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100 Million Club: Winners and losers in the OS Arena

[2010 was a year of upsets in the mobile industry, as the league of top 5 handset manufacturers saw the inclusion of pure smartphone vendors (Apple and RIM) for the first time. As the rate of smartphone penetration accelerates, Marketing Manager Matos Kapetanakis takes a closer look at the winners and losers of 2010 as part of the latest 100 Million Club].

VisionMobile - 100 Million Club H2 2010 - Winners and Losers in the OS Arena

Welcome to the H2 2010 edition of the 100 Million Club, our semi-annual watchlist tracking mobile software embedded on more than 100 million devices. Click here to download the full watchlist.

Key Highlights
- WebKit continues to grow, fueled by the accelerated rate of smartphone penetration. Up to the end of 2010, WebKit-based browsers had been shipped in more than half a billion handsets

– While smartphone penetration has increased to more than 20% in 2010 globally, featurephones continue to dominate the industry. Indicatively, S40 shipments were almost equal to total smartphone shipments.

–  In 2010, Android raced past iPhone’s iOS and BlackBerry, almost reaching Symbian’s shipments despite Nokia’s smartphone woes. While Nokia will undoubtedly push up Microsoft’s mobile market share in the future, we’ll continue seeing Symbian in the smartphone OS top-5 for another year.

– Total handset shipments for the second half of 2010 were 780 million, a 25% increase over the first half. A handful of software products, like vRapid Mobile by Red Bend and CAPS by Scalado, managed to tap a sizable portion of this figure, having more than 500 million shipments in H2 2010 alone.

– Myriad Group is now the only company to have 3 products with more than 100 million shipments, after Nuance merged two products into one, with T9/XT9/T9Trace. With the products combined, cumulative shipments have reached a staggering 10.5B shipments.

VisionMobile - 100 Million Club - H2 2010

Winners and losers: changes in the OEM landscape
Who were the winners and losers in 2010? In terms of handset OEMs, we have two clear losers – Sony Ericsson and Motorola have been seeing declining market share for some time now, but 2010 marks the first time that these two traditionally dominant players were toppled from the top 5 leaderboard by pure-smartphone players RIM and Apple (see our latest infographic for more details). At the same time, LG just managed to stave off competition, but without achieving a growth in shipments. Samsung, on the other hand, has effortlessly held its position as the number two handset OEM, having been the most aggressive incumbent OEM in ramping up smartphone shipments.

ZTE is the one piece of the OEM puzzle that doesn’t fit. Some estimates place the Chinese company near the bottom of the barrel, while others feature ZTE in a prominent position in the top 5 OEM leaderboard.

These upsets in the OEM landscape form the foundation for the OS race in 2011 in both feature phones and smartphones.

Feature phones made up nearly 80% of all mobile shipments during 2010. While it’s true that smartphone penetration has accelerated this past year, the days where every phone will be a smartphone are still far.

The next chart clearly shows that feature phones are still the driving force for the mobile industry in terms of shipments. However, revenues and profits are an altogether different matter (see slides 8-9 in our Mobile Megatrends 2011 report).

If combined, media-favorites iOS and Android barely account for 10% of the total shipments for 2010, which are roughly half the shipments of the lowly S40 OS. Samsung’s strong sales through 2010 have helped the company maintain a sizable piece of both the handset and OS pie.

VisionMobile_OS_Market_Share_H2_2010

The OS Arena – Smartphones
But what about smartphones? Which were the dominant OEMs and OSs in 2010? As always, Nokia has the lion’s share. As a smartphone vendor Nokia claimed more than 34% of shipments for 2010, while RIM and Apple, managed to get around 16% each.

VisionMobile_Smartphone_market_share_by_OEM_2010

The above diagram also shows how Samsung has maintained its lead over immediate competitors, with their smartphone shipments equaling those of Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG combined. Samsung’s lead in this race of the ‘old OEM generation’ is thanks to reacting very fast to ramping market demand and delivering a highly sought after product; Samsung sold more than 10 million Galaxy S smartphones in 2010 in just 7 months, a figure that exceeds the total smartphone shipments of some of Samsung’s competitors.

So, what does it all mean for our favourite smartphone OSs?

Symbian. Dead, you say? That might be the case in terms of developer interest and Nokia’s R&D expenditure, but the current smartphone leader has yet a lot of shipments left in it. Perhaps not 150M shipments, as stated by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, but a committed handset roadmap can’t change overnight which means that Nokia will continue shipping Symbian smartphones well into 2012, well after their much-discussed WP7 devices start coming out.

While the Verizon deal has not boosted iPhone sales as much as expected, the operator has the potential to tip the balance of the smartphone scales in the US. The question remains whether the Verizon handsets will cannibalise iPhone sales from AT&T, rather than generating new ones, but that should be little cause for concern. Apple has enjoyed a steady growth in shipments over the past couple of years and that, coupled with an accelerated smartphone penetration rate, should ensure that iPhone sales continue to enjoy a healthy increase. Furthermore, there are indications that the iPhone is starting to replace BlackBerry phones as the ‘executive handset’ and could start growing in that segment as well. This is Apple’s ‘blitzkrieg’ tactics at work, advancing on a market segment not just with a platform, but a thriving ecosystem of app developers and content publishers. The realization of this might be one of the driving factors behind RIM’s sudden adoption of Java and Android apps for its admittedly hurried Playbook release.

