back to article Smartphones crashed, Samsung burned: Mobile in 2016

The mobile landscape this year was dominated by an air war of far greater importance taking place over the players’ heads. Giant telcos went shopping for giant media companies, while Silicon Valley continued to work to destroy the value of both pipes and content, mostly by trying to queer the regulatory pitch. Down below, back …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Must be a bad year for Apple

    Only one mention of Apple and no mention of the iPhone 7

    And this is a roundup of the mobile marketplace?

    How the mighty (apple) have fallen or perhaps not? Perhaps Mr O just does not like Apple?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must be a bad year for Apple

      He didn't really say anything good about ANY phone, and considering what he said about Samsung Apple came out pretty well escaping mention.

      I think it is a sign that last year's phones were pretty much the same as the ones the year before. Not just in looks like the iPhone 7, but in what they do. Incremental improvements in performance, cameras etc. but there haven't been any must have features for years. Sounds like next year Apple will go all-screen, probably others as well, but that's about the extent of the excitement.

      I predict there will be more hype around using phones for VR, and it will continue to be an utterly irrelevant segment.

    2. Dr Stephen Jones

      Re: Must be a bad year for Apple

      Maybe Apple just didn't do anything interesting?

    3. Alastair Dodd 1


      it was as really they did nothing different or exciting.. and no the touchscreen gimmick on the pros is different but not exciting really.

  2. redpawn Silver badge

    My augmented reality is quite good

    I went to the library and picked up a couple of new scifi books for three weeks. Full immersion and commercial free.

    1. Paul Hargreaves

      Re: My augmented reality is quite good

      You haven't got to the end of the book then. Typically there is a few pages of another book there, along with a 'go to our website to find out more about <tor publishing> et-al'.

      > I went to the library

      I remember those. I can't wait to tell my grandkids about them, along with 'I remember the days before the internet' and 'we only had 3 channels, one with a girl losing at tick-tac-toe to a clown...' etc.

    2. Unep Eurobats

      Re: My augmented reality is quite good

      And the pictures are better on the radio.

  3. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Between them the smart watch suppliers shipped 23 million units last quarter. Up on last year. Only Apple was down (and drastically so).

    1. Dana W

      They were down last quarter because they had a twp year old unit with a new model on the way. This Xmas the Apple watch has been a fast mover the shops have not been able to keep in stock.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Between them the smart watch suppliers shipped 23 million units last quarter

      According to IDC is was 2.7 million, not 23 million. Apple has 40% of the market. That's roughly an overall 50% YoY decline. I suspect you may have lumped fitness bands in there too, but they are a very different market.

      I suspect Withings - now Nokia owned - may be getting there in terms of something that actually works both as a watch and a fitness monitor, but I doubt they will ever have the marketing power to get anywhere. Even Apple watch sales have to be viewed as a tag-along effect of their huge spend on advertising and product placement for the iPhone. The incremental cost for Apple of giving their wearable a large market presence is negligible; even so it doesn't sell very well, even to the many millions of people who think nothing of spending well over $700 on a phone.

  4. Buzzword

    The other wearable

    Well done for forecasting the demise of the smartwatch. But whatever happened to Google Glass and its ilk? I rather liked the idea. Like the smartwatch, the glasses can't do anything that your smartphone doesn't already do; but they're more hands-free than the watch. There's scope for integration with AI (e.g. Google Now) - for example you could look at a bus stop and have the bus arrival times appear automatically. The glasses would have to be cheap - below £150 - but if they are just dumb screens connected to the smartphone's brain, the glasses shouldn't be particularly expensive.

  5. quxinot Silver badge

    Jeez, AO. Patting yourself on the back any harder may cause shoulder injuries! Be careful.

  6. Jo_seph_B

    A fair round up.

    I still think the decline in the mobile market is down mostly to a lack of innovation. They just don't offer anything much over the previous models. Look I've added a megapixel. It focuses .001ms faster. The CPU is double the speed of the one that is still not really being taxed. I've made the edges a little more round and made the handset so big you've may as well be using a Tablet.

