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Mobile Industry Predictions for 2005

31st December 2004

Predictions are always dangerous, and often inaccurate, but they can be a lot of fun. Here's some of our guesses at what's coming up in 2005.

 Nokia Nokia

Unsurprisingly, Nokia will continue to dominate the market in 2005, based on a strategy of re-using the same basic technologies in many different handsets to try to cover all the market niches. Although Nokia stabilised its market share during 2004, it will come under renewed pressure from competitors who will continue to lead the way with innovation.

Some products that we hope to see from Nokia are 3G versions of the 9300/9500 and 7710. Replacements for the 8910i "executive" phone and 8310 "tiny" phone should be due too. Several other handsets are rumoured, including an 8000 series luxury 3G phone and a replacement for the 6230.

Technologically, Nokia have a problem in that their mid-market phones which tend to have smaller screens and poorer cameras than the competition. Nokia will continue to struggle in this market segment unless it addresses this. Rumours of new 208x208 pixel displays and megapixel cameras as standard would help here.

Prediction: Nokia will continue to fight to keep market share.

 Motorola Motorola

2004 should have been Motorola's year, but everything started to come off the rails a little bit. Products have been delivered very late to market, for example the MPx and A630 are still missing in action. The bulk of Motorola's sales are likely to be made up from the warmed-over V500 series handsets and the V620 which will need replacing with something substantially better by the end of 2005. Motorola continues to innovate in the 3G market with devices like the A1000 and E1000, and it's likely that they will continue a big push into the 3G market where competition is much weaker.

Success in 2005 will depend on Motorola coming up with the right products, delivered to the market on time.

Prediction: Recent business reorganisations will get Motorola back on track eventually.

 Samsung Samsung

Although Samsung have gained market share through 2004, their product range is confusing and many handsets are announced and then never make it into production (for example the X900, X910 and i500). Samsung's current product range is hampered by a lack of Bluetooth - the D500 is their first Bluetooth model - and they urgently need to introduce more Bluetooth handsets.

Despite their muddled product range, Samsung are still gaining on the competition, but greater focus on branding and products would help a lot in 2005. Luckily for the competition, Samsung doesn't seem to be addressing these issues and is likely to still have a wide variety of confusingly similar products during the year.

Prediction: Will still be a sleeping giant in 2005.

 Siemens Siemens

Despite substantial market share and a reasonable range of products, Siemens' mobile phone business is losing a lot of money. Rumours are that Siemens would like to offload the entire business unit to someone else, possibly Bird of China. Despite this, the company's 2004 lineup of the "65" series handsets has been well received, and 2005's "70" series of phones, led by the CX70 will probably be competent, but not exciting.

Siemens currently has no 3G phones in its portfolio, and the only truly top-end handset they have is the SX66 for sale in the US, which is a rebadged HTC Smartphone. There seems to be a lack of innovation in the Siemens range which may well cause long term problems.

Prediction: If not sold off, Siemens mobile will start to fade away.

 Sony Ericsson Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson's fairly small range of handsets has some really interesting models in it, such as the S700. January and February should see new product announcements.. hopefully, as Sony Ericsson is about the only major manufacturer with nothing much in the pipeline.

Expect to see a replacement/upgrade for the P910 by the middle of the year to make Sony Ericsson more competitive with Nokia's recent high-end offerings. Other rumoured models include the K300 series replacement for the T610/T630, F700i variant of the K700 for Vodafone, a replacement for the Z200 and Z600 models and an upgrade to the fairly old Z1010 3G phone.

Sony Ericsson have been successful in creating a "buzz" around their products, similar to Nokia. New SE handsets are usually hotly anticipated, and this can only be good news for the company.

Prediction: Watch for some big product announcements in early 2005.


HTC.. who? Well, these are the outfit that manufactures all those Windows-based smartphones for T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange, O2, i-Mate, Qtekk and a host of other carriers and manufacturers. Probably the biggest mobile phone manufacturer that nobody has ever heard of, HTC seem to have this particular niche sewn up.

