Consolidating Smartphone Market Putting Pressure on Second-Tier Makers
A lot of attention is being paid to the battle between Apple and Samsung for bragging rights atop the smartphone market. The two are neck and neck when it comes to the U.S. smartphone market.
But even more interesting, perhaps, is what is happening to the next tier of players. Both HTC and Motorola, for example, have recently issued downbeat earnings and forecasts.
Not so long ago, it appeared that the rising tide would lift all smartphone boats. HTC, in particular, was doubling sales year over year, and its growth seemed unstoppable.
But now it appears that the wave is thrashing as many as it is helping. HTC has hit a wall; plenty of other Android players, including Sony and Motorola, are struggling to keep pace with the leaders.
Both Motorola and HTC have said their strategy this year will be about putting more effort behind fewer devices. It remains to be seen what the plan is for Sony, which is in the process of taking over its cellphone joint venture with Ericsson.
As for the top of the heap, both Apple and Samsung appear to be flourishing. For the year, Samsung edged Apple in smartphone shipments, while Apple was narrowly ahead of Samsung in the fourth quarter.