19th December 2011
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The company to watch during 2012, Samsung
have achieve considerable success with their huge range
of Galaxy Android smartphones and tablets such as the
S II, and Samsung are also active in Windows Phone,
the low-end value market and have their own moderately
successful line of Bada-powered smartphones.
At the moment, Samsung are the only manufacturer
who can compete at all levels of the mobile phone and
tablet market, with a range of products that is both
enormous and of high quality.
Samsung is involved in several bitter legal disputes
with Apple, and we expect the tit-for-tat court cases
to continue through 2012 as both sides try to stop each
other's products from shipping in certain markets.
Sony Ericsson will become just "Sony"
during 2012, after Ericsson were bought out of their
2011. Sony will concentrate purely on Android devices
next year, tied into Sony's entertainment and content
services. Sony is one of the few companies that might
be able to successfully emulate Apple's "whole
market" approach of hardware, software and content
all from one provider. Sony have already launched their
brand of tablets demonstrating some of these ideas.
The biggest task for Sony during 2012 will be to
transform the smartphone and tablet operating into something
that will bring long-term benefits for the company as
a whole. We won't expect that transition to be complete
LG was one of the casualties during 2011 with
very few high-profile product launches, with some notable
along the way.
The dual-core Optimus
2X launched a year ago was buggy, the interesting
3D met with consumer indifference and no other handset
until the PRADA
3 has really stirred much interest.
LG were rather late to the smartphone market, having
grown rapidly over recent years on the back of stylish
feature phones. LG's Optimus range of devices have never
gained the market recognition that Samsung's Galaxy
range has done.
Sadly, we think that LG has had its day, especially
in Europe. We would not be surprised to see this brand
vanish from the shelves during 2012 or 2013.
Another casualty during 2011, RIM started
to see sales slide with no obvious way to win them back.
As the smartphone market consolidates around iOS and
Android, other manufacturers are seeing a squeeze, and
BlackBerry devices are just not as attractive as the
competition. In particular, the BlackBerry
Playbook has failed to ship in any volumes, causing
RIM to write down hundreds of millions of dollars worth
is developing a new OS which may improve the capabilities
of their phones, but BlackBerry 10 may not ship on new
devices until late 2012 and it is unclear how this is
meant to win customers back.
In our view, it is unlikely that BlackBerry will
ever regain the levels of success it has seen over recent
years. The consumer market has moved on, and chasing
it may be a waste of effort. However, the business and
corporate market remains strong, and BlackBerry have
also been working hard to improve management tools for
big customers. It may well be that the future of BlackBerry
remains with the corporates that were always its bread
and butter customers in the past.
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