Tag: Samsung

Why LG killed its phone business

By Lisa Eadicicco for Business Insider US

LG is officially bowing out of the smartphone market.

The South Korean tech giant announced on April 5 that it’s exiting the “highly competitive” smartphone business by closing its mobile unit, signaling the end of an era for a company that was once a top-tier handset maker.

The decision underscores how difficult it is to compete with industry giants like Samsung and Apple, particularly in the United States which is part of the world’s third largest smartphone market.

LG was once among the top five smartphone makers in the world. However, it failed to stand its ground.

Worldwide, Apple took the number one spot in the fourth quarter of 2020 with 23.4% of the market while Samsung came in second with 19.1%, according to The International Data Corporation.

Samsung and LG are longtime rivals in the electronics and home appliances industries, but there’s one critical advantage the former has that the latter lacks when it comes to smartphones.

Samsung established itself as the primary competitor to the iPhone when the smartphone market was still fairly young in 2012. Back then, it had a blockbuster hit on its hands with the Galaxy S3, which overtook the iPhone 4S to become the world’s best-selling smartphone in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

The Galaxy S3’s successful launch helped shape a narrative that the smartphone market had become a two-horse race between Apple and Samsung. It fuelled headlines in outlets like The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The Guardian declaring the two tech giants as the winners of what had become the biggest shift in computing in recent history.

No Android phone maker had anything that came close to the popularity of the Galaxy S3 at the time. It put Samsung’s Galaxy S series on the map, setting it up to be the iPhone’s main competitor for years to come.

And despite being more innovative in some ways, other Android phone makers simply couldn’t keep up. For example, tech critics praised HTC in 2013 for its eye-catching One M7 phone, which outpaced every Android phone on the market in terms of build quality and design. But it never had the sales to match those accolades, and HTC sold a chunk of its smartphone business to Google in 2018.

Motorola’s original Moto X from 2013 was also ahead of its time with hands-free voice controls that preceded the Amazon Echo and was well-received by reviewers. But Google sold off Motorola’s mobile unit to Lenovo 2014, and the PC giant has struggled to boost its presence in the smartphone market.

Even Google, which operates Android, has had a hard time breaking into the smartphone business. It pivoted to selling less expensive Pixel smartphones after it had trouble selling high-end phones designed to compete with the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S line.

LG took a similar path. It was ahead of competitors in some ways, such as its decision to bring cameras with a wider field of view to its smartphones years before Apple and Samsung did. But its smartphone division has incurred losses totalling $4.5 billion over six years, resulting in the decision to shut down the unit after it reportedly failed to find a buyer. LG will instead focus on areas like smart home devices, electric vehicle components, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Of course, the success of Samsung and Apple is just one element that’s influenced the market for mobile phones, albeit a big one. Popular Chinese brands that have stood out for their more accessible price points like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus also rose in popularity around the time that LG’s market share began slipping around 2015, as Gartner data provided to Insider indicates.

Still, Samsung and Apple have been comfortably at the top of the smartphone market for years, and LG is just the latest casualty.

 

By Joel Hruska for Extreme Tech 

Samsung has unveiled a line of concept televisions, including one intended for mobile-friendly content and Millennial buyers. According to the company’s PR, the new model — referred to in an image as “The Sero” and as “The Vertical” in the company’s translated press release — is designed to view content as if it were being displayed on a giant mobile screen.

According to Samsung, the Sero is designed to easily synchronize with mobile devices for screen mirroring, allowing you to project mobile content from your single display over to a TV via NFC for communal viewing. The Sero is also equipped with a 4.1 60W speaker system.

The display is listed as “one model of 43,” which presumably refers to the screen size — but the Google Translated-cost was astronomical, at $16,200. This, however, appears to have been an error, either by GT or in Samsung’s original announcement. The updated price listed on some sites is $1,600, which makes much more sense. I’m not sure it’s a winning price for a 43-inch TV that you can rotate, given the open question of whether people are going to get up and walk across the room to continually rotate the television, but $1,600 is at least believable.

Sero-Standalone
The Sero in a vertical formation, alone.

