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China's Huawei Catching Up With Apple, Samsung Smartphone Sales (livemint.com) 62

From a report: Chinese smartphone maker Huawei managed to gain ground on Samsung and Apple in terms of global market share last year, following the problems encountered by the two giants, the Gartner consultancy group said on Wednesday. Over the year as a whole, the Chinese maker saw its sales leap by 26.7 percent, while the South Korean and US rivals both saw their sales decline by 4.3 percent, Gartner said in a study. As result, Huawei was able to increase its share of the smartphone sector to 8.9 percent in 2016 from 7.3 percent a year earlier, while Samsung saw its market share shrink by two full percentage points to 20.5 percent and Apple's contracted to 14.4 percent from 15.9 percent. "Chinese makers succeeded in winning market share over last year and Huawei now seems to be the main rival to the two giants, even if the gap remains large," Gartner analyst Annette Zimmermann told AFP.
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China's Huawei Catching Up With Apple, Samsung Smartphone Sales

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  • by jjthegreat ( 837151 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @11:13AM (#53873593)
    We have seen this before with tons of mainstream devices, smartphones are no different. You have the incumbents designing and engineering something main stream while other manufacturers will come in and sell something similar with slightly less features for vastly lower costs. I think we are coming close to "peak smartphone development" where it's at the point they are good enough for almost everything we want them to do. I bought an SG 7 and quite frankly, it will be the last 800$ phone I ever buy. Nothing revolutionary, just iterative at this point. Apple and Samsung are at the top end of a saturated market. Really nowhere to go but down unless they are only interested in market share with lower end phones they can sell at lower costs. Not sure if this is the market they want to chase, especially Apple.
    • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:03PM (#53874009) Homepage Journal

      while other manufacturers will come in and sell something similar with slightly less features for vastly lower costs

      There are two forces there. One is the general luxury effect--a luxury item has a smaller audience, and lower demand means bigger margins and higher prices (fewer potential consumers at cost means higher risk and higher barriers to entry, constricting competition). Apple manages to hold this one all on its own by being the only iOS supplier, whereas anyone can make an Android phone; other makers are facing a high barrier to entry using a non-Android OS because they have to compete in a Smart Phone market which is dominated by iOS and Android, and they don't have anything to show for it due to all the apps being for iOS or Android (see: Windows Phone 7--hence why Microsoft wants the apps to be cross-platform with Windows 10 and Windows Phone 10, as they have the desktop market and can build a phone OS app store base to try to pry their way in).

      The other is just leading-edge technology and its cost. When you get into newer technology, you hit something like scarcity. I typically describe scarcity as a matter of scaling: if you can ramp up production by 10% for a 10% increase in cost (i.e. labor), you're not seeing scarcity; whereas if ramping up by 10% means expending 12% more cost, you've crossed into scarcity territory. Leading-edge technology can either be completely-different and high-labor or it can be an incremental advance that exceeds proportional cost. Squeezing more storage onto NAND, for example, requires a 14nm process instead of 22nm, whereas the 22nm process is stable (98% yield) and the 14nm process isn't (25% yields)--thus you need 400% more labor per viable chip, yet those chips store about 57% more, so cost more per unit storage. As the 14nm process exceeds 70% yield or so, it'll become cheaper per unit storage than 22nm. QED.

      Your top-tier tech generally has those leading-edge technologies, or something appreciably close. They boast brand-new 8+8 homogeneous-architecture SOCs with huge amounts of on-die RAM, 3D NAND, the latest screens, and the latest high-end camera sensors. They push the cost way up and talk about all the features they have--all stuff that's going to be standard in the next generation 6 months from now, when those components are cheaper; but we can let people call Samsung and LG "Apple Immitators" for "cloning the iPhone" months after iPhone did it first.

      Your low-cost, $300 phones generally have current-gen tech, which is pretty impressive. Cheap phones can have lagging tech because they're trying to squeeze costs out, but then you get a way-out-of-date $200 phone because a 90%-efficient process isn't that much more expensive than a 98%-efficient process.

      The nice thing about making a $300 phone is not everyone can afford an $800 phone; you have a big market to work with. That also means you face competition, whereas Apple and Samsung are competing for fewer voting dollars at the top-tier range and don't have to worry about every cheap Chinese manufactory releasing a top-quality phone comparable to their flagships. Instead we see the OnePlus Three--competitive, but it's not a brand-new iPhone or Galaxy and is more a problem for the mid-tier market. That mid-tier market has lower margins, and also has stability in that it has many players and isn't going to sharply-divert to a new one unless they found a way to make the same tech 20% cheaper; whereas the upper-tier market has stability in that any new competitor is trying to divert fewer people from a high-end luxury device which is essentially purchasing identity, and so has a slim chance of making a stable profit largely contingent on convincing people to identify with someone other than Apple or Samsung.

      Honestly, imagine GM releasing a Tesla competitor. It's $85,000. It's about on-par with an $85,000 Tesla Model S. What sets you apart from your friends? How do you feel about driving a Chevrolet--an el

  • I'm guessing these sales are happening almost entirely in China? There's no Huawei phone even listed as an option on my carrier's website [sprint.com]. As a consumer, sales maketshare really doesn't mean a whole lot to me until they are selling phones in my market.

