HP finally revealed a launch date and pricing for its TouchPad tablet on Thursday and we have to say, we’re pretty excited. It’s no mystery that we’re fans of webOS, and we were definitely impressed with the device during our hands-on in San Francisco. JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz argues that consumers in general aren’t quite as excited as we are, however, and he doesn’t see HP’s maiden tablet voyage attracting buyers away from Apple’s iPad 2. “While we expect HP’s webOS platform to be a differentiating factor compared to the many Android tablets expected to reach the market, we do not think the price points on the TouchPad are aggressive enough to attract the incremental buyer from the iPad,” Moskowitz wrote in a note to investors. ”Plus, the lack of wireless connectivity and limited storage options are a setback. We will look to additional data points as the TouchPad hits the market in coming weeks, but for now, we are lukewarm.”
In a note to investors on Thursday, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva cut his rating on shares of RIM stock from Buy to Hold, dropping his price target from $80 to $45. Suva had upgraded his rating on RIM shares from Sell to Buy back in February on the assumption that the Waterloo, Ontario-based company would take advantage of Nokia’s plummeting market share. “We believe RIMM is letting this opportunity slip,” the analyst said on Thursday. Suva continued, ”Thus far our supply chain checks show that RIMM’s new models have not yet been certified by major wireless carriers and are not in mass production, which concerns us as typically 30-40 days prior to launch new product should be in mass production.” Earlier this month, BGR exclusively reported that RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9900 smartphone will not launch until September, despite its unveiling at BlackBerry World this past May. More →
In a note to investors on Thursday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White raised his earlier projection for iPhone shipments in the June quarter. Following discussions with contacts in Taipei, White believes stable demand bolstered by the launch of the white iPhone 4 will now drive flat quarter-over-quarter iPhone shipments. The analyst had previously estimated that shipments would be down 15% compared to the second quarter. With the launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone seemingly pushed back from June/July time frame, White says he is not seeing the typical pause in demand that has historically occurred in the June quarter. On the launch of Apple’s next iPhone, Ticonderoga is “picking up data points that suggest initial production at certain iPhone component suppliers will begin in July with volume production planned in August for the next-generation iPhone, supporting our view of a September launch.”
According to research firm Gartner, although Microsoft shipped 2 million Windows Phone units during Q4 of 2010, it sold 1.6 million units during Q1 of 2011.”Windows Phone saw only modest sales that reached 1.6 million units in the first quarter of 2011,” wrote Gartner. “Devices launched at the end of 2010 failed to grow in consumer preference and CSPs continued to focus on Android.” Gartner is, however, predicting big things for Microsoft’s smartphone operating system. By 2015, the analytics company predicts that Windows Phone will see shipments in excess of 215 million units — thanks in large part to its partnership with Nokia. This would put Microsoft in second place in global market share — behind the open-source smartphone-overlord Android and ahead of the not-so-open-source iOS. More →
RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky believes RIM has sold approximately 250,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to date. In a note to investors on Wednesday, the analyst points to channel checks in stating PlayBook sales have remained steady since the device’s launch on April 19th. If these estimates are accurate, RIM’s PlayBook is handily outselling the XOOM , Motorola’s flagship Honeycomb tablet, which sold 250,000 units in its first two months of availability. Abramsky believes RIM could move 500,000 units during RIM’s fiscal first quarter, though we would note that RIM’s current pace is way off RBC’s initial projections of 4 million units in 2011 and 6 million units total in the PlayBook’s first 12 months of availability. RBC later lowered its projections down to 3 million units in 2011 but at the current pace of 250,000 units per month, RIM is on track to sell just over 2 million units this year. Abramsky also notes that BlackBerry smartphone sales are slowing according to checks, and he now projects shipments to decline 9% from last quarter to 13.5 million units, which is in line with guidance. More →
Sales of Apple’s Mac line of personal computers slowed in April, leaving a question mark for analysts who have lofty expectations of Apple computers in the June quarter. Industry tracker NPD Group on Monday issued its estimates for Mac sales in the month of April. While the firm found that sales did grow compared to the same month last year, growth has slowed substantially. NPD says Apple shipped 9% more Mac computers in April 2011 than it did in the same month last year, but analysts are expecting shipments for the full quarter to jump 22% over 2010 to 4.2 million units. The decrease in growth is attributed to the fact that Apple refreshed its MacBook Pro line in the middle of April last year, but analysts obviously accounted for that when issuing estimates for Apple’s fiscal third quarter.
