Daily Insight: Day 1, Mobile World Congress 2012

Summary and Analysis of Announcements on Monday 27 February 2012

This post reproduces the Daily Insight sent to our clients on the first day of Mobile World Congress 2012.

The views below represent our initial analysis. Our view may change as more details come to light.


Huawei Announces Two Quad-Core Phones Using Own K3V2 Chip
Ben Wood: The new phones build on existing Ascend models. Huawei is becoming a disruptive smartphone challenger; tier-one Android phone-makers should be worried.

ZTE Unveils Era Quad-Core Smartphone
Geoff Blaber: ZTE comes out of the shade after a quiet CES with a keenly specified flagship Android device. It is another coup for Nvidia given its use of Tegra 3 and Icera modem, and a clear statement of intent from the number-four global manufacturer by volume.

ZTE Launches Orbit Smartphone
Geoff Blaber: The Orbit is as important for Microsoft as it is for ZTE. The device exploits the new lower-specification requirements for Windows Phone. It is likely to challenge Nokia’s Lumia 610 given its transfer price will be below €140.

ZTE Announces Range of Smartphones
Ben Wood: This announcement reaffirms ZTE’s ambition to enter top three by 2015 and will worry rivals.

HTC Launches Three One Model Phones
Ben Wood: HTC rationalises portfolio. Quad-core HTC One X will be “halo” product, and commitment from 140 operators and distributors worldwide is impressive start for this updated range, indicating the strength of HTC’s brand in many markets.

Nokia Announces 808 PureView Symbian phone with 41-Megapixel Camera
Ben Wood: The fruits of Nokia’s partnership with Carl Zeiss are impressive, but the phone will be hindered by the use of Symbian OS.

Nokia Unveils Lumia 900 Variant and Lumia 610 with Windows Phone Tango
Ben Wood: The Lumia 610 will be critical to sales of Windows Phone in key markets such as China. Windows Phone Tango is a major milestone in the Nokia-Microsoft partnership and dramatically extends global reach.

Nokia Expands Asha Range with Three New Phones
Ben Wood: New Asha phones will aid current entry-level phone momentum for Nokia. Microsoft ActiveSync support on Asha 302 represents a challenge to RIM’s entry-level BlackBerry devices such as 8520 Curve.

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Beam Android Smartphone
Ben Wood: This is another example of Samsung trying to differentiate its Android products. Previous attempts with this form factor have failed.
Update: On closer inspection, our initial assessment of this device was incorrect. The Samsung Galaxy Beam is the first credible projector phone after years of failed attempts. Although a niche product it could surprise the market, as well as acting as another “halo” product for Samsung.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 10.1
Ben Wood: This extension of the Galaxy Note range uses work done on the Galaxy Note 5.3, extending it to what is clearly a tablet product.

Sony Announces Two More Sony-Branded Xperia NXT Phones: Xperia P and Xperia U
Ben Wood: Sony is using “good, better, best” tiering in its new portfolio. It needs to quickly exploit its content assets to set devices apart from competitive rivals.

Panasonic Unveils Eluga power Smartphone
Geoff Blaber: The Eluga is a bold choice to spearhead its return to Europe. Panasonic has clearly opted to differentiate through screen size (five inches) and waterproofing, but it faces a hugely competitive market and precious few opportunities with tier-one operators.

Orange Launches Intel-Powered Smartphone
Geoff Blaber: Orange is fully exploiting the investment made by Intel as it strives to re-enter the smartphone space with its Atom chipsets. The announcement is more significant to Intel than it is to Orange or indeed the consumer.

Doro Launches 3G Smartphone for Elderly
Ben Wood: It is questionable whether a re-skinned Android device is the right approach for this market given that smartphone-like capabilities can be offered on existing feature phones.

Emporia Launches emporiaConnect 3G Smartphone for Elderly
Digantam Gurung: This is Emporia’s first 3G phone and looks to support the company’s bid to move into data-driven services, like apps and puzzle games, aimed at older users.

P2i Finds Over Half of Mobile Phone Users Expect Devices to be Water-Repellent
Digantam Gurung: Handsets with water durability continue to gather support from coating manufacturers like HzO and P2i as well as phone-maker Fujitsu, which has announced a complete range of water-resistant handsets.



ZTE Announces Range of Tablets
Gavin Byrne: ZTE shows more focus on the 10.1-inch screen size at it expands its tablet range with official launch of four new tablets.

Huawei Launches 10-Inch Quad-Core Tablet
Gavin Byrne: The most impressive thing about Huawei’s first 10-inch tablet, the MediaPad 10 FHD, is the choice of in-house silicon. We expect the price to be very competitive.

