Smartphone Market Grows 42.1% in 2Q 2012

According to market research firm IDC the smartphone market has seen 42.1% growth in the second quarter of 2012. Samsung leads the pack with 50.2 million devices sold, followed by Apple with 26 million handsets then Nokia, HTC and ZTE.

"Samsung and Apple have quickly become the global smartphone heavyweights though both employ somewhat different approaches to the market," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC. "Samsung employs a ‘shotgun’ strategy wherein many models are created that cover a wide range of market segments. Apple, in contrast, offers a small number of high-profile models. While both companies have expanded their geographic presence in pursuit of market share, the two companies will inevitably come into greater conflict as both try to generate additional gains."

Top five vendor trends

Samsung extended its lead over Apple during the second quarter, taking advantage of Apple’s release schedule and launching its flagship Galaxy S III. In addition, Samsung experienced continued success of its smartphone/tablet hybrid device, the Galaxy Note.

Apple posted an expected sequential decline last quarter, similar to years past. The company’s once-a-year release cycle usually results in two quarters of lower volumes leading up to the next-generation model introduction. Nonetheless, IDC noticed that Apple made significant inroads into new markets and segments, including smaller regional carriers and prepaid service providers.

Nokia smartphone business underwent another quarter of transition. Demand for Symbian and MeeGo units declined, though the company almost doubled its Windows Phone shipments from the previous quarter. “Nokia, however, has a long path to travel before it can reclaim previous volume levels and challenge Apple and Samsung for smartphone supremacy,“ said IDC.

HTC rebounded from its struggles in the two previous quarters to reclaim the number 4 spot in the smartphone vendor rankings. Its relatively strong performance in the Asia/Pacific region allowed it to climb back up the rank order as did the correction of its channel inventory issues.

“The company’s streamlined portfolio means future share gains will be predicated upon the success of its One products,“ forecast IDC.

ZTE climbed into the smartphone Top 5 for the first time thanks primarily to shipments of its lower-cost entry-level smartphones in China, where it’s based. However, the vendor has also grown its international smartphone sales, in the U.S. (with white labelled products) and Latin America. Moving forward the lack of brand recognition might however be an issue for the vendor, explained IDC.

Strategy Analytics: OEM Embedded Nav to Reach 56m Units in 2019 (Exclusive Podcast Interview)

Research firm Strategy Analytics published last week a new report that forecast the embedded navigation market to quadruple between 2011 and 2019. GPS Business News interviewed with John Canali and Richard Robinson co-writers of the report.

The research firm has a positive forecast for the market, expecting 56 million embedded navigation systems sold annually at the end of the forecast period.

At the regional level they expect Europe and the United States to remain the largest markets for embedded navigation at the end of the forecast period. Even if China has become the largest car market, factory fitted navigation will only be offered on a limited number of cars, partly due to the fact most Chinese will be first time car buyers.

When it comes to changes happening in the market Canali and Robinson believe that tier one suppliers (such as Continental, Denso, Harman, etc.), who originally were the only navigation vendors to OEMs, have been first attacked by the like of Garmin and TomTom and are now likely to suffer from Apple and Google as more and more services are operated in the cloud.

They however believe that Tier one still have an advantage of working in an automotive environment and being able to deliver automotive grade products unlike web giants.

Listen to the full podcast below:

80% of Electric Cars Expected with Advanced Telematics by 2017

By 2017, 80% of plug-in electric vehicles will come with advanced telematics systems installed, according to a recent study from cleantech market intelligence firm Pike Research.

Pike Research differentiates advanced telematics systems – that offer services such as live traffic, weather, streaming content, and cloud computing-based applications – from basic systems offering simple data connections for emergency services, charging station locations, and remote diagnostics/vehicle monitoring.

“Early adopters of PEVs worldwide tend to be tech-savvy and more affluent than the average vehicle purchaser — a combination that will help grow interest in the more advanced connected vehicle telematics packages,” said senior analyst Dave Hurst.

“Additionally, many automobile manufacturers are recognizing that including connected vehicle telematics in the early years of PEV retailing helps consumers recognize the value of the vehicle. Indeed, it is notable that the first mass market PEVs (Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and Toyota Prius Plug-in) all come with connected vehicle telematics for three years as part of their base purchase price.”

The global market for electric vehicle telematics will reach $1.4 billion annually by 2017, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.

Dying Aftermarket Car Radio Business?

IMS Research, a subsidiary of market research group IHS predicts that the global revenue from aftermarket car radio sales (one ot two DIN head units) will decline from $6.1 billion in 2011 to $3.2 billion in 2018.

The North American and Western European markets for aftermarket radio (audio/audio video/ navigation) sales will decline from $1.7 billion in 2011 to $781 million in 2018.

IMS Research believes that the biggest threat to the aftermarket is that vehicle manufacturers are “doing away with the traditional rectangular hole in the dash board for consumers to install an aftermarket product.“

“Furthermore, as infotainment head units become more integrated with other vehicle systems (such as the HVAC controls), the fitting of an aftermarket head unit requires a specialist and becomes a more expensive undertaking,“ wrote IMS Research.

IMS Research also indicates that competition will be harder including on entry level cars. “Even on lower cost vehicles, which may feature the traditional head unit slot for a longer period of time, manufacturers are offering low cost navigation units and even fitting smart phone based dumb terminals, such as on the Toyota IQ in Europe.“

“The presence of such advanced OEM systems will mean innovation from aftermarket suppliers will have to be strong in order to convince customers to replace the existing systems in their cars.“

MapQuest: 7.2M App Downloads in 2011

MapQuest today published an interesting infographics that, among otherss provide some metrics on its mobile footprint: 7.2 million app downloads across iPhone and Android, a market share of 23.4 percent of all map users in the U.S. and 14.1 million unique mobile visitors per month.