Expect to see some competition from the likes of HP, Samsung and possibly Motorola in the Windows-based phone, but otherwise HTC's position in this market segment looks secure through 2005.

Prediction: It's hard to see where HTC can go wrong.

 Panasonic Panasonic

2004 was a bit grim for Panasonic. It's offerings outside of Japan have not met with approval, and handsets are coming to market incredibly late (e.g. the X700). Panasonic's announcement of the 3G Z800 phone being "in development" seems like a desperate move to bolster their product range.

A lack of innovation and an inability to ship product in a reasonable time, along with a small market share, make it quite possible that Panasonic will pull out of the mobile market outside of Asia during 2005.

Prediction: 2005 looks bleak for Panasonic.

 Sagem Sagem

2005 looks promising for Sagem, and the myX-8 handset shows that they are anxious to be more than a low-end handset manufacturer, in addition to that, Sagem have the myS-7 Windows smartphone lined up. In the midrange they continue to produce highly competitive low-cost products too.

One big cloud on the horizon for 2005 is the legal action between Nokia and Sagem, where Nokia are claiming that certain Sagem handsets are a little bit too "Nokia looking", especially the myX5-2. Despite this, however, we think that Sagem are going to be the manufacturer with the most to gain during 2005.

Prediction: The one to watch in 2005.


In most markets, NEC isn't really a mainstream player, but it has carved out a good slice of the 3G market, and was one of the first manufacturers with 3G handsets available.  NEC is a big player in i-mode handsets that offer enhanced 2G and 3G content, and i-mode looks to become more popular outside of Japan in 2005.

Prediction: Concentrating on future markets will pay dividends.

 Sharp Sharp

Sharp's unusual approach to marketing sets it apart. Most handsets are sold under exclusive deals with Vodafone, SmarTone or T-Mobile and are at the high end of the market. Devices such as the Sharp 902 are class leading handsets. Despite limiting their potential market reach, the high quality of the handsets means that they are always attractive, premium products that sell well.

Don't expect many product releases from Sharp in 2005, but we do expect to see the rumoured Sharp GX40 on Vodafone, and perhaps a 3G handset on T-Mobile.

Prediction: Niche player will continue to succeed with high-quality products.

 Sendo Sendo

Sendo's product line consists of medium to low end handsets such as the P600 and SV663 and has proved to be a flexible manufacturer in terms of product customisation for networks. Right at the other end of the scale is the Sendo X smartphone which shows just what Sendo can achieve from a technical perspective.

However, the Sendo X was very late to market and we're not sure what Sendo currently have in the pipeline. Indeed, most Sendo handsets take a long time to actually hit the streets and we think this is Sendo's biggest problem.

Prediction: 2005 won't be the year Sendo makes it big, although perhaps 2006 will be.


LG has been a solid performer for the Hutchison 3 network with the U8110 and later U8120 handsets. Lined up for 2005 are the U8130, U8138 and U8150 phones for 3 and Orange, and these will probably sell just as well as their predecessors.

Outside of the 3G, LG has a number of low-key deals with operations to provide a range of handsets, including the interesting L5100 for T-Mobile, ensuring that a range of LG handsets will continue to hit the market.

Prediction: LG will continue to make slow but steady progress throughout 2005 with a solid product range.

Other Winners..

Expect to see more of Haier during 2005. Also, HP is keep to get a share of the Smartphone market for it's iPAQ range. Mitac are also hungry for a bigger slice of the worldwide market. If PalmOne can iron out the bugs in the Treo 650 then it might be onto a winner.

..and Losers.

Alcatel and Philips seem to be increasingly marginalised in worldwide markets, and it's possible that Philips may quit. There willl most likely be some thinning out of smaller manufacturers too as profit margins become eroded. Mitsubishi are going nowhere as a brand outside of the Far East either, and may well pull out of other markets.

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