Ronnie05's Blog

Why am I so deeply sceptical of BB10 as RIM’s comeback kid?

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on January 31, 2013

BB10I would like it Blackberry makes the fabled comeback – except that there is an overwheliming feeling that Z10 and BB10 donot really put RIM and Blackberry on any comeback. A few top of the mind thoughts on BB10/Z10-

Without a shred of doubt, the BB Z10 is a great device – and RIM has exceeded itself in making the comeback device which is in equivalence of Samsung SIII & Apple iPhone5 & Nokia Lumia 920. But device parity, 70k apps & new UI OS just ain’t cutting it- BB needed something remarkable to break thru Android & Apple clutter. In so far as i see it, BB Z10 ain’t magical to break the clutter. Or so it seems? Its a great comeback effort for BB – for now Z10 may keep them from going out of contention – & that is what BB wanted Z10 to do for it.

The Blackberry 10 touts apps such as Timeshift, Flow & Peak, Predictive Keyboard and the Hub. Yes, they are all good- but for the users of apps- this list is perhaps jaded. Its a couple of years old. How the device does it is the key – but hey! i dont see the novelty in here. On numbers compre this with 650K (or whereabouts) Apps on Apple or Android. The key here was the app moving beyond the device – to perhaps some other device – a tablet integration, a TV integration, a Car Dashboard integration. Blackberry is only at step 1 and Apple/Android are halfway about a couple of stories ahead. I cant still talk to the Blackberry for instance!The bare-bones maps app and a deficit of camera features are two examples where BB has a lot of distance to cover.

The slick video of BB10 OS make a great selling point and theres no denying that – but it looks to be a little late in the day – Screen Share, Remember, WebEx, Share et all!

The BlackBerry10 is ready just like a car before the race, now they need to avoid stalling and crashing along the way- Carolina Milanesi

In my opinion, BB10,Z10 and Q10 give that little space, that little breather and that little Oxygen that Blackberry needed to survive. With a few good operator tie ups- Blackberry has fixed the short term – only to rebuild for the longer wars ahead.

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Vanishing readers and rapidly multiplying EBooks- Its all playing Amazon’s way now

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 30, 2013

Lending more credence to an earlier observation that I had- Amazon will take over the publishing business – the latest reports from Amazon suggest that eBooks as a category have grown 70% Y-o-Y even while the eBook readers (devices) have plunged 36%. The key here is that even while eBook readers are on their way down, Amazon’s Kindle is doing as good as Jeff Bezos would like it to.

Quoting Bezos:
After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection.

The key is the eco-system and the network effects which is priming the Amazon business of books and a shifting habit from physical to electronic reading. Amazon’s kingship at electronic distribution has also led to Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, Paperwhite and Kindle held the top four slots on Amazon worldwide in the holiday season. Kindle stores have been opened in Brazil, Canada, China and Japan.

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Phillips quits Consumer Electronics Industry

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 30, 2013

With a heritage and tradition of 122 years, the end couldn’t have been so abrupt. But then there it is – Phillips is exiting its Consumer Electronics business sellings it historically-core business to Japan’s Funai Electric. Phillips sold its audio, video, multimedia and accessories activities (under its subsidiary- Phillips Consumer Lifestyle) to the Japanese consumer electronics company for the almost token sum of €150 million ($201.8 million) in cash and a brand-license fee.Phillips shall pursue

Philips_old_logo_svg

Thats curtains down for one of the biggest names in Consumer ELectronics history and the largest manufacturer of lighting, globally.

Our Consumer lifestyle business was margin dilutive to the group, so it was time to decide to move away from consumer electronics. Since we have online entertainment, people do not buy Blu-ray and DVD players anymore
Frans van Houten, CEO-Phillips

In the 1930s, Philips was the world’s biggest supplier of radios. The Dutch company invented the audio cassette in 1963, made the first videocassette recorder in 1972, and launched the compact disc in 1983. But Philips struggled to make the most of its inventions, most notoriously by losing a battle for the dominant videotape standard to Japan’s VHS in the 1970s and 1980s before failing to anticipate today’s disc-free, digital-entertainment era dominated by downloaded and streamed entertainment via the Internet.Despite steadily reducing its exposure to consumer electronics over the years, exiting the television and mobile-phone segments along the way, Philips has struggled to generate sufficiently larger profits from the business.

800px-Philips_logo_svg

Philips’ Q4, 2012 net loss was €358 million compared with a €162 million loss in the Q4, 2011
A year earlier, a €272 million loss on the sale of its television business pushed the group into the red.
For CY2012, Philips reported net profit of €231 million compared to CY2011 net loss of €1.29 billion on a 9.8% rise in revenue to €24.79 billion thanks to strong growth in emerging markets, which helped offset sluggish demand in Europe and North America.
In 2012, Philips health-care order intake grew 4% in the fourth quarter and comparable sales also grew 4%. At consumer lifestyle, comparable sales grew 2%, while at lighting, it was 4%.

