Global smartphone sales increased 47.3% to 149 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to market research firm Gartner. Total smartphone sales for the full year increased 58% to 472 million units and accounted for 31% of all mobile devices sold. The record sales were led by Apple’s iPhone, which sold 37 million units and helped the company capture a 23.8% market share in the fourth quarter. Apple was also the top smartphone vendor in 2011, with a 19% market share. “Western Europe and North America led most of the smartphone growth for Apple during the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In Western Europe the spike in iPhone sales in the fourth quarter saved the overall smartphone market after two consecutive quarters of slow sales.” Samsung continued its success with LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion recording disappointing results. Both ZTE and Huawei dominated the low-end to mid-range market and became — along with Apple — the fastest-growing vendors in the fourth quarter of 2011. “These vendors expanded their market reach and kept on improving the user experience of their Android devices,” said Cozza. Read on for Gartner’s press release. More →
Sprint on Thursday announced the ZTE Optik Honeycomb tablet. The 7-inch device will be available February 5th for $99.99 with a new two-year agreement, as previously reported. “ZTE Optik is ZTE’s first tablet in North America and makes the tablet experience available to a new segment of consumers,” said Lixin Cheng, CEO and president of ZTE USA. “Paired with Sprint’s cutting-edge network, ZTE Optik provides an exceptional user experience to consumers who demand affordability, flexibility and mobility in one package.” The Optik features a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor with 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. The device also contains a microSD slot, a 4,000 mAh battery, a front facing 2-megapixel camera and a rear 5-megapixel camera. The tablet will be available for $349.99 off contract and comes pre-loaded with Sprint Zone, Sprint TV, Sprint Music Plus, Sprint Navigation, Sprint Football Live and NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →
Thanks to a strong fourth quarter, Apple has passed LG to become the world’s third largest cell phone vendor by volume, according to new estimates from market research firm IDC. The worldwide mobile phone market grew 6.1% year-over-year in the fourth quarter as the feature phone market continued to decline to its lowest growth rate in two years. Vendors shipped 427.4 million phones in the fourth quarter compared to 402.8 million units in the same quarter last year. Nokia and Samsung remained the top and No.2 vendors, respectively, though Nokia’s phone shipments slid 7.9% while shipments of Samsung handsets grew 17.6% compared to the same quarter in 2010. Read on for more More →
The ZTE Optik Honeycomb-powered Android tablet is coming to Sprint for $99.99 with a two-year agreement, according to documents obtained by SprintFeed. The 7-inch Optik features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 16GB of internal storage and 1GB of RAM. The device also contains a microSD slot and a 4,000 mAh battery, but unfortunately it is a 3G-only tablet and does not feature LTE or WiMAX connectivity. With quad-core beginning to hit the market, Sprint will almost certainly be pushing the Optik’s low and very appealing price tag as its key selling point. The Optik will be available online on February 5th, and in stores by March 11th according to the leak. More →
ZTE on Wednesday launched its budget-friendly Tania Windows Phone in the United Kingdom and at the same time, the company seemingly revealed information regarding the cost of Windows Phone licenses for Microsoft’s vendor partners. To license Windows Phone, a manufacturer pays anywhere from $20 to $30 per device according to ZTE executive Santiago Sierra, who revealed the figures while speaking with TrustedReviews. Manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung were widely believed to pay anywhere from $10 to $15 per license, however ZTE’s comments suggest that either the fee is much higher than previously estimated, or not all manufacturers are charged the same fees. This is the first time one of Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners has discussed licensing fees publicly. More →
Phone maker ZTE recently said that it sees the United States and China as the two largest markets for smartphone sales growth. “The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales,” ZTE’s head of handset strategy Lv Qianhao, told Reuters in a recent interview, noting that the company expects its worldwide smartphone shipments to double in 2012 and to increase by 30% to 40% annually through 2015. ZTE mostly sells Android-powered smartphones but said it plans to launch a Windows Phone device in China before the third quarter this year; we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Windows Phone 7.5-powered ZTE Tania that was on display during the Consumer Electronics Show last week. “If we say ZTE started out as a contractor, like those building mass housing that are value for money, then we want to be a developer of luxury high-end estates,” Qianhao said. More →
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Verizon Wireless and Motorola announced the much-anticipated DROID 4, the fourth installment of Verizon’s original flagship device. The DROID 4 comes in at only half an inch thick and includes the expected 5-row keyboard with a 4-inch qHD display. The device features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4G LTE connectivity, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, and an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video. The DROID 4 will be released with Android 2.3.5 and receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich in the future. Verizon’s popular DROID RAZR will be adding the color purple to the lineup of black and white models, and have its priced dropped to $199. Additionally, Verizon announced the DROID RAZR MAXX designed for customers who are looking to push things to the limit. The device features a larger battery with an estimated 21 hours on a single charge. As the longest-lasting smartphone available, the MAXX is still only 8.99 mm thick. The DROID RAZR MAXX comes equipped with 32 GB of total memory and will be $299.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.