    I can kinda see why they wouldn't bother though. While I think its really important that Samsung has good viable competition in Android devices, I don't think I'd be entirely comfortable buying myself a consumer communications device from a company with deep [wikipedia.org]

    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      Despite the derision heaped upon you by the ACs, you're correct. The vast majority of smartphones in the US are purchased by people who don't consider options beyond what their provider offers, and that's enough to prevent significant market penetration in the US. If Huawei really cares about increasing sales in the US, they will pursue deals with Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Until they do, they won't see widespread use in this country.

      • This gets me wondering about another avenue in the US market:

        Hell with the carriers, make unlocked phones that work on all four as well as the MVNOs. Make the deals with retailers. A low cost phone from Dollar General that works everywhere (just needing a SIM card from a carrier) may be a lot more useful to a lot of the people out there than trying to buy a package deal from a carrier.

        Heck, it might be wise to make a deal with MVNOs, because it may not be the "prime" market segment... but there is money t

        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          Interesting. According to the Verizon website, your can remove an activated Verizon sim card from your phone and use it in any phone that's compatible with Verizon's network. Or you can get a new Verizon sim card and activate it in any compatible phone.

          • That has been the norm with AT&T and T-Mobile for a while. Historically, providers shipped phones that were locked to their network, even phones that were purchased in full. However, there is a market for unlocked phones, especially people who find that they don't really need a flagship device for day to day use, and can save the C-notes. Blu Mobile devices come to mind for example.

            Phones are getting to a point where, similar to hand tools, there is more than enough room for Harbor Freights in additi

        • Hell with the carriers, make unlocked phones that work on all four as well as the MVNOs.

          That's exactly what I have with the Moto X Pure I bought from Best Buy a few months ago. Great phone and it works with every carrier. I don't know why people would accept anything less when this thing is on the market.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      The Nexus 6P is made by Huawei. While Sprint no longer carries it, I'm sure you probably can find it as a free phone somewhere.

    • by nwaack ( 3482871 )
      Amazon. They sell unlocked phones on Amazon buy the boatload.
  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:16PM (#53874143) Journal

    My dream phone is a large 7 inch 4G phablet, with stylus, wifi (IEEE 802.11ac or newer), HDMI (out), GPS+GLONASS+Galileo navigation, 1080p (or higher) OLED display, unlocked boatloader, and pre-installed with rooted LineageOS.

    The large size still fits in my purse and eliminates the need to carry a separate tablet. Besides I mostly use my phone for web, email, and conferencing (with screen sharing) far more than for occasional phone-calls.

    On the Android side, I am sick and tied of locked bootloaders, preinstalled crap-ware, and proprietary Android versions. Give me LineageOS, the Cyanogenmod successor, since it does exactly what I want without unnecessary crap, and is more secure than alternatives.

  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @12:36PM (#53874327)

    Nobody. Cares. About. Market. Share.

  • An extra 10% of utility might be worth $500 to me over the life of the phone. So if you offer me 2 phones that are 90% as good as the top Samsung phone for the same price as that Samsung I still will choose the Samsung.
    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      I think it has more to do with the value you put on 500 bucks. The vast majority of people would not call your scenario a good deal.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Wednesday February 15, 2017 @01:13PM (#53874691)

    I'm very happy with my work iPhone 7; great device within its limitations, and to my mind still a slicker user experience than Android.
    But - my main personal phone is a Huawai complete with dual sim, SD slot etc. and I can load whatever I want to ensure my data is securely synced to my servers and them only.
    When my wife's expensive Samsung Note started acting up, it was replaced with this year's updated version of my model.
    She's happy, but although the specs are slightly better, I was surprised that the price has nearly doubled...

    • For the most savings, buy a late-year previous gen around March of the following year.E.g. Purchase a Sep.-Nov 2015 model, in March 2017. Otherwise you are going to mostly see full priced (~$600) phones. Whereas those $500-$600 phones will be $300 to $400 within a little over a years time.

      For example, the Moto X Force, Asus Zenphone 2, and LG's V10.

  • by e r ( 2847683 )
    It's too early to actually say "I called it", but I'll just leave this [slashdot.org] here anyway.
  • I had a Nexus 6P for 5 months until Oct of 2016. The phone stopped working, no inbound or outbound calls, data also stopped working. I called for warranty and the y said I have to send it to them first, then they'll send me a replacement. I asked for advanced replacement and they said they didn't offer that service,I offered to pay for it and they still wouldn't send me a new phone first. I went out an bought a Pixel XL immediatly. It took 6 days to receive a call tag for UPS from Huawei. A new phone arrive
  • Think back to the 1950-80's. Everyone expected the huge protected domestic production lines in the US and UK to just keep producing cars.
    The brands pushed national pride, the prices had to be accepted by the buying public, new designs always set the latest trends and fashions.
    Then Japan exported. Exports got reviewed by local media. Lower prices, a much better understanding of the quality control needed to work in cold climates.
    The buying public enjoyed the change. For the same price they could get
  • Similar stories from recent years sounded pretty much alike: Xiaomi, LG, Lenovo. Too bad that massive increases of marketshare mean shit if you still lose money,
  • I don't know about Huawei, but my current phone is Lenovo and does the job just fine: 16GB storage when Samsung low-end all had less than that; Dual SIM is a nice to have for data only SIMs abroad; RAM and CPU are OK for what I need, and it does a good job as a sat nav.

    I don't feel I need to pay for sponsorship on Chelsea FC shirts nor high rents in California for the design department if in the end it's some Chinese company that does the bulk of the work. By buying Lenovo I get the product I need without t

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