smartphones

Nokia trained its sights on iPhone users with the launch of a new metal Lumia handset on Tuesday, as latest figures showed its share of the market had fallen by almost five percentage points.

According to the latest data from Gartner, a steep decline in sales of cheaper feature phones – still popular in emerging markets – led to a loss of mobile market share in the first quarter of this year, from 19.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 to 14.8 per cent this year. Read more

HTC, the bealguered Taiwanese phonemaker, expects sales to jump over 60 per cent between first and second quarter. That’s quite an uplift, and certainly better than last quarter, when sales significantly missed expectations, driving down its first quarter profits to record lows.

What’s behind the change? Well, it helps to have a flagship phone to sell.

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The rise of the chat apps continues. Japan’s Line now has 150m registered users, up from 100m at the beginning of this year, Asahi reports. That’s pretty impressive growth.

The volume of messages sent using apps such as Line, Tencent’s Wechat and Apple’s iMessage have already outstripped traditional texting at the end last year, and will double the volume of SMS by the end of the year. Whatsapp, which says it has 200m monthly active users, is as big as Twitter. Read more

HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has been fighting to turn around its plunging sales by learning a lesson or two from Apple. First: spend on branding, which Apple does well and HTC does not. Second: don’t ship scratched phones, which Apple did when it first launched the iPhone 5.

To the dismay of investors and consumers, the launch of HTC’s newest smartphone has been delayed. The reason has been the difficulty producing the phone’s camera and metal back — compounded, says its marketing chief, by a desire to avoid Apple’s error and waste his newly-enlarged ad budget by annoying buyers with scuffed gadgets.

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As New York braces itself for Samsung’s heavily hyped launch of its latest Galaxy smartphone, complete with coverage on giant screens in Times Square, the choice of venue reflects the company’s conviction that it has gained the upper hand in its battle with Apple, writes Simon Mundy.

In 2010, with Apple still dominant in the smartphone market, the first Galaxy handset was launched at a modest event in Singapore. A year later, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unveiled the second in the series; by May 2012, it was confident enough to launch the Galaxy SIII at a high-profile standalone event in London. Now, as Thursday’s New York launch demonstrates, Samsung is going all out to attack Apple’s grip on its home US market. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy smartphone looks set to be unveiled on March 14, according to the company’s postings on Twitter and Facebook, as the Korean giant prepares its latest volley against Apple’s iPhone.

A flyer for the launch event, held in New York and livestreamed on YouTube, invites fans to “come and meet the next Galaxy”, expected to be the S4. The device will be the follow-up to its best-selling Galaxy S3 and is rumoured to include a larger, 5-inch display with full-HD, 1080p resolution. Read more

Smartphone-maker HTC spent relatively little time at its launch event today bragging about the technical specs of its new flagship phone, the HTC One.

Instead, the Taiwanese company focused in on the phone’s redesigned user interface and new offerings — including a homescreen with live
content feeds, a camera app that automatically creates montages of a user’s pictures and video clips, and stereo speakers sounding halfway decent — that company designers say reflect how they see people using their phones to consume, create and share increasing quantities of content. Read more

Sony is calling its new smartphone, launched at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a ‘super phone’, winding the clock back to the time of super models, super cars and when the Japanese group ruled the high-end electronics market. Daniel Thomas, telecoms correspondent, says the device is grown-up but far from revolutionary.

Research in Motion is set to unveil another disappointing set of quarterly results on Thursday. There’s the bad news. Anything happier to report?

Well, there’s the launch of a new BlackBerry 10 smartphone coming soon, which the company hopes will stem its falling market share in the US and UK. But the Canadian group is also looking to exploit other regions with strong growth prospects – particularly in Africa.

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The HTC skydivers ad really was a bad idea. The Taiwanese phonemaker is falling to earth pretty quickly, posting third-quarter revenues that are slightly more than half what they were in the same period in 2011. Third-quarter profits fell nearly 80 percent – from T$18.7bn in 2011 to T$3.9bn ($133m) this year.

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