Category Archives: Smartphones

IDC: Xiaomi’s growth tops Samsung in China, but Apple is making a dent too


According to the latest numbers from IDC, Xiaomi—the rising star of the smartphone industry—has managed to pass up Samsung in China. In 2013, Xiaomi trailed Samsung’s almost 19% market share by a solid 13 percentage points (at just 5.3%), and was only the 5th largest maker of smartphones in China. Things changed in 2014. Last year, Xiaomi finished off with 12.5% of the market, almost a half-point more than Samsung at 12.1%, taking the top spot and passing not just Samsung, but Lenovo, Huawei, and Coolpad as well.

Interestingly, though, the latest numbers also show that Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus contributed to a decent size dent in both Samsung and Xiaomi’s market footprint in Q4 of last year.

Apple’s market share grew from 5% to 12.3% in one quarter, while Xiaomi fell by 1.1% and Samsung fell by 3.1% over that same time period. Year over year, Samsung was down to 7.9% share compared to 18.8% in Q3 of 2013—coming out to a -49.9% growth over just 12 months.

The smartphone market in China, though, regardless of who holds the reigns, is growing. 107.5 million smartphones were shipped to China in 2014 Q4, which is a 2% growth compared to the quarter before. 420.7 million smartphones total were shipped in China in 2014, and there was a year-over-year growth of 19% for Q4.

Recently, Xiaomi held an event in San Francisco, and while it didn’t come with the launch of any of the company’s flagship products on American soil, the point of it was to introduce the brand to North America. The company is planning to bring its marketplace website to the US before the end of the year, but for now the only thing you’ll be able to buy are accessories—like fitness trackers, power packs, and headphones.

The China Smartphone Market Picks Up Slightly in 2014Q4, IDC Reports - prHK25437515 2015-02-17 14-22-12

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Apple, china, IDC, iPhone, Samsung, smartphone market, Smartphones, Xiaomi

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T-Mobile launches Smartphone Equality, expanding base of customers qualified for financing & special deals


T-Mobile often rolls out “Un-carrier” initiatives that intend to challenge its competitors (which sometimes get copied), and John Legere’s latest announcement for the company is no different. The T-Mobile CEO shared today that the carrier soon start offering the same financing options to customers with weak credit as it provides for well qualified customers. The program is called Smartphone Equality, and here’s how it works…

The gist of it is this: customers who otherwise may not qualify for financing plans like $0 down options due to poor credit can now avoid hefty deposits just by being a loyal T-Mobile customer for a full year. The program even extends to T-Mobile customers on pre-paid plans, which is especially useful, and only requires that you pay your bill on time for 12 months.

Even if you don’t have any credit history, T-Mobile will qualify anyone with a monthly voice plan paid on time for a year for its best device and plan prices without requiring a credit check. Furthermore, the carrier says customers which already meet the new requirements to avoid a credit check will immediately qualify for the new financing options when the Smartphone Equality program begins.

You can see Legere introduce the new initiative in his own words below:

As for T-Mobile’s reasoning, Legere says payment history is more indicative of making future payments on time than a credit rating. The program kicks off for all T-Mobile customers on January 25th.

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: credit, financing, John Legere, Offers, Smartphone Equality, Smartphones, T-Mobile, un-carrier, uncarrier

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McDonald’s increases sales by beaming offers to smartphones in iBeacon pilot


McDonald’s is testing Bluetooth beacon-based offers in at least some of its locations as it pilots beacon platform Piper that works with both iOS devices using Apple’s iBeacon framework and other mobile devices.

Piper announced today that it’s testing its beacon platform in McDonald’s franchises in Columbus, Georgia and pushing deals out to users that download its mobile app that sends location-based offers when users come in contact with its beacons.

While the initial pilot is limited to McDonald’s locations across Columbus, the companies will look to expand to additional retail locations after experiencing success with beaming offers to customers during a four week test.

Piper said it experienced 18,000 offer redemptions as “McChicken sales increased 8 percent and McNuggets increased 7.5 percent from the previous month.”

Piper is one of the many companies running a beacon network that sells both hardware and software solutions to businesses looking to deploy the Bluetooth hardware necessary for beaming location-based offers. Unlike some beacon networks, however, that are aiming to let both app developers and businesses tap into one another, Piper has its own app that acts as a central location for users to access all beacons deployed as part of its network.

McDonald’s is just one of many businesses testing or deploying Bluetooth beacon hardware for sending proximity-based offers and notifications to passing smartphone users. Data from Business Insider’s latest Intelligence report showed half of the top 100 retailers in the US are experimenting with the technology and that it expects beacons installed in one-third of stores by the end of next year. This year it expects around a total of 30,000 active beacons to be installed with 80% in retail stores.

Fast food chains have also moved to introduce other features for smartphone users recently including NFC-based payments like Apple Pay at McDonald’s and preordering via apps at Taco Bell, Burger King and elsewhere. 

Many beacon networks and businesses utilizing them have experienced an increase in app usage and ad engagement similar to Piper’s pilot with McDonald’s. In one case, beacon network InMarket experienced an almost 20x increase in the number of interactions with advertised products apps.

Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: beacons, Bluetooth, iBeacons, McDonald's, Offers, retail, sales, Smartphones

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