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One XL is on the rise.

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HTC One.

The phone maker is still making its mark in Australia and is the No. 2 smartphone maker after Samsung, despite their recent financial woes, which saw profit slump 80% y-o-y.

It’s a good time for the Taiwanese maker in Australia (and China) who first emerged in 2010 with the first Android smartphones, and has kept momentum up, despite its recent earnings woes, falling sales and being surpassed by giant Samsung as top Android handet.

In Q2 2012, HTC shipped the second highest number of Android devices into the Australian smartphone market after Samsung, analysts IDC told SmartHouse.

The smartphone market globally (and locally) has been dubbed a “two horse race” between phone kings Apple and Samsung, capturing around 65% of all phone users between them.

Samsung accounts for around 45% of all Android handsets, and is now the No. 1 ‘Droid carrier, according to recent IDC figures.

But the relatively known Taiwanese player HTC is still very much in the smartphone race in OZ, and is ahead of fellow ‘Droids Motorola, LG and Sony.

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HTC Windows smarties

Analysts IDC would not give precise figures but told SmartHouse HTC “shipped a lot of units” and accounts for “less than” 20% of all smartphone shipments in the second quarter.

HTC’s continued ascension in the Aussie market has been driven by the high-spec One X and One XL handsets launched last quarter, says Aman Bajaj, IDC’s local market analyst.

Reception to their new flagship Android devices, which compete against Samsung’s Galaxy S III flagship, has been “positive” and should boost the HTC brand, says Bajaj.

“We expect HTC to gain further traction in the market, building on the momentum generated by the strong reception of it’s flagship One X product.”

The Aussie market is one of the company’s biggest outside of China, although growth appears to be struggling elsewhere, with sales falling by double digits since the start of the year. HTC also recently closed offices in Brazil and South Korea.

Established in 2006, HTC’s strength has traditionally been its lower selling price compared to other well established brands, while still offering pretty damn good devices. The 4G One XL released on June is generally recognised as one of the best smartphones available, featuring a HD touchscreen (1280 x 720), 1.5Ghz dual core processor and 8MP camera, and on par with IPhone 5.

Both Telstra and Optus have previously indicated HTC is a strong brand for them, both releasing a slew of devices on their network alongside the instantly recognisable iPhone and Galaxy S II, S III.

However, HTC is very much up against the new iPhone 5 and competition is heating up in the mobile space. But despite this, analysts expect HTC to give rivals a good run for their money.

 

Despite the iPhone 5 glitches with Maps, battery and iOS teething problems, IDC still say Apple are on top of their game,  with ‘5’ exceeding sales of the 4S, hitting 5 million on its first weekend on sale last month.

“In principal [the glitches], should help the competition but as a product, the iPhone 5 still sold record numbers and managed to break the previous iPhone 4S sales figures,” says Bajaj.

“But we don’t expect this {Apple Maps} to be a huge stumbling block for Apple as users can still work around the issue by downloading other 3rd party Apps or by accessing Google maps through web browsers.”

The Maps issue is not enough for Apple users to move to Android, but “it’s early days,” the analyst says.

The mobile shipment figures for this quarter (Q3) due out from various analysts soon could be telling of where the smartphone race is headed. Q4 will also be a “bumper quarter” in terms of sales, as a lot of consumers have held off from purchasing new smarties until the Christmas period.

And what of other Android advocate Motorola?

A lot of vendors were in a state of transition after Google took over Motorola, says Bajaj, noting the new Razr launched in Oz last week will give its line up a boost.

“Its good all Android vendors are launching new products” and its “exciting times” for consumers, he adds.

Windows, Windows, Windows

 

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 OS, to be released later this month, may be able to take marketshare from the leading two horses, Apple and Samsung.

However uptake will be “gradual” so don’t be expecting a Microsoft takeover overnight, the IDC analyst says.

Nokia, HTC and Samsung are the only makers that have produced W8 devices so far, and luring consumers from OS darlings Apple iOS and Android will take time.

Nokia Lumia devices secured “decent” uptake, notes Bajaj, and although admits the devices are “amazing”, it’s all about education as the channel and consumers still enthralled with Apple and Samsung.

“Microsoft have deep pockets but its all about creating mindshare in the market, and taking eyeballs away from iOS and Android,” says the mobile analyst.

Windows 8 compatible tablets and PCs may drive uptake of the new Microsoft ecosystem and could be good news for the smartphone end, and will definitely hold appeal for some consumers and the enterprise space.

SmartHouse has been told of several organisations looking at Windows 8 for company usage, a move that would definitely make sense as the majority of companies still run Windows software.

But there are other fringe players who could be making a rebound in the mobile market, in the form of former corporate darling BlackBerry who are due to release their BB10 OS early next year, and may be able to gain some marketshare, as early reviews looks positive, notes Bajaj.

But for now, Apple’s iOS and Android will continue to take the lead.

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