Consumer electronics tracker NPD Group on Thursday released its tallies for the U.S. gaming industry, revealing continued console sales growth and rebounding software sales. Last month, sales of video game software dipped to $735.4 million from $875.3 million in March 2010. While sales shrank sequentially, as they do in April in many industries, gaming software jumped 26% from $398.5 million in April 2010 to $503.2 million last month. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in April, having climbed 60% year-over-year to 297,000 units. Sales of Sony’s PlayStation 3 grew 13% to 204,000 units and Nintendo sold 174,000 Wii consoles, a 37% decline compared to April 2010. Mortal Kombat 2011 was the best-selling software title in April, having sold over 1 million units including standard games and special editions. Portal 2, Lego Star Wars III, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters rounded out the top five titles. More →
Market research firm NPD Group this week revealed the findings of its recent report entitled, Apple iPad Owner Study II. Among the interesting findings contained within NPD’s research is the revelation that the iPad isn’t responsible for the current decline in the traditional consumer PC market — at least, not according to NPD and its respondents. Research firm IDC estimates that the PC market dipped by over 10% in the U.S. last quarter, and 3.2% globally. In reporting its estimates, IDC said that these declines were due to factors other than the rising popularity of the iPad and other “media tablets.” NPD Group’s new report jibes with that sentiment, as the firm claims that only 14% of early iPad adopters decided against purchasing a traditional PC as a result of their tablet purchases. “The explosion of computer sales when Windows 7 launched, as well as the huge increase in netbook sales at that time, are much more to blame for weak consumer PC sales growth than the iPad,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. “Overall it appears that the vast majority of iPad purchases to-date have been incremental to the consumer technology industry.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Late last week, BGR wrote about a recent report suggesting Microsoft’s share of the global smartphone market would overtake Google’s share in 2015, and Windows Phone would become the best-selling smartphone platform in the world at that point. On Tuesday, the Pyramid Research analyst responsible for the report published a follow up explaining that her findings were misinterpreted. Pyramid’s Senior Analyst Stela Bokun explains that Windows Phone is poised to overtake Android’s massive market share much earlier than that — as soon as 2013, in fact. Beginning this year, Bokun sees Windows Phone popularity exploding even faster than Android adoption has since its introduction in 2008. The analyst attributes the coming Windows Phone boom to Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia; the Finnish cell phone giant is set to bring the end user cost of Windows Phones down, thus accelerating adoption dramatically. Bokun also notes that other manufacturers will continue to support Windows Phone, which will help make the devices widely accessible. “With the change in the price of WP devices, and the multivendor strategic approach of Microsoft, the main advantage of Android – scale – may be removed,” she wrote on Pyramid Research’s blog on Tuesday. It certainly seems like a long shot, but Pyramid Research forecasts smartphone sales individually in 51 separate markets, and the firm stands by its findings. We also shouldn’t forget that it only took Google 2.5 years to get its Android OS where it is today, so it’s quite clear that anything can happen. More →
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley suggests that not only does Apple have the most popular smartphone and tablet in the U.S., but even its previous-generation gear is outselling the competition. In a note to investors on Monday, Walkley writes that Apple’s iPhone 4 is far and away the top-selling smartphone for both AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The iPad 2 is also the most popular tablet in the country right now, of course. The real bad news for Apple’s competition, however, is that according to the analyst’s checks with retail sales channels, Apple’s old iPhone 3GS is still outselling competitors’ offerings at AT&T and Apple’s first-generation iPad is still outselling other tablets at Verizon. “Interestingly, our April checks indicated continued strong demand for the iPhone 3GS at AT&T and iPad 1 at Verizon, as these older generation products with reduced prices often outsold new Android products,” Walkley wrote. “We believe this highlights Apple’s significant competitive advantage, and these older products help Apple offer a tiered pricing strategy at key channels.” Walkley found that Apple’s original 16GB and 32GB iPads sold out at Verizon in less than two weeks following the introduction of the iPad 2, and the iPhone 3GS recently outsold both the Motorola ATRIX 4G and the HTC Inspire 4G at AT&T. More →
MKM Partners analyst Terry Kuittinen on Friday issued a note to investors reiterating a Buy rating on Motorola Mobility stock, setting the firm’s price target at $35. Kuittinen states that Motorola will likely see success with British carrier Orange, which launched Motorola’s new ATRIX smartphone ahead of upcoming competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S II and the LG Optimus 2X. The analyst also noted that the ATRIX is getting strong promotional backing elsewhere from carriers like TIM. In the U.S., Kuittinen thinks the delayed launch of Motorola’s upcoming DROID BIONIC won’t have much of an impact on the company’s sales, considering the higher pricing of 4G LTE phones like the LG Revolution, HTC ThunderBolt and Samsung DROID Charge. Motorola’s upcoming $200 DROID X2 will be a winner at Verizon Wireless, the analyst believes, and it could help Motorola sell 500,000 phones through Verizon this quarter.
Smartphones’ share of the global cell phone market is poised to explode over the next four years, according to market research firm Pyramid Research. The firm on Friday released the findings of its latest Smartphone Forecast, as compiled by Senior Analyst and Practice Leader for Mobile Devices, Stela Bokun. Bokun determined that global smartphone sell-through — or, the number of smartphones sold to end users — will total 1.46 billion units in 2011, accounting for 27% of all cell phones sold. Pyramid expects that figure to nearly double to 53% in 2015, driven by growing demand for affordable Android smartphones. “Much of the projected total market growth in 2011 will come from the Africa and Middle East (AME) region, which will see a strong demand for low-end smartphone models, ultra low-cost handsets and dual-SIM and full touch-screen feature phones,” Bokun noted in a statement. ”The main drivers of the demand in the developed markets will be the launches of a number of flagship high-end devices and new features and technologies. However, inexpensive smartphone models, particularly those from Huawei and ZTE, also will be in high demand in some of the richest Western European, Asian and North American markets.” Finally, Bokun notes that while smartphone sales will be driven in large part by Android over the next four years, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will overtake Android and other operating systems to become the top-selling smartphone platform in the world in 2015.
Famed Russian technology blogger and analyst, Eldar Murtazin, thinks he has a beat on global Windows Phone sales figures, and the results are grim. Murtazin notes that although the company has shipped 1.5 million handsets worldwide, it has only sold 674,000 to end-users. The article’s author never indicates where his information originates from, but Murtazin has a proven track record when it comes to providing accurate insider information in the mobile space. Selling 674,000 smartphones certainly isn’t anything to to be ashamed of, but we’re not sure it is cause for celebration either. More →