HTC is set to slide into the No. 4 spot on the list of the world’s top smartphone vendors next year according to Taiwan-based research firm Market Intelligence Center. The slot is currently held by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Headquartered outside Taiwan’s capital, HTC has quietly built a smartphone empire as well as one of the highest market caps of any tech company on the Taiwan exchange. HTC builds some of the most popular Android smartphones in the world, and the company reported profits of NT$14.83 billion in the first quarter of 2011 — triple the profit it recorded in the same quarter one year prior. HTC also shipped 9.7 million smartphones in the first quarter, which represents a 192% improvement over the first quarter of 2010. Market Intelligence Center estimates that global smartphone shipments will reach 452 million units this year, and 1.084 billion units in 2015. More →
Today is the day that Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other executives will unveil the next advancements out of the industry’s leading innovator at WWDC 2011. While Apple has already announced that the company will be talking about three different main products — iOS 5, iCloud, and Mac OS X Lion — the fact is, Apple once again could possibly change (and influence) the entire way we use computers and mobile devices. Let’s look at iCloud, for example: if Apple is able to transition the device-centric approach to how we work with information and apps to a task-centric approach where the PowerPoint presentation you’re working on is what matters, and not what computer or tablet or smartphone you’re editing it from, that in itself a huge move forward in computing. Other companies have been trying to accomplish this for years, but we having a feeling that Apple is about to show us the beginnings of something so seamless, it really could find mass adoption, unlike most current solutions. Add in music, photos, videos, and your documents, and you should be able to pick up any computer or device and have access to all of your information and data from wherever you are. Coupled with a rumored Airport Extreme and TimeCapsule refresh in which the devices will run iOS and a feature an A4 or A5 processor, and all of your data could sit on one of your own devices and it would use your own internet connection to serve up your files directly to you. Lastly, what if iCloud allowed you to just walk up to any iOS or Mac computer and let you sign in, sit down, and practically act as if though it was your device or computer? What if Apple then implements this using NFC in the next iPhone — just place your iDevice next to a Mac computer, and it will instantly be transformed into your computer. Hit the break for more! More →
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 →
According to a new research report issued by Gartner on Thursday, Android smartphones will account for 49.2% of the smartphone market by the end of 2012. Android is expected to have a 38.5% grip on the global operating system market by the end of 2011, surpassing Symbian — which is expected to have a 19.2% share — for the first time. iOS is expected to be the second most popular operating system in 2011 with a 19.4% share of the market, followed by RIM (13.4%) and Microsoft (5.6%). Global smartphone sales are expected to reach 468 million units by the end of this year, a 57.7% jump over 2010. Gartner also believes that Android is responsible for helping to drive the price of smartphones down. “As vendors delivering Android-based devices continue to fight for market share, price will decrease to further benefit consumers”, said Roberta Cozza, a principle analyst with Gartner. “Android’s position at the high end of the market will remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets. By 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized.” Hit the jump for the full release, which includes Gartner’s predictions for iOS, BlackBerry OS, and Windows Phone. More →
Market analytics firm International Data Corporation (IDC) is predicting a big boom for semiconductor manufactures in 2011. Citing strong tablet and eReader-based semiconductor revenues — $3.3 billion in 2010 alone — IDC is predicting an additional 120% growth rate in 2011. “Media Tablets and eReaders are two devices that share components but whose bills of materials (BOM) are optimized for very different functions,” writes IDC. “The 2010 average Tablet semiconductor BOM was nearly one and one half times as much as the BOM for eReaders.” The firm also notes that 99% of advanced processing unit shipments in 2010 were based on ARM technology. IDC predicts that ARM will continue to have a stranglehold on the industry in 2011, only shedding one to two percentage points as x86 tablets begin to trickle into the market place. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Budget Android handsets are poised to takeoff in 2011, a new report from Digitimes suggests. The firm states that it expects 20 million to 25 million entry-level Android handsets – defined as devices priced below $150 – will be sold globally in 2011. That figure is up from the 2.5 million to 3 million that were sold in 2010. Digitimes suggests that chips designed in China and Taiwan will drive white box OEMs to create budget-conscious handsets that will be attractive in emerging markets. An estimated 10 million to 13 million of those handsets are expected to be sold in China alone. Digitimes is known for having a mixed track record, but we do know that Android handsets — such as LG’s Optimus — were priced in the $100 range on many U.S. carriers. Similarly, last night Boost Mobile announced its new $179.99 Samsung Galaxy Prevail handset, which will be an attractive option for prepaid buyers. More →
Apple may be expanding its portfolio beyond just Apple TV to an actual “Smart TV,” according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. “Checks in Asia suggest Apple is working on a Smart TV prototype,” Huberty said in a note to investors on Friday. She also suggested that such a TV could help create a whole new Smart TV category. While there are already connected TVs that some manufacturer’s advertise as being “smart,” Huberty thinks Apple’s could include “TV/Video content, gaming, DVR as well as other features like apps and FaceTime.” By 2013, such a device could earn Apple roughly $4 billion for every 1% of the TV market it grabs, Huberty said. We think a cooler option might be for Apple to take the ATRIX 4G path and create a TV dock that would allow your phone to power services — and render them properly — on your home TV. It would certainly be a cheaper option. Either way, Infinity Blade rendered on the big screen? Count us in.
