back to article World is finally buying more phones and prices are rising

The world is collectively buying more factory-fresh smartphones again, with Chinese homegrown brands propelling shipments. Meanwhile, Apple reported a near double-digit slump, and Samsung also saw declines, albeit at a slower rate. Preliminary sales data for calendar Q1 was published by IDC today, showing that total shipments …

  1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    "The industry is "not completely out of the woods,""

    If being out of the woods means year-on-year growth of sales and profit then either the industry or the users are buggered - and I guess it will be the users when the only way left to sell new phones in the quantities required by investors is to hobble the old ones.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      I’ve had three Chinese phones, one was an android made to look like an IPhone but with the Android logo on the back instead of an apple. That i used for casual browsing and surprising people at parties when I took the back off and then the battery out.

      The second was a doogee which wasn’t actually that bad but suffered because the manufacturer could update the firmware without having any input from me.

      The third is a Xiaomi Redmi phone that I have (for one of my 2 phones) which has a privacy policy for using everything. A message will pop up asking you if you accept the privacy policy for almost everything before you use them. If you think that doesn’t sound too bad it comes up on the Calculator, the Clock etc. The thing states that:

      “In order to provide personalised services Calculator needs to connect to the internet. Before using calculator you must read and agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Agree?

      What is it going to offer as a personalised service on my calculator? Is it going to tell me that Bryan actually had a prawn cocktail starter which he denies when used to split the bill? Apps will shut down randomly and without warning which is bloody annoying, the no root firewall is a good example of that. Despite selecting that you want VLC as the default music player, when I try and play anything it will use the inbuilt app first instead. Oh and that inbuilt app will also have a privacy policy.

      Also someone else on here told me of a creepy hidden system app

      Have you looked at the FM Radio app in the settings App section? There are two listed, your first is the Radio and I would suspect that this is actually the one that will run the radio. The other more suspect one is a “FM Radio Services” which has access to my microphone and that’s not something I can deny it. Why does a radio need to use my microphone, a bit creepy that. Then if you look deeper at it, why is the FM radio trying to connect to the internet which it does according to my firewall?

      Also set your apps in Settings to show system apps and scroll right down to the bottom of the app list. You’ll find if your phone is like mine an app with an Android app icon and the name is three Chinese characters as the name. This has access to the Camera, Microphone, Storage and Telephone, all of which again would be permissions you can’t stop access to. If you weren’t paranoid before you probably are now.

      I found that hidden system app and looked up the translation of those characters after reading that and it comes out as “Radio” in English. Appears to be different to the FM Radio app which has a privacy policy too.

      Maybe the Chinese don’t mind all of that but it buggs the crap out of me.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Now you know why Xiaomi is pronounced like Show-me.

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        If it's on this list you could install LineageOS instead:

      3. Shalghar Bronze badge

        "Xiaomi Redmi" = the spy that hated me.

        The first RedMi i encountered (luckily noone i like made the mistake to buy it) had such an amount of uninstallable cruftware that the poor owner had not even 10% of the storage left. Trying to expand via SD card needed a special app as the original phone OS was unable to abuse the SD as main storage extension. After about a week of efforts, including a perfectly non working ADB approach, she trashed the abomination.

        Xiaomi whatevers are like russian roulette, the nagging mess with the nonpricavy policies just adds to mediocre hardware and a ton of never before seen software issues, be it design or quality wise.

        Other chinese cheap-phones from Dogee, Ulefone or my preferred brand Blackview/Doke dont misbehave in such a way. Especially Blackview, be it the Outdoor BV/BL series or the "purse and fragile" variety, A50 and such, usually have only few apps apart from the usual android stuff, most of them uninstallable which leaves the user with quite a lot of storage. Add a solid state battery instead of LiIon/LiFePo,exotic hardware like FLIR, air pressure, IR/Nightvision, Laser Rangefinder (one or more of the mentioned gadgets depending on the phone of choice) and there should be an affordeable work mule for everyones taste around. While it may be necessary to change some apps for preferred third party ones (hackers keyboard instead of gboard for example), chinese phones are not generelly as bad as the bottom of the bunch.

