Smartphone Market Powers On As Mobile Takes A Dive

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The Australian Smartphone market that is set to see an explosion of new Google Android devices as well as a potential new Apple iPhone is set to be the hottest mobile category this year according to research group IDC. They are also tipping price cuts for the Apple iPhone.

The Smartphone segment will grow by 7.6% Y/Y according to IDC’s Q4 2008 Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
They have also said that overall the Australian declined 16.1% year-on-year (Y/Y) to just under 2.98 million units in 2008.
“The majority of the Y/Y decline in Q4 2008 was due to the unsustainable boom caused by Telstra’s CDMA to Next G migration in Q4 2007, the actual effect of the slowing economy is less significant at this stage,” said Mark Novosel, Market Analyst, Telecommunications at IDC.


As Australia’s economy teeters on the edge of recession, the high-end of the converged device market is poised to take a hit throughout 2009, however, more affordable mid-range converged devices should perform strongly as consumer demand for converged devices remains strong.


“Converged devices available around the $49 per month price-point should do well in 2009. It’s difficult to imagine anyone giving up their mobile phone despite growing negativity in the economy, however, it is likely some consumers on higher plans will start cutting back on their mobile spend when it’s time to renew their contract,” adds Novosel.
 
Despite flow-on effects from the decline of the Australian dollar in the second half of 2008, resulting in increased device prices and decreased discounting, there is a growing portfolio of capable mid-range converged devices to tempt consumers.

 

The iPhone 3G hype from 2008 has largely faded, with shipments falling 26.9% Q/Q. Carriers around the world are cutting iPhone prices in the lead-up to an expected new iPhone announcement in the first half of 2009.


“iPhone 3G price cuts will inject some new life into the current model, however this is largely used to clear existing stock in anticipation of a product refresh,” said Novosel.


IDC’s Q408 Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker also revealed that:


· Converged device growth will continue. Converged device shipments are expected to grow by 7.8% in 2009, with growth largely coming from feature-rich midrange devices.
· HSDPA will reign supreme. In 2008, 44.6% of all mobile devices shipped were HSDPA capable, by the end of 2009 this will rise to 48.1%; with nearly three quarters (74.2%) of all mobiles shipped expected to be HSDPA capable in 2013.

· Nokia reclaims lost ground. Nokia has clawed back lost market share to finish Q408 with a market share of 51.3%, back above the symbolic 50% mark.
 
· RIM, Sony Ericsson end strongly. Established vendors RIM and Sony Ericsson have each performed strongly, with Y/Y increases of 88% and 54% respectively. RIM’s Blackberry Bold continues to perform robustly, while Sony Ericsson continues to expand its portfolio and will launch Symbian Series 60 powered converged devices in 2009.

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