According to Counterpoint’s Monthly Market Pulse report for October 2013, Apple’s iPhone 5s continued to be the bestselling phone globally during October. Apple’s iPhone 5s sales saw an upward sales momentum as Apple continued expansive roll-out for its flagship model thus further widening the gap with its arch rival’s flagship model Samsung’s Galaxy S4. Apple’s iPhone 5s topped the best-seller’s list despite the component shortages causing long waiting periods in several channels and without Mobile China that is expected to launch iPhones in the coming days ahead.
Apple iPhone 5 Overtakes Samsung Galaxy S3 to Become World’s Best-Selling Smartphone Model in Q4 2012
According to the latest research from our Handset Country Share Tracker (CST) service, Apple’s iPhone 5 overtook Samsung’s Galaxy S3 to become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2012. A rich touchscreen, extensive distribution and generous operator subsidies have propelled the iPhone 5 to the top spot.
Apple’s iPhone 5 smartphone model shipped an estimated 27.4 million units worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2012. The iPhone 5 captured an impressive 13 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever. A rich touchscreen design, extensive distribution across dozens of countries, and generous operator subsidies have been among the main causes of the iPhone 5’s success. In addition to the iPhone 5, Apple shipped an estimated 17.4 million iPhone 4S units for 8 percent smartphone share globally in Q4 2012. Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S are currently the world’s two most popular smartphone models.
Sounds like Apple is doomed. Doomed!
A U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee report recommends that top Chinese telecoms equipment makers Huawei and ZTE are shut out of the U.S. market because of the risk of espionage, Reuters is reporting. This follows an 11-month investigation of the two firms. The draft report is due to be released later today.
Huawei is the second largest global maker of telecoms equipment, while ZTE is fifth-largest. Both companies also make mobile phones and smartphones. The pair are keen to expand their presence in Western markets, and Huawei reportedly quadrupled its spend on Washington lobbyists this year. According to a Washington Post report from August, Huawei spent $820,000 on lobbying in the first six months of 2012 — up from $200,000 for the same period in 2011.
But despite lavishing all this cash in a bid to influence political opinion in Washington, the suspicion that Chinese telecoms companies are not pure-play profit seekers but are in fact high tech eyes and ears for the Chinese government is proving hard for them to unseat.
The Intelligence Committee’s draft report notes that while Huawei and ZTE may not be the only companies that present a risk to U.S. infrastructure, they are the two largest Chinese-founded, Chinese-owned companies seeking to market critical network equipment to the U.S., and noting that the Chinese government has the “means, opportunity and motive” to use them for its own ends.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc is testing a “Scan & Go” system that would allow shoppers to scan items using their iPhones and then pay at a self-checkout counter, a move that could trim checkout times and slash costs for retailers.
If the test by the world’s largest retailer is successful, it has the potential to change the way people shop and pay, making the process more personal and potentially faster.
Earlier this week, Walmart invited employees with Apple Inc iPhones to participate in a test at a Walmart supercenter in Rogers, Arkansas, near the company’s headquarters, according to a form on the Survey Monkey website. (here)
“All of the effort is to speed your way through the checkout so that we can reduce costs and improve the shopping experience,” said Paul Weitzel, managing partner at retail consulting firm Willard Bishop, who said he had not seen Walmart’s test. “With smartphones and improved technology we’re only going to see more of this.”
The avatar for the Watson supercomputer. Source: IBM via Bloomberg
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) researchers spent four years developing Watson, the computer smart enough to beat the champions of the quiz show “Jeopardy!” Now they’re trying to figure out how to get those capabilities into the phone in your pocket.
Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, envisions a voice-activated Watson that answers questions, like a supercharged version of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Siri personal assistant. A farmer could stand in a field and ask his phone, “When should I plant my corn?” He would get a reply in seconds, based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies.
Finding additional uses for Watson is part of IBM’s plan to tap new markets and boost revenue from business analytics (IBM) to $16 billion by 2015. After mastering history and pop culture for its “Jeopardy!” appearance, the system is crunching financial information for Citigroup Inc. and cancer data for WellPoint Inc. The next version, dubbed “Watson 2.0,” would be energy- efficient enough to work on smartphones and tablets.
“The power it takes to make Watson work is dropping down like a stone,” Meyerson said in an interview. “One day, you will have ready access to an incredible engine with a world knowledge base.”
IBM expects to generate billions in sales by putting Watson to work in finance, health care, telecommunications and other areas. The computer, which 15 million people saw beat former “Jeopardy!” champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, is the company’s most high-profile product since it sold its personal- computer unit to Lenovo Group Ltd. (992) seven years ago.
Apple Inc. is seeking a U.S. sales ban on eight models of Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones and the extension of a preliminary ban on a tablet computer after winning a patent trial against the South Korean company.
