• Follow us

Technology

Red Flag Flying Over Flagship Phones | Smartphones

By John P. Mello Jr. May 1, 2019 5:00 AM PT

These could be the worst of times for high-end flagship smartphones.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday told Alphabet shareholders that his company's flagship phones, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, released last fall, had encountered some "year over year headwinds."

Samsung maintained that its flagship phone lineup, which includes the Galaxy S10, has been selling well, but it acknowledged that sales were being cannibalized by its lower-priced models.

Meanwhile, Apple saw iPhone sales plummet, year over year -- 15 percent during the holiday quarter of 2018, despite holidays typically being a hot time for smartphone sales. Wall Street analysts have predicted further drops for the first three months of 2019.

"We're starting to see a backlash against these expensive smartphones," said Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst for mobile devices technology and trends at IDC, a market research company in Framingham, Massachusetts.

"At a time when innovation has been moving slowly, consumers can't justify the spend for incremental change and are retreating to less expensive stuff," he told TechNewsWorld.

"A thousand dollars for a phone is pretty ridiculous," said Phoenix, Arizona-based Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research, a high-tech research and advisory firm.

"People should not be paying that," he told TechNewsWorld. "They're not getting the value for their money."

Hitting Price Wall

Many consumers have hit the wall when it comes to what they're willing to pay for a smartphone, observed Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, a technology advisory firm in Hayward, California.

"It used to be that premium-priced flagship phones delivered substantial new features or design points that softened the sting of their much higher costs," he told TechNewsWorld. "Incremental improvements don't offer the same sort of pain relief."

People are holding on to their phones longer, too, not only because they see their existing phone as good enough, but also because it's taking them longer to pay for it, since they paid so much for it in the first place, noted St. Paul, Minn.-based Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst at IHS Markit Technology.

What's more, "in areas where the overall market is still growing strongly, high-end devices are beyond the reach of many new and existing smartphone users, further limiting the addressable market," he told TechNewsWorld.

Flagship phones have less appeal now because they're more about prestige than any significant differentiator, remarked Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at Gartner, a research and advisory company based in Stamford, Connecticut.

For example, cameras used to be a key differentiator, but "now, many mid-tier phones have excellent cameras," he told TechNewsWorld. "It's at the point that it's not worth it to the average consumer to replace an existing phone for one with an even a better camera."

Mid-Range Phones

While the market for premium smartphones shrinks, mid-range phones seem to be doing well, Pund-IT's King said.

"Reports that Google plans to introduce a new lower-cost Pixel 3 handset suggest that the company is going where customers want to be," he noted. "I expect other handset makers to follow a similar path."

Those reports say the new "Pixel 3a" could appear as early as next month, when Google holds its annual I/O show for developers. "There's going to be a shift from the top-tier guys to the middle-tier guys," Tirias' McGregor predicted.

"With the help of Qualcomm and others, high-end phone features are being added to the mid-range phones," he continued. "If these top OEMs keep going after these really expensive phones, they're going to continue to lose market share."

Mid-range and low-end phones fit into emerging markets and the economic situation of users there, IHS' Schneemann noted.

"Whether in Southeast Asia, India or Latin America, mid-range and low-end devices are affordable options for more users," he said.

"Apple's struggle in India is a reflection of the reality that most Indian users cannot afford to buy an iPhone," Schneemann added.

Approaching Saturation Levels

Even a mid-range phone may be a tough sell in the future.

"I believe we're approaching saturation of the overall smartphone market," said Frank E. Gillett, principal analyst at Forrester Research, a market research company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"As we approach saturation, the smartphone market will become a replacement market," he told TechNewsWorld.

Meanwhile, high-end smartphones will approach saturation sooner than the overall market.

"We're going to see a decline, and the high-end smartphones will stabilize at a new level," Gillett explained.

"There's still going to be a bunch of people who want big screen, high-end smartphones," he continued, "but it means they're going to keep them longer, and the market of buyers will no longer be expanding."

5G to the Rescue?

A wild card for future sales of flagship phones could be 5G technology, which promises faster data speeds. Those sales will not be immediate, though.

"Even though the rollout of 5G will be quicker than 4G, it will take some time for subscribers to get access to it at scale," Schneeman explained.

"In the U.S., Verizon's rollouts are geographically limited," he said.

