Android and iOS accounted for 96.3 percent of all smartphone shipments in Q4 2014, and coincidentally, 96.3 percent for all of last year as well. That means the duopoly grew 0.6 percentage points compared to the same period last year (95.7 percent in Q4 2013) and 2.5 percentage points on an annual basis (93.8 percent in 2013).
The latest figures come from IDC, which puts together these estimates every quarter. Here is the breakdown for the full year:
Above: Volume units are in millions.
Google’s mobile operating system remained the clear leader in 2014, pushing past the 1 billion unit mark for the first time. This was a significant milestone in itself, but also because it meant that total Android volumes in 2014 beat total smartphone shipments in 2013. Samsung retained the leadership position “by a wide margin,” shipping more than the next five vendors combined, but its total volumes for the year remained essentially flat as Asian vendors (including Huawei, Lenovo and its subsidiary Motorola, LG Electronics, Xiaomi, and ZTE) took up the task of fueling growth for Android.
Changes starting to take place behind the scenes in mobile networks may eventually pay dividends to anyone with a smartphone, a connected refrigerator or an IT department.
Carriers have done things pretty much the same way for years, with cellular base stations at the edge of their networks feeding into a series of specialized appliances at central facilities. Now they’re virtualizing those networks in several ways, seeking the same rewards that enterprises have reaped by virtualizing data centers: efficiency and flexibility. The trend will be in full swing at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.
It’s good news for mobile users that they may not hear much about. A more efficient network leaves more free capacity for the video or application you want to run, and a more flexible carrier could quickly launch services in the future that you don’t even know you’ll need yet. The new architectures may even change how some businesses pay for mobile services.
Just as enterprises used to buy separate servers for each application, carriers often use dedicated hardware for each function involved in delivering a service, such as billing and authentication. Years of mergers have left multiple legacy platforms, adding to the mess. As a result, rolling out a new service for a customer, such as a VPN, can take weeks.
The new approach that’s gaining ground, called NFV (network functions virtualization), turns each piece of the puzzle into software that can run on standard computing hardware.
Over the last few years, “mobile-first” has become the mantra among savvy digital marketers. But a mobile-first approach seems to be more of an ideology than it is a standard in digital design. Recent research shows that marketers still invest in mobile as an afterthought or as a bolt-on to more mainstream digital programs. For some reason, executives still need more convincing to properly fund and support mobile initiatives that span the entire customer journey, not just pieces of it.
While mobile is often referred to as the second screen, the reality is that smartphones are really the first screen among connected consumers. They are always within reach. They are the first place consumers go to communicate, research and share. As of last year, mobile platforms accounted for 60% of total time spent on digital media, according to ComScore.
The truth is that “mobile-first” should be the standard for all things digital. According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen, roughly half of consumers believe mobile is the “most important resource” in their purchase decision-making. And more than a third said they used mobile exclusively. At this point, mobile-first may not be enough. To be successful, brands and agencies must think beyond mobile campaigns and start to think about mobile-only as a complete foundation for the next generation customer journey.
Right now, mobile tends to exist without an owner to take accountability in the customer experience. As a result, mobile strategies for the most part are focused on an isolated aspect of customer engagement, whether it’s marketing, commerce, loyalty, etc., and very specific instances within each. This is because all of these solitary programs are owned by different stakeholder groups that are strewn across the organization and not necessarily in tune or in alignment with one another. It’s not uncommon for these departments to not collaborate with one another, and thus, the mobile experience is discombobulated by design and impossible to deliver an integrated customer journey.
This is a problem and it needs someone to solve it now.
International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed the top 10 predictions that IDC believes will have the biggest impact on the telecommunications industry in Malaysia this year. Service providers are expected to redefine its strategies, transform its organizations, launch new solutions and technologies to retain its growth and stay relevant in market.
“2015 will be a critical year for telecom service providers. The telecom market is undergoing a major revolution driven by the changes of user requirements, revenue drivers and new technologies. Service providers with the right strategy will begin to see returns of their transformation investment while traditional providers will continue to struggle,” says Alfie Amir, Research Manager, Telecoms, IDC Malaysia.
