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2006 Wrap Up. 2007 Predictions. (Part 2)

29th December 2006

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Networks

Many industry analysts say that 2007 will see the end of most second tier mobile phone manufacturers, especially outside of the isolated North American and Japanese markets.

Nokia

 Nokia logo Nokia, of course, will be a major player in 2007.. but 2006 hasn't been plain sailing for the Finnish firm. Although Nokia's product range has been extensive and impressive (and largely delivered on time) there have been criticisms about the reliability of many handsets, especially high-end Symbian smartphones. Consequently, we feel that the Symbian market could be vulnerable to competition from Windows smartphones during 2007.

Sony Ericsson

 Sony Ericsson logo Undoubtedly the manufacturer to watch during 2007, Sony Ericsson have managed to leverage the Sony "Walkman" and "Cyber-shot" brands to great effect, producing a much smaller and more polished range of devices than Nokia.

Sony Ericsson's range of handsets certainly have consumer appear, and it's quite possible that they may become the dominant midrange manufacturer in Europe during 2007. Sony Ericsson are weak in the smartphone market and don't really compete much in the low-end market, which means that they're unlikely ever to be number one in terms of volume.

Samsung Mobile

 Samsung logo Samsung have been a prolific manufacturer of handsets during 2006, but their range is a baffling collection of devices with very similar looks and specifications overall. This scatter gun approach has some advantages in covering all the market niches, but there are very few midrange phones in Samsung's range that are memorable in any way.

If Samsung ever introduced a clear strategy to the marketplace, then the competition be in serious trouble. Fortunately for them, Samsung is likely to do more of the same during 2007.

Motorola

 Motorola logo A few years ago, Motorola had a proper range of phones.. but these days it's all RAZR, RAZR and RAZR when it comes to the product line. Pretty much every handset is some sort of variant of the original RAZR, and the signs are that the market has had enough. There are reports that sales of the new KRZR have been quite sluggish, which is very bad news indeed.

Overall, Motorola have only released a very small number of handsets during 2006, but the range is seriously muddled with no less than three HSDPA RAZR-style clamshells. During 2006, the ROKR range also vanished completely, the Motorola Q never made it to the GSM market, and there have been no new smartphones in Europe at all.

2007 is likely to be the year that Motorola goes seriously out of fashion, and expect sales to plummet as a result. We expect Motorola to have to make a significant change of direction during 2007 in order to maintain its position as one of the "big four" manufacturers.

LG Mobile

 LG logo LG's fortunes in 2006 were completely revitalised by the "Chocolate" slider, but the company has found it hard to follow up on that success.

The stakes are extremely high for LG in 2007. If they can repeat the success of the Chocolate with other phones during 2007, then they have a change to turn the current "big four" general manufacturers into the "big five". Failure in this market sector will probably lead to a slow, lingering death. Expect to see LG fight very hard for market share during 2007.. but we're not at all sure what the outcome will be.

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