        Or perhaps i should say "chinese branded phone" as "chinese made phone" obviously also applies to Iphone and similar. ;)

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Smartphones have peaked

      The high end smartphone market has remained pretty steady for years, all the growth was at the low end where they ate away at the feature phone market. That feature phone market is just about gone now, so there is no more growth for smartphones left. In fact, with replacement cycles lengthening (because a phone remains "good enough" for longer) they are probably, like PCs, in a long term downtrend. That doesn't mean they can't still see some gains - when you compare YoY that's inevitable in any market that isn't completely cratering.

      When you measure by unit sales, and probably half those sales are sub $100 units, it is hardly a turnaround.

  2. Shalghar Bronze badge

    Why is this good news ?

    Isnt it strage that words like "finally" are applied to a raise in sales for short lived tech goods, even when said goods dont give too much increase in customer/user value for several years now ?

    Sure, memory,camera resolution, display resolution (whatever the advantage might be to have a more power consuming display with a higher resolution thats still mechanically around 6 inches) and processor power were increased and sometimes even the battery was augmented (which doesnt increase battery life due to the power needs of the other augmentations). But if you dont put your "smart"phone into something like motorolas laptop-alike case, whats your advantage except bragging possibility ?

    I assume the surge is in part generated by failing unreplaceable batteries and similar designed to self destruct / technically not quite up to spec hardware parts.

    In my opinion, its only natural that samsung does not benefit too much from the sudden surge in sales as they have basically destroyed too much of what made the brand attractive in the beginning. Hardware quality, value for money, sturdiness and AI (Annoyment Index) with the universally disliked bixby and other uninstallable cruftware as well as the usual interface muddlefications both from samsung and android.

    It is understandeable that people tend to buy a cheaper phone with a few issues less and a price tag way below samsung or other "prime" brands.

    Much more so if you have a government that seems to be hell bent on destroying any kind of economy except birdshredders and electroimmobility.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Why is this good news ?

      I think you're reading too much into the word "finally". Yes, it can sometimes be used for something good happening, but its use here seems to me to be more "after a long time of something else happening". It is no more positive than saying that "it's finally raining". If you were in a drought, you're probably happy with that. If you were enjoying a good period of sunny summer weather, this might disappoint you.

      1. Shalghar Bronze badge

        Re: Why is this good news ?

        Yes that might have happened. Non native english abuser, so any non-dictionary meanings can lead to misunderstandings.

  3. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    Chinese brands sell most of their wares at home and foreign brands are artificially hampered there with legislation, taxes and regulatory harassment. It's time we returned the favor.

    How about requiring Chinese phones to be quarantined for 18 months at our ports before they're allowed to be sold?

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: China

      Not sure why the downvotes, isn't it called a "level playing field"? So much of the West's stuff is banned in China, and anything that does go over there needs a Chinese partner (so they can steal all the IP). It certainly is NOT level!

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: China

        When I look at all the tarrifs the US has introduced recently I wonder if they know what "level-playing field" means. However, it's safe to say that most non-Chinese sales of its domestic brand phones are to neither the US nor Europe: there are other people on the planet!

        I think the most interesting thing is the collapse in Apple's sales which mirrors what has happened to other vendors over the last few years as we stop buying new phones every two or three years and even then often go for a cheaper option.

    2. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: China

      "How about requiring Chinese phones to be quarantined for 18 months at our ports before they're allowed to be sold?"

      That would mess up apples sale cycles pretty bad.

      Each vendor can get information on domestic rules and regulations and like any european manufacturer has to endure the insufferable mess thats called UL/cULus for machines (including the abhorrent "AWM style" with its thousands of entries instead of a clear, technics and physics based regulation for electrical wiring of any kind), anyone wanting to sell in china can get the relevant information in advance.

      If they still decide they want to do business there and its worth the hassle, let them.

      China isnt the only country with limits on how much foreign companies may do and own, "free west" countries and allies also have specific limitations on what they allow.

      As long as the rules are not bent or mutated after the ink has dried on the contracts, its one of the decisions that may be made in a "free market". Whining is of course also allowed as "free" speech.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoe Event Horizon


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