Probabilmente la maggioranza di noi pensava che il sorpasso numerico – oltre che tecnologico – fosse già avvenuto da tempo. Invece, è da questo secondo trimestre (Q2) che gli “intelligenti” smartphone hanno sorpassato per unità vendute nel mondo gli “ottusi” dumbphone, così come sono chiamati i vecchi cellulari. Quelli che solo qualche anno fa ci vantavamo di possedere, per i quali sborsavamo cifre assurde e che ora rinneghiamo quasi di conoscere.

Oltre al sorpasso degli smartphone, i dati forniti dalla società di analisi Gartner confermano la maggiore diffusione del sistema operativo Android (79%) favorito anche dalla presenza di tanti modelli, di prezzi più contenuti rispetto agli iPhone e a marche spesso forti in mercati quali Asia, Est Europa e America Latina (in Cina si sono venduti, per esempio, 10 milioni di telefoni targati Lenovo nel Q2). Al secondo posto si conferma iOS-iPhone con il 18%, mentre gli altri sistemi operativi si spartiscono la restante – piccola – fetta di torta di mercato.

Le aree dove è maggiormente cresciuta la diffusione di smartphone tra la popolazione sono: Asia-Pacifico, Europa dell’Est e America Latina, con un aumento rispettivamente del 74,1%, 31,6% e 55,7% rispetto allo stesso periodo del 2012.

A questo punto cosa farà Apple? Lancerà davvero il suo iPhoneC low-cost?

Per maggiori dettagli si veda l’articolo di Natasha Lomas per TechCrunch.com

 

Smartphones Finally Overtook Dumbphone Sales Globally In Q2, Android Now At 79%, Says Gartner

Analyst Gartner has put out its latest smartphone market report, and the Q2 2013 numbers show the inevitable finally occurred: smartphone sales exceeded feature phone sales for the first time. Android has been strangling the life out of dumbphones for years, but it looks like the market tipping point is being reached.

In Q2, Gartner says  worldwide smartphones sales rose 46.5% from the year earlier quarter to hit 225 million units shipped, while sales of feature phones declined 21% year-on-year to 210 million units. Smartphone shipments grew most in Asia Pacific, Latin American and Eastern Europe, with growth rates of 74.1%, 55.7% and 31.6% respectively, but the analyst said sales grew in all regions. IDC‘s recent market figures put Android on approaching 80% worldwide marketshare for Q2. Google’s mobile OS is clearly expanding its share by picking up former feature phone users.

The rising tide of global smartphone ownership is raising all boats, but Samsung continues to dominate the smartphone landscape. Gartner said Samsung grew its share to approaching a third (31.7%), up 29.7% on Q2 2012. Apple also grew shipments of its iPhone but its marketshare declined — highlighting the case for Cupertino to make a low cost iPhone to capture growth at the budget end of the market. Apple took a 14.2% share in Q2, 2013, vs 18.8% in the year ago quarter. It still shipped 10.2% more iPhones vs Q2 2012 but is being outpaced by higher smartphone market growth rates.

After Samsung and Apple, it’s a tale of all Asian smartphone makers battling for third place: LG grabbed third place in Q2 (with a 5.1% share); followed by Lenovo (4.7%) whose Lephone has been a popular seller in China; and ZTE (4.3%).

table 1

Gartner said Apple saw a significant drop in the average selling price (ASP) of its devices in Q2, with its ASP declining to the lowest figure registered by Apple since the iPhone’s launch in 2007. This is down to strong sales of the iPhone 4 — again underlining the case (from a volume perspective) for Apple to launch a cheaper iPhone. However doing so would clearly accelerate that decrease in its ASP, even if market growth is now being powered by budget devices — providing the impetus for Apple to expand the iPhone to cheaper price-points still.

“While Apple’s [declining] ASP demonstrates the need for a new flagship model, it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too,” commented Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta in a statement. ”Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4 at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalisation will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4. Despite being seen as the less expensive sibling of the flagship product, it would represent a new device with the hype of the marketing associated with it.”

Also noteworthy in Q2, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform pushed past BlackBerry’s OS for the first time to take third place. When Windows Phone launched, back in 2010, Steve Ballmer and Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop talked of their ambition to create a third ecosystem in the smartphone space. They’re still trying to stock the fires of an ecosystem but are at least in third place from a sales perspective.

Windows Phone took a 3.3% global market share in Q2 vs just 2.7% for the struggling BlackBerry OS. Gupta, noted: “While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users.”

