2006 Wrap Up. 2007 Predictions. (Part
29th December 2006
remain the market leader in Windows smartphones, and
during 2006 they decided to "step out of the shadows"
and market devices under their own name. This bold move
led to a falling out with some previous partners, notably
O2 and i-mate, but in our view the time was right for
HTC to carve out its own identity.
Expect HTC to consolidate its place
in the Windows mobile markets, challenging both midrange
business phones and edging into laptop territory with
higher end devices.
commercial terms, the BlackBerry range has been a phenomenal
success in corporate and business markets. The release
of the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 as a consumer device shows
that RIM are determined to break out of the business-only
niche and grow their market share. The Pearl is certainly
a very impressive phone, and it has the right combination
of technology and brand recognition to be at least a
The rumours are that RIM might
switch the software platform of the BlackBerry handhelds
from their in house OS to a Symbian based solution during
disaster that was BenQ-Siemens is too complex to explore
fully here, but essentially BenQ-Siemens made the mistake
of trying to produce too many handsets too quickly,
without due regard to the quality of what they were
selling. This is in contrast to Sony Ericsson who took
a different approach when they were formed - they concentrated
on a small number of handsets which they made the effort
to get right.
Although technically speaking, BenQ
is still a licensee of the Siemens name, it's unlikely
that this will continue in 2007 as pretty much all of
the ex-Siemens arm of the business has been closed down..
and there are issues still to be resolved in the German
courts. The BenQ part of the company was always
very weak, and it is highly unlikely that BenQ mobile
will be around by the end of the year.
Update: BenQ Mobile filed for
bankruptcy as we were going to press, although it is
possible that the German operations may be sold on.
no secret that Safran, the parent company of Sagem,
is looking to offload its loss making mobile phone business.
In many ways, Sagem is in the same boat that Siemens
was in a couple of years ago. Although it has been rumoured
that Motorola is interested in Sagem, it's hard to say
how Sagem would benefit Motorola at all.. although the
Sagem product range is much improved as of late.
One way or another, Sagem will almost
definitely not last to the end of 2007 in its current
the technological leader in Europe, Sharp have pulled
back from the marketplace somewhat with a range of so-so
handsets that haven't made much of an impact. It used
to be that Sharp was two years ahead of the competition
in a lot of features.. for example the Sharp 902 sported
a QVGA screen, 2 megapixel camera with optical zoom,
MP3 player and expandable memory more than two years
In Japan, Sharp is still way ahead of
most of the competition. We understand that Sharp haven't
exactly ruled out importing one of their high end handsets
from Japan, but there's no confirmation either. During
2007 Sharp will either try to reassert itself, or possibly
withdraw from the European market. Certainly, their
current strategy doesn't seem to be working.
are more-or-less in the same position as Sharp, having
introduced a range of high-end handsets a couple of
years ago which didn't sell too well (although we liked
them). The current Toshiba range is unimpressive, but
there are definite indications that we might see higher
specification Toshiba phones during 2007, which will
be a welcome sight.
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