Europeans love smartphones (especially Samsung)

The latest phone sales stats from IDC (and published by Engadget) show that smartphones are now out-stripping featurephones. The biggest winner is Samsung who sold 4 million more units in the last quarter than the previous year. Apple also saw an increase in their market share from 6 to 11%. This seems to largely be at the expense of Nokia who saw their sales drop by a whopping 44%. BlackBerry remained steady with their sales.

iTab: it’s an iPhone, only bigger. Much, much bigger.

Presenting iPhone apps to a large audience always presents a problem. Whilst Steve Jobs has a natty cable that projects his iPhone onto a big screen, they don’t make one available to us ordinary folk. The solution? I borrowed an idea from a friend, and made a bracket to mount the iPhone in front of a video camera (held together with gaffer tape). It kind of works, but it’s very shakey and very clunky. And if the projector is ceiling mounted, it’s too high to plug the cable in at all.

I think I’ve found a proper solution though. I was at an exhibiting show a couple of weeks ago and saw the iTab, which looks and works like a giant iPhone. With screen sizes up to 86″ it looks good in front of an audience. Not only that, but having a true touch-screen means the system is also good for exhibition booths. Everyone wants to walk up to it and play with the thing. The Times has just bought one to show off their new app.

Although it’s a fairly large investment to buy it (£5k + depending on the size), the distributor, Touch2View will rent it by the day (and they’ll come and install it to boot). For more information and prices see their site: www.touch2view.com

‘No Ads’ says Jobs. So where does that leave iAd?

Interesting to see that amongst all the figures showing Apple’s mobile dominance at the developer’s conference, there was no mention of iAd. Although Steve Jobs didn’t dismiss iAd as such, when he was speaking about iCloud he said:  “We build products that we want for ourselves, too, and we just don’t want ads.” Hmm. OK, so it’s a different channel to iAd, which is focussed on rich media advertising delivered via apps. But it isn’t exactly an endorsement of it.

Apple as an advertising network doesn’t seem to sit comfortably with their great product design/user experience philosophy. Having had some conversations with iAd in the UK last week, they still seem to be finding their feet with it. The minimum spend has been reduced, but it is still more than most brands total mobile marketing budget. Neither is there is an ad management platform or automated reporting – something that many brands and agencies would want in order to book and refine their campaigns.

Another update to iOS, the Safari Reader will remove ‘clutter’ from browsed sites. That could well include ads, but in spite of enquiries from the marketing press, Apple failed to shed any more light on it. If it does strip out advertising though, then the new update could scupper the rapidly growing mobile advertising market. iPhone users are important to this channel as they tend to be more affluent and browse the web more than anyone else. Without that market, what are the implications for Google’s Admob, Millenial and InMobi?

Both the lack of mention for iAd and the possible change in Safari could be a really big deal for mobile advertising.
More on the iAd snub here. 

More on the Safari update here.

200 million iOS devices: a look behind the figures

At yesterday’s developer conference Apple announced that iOS was now in 200 million devices. That’s good going, making their mobile operating system Apple’s greatest asset. However, before brands start assuming that ‘everyone has an iPhone’, it’s worth getting a bit more understanding of what these figures really mean:

  • Whilst 200 million iOSs puts Apple level pegging with the most successful mobile phone ever, the Nokia 1100, that was a single device. Apple’s figure is across the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
  • Apple tell us there are 25 million iPads out there. They have trounced the tablet market with no one coming close in terms of sales.
  • Although we don’t have up-to-date figures from Apple (they don’t publish separate iPod touch figures), there is plenty of financial analysis (and their lawsuit against Samsung) which indicates that it represents 1/3rd of their iOS users. That puts iPod Touch sales at around 60 million.
  • That leaves the iPhone with sales of 115 million over four years – that’s consistent with figures published earlier this year estimating phone sales at just over 110 million.
  • The iPhone is currently the best selling smartphone, however there are more hansets using Android than iOS.

115 million sales of a device over four years is great going, and in many markets the iPhone is the best-selling handset. However, these figures aren’t the complete picture.

For a start, that figure of 115 million represents total sales, not actually devices in use. How many people still use an iPhone 2g or 3g? We simply don’t know the actual numbers, but if we are looking at Apple phones in people’s pockets then the figure will be well below the total sales.
From a brand engagement perspective, it is important to understand where your customers are in the mobile landscape and what they are doing on their phones. Many marketers assume that most people have an iPhone, or at least the ones they want to be talking to.  However, when we look at the smartphone market share then the global split is 36% Android, 26% iPhone and 25% BlackBerry. In the UK the total handset market share is 15% Android, 10% BlackBerry and 9% iPhone. Nielsen also found that Android users access more data (and nearly as many apps) as their iPhone counterparts.

Whilst it’s true that iPod Touch and iPad are still iOS and offer opportunities for brands, the fact is that the device usage and demographics are different to the iPhone. iPod touches are popular amongst a younger audience (many of who have a BlackBerry for their phone), where the main activity is around listening to music, watching videos or playing games. Similarly with the iPad, it is much more than a big iPhone. Magazine reading, rich content and higher end gaming are more the order of the day.
There’s no question that the advent of the iPhone four years ago significantly shifted our ideas of what a mobile phone is (or can do). Apple lead in terms of profitability, but it’s important to look behind the figures and realise that there are many more handsets out there than just the iphone.

UK smartphone market share: iPhone, Android & BlackBerry

Update: click here for more stats on current UK smartphones

The latest UK handset share stats have just been released by ICM Research. They have found that Android has the largest share of smartphones at 13%, followed by BlackBerry with 10% and iPhone with 9%. Overall, smartphones have increased their share of handsets in use since last year, with RIM increasing by 4% and Apple adding 2% to their market share. The largest just though was from Android who doubled their market share against the previous year. That’s thanks largely to Samsung and HTC’s mid-range handsets. Windows measly 1% share is also thanks to those two manufacturers.

‘If Apple only have 9%, how come everyone I see (apart from teenagers) has an iPhone?’ you may be asking. There are a couple of reasons for that: first of all we know that iPhone users do more of everything than anyone else – more web browsing, more app downloading – so the chances are much higher that an iPhone user will have their device in their hand. Secondly, Apple only have 2 models on the market, with the 4 and 3gs. All of the other operating systems are represented by a much larger range of phones. That makes the iPhone the most successful single handset.

According to ICM though, the outlook for Android and BlackBerry is very good as they fill the mid-range smartphone gap very nicely. Apple in the meantime probably don’t care that much. What with the app store, they make more profit than all of the others put together.