Smartphones

Tech Market Brief

I. Introduction

Smartphones are a unique device like no other device in history and impacts almost everyone throughout every hour of the day. Whether it is to browse social media, call people, send text messages, or even video call someone, smartphones let us accomplish all these tasks in the comfort of our bed. The very first official smartphone was the IBM Simon which used ROM-DOS, a modified version of MS-DOS. Followed by this, in the 1900's, companies like Ericsson, Nokia, Microsoft and etc. released their own version of smartphones. Nokia released the 9000 Communicator, Ericsson released the R380, and Microsoft developed windows mobile in 2000. Most of these smartphones did not make much of a groundbreaking as there was no consumer interest in that point in history. Japan was the first country to make great strides in this industry by making devices developed by NTT DoCoMo. In the U.S., however, things moved slower and smartphones didn't peak consumer interest until 2006 when BlackBerry released thier phone. In recent times, this all changed and majority of the world's population owns, if not, at least has an interest in smartphones. Several companies have their own smartphone lines and actively compete against each other.

II. Apple

Apple has been one of the most successful companies in the smartphone industry in recent times. Ever since Steve Jobs announced the launch of the iPhone in 2007, Apple has sold close to 1.5 billion units, created giant businesses for app developers and accessory makers, and has reimagined the way of life. Although iPhones have been the most appealing smartphones in recent times, they do not control the smartphone industry. This is mainly because of thier price per unit. Iphones are one of the most expensive smartphones today. In 2018, Apple dropped to the third spot following Samsung and Huawei despite its second quarter growth. The shipped 41.3 million iPhones, representing a modest growth of 0.7% over the 41 million units last year. They did however continue to perform well at high end as the iPhone X remains a top seller in many markets. Not only has the company been performing well the past few years, but they continue to come with new models every year with increased performance and newer and better features.

III. Samsung

In modern times, it is hard to come across people that haven't heard of Samsung and their line of smartphones. As the main challenger of the iPhone, they have been performing very well in the market since their inception. The first Samsung Galaxy was released in 2009 and the company has been a forefront in people's minds when it comes to Android. Although Samsung smartphones have always been a top tier brand, they have had their own share of troubles. Some of the Galaxy Notes had problematic battery issues leading to recalls and warranty sanctions. In 2018, Samsung remained the leader in the worldwide smartphone market despite a 10.4% decline in shipments from last yeaar. The Galaxy S9/S9+ which launched in the first quarter witnessed slower than normal sales. The company claims this is because of the intensified competition in the high end and overall sluggish smartphone market. Just like Apple and the iPhone, Samsung remains to be a top tier competitor in this industry by coming out with new models every year with improved battery life, performance, and additional stylus capabilities.

IV. Huawei

As of late, Huawei Technologies has become a well known provider of telecoms network equipment and technology solutions and is enjoying impressive results in its mobile handset business after years of low-profile development. Market research from IDC shows that Huawei had sold 10.8 million mobile phones around the world in the fourth quarter or 2012, third behind samsung and apple. Since then, Huawei has been selling its phones in more than 140 countries. 2010 was an impoertant year for the company's mobile phone business as it adjusted its business strategy to meet growing domestic demand for cheaper smartphones. Thier cheaper priced phones are what gives them competitve edge over other companies. The C8500 made in 2010 sold over a million units in just the first 100 days. By the end of the year, they had sold more than 20 million 3G phones in partnership with China Telecom. In 2018, Huawei surpassed Apple for the first time to move into second place based on global market share. It also continues to lead the chinese market with 27% in 2018. The P20/P20 pro series found strong demand in the $600-$800 price segment, helping them build a reputation in the high-end market. This followed by their GPU turbo technology has continued to boost their reputation even further.

V. OPPO

Another Chinese giant, OPPO, has also been growing rapidly over the past couple of years. OPPO grew by 137% in the second quarter of 2016 and the company finished fourth overall following Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. They shipped 22.6 million smartphones in the second quarter and grabbed 6.6% of the market, well behind the 77 million units shipped by Samsung and 40 million units by Apple. Their fantastic rate of growth is expected to continue and out pressure on high-end phone makers. OPPO, however, does not sell directly to the U.S. The F1 Plus, though, can be bought in the United States starting at $434. Most consumers in the United States purchase these smartphones online or from visiting other countries and they procees to put a SIM card in the phone provided by U.S. cell phone providers. "There's no question that Apple has their eye on OPPO and other Asian vendors, but they operate at a much lower selling price than the iPhone," says Ryan Reith, an analyst at IDC. This quote emphasizes what gives this company a competitive edge over other brands. Despite their success, the company has not been doing well and have faced a slowdown in key markets like India and most of Southeast Asia. Nonetheless, the company managed to grow over 5% in the last year and has contined its expansion into other regions like the Middle East and Africa. The recent launch of the Find X has also brought upon praise as the innovative, bezel-less and notch- less design and has subsequently grabbed the attention of many.

VI. Conslusion

Smartphones, as mentioned previously, has been an obsession of billions of people world-wide in the past two decades. The first phones had very little computing powers and features compared to the phones in the market currently. Most people will agree that shopping for a smartphone is not an easy task as there are several brands with different models and lines to chose from. It is important to keep in mind the requirements needed and features the phones offer before making a final decision. Based on the data complied, however, it is easy to see what most of the world prefers when it comes to smartphones. Samsung remains the number one leader in the industry with 20.9% marker share, mostly because of their Galaxy line of phones. They are followed by Huawei who currently own 15.8% of the market due to their affordability. Third in the list is Apple who own 12.1% of the marketshare thanks to the iPhone line of smartphones followed by OPPO in fourth place who currently own 9.3% of the market. These statistics all reflect the 2nd quarter of 2018. In the Unites States, however, the most popular brands of smartphones are Apple and Samsung. The success of Huawei and OPPO hasn't been too apparent in the U.S. market but is very obvious in the world market, especially in Asian countries. All the brands mentioned to share common features, but their speciality features are what sets them apart including hardware specs, software specs, and price. According to the preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, all smartphone vendors have shipped a total of 342 million units during the second quarter of 2018 alone. This number may be misleading as the number was around 348 million units in the second quarter of 2017. These figures show that even though the smartphone industry is thriving, they have been on a very slight decline. One possinle reason is that most people already have an up-to-date smartphone and haven't gotten a convincing enough reason to upgrade yet in recent years. Companies need to come up with more creative and cutting edge features to draw more attention. Some analysts also predict that this upward and downward decline follow a trend and spike up and down every few years as technology within phones get more appealing. Regardless of these figures and statistics, it is important to keep in mind that the smartphone industry is an ever-thriving industry and is not showing any signs of stopping anytime in the near future. With so many brands and lines to chose from, it is essential to also keep in mind how companies, how their customers are treated, and what kind of support they have in case of failures when choosing our next smartphone.