2013 has begun, and the mobile industry is looking as much like a soap opera as ever. Despite Apple and Samsung viciously fighting it out in the courts, they’re both sitting pretty with a healthy market share. Meanwhile, HTC is still trying to gain traction with one foot in the Android world and the other in the Windows Phone world. RIM and Nokia are both fighting to ensure the security of their highly uncertain futures. Then we have the newer players, Huawei and ZTE nibbling at the toes of the Android incumbents. All the while, Motorola Mobility just wants everyone to know that it still exists.
As Tim Cook sits in his office contemplating the year gone by he has a heavy heart. Despite Apple’s huge profits, a few market analysts gave an AVOID rating on Apple stock simply because it wasn’t growing as quickly as anticipated. Even worse, Apple’s public image took a beating after its appalling Apple Maps release with iOS 6.
Mr. Cook resolves that his watch as Apple CEO will be marked not by exercising the company’s frustrations in the courts, but by pushing the company’s technology even further. He’ll make Sir Jony Ive create a whole new mobile operating system, doing away with skeuomorphic design, and Apple will spend some of its huge war chest on mapping the globe.
HTC CEO Peter Chou faces an intangible problem. HTC is a well-known brand, and has been around for a long time. So far, HTC has concentrated on mid- and lower-tier phones where conventional wisdom says there is the greatest potential for large volume sales, and has started to target the high end with “hero” devices like the One X and Windows Phone 8X. Despite this, the company still has haemorrhaged market share. What are they doing wrong?
HTC should resolve to turn things on their head and concentrate even more on high end devices, and create MORE phones to challenge the Samsung Galaxy and Nokia Lumia ranges. Not only that, but it should resolve to make both Windows 8 and Android tablets to further eat away at Samsung’s sales.
Nokia has been doing its best to get out of the spin it got itself in as iOS and Android came out of nowhere and left its Symbian platform in the dust. Having bet the farm on Windows Phone, the company is doing all it can to cut its losses and return the company to profitability.
Its problem is that Windows Phone has not yet gained the traction is needs – so will Nokia run out of time and money? CEO Stephen Elop (formally of Microsoft) says that Nokia’s plan B is to make sure plan A is “very successful”, so hopes of an Android toting Nokia are pretty remote at best.
In its favour, there are other things Nokia can do very well, like maps and cameras. Perhaps Stephen Elop might be making a New Year’s resolution to start producing devices other than smartphones? Executive Vice President of Design, Marko Ahtisaari has already hinted that time is being spent on designing a Windows tablet.
Samsung is sitting pretty in the mobile industry, having won the majority of market share 2012 and overtaken Nokia in mobile phone shipments. It has even diversified into putting Android on a camera. Is there anything the company can do wrong?
Given that Samsung also makes TV sets and other home entertainment systems, it’s best bet to fortify its position is to make a massive marketing blitz for Miracast enabled devices (Google’s open alternative to Apple’s Airplay).
Then we come to RIM. The Canadian stalwart has been visibly struggling for a while now. It has attempted to assuage doubts by promising big things from its BB10 operating system. For 2013, RIM’s obvious New Year resolution is to stay alive and deliver on its promises.
If it can do that, it has a fight on its hands with Windows Phone for the third place in the mobile phone world, while Android and iOS sit back and take bets on which will survive the dog fight!