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Slowing Innovation is the Key Reason for Declining Smartphone Sales

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Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019, totaling 373 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. Despite its absence from the U.S., Huawei maintained its ranking as the No. 2 smartphone vendor worldwide and continued to reduce the gap with Samsung.

“Demand for premium smartphones remained lower than for basic smartphones,* which affected brands such as Samsung and Apple that have significant stakes in high-end smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “In addition, demand for utility smartphones* declined as the rate of upgrading from feature phones to smartphones has slowed, given that 4G feature phones give users great advantages at a lower cost.”

Slowing innovation in flagship smartphones and rising prices continued to extend replacement cycles. The two countries that sell the most smartphones, namely the U.S. and China, saw sales decline by 15.8% and 3.2%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2019.

In the first quarter of 2019, Samsung retained the top spot in worldwide smartphone sales achieving 19.2% market share (see Table 1). Huawei achieved the highest year-over-year growth among the world’s top five, growing 44.5% and smartphone sales totaling 58.4 million units.

Sales of Huawei smartphones grew in all regions. “Huawei did particularly well in two of its biggest regions, Europe and Greater China, where its smartphone sales grew by 69% and 33%, respectively,” said Mr. Gupta. Huawei’s continued dominance in Greater China, where it commanded a 29.5% market share, helped it secure the No. 2 global smartphone vendor ranking in the first quarter of 2019.

Table 1: Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q19 (Thousands of Units)

Vendor1Q19
(Units)
1Q19
Market Share (%)
1Q18
(Units)
1Q18
Market Share (%)
Samsung71,621.119.278,564.820.5
Huawei58,436.215.740,426.710.5
Apple44,568.611.954,058.914.1
OPPO29,602.17.928,173.17.3
Vivo27,368.27.323,243.26.1
Others141,405.237.9159,037.141.5
Total373,001.4100.0383,503.9100.0

Due to rounding, numbers may not add up precisely to the totals shown. Source: Gartner (May 2019)

“Unavailability of Google apps and services on Huawei smartphones, if implemented, will upset Huawei’s international smartphone business which is almost half of its worldwide phone business. Not the least it brings apprehension among buyers, limiting Huawei’s growth in the near term,” said Mr. Gupta.

Despite a decline in its smartphone sales of 8.8% in the first quarter of 2019, Samsung remained the No. 1 smartphone vendor worldwide. “Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone portfolio, which received a good response. However, its impact was limited as Samsung only started shipping the S10 at the end of the first quarter,” said Gupta. “Samsung also strengthened its midtier and entry-tier smartphone ranges with a refreshed A series and J series and the newly introduced M series, but aggressive competition from Chinese manufacturers limited their impact.”

Sales of Apple iPhones totaled 44.6 million units in the first quarter of 2019, a decline of 17.6% year over year. “The price cut for iPhones across markets helped drive up demand but wasn’t enough to restore growth in the first quarter,” said Mr. Gupta. “Apple is facing longer replacement cycles as users struggle to see enough value benefits to justify replacing existing iPhones.”

Vivo beat Xiaomi to claim the No. 5 spot in the first quarter of 2019. Vivo sold 27.4 million smartphones during the quarter. Xiaomi sold 27.2 million. The latest features, such as in-display fingerprint scanner, slider camera, fast charging, and almost bezel-less display, helped Vivo achieve double-digit smartphone sales growth in the first quarter of 2019. “However, the company could do much better by expanding the range of its entry-tier smartphones and selling them in emerging Asia/Pacific markets,” said Gupta.

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Events

Channel Summit MENA Celebrates Innovation and Excellence in Consumer Technology

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Channel Summit MENA, the premier B2B event for consumer technology in the MENA region, is thrilled to announce the winners of its prestigious annual awards. The awards are a highlight of the Summit, which operates on an exclusive ‘invitation-only’ basis, ensuring a gathering of senior-level executives and decision-makers from the industry. Arabian Reseller and Gadget Voize were the official media partners of the event.

“We are proud to host these awards and celebrate the incredible achievements of these companies that work in this sector,” said Farouk Hemraj, Founder of ChannelHub, the organisers of Channel Summit MENA. “The Channel Summit MENA awards are not just a recognition of success but also a testament to the innovative spirit that drives the consumer tech industry forward.”

