Übergizmo: HTC might have acquired Beats for a cool $300 million, but that doesn’t mean the Taiwanese phone company is going to have all the fun. No sir, Nokia of Finland wants in on some audio accessory action as well, hence teaming up with Monster for their range of upcoming accessories. (more…)
What Hi-fi: Nokia may have announced a future commitment to the Windows Phone 7 operating system, but that hasn’t stopped the company launching two new models running the latest version of its Symbian operating system.
However, the new phones face tough competition: figures from The Wall Street Transcript suggest some 350,000 Google Android smartphones are being activated worldwide every day.
That’s a 16% increase on the numbers from a few months ago, and a massive rise on figures from about a year back, which were running at about 60,000 a day.
The new Nokia models are the E6 and X7: the E6 is based on the company’s E71 and E72, and is described as ‘a sleek business smartphone with a full QWERTY keypad and a high resolution touch display.’
It’s been designed for exceptional battery life – almost 15 hours talk time and up to 744 hours’ standby – and has full access to Microsoft messaging services including Exchange and Communicator Mobile.
The X7 is aimed at the entertainment market, and has a 4in AMOLED touchscreen with ’16:9 near HD’ 640×360 pixel resolution and an 8MP camera.
It gives 6.5 hours talk time, 6 hours video playback, 50 hours of music playback, and 450 hours on standby.
Also provided are two preloaded games – Galaxy on Fire HD and Asphalt 5 HD – and the X7 has instant access to Web TV on demand, with the option of adding favourites to its home screen or add new channels via the Ovi Store.
Both models have 8GB of storage via a standard microSD card supplied, with support for cards of up to 32GB, and also built-in GPS navigation with free lifetime walk and drive guidance.
The Register: When Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that Nokia was abandoning its development of its own smartphone platforms and APIs, and betting the farm on somebody else’s, many people asked why it was necessary.Nokia had spent 15 years trying to develop and maintain its own software, which it regarded as strategic to maintaining its independence. Elop’s decisions have ensured that Nokia didn’t just get another option to run alongside its own, but it would abandon these, writing off the investments it had already made. In his opinion, these weren’t good enough. Read more…
GPS Business News: Market research firm Canalys today published its final fourth quarter 2010 global country-level smartphone market data, which revealed that Google’s Android has become the leading platform.
Shipments of Android-based smartphones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28%.
The fourth quarter also saw the worldwide smartphone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009.
During the fourth quarter volumes of Google OS-based smartphones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.
At a regional level, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained the largest market, with shipments totalling 38.8 million and a year-on-year growth rate of 90%. Nokia continued to lead in EMEA and Asia Pacific, but in 2010 it was overtaken by RIM in Latin America, which shipped over a million more units than Nokia in Q4 2010. The vendor was particularly helped by the popularity of its mid-range smartphones, such as its Curve family of devices.
The United States continued its reign as the largest country market in terms of shipments, at more than double the size of the Chinese smartphone market. RIM recaptured first place from Apple, as the latter experienced its usual US seasonal dip, and RIM benefited from the first full quarter of shipments for the BlackBerry Torch. HTC successfully maintained its third-place ranking in the US for the third consecutive quarter, driven by its speed to market with the latest Android updates and new Windows Phone 7 devices.
“The US landscape will shift dramatically this coming year, as a result of the Verizon-Apple agreement,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Shepherd. “Verizon will move its focus away from the Droid range, but the overall market impact will mean less carrier-exclusive deals, while increasing the AT&T opportunity for Android vendors, such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung.”
Android was by far the largest smart phone platform in the US market in the fourth quarter 2010, with shipments of 12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Windows Phone 7 devices appeared too late in the quarter to take full advantage of holiday season purchasing. As a result, Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010.
South Korea, Japan and China
Analysis of the published country-level data shows that, around the world, the strength of smartphone performances remained diverse. In South Korea, for example, shipments grew from under 700,000 units in Q4 2009 to just under 3.4 million units in Q4 2010, making the country a top 10 market.
In Japan, Android shipments have taken off over the past year, with nearly 1.4 million units shipping from local as well as international vendors, such as HTC. More Japanese vendors have also announced plans to launch Android devices in 2011, such as NEC Casio and Panasonic.
