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.
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
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.
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
are still missing in action. The bulk of Motorola's
sales are likely to be made up from the warmed-over
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 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.
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,
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.
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
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
Prediction: If not sold off, Siemens
mobile will start to fade away.
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
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.
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.
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
Prediction: 2005 looks bleak for
2005 looks promising for Sagem, and
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
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
Prediction: Concentrating on future
markets will pay dividends.
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
GX40 on Vodafone, and perhaps a 3G handset on T-Mobile.
Prediction: Niche player will continue
to succeed with high-quality products.
Sendo's product line consists of medium
to low end handsets such as the P600
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
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.
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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