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Spillikins No 87. The worldwide deficit of components
Samsung Wave and Galaxy S leave the market; Global deficit of components; International sales of Nokia N8 begin; Motorola Quench QT5 and Andriod onslaught.
The past week was fragmented into numerous more or less important events. An array of new faces, meetings, reviews and the new articles format (we will mention it next week) flashed by. The final touch was added by the unexpected start of Nokia N8 sales on September 30. I wanted to start here, but then decided to postpone it a bit. Nokia changes its prices every week and this time there was no exception. For example, Nokia E5 now costs $10 more. It is unlikely to influence retail prices, but they will not go down anyway. If purchased at a premium by retailers it cannot get cheaper for consumers.
A rumor that Samsung Wave and Samsung Galaxy S (apart from several carriers' phones) will be withdrawn from the market has been confirmed by 99%. There will be no fast replacement for Galaxy S and in December all new shipments will come to a halt. A comparable model will be unveiled in Barcelona in February. Russian partners of Samsung were informed by the manufacturer that they should not expect Wave or Galaxy S deliveries in December. Wave has already got a replacement with Super TFT display instead of Super AMOLED. They can be compared, but the newcomer still loses out. The deficit of Super AMOLED screens is high, but I still do not understand where to put the displays if not into your own products. There is no confirmed information available.
I have many devices waiting for reviews, but I will spend the whole coming week on the road, so only the most urgent articles will be finished. Let's go back to the Spillikins though.
Starting from September regional offices of numerous manufacturers began a war against their colleagues elsewhere. This phenomenon affects everybody due to the deficit of components. Plants cannot handle current orders and even uninspiring models find their customers. They are purchased by companies in order to replace devices that sell as hot cakes. I heard about two possible explanations. The first one is logical: the market was not analyzed properly and in September the demand skyrocketed in retail. In some countries it was so high that the shops ran out of stock. I like this explanation, but there is some understatement here. Is it a temporary boom? If yes then it is clear why manufacturers do not produce more and observe old contracts without trying to meet the actual demand. Several more months of high demand will make it possible to increase deliveries. Everything sounds right, but it plays into the hands of Sony Ericsson and Motorola. I think that SE results to be unveiled in a week will be positive. In Russia the company still has around 4% of the market in terms of sold phones. During the latest weeks its market share saw the decline to 1.5% (wholesale). All deals on old models were closed and the company has no inexpensive models left. I will put it another way – SE has nothing of value for money in this segment. It is not the end of the world, but Sony Ericsson is losing market very fast.
At the same time the company unveils curious accessories for geeks instead of mass market models. LiveView screen is a prime example. This gadget is very cool, but only for a limited group of consumers..
The current situation gives Sony Ericsson additional time, while Nokia suffers being the main player on the market. The delay in products launch is often a forced measure, when the components are in short supply. The outlook is grim for all manufacturers. Two or three months of the same and we could really face serious deficit of models in selected price segments. It is too early to panic, but it is not good news. The market is calm and we have the deficit of the most popular models, which allows carriers and retailers to make mistakes in supplies. The market will be grateful to swallow what it gets. There will be not enough flagship models for everybody.
Nokia continues getting the stick in the form of negative articles, comments and feedback related to delays in launching new products. Apart from Nokia N8 several more models were too slow out of the blocks, but they are not in the spotlight. The company decided to make amends and start selling Nokia N8 in time. They promised first sales in the 3rd quarter and managed to achieve that by the narrowest of margins. Limited qualities of the model hit the shelves in 5 cities around the globe. Nokia flagship store in Moscow received only 200 phones on a Thursday evening. The only available color is black. There was no hysteria around the handset. I would have been glad to drop in at the place, but I already had other plans. I came on Friday at around 11 am. Sales were good, people tried Nokia N8 and made their purchases. They had around 60 phones in the morning and by lunch they were gone.
Last week during the first sales of iPhone 4 in Svyaznoy (by the way, the handset will not be available in this chain in future as Apple got irritated for the premature sales of the handset) 200 models were sold during the night alone for the price of $1050, which easily exceeds that of Nokia N8.
By no means have I wanted to imply that Nokia N8 will have bad sales. On the contrary, the results will be good for this type of a product, at least until New Year. There is no hype or enthusiastic feedback from the first owners. On the morning in question I purchased a commercial version of Nokia N8 and can now highlight all its strong and weak points without any reservations associated with engineering prototypes. Today you can already read about the camera in Nokia N8 and how Nokia spoilt a good sensor with their reluctance to invest in developers. They had to try hard, but pictures do not lie and you can judge the quality of photo features in Nokia N8 yourself and compare it with other models
The review of Nokia N8 will be published this week and you will read all about it. I would like to emphasize that this product is likely to please loyal Nokia customers, but will not attract new ones. Unfortunately, Symbian is lagging behind ever more and nobody tries to bridge this gap. That's enough for Nokia N8.
I had a chance to look at the future of Android, but it was clearly prohibited to disclose any information. I liked what I saw though. Curiously, I learnt that all manufacturers of Android devices furiously fight to keep their interface settings in version 3.х and above. If Google wants to have a universal interface manufacturers do not want this and are ready to wait in order to launch their customized products. Several companies even moved their announcements back to 2011, because their shells will not be ready before that. By the way, the shells will now be called "third party software for interface enhancement" in order not to offend Google.
I have no insight into the matter, but I believe that HTC will be the first to launch a handset running new Android. This is a point in future, but Android is still growing today. Chinese models get to Russia before Europe and in November we will have a cheap ZTE Android smartphone for €150. This is just a beginning.
The movement down the price range has already started and in October Motorola XT5 Quench will be in shops. On the one hand, it is an unremarkable Android smartphone, on the other hand its price is extremely attractive. In Russia МТС will sell it in its stores for around €260. It is a true alternative to HTC Wildfire, already enjoying good sales courtesy of its price. I hope to complete the review of Quench XT5 this week, but I already have my first impressions. It is nice on the outside, uses good materials and boasts a superior screen to its similarly priced rivals. Motorola does not have enough of manufacturing capacities (as other companies) to make this model a mass one.
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Published 05 October 2010
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