See details below:

Frost & Sullivan Foresees Revenue Opportunity in Automotive Apps

According to a new report by Frost & Sullivan, there is a revenue opportunity for vehicle manufacturers to deliver applications to their customers if they can develop the right eco-system.

According to the report, “Smartphone interface technologies such as Ford SYNC Applink, Nokia MirrorLink and several other concepts have given VMs the confidence to pursue smartphone and apps, not as a threat but as a revenue generator and crowd puller. With all this in place and the advent of touch screen and advanced voice interfaces inside the car, the time is ideal for VMs to leverage these drivers and make a revenue case.“

However the market research firm pinpoints an important challenge on the road to app success. “The biggest challenge that remains is that of Vehicle Manufacturers (VMs) allowing previously tier 2 software providers, handset makers and app companies more power than before,” remarks the author of the report, analyst Krishna Jayaraman. “Considering the tight control VMs exert over their supply chain, this will be the biggest block to overcome, if VMs hope to make money out of apps and smartphone interfaces.”

The key point for Frost & Sullivan is that car makers need to create an ecosystem of developers and apps that they can host inside the car through either a common standard like the Nokia MirrorLink or through a proprietary standard like the Jaguar Connect and View, developed with RealVNC.

“Either way the need of the hour is not a strict OEM, tier 1 or tier 2 relationships,” explains Jayaraman. “Instead, what is required is an ecosystem approach where every partner adds value to the overall offer.”

Waze Hits 10 Million Users Mark

Social driving application Waze has reached 10 million users at the end of 2011, up from 2 million one year ago. “Wazers“ have been driving over 1.7 Billion kilometers this year.

The app gained 1.5 million additional users in December alone. 2011 has definitely been a good year for Waze which raised $30 million in funding (making a total of over $55 million raised thus far).

Despite that waze remains still relatively far away from reaching a critical mass. Israel is the only country where it has reached this point. France, Italy and the United States are the other countries where the application is gaining traction.

In 2011 the company has started interesting partnerships with U.S. broadcasters providing them free crowdsourced traffic information against visibility. In the future this type of partnership could be a source of revenue; however today the whole business model of the company is quite unclear.

54% Developers Include LBS in Mobile Apps

Fifty-four percent of developers working on apps for mobile devices are including location based and mapping services into those apps, according to a survey of over 400 mobile developers recently released by market research firm Evans Data.

"Naturally location based services are in demand and search and mapping are understandably the top capability developers incorporate, but we were surprised to see a lot of weakness in both geo fencing and advertising — areas where there has been a lot of media interest but little from developers,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp.

The survey looked at twelve different types of location-based capabilities and asked developers to rate the importance of each. Advertising was rated least important by developers.

The Evans Data Mobile Development Survey is published twice a year and measures the adoption patterns, intentions and usage of technologies by developers working on apps for mobile devices.

Analysis

This report pretty much confirms what everybody knows, mobile developers massively use location-related features in their apps, however those are very basic LBS services. It explains the success of Google Maps APIs, a straightforward option to implement local search and map display.

ABI Forecasts 210m Connected Cars by 2016

According to a new report from ABI Research the installed base of embedded and hybrid connected car systems is expected to grow from 45 million at the end of 2011 to 210 million by 2016.

ABI distinguishes four different flavours of connected car implementations:

– Fully embedded OEM systems such as GM’s Onstar and BMW’s Connected Drive

– Embedded aftermarket solutions for vehicle tracking, road user charging and insurance

– Factory-installed hybrid systems such as Ford SYNC

– Hybrid aftermarket solutions from Pioneer and Kenwood offering Pandora Internet radio via smartphone integration

ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte feels that “the prospects for the connected car look good, with growing interest from a range of stakeholders.”

According to ABI Research several factors are fueling this growth. After repeated delays Brazil’s stolen vehicle regulation and Europe’s and Russia’s eCall mandates are now clearing the last hurdles towards implementation.

In addition, Many governments across the globe are looking at road user charging systems to more fairly tax their citizens while at the same time managing congested roads.

Furthermore, Insurance companies are showing real interest in car connectivity in an attempt to rationalize and differentiate their industry.

ABI also notes that car manufacturers are keen to implement predictive maintenance and use connectivity as a communication channel with the end user. Other examples include car sharing initiatives with ZIPCAR’s imminent IPO and BMW’s and Sixt AG DriveNow joint venture.

Berg: PND Market to Peak at 42m Units in 2011

According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, global shipments of Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) will peak at about 42 million units in 2011 and gradually decline thereafter.

The market research firm forecasts that “Growing shipments in markets such as Brazil, China, India and Russia are not likely to compensate for the decline in Europe and North America.”

“In mature markets where the installed base of PNDs is already high, the device category is facing increasing competition from smartphones and low-cost in-dash navigation systems. However, aftermarket navigation systems will be the largest segment for several years to come and many customers, especially in Europe and North America, are likely to use more than one navigation capable device for different occasions in the future.”

Berg Insight forecasts that more than 80 percent of PNDs shipped worldwide in 2015 will have integrated cellular connectivity. The firm also estimates that replacement devices now account for about one third of sales in mature markets.

“Customers looking for a new PND typically want a larger screen and new services such as traffic information or speed camera warnings,” said André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight. “Vendors need to communicate the advantages of connected services, such as better traffic information, in order to educate potential customers and stimulate demand.”