In 2013, for the first time, yearly smartphone shipments topped one billion units, according to IDC. Rival firm Strategy Analytics, though, begs to differ and says the milestone has yet to be reached in the past year, with only 990 million units being shipped. Regardless of the number, this market continues to show strong gains year-over-year, as shipments increased by over 34 percent (according to SA; IDC says 38.4 percent) compared to the previous year (for 2012, IDC says 725.3 million units, while SA estimates 700.1 million units).
Apple and Samsung remain the market leaders, according to both firms. The South Korean maker continues to be the largest smartphone vendor, shipping in excess of 310 million units in 2013 (IDC -- 313.9 million units, SA -- 319.8 million units), which represents a healthy increase over the 2012 results (IDC -- 219.7 million units, SA -- 213 million units). Its share of the market also increased, slightly, to 31.3 percent from 30.3 percent, according to IDC, or to 32.3 percent from 30.4 percent, according to SA.
The underwhelming Nokia Lumia sales from Q4 2013 have put a damper on Windows Phone's momentum, as, for the first time last year, the Finnish maker moved less units compared to the previous quarter. Growth was already slowing down, as I pointed out three months ago, but a decline in moved units was unexpected, potentially leading to irreparable damage, in the short and the long run as well, for the market share of the tiled smartphone operating system.
Lumia sales are extremely important for the growth of the platform because Nokia's Windows Phone market share has been holding steady around the 90 percent mark for a very long time. This means that if the Finnish maker has a great quarter, in regards to Lumia sales, the tiled smartphone OS has a better chance of holding its own against Android and iOS, and increasing its market share. Luckily, we do not have to wait any longer to find out how the Lumia sales from Q4 2013 have impacted Windows Phone, as Kantar Worldpanel ComTech just released a report for the respective quarter.
Yesterday, Verizon reported that it activated 8.8 million smartphones in Q4 2013, a 10 percent decline from the 9.8 million it activated in Q4 2012. While it declined to break out iPhone activations, we do have some data that could help us gauge the iPhone's sales performance in the US market.
The reason for the decline in Verizon's smartphone activations should be clear enough to regular readers. As smartphones have "good enough", replacement cycles have become longer. At the same time, the basis of competition in the market has shifted towards affordability and flexibility, which explains the popularity of T-Mobile's unsubsidized plans. Now, let's make an attempt to gauge how this decline affected iPhone sales at Verizon.
Third in a series. The holiday season is well and truly behind us now and there's lots of big and important new releases and updates in the App Store this week. One of the most significant is a new app from Google which sees the search giant challenging Apple’s own iTunes Store (albeit with some very important Apple-appeasing limitations).
Elsewhere, cloud storage service Box announced that it has rewritten its app to make it "super-fast, simpler to use and more immersive", and as an incentive for users to try it out the app now comes with 50 GB of storage for free, which definitely makes it worth the download. You can read more about the update here.
Some coffee aficionados might dislike my taste in coffee. I consume trendy drinks like Skinny Vanilla Lattes from Starbucks when on the go and Keurig coffee pods at home -- hardly a French press. While the Starbucks drinks are expensive, this is my only vice -- I do not drink alcohol or smoke, so I justify the cost that way.
Whenever I am at the famous coffee chain, I see a lot of people using Apple devices. One of the coolest things about this, is that Starbucks offers an iPhone app which makes it possible to make purchases using the smartphone. Sadly though, it has come to light that there is a vulnerability in the software. While security weaknesses in the Java programming language are nothing new, one regarding java the drink is.
It seems to be a big day for cloud storage. Earlier Google added additional functionality to its Drive product. Now Box has an update of its own, though this new release is geared towards the mobile crowd, bringing more storage to those on iOS devices.
Additional cloud storage isn't all that's included, though. "We've overhauled our app to make it super-fast, simpler to use and more immersive. The result, we believe, is the best content viewing and collaboration experience available today for your iOS device".
There has been a lot of talk about 2014 being the year of wearable tech. I'm yet to try out Google glass, but I can see its appeal -- providing the price drops a little! -- yet what interests me are smart versions of existing things we already wear. (I will grant you that Glass kind of falls into this category, but not everyone wears glasses) There have been quite a lot of smart watches over the last year, but they have a tendency to be rather ugly, bulky, or require an additional, specific device in order to function correctly. Yes, Galaxy Gear, I'm pointing at you.
