1st January 2013
Despite being taken over by Google, Motorola
continued to struggle during 2012 even with a quite
range of mobile devices under its belt. A refreshed
range has certainly helped to raise their profile, but
the long-term future of Motorola is still unclear, especially
given Google's reputation for shutting acquisitions
Motorola itself has pulled out of most Asian markets,
and certain interesting handsets are only released in
limited markets. Their dismal handset range in 2008
and 2009 led to many carriers dropping them altogether,
and it has been a long road to get Motorola handsets
back on shelves in many markets.
Will Google keep the patents and sell the handset
business? It's certainly a possibility, but who would
actually want it? The future for Moto still looks uncertain.
Despite launching a mass of very decent devices,
Sony has struggled to get traction in the market.
But overshadowing difficulties with the mobile business
are massive losses for Sony as a whole, losing 520 billion
yen (about €4.7 billion) during 2012.
But few companies have the capabilities of Sony,
with interests in all areas of consumer entertainment,
and the "Sony" name is still a very desirable
thing to have on a gadget.. so there is hope yet that
Sony can turn their fortunes around.
2012 also saw the demise of the "Sony Ericsson"
name as Sony headed off by themselves. This went hand-in-hand
with a complete redesign of their handsets, achieving
an consistent and very smart look across the entire
RIM managed to announced just two low-end
devices during 2012, which is clearly a sign of a company
in trouble. But the unfolding disaster at RIM is huge,
with sales collapsing as the existing
BlackBerry OS platform looks increasingly like a relic
from the last decade. BlackBerry hope to launch a new
OS next year based on the QNX platform.. but they've
been working on that for over two years now and no matter
how good it will be, it is likely to be irrelevant by
the time it comes out.
Is there anything that RIM can do to turn things
around? Probably not. CEO Thorsten Heins has been criticised
for not understanding the danger that the company is
in, but even if he does take action it is likely to
be too late to restore RIM to its former glory.
In our opinion, no company has done more to define
and develop the modern smartphone than HTC. This Taiwanese
company created the first smartphones on both the Windows
systems, and it has made some good looking and popular
devices in that time. However, in the past couple of
years it seems to have lost the initiative somewhat,
and is struggling to compete against the marketing might
Perhaps HTC might merge with another company in the
future, although it is equally possible that they could
turn around their declining fortunes with some canny
marketing. As with Nokia, a competitive HTC benefits
the industry as a whole.. we hope they can regain some
of their former sparkle.