This year’s awards are set to recognize the outstanding achievements across a range of categories, including Best Vendor in various categories such as Audio, Entertainment, Gaming & Computing, Lifestyle, IT Peripherals & Accessories, Mobile Product, and Electronics & IoT; Best Distributor Awards covering segments like Broadline Distributor, Lifestyle, Mobile Accessories, IT Peripherals & Accessories, Electronics & SDA (small domestic appliances), and Gaming; Best Product Launch Awards for UAE, Saudi, Egypt, and GCC regions and, for the first time this year, special recognition for the Best E-waste initiative.

Each category has been carefully selected to highlight the diverse range of products and services that are driving the consumer tech and IT markets forward. The awards celebrate the creativity, product attractiveness, and overall performance of the participating companies.

The winners were determined through a live voting process by buyers attending the event, ensuring a fair and transparent selection. The criteria for shortlisting the awardees include a combination of product presentation, business potential, and team interaction during the event. This approach underscores Channel Summit MENA’s commitment to recognizing truly innovative and impactful contributions to the industry.

The full list of award winners includes:

Best vendor – Audio: Marshall

Best vendor – Entertainment: GoPro

Best vendor – Gaming & Computing: HP/HyperX

Best vendor – Lifestyle: Riley Scooters

Best vendor – IT Peripherals & Accessories: Logitech

Best vendor – Mobile Accessories: Belkin

Best vendor – Electronics & IoT: Nutricook

Best Distributor – Broadline Distributor: Redington

Best Distributor – Lifestyle: Shift

Best Distributor – Mobile products: Lime Concepts

Best Distributor – IT Peripherals & Accessories: Monster

Best Distributor – Electronics & SDA: Al Futtaim

Best Distributor – Gaming & Computing: Geekay

Best Product Launch UAE: Nothing Phone 2 Launch with Sharaf DG

Best Product Launch GCC: The CASIO G-SHOCK GBD-200-9ER Launch with Al Seeb Technical Est. (SARCO) Ltd

Best Product Launch GCC: The SONY INZONE Launch with Store 974

Best Product Launch GCC: SAMSUNG S24 Launch with Best Electronics

Best E-waste initiative: E-WASTE INITIATIVE – eXtra

Channel Summit MENA, which took place from 19 to 21 February 2024, brought together industry leaders from across 16 countries to celebrate excellence and innovation in the consumer technology and IT sectors. This unique event format offers a blend of pre-scheduled meetings, keynote presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities, aimed at fostering growth and collaboration in the tech and IT channels.

Hemraj added, “We have brought back the format that was a winning formula behind our DISTREEE events and we have had overwhelming feedback from the community – both vendors and retailers. We are pleased to add value to the sector with focused events like Channel Summit MENA.”

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Creator Tools

Razer Launches Seiren V3 Chroma and Seiren V3 Mini

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Razer has launched two new additions to its audio lineup: the Razer Seiren V3 Chroma and the Seiren V3 Mini. These microphones are a fusion of Razer’s iconic aesthetics with cutting-edge functionality, tailored to be the centrepiece of any gaming setup, streaming studio, or content creation space.

“We are thrilled to launch the Seiren V3 Chroma and Seiren V3 Mini, showcasing Razer merging top-tier audio quality with the dynamic flair of Razer Chroma RGB,” says Nick Bourne, Head of Razer’s Mobile, Console & Streaming Division. “These microphones are designed to cater to the multifaceted demands of modern content creators, offering unparalleled customization, control, and clarity that truly stands out.”

The Razer Seiren V3 Chroma sets a new standard for USB microphones in the gaming world, blending impeccable audio clarity with a visually stunning RGB experience. With its Stream and Game Reactive Lighting, powered by Razer Chroma RGB, it elevates the art of showmanship, responding to in-game events and stream alerts with vibrant lighting effects.

The heart of the Seiren V3 Chroma is its Supercardioid Condenser Mic, which captures every nuance of the user’s voice with an exceptional level of detail, backed by a tighter pickup pattern that effectively minimizes background noise. Whether communicating with teammates or engaging with an audience, the Seiren V3 Chroma ensures every word is heard with crystal clarity.

The Seiren V3 Chroma’s Multi-Function Tap-to-Mute Sensor is more than just a button – it’s an intuitive command centre at your fingertips. With a simple tap, users can control audio output including mute/unmute, adjust lighting, and toggle the microphone’s digital gain limiter or check mic monitoring levels with lighting indicators, ensuring a flawless audio experience even during the most intense live streams or gaming sessions.

