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Shipments of Android-running smartphones fell in the last three months of 2014 as consumers bought Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in record-shattering numbers. This marks the first decline in Android smartphones during the all-important holiday quarter compared to the previous three months, according to industry tracker ABI Research. The holiday quarter was the first full quarter of availability for Apple's latest smartphones, which went on sale in late September. Those surging iPhone shipments also pulled Apple even with Samsung, the leader among Android phone makers, in the global market for smartphones. Each company accounted for 20 percent of the market during the holiday quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.
Most smartphones shipped today run some version or another of Google's Android mobile operating system, Shipments of Android-based smartphones actually exceeded 1 billion units in 2014, according to researcher Strategy Analytics, a testament to the number of devices and device makers that use the mobile OS, But that was for the entire year, In the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 74.5 million iPhones, a 90 percent increase from the previous quarter, while shipments of Android-based phones slid 5 percent, to 205.56 million units, Android's falling numbers were also affected by so-called forked Android, meaning the variations that device makers make to the operating system, In iphone 5 cases target September, Google launched its Android One initiative as a way to bring affordable smartphones to emerging markets and create a consistent Android experience..
"Google's Android is being attacked by Apple's iOS at the high end and forked Android .. at the low end in high growth emerging markets," ABI researcher Nick Spencer said in a statement. The shifting dynamics in the market represent "worrying times for Google's mobile services and Android, but it presents opportunity for other service providers and even operating systems," Spencer said. Smartphones running Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system rose 19 percent from the third quarter to the holiday quarter of 2014, to 10.7 million units, according to ABI. Shipments for smartphones running "other" operating systems plummeted 26 percent, compared with the previous three months.
Just as the world's largest maker of mobile chips has been facing rumors that its new top-of-the-line chip has overheating problems, Qualcomm on Wednesday disclosed that it expects a major customer to opt out of using that chip for an upcoming iphone 5 cases target flagship smartphone -- widely believed to be Samsung and its next Galaxy S smartphone, The loss, among other problems, was significant enough that Qualcomm was forced to cut its annual revenue forecast by $800 million, This caps off months of hand-wringing over an ongoing antimonopoly investigation in China..
All that negativity drove Qualcomm's stock down 12 percent at the end of the week, with the company losing about $14 billion in market value. The latest stumble from the San Diego, Calif., mobile bellwether provides a case study on how quickly fortunes can change in the highly competitive mobile world, in which business needs to be won with every new device. The long-term question for Qualcomm now is whether its latest troubles will provide an opening for its many rivals -- including MediaTek, Intel and Marvell -- to create a bigger alternative to Qualcomm's Snapdragon brand, or if the chipmaker can quell the rumors and reassert its leading spot.
Qualcomm, for its part, believes the issues will not have a major effect on its dominance in the industry, "We don't see any structural problem, we don't see anything that challenges our competitive position going forward," Qualcomm executive Cristiano Amon, who helps lead the company's chip sales, said in an interview Thursday, "We had one product cycle that went well, but not as good as we hoped because we lost one design."Amon also offered a strong defense of the company's top-tier chip, the Snapdragon 810, that's faced the overheating rumors, He said the 810 will be a dominant player in the next line of high-end mobile phones and tablets -- being used in over 60 devices -- with the company winning most major flagship phones iphone 5 cases target running the Android and Windows Phone operating systems..
"There's a lot of rumor and misinformation about the 810," Amon said. "Categorically, we don't see any problem with the chip."So far, the LG G Flex 2 and Xiaomi Mi Note Pro smartphones will include the 810. LG offered its defense of the chip, with a mobile executive saying last week "the chip's performance is quite satisfactory," according to Reuters. LG declined to comment for this story. Addressing the overheating concerns, Joshua Ho -- mobile editor for AnandTech, a site that publishes the results of independent tests of computer chips -- said such problems have been generally resolved for chips. He hasn't tested out a finished version of the 810 yet, so he couldn't say if the chip had other issues.
"For the most part, this is a solved problem," Ho said, "It's no longer difficult to make a chip that doesn't overheat."The next Samsung Galaxy S, though, is expected to include a chip from Samsung's in-house Exynos iphone 5 cases target line, which Samsung has been working to build up, It's not yet clear if Qualcomm's radio chip will still end up being used in that phone, Amon added that there is no separate version of the 810 being created -- addressing another rumor that a special chip was being made to placate Samsung, During a call with analysts this week, Samsung executives declined to address which chip might be used in the new device..