The top 10 predictions are:
Total Telecom Spending Will Experience Slower YoY Growth From 5.5% To 2.8The total spending on telecom services is expected to continue to grow but at slower rate, with only 2.8% YoY increase from RM34.3 billion in 2014 to RM35.3 billion in 2015. This is due to the slow growth in mobile services market, which accounts to 74% the total telecom revenue in 2014.
Business Segment Will Continue To Dominate Fixed Line Market Accounting To 59% Of The Total RevenueBusiness segment has been the key driver for fixed line services. 60% of the total fixed line revenue in 2015 is expected to be from this segment. The 3rd platform adoption will drive higher requirements from enterprise users to their telecom providers, and hence creating new opportunities for telecom providers to expand their services beyond connectivity.
Fixed Line Service Providers Will Expand Their Services To ICT Solutions And Triple The Addressable Market Fixed line providers are expected to expand their existing services to ICT solutions, addressing the changes in market requirements. This will triple their total addressable enterprise market in 2015 to around RM16.4 billion. The focus is expected to be on ICT solutions integrated with connectivity services, such as unified communications, cloud and network management services.
Fixed Line Service Providers Will Customize Their ICT Solutions Focusing On High Potential VerticalsAs fixed line providers are expanding their products and solutions to ICT, addressing the market requirements for different vertical industries become more challenging. In 2015, fixed line providers are expected to customize their solutions based on different vertical requirements, and focus on high potential verticals such as banking and government.
Managed Services Trend Will Begin To Rise In Telecom MarketEnterprises in Malaysia are beginning to look for more efficient delivery model for their ICT solutions, as part of their cost saving initiatives. Managed services market in Malaysia is expected to grow strongly by 9.3% to RM6.4 billion in 2015. Telecom players are expected to explore this opportunity with their large connectivity customer base.
Mobile Voice Revenue Will Start To Decline For The First Time EverAfter a very slow growth of only 2% in 2014, mobile voice revenue is expected to finally decline for the first time ever in 2015. This is driven by over-the-top players (OTTP) and LTE adoption, as LTE provides comparable VoIP experience compared to the traditional voice service.
Dark social is the sharing activity that is somewhat invisible to traditional analytics. It’s the culmination of referrals and sharing of content that originates from instant messages, e-mails containing links, and most recently, the rise of ephemeral social communication platforms such as Snapchat, WeChat and WhatsApp.
A majority of focus today is on social broadcast platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. With the tides shifting toward ephemeral social communication applications as a key driver of sharing, the attribution data of the share — and all of the value that comes with it — is essentially untapped and, in some cases, simply unknown.
According to a recent Radium One study, 59% of all online sharing is via dark social. Further, a whopping 91% of Americans regularly share information via dark social methods. This study also showed that 72% of sharing is simply users copying and pasting long URLs and either e-mailing or texting the information.
The International CES is a global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow. It’s the largest of its kind in North America and takes place in Las Vegas January 6-9th. If you can’t attend make sure to follow our page with the latest updates on the innovative technology being featured.
Announcements from the show included Intel’s promise to spend a hefty $300 million to increase diversity of its workforce, while BlackBerry is looking to muscle in on the Internet of Things andWearables. Also Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie – the only guy bigger than Shaq – was in attendance.
Outside of CES, BlackBerry has teamed up with Boeing to create a “self-destructing” smartphone for spies. It probably won’t explode Mission Impossible-style, more likely just to wipe the device if need be.
Recent reports have suggested the Web is dying. That’s largely because data from analytics firms including comScore and Flurry say mobile device users now spend more than 85% of their time in apps instead of Web browsers.
But according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for Web publishers, the relationship between mobile apps and the mobile Web isn’t that straightforward. It’s easy to look at comScore data and to reach the assumption the mobile Web is in decline, but what looks like app time may actually be mobile Web use in disguise, the online ad trade body said.
Many apps, including news aggregation and social media apps, include browser capabilities within them. If a user opens the FacebookFB-2.46% application and taps on a link, for example, they are technically operating within an application, but are actually consuming content from the mobile Web, too.
To understand users’ mobile Web habits better, the IAB commissioned Harris Poll to survey 2,030 adults in the U.S. in December, and found 52% of smartphone owners in that group said they click links within apps that take them to content on mobile websites. The research also found users actually value apps in part because they enable the discovery of webpages.
