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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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SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Service to Leave Beta in October 2021

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SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Friday that the company’s Starlink satellite internet network would come out of its open beta phase next month. That’s two months later than the August date Musk gave at Mobile World Congress, when he also said he expected the service to have “possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.”

The Starlink system calls for a constellation of nearly 12,000 satellites in low-Earth orbits that will beam continuous broadband internet service. A terminal costs $499 and there’s a $99 monthly fee for service. It opened its public beta test in October 2020, and Musk said in August that SpaceX had shipped 100,000 Starlink terminals, which includes a satellite dish and a Wi-Fi router, to users in 14 countries.

As the beta ends and more countries are able to get access to Starlink, that 100,000 number is likely to grow, although it’s hard to tell when it might reach the half-million mark that Musk predicted. Starlink’s internet service is planned to be sold directly to consumers in rural areas around the world, among other customers, and it’s touting 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload speeds.

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Xiaomi Announces the 11T, 11T Pro, and a Refreshed 11 Lite 5G NE

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Xiaomi has announced the launch of three new smartphones – the 11T, 11T Pro, and a refreshed 11 Lite 5G NE. The new smartphones come with new photography and videography features such as the “Cinemagic” mode on the Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro. The Xiaomi 11T Pro is the first smartphone to launch globally with the company’s 120W Xiaomi HyperCharge technology. The company claims that the technology will enable a 100% charge in just 17 minutes.

The smartphone also features the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 mobile platform with AI features, and a triple camera set up with a pro-grade 108MP wide-angle, 2x tele-macro, and a 120° ultra-wide-angle lens. You also get capabilities with one-click AI Cinema modes, 8K recording, HDR10+, and DisplayMate A+ rated 6.67-inches FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED that is equipped with TrueColor and Dolby Vision. The smartphone also comes with Reading Mode 3.0 and dual speakers powered by Harman Kardon.

The Xiaomi 11T comes with Cinemagic mode and features a high-resolution triple camera, along with a suite of AI-powered tools to boost creativity and productivity. The Xiaomi 11T also comes with a triple camera setup, featuring a 108MP high-resolution wide-angle, 120° ultra-wide angle, and 2x telemacro camera. The smartphone combines this with its one-click AI cinema modes to distill the tricks of professional cinematographers such as Time Freeze, Night Time-Lapse, Magic Zoom, and other types of complicated shots into just a single click while the faintest of sounds is brought to life in cinematic fashion with Audio Zoom.

Its 6.67-inches 120Hz flat AMOLED display equally delivers HDR10+ with stunning sharpness and crystal clarity, over 1 billion colours, a smorgasbord of eye care features, and up to 480Hz touch sampling rate. The phone is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 1200-Ultra chipset, a massive 5000mAh battery, and 67W wired turbo-charging that gets to 100% in only 36 minutes.

The Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE features an ultra-thin and lightweight body, measuring a mere 6.81mm and weighing 158g. The design is further accentuated by a razor-thin 1.88mm on both top and side bezels, as well as four choices of stylish colours. While Truffle Black, Bubblegum Blue, and Peach Pink are making a return, Xiaomi is adding a brand-new colour called Snowflake White, which is a matte and frosted white.

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HONOR Launches HONOR Dubai HUB in the United Arab Emirates

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HONOR has announced the opening of HONOR Dubai Hub that is located at the Dubai Airport Free Zone. This will be the company’s first distribution center in the Middle East. The facility will be dedicated for the regional market to develop intelligent terminal product sales business, serves as a distribution hub, and plays a vital role for deliveries across the East and Central Africa region.

The new warehouse will enable HONOR to swiftly deliver its complete portfolio of smart products to users from a closer and more convenient location. Moreover, it will help to strengthen the company’s distribution network and the availability of HONOR’s cutting-edge products across the Middle East and Africa.

The new HONOR Dubai Hub marks another significant and concrete milestone in HONOR’s regional growth and expansion strategy. It’s expected that the newly established distribution center will cover around 60% of finished products deliveries across the Middle East and Africa region. The HONOR Dubai Hub comes as part of HONOR’s unwavering commitment to foster new and better ways to build an efficient, agile, and low-cost supply chain with its partners.

In response to the remarkable growth and as the volume and complexity of the business increases. Dubai Hub aims to become a multi-functional integrated warehouse to support multi-scene delivery of finished products, spare parts, e-commerce, retail and value-added services, providing customers with the ultimate delivery experience.

The UAE is a thriving center for technology, launching Honor Dubai Hub marks the gradual recovery of Honor’s supply capacity in MEA. As an international technology business, supported by a strong investor appetite, the launch of Honor Dubai HUB is another proof of Honor’s long-term commitment to provide personalized, world-class products to the Middle East customer base.

Despite the turbulence in the global economy, the Middle East telecoms market continued its rapid growth. Similarly, the pool of tech talent in the Middle East is growing very rapidly means HONOR can really accelerate its growth through expansion in the MEA region and reach even more customers. The launch is designed around the needs of regional users and helps HONOR easily approach new categories of users who are actively seeking out innovative and competitive smart terminal products to successfully scale their businesses.

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