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2011 Wrap-up. 2012 Predictions, Part III.

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19th December 2011

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 Samsung Samsung

The company to watch during 2012, Samsung have achieve considerable success with their huge  Samsung Galaxy S II range of Galaxy Android smartphones and tablets such as the powerful Galaxy 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 Sony

Sony Ericsson will become just "Sony" during 2012, after Ericsson were bought out of their share  Sony Tablet during 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 own 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 until 2013.


LG was one of the casualties during 2011 with very few high-profile product launches, with some notable  LG PRADA 3 problems along the way.

The dual-core Optimus 2X launched a year ago was buggy, the interesting Optimus 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.

 RIM / BlackBerry RIM / BlackBerry

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 of inventory.

 BlackBerry Playbook BlackBerry 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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