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OS differentiation key to smartphone boom in 2013

Posted: 14 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphones? LTE? OS?

Entry to mid-level smartphones are gaining popularity as component cost decreases and 3G and LTE networks are becoming more widespread. However, software and cloud applications will prove an important area to master if manufacturers want a leg up on the competition, according to a recent report from TrendForce.

In 2013, global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 876 million units, a 24.3 per cent increase C more than 30 per cent of which will be shipments of Chinese smartphone brands. The top five global leaders in the smartphone industry are Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, HTC, and Nokia; Samsung and Apple alone account for 45 per cent of global shipments. Chinese brands Huawei, Coolpad, and ZTE have made it into the top ten, pushing out BlackBerry maker RIM.

TrendForce indicates smartphone industry growth is slowing, as next year's forecast is well below the over 50 per cent growth that has been shown by smartphones in the past few years. As such, makers are looking for ways to increase profits. Hardware remains important in the smartphone war, but software and cloud apps are the new key to success.

The flexibility of Google's Android platform allows manufacturers to get creative with software and hardware integration, resulting in more product differentiation. It has already seen an increased market of about 70 per cent in 2012.

Apple, under the guidance of Tim Cook, has seen roughly the same market share in 2013 as in the previous year C around 18 per cent. As for Microsoft, its recently released Windows 8 platform already has takers. In addition to long-time strategic partner Nokia, Samsung and HTC have also chosen the Windows 8 OS for new products released in late 2012. As more manufacturers choose Microsoft's new platform, market share is forecast to increase to 8.7% in 2013.

TrendForce believes if the Windows 8 OS is able to take at least 10% of the market, Microsoft's position on the smartphone market will be solidified. In 2013, the software giant may adopt its tablet strategy for the smartphone market and introduce its own devices, making the most of its new platform by calling the shots on the hardware specs.

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