    Talking of tablets, no real mention of the still shrinking market. With big phones dominating is there still a place for a tablet? Is the tablet doomed, I think it might be scooped up by the Laptop market or the two will basically merge into one.

    Although I do think you are wrong about smartwatches. I think they have a place. Although the market is not a huge one, but then watches aren't for everyone anyway. Take the tablet and phone issue, you don't really need both when the phones are getting this big and both do exactly the same thing and this is impacting Tablet sales. The watch offers some nice features, notifications at a glance and almost an extension of your phone rather than trying to compete with it. If they can really nail down the health side that'll really help as that market is still looking strong. I agree they haven't found an exact place in the market and aren't fixing a problem but neither did the first iPhone. It was just a phone, with an impressive touch screen. I think they will find their place but again they need to innovate more than they did this year. Both the iWatch and Gear S didn't really offer much over the previous years releases.

    The first iPhone lacked almost all the features of the other phones of the time. But its innovative touch screen was a glimpse of the future of all devices to follow. We need another iPhone moment just not sure where its going to come from or what it is.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: A fair round up.

      I'd like a new tablet. My Nexus 7 (2013 model) is getting a bit long in the tooth, a bit battered and out of the support upgrade window, but I can't see anything to replace it with which isn't stupidly expensive.

      So much so that when my mother wanted a tablet last Christmas, I bought her a 2013 Nexus 7, and she loves it. (I'm going to be the family IT support, so I might as well pick one I know!).

      All the other tablets round that price point are landfill offerings from supermarkets, or attempted lock-ins like Amazon.

      It's a little disappointing that 3 years ago a well made quad core, 2gig RAM tablet with a lovely 1200 x 1920 screen (and stereo speakers) could be bought for so little, and now you just can't get anything comparable.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: A fair round up.

        I'd like a new tablet. My Nexus 7 (2013 model) is getting a bit long in the tooth, a bit battered and out of the support upgrade window, but I can't see anything to replace it with which isn't stupidly expensive.

        I know what you mean. I'd like a new tablet, too ... in fact I'd settle for an OS upgrade for my 2013 Samsung (Galaxy Note 10.1): a lovely piece of kit, but stuck on KitKat with no sign of further upgrades. I'd even pay a few quid for a supported Samsung release of Marshmallow or Nougat for it, but it's basically abandonware now.

        With that sort of attitude from even premium manufacturers is it any wonder that the public have stopped buying?

  7. roblightbody

    Not a single mention of OnePlus? The Oneplus 3 was the standout phone of the year for me. £309 (to start with) and with specs exceeding phones more than double that price. I love mine.

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Good use of HoloLens

    The Kennedy Space Center has a "walk on Mars" exhibit using HoloLens (and of course it's MSFT-branded to hell & gone)

    I must say it was pretty damn impressive.

  9. Calimero

    "AI is mostly an irritation. And not so intelligent"

    Disagree: AI is very intelligent! How else can we explain bloating an OS to 20GB and buying a new computer every 2.2363 years, to keep up with the higher RAM requirements? How else can we have all those annoying assistants?!

  10. Dinsdale247

    Missed some important happenings...

    Um, SailfishOS crashed out and was resurrected by Mr. Putin. KDE launched a brand new GNU/Linux based OS. And my Blackberry Passport Silver is STILL an indestructible tank and the best phone ever produced (IMNSHO). Long Live QNX/qt!

    Anyway, my wife and kids are all getting i-things for Christmas this year so I've got a big glass of kool-aid ready for my next phone purchase...

  11. psychonaut

    The only one?

    Anyone with a brain knew smart watches were going to be useless. Hell, I dont even wear a watch as of 20 years ago

  12. Jo_seph_B

    Google Don't Agree

    It would appear Google don't agree about the Smartwatch.

    Just read they are releasing two next year:

  13. CJ_C

    Two horse race became two horse race

    At the end of 2015, there were still ousiders like Blackberry, Sailfish, Ubuntu and Windows. Backberry and Sailfish have passed. Ubuntu has not had a phone to buy for 6 months. Windows share is miniscule with no hope of improvement. I would mention Tizen if there was anything to say. The Android, IOS duopoly looks here to stay and is bad for consumers.

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