Market Stats

Android Shipments Reach 1 Billion

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Apple might claim its biggest iPhone-driven quarter ever, but Android also reaches a milestone in 2014-- global Google-powered smartphone shipments reach 1 billion units in 2014, a first according to Strategy Analytics.

iPhone AndroidThe analyst says overall 2014 smartphone shipments total 1.3bn (another industry record) with 30% growth, up from 1bn in 2013. Android device account for 81% of the total, one driven by shipments in emerging markets such as China and Indonesia.

The only threat to Android is, of course, iOS-- 2014 iPhone shipments total 192.7m with 15% smartphone share according to the analyst, as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models reenergise Apple growth through high-end market sales. On the other hand Windows Phone remains niche with 3% share and shipments reaching 38.8m units.

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Tablets Reach W. European Saturation

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According to Futuresource Consulting both smartphone and tablet markets are reaching saturation in W. Europe, but while smartphone shipments continue to grow the same cannot be said on a tablet market headed for decline.

smartphones tabletsIn fact, the analyst says major markets have reached tablet saturation earlier than expected, and as such W. European tablet shipments are slowing down during 2015 before consumer shipment start declining by 2017.

Apple and Samsung make "more than half" of 2014 tablet shipments.

"There has been a significant shift towards smaller screen sizes in the last few years, but this is now stabilising, with 60% of the market falling into the 7- to 8-inch category in 2014," Futuresource adds. "In the UK, overall tablet shipments declined by 2%, despite double digit growth in the total W. European market and 24% growth in E. Europe."

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Kantar Worldpanel: iPhone Share on the Up

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According to Kantar Worldpanel the iPhone 6 launch brought improvement to Apple's smartphone market in both Europe and the US during the 3 months ending November 2014, at the expense of the Android competition. 

iPhone kantar"While remaining the dominant global OS, Android’s market share dropped in most European markets and in the US where the decline was the first since September 2013," the analyst says. As a result Samsung "particularly" feels the squeeze during the period, while Motorola actually sees growth thanks to the value for money appeal of the Moto X and Moto G refreshes. 

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Gartner: Slow Tablet, PC Sales for 2015

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Gartner predicts a slow 2015 for the tablet market, with global sales growing by 8% to 233 million units following a "troubled" 2014, one where growth failed to reach the levels seen in the last 4 years.

Gartner 2015 devices forecast

"The collapse of the tablet market in 2014 was alarming," the analyst remarks. "In the last 2 years global sales of tablets were growing in double-digits. The steep drop can be explained by several factors. One is that the lifetime of tablets is being extended-- they are shared out amongst family members and software upgrades, especially for iOS devices, keep the tablets current. Another factor includes the lack of innovation in hardware which refrains consumers from upgrading."

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Gartner: The Future of Wearables is Inconspicuous

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According to Gartner the smart wearables of the future are inconspicuous-- the analyst predicts 30% of such devices will be "completely unobtrusive to the eye" by 2017.

Samsung Gear"Already, there are some interesting developments at the prototype stage that could pave the way for consumer wearables to blend seamlessly into their surroundings," Gartner says. "Smart contact lenses are one type in development. Another interesting wearable that is emerging is smart jewelry. There are around a dozen crowdfunded projects competing right now in this area, with sensors built into jewelry for communication alerts and emergency alarms."

Meanwhile "obtrusive" wearables currently on the market, such as smart glasses, will take cues from their more subtle peers and evolve into forms disguising their technological nature.

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