The platform wars is over: Apple and Google both won. Microsoft wanted to be the third mobile ecosystem, and it has got clear solid third position, but quite small market share of overall smart phone market. Apple now sells around 10% of all the 1.8bn (and growing) phones sold on Earth each year and Android the next 50%, split roughly between say 2/3 Google Android outside China and 1/3 non-Google Android inside China. So Apple and Google have both won, and both got what they wanted, more or less, and that’s not going to change imminently.
Wearables and phablets will be the big device stories of 2015. I think that the wearables will be the more interesting story of them, because I expect more innovation to happen there. The smart phone side seemed to already be a little bit boring during 2014 – lack of innovation from big players – and I can’t see how somewhat bigger screen size and higher resolution would change that considerably during 2015. CES 2015 debuts the future of smartphones coming from all places – maybe not very much new and exciting.
Say good-buy to to astronomical growth in smart phone sales in developed countries, as smartphone market is nearly saturated in certain regions. There will be still growth in east (China, India etc..), but most of this growth will be taken by the cheap Android phones made by companies that you might have not heard before because many of them don’t sell their products in western countries. The sales of “dumb phones” will decrease as cheap smart phone will take over. Over time this will expand such that smartphones take almost all phone sales (perhaps 400m or 500m units a quarter), with Apple taking the high-end and Android the rest.
The current biggest smart phone players (Samsung and Apple) will face challenges. Samsung’s steep Q3 profit decline shows ongoing struggles in mobile – Customers sought out lower priced older models and bought a higher percentage of mid-range smartphones, or bought from some other company making decent quality cheap phones. Samsung has long counted on its marketing and hardware prowess to attract customers seeking an alternative to Apple’s iPhone. But the company is now facing new competition from low-cost phone vendors such as China’s Xiaomi and India’s Micromax, which offer cheap devices with high-end specs in their local markets.
Apple has a very strong end of 2014 sales in USA: 51% of new devices activated during Christmas week were Apple, 18% were Samsung, 6% Nokia — Apple and Apps Dominated Christmas 2014 — Millions of people woke up and unwrapped a shiny new device under the Christmas tree. It is expected that Apple also will see slowing sales in 2015: Tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted Apple will face a grim start to 2015 with iPhone sales plummeting by up to a third.
In few years there’ll be close to 4bn smartphones on earth. Ericsson’s annual mobility report forecasts increasing mobile subscriptions and connections through 2020.(9.5B Smartphone Subs by 2020 and eight-fold traffic increase). Ericsson’s annual mobility report expects that by 2020 90% of the world’s population over six years old will have a phone. It really talks about the connected world where everyone will have a connection one way or another.
What about the phone systems in use. Now majority of the world operates on GSM and HPSA (3G). Some countries are starting to have good 4G (LTE) coverage, but on average only 20% is covered by LTE. Ericsson expects that 85% of mobile subscriptions in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa will be 3G or 4G by 2020. 75%-80% of North America and Western Europe are expected to be using LTE by 2020. China is by far the biggest smartphone market by current users in the world, and it is rapidly moving into high-speed 4G technology.
It seems that we change our behavior when networks become better: In South Korea, one third of all people are doing this ‘place shifting’ over 4G networks. When faster networks are taken into use, the people will start to use applications that need more bandwidth, for example watch more streamed video on their smart phones.
We’re all spending more time with smartphones and tablets. So much so that the “second screen” may now be the “first screen,” depending on the data you read. Many of us use both TV and mobile simultaneously: quickly responding to email, texting with friends, or browsing Twitter and the news if I lose interest with the bigger screen. Whatever it is I’m watching, my smartphone is always close at hand. There is rapid increase of mobile device usage—especially when it comes to apps.
The use of digital ads on mobile devices is increasing. Digital ad spend is forecast to increase 15% in 2015, with research saying it will equal ad spending on television by 2019. Mobile and social media will drive 2015 spending on digital to $163 billion, with mobile ad spending expected to jump 45%. “Almost all the growth is from mobile”
Mobile virtual reality will be talked about. 3D goggles like Sony Morpheus and Facebook’s Optimus Rift will get some attention. We’ll see them refined for augmented reality apps. hopefully we see DIY virtual reality kits that use current handsets and don’t cost thousands.
Google glass consumer market interest was fading in the end of 2014, and I expect that fading to continue in 2015. It seems that developers already may be losing interest in the smart eyewear platform. Google glass is expected to be consumer sales sometime in 2015, some fear consumer demand for Glass isn’t there right now and may never materialize. “All of the consumer glass startups are either completely dead or have pivoted” Although Google continues to say it’s 100% committed to Glass and the development of the product, the market may not be.