The IAB said it believes this type of mobile Web browsing inside non-browser applications represents a significant volume of traffic. In other words, mobile app use isn’t replacing mobile Web usage, it’s driving it.
After Apple and Samsung, which companies are selling the most smartphones around the globe?
If you guessed a growing group of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, you would be correct.
Most Americans know little about the emerging Chinese smartphone makers, let alone how to pronounce some of their names. Most of these handsets are unlikely to be seen in use by U.S. customers, at least for now.
Yet, these Chinese companies, with names like Huawei, Xiaomi, Coolpad, Lenovo, ZTE, and even Alcatel (which is now part of TCL Corp., a Chinese electronics company) are having a big impact both inside China and in emerging economies.
These companies mostly sell unlocked smartphones that run the Android mobile operating system. They usually charge much lower off-contract prices than Apple and Samsung, and they’re beginning to challenge some of the world’s traditional smartphone makers.
Globally, Huawei of Shenzhen, China, was the No. 3 smartphone maker in terms of revenue in the third quarter of 2014. Huawei was well behind Apple and Samsung, but in a virtual tie with LG Electronics of Seoul, South Korea, according to Infonetics Research.
Meanwhile, market research firm IDC reported that newcomer Xiaomi, which is based in Beijing, shipped the third-most smartphones to retailers in the third quarter. Xiaomi was just ahead of Lenovo, also based in Beijing, which was in fourth place but virtually tied with LG. Xiaomi’s smartphone shipments jumped an amazing 211% year over year, reaching 17.3 million units, according to IDC.
Out of the top 17 smartphone makers globally in the third quarter, 10 were based in China, according to Strategy Analytics. Xiaomi ranked third in total production, and Huawei ranked fifth. The rest of the Chinese group in Strategy Analytics’ top 17 included Lenovo, ZTE, TCL Alcatel, Lenovo (formerly Motorola under Google), Coolpad, Oppo, Vivo, Micromax and Tionee.
“The Chinese vendors are absolutely having an impact on many smartphone brands that have to compete with low-cost Chinese smartphones,” said Ken Hyers, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.
“People in the U.S. don’t even know who these Chinese companies are,” added John Byrne, an analyst at Infonetics.
“I was just in China recently, and you see phones in use with labels I’m not even familiar with,” Byrne said. “It was an eye-opener. Especially in Asia, there’s a much larger variety of phones in use and not the duopoly of Samsung and Apple that we have in the U.S.”
Mobile monetization is causing a big headache for publishers. While consumers spend more of their time on their devices, the platform isn’t getting a proportionate share of ad revenue:ad rates are nearly one-fifth what they are on desktop.
And while banner ads perform badly on small screens, native ads are showing promise as a way to get consumers’ attention on mobile devices. Consider Facebook’s experience with mobile: according to a study by Marin Software, click-through rates of Facebook’s mobile-only newsfeed ads are 187 percent higher on mobile than on desktop.
There are catches, of course. Native ads’ performance is driven by a lot of factors. Ads do better when they appear on article pages and blend in with the host publisher’s editorial style, but if they look too much like the surrounding editorial, they could turn readers off. Their formats aren’t standardized like banners are, which makes them harder to scale.
Here, then, are five things to know about the current state of native ads on mobile.
Polar, whose native ad platform is used by The Huffington Post, Condé Nast, Bloomberg and others, packaged up a set of benchmarks that show how the format is performing on mobile, tablet and desktop. Polar found that native ads do better on mobile than on desktop, where native ads have to compete with so many other elements for attention. However, mobile devices aren’t all created equal when it comes to native’s performance. Click-through rates are higher on smartphones than on the desktop and tablets, which is closer to the desktop experience than the smartphone.
That trend carries through to engagement. On average, time spent on native ads also is higher on smartphones than on tablets and desktop.
Polar also compared performance of mobile native ads in the content categories of finance, lifestyle and news. The click-through rate was highest in the news category, but time spent was lowest. Finance, meanwhile, had the lowest click-through rate but the longest time spent per ad. (Numbers are averages.)