The global smartphone market keeps on growing, it's just not growing as fast as it once did, according to industry research firms. In fact, thanks in large part to weaker sales growth in the U.S., Europe and China, the market is growing at its slowest rate in years.
Samsung Electronics' mobile sales and profit fell in the second quarter, as the company's flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones failed to meaningfully boost revenue or earnings compared to last year. Samsung signaled it will be cutting the price of its premium phones but it insisted that its supply shortage of the S6 Edge is over.
LG Electronics said sales in its mobile unit were flat in the second quarter and smartphone shipments declined. The company's mobile unit hit a snag despite the introduction of its latest flagship smartphone, the G4, which went on sale in the U.S. in early June after being introduced in April.
Lenovo's Motorola Mobility brand introduced a trio of new smartphones, including two intended for the U.S. market, and the company is embracing the direct-to-consumer route. Motorola is hoping its brand cachet and lower prices compared to flagship phones from Apple and Samsung Electronics that will give it a leg up over other OEMs that are also selling phones directly to consumers.
According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, smartphone "kill switches" may not be as effective as they initially appeared. The publication noted that iPhone thefts and robberies in Seattle increased by more than 30 percent in the year after Apple introduced the function to its iPhones, which it did in September 2013.
Microsoft suffered its worst quarterly loss in the second quarter thanks in large part to its $7.5 billion writedown of its purchase of Nokia's devices and services business. Yet Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the software firm remains committed to smartphones and the broader mobile market as it prepares to unveil Windows 10, its newest operating system. He said that Microsoft would in particular focus on being more efficient in the entry-level smartphone market.
There is clearly still a market for flagship smartphones. They excite fans of the brands that make them and often serve as the reference point for the company's design language that filters down to mid-range and lower-end phones. But the days of the flagship smartphone as the be-all, end-all product for smartphone companies are over.
BlackBerry is cutting more jobs as the company moves to regain profitability under CEO John Chen, though it's unclear how many workers the smartphone and security software company is shedding.
Verizon Wireless edged out T-Mobile US in terms of postpaid subscriber additions in the second quarter, but relied far more heavily on adding tablet customers to do so. Despite losing feature phone and prepaid customers in the period, Verizon said it remains happy with its mix of customers.
Huawei is ahead of schedule on reaching its goal of 100 million smartphone shipments in 2015, according to an internal memo reviewed by Reuters. The report comes as the Chinese smartphone and network equipment vendor posted first-half results that showed the strongest sales growth in five years.