Camera and Smartphone Screen Resolutions

counterpointCounterpoint has a recent post on how camera and smartphone screen resolutions have been improving. Mid-price phones now have cameras and screens with resolutions closer to flagship devices. While this might have implications for OEM flagship device sales, it also affects developers.

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We can now develop more sophisticated apps that make practical use of the camera. For example, for many years I have been working on medical diagnosis apps that use image processing. This kind of processing has previously only been possible on the few devices providing high resolution images.

Now that the majority of users have higher-end cameras, lots of self-diagnosis scenarios become possible. Couple this with server-side big data and it opens up a new world of possibilities.

Smartphone Shipments Peaking

gartner136Gartner has new research that says Global Smartphone Sales to Only Grow 7 Per Cent in 2016 and will be the first year to see single digit percentage growth…

“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,”

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I guess most people who want a smartphone now have one. Any changes in OS market share will be due to switching. This isn’t necessarily bad news for developers as it means that mobile platform market shares are now stable and can probably be relied on for staying so for some time.

Counterpoint Research

counterpointCounterpoint has new research and a new infographic on Q2 mobile market handset and smartphone shipments based on more than 75 vendor shipments Worldwide. Huawei has became the world’s third largest handset now beating Microsoft. Asus is the fastest growing brand.

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Counterpoint Smartphone Market Share

counterpointCounterpoint has a new infographic based on their Q1-2015 Market Monitor report that tracks more than 75 top vendor shipments across countries that contribute to more than 95% of the total global smartphone volumes.

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The infographic is particularly good if you need region specific data.

Emerging vs Mature Market Smartphone Growth

idc.gifI have often mentioned how smartphone growth is mainly in emerging markets. Well, now we have information from IDC that puts some numbers on current and forecasted smartphone growth…

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I am amused with the way IDC classifies very low end Android devices as "borderline junk" – something that Google is hoping to change with Android One. However, I suspect Android One is as much about keeping control of the platform and discouraging forks of Android as it is about improving low end hardware standards.

IDC 2018 Predictions

idc.gifIDC has a new press release showing expected (2014) shipments and forecasts for 2018. IDC expect the market to remain relatively unchanged over the next five years with Android and iOS slightly losing market share to Windows Phone. IDC follows the same consensus as the rest of the industry that growth will be mainly in emerging markets, including India, Indonesia, Russia and China and involve phones with low average selling prices (ASP).

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If IDCs predictions are reliable then this marks the start of a period of relative stability for mobile developers. We can create apps in knowledge that the same platforms will be prominent and have stable market share for the near future. However, if recent news is a good barometer, we might need to also start thinking about wearables (see the recent FirstPartner Market Map) and IoT devices that connect to smartphones.

Consumer Mobile OS Switcher Motivations

marketstrategies.pngThere’s a new thought-provoking article at MarketStrategies that’s based on a study of 1000 smartphone users asking them about their motivations for moving from/to iOS/Android.
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The article also has further numbers and charts on the benefits of brand families and overall consumer satisfaction. The most striking thing about all the numbers is that they are of a similar order of magnitude for both platforms. Apart from price, there seems to be very little to differentiate Android and iOS.

Decline of Nokia Not Offset by Others

idc.gifIDC has some interesting figures that show smartphone sales in Western Europe have reached a tipping point. Q2Q11 was the first qurater where smartphones sales exceeded feature phone sales.

The press release says "mobile operators stopped subsidizing feature phones in Europe". It would be nice to know why. Maybe smartphones have reached the stage (features and price) where it’s hard for feature phones to compete? Nevertheless, some feature phones, such as latest ones from Sony Ericsson have touch screens and act like smartphones.

Also of interest is that the whole phone market has seen retraction. 

"smartphone segment was strongly impacted by the sharp decline of Nokia, which was not totally offset by the remaining players, which may indicate that Symbian fans are holding off on their phone replacements until Nokia launches its Windows Phones"

This is the first evidence I have seen that might suggest Nokia’s gamble might pay off. However, I still think Nokia’s choice of taking up Windows Phone will be seen to be a big mistake.