At a nondescript office building here, Verizon Wireless puts devices through a torture test. The carrier's Device Lab, its main device testing facility, is located here, about an hour's drive southwest of New York City. In fact, the complex is Verizon's original headquarters, before it moved a short drive away to Basking Ridge in 2005. The device testing lab still plays a critical role in Verizon's operations, and has likely grown in importance over time as smartphones have grown more complex and integral to the lives of the carrier's customers. Here is a photo tour of that facility.
Research firm IDC expects total smartphone shipments of nearly 1.3 billion units in 2014, which would indicate a 26.3 percent increase over 2013. However, IDC thinks growth will slow in 2015 down to 1.4 billion units, or a 12.2 percent year-over-year growth rate.
Dramatic structural changes in mobile communications technology supply, with the demise of vertical integration, is forcing those who are developing standard-essential technologies for 4G and "5G" networks to monetise these efforts through patent licensing, as well as their own product sales.
Samsung Electronics said it will cut the number of smartphone models it offers in 2015 by at least 25 percent in a bid to slash costs and boost profits.
Samsung Electronics' third-quarter profit plunged thanks in large part to a steep decline in its mobile unit's profit and sales, as rising competition from Chinese rivals like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi has started to take a toll. Samsung said its mobile performance in the current fourth quarter remains uncertain, but the company hopes to bounce back thanks new phones with flexible displays in 2015 as well as more competitive phones at different price points.
LG Electronics posted its best results from its mobile unit in five years as sales and operating profit jumped thanks to record-high smartphone sales in the third quarter, driven largely by the G3, the company's latest flagship device.
Postpaid competition has been dominating mainstream and industry press headlines. Postpaid device and double data promotional moves by all rivals set the competitive tone as we enter the all-important fourth quarter. On Verizon's third-quarter 2014 earnings call, CFO Fran Shammo noted that the prepaid sector growth has slowed relative to previous years, and given entry price points are so close to postpaid, some of those subscribers are moving to postpaid.
Research firms Gartner and CCS Insight think much of the mobile phone shipment growth that will occur in 2014 will be driven by low-cost smartphones, underlining a shift down market that vendors and platform companies have been keen to take advantage of in their search for growth.
Samsung Electronics forecasted that its operating profit in the third quarter fell by as much as 60 percent year-over-year amid stagnating smartphone sales. However, the company is hopeful that sales will pick up in the fourth quarter and said it is readying new phones in the low-to-midrange market to help it recover ground.
The smartphone revolution has greatly expanded the size of the handset market with global revenues doubling in the last six years, as consumers substitute more expensive smartphones for their feature phones and basic phones. Yet changes have devastated most of the leading incumbent handset vendors.