC Desire - it just can’t store many apps; solid phone though!

HTC from time to time can come out with unsavoury outbursts in public about the competition; they seem to have a disdain for Samsung for some reason... It’s a shame. I think it is important to show good sportsmanship in any industry towards the competition. The best way to overcome the competition is to win with better produce. Saying bad things about the competition just doesn’t look good whether one is on top or not. Once in a while it can be entertaining with Tim Cook as a John McEnroe for the tech world! Lol!

Let me know what you think!

CAUSE & EFFECT
As I have said in other articles, the mobile market has changed quite a bit. Premium handsets are becoming more powerful and the applications are increasingly growing in size and this is why budget Android handsets need to get better.

Although premium handsets are getting faster processors there doesn’t seem to be a huge leap from last year’s model. Maybe some of us don’t see a reason to upgrade, I mean we are living in financially hard times and where money can be saved some things in life may be sacrificed. An expensive upgrade may be one of the first things to get cut from the budget – especially that upfront fees have been put in place for many premium handsets nowadays (in the UK).

THE RACE
The race is now on for any manufacturer that can develop the perfect budget handset. Apple is said to be launching a multi-coloured plastic budget iPhone.

Samsung have already placed a few of them on the market.

HTC has quite a few budget handsets that aren’t very good. Good for making and receiving calls but maybe not so good for social networking and free texting, calling / video calling apps.

I am predicting that Google Motorola are going to be first out of the box with a decent budget handset that could very well eat into Apple’s effort. The Moto X could very well be the one that stops Apple from dominating; it could make Samsung and HTC rethink their “Mini” products.

The race is also on for a manufacturer to go further on the hardware i.e. the CPU – can 3GHz be reached on a quad core? Will the octo-core enter more markets the next time around? Which manufacturer will put 4GB RAM in its premium handset? Which will be the first to put the flexible display on the market? The flexible display looks like a race between Samsung and LG. According to the speculation out there, LG is said to be releasing a handset in the fall with a flexible display and as a result it could push Samsung to put a flexible display on the Note 3.

Well, I thought I’d purge some of the articles I wrote last week into a larger article as they are interlinked. It’s a good way to start the week!

Let me know what you think.

Take good care!


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