Under pressure from Huawei and Samsung in particular, Nokia’s share in China slipped to 56%, down from 76% a year ago, despite growing its volume in the country by over 70% in the same period. Albeit from a smaller base, the Chinese market grew 134% year-on-year, notably faster than the US market, which grew at 64% in the quarter.
Navigadget: I guess we really should’ve said “GPS enabled smartphones are taking considerable market share from standalone GPS navigation makers” but a sensational title is always more fun. But either way future is not looking great for GPS navigation manufacturers. According to a study done by a Swedish research company (Berg Insight) standalone GPS navigation systems are bound to become obsolete as their functions are now part of most smartphones or just embedded into vehicles’ dashboard.
Now that Nokia and Google are giving the technology away for free, GPS navigation makers will have to come up with ways to make their products standout or offer functionality that is not covered by smartphones. We can already see some change as Garmin and TomTom now offer real time traffic information, and working with vehicle manufacturers to embed their technology into vehicles at the factory.
… the number of personal navigation devices shipped globally will peak in 2011 at 42 million, up from 40 million this year, before beginning a gradual, but inexorable decline…
However CEO’s from navigation makers are still hopeful arguing that people are still willing to pay extra for high end specialized devices. I guess Garmin is in the best position here as they’ve already branched into other markets bringing in 1/3 of their sales from marine, aerial, and fitness related GPS devices.
GPS Business News: Last week BMW Group announced their support for “iPod Out”, a new feature in Apple iOS 4 that allows BMW and MINI infotainment systems to display and control the music playback feature in iPhone and iPod touch in the vehicle’s main display. With this technology the iPod navigation menu can be operated through the vehicle’s interface controls. BMW Group will offer this feature in 2011 vehicles (BMW and Mini). (more…)
GPS Business News: Nokia and CE4A (Consumer Electronics for Automotive) working group have released the Terminal Mode technology specification as a proposed industry standard for the integration of mobile applications into the car environment. The German CE4A group includes Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Developed in co-operation with Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto and CE4A, Terminal Mode integrates smartphones into an in-vehicle infotainment system. Once connected, the full range of smartphone features, services and applications, such as navigation and music from Ovi by Nokia can be made available through screens and audio systems embedded in the car. It also enables information exchange between the smartphone and the car systems.
In addition to the CE4A participants, Nokia has also established collaborations with Alpine Electronics, Continental, Fiat, Harman Becker and Magneti Marelli to use this technology.
A “Terminal Mode Summit” is expected to take place in June 2010, but no more information was made available by Nokia on this topic at this stage.
The specification documents (Terminal Mode v0.9) are available here:
Engadget: Nokia VP, David Rivas, was in San Francisco yesterday touting Symbian^3 improvements. While we’ve heard and seen plenty about Symbian Three’s enhanced user experience already, it’s still worthy of another look considering Symbian’s dominant marketshare. Besides, David provides a very detailed look as he walks us though elements like the customizable (and more finger friendly) homescreens meant to provide quick access to call features and at-a-glance data. Rivas also reiterates speed improvement claims over existing S60 5th devices (about a 3x improvement in graphics performance) that should “very very pleasantly surprise” users. Read more and see the video
Übergizmo: Nokia might be the number 1 cellphone manufacturer in the world at the moment, but their market share is eroding slowly but surely no thanks to newcomers to the scene. Well, in a move that could see them claw back what used to be theirs, we have word that Nokia has agreed to partner with Alpine to offer integrated Nokia handsets alongside free Ovi Maps navigation into vehicle dashboard systems. Apart from that, you will be able to interact with widgets that monitor your fuel level as well as engine condition while you’re on the road. This development ought to see action in the near future, and we’re stoked.
BBC: One million people downloaded Nokia’s free navigation software during the first week of its launch, the company claims.
Ovi Maps have been downloaded 1.4m times overall since the application became available on January 21 2010.
It has been most popular in China, Italy, the UK, Germany and Spain. The service provides different direction information for drivers and pedestrians in 74 countries and 46 different languages.
“We’re averaging a download a second, 24 hours a day,” said Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s executive vice president. He added that the demand for location-based software was growing more quickly than the company had anticipated.
Research by Strategy Analytics suggests that Nokia has 39% of the global smartphone market. Both Nokia and Google now offer free-to-download navigation services, which is putting pressure on the sat-nav industry.
Dutch satellite company Nav4All announced that it is shutting down after its contract with Nokia subsidiary Navteq, a digital mapping company, was not renewed.