When advertising for mobiles gets nasty

After a few years of armisitice camera are back at the heart of the fight in mobile devices. Since 2009, mobile makers have focused on processing power, 4G and both size and resolution of screens. Now the battle gets nasty with comparative advertising on the camera quality.

Nokia Comparative ad

Nokia Comparative ad

According to this ad, Lumia 925 gets some pretty good imaging compared to iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4.

It is even trickier because of the very restrictive laws in Europe on comparative advertising. Nokia seems to get some advance on its device imaging capabilities. Let’s see if they can get some market share out of it. After all, camera is the second most used feature on a mobile after the phone.

Ikea commoditizing SmartTVs

Ikea is entering the SmartTV space as it has entered the washing machine market. You buy your piece of furniture from Ikea, why not buy the TV set that goes into the TV furniture?  What is really impressive with Ikea is that their TV are SmartTVs. ikea

On paper, they can easily compare with sets from Samsung, LG, Philips, etc. Without disclosing top secrets, Ikea TV sets are manufactured by TCL (Thomson brand) and they are using Netrange a German service aggregator for their portal.

In a though market, the real threat for manufacturers is this kind of new entrant. Ikea doesn’t care to have only 3/4% margin on TV sets. These TV sets will drive customers into its store where it will be easy to sell them items with a higher margin. Ikea TVs are there for good. Now it’s up to the weakest TV makers to re invent themselves or to disappear.

ikea2

An Android phone or a Samsung ?

Samsung has a problem : it depends too much on Android

Google has a problem : it depends too much on Samsung

Android accounts now 70% of smartphone sales and Samsung devices accounts 70% of Android. Google is trying to push other manufacturers not to say it is pushing hard its device device arm Motorola.  On the other side, Samsung is not betting on Windows Phone and has dropped its proprietary Bada platform. So what’s cooking? Samsung will apparently launch a few Tizen phones on the marke thi year.

And what is Tizen? Don”t be mistaken, Tizen is not a Samsung proprietary OS like Bada. Tizen is the merge of Intel efforts (previoulsy Meego) and Operators works (LiMo) in a fully open source initiative. Unlike Android, there won’t be one company in the driving seat but Operators (Vodafone, NTT, Orange,…) and Manufacturers (Intel, Samsung, ZTE, …).

> Tizen association website

We can imagine Samsung will customize its Tizen devices with the same Touchwiz UI it is using on Android. Hence consumers will hardly notice the difference.

Tizen screenshots

Tizen screenshots

Samsung with operator backing sounds very promising. Google seems to have now a bigger problem. Now the question will be on the application side. Will Tizen have enough applications to compete with the other platforms?

Don’t count Nokia out of the smartphone playground

Nokia has done a very good job lately.

First Nokia is now the dominant player of the Windows Phone segment with a market share of 59% of the Windows Phone segment after just 9 months. HTC and Samsung are left far behind with a market share of 21% and 13% respectively.

> FierceMobile article

The Nokia Windows Phone portfolio is wide starting at a 200€ retail price without subsidy for a Lumia 610. This mid range product, or entry level for a smartphone, is a very good one. Ive tested it for almost one month as my primary device and the user experience is really good. To achieve this price point Nokia has compromised on the Application Processor, a ‘small’ 800MHz.

But the experience is still smooth and great. You just get some disappointment when you cannot use some games or apps like Skype as they cannot run on the device. You get a message in the MarketPlace that this application doesn’t run on your device. This small disappointment is however far better than an application freezing your device. And after all, you know this device isn’t the most costly and powerful.  The device comes with a free sat nav software that you can use off line, Nokia apps on public transports, image processing, etc.

On the other hand, Windows Phone is lagging after the other OS with 2.7% market share of the smartphone market but dynamics are there:

  • Nokia Lumia product range is very good
  • Windows Phone is a very good OS
  • Nokia has achieved in less than a year to be the dominant player in the Windows Phone segment
  • Windows Phone has grown 300%+ in 8 months when Android growth is stalling.

If no other manufacturer competes with Nokia, Nokia will be synonymous of Windows Phone. In that case, Microsoft might have the temptation to buy out Nokia and become an integrated player like its XBOX console business.

Let’s wait for the new Lumia range (featuring WP 8) announcement at the beginning of September. It will give some hints at the future of Nokia and Windows Phone.

Google transforms it Nexus strategy into hero device portfolio strategy

With the acquisition of Motorola, Google needed to change its Nexus device strategy.

At major every software release of Android, Google picked up a vendor and worked with it on a hero device with the full Android experience (No UI on top). These devices were then branded Google Nexus by manufacturer X.

Now that Motorola is a Google company, suspicion is lurking around. Will Motorola get a competitive advantage of 3 to 6 months? It is not a big deal for Chinese makers like Huawei and ZTE but more of a showstopper for Samsung. And after all Samsung is the most successful Android powered manufacturer with its Galaxy portfolio.

Samsung Galaxy SIII

This Nexus portfolio is both a blessing and a curse: manufacturers will be able to launch devices with the latest Android release but at the time they won’t be able to customize the devices or put their own services on board.

With this new strategy Google succeeds in three ways:

  • Block customization of hero devices
  • Maintain the manufacturer momentum behind Android
  • Give time to Motorola to ramp up and try to overtake Samsung

Maybe its time for Samsung to start a new platform on its own beyond Tizien and Bada, and acquire an advanced mobile OS like RIM’s QNX.