Asus Reveals Padfone Smartphone and Transformer Pad Infinity Tablets
Gavin Byrne: The Padfone marks a re-entry into the smartphone market and the new tablets build on the success of the Transformer brand.

Samsung Launches Galaxy Tab 2
Gavin Byrne: Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 Series refreshes the company’s tablet range, but there are no quad-core tablets and it is not yet clear what will happen to the existing product line.

ViewSonic Launches Seven-Inch and 10-Inch ViewPads
Gavin Byrne: ViewSonic continues to address the low- to mid-priced tablet market with its latest seven-inch and 10-inch tablets.



Facebook Announces Core Mobile Web Platform Standards Group in W3C for HTML5
Martin Garner: A significant move from Facebook, it addresses major problems for developers. It also reinforces our view that m.facebook.com is a top priority for the company.

Gameloft to Deliver HD Games to Intel-Based Smartphones and Tablets
Paolo Pescatore: People now expect to mirror their games console experience on mobile devices. This announcement is a step in that direction.

Samsung Introduces Galaxy S Wi-Fi 4.2 Games Device
Paolo Pescatore: This addresses demand for games, which are the most popular category of applications downloaded on mobile devices, and one of the few people are willing to pay for.

SPB TV Showcases Three Screens TV Solution at MWC 2012
Paolo Pescatore: This is a key area of focus among TV and video providers at Mobile World Congress, and is driven by viewers’ desire to watch TV anywhere.

GSMA Announces Initiatives to Create More-Efficient Mobile Applications
Paolo Pescatore: Given the fragmented nature of the industry we are sceptical that this initiative will succeed. Previous operator-led initiatives in apps have been unsuccessful.

Tieto and Samsung SDS Collaborate to Provide Enterprise Mobile Services
Martin Garner: This attempt to improve the app store experience for enterprises will face challenges if it is to become a favoured source and build an adequate pool of applications.

Opera Mobile Comes to MIPS-Based Android Tablets
Robert Caunt: The move will benefit low-cost Chinese tablet manufacturers and shows Opera’s determination to be present on every connected device.



Telefonica and Mozilla Ally to Create Open Web Devices Platform
Geoff Blaber: This is another operator bid to regain the initiative and cut reliance on Android, but the approach may fail without wider support.

Telefonica Deploys 4G Network in 2.6 GHz Range
Shaun Collins: Telefonica is planning for another leap in data demand with relatively low-cost in-fill base stations. The move again shows that operators will need to look at a sophisticated mix of solutions to meet demand for data. Time scales on this deployment will be watched closely.

Operators Invest in Rich Communications Services
Paolo Pescatore: This shows global support for an initiative that aims to make operators relevant again, but it will take many years.

Integrated Carrier Billing Gains Momentum on BlackBerry App World
Paolo Pescatore: A significant announcement by RIM reinforcing its position as operator-friendly. Simplifying the purchasing process will boost app downloads.



Ericsson and Western Union Sign Agreement
Digantam Gurung: The companies hope to combine their payment services and extend their global reach and scale across multiple operators worldwide.

Vodafone and Visa Announce World’s Largest Mobile Payment Partnership
Digantam Gurung: The deal will expand the Visa prepaid account service into developed markets in some European countries.



Spreadtrum and Allyes Establish Strategic Partnership
John Jackson: A provocative and potentially disruptive move by Spreadtrum, taking a more direct position in mobile advertising and engagement with value-added service providers. The involvement of Chinese Internet giants is significant given Spreadtrum’s strong position in that market.

Samsung Introduces Eight-Megapixel CMOS Imager
John Jackson: This indicates more “verticalization” from Samsung with probable benefits for time to market and costs. It may be important if Nokia’s bet on camera technology as a next wave of value pays off.

Samsung Unveils Silicon for “Smart Mobility”
John Jackson: The announcement is a reminder of Samsung Electronics’ merits as a supplier of multiple mobile subsystems, but also a reminder of its complementary relationship to Samsung’s devices business.

Qualcomm LTE Chipsets Are First to Support HSPA+ Release 10, LTE Advanced
John Jackson: Qualcomm’s RF integration competencies and ability to commercialise them remain unmatched. All other suppliers will struggle to match its technical, R&D and commercial capabilities in the transition to LTE globally.

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon S4 Pro Processor
John Jackson: This sets the stage for Windows on ARM for Qualcomm, but also hints at possibly different rates of development between CPU and GPU capabilities. This may be a challenge for highly integrated system-on-chip products.