AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult. In short, growth isn't much of an option outside acquisitions, and those haven't gone so well.
I miss you, HTC. My Evo was the first phone I ever truly loved, and between 2007 and 2010, as a company you did remarkably well for yourself. Then the Thunderbolt happened, and then Beats got involved and... Well, let's just say it hasn't been a great couple years. So, when I hear that your CEO, Peter Chou, is planning some bold new changes for 2013, I'm hopeful. Skeptical, but hopeful.
It hasn't been any secret that HTC hasn't been doing so hot. Its stock has plummeted (from a high of 661 TWD in February of last year down to 287 today), its market share is dwindling, and while it has promised to streamline its product portfolio, we're still getting bizarre mid-range devices that break way too many branding commandments.
It's amazing what a new look can do for a platform, isn't it? Back in January, we reported that CyanogenMod, the most popular third-party Android ROM, reached one million unique installs. Now, a little more than four months later, that number has doubled, according to CM's stat tracker. This is huge.
For those who are curious as to how the stat counter works, here's a more detailed explanation. The short version is that unique hardware is counted, so reflashes and reinstalls don't count towards the total. From CM's site:
"The data sent includes an non-reversible encrypted hash of your IMEI or MEID, allowing us to track unique devices without compromising privacy."
Cyanogenmod has been in development for years and only reached the million install mark, which included official and unofficial installs (KANGs), just a few months ago.
The latest unaudited results from HTC for Q4 2011 indicate that total revenues reached NT$ 101 billion (US$ 3.34 billion), a 2.49% drop as compared to the same period in 2010. In stark contrast, Samsung just had a record breaking quarter with profits reaching 5.2 trillion won (US$4.5 billion), almost double the figures of Q4 2010. Samsung's results for Q4 2011 breaks its previous record profit period of 5.0 trillion won (US$ 4.3 billion) from Q2 2010 and is an increase of 22% from Q3 2011. According to an analyst Samsung shipped an estimated 35 million smartphones in the previous quarter alone, but this is likely to include Samsung's low-end bada operated devices.
Android has grown at an amazing pace in the past year, and so has our reader base. With that in mind, we have a simple question for our readers: how long have you been an Android owner? Were you one of the 'Droid front-runners, or did you join the game a bit later? Sound off in the poll below, and feel free to share some details in the comments below.
In case you thought Android's extremely fast-paced growth was being exaggerated, comScore's latest report on mobile market share might just convince you otherwise: From December 2010 to March 2011, Android not only kept its first place position among mobile platforms in the US, but it shot up 6 percentage points - far greater than all other platforms.
In fact, the only other platform that had growth was - predictably - iOS, with a 0.5 point increase. RIM, despite holding second place, dropped a staggering 4.5 points, while Microsoft and Palm both fell by 0.9 points. The gap between Android and second placed RIM is now at over 7 points, and is continuing to grow.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky has run the numbers on tablets and lined them up for comparison against a bevy of other figures. Surprisingly, there are 5.113 billion mobile subscribers in the world (out of 6.898bn global population), but only 394 million smartphone and tablet users.
Abramsky's calculations show that there will be more than 400m tablet users by 2014. Equally as impressive is that he thinks 185m tablets will be sold in 2014 - or 47% of the number of smartphones and tablet owners today.
It's a bit surprising that the number of smartphone and tablet users is so low, but then again, that just speaks to the massive upside potential of the market.
Finally, some empirical evidence that illustrates what we've known for some time now: Android is growing like gangbusters. In fact, 28% of smartphones sold in Q1 2010 were Android, compared to 21% for iOS. RIM still holds the top spot with 36%, but that's a drop of roughly 12% in the past year - while iOS has fallen approximately 10% itself. In the same period, Android increased over 20%.
In fact, it seems like Android grew at the expense of just about everyone else - excluding a minor 1-2% increase in "other". And as Android continues to expand across the line of devices - from smartphones to ultra-cheap featurephones - it's likely that the overall number of Android devices will continue to grow.