The Seiren V3 Mini builds on the foundation of its predecessor by incorporating additional functionalities into its compact form factor. New advancements include an intuitive tap-to-mute sensor with an LED indicator that provides instant control and feedback, onboard audio mixing via Razer Synapse, and an improved bit sampling rate for superior audio performance. This makes the Seiren V3 Mini an optimal solution for streamers and gamers seeking high-quality audio without the bulk.

For content creators and gamers alike, background noise can be a persistent challenge. The 14mm Condenser Mic at its core is tailored for clear, detailed voice capture, especially effective in higher frequency ranges. The Seiren V3 Mini’s Supercardioid Pickup Pattern expertly isolates the speaker’s voice, ensuring that only the intended audio is captured. The addition of a Tap-to-Mute Sensor with an LED Indicator provides instant control and feedback, a crucial feature for live streaming or during heated in-game communication.

Razer Seiren V3 Chroma is priced at $129.99, while the Razer Seiren V3 Mini is priced at $59.99.

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Gadgets

Samsung Launches the Galaxy Fit3 in the UAE

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Samsung Gulf Electronics has announced the local availability of the Galaxy Fit3, its newest fitness tracker that democratizes Samsung’s advanced health monitoring technology, inspiring everyone to feel their best and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The Galaxy Fit3 is Samsung’s latest wearable device and boasts an aluminium body with a wider display, allowing users to keep track of their health and wellness data — from daily workouts to peaceful sleep — straight from their wrists, around the clock.

“In the Gulf region’s wellness landscape, there’s a growing demand for comprehensive health insights. Catering to this trend, Samsung has been committed to providing users with advanced health monitoring tools, exemplified by its latest fitness tracker, the Galaxy Fit3. It reflects our dedication to providing accessible resources for everyday wellness, inspiring everyone to reach their best selves.” said Fadi Abu Shamat, Head of the Mobile eXperience Division, Samsung Gulf Electronics.

The Galaxy Fit3 is designed with an aluminium body and a 1.6-inch display, 45% wider than the previous model, making it easier for users to check detailed insights at a glance. It’s also lightweight and sleek with a comfortable fit, making it ideal for everyday use around the clock. Users can incorporate the Galaxy Fit3 into their lifestyles with ease thanks to its long battery life that can last up to 13 days. They can personalize their tracker and make it more stylish by selecting their favourite watch face from over 100 presets or setting their photos as the background. Users can also effortlessly mix and match bands to complement their fashion and daily routines with a one-click button.

Samsung has always prioritized sleep for better wellness, empowering users to understand their patterns and build healthier habits with advanced sleep monitoring tools. This commitment is reflected in the Galaxy Fit3. Users can comfortably wear their Galaxy Fit3 throughout the night while it tracks their sleep patterns, even detecting snoring and monitoring blood oxygen levels to provide more detailed measurements. Based on individual sleep patterns, the Galaxy Fit3 provides users with personalized Sleep Coaching with meaningful insights that help them more intuitively understand their sleep, leading them to make positive changes.

During the day, the Galaxy Fit3 allows users to keep an eye on their daily activities. Users can track over 100 types of workouts anytime, anywhere and review their exercise records easily, encouraging them to stay motivated to achieve their goals. The Galaxy Fit3 features a 5ATM rating and IP68-rated water and dust resistance, meaning users can enjoy outdoor activities in a variety of environments, as well. The Galaxy Fit3 gives users an even deeper understanding of their overall health by delivering health metrics that include heart rate and stress levels.

To provide users with a safety net, safety features, including Fall Detection and Emergency SOS, have been newly added to the Galaxy Fit3. When an abnormal fall is detected, the Galaxy Fit3 gives users the option to call emergency services right away to get medical support promptly. When users are in an emergency, they can send an SOS immediately by pressing the side button five times.

Galaxy Fit3 users can also access an array of capabilities within the connected Samsung Galaxy ecosystem for an enhanced wearable experience. Users can utilize the Galaxy Fit3 as a controller right on their wrist, not only as a remote control for their smartphone camera when taking photos and setting timers with Camera Remote, but also to play and control media on their connected device. For a seamless experience, when users don’t want to be disturbed or get ready for bed, they can automatically sync modes between their Galaxy Fit3 and paired smartphone. If a smartphone is misplaced, users can easily locate it with the Find My Phone feature on the Galaxy Fit3, or vice versa.

The Galaxy Fit3 is now available across samsung.com, Samsung stores and select retailers in three colour options including grey, silver, and pink gold.

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