"There is also still no killer application which would not only move existing premium smartphone users to upgrade quicker, but also move those subscribers with cheaper handsets to move into the premium price range," Schneeman added.

"I think 5G will have a significant impact," he said, "once handsets in more than one pricing tier are available."

Media and services that take advantage of 5G will roll out a lot slower than expected, King predicted.

"It'd be a mistake to believe that 5G alone will somehow pull the smartphone market out of its current malaise," he said.

"No one is going to get rid of their phones because of 5G," contended Forrester's Gillett.

Moreover, the interesting 5G features are going to be limited to dense urban areas and it's going to cost more to use it, he pointed out.

"Because it's more expensive, people will just wait until they get their next phone to get 5G," Gillett said. "That won't fuel any growth."

Advocates of 5G may have a problem selling the technology to consumers.

"Joe and Jane consumer have no idea what 5G means, nor do they care -- at least not right now," IDC's Llamas said.

"Is 5G going to save smartphones?" he asked. "I don't think so. If it is, it's going to take a long time to happen, and a lot of consumer education."

John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, IT issues, privacy, e-commerce, social media, artificial intelligence, big data and consumer electronics. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including the Boston Business Journal, the Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government Security News. Email John.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

TechNewsWorld

Elive Elevates Linux With Enlightenment 2019-05-10 12:41:37The Elive distro's integration of the Debian Linux base and the Enlightenment desktop is a powerful combination. Together, they offer a unique comput

Baltimore Held Hostage in 2nd Ransomware Attack 2019-05-10 08:00:00Baltimore officials have admitted that the city government once again has been victimized by ransomware -- the second such attack in just over a year.

Microsoft Becomes Master of Its Own Linux Kernel 2019-05-09 11:56:13Microsoft has announced that its own full Linux kernel will power WSL2, the newest version of the Windows Subsystem for Linux. This marks the first ti

Review Roundup: Pixel 3a Wins Kudos for Cameras, 2019-05-09 08:00:00Google's Pixel 3a smartphone, launched at Google's 2019 I/O developer conference, has wowed reviewers with the quality of its photos and other featu

Google Showcases AI, Preaches Privacy at I/O Keynote 2019-05-08 08:00:00Google showed off its chops in AI and ML, renewed its commitment to giving users greater control over their data, and introduced a new economically pr

Get Ready for Feature Deluge at Apple's WWDC 2019-05-07 08:00:00Apple plans to introduce a boatload of new apps, features and development tools at WWDC next month, according to a report. As it does every year, Appl

Facial Recognition and the Fight for Diversity 2019-05-06 13:22:06I spent a good deal of my educational and early career as an analyst doing research at scale. In fact, the way I got into the executive resources pro

POP!_OS Makes Classic GNOME Simpler to Use 2019-05-03 12:29:55Are you Looking for a hassle-free Linux OS that is very user-friendly and extremely stable? Pop!_OS from System76 is a prime candidate to fit that ord

No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services 2019-05-03 08:00:00Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for th

Cybersecurity Pros Join 'Right to Repair' Battle 2019-05-02 08:00:00An advocacy organization formed by cybersecurity professionals has joined the fight for "right to repair" legislation, which would allow consumers a

Red Flag Flying Over Flagship Phones 2019-05-01 08:00:00These could be the worst of times for high-end flagship smartphones. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Alphabet shareholders that his company's flagship

Mobile Chrome Hoax Could Target Android Users 2019-04-30 08:00:00A new method for hiding the true location of a website from users of the mobile Chrome Web browser has come to light. Phishers can trick users into re

PCWorld

The powerful, feature-packed Neato Botvac D6 Connected gets 2019-05-21 11:08:00Using a robot vacuum to care for your home not only makes you look cool, but adds some hands-free convenience to your cleaning routine. Of course, the

Observation review: Old science fiction meets New Weird 2019-05-21 10:00:00The camera whirs into focus. Distorts. Whirs into focus again. Scanlines and static make the scene hard to process at first, but they slowly fade. The

How Google's Huawei license ban could change Android 2019-05-21 09:20:00A bad month has just gotten a whole lot worse for Huawei. According to a Reuters report and confirmed by the two companies, Google is preparing t

Amazon's huge one-day PC sale slashes prices on 2019-05-21 09:17:00Amazon’s current one-day sale is one you don’t want to miss if you’re on the lookout for fresh PC gear. The online retailer is dropp

Vizio 2019 product showcase: The value-oriented manufacturer has 2019-05-21 09:00:00Vizio TVs and soundbars get better every year while maintaining down-to-earth prices, which is great news for consumers.