Verizon, ZTE, and Novatel also announced Verizon Jetpacks, two global ready 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Both Jetpacks allow up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to share Verizon’s blazing fast 4G LTE network and come with an OLED screen and interactive keypad to manage connection settings and to display data alerts. When using the Jetpack, international travelers will have access to the Web in more than 205 countries, including more than 125 with 3G speeds all from their Wi-Fi-connected devices. Verizon’s 4G LTE network reaches more than 200 million people in the United States covering a total of 190 markets. Pricing hasn’t be announced, however all announced devices will be available with in the “coming weeks.” Read on for Verizon’s press release. More →
Handset makers in China have formed an alliance to prepare for possible patent battles with Apple, Microsoft and Nokia. Coolpad, Konka, TCL, ZTE and Lenovo were among the companies named in a report by DigiTimes on Friday. The number of lawsuits filed in China is expected to increase as Microsoft, Nokia and Apple try to increase market share there, the report says. Nokia has already filed patent infringement suits against several Chinese phone makers and Microsoft has gone after Huawei to try to secure a patent licensing deal. Huawei responded to Microsoft’s threats in early November and explained that it has 65,000 patents worldwide. “We have enough to protect our interests,” Huawei Devices chief marketing officer Victor Xu said. “We are a very important stakeholder in Android.” Each of the Chinese companies reportedly has a large patent portfolio and, combined, they could create enough of a force to stave off at least some of the patent-related lawsuits that have plagued other companies. More →
Global cell phone shipments grew 14% annually to reach 390 million units in the third quarter as China-based ZTE passed Apple to become the No. 4 cell phone vendor in the world by volume. Market research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics on Thursday released global mobile phone shipment data for the third quarter of 2011, and the landscape is shifting. Nokia remained atop the list, having shipped 106.6 million cell phones in the September quarter, and Samsung remained in the No. 2 spot as mobile phone shipments exploded to 88 million units from 71.4 million in the same quarter last year. Read on for more. More →
Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” to last year’s Windows Phone lineup beginning September 1st, Pocket-lint reports. The British tech blog cites multiple trusted sources with its report, and it says September 1st will also mark the start of device announcements touting Microsoft’s Mango OS. The date just one day ahead of this year’s IFA trade show in Berlin, where Pocket-lint says Microsoft may have Windows Phone 7.5-powered devices on display alongside manufacturers like Samsung ZTE and LG. Nokia is not expected to unveil its first Windows Phone until its annual Nokia World event in October. Microsoft’s Joe Belfore addressed the rumor without confirming or denying it early Friday morning, saying only that it is, in fact, a rumor. More →
Gartner on Thursday issued its global mobile phone sales data for the second quarter, which shows that the industry grew 16.5% from the same quarter last year, to 428.7 million units. Smartphone sales jumped 74% year-on-year, with 107.7 million smartphones having been sold to end users around the world. “Smartphone sales continued to rise at the expense of feature phones,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a statement. “Consumers in mature markets are choosing entry-level and midrange Android smartphones over feature phones, partly due to carriers’ and manufacturers’ promotions.” Android was the top smartphone operating system in the second quarter with a market share of 43.4% and unit sales totaling 46.78 million devices, and Symbian’s 23.85 million devices secured it a No. 2 position with 22.1% of the smartphone OS market. Apple’s iOS held 18.2% of the smartphone market last quarter, followed by RIM’s BlackBerry OS at 11.7%, Samsung’s Bada OS at 1.9% and Microsoft mobile platforms at 1.6%. Gartner also said Nokia was the world’s top smartphone vendor in the second quarter, though it did not provide data to support this claim in its press release, which follows below.
Microsoft confirmed on its Windows Team Blog on Monday that it has released the RTM build of Windows Phone “Mango” to manufacturing partners. “This marks the point in the development process where we hand code to our handset and mobile operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations,” explained Microsoft’s Windows Phone corporate vice president Terry Myerson. Microsoft has said Mango will deliver more than 500 new features to the Windows Phone platform, including Internet Explorer 9 and deeper social network integration, and we expect to see the release hit current devices in August. In addition, new phones from Microsoft’s partners, which include Nokia, HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE, are expected to be unveiled as early as September. More →
Microsoft’s final build of Windows Phone Mango has been rubber stamped and released to manufacturers and wireless carriers according to Windows Phone Dev Podcast. The move is among the final steps before Microsoft delivers the Mango release to customers. The most recent reports have suggested that Microsoft will update current Windows Phone devices in September, although winrumors says the update could be pushed out as soon as August. Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners include HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE Corporation and Nokia, and we should see a number of new devices from those companies in the fall time frame. Mango was officially announced in May and Microsoft has promised that it will deliver more than 500 new features to the platform.
UPDATE: Microsoft’s Senior Director of Communications Bill Cox has stated that Windows Phone 7.5 Mango has not yet reached RTM, as Windows Phone Dev Podcast reported. More →