HTC has faced many setbacks, disasters and bitter disappointments since its handset unit performance started missing projections around Christmas 2011. But May 2014 might have been the most devastating blow yet. That is because HTC had supposedly reacted to miserable sales declines in 2012 and 2013 by revamping its handset design and marketing strategies. Both the product and how it is sold were changed to finally staunch the bleeding by spring of 2014.
The messaging app market has really started to heat up after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and after Alibaba s investment in the far more obscure Tango granted it a $1 billion valuation. As popular entries like Viber, WhatsApp and Tango have found big strategic partners, the number of stand-alone messaging apps with more than 100 million registered users has dwindled. BBM and Kik are among the most notable indie messaging apps left looking for sugar daddies and their futures will hinge upon whether they can show real potential to generate revenue. That s why BBM is now at such a crucial juncture: It is dipping its toes in the advertising market for the first time.
Florian Mueller, the leading phone patent maven, writes about a fascinating new twist in the handset industry patent wars. Mueller has in the past been harshly critical of Samsung s own royalty demands but now he finds himself aghast that Apple is demanding a staggering $40 fee for smartphones and tablets using a suite of five Apple software patents.
In Barcelona s Mobile World Conference, there was something that the industry has not seen in three years: Buzz about HTC. In particular, there was speculation that HTC was gearing to launch a 13-megapixel camera phone under $300 in Asia. According to GSMArena, Chinese media has now pegged the launch price of the HTC Desire 816 at 1,800 yuan, which comes out to just a bit under $300. Diving this low just might be the shock therapy that HTC needs. The old strategy of pricing premium models above $650 and budget phones around $500 stopped working a long time ago.
How is Nokia going to explain the differences between its Asha feature phone application system, the Windows Phone 8 app system and the new Asha/Windows/Android app system to consumers in emerging markets? How many people comprehend the jungle of software choices that Nokia has now created for models aimed at entry-level buyers people who in many cases have never owned a smartphone?
Telegram Messenger is the blockbuster app of the moment as backlash against the Facebook-WhatsApp merger gathers steam. Anti-WhatsApp sentiment has helped the obscure Russian app to become a top 5 iPhone download in 64 countries as WhatsApp slips. In the classic messaging app bellwether market of Spain, WhatsApp has dropped to No. 20 on the iPhone download chart as Telegram has soared to No. 1.
This has been an illuminating month for the mobile application business. Based on its daily download volume (as high as 2 million) and simple banner ad format, Flappy Bird has been estimated to make roughly $50,000 a day. Just recently, a hacker revealed that Supercell is making more than $5 million a day from its two mobile apps, Clash of Clans and Hay Day. According to our industry sources in Helsinki, Clash of Clans is roughly twice as profitable as Hay Day, which would mean that the daily global gross revenue from Clash of Clans alone tops $3 million a day.
I m still trying to wrap my mind around the trippy interview HTC s chairman gave to Bloomberg this week. The comments made by Cher Wang can only be compared to Ed Zander s legendary obliviousness in the fateful autumn of 2006 as he argued that betting everything on expanding the RAZR portfolio was the best route for Motorola. What HTC seems to believe is that it can rebound by a.) Improving marketing, b.) Launching smartwatches and c.) Praying that the upcoming HTC M8 will click.
Never mind Bing and Xbox. What the heck is Microsoft s new CEO going to do about its feature phone unit that is churning out 200 million low-end handsets a year? The dilemma here is that Nokia s handset unit has two very disparate parts: feature phones and smartphones.
HTC and BlackBerry each reported dismal Christmas-quarter results but they re both terminal losers. Nokia turned in a shocking sequential smartphone unit decline in Q4 but that s another vendor in trouble. We saw LG report a surprise loss in its mobile division but that company is also a bit wobbly. Smartphone behemoth Samsung even delivered a sequential handset sales decline last quarter but, umm, maybe that was because Apple did so spectacularly well?