RoomMe promises to make your smart home more 2019-05-21 09:00:00This ceiling-mounted occupancy sensor triggers smart home devices based on who enters the room.

Windows Sandbox: How to use Microsoft's simple virtual 2019-05-21 06:46:00Microsoft may be positioning its upcoming, easy-peasy Windows Sandbox within the Windows 10 May 2019 Update as a safe zone for testing untrusted appli

BrandPost: Use GPU-accelerated VideoProc to easily process 4K 2019-05-20 17:47:00More and more people are using mobile phones, 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) cameras, GoPro action cameras, drones, and other devices to shoot excitin

Need a dragon fix after Game of Thrones’ 2019-05-20 14:06:00ZeniMax Online either has an impeccable sense of timing, or it’s so lucky that all its employees should go buy lottery tickets this second. The

Save $100 on the luxurious Bowers & Wilkins 2019-05-20 11:36:00A solid set of noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver in offices, commutes, homes, and all the other noisy places you spend your life. And tod

Google pulls Huawei's Android license: 5 reasons not 2019-05-20 11:07:00The future just got a little dicey for millions of Huawei fans. Following a Trump administration Executive Order last week that put Huawei in the U.S.

Logitech's couch-friendly K600 TV keyboard has never been 2019-05-20 09:59:00If you’ve been pining for a couch-friendly keyboard with an integrated trackpad for the living room, today’s your lucky day. Amazon droppe

FOX News

Google AI detected lung cancer better than radiologists, 2019-05-21 11:58:49Google unveiled an artificial intelligence system that demonstrated an amazing ability to detect lung cancer in early testing and even outperformed ra

Trolls using Instagram to 'try to show Trump 2019-05-21 10:29:17As the 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign draws nearer, an independent study has uncovered a coordinated troll campaign using Instagram in an at

YouTube cracks down on videos that promote drinking 2019-05-21 10:06:43YouTube has cracked down videos posted by crackpots and fringe figures who promote a host of “miracle cures,” including a holy elixir blea

Scammers use Facebook to trick people into thinking 2019-05-21 09:26:13Scammers are using Facebook Messenger and other apps to trick Americans into thinking they gave money to terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

US warns about alleged spying threat from Chinese-made 2019-05-21 08:14:34

Cybersecurity experts warn Baltimore to stop 'playing' with 2019-05-20 14:13:00Cybersecurity experts say Baltimore is playing with fire as a deadline to pay thousands of dollars in ransom to hackers holding several of the city's

Your phone is spying? The truth behind the 2019-05-20 14:10:39Almost everyone has an eerie a tale to tell. Perhaps you’ve been talking to a friend about an island vacation, when suddenly deals for the Maldi

Google's Eric Schmidt: Breaking up Big Tech would 2019-05-20 13:52:05The former chairman and chief executive of Google said that calls for breaking up the tech giant have "no basis in law" and would harm consumers by

Apple's Tim Cook takes apparent swipe at Facebook, 2019-05-20 11:49:41Apple CEO Tim Cook told graduating students at Tulane University that it was their job to remake the world and leave it better for humanity -- while a

Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft sued over 'massive music 2019-05-20 11:12:00Visit any of the major digital music stores and you'll find unauthorized copies of songs for sale and streaming.

New satellites could save Americans $30B on monthly 2019-05-12 08:00:09Upcoming satellite technology could lower prices for Internet services, a new report predicts.

GPS stalkers, lethal cell phones, incognito issues, and 2019-05-12 06:00:30Everything you need to know about GPS trackers, and more.

