CSS Tablet Forecasts

cssinsight.pngCSS Insight have some interesting forecasts for tablet shipments. They claim that tablet sales will double over the next four years as more first-time users appear and existing owners replace older models.

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They also say Windows will claim a larger market share. I think this might even happen. People in our ‘IT world’, most of which now use Macs and Macbooks,  under-estimate the reach of Windows. However, in the ‘real world’ many people still use PCs. Take a look at NetMarketShare browser stats that cover 40,000 sites across the world. A very large number of people are still using Windows.

Allied to this are Microsoft’s new strategies. They already give away Windows free to OEMs on low end devices. They have also promised to upgrade Windows 7/8 free of charge when Windows 10 ships. The start menu will also make a comeback. In the longer term, these changes might help consolidate and retain existing users onto Windows 10 and sell more tablets. However, I still believe Windows on phones is probably a lost cause.

IDC Smartphone Predictions for 2018

idc.gifIDC has new research into Smartphone shipments and predictions for 2018. 1.3 billion smartphones will ship this year representing an increase of 26.3% compared to 2013. However, this growth is set to decline to about 9.8% compound annual growth between 2014 and 2018. The respective Android and iOS market shares are expected to stay at about the same order of magnitude over this period.

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If IDC are right, this means we will be entering a relatively stable period for mobile developers with no major differences in market share likely to cause developers to switch between platforms.

Generally speaking, if you are selling something then iOS will continue to be your most important platform as it’s a self-selecting group of users who have higher disposable income. If you are providing a service and need reach, then Android is your most important platform as it represents 82.3% of devices in use. However, my usual advice applies – survey your intended users and see what devices they own. Depending on your industry, you might be surprised.

Comprehensive Mobile Device Usage Report (and data)

scientiamobile.pngScientiamobile has a MOVR report for April to July 2014. It’s a free report (pdf) based on WURFL and WIT usage data. It gives information on smartphone and tablet use across manufacturers, devices, operating systems, screens size and countries. 
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The report covers only a small subset of the raw data that’s also available as csv and JSON data. The data is useful if you wish to analyse usage in a specific country or for a class of devices.

Discover The Enterprise Mobile Opportunities

goodtechnologies.pngGood Technology have a new free Mobile Index Report (pdf) to "track and analyze the impact of mobile apps and platforms". The report concentrates on the use of apps in the enterprise.

Top usecases include document editing, instant messaging, business intelligence and CRM. Enterprise app activations increased 20% quarter over quarter.

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"Android device activations jumped significantly quarter over quarter, increasing five percentage points to 32 percent of total activations, while iOS activations decreased that same amount and recorded 67 percent of total activations."

Financial services, business and professional services and insurance are seeing the greatest uptake with other areas such as public sector, retail, utilities and healthcare seeing low take up. However, I see the lagging industries as areas for opportunity and the leading industries as early adopters where there’s probably already too much competition.

Areppim Mobile OS Market Share

areppim.pngAreppim has a chart showing how OS market share has changed over time. The chart is based on data from StatCounter Global Stats which means it’s based on browser views (user agents) as opposed to OS device shipments.
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Over the last year, iOS market share has been stable while Android has increased at a monthly rate of 2.17%.

As these numbers are based on browser views they might better represent the installed base than OS device shipments. However, with the trend for people using apps rather than the web, measuring OS market share this way might have it’s own inherent biases.

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.

Implications of Separation of Handset and Tariffs

kantar.pngKantar World Panel has a useful article on how Smartphone fragmentation in Europe challenges status quo. The numbers for the three months to April 2014 showed…
  • Handset fragmentation is increasing
  • Smaller brands are gaining traction
  • Established downbeat brands such as Sony and Motorola are seeing a resurgence
  • Huawei and Wiko are seeing huge growth
The above is driven by increasing separation of handset and tariffs. This is causing consumers to realise the true cost of handsets and seek out cheaper alternatives.

"OS shares across Europe have stabilised with Android holding its position as the number one operating system in Europe, with a 72.4% share of the market. It is followed by Apple with a 17.5% share, while in third place; Windows’ European market share stands at 8.4%"

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What does this mean for developers? We need to be vigilant as to what devices are becoming popular and change our basket of test devices accordingly.