19 Nov 2014

Nokia N1: Dual Impact

Nokia N1 - Android Tablet

Finland's Nokia made a surprising move this week as it announced a new Android 5.0 based tablet, coined the Nokia N1. Just to be clear, this is from the company that remains headquartered in Finland and not the "Devices & Services" division that was sold to Microsoft (now called Microsoft Mobile). This announcement caught most observers off guard and could have some interesting implications.

11 Nov 2014

Xiaomi: Scaling Up

Xiaomi vs. Apple vs. Samsung - Marketing Costs

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported some of Xiaomi's financial metrics from 2012 and 2013. The two most interesting data points were the proportion of Xiaomi's revenue from services (~1%) and their sales and marketing costs.

5 Nov 2014

Mobile & Payments

CurrentC

Over the past few weeks, the tech world has seen a controversy erupt over retailer resistance to Apple Pay and other NFC based mobile payment systems (like Google Wallet). The short version is that retailers are interested in pushing their own (poorly designed) payment alternative that circumvents fees collected by companies like Visa and Mastercard. Interestingly, this controversy seems to obscure the fact that we still aren't sure what consumer benefits are targeted by mobile payments.

29 Oct 2014

Facebook, Whatsapp & LINE

Facebook - Mobile ARPU

Yesterday, Facebook announced their financial results for Q3 that showed mobile advertising revenue rising to almost $2 billion, almost 60% of their total revenue. This growth wasn't just driven by mobile MAUs, but also by mobile ARPU (shown in the chart above). In a way, this growth explains why Facebook isn't as concerned with Whatsapp's monetization, at least for now. Facebook also revealed some metrics for Whatsapp, which should help us understand their strategy.

23 Oct 2014

Twitter's New Business Model

Twitter

I have never written about Twitter because I always considered it to be a simple consumer service, with a simple monetization model, i.e. it was never particularly interesting. That changed this week when Twitter unveiled Fabric, an SDK for app developers, which takes their business model in a slightly different direction.

17 Oct 2014

Tablets: Quest for the Enterprise

Tablet Market Tiers

Yesterday, Apple announced a minor refresh to their iPad portfolio, with improvements mostly focused on Touch ID and a thinner footprint. In many ways, this did feel like this was a "placeholder" upgrade. The new iPads would certainly appeal to loyalists, but they don't seem to target the primary reasons behind the recent slowdown.

15 Oct 2014

Benchmarking the Smartwatch Market

Smartwatch - Shipment Comparison

Despite the hype surrounding them, I have been skeptical about the potential of "wearables" as a mass market product category. Most of my analysis focuses on the primary use cases targeted by these devices, which still remain unclear. However, we haven't seen any data on sales that would give us an adequate understanding of market conditions. Of course, this is partially because these are still early days. That said, I thought it would be interesting to compare the early shipment performance of these devices with what we saw in the smartphone and tablet markets.

10 Oct 2014

Xiaomi's Q3: Growth As Usual

Xiaomi - Sales Growth

The smartphone market saw an interesting dichotomy this week that reflects a changing basis of competition. Samsung announced a revenue and profit decline, while Xiaomi's Q3 sales grew 20% sequentially (and 300% annually). For Xiaomi, this continues a pattern that I highlighted earlier this year.

6 Oct 2014

Rovio vs. King II

Rovio vs. King - MAU

Earlier this year, I compared Rovio's operating metrics with those of King's to highlight the different monetization approaches chosen by each company. In absence of updated MAU figures from Rovio, I had assumed modest growth from 263 million in 2012. As it turns out, Rovio's MAUs actually declined by roughly 63 million in 2013. Likewise, King has faced a few challenges as well. However, both companies seem to be fighting back with very different portfolio approaches.

2 Oct 2014

Windows 10: Needed, but Business Model Challenges Remain

Windows 10 - Start Menu

This week, Microsoft unveiled a long-awaited update to its operating system -- officially dubbed, Windows 10. Microsoft says that Windows 10 is an attempt to create a single operating system that works across phones, tablets and PCs, without the compromises that were visible in Windows 8. This is certainly a much needed update that should help them retain their core customer base, but it also doesn't do much to cover up their biggest weaknesses.