The other two displays include the Serif and The Frame, a series Samsung has already launched that we’ve discussed before. The Frame TVs are intended to look like pieces of art when not in use and can be set to display various artworks or images to achieve this effect. It’s a nice idea if you’re attempting to achieve a certain invisible aesthetic for your electronics.

Google Translate may have mucked up the translated prices on these displays as well, however, because the listed costs are astronomical for both the Serif and the Frame. The Frame is available in 43, 49, 55, and 65-inch sizes, at a price of 159, 189, 213, or 339 million won, respectively. That’s a price tag of $137,088 to $292,000. The Serif is listed as 159,000, 189,000, or 219,000 yuan, not won. It isn’t clear why the price for only this television is given in Chinese yuan instead of Korean won.

All of these make a lot more sense if we move the decimal back one or two notches. Final prices would be $1,370 to $2,920 (R19 000 to R40 000), or $2,360 to $3,250 (R34 000 to R47 000).

By Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian

Huawei overtook Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone seller behind Samsung in the second quarter, the first time in seven years that any contender has managed to split the top two.

Multiple market analysts said that Huawei’s rise came as the slowdown in China, the world’s largest market for smartphones, eased, with growing market share in Europe. Huawei failed in its recent bid to launch in the US after government action against companies deemed a security threat.

Despite Apple being historically weak in the second quarter, analysts described the rise of Huawei as significant.

“The importance of Huawei overtaking Apple this quarter cannot be overstated,” said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. “It is the first time in seven years that Samsung and Apple have not held the top two positions.”

Approximately 351m smartphones were sold globally in the second quarter, down 2% year-on-year due to market saturation, increasing prices, longer replacement rates, reduced mobile phone network subsidies and lack of feature and design innovation, according to data aggregated by the Guardian.

“Consumers remain willing to pay more for premium offerings in numerous markets and they now expect their device to outlast and outperform previous generations of that device which cost considerably less a few years ago,” Anthony Scarsella from IDC.

Samsung was worst hit by the slowdown of the big three, down 10% year-on-year selling 71.9m smartphones for a 20% share of the market. Huawei raced into the second spot selling 54.2m phones in the quarter, up 41%, for a 15% share of the market. Apple sold 41.3m iPhones, up 1%, for a 12% market share.

“The continued growth of Huawei is impressive, to say the least, as is its ability to move into markets where, until recently, the brand was largely unknown,” said Ryan Reith, programme vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Tracker.

Stanton said: “Huawei’s momentum will obviously concern Samsung, but it should also serve as a warning to Apple, which needs to ship volume to support its growing services division.

“If Apple and Samsung want to maintain their market positions, they must make their portfolios more competitive.’’

Tarun Pathak from Counterpoint Research said that Huawei’s two-pronged strategy using its fast-growing Honor sub-brand to capture the mid-tier segment below £500 and its premium Huawei-branded smartphones at the top end, such as the P20 Pro, appeared to be working.

Analysts said that Huawei’s exclusion from the US has forced it to work harder across Asia and Europe to achieve its growth goals, with its mid-range models proving particularly popular. Data from Canalys showed that Huawei grew it market share in China by 6% to a record 27% in the quarter, where 100m smartphones were sold across the country.

Outside of China, Huawei’s increasing brand recognition newly allowing it to compete at the top end, but the Chinese market remains key for Huawei as it has come under fire from the US, Australia and other nations over concerns it could facilitate Chinese government spying.

Huawei has denied it facilitates spying and has said it is a private company not under Chinese government control and not subject to Chinese security laws overseas.

China and the US are also embroiled in a trade dispute with both nations imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and fighting over technology and patents, which analysts said creates significant uncertainty for all of the major smartphone brands.

Huawei said Tuesday that overall it had 15% higher revenue in the first six months of 2018, steady at levels seen a year ago. Revenue rose to 325.7bn yuan (£36.52bn), while operating margin rose to 14%, from 11% a year ago.

Huawei’s consumer division, which houses its smartphones business, accounted for roughly a third of its total revenue last year. It got half its revenue from its mobile phone network.

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