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2013 Wrap-up. 2014 Predictions, Part II.

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22nd December 2003

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Apple

Apple's products made the usual incremental improvements during 2013, but where the iPhone 5S  Apple iPhone 5S was a success, the iPhone 5C stands out as a bit of a failure. New iPads have helped to keep Apple's line-up fresh and Apple still dominate the tablet market.

2014 should see the launch of the next-generation iPhone, but unless Apple can find ways of attracting Android users it will continue to be squeezed in terms of market share. As we said last year, Apple in 2013 looked rather like Nokia in 2007 and must find strategies to keep its products fresh and innovative.

Apple is a long way from a crisis, but unless they want to go the same way as BlackBerry and Nokia they will have to come up with something a bit more radical than their current offerings.

Samsung

Android is the biggest selling OS by far, and Samsung dominate the Android market with devices  Samsung Galaxy S4 such as the Galaxy S4. Although theoretically Samsung also make Windows phones and Tizen / Bada devices we haven't seen much in the way of activity here.

Samsung's products fill every available market niche, but perhaps consumers are beginning to think that their products are rather boring. The Galaxy range of smartphones are mostly pretty much identical and are almost impossible to tell apart, leading to a range that is comprehensive but rather bland at the same time.

Samsung will probably continue to do the same sort of thing in 2014 that they did in 2013, but the key question is how will competitors differentiate themselves?

Nokia

Nokia showed signs of recovery in 2013 with some excellent high-end Lumia products and some  Nokia Lumia 1020 very good value cheaper Lumias and Asha phones which sold well. And of course the big news in that the Nokia handset business will become part of Microsoft which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your point of view.

The Lumia 1020 caused a stir with its awesome 41 megapixel camera, something that seemed to be two generations ahead of the competition when it was launched.

We expect Nokia to do well in the corporate market during 2014, taking market share from BlackBerry, and it will continue to claw back market share in the consumer market, especially with the high-end PureView camera phones.

BlackBerry

2013 was an awful year for the company formerly known as RIM with a massive sales slump,  BlackBerry Z10 stock write-offs and sliding sales. Can things get any worse? Well, yes.. they probably can.

It had taken over five years for BlackBerry to come up with a device that could actually challenge the iPhone in terms of user experience, but by the time the BlackBerry Z10 hit retailers it was irrelevant.

BlackBerry looks increasingly doomed, and the stench of death is likely to precipitate an even quicker decline in sales. We don't think that BlackBerry will survive as an independent company past the end of 2014 unless it pulls out of the handset business completely. Perhaps a Nokia-style spinoff of the smartphone business might help, but buyers are likely to be difficult to find.

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