Daily Insight: Mobile World Congress 2014 (Sunday)

An Essential Guide to Announcements at Mobile World Congress


This is the first of our daily reports from Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

Divided into six research areas, it contains a round-up of the show's notable announcements followed by initial comment by our team of analysts.


Samsung unveils Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches
CCS Insight: As expected, Samsung delivers the second-generation version of Galaxy Gear. Now without "Galaxy" brand owing to switch from Android to Tizen. Devices will support "dozens" of Samsung smartphones at launch in April 2014. It is clear that lessons have been learned from the original device. The new watches are lighter, thinner and in the case of the Gear Neo, also likely to be less expensive. Integrated heart-rate monitor underlines the importance of health and well-being in the wearables category.

Huawei announces a range of new devices
CCS Insight: The devices include the MediaPad X1 seven-inch tablet and MediaPad M1 tablet, TalkBand B1 wearable device and Ascend G6 4G smartphone. Huawei maintains its unwavering commitment to growth beyond China. It has made further clear improvements in device design and quality to support its competitive pricing but brand weakness remains an issue. The decision to enter the wearables segment is unsurprising given current hype in this area.

Mozilla announces new devices from Alcatel OneTouch and ZTE
CCS Insight: The six devices are four from Alcatel OneTouch (Fire C, Fire E, Fire S and Fire 7 tablet) and two from ZTE (Open C and Open II). This is an impressive pledge of support from Alcatel OneTouch in particular that will help Mozilla address the "chicken and egg" problem of establishing a new operating system. Nonetheless, we maintain the view that Firefox OS faces a significant challenge in establishing clear market demand in the face of Android dominance.

Alcatel OneTouch reveals Idol 2, Idol 2 mini and Pop Fit devices
CCS Insight: Alcatel OneTouch is again using Mobile World Congress as a forum for a comprehensive portfolio update. The Idol 2 and Pop Fit device announcements illustrate the company's growing capability to scale from entry-level Android to more premium mid-tier segments with a portfolio that is witnessing continual improvement in design, materials and finish.

HP brings Slate 6 VoiceTab and Slate 7 VoiceTab to new markets and debuts Pavilion x360 Wi
CCS Insight: HP continues to take a measured approach to the mobile space. The expansion of distribution for its VoiceTab products is a reassuring sign that it is taking the necessary steps to increase its focus in the all-important smartphone market, offering products with competitive features and prices. The Pavilion x360 sees HP address the emerging opportunity for keenly priced "two in one" Windows 8.1 tablets based on Intel's Bay Trail Atom chipset.

Kazam unveils range of new devices
CCS Insight: Kazam hopes its executives' previous experience at HTC will help it to stand out from the bewildering number of phone-makers hoping their devices will compete with those from more-established rivals. Success will depend on individual distribution or operator deals, low prices and margins aligned to a lean business with low overheads.

Orange debuts Gova and Reyo smartphones
CCS Insight: Orange continues to diversify its own brand portfolio to address a broad range of segment requirements. The Gova and Reyo represent logical extensions to the Orange device offering and we expect Orange to further grow its line-up in 2014 beyond the 14 devices launched in 2013.

Software Platforms

Microsoft announces nine new hardware partners for Windows Phone
CCS Insight: This is a positive development for Microsoft and underlines its commitment to keep Windows Phone as a horizontal platform for other hardware partners despite its acquisition of Nokia's handset unit. It also shows other manufacturers are keen to gain the option of an alternative platform. However, this ethos sits awkwardly with Microsoft's integrated devices and services strategy and we question the depth of partner support compared with Android commitments.

Jolla releases Sailfish OS 1.0, expands distribution and announces deals with Rovio, F-Secure and Tieto
CCS Insight: Jolla continues to punch above its weight with Sailfish OS and its first Jolla device. These announcements represent remarkable progress and lay the foundations for broader hardware expansion and licensing of Sailfish OS. Nonetheless, Jolla faces a formidable challenge given the growth of Android, both with and without Google services.

Canonical announces first manufacturing partners for Ubuntu: BQ and Meizu
CCS Insight: Although BQ and Meizu represent a start for Canonical as it seeks to establish hardware partners and tangible carrier commitment, it faces an uphill struggle. Although it benefits from an enthusiast niche in the PC domain, mobile presents a fundamentally different challenge and is likely to prove a tough nut to crack. Tablets represent a far more straightforward opportunity, although Ubuntu will remain a niche offering.