According one analyst, Apple’s revenues could grow 50% through the next two years, driven by the demand for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch apps. Forrester Research founder George Colony told Bloomberg that he believes Apple will soon be a $200 billion revenue company. “They’ll be bigger than IBM next year, and they’ll be bigger than HP the year after that,” Colony said. Bloomberg surveyed a number of analysts and the average prediction is that Apple’s sales will jump 54% this fiscal year to $100.3 billion, but Apple’s sales growth could fall to 18% in 2012. Colony believes Apple could face some roadblocks if Steve Jobs leaves his position as CEO, but also argues that Apple probably has enough products planned to last three or four years if Jobs does depart from his role. After that time, it may be hard for Apple to continue to update its product portfolio as often as it does. “Without Steve Jobs as the CEO, I think it will be much harder for them to do that,” Colony said. “That would be a massive, massive hit to the valuation.” More →
Asymco analyst Horace Dediu has published an interesting prognostication on his company’s website: Smart Covers will generate over $1 billion in revenue for Apple this year. Dediu estimates that 60% of the 36 million iPad 2 tablets to be sold in 2011 will be paired with a Smart Cover. With an average price of $48 — based on sales of 70% polyurethane and 30% leather — and sales of 21.6 million Smart Covers, the final revenue figure is an impressive $1.04 billion. Estimating that the covers cost around $12 to produce, Dediu believes that Smart Covers could add $777 million to Apple’s gross margins. “It will be interesting to compare the Smart Cover business with competitor tablet businesses,” quips the analyst. Apple has yet to officially announce sales figures of any kind from the iPad 2 launch last week. More →
Piper Jaffray analyst and Apple aficionado Gene Munster has weighed in with his iPad 2 launch prognostications. Munster is predicting that the tablet, which will be available nationwide this Friday, will see sales of 5.5 million units in its opening quarter. By comparison, the iPhone 4 sold roughly 8.4 million units during its opening quarter and the original iPad sold around 3.27 million units. “Generally, the length of the lines at Apple retail stores on launch day have been a helpful early indication of demand,” quips the analyst. “However, factors like online pre-orders, simultaneous international launches, weather, timing in the day and the day of the week can all impact a consumer’s willingness to go stand in line, but may not necessarily be indicative of immediate purchase intentions.” For these reasons, Munster believes that lines at retail locations selling the iPad 2 will not be as long as those from previous Apple device launches. Friday is the day, who’s buying an iPad Deuce? More →
Predictions from Piper Jaffray’s managing director and senior research analyst Gene Munster have been compared to darts tossed at a 10-foot dartboard, but that won’t stop the man from churning out new notes. On Monday, Mr. Munster laid out his roadmap for Apple in 2011 and it actually looks like he may be in store for a few wins this year. Then again, the roadmap is based almost entirely on things we already know with near certainty — or, in some cases, absolute certainty — so these can hardly be called Munster’s wins if they pan out. Here’s how Apple’s 2011 pans out in Munster’s eyes:
- Verizon launch of the iPhone: Probability 95% (March qtr) (our est)
- Mac App Store: Probability 100% (Jan. 6 launch)
- iTunes cloud services: Probability 90%
- iPad geographic expansion: Probability 100%
- iPad subsidies from carriers: Probability 80%
- OS X Lion: Probability 100% (summer 2011)
- iPhone (March quarter). We are modeling for Apple to launch a CDMA version of the iPhone at Verizon in the March-11 quarter. The fifth generation iPhone will likely ship this summer with NFC capability.
- iPad (spring). We believe the second generation iPad will launch in spring 2011.
- Macs (uncertain). We have moderate confidence that Apple will release redesigned MacBook Pros in 1H11 and redesigned iMacs in 2H11.
Munster does also note that Apple may launch some nifty new Web-based services and maybe even a television in 2011, but again, these are just rehashed rumors that have been around for quite a while now.
Apple’s App Store has been a driving force behind the revitalized app economy ever since it first launched. According to Citibank, the App Store’s dominance won’t be slowing down anytime soon. In its U.S. Internet Stock 2011 Playbook, Citibank estimates that Apple will pull in up to $2 billion in gross revenue next year via the App Store. And if research firm Gartner’s forecasts are accurate, that number could be low. Gartner believes the global app market in 2010 totaled $4 billion, and that revenues will climb to a staggering $27 billion over the next two years. The growing popularity of smartphones is obviously seen as a major contributing factor to the exploding app market. According to Citibank, smartphone sales grew 53% in 2010 — though growth is expected to slow in 2011 to 29%. More →
According to hit or miss industry watcher DigiTimes, Apple is betting big on the iPad in 2011. The site estimates that iPad manufacturers will ship 65 million units for Apple in 2011, a figure that is almost double the market consensus. According to the report, which is based on checks within various display manufacturers, iPad panel builders will be quite busy next year. LG Display will reportedly receive orders for 35 million iPad displays over the course of 2011, while Samsung Electronics and Chimei Innolux will each build 15 million panels. While DigiTimes has a number of accurate forecasts to its credit over the years, we definitely don’t see this report ending up in its win column. More →