Taken together, Android and iOS took a 93.2% global marketshare in the quarter — underlining why developers opt to support these two platform first and foremost, and generally require incentives to expend effort elsewhere. Android’s global marketshare in Q2 was a staggering 79% according to Gartner, up from 64.2% in the year ago quarter — buoyed by feature phone switchers.

table 1

The drop off in feature phone sales is bad news for Nokia, which still leans heavily on its feature phone business (being as its smartphone business is tied to the Windows Phone underdog). Nokia shipped just 61 million feature phones in Q2, down from 83 million in the year ago quarter. But the Finnish mobile maker is at least seeing some decent growth in smartphones, thanks to having a broader portfolio of devices to offer at different price points. Nokia’s Windows Phone-powered Lumia sales grew 112.7% in Q2 2013, according to Gartner.

 

 

 

L’acerrima competizione per guadagnare fette di mercato ha reso il settore degli smartphone un luogo davvero difficile per fare affari. È estremamente faticoso farsi ascoltare dai consumatori/utenti, ormai sommersi da offerte – sempre più complesse e sofisticate – di nuove applicazioni e nuovi servizi mobile. Come accade quando non si sa più che strada prendere, ci si volta e si guarda al passato. La nuova Terra Promessa del business allora è quella dei “dumbphone”, i vecchi e “ottusi” telefoni cellulari, ormai ai margini del mercato che nelle nostre società di consumo. Mai prodotto era caduto così rapidamente in basso. Modelli superapprezzati solo qualche anno fa (pensiamo a certi Motorola) ora sono trattati peggio dei paria: li guardiamo con un misto di fastidioso disprezzo e vergogna, quasi volessimo dimenticare che anche noi ne avevamo uno in tasca. Telefoni dalle funzionalità basic (se paragonati ai moderni smartphone) che nei mercati di Paesi emergenti non sono caduti in disgrazia.

Quelli di Facebook hanno alzato lo sguardo e oltre al modello di telefono, si sono concentrati, invece, sui milioni e milioni di utenti che li usano (tra cui tantissimi africani che non hanno possibilità di entrare nel social network più famoso). Con un nome che assomiglia a una campagna promossa dalla FAO o da qualche agenzia internazionale per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo, meno di un anno fa la società di Palo Alto ha lanciato Facebook for Every Phone. Ora ne raccoglie in frutti con 100milioni di nuovi utenti possessori di dumbphone iscritti al social network.

Così ci spiega l’articolo di Christopher Mims per Quarts

 

The biggest opportunity in mobile right now isn’t on smartphones

Facebook has noticed something that other companies would do well to heed: The biggest opportunity right now isn’t in smartphones, where users are bombarded by the fruits of anever-more-competitive market for apps and mobile services. Rather, the big play for some companies, especially any that wish to expand into emerging markets, is on the “dumbphones” — aka non-smartphones or, in industry parlance, feature phones — that most people in rich countries have now left behind.

We’ve known for some time that Facebook’s strategy for grabbing its “next billion” users is to convince them that Facebook and the web are one and the same by making access to Facebook free on every model of phone. But now Javi Olivan, head of “growth and analytics” at Facebook has dribbled out a handful of other interesting details about Facebook’s strategy.

The first is that, since Quartz reported on it a year ago, Facebook’s push to get onto feature phones, which still comprise half of all phone sales worldwide, has accelerated. The service Facebook is working on is called Facebook for Every Phone, and it allows people with data plans on their feature phones to have smartphone-like experiences while using Facebook, meaning they get images, updates, chat and more. The secret is that most of the processing for Facebook For Every Phone is done on Facebook’s servers, in the cloud, and a minimal stream of data is trickled out to feature phones, which tend to be on slower networks in emerging markets.

Facebook for Every Phone is now on 100 million feature phones, which means almost a tenth of Facebook’s billion-plus users are accessing Facebook through devices on which Facebook isn’t normally accessible.

The second thing about Facebook’s push onto feature phones is that more and more of these devices can access the web. As Ran Makavy, head of Facebook’s feature phone initiative, told The New York Times, it wasn’t long ago that only about 2% of all feature phones could access the web. Now that figure is more like 25%, and he thinks “there is a pretty long runway still.”

In other words, billions of people the world over are going to start accessing the web through their feature phones, and in the rush to equip people with the latest and greatest, web experiences on these devices are likely to be an under-served market. Facebook is happy to occupy this space, but other companies should be, too, such as Jana, which is arguably the largest payment platform on earth, and can reach 2 billion people in emerging markets.

One issue, as always, with emerging markets, is that consumers here do not have as much disposable income as people in rich countries. Facebook just rolled out a platform to advertise to people in emerging markets via — among other services — Facebook for Every Phone, but it’s not clear yet how lucrative this effort will be. Even if Facebook can’t make money on these nascent web users right away, convincing them that Facebook is integral to the web is the sort of trick that will help the company continue to grow as these consumers graduate to smartphones, tablets and other more sophisticated means to connect.