But things are starting to evolve quite nicely. The new Pebble Steel is a spectacular smart watch that overcomes the looks issue that has blighted other models. The three models -- black leather, stainless steel and black matte -- all look great, and don’t stand out for the wrong reasons. This is a smart watch that looks like a watch rather than a smart watch, and this is where wearable technology stands or falls. An incredible piece of technology should be capable of just blending in and getting on with its job rather than jumping up, grabbing your eyeballs and demanding LOOK AT ME!
Second in a series. Big news for Apple this week as the tech giant announces that App Store sales topped $10 billion in 2013, including over $1 billion in December alone. iOS users downloaded almost three billion apps in that one month, which is an incredible figure.
Now the holidays are over, it’s back to business in the App Store, and lots of new apps have been released or updated and there are loads of great new games out too.
We’re a week into the New Year, a time to look to the future, and all the news flooding out of CES has us excited for what’s coming up. But that’s not to say we can’t still take some time to look back on 2013 -- a year that brought us some great (and not so great) tech.
FinancesOnline.com has created a new infographic summing up 2013 in tech launches and featuring the best smartphones, tablets and other gadgets. Each of the included devices has been sorted into the following categories:
While the rest of the tech world is announcing hot new products at CES, Apple has chosen this time to reveal some app sales figures in the hope of generating a little press of its own. As you’d expect the numbers it’s offering today are pretty spectacular.
In December iOS users downloaded almost three billion apps, which Apple says makes it the most successful month in the history of the App Store.
Windows Phone may have managed to overtake Apple's iPhone in a small number of markets, based on sales, and become the third most popular smartphone operating system, but it -- and the devices that run it -- do not get much love from US consumers who are still buying Android smartphones and iPhones in droves.
Based on a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in the US Windows Phone continues to struggle to gain considerable traction as the OS only had a paltry 4.7 percent market share, in the three months ending November 2013. This may represent a whopping 80.76 percent increase compared to the same period from 2012, but it is not large enough to even remotely threaten the local dominance of either Android or iOS. The results of the report are based on smartphone sales.
There are some near console-quality games available on the iPad, so it makes sense to have a console grade controller to play them with. Gaming peripherals and accessories maker SteelSeries today introduces the Stratus, a wireless gaming controller specifically designed for devices running iOS 7.
The controller, which claims 10+ hours of battery-life (and takes two hours to charge), connects to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth, freeing up Wi-Fi so you can play the games on the big screen via AppleTV using AirPlay Mirroring.
Today is the second day of 2014, so everything from last year is now obsolete (I kid, I kid). While only a few months removed from the iPhone 5s and 5c launch, it is never too early to begin dreaming about the next iteration of Apple's smartphone.
2013 was the year of Android from a market-share perspective, but its ongoing dominance isn't entirely assured. After all, it wasn't that long ago that Blackberry led the smartphone market. Google's Android isn't likely to lose market share any time soon (there are too many manufacturers and models for that to happen) but I do think there's a chance for Apple to win big this year. Though I am an Android user, I am not opposed to switching to the iPhone 6 or iPhone Air (or whatever Apple calls it) and I think other Android users could feel the same way -- if Apple makes the following changes.
Today, Apple and China Mobile finally announce a distribution partnership that had been heavily rumored for months. While the deal to sell iPhones through China Mobile isn't surprising, the wild variation in analyst estimates is. Let's take a look at a few wrinkles that may be playing havoc with these estimates.
The easiest numbers to find on Chinese carriers are usually subscriber details. The chart above shows the 2G/3G subscriber mix on the three major Chinese carriers. Therefore, the details that analysts typically use to base sales estimates are -- subscriber base, 3G subscriber base and number of unlocked iPhones (2G) on the network. For China Mobile, these figures are 759 million, 176 million and 45 million respectively. Bernstein Research's survey also shows that some China Mobile subscribers use smaller carriers for data service, so these subscribers may have been excluded from these estimates. Analysts are also aware that China Mobile does not offer mobile number portability -- given the status granted by specific blocks of numbers, some analysts may have assumed a major sales impact.
Well, frak me. I'm writing something about Chromebook and early this morning swung by Apple's website to double-check iPad Air pricing. There's a 1:30-long commercial donning the front door that is absolutely fabulous. Beat me with a stick, so I can wake up because this must be a dream. Apple has got back its marketing mojo.
Commercial "Misunderstood" is self-depricating in the most surprising way -- a teenager obsesses over his iPhone instead of jollying with the family for the holidays. It's all so terribly stereotypical, and watching you have to wonder what insanity has taken over Apple marketers. But there's a great, sentimental story here which I won't explain. Watch the commercial and judge for yourself.