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ULTRAMOBILE YEAR AHEAD: Gartner has updated its annual device forecasts for PCs, tablets, and mobile phones for the new year. On the whole, the research outfit thinks sales of all of these devices combined will grow by just over 7% in 2014, which would be a re-acceleration in growth compared to the 4% growth achieved between 2012 and 2013.
Mobile phones, both feature phones and smartphones, will dominate in terms of sales volume, with expected annual sales of almost 1.9 billion. But it will be the "ultramobiles" category, in which Gartner includes tablets, hybrids, and flip-form devices, that will set the pace for growth, with increased sales of nearly 54% during the year. We feel this is a function of growing demand for "phablets," or devices that carry a screen size somewhere between the standard 5-inch smartphone and the 8-inch tablet. Phablet shipments have already skyrocketed in key markets for mobile growth like China and India. PC sales, meanwhile, will continue to be hampered by the mobile movement. Gartner thinks PC sales will decline 7% in 2014.
ONE BILLION ANDROID DEVICES! If 2013 was the watershed year for Android in terms of market share, then 2014 will be the year Android solidifies its stronghold on the global mobile market. Gartner estimates Android will sell 1.1 billion devices for the year. They also confirm that Android blows past Apple in terms of installed base, with 1.9 billion active Android devices already in use. With slowing growth in mobile uptake in developed markets, expect Android to make massive waves with new, lower-income users in emerging mobile markets, where most new customers are priced out of the premium device market dominated by Apple. (Gartner)
PRICE CUTS: China Telecom is set to slash the price of its iPhone 5S by 10% in advance of the phone's launch on China Mobile. BlackBerry claims its new phones made by Foxconn will cost less than $200. On both the high and low end of the market, the smartphone competition is only getting fiercer in emerging markets, especially China. (ZDNet)
Apple iWatch is having trouble with battery life and screen technology, and the overall manufacturing of the device has been a struggle so far for Apple, according to reports from The Information. With so many wearables debuting this week at CES, could Apple already be behind? (The Information)
SAMSUNG WINS THE HOLIDAY TABLET SEASON: There were more users after Christmas on Samsung Galaxy Tabs than any other tablet, according to new data from Onswipe. Samsung's 50.4% growth blew past the iPad's growth of just 20%. Onswipe thinks the Galaxy Tab line benefited from a "halo effect" — all the new Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners perhaps wanted to be locked-in to Samsung's hardware when choosing their hardware. *For more in-depth analysis, please refer to the BI Intelligence article, "Post-Holiday Growth In Samsung Tablets Is A Sign Of The Tablet Market's Fragmentation." (Onswipe)
SOCIAL SEARCH: Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has just launched his newest venture, Jelly, a mobile-social app aimed at becoming a social search engine. Users search through Jelly and the app shares information sourced from the users' social network connections. (Jelly)
Growing online video service Vimeo recently updated its video player to optimize across all devices. In doing so, the service relied fully on HTML5 to support video playback, which will help double video download and playback speed. (CNet)
YAHOO MOBILE NEWS FROM CES: A flurry of mobile news surfaced from Yahoo's keynote address at CES yesterday. First, Yahoo announced the acquisition of Aviate, whose technology brings the most relevant apps to users' homescreens. Yahoo may use Aviate technology to deliver content to users in a more personalized fashion, such as via News Digest, the first project born out of the acquisition of startup Summly earlier in 2013. Yahoo introduced News Digest during the address as a personalized, mobile-centric news app.
Yahoo also announced a massive overhaul to its advertising platform. Per Yahoo's Tumblr, "The new Yahoo Advertising includes a comprehensive suite of web, mobile, and video ad products across native, audience, and premium display, which are accessible through a new buying platform. These products are supported by Yahoo’s data and analytical tools, with insights into the daily digital habits of more than 800 million people worldwide."