TechCrunch

Tencent CEO warns companies must keep innovating to 2019-05-22 02:54:42On Tuesday, Tencent’s usually low-profile founder and CEO Pony Ma made rare comments to weigh in on escalating tensions between the United State

In Ford’s future, two-legged robots and self-driving cars 2019-05-22 02:29:48Autonomous vehicles might someday be able to navigate bustling city streets to deliver groceries, pizzas, and other packages without a human behind th

Leak reveals Uber’s $9.99 unlimited delivery Eats Pass 2019-05-22 02:26:35What’s the cord-cutting equivalent to ditching your kitchen? Uber’s upcoming subscription to unlimited free food delivery. Uber is prepari

Valve’s Steam Chat gets its own iOS and 2019-05-22 00:32:18  A little under a year ago, Valve released a big overhaul for the chat features built into its Steam game store/launcher. Focusing on modern day

India’s Ola switches gears on its food delivery 2019-05-22 00:31:24India’s Ola, which has expanded to select international markets and set ambitious goals for its electric vehicles business, is struggling with s

TransferWise now valued at $3.5B following a new 2019-05-22 00:00:43TransferWise, the London-headquartered international money transfer service, is disclosing a new $292 million secondary round that sees investors valu

Following a report about misleading ads placed by 2019-05-21 23:27:26Starting next month, Google will enforce new policies for ads related to abortion in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland. Google will now re

A young entrepreneur is building the Amazon of 2019-05-21 23:00:00At just 26, Waiz Rahim is supposed to be involved in the family business, having returned home in 2016 with an engineering degree from the University

Food delivery startup Dahmakan eats up $5M for 2019-05-21 22:00:29It’s harvest season for Southeast Asia’s full-stack food delivery startups. Following on from Singapore’s Grain raising $10 million,

Famed founder Daphne Koller tells it straight: “With 2019-05-21 20:11:11Daphne Koller doesn’t mind hard work. She joined Stanford University’s computer science department in 1995, spending the next 18 years the

Sofar Sounds house concerts raises $25M, but bands 2019-05-21 17:17:34Tired of noisy music venues where you can hardly see the stage? Sofar Sounds puts on concerts in people’s living rooms where fans pay $15 to $30

Google says some G Suite user passwords were 2019-05-21 17:15:37Google says a small number of its enterprise customers mistakenly had their passwords stored on its systems in plaintext. The search giant disclosed t

Electrek

BMW said to favor all-electric for next-gen i8 2019-05-21 11:43:22 BMW is leaning toward making its next-generation i8 sports car an all-electric model, according to a new report. more… Subscribe to Electrek

Apple tried to buy Tesla for more than 2019-05-21 10:39:49 Apple reportedly offered to buy Tesla at around $240 per share back in 2013. The bid from six years ago is now being reported as Tesla’s share

Honda now taking reservations for Honda e with 2019-05-21 10:05:33 Honda is now taking reservations for its upcoming all-electric Honda e urban car in four European markets. more… Subscribe to Electrek on You

Tesla cuts base price of new Model S 2019-05-21 09:50:59 Tesla significantly reduced the base price today of its newly upgraded Model S and Model X vehicles that launched just a month ago. more… Subs

EGEB: Minnesota’s Xcel Energy to close coal and 2019-05-21 09:05:54 In today’s EGEB: Xcel Energy shifting to solar — and more — as it plans to phase out coal in Minnesota by 2030. Construction has st

Tesla is finally starting to expand rollout of 2019-05-21 05:30:53 Tesla is finally starting to expand the rollout of its new more powerful Supercharger V3 stations a few months after unveiling the latest generation

Unu launches affordable 2nd gen electric scooter with 2019-05-21 00:01:13 Unu, one of Europe’s leading budget electric scooter companies, has a brand new ride. Unu just launched their second generation electric scoote

Tesla Model X ‘flies off’ guard rail, ends 2019-05-20 18:47:53 A Tesla Model X “flew off” a guard rail on the highway and ended up in doing a funny balancing act on its battery pack. more… Subs

California pushes back for EVs: proposed bill for 2019-05-20 15:14:34 As the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to introduce the final form of its proposal to freeze US fuel economy standards sometime in the near

Outfit your home with 3 energy-conscious TP-Link smart 2019-05-20 14:54:27 Newegg offers a three-pack of TP-Link smart switches for $57.98 shipped. This is combined bundle of HS200 and HS210 switches, which each individ

Tesla releases new Do It Yourself maintenance instructions 2019-05-20 14:54:21 Tesla has released new ‘Do It Yourself’ maintenance procedure instructions to help owners work on their own cars.  more… Subs

Honda, GM blockchain project to examine how EV 2019-05-20 13:04:22 Honda and GM have joined forces in a new research project that aims to examine how electric cars and smart grids can work together in the future, wit


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.