Apple, which won more than $1 billion Aug. 24 after a jury found Samsung infringed six of seven patents at stake in the trial, named the phones it wants barred in a filing yesterday with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. The list includes several devices in the bestselling Galaxy lineup.
The effect on Samsung’s sales will be negligible because Apple’s list only includes older devices that will account for less than 1.4 percent of the Korean company’s profits next year, said Mark Newman, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein who used to work at Samsung. The impact would be 6.3 percent if Apple manages to broaden a ban to newer devices and block 80 percent of all Samsung phones, he said.
If there’s any doubt that mobile apps are taking health care in directions unimaginable a few years ago, consider a few tidbits from just the past few weeks.
First, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just gave the green light to something called an “ingestible sensor.” It’s a tiny computer chip embedded inside a pill. You swallow that pill when you take your other meds and the ingested chip goes to work, recording when the dose went down and transmitting that data to a stick-on patch on your body. The patch then sends it to your smartphone. And to your doctor’s office, if you wish.
A few days later, yet another mobile health startup jumped into the market, this one called Mango Health, in San Francisco. Nothing so unusual about that, except the people running the small company come from a mobile games background and they’ve made it clear that they’ll be looking for ways to bring social gaming principles into the health business.
The first app they plan to roll out will be designed to help people stay on schedule with taking their meds, but also will let them know about potential interactions with other drugs and food. In the the spirit of gaming, it will reward, with discounts, those who stick to their schedules.
Your smartphone will see you now
Hard to believe, but there are more than 13,000 different mobile health apps available for download. Most are designed to help people stick to diets or exercise routines, and, in truth, they range widely in quality and commitment to real science. Which probably explains why, according to research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, only 10 percent of Americans with smartphones have downloaded a health app.
Expect that to change dramatically, though, over the rest of this decade as the population ages and developers focus more on helping people with serious health problems. Already, there’s been a rise in the type of apps that work with other devices to monitor your blood sugar or blood pressure or how you slept last night.
Android, despite Google’s push for user volumes worldwide, looks to be flagging in the smartphone market.
In December last year, Eric Schmidt, then head honcho at Google, hedged his bets on future success with his company’s Android platform. Batting away concerns over performance, he predicted that, within six months, the volume of users on Android would get developers shifting their focus from Apple’s iOS to the Linux-based platform.
Sitting here in August, nearly eight months later, it’s evident that hasn’t happened. In fact, according to recent sales results from the US, Schmidt’s hopes of market-conquering volumes have been dented, if not altogether dashed. In terms of handsets shipped, the company saw sales of Android-equipped smartphones dip by 4.3 per cent to 56.3 per cent overall.
Meanwhile, iOS saw a 10 per cent rise in users up to 33.2 per cent market share, as it grabbed ex-Android users and escapees from RIM’s sinking ship. This was achieved despite the uncertainty over the launch of the iPhone 5, coming solely off the back of iPhone 4S sales.
Why, therefore, has Android stalled? Part of it comes down to economic circumstances that have forced the price of the iPhone 4S down for consumers across the world. With the handset remaining highly desirable despite entering its victory lap, tariff operators across the world have raced to the bottom of the premium price range to drag mid-spending users up to more expensive tariffs.
Canada’s environmental regulations have lagged behind the global rush to develop deposits of lithium, a rare metal found in the rechargeable batteries that power millions of iPads, smartphones and laptops, says a new report.
The recent surge in lithium exploration, driven by a consumer electronics explosion and limited world supplies, includes several companies developing Canadian sites.
But Canada has little historical experience of lithium extraction, and existing environmental regulations are not well-tailored to the burgeoning industry.
“The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations do not specifically regulate all of the individual substances of concern that might be released from the mining or processing of rare earth elements and lithium,” says the report.
The regulations “were not specifically designed to manage the environmental aspects of these mining processes.”
Baidu has announced details of its soon-to-launch new smartphone and the cloud-centric operating system (OS) that will power it. The Chinese search giant says that the move, which will put Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms under pressure in China, will bring about a revolution of affordable smartphones.
The Foxconn-built Changhong H5018 will be the first device powered by Baidu’s ‘Cloud Smart Terminal’ platform, and the company has heralded the phone as marking “the arrival of a new era” of sub $150 (1,000 RMB) devices in China.
There is no confirmed launch date for the device, which will be released “in the very near future”, but, as Baidu executives teased last week, the phone and new OS will integrate with a range of cloud-based services.
Every H5018 phone owner will be given a generous 100 GB of storage on Baidu’s Netdrive, a beta service known locally as Wangpan. The Google Drive-like service will store multimedia content in the cloud whilst linking back to the desktop service, while standard services like Baidu Music, Baidu Map and other applications will come with the phone.