21 Jul 2014

Low-End Disruption in Consumer Markets

Low-End Disruption - Automobiles

Disruption theory has become a very controversial topic of late. This is especially true for what some refer to as the "theory of low-end disruption". One of the most common misconceptions about "low-end" disruption is that it is only applicable to enterprise markets and not consumer markets. The goal of this post is to highlight examples of "low-end" disruption and value chain evolution in consumer markets and put to rest a few other common criticisms of the framework.

15 Jul 2014

Analyst Estimates and the iPhone 6

iPhone Installed Base

Apple is widely expected to launch an iPhone with a larger screen later this year. As this is expected to be a major upgrade, analysts expect a mid-year slowdown in sales followed by a blowout holiday quarter. In line with this expectation, Canaccord Genuity has released their regional installed base and sell-through estimates. Data from 2010 to 2013 is estimated from Apple's actual sell-through numbers, while figures for 2014 and 2015 are projected. This data is could be useful to understand current regional trends and analyst tendencies.

10 Jul 2014

Xiaomi and the Premium Market

Xiaomi - Time Spent in Apps

Flurry just posted some interesting data comparing Xiaomi's users to those of the iPhone and other Android smartphones. We already know that Xiaomi's users download roughly twice as many apps as iPhone and Android users, but now we also have comparative data on engagement and user demographics. This data paints a picture that is very different from the popular narrative surrounding Xiaomi, i.e. it only caters to low-end, price sensitive customers.

8 Jul 2014

Wearables: Job-To-Be-Done

Activity Tracker Usage
According to a report from Endeavour Partners, "more than half of U.S. consumers who have owned a modern activity tracker no longer use it and a third stopped using the device within six months of receiving it". This trend is symptomatic of a larger problem -- the job that a wearable device does is still unclear to most consumers. This is the crux of the problem I see with wearables, as they exist today.

3 Jul 2014

Xiaomi: Mission 60 Million

Xiaomi - Sales and Revenue

Yesterday, Xiaomi announced that it sold 26.1 million smartphones in H1 2014, totaling $5.3 billion in revenue. Xiaomi's goal is to sell 60 million smartphones and generate $11.2 billion in revenue by the end of the year, but these figures seem too conservative when compared to their current performance.

1 Jul 2014

Nokia by Microsoft?

Nokia by Microsoft

According to a recent report, Microsoft is finalizing an expanded licensing agreement which would allow them to use the "Nokia by Microsoft" brand on all their handsets. This seems to contradict a previous report on Microsoft's planned brand transition for the Nokia business.

26 Jun 2014

Google I/O: The Good, the Bad and the Debatable

Google I/O Data

This year's Google I/O covered just about every major application of consumer technology -- mobile devices, wearables, TVs, automobiles, etc. It would be difficult to go through every single release, so I'll restrict myself to the major announcements. Google clearly made some huge strides this year, but a few announcements also left me puzzled.

24 Jun 2014

Conquering the Living Room: Capabilities vs. Motivations

Apple - Revenue by Product

Today's tech giants have grown to a point where they have the capability to build almost anything. However, a successful product also requires the capability to distribute the product at scale and, most importantly, the motivation to invest resources to create the best possible ecosystem. It is fairly easy to understand a company's capabilities, but gauging motivations can be challenging. Understanding business models can give us great insight about motivations and, consequently, product strategy.

19 Jun 2014

Amazon's Fire Phone is a Puzzle

Amazon Fire Phone

I've gone back and forth on the prospects for Amazon's smartphone, and yesterday's launch of the Fire Phone hasn't really helped me make up my mind. Apart from the heavily rumored 3D interface, most of what Amazon announced was a surprise to me. It's difficult to ignore the fact that Amazon holds some distinct advantages, but there are also certain areas where they seem to be fighting an uphill battle.

16 Jun 2014

Apple and Objectivity: Testing the Profit Trap Hypothesis

CIRP - Subsidized vs. Financed iPhones

I have previously written about the pricing dynamics in the US smartphone market and the potential impact on premium smartphone sales. On this topic, CIRP released an interesting report which showed that higher-end iPhone models were more popular with buyers on financing plans (as compared to those on subsidized plans). This data presents a great opportunity to test my "profit trap hypothesis" and inject some much needed objectivity into this discussion.