Mozilla unveils partnership with Spreadtrum, new developer tools and LTE support
CCS Insight: Firefox OS continues to offer an alternative to Android but demand remains modest in the face of Android's entrenched position, extensive manufacturer support and continued price erosion. The deal is accompanied by new developer tools alongside LTE and dual-SIM support; these will be critical additions to open a bigger open-market opportunity in emerging markets. Nonetheless, competition from Android is likely to become fearsome, even below $30. Mozilla must prove that Firefox OS can provide a more-competitive experience than Android at feature-phone price points.


Telefonica expands start-up incubator Wayra into China
CCS Insight: With the Internet landscape increasingly taking on an East-versus-West aspect, Telefonica is making a clever move by becoming plugged into the start-up scene in China. The way it has set up and run the Wayra Institute is highly respected, and it should reap benefits if it can adapt to local market conditions in China. A partnership with local incubator Virtue Inno Valley will help.

Telefonica Digital takes a strategic stake in Saluspot
CCS Insight: Telefonica and Saluspot aim to scale up existing e-health services beyond Spain and Chile across Latin America, as well as broaden the range of services offered. This approach is interesting as it illustrates growth of a new way of interacting with healthcare, rather than reform of existing healthcare practices. It should be able to move much faster thanks to its lack of legacy.

Apps and Media

Nokia's Here unit announces mobile SDK for businesses
CCS Insight: Opening the platform to enterprise app developers is a smart move. Paid-for enterprise use will be one of the key pillars of Here's revenue and this approach will reach users beyond the existing sectors where Nokia is strong. Google has been pushing enterprise use of its maps recently and Nokia needed to respond fully.

Nokia launches Here Maps application for Windows 8.1
CCS Insight: The app was first seen on the Nokia 2520, but is now being made available free for all Windows 8 devices, with both RT and Pro versions supported. The app has full mapping and routing functionality and makes use of Nokia's key strength in downloading maps for offline use. But it does not go as far as the implementation in Windows Phone, which incorporates some of the online platform functionality (for example, for routing) within the operating system.

Internet of Things

Deutsche Telekom starts a smart city pilot project in Pisa
CCS Insight: Deutsche Telekom is making a useful step into smart cities in Pisa, with initial work on guiding users more efficiently to parking spaces, a smart stadium with all aspects of its operation digitised, and the big data layer behind these initiatives. The operator is doing well to get involved in the data layer, as well as the connectivity in the M2M project.

ILS Technology launches next generation of its Application Enablement Platform
CCS Insight: There is a lot of effort going into building the developer ecosystem for M2M, making it easier to write M2M apps and incorporate cloud services. Telit, the parent company of ILS Technology, is helping this with its upgraded deviceWISE platform, which makes available a number of APIs for sending and receiving device and machine data stored in the cloud. It also incorporates real-time analytics.


MediaTek unveils new brand strategy and 64-bit LTE system-on-chip
CCS Insight: MediaTek's Everyday Genius campaign is an early sign of the Taiwanese company's aspirations. Its investment in a new brand campaign coincides with the delivery of its first LTE products. Although the process of operator certification is not trivial, we predict significant supply disruption and price drops in the LTE chip market in late 2014 and early 2015.

Microsoft announces Windows Phone support for Snapdragon 200 and 400 and Qualcomm Reference Design
CCS Insight: This is an important announcement that will be crucial to Windows Phone's shift down the price curve. Inclusion in Qualcomm's QRD programme and the addition of dual-SIM support enable Microsoft to target hardware partners in growth markets that were previously out of reach.

Nvidia launches LTE variant of Tegra Note and expands distribution
CCS Insight: Expansion into Europe and the addition of its i500 LTE modem are both logical moves from Nvidia. However, we continue to see Nvidia struggling for Tegra design wins in smartphones given fearsome competition in multiband, multimode LTE. Tablets, TV and embedded systems now represent a more logical course for Nvidia.

This entry was posted on February 24th, 2014 and is filed under Mobile World Congress (MWC). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or you can leave a response.

Posted By Robert Caunt On February 24th, 2014

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