The other big headliner of the wearables segment was Apple’s basic $350 Watch. Apple invest its time when it released the Apple Watch last quarter, going up against the likes of Google’s Android Wear and others in the burgeoning wearables area of design. Once Apple’s bitten into a market, it’s somewhat a given that there’s good growth ahead and that the market is, indeed, stable enough.
As we turn to 2015 and beyond wearables becomes an explosive hardware design opportunity — one that is closely tied to both consumer and healthcare markets. It could pick up steam in the way software did during the smartphone app explosion. It seems that the hardware becomes hot again as Wearables make hardware the new software. It’s an opportunity that is still anyone’s game. Wearables will be important end-points both for cloud and for messaging. The wearable computing market is one of the biggest growth areas in tech. BI Intelligence estimates that 148 million wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers will ship in 2019.
I see that wearables will be big in 2015 mainly in the form of smart watch. According to a survey by UBS, 10% of consumers said they were very likely to buy a smartwatch in 2015, even though so far, no smartwatches have resonated with consumers. I expect the Sales of fitness wearables to plunge in 2015 owing to smartwatch takeover. In the future you need to look at exercise and fashion products as being in the same space. Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Apple debuted or announced smartwatches in 2014, so it’s no surprise that smartwatches are expected to be huge in Las Vegas at CES January’s show.
The third mobile ecosystem Windows phone has some new thing coming as Microsoft ready to show off Windows 10 mobile SKU on January 21. But it does not well motivating to me. After all, the vision of a unified Microsoft world extending across all screens is great, and it’s what Microsoft has needed all along to make Windows Phone a winner. The problem that hits me: if you fail enough times at the same thing, people stop believing you. It’s not just that Microsoft keeps failing to integrate its mobile, desktop, and console products. But Microsoft keeps claiming it will, which starts to loose credibility.
Mobile will change on-line sales in 2015: Phones have already radically altered both the way Americans shop and how retail goods move about the economy, but the transformation is just beginning — and it is far from guaranteed that Amazon will emerge victorious from the transition (this will also apply to other “traditional” players in that space).
Mobile payment technology reaching maybe finally reaching critical mass this year. Long predicted but always seeming to be “just around the corner,” mobile payments may finally have arrived. While Apple’s recent Apple Pay announcement may in retrospect be seen as launching the coming mobile payment revolution, the underlying technologies – and alternative solutions – have been emerging for some time. Maybe it isn’t going to replace the credit card but it’s going to replace the wallet — the actual physical thing crammed with cards, cash, photos and receipts. When you are out shopping, it’s the wallet, not the credit card, that is the annoyance.
Mobile money is hot also in developing countries: ordinary people in Africa using an SMS text-based currency called M-Pesa. M-Pesa was invented as a virtual currency by mobile network provider Vodafone after it was discovered that its airtime minutes were being used and traded in by people in Africa in lieu of actual money. In Kenya, a critical mass was quickly reached, and today, over 70% of the 40 million Kenyans use M-Pesa.
Mobile security will be talked about. Asian mobiles the DDOS threat of 2015, security mob says article tells that Vietnam, India and Indonesia will be the distributed denial of service volcanoes of next year due to the profieration of pwned mobiles.
Intel is heavily pushing to mobile and wearable markets. Intel is expected to expand its smartphone partnership with Lenovo: Intel will provide both its 64-bit Atom processor and LTE-Advanced modem chips for the Lenovo phones. The 4G phones follow Intel’s announcement in October of its first 4G smartphone in the US, the Asus PadFone X Mini. Now Intel remains well behind Qualcomm — which controls two-thirds of the global mobile modem market — and MediaTek as a supplier of chips for smartphones and tablets. Intel faces tough competition trying to fight its way into mobile — a market it ignored for years. Intel in early 2015 will introduce its first 4G system-on-a-chip under the new SoFIA name. Such chips include both a processor and modem together and are sought after by handset makers because they’re smaller in size than separate processor and radio chips, and use less power (matching Qualcomm’s Snapdragon).
Mobile chip leader Qualcomm will be going strong in 2015. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 is not only a killer part, it has raised the bar on what a mobile SoC has to be in 2015. It can power devices that drive 4K (3840 x 2160) TV, take 4K videos, run AAA games and connect to 5-inch HD display. There are finished, branded products just waiting to be released. I am convinced Qualcomm is on track to deliver commercial devices with Snapdragon 810 in mid-2015. I expect Qualcomm to be strong leader throughout 2015.
More material worth to check out:
New questions in mobile
What’s Next in Wireless: My 2015 Predictions