Apple’s profit growth has stalled. The company started an aggressive Chinese expansion program this winter to rejuvenate its iPhone division. Now IDC is sketching out a fairly gruesome current trend in China; smartphone growth there is collapsing right now. The noted research house now claims that smartphone unit growth in China is dropping from nearly 140% in 2012 to less than 20% in 2014… and just 10% in 2015. This is among the steepest growth rate cave-ins the industry has ever seen in a major market.
In Barcelona’s Mobile World Conference, there was something that the industry has not seen in three years: Buzz about HTC. In particular, there was speculation that HTC was gearing to launch a 13-megapixel camera phone under $300 in Asia. According to GSMArena, Chinese media has now pegged the launch price of the HTC Desire 816 at 1,800 yuan, which comes out to just a bit under $300. Diving this low just might be the shock therapy that HTC needs. The old strategy of pricing premium models above $650 and “budget” phones around $500 stopped working a long time ago. More →
New York has won the competition to become the shooting location for the four Marvel miniseries that Disney is producing for Netflix. These 52 collective episodes are part of an ambitious Netflix strategy to become a leading source of original science fiction and horror franchises. This genre project got off to a rocky start with the rather awful “Hemlock Grove” series, but will kick into high gear when a mysterious new mega-budget miniseries by the Wachowski siblings debuts in late 2014. The “Matrix” franchise creators are currently prepping a 10-episode package called “Sense8,” which features African, German, Korean and Mexican characters.
But the Marvel deal is even more ambitious in scope. More →
T-Mobile’s aggressive new plans have generated massive media coverage and its flamboyant CEO has turned into a bit of a nerd superstar. But now that all American carriers have reported Q1 numbers, the actual results T-Mobile is achieving look a bit murkier than people expected. The share price of T-Mobile dropped sharply yesterday as the company revealed its Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) plunged to $50.70 from $55.47 a year earlier. Markets were expecting a number north of $51.00, which means the new customers T-Mobile is acquiring are spending less than analysts thought they would. More →
Sony’s PlayStation 4 has finally debuted in Japan… and it is a big problem for Nintendo. According to Famitsu, the PS4 had a pretty great launch week, moving 322,000 units in its home market debut. The Sony box has clearly accelerated the steady erosion of Nintendo’s 3DS portable console sales. In the week ending February 23rd, the 3DS moved just 30,000 units, down from 41,000 the previous week and 74,000 from a year ago. More →
How is Nokia going to explain the differences between its Asha feature phone application system, the Windows Phone 8 app system and the new Asha/Windows/Android app system to consumers in emerging markets? How many people comprehend the jungle of software choices that Nokia has now created for models aimed at entry-level buyers — people who in many cases have never owned a smartphone? More →
Telegram Messenger is the blockbuster app of the moment as backlash against the Facebook-WhatsApp merger gathers steam. Anti-WhatsApp sentiment has helped the obscure Russian app to become a top 5 iPhone download in 64 countries as WhatsApp slips. In the classic messaging app bellwether market of Spain, WhatsApp has dropped to No. 20 on the iPhone download chart as Telegram has soared to No. 1. More →
WhatsApp’s global success has been nothing short of epic, of course, By now, the app is hitting 450 million monthly active users. It’s a reach that nobody thought a sleek and simple text messaging app could ever achieve. But there is a problem with the messaging app market in general and all leading apps share the same core weakness. Consumers are really, really fickle in this particular product segment. This is not a market where one behemoth like Facebook can waltz in and simply displace its rivals. This is a market where even an 80% share of smartphone users offers no protection. More →
Why was there such a media storm over Flappy Bird? Why is the upcoming IPO of King getting so much coverage? Maybe because mobile game apps are becoming the dominant force in out culture. According to a new survey by App Annie, consumer spending in-game apps has soared to more than double the size of spending on digital music. The survey covers the United States, the big Euro markets, Japan and South Korea. The annual growth of consumer spending on game apps is still a titanic 130%. The annual growth of digital movies and digital music is stuck in the relatively anemic 10-20% bracket. More →
The latest Brandirectory survey on global brands is out and it’s got some grim news for Microsoft: The value of the handset brand it bought has continued plunging. Back in 2008, Nokia was one of the top 10 brands in the world. In 2014, Nokia no longer even makes the top 500 list of leading brands. In 2013, Nokia was No. 388 with estimated brand value of $3.2 billion. Over the past year, Apple’s brand value has soared by $17 billion, hitting $104 billion in 2014. Interestingly, Samsung’s brand value increased even more, climbing by $20 billion to hit $78 billion. More →
Japanese internet powerhouse Rakuten announced that it acquired Viber for $900 million. Viber has 300 million registered users and is known for its strength in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. The acquisition will no doubt reignite speculation about other mid-tier messaging apps. Behind the powerhouses like WhatsApp and LINE there is a cluster of messaging apps with strong growth and more than 100 million registered users – including two hailing from the picturesque hamlet of Waterloo, Ontario. Both Kik and BBM are on their way to hitting 150 million registered users by the end of 2014. And both have intriguing regional strengths that might make them as valuable — or even more valuable — than Viber. More →
This has been an illuminating month for the mobile application business. Based on its daily download volume (as high as 2 million) and simple banner ad format, Flappy Bird has been estimated to make roughly $50,000 a day. Just recently, a hacker revealed that Supercell is making more than $5 million a day from its two mobile apps, Clash of Clans and Hay Day. According to our industry sources in Helsinki, Clash of Clans is roughly twice as profitable as Hay Day, which would mean that the daily global gross revenue from Clash of Clans alone tops $3 million a day.
And that’s the app industry in a nutshell. More →