The biggest smartphone OS surprise has of course been Android. Growing by 100% QoQ for the first three quarters of 2010, the Google operating system shows no signs of slowing down. The biggest contributors to Android’s success have been HTC and Samsung, with Sony Ericsson, Motorola and, to a lesser extent, completing the top 5 contributors. HTC has enjoyed steady growth in smartphone shipments, mainly concentrating on their Android vs. the Windows line. With 60M smartphone shipments forecasted in 2011, HTC seems poised to drive Android sales once again. Samsung will also continue to grow in terms of smartphone shipments, capitalizing on their Galaxy series success. But what of Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG? These vendors are losing market share, with the latter two having already lost their prestigious position in the top 5 leaderboard. With more OEMs adopting Android (ZTE announced 3 new Android phones at MWC), the Android map still has a lot of surprises in store.

 

The battle of ecosystems and BOMs
The demand for smartphones continues to rise, driven by mobile operators and handset manufacturers both of which need to remain competitive and differentiate. In 2011 the share of smartphones and the OEM competitive landscape will be determined by 3 fundamental factors: ecosystems, services and price points.

Price points. Firstly, hardware BOM (bill of material, including screen, chipsets and memory) is the key factor limiting how low smartphones can go in terms of price points and therefore how quickly they will be replacing feature phone projects within OEM roadmaps. Qualcomm has confirmed fears of a price war that is going to be taking place amongst chipsets in 2011 which will should allow Samsung or LG to deliver unsubsidized $100 retail price smartphones this year.

Ecosystems. Secondly, as Stephen Elop eloquently said in his burning platform memo, “our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem”. The three horse race of iOS, Android and Windows Phone is a race of developer adoption. Any new horses (including Qt, MeeGo, BREW and SmarterPhone) will have to show sizeable ecosystem support in terms of 10,000s of applications and 10s of millions of downloads in order to join the race as worthy contenders.

Services. Thirdly, smartphone growth is driven by western markets where mobile operators are dominant. With subsidies and marketing boost for smartphones coming from operators, a key determinant of device sales will be how well OEMs can drive operator services revenues; both in terms of supporting ‘hero’ operator services across regions on day 1 of launch and in terms of offering out-of-the-box white label services with a revenue contribution going towards the operator. This third services battlefront is heating up, too, with HTC buying up service companies, Samsung growing its global services deployments (more about OEM services landscape in a next article).

How do you see the future of smartphones in 2011?

-Matos

  • meedabyte

    With Nokia choosing Microsoft and Meego set to disappear or, worse, become a geeky experiment, my bet is that, with no other credible multi-platform/multi-OEM alternative, Android is set to dominate further.
    ABI Research says "Android Will Seize 45% of Smartphone Market by 2016" – http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2011/04/01/130

    The next winner in mobile will be Amazon: huge, powerful and scalable infrastructure, lot's of digital contents, a cloud based delivery platfom that scares competitors and a strong e-commerce/m-commerce orientation.

    Thanks for the recap matos!

  • http://twitter.com/chrismaurice @chrismaurice

    Concerning Meego, Intel hint they have another partner min smartphone. It is probably LG:
    http://www.allaboutmeego.com/news/item/12706_Nomi

    As part of last week's MeeGo Technical Steering Group meeting several nominations to new Working Groups (WG) were approved. Notably these included nominations for LG and China Mobile to the Handset WG. Working Groups are governance structures within MeeGo, which are currently being formed, that will be dedicated to discussion around a specific vertical. Membership of a Working Group is meritocratic, with an emphasis on overall contributions to the MeeGo project and a commitment to create a MeeGo product in the specified vertical.

  • respighifan

    You forgo the fourth hose inthe race – that would be Blackberry. why youwould somehow leave it out is beyond reason cosiderig its size and userbase.

  • http://twitter.com/jonasgh @jonasgh

    If you mention BREW & meego why not webOS?

  • OSafficinado

    Smarterphone targets feature phones, not smart phones: http://www.kvaleberg.no/blog/?p=293 <a href="http://www.smarterphone.com” target=”_blank”>www.smarterphone.com

    Aside from that, I agree that Android will dominate further but expect operators to back Nokia/WP7 handsets heavily at launch to fight Google domination.

    I have as much faith in Meego as I have in other mobile industry "alliances"…

  • http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/ VisionMobile

    @ respighifan – RIM is actually included in the article, but I'll try to clarify. RIM has enjoyed a steady growth in volumes in recent years, despite bouts of media criticism and clashes with various governments, threatening one of their most important competitive advantages; security. They have even managed to snatch the no 4 spot in the top OEM leaderboard.
    This situation seems to spell success for RIM's future, but there are quite a few clouds in the horizon. First of all, the BlackBerry OS has long been criticized by developers and engineers as a relic of the past, in need of a major overhaul. Then, the app ecosystem has not taken off, the way RIM expected it too. BlackBerry App World has lagged behind in the app store race, with RIM attempting to 'artificially' boost the volumes – see adoption of Android and Java apps for the Playbook. Finally, BlackBerry is split between two segments; enterprise and the text-crazed youth (see our analysis for more). Apple has been attempting to snatch away the first segment, while RIM has not catered enough to the second.

    @jonasgh
    webOS has a really small sales base – and MeeGo is not included in the chart, having a sales base of zero

    Matos

  • http://www.apinspection.com/blog/ Susie N. Patterson

    I love these reminder on how telecommunication evolved. It is really going something new and motivational. Our innovation really is good.

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