Philips’s will now focus on the highly competitive medical equipment industry. Sales from its healthcare division generated 40% of group revenue in the fourth quarter, with consumer lifestyle contributing 26% and lighting, which was loss making before earnings, interest and tax, making up 32%. For Q4,2012, GE posted 7% growth in the medical equipments industry followed by Phillips at 4% and Siemens at -1%

Strategy Analytics- Android steam rolls in Q4, 2012

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 29, 2013

According to Q4, 2012, Smartphone numbers by Strategy Analytics, Android is steam rolling competition in smartphones.

Android has registered a 38% QoQ growth in Q4 (2012 vs 2011)
Over CY2012, Android with 68.4% market share has powered the growth in smartphones at 42.7%

Android-Q4

While Apple holds its own (even while cutting down on its supply chain orders for panels and even though there is a pressure from players such as Samsung Galaxy SIII), the question that needs to be asked – is there any room left for Blackberry 10 to play catch up? I will wager a bet – BB10 will not make any difference!. Call that gutfeel!

Is Google ace’ing Apple in the race for tomorrow’s Technology leadership?

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on January 28, 2013

If you are not doing something crazy, you are doing the wrong things
Google CEO Larry Page

However what is so interesting in the convergence space is the approach that the two giants – Apple and Google are taking to the leadership of the technology slugfest. While Apple fiddles with its 7 year old Apple TV inching it to perfection and there is some news about Apple delivering an iWatch towards wearable computing – Google seems to be focussing on Project Glass and its Driverless Cars as the prime future projects. From the current state of affairs – it looks like while Apple fiddles over TV and iWatch – Driverless Cars and Project Glass might be the key for Google to Vault and Ace Apple.

Whats emminent in the next 3-5 year horizon is the paassng over of the Smartphone age substituted by more Always on, Real time Computing.

Google- Internet usage figures 2012

Posted in Industry updates, Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on January 19, 2013

Google has released statistics on global internet usage for 2012. According to the company the number of world-wide email users is at 2.2 billion with daily email traffic of 144 billion. Gmail emerged the most popular service provider with 425 million active users while Google’s web page and sites registered 191 million visitors as of November 2012.

The report shows the number of internet users worldwide stands at 2.4 billion with Africa coming in fifth accounting for 167 million of those. Asia is the leading continent in internet usage with 1.1 billion users followed by Europe with 519 million, North America with 274 million, and 255 million users in Latin America and the Caribbean islands.

The Middle East records 90 million users while Australia and Oceania regions account for 24.3 million users. The number of users in China alone is 565 million making it the country with the most users and internet penetration of 42.1 percent. On the social media platform, the report established Brazil as the most active country on Face book with 85,962 posts per month.

Worldwide face book had 1 billion active users as of October 2012, 47 percent of those being female and a user average age of 40.5 years. Twitter followed in popularity with 200 million users with 163 billion tweets since its inception and a user age average of 37.3 years. Google+ recorded 135 million users while Google recorded 1.2 trillion searches in December 2012. The report also establishes that 6.7 billion people were accessing internet through their mobile phones 1.1 billion of those through smart phones.

The number of mobile handsets was at 5.3 billion with 1.3 billion smart phones in use worldwide by end of 2012. 465 million android smart phones were sold in the same year. Google says it is almost impossible to capture all statistics seeing as the web has massive information but the prediction for 2013 is that people will rely more on the internet privately and professionally with more people using their mobile devices to access the internet while social media will become more significant to people’s lives as more use it not only for social networking but also to run their businesses.

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Modern day Dell? Or Sony? Or is there something more to Samsung?

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on January 15, 2013

Q4, 2012 revenues- $52.7 bn, profits- $8.8 bn.CY 2012 revenues – $188bn, profits- $27bn.

Samsung is on a roll and having thumped Nokia four quarters back, Samsung is taking the fight to the mighty Apple. Samsung is already the no.1 Mobile phone maker and smart phone maker globally. Also, its foray into Smart Cameras and Refrigerators have altered Samsung’s position from a Fast Follower to a Technology Leader in the Industry! 2012 has been very productive for Samsung as it seems to have a transition from a moderately successful electronics Chaebol to the leading non-iOS device maker. Interestingly enough Samsung and Apple make 104% of the Mobile devices profits – leaving no headroom for any investments from any other Mobile device maker. Samsung’s relentless progress in the Mobile-tech sector over 2012 have christened it as the Fifth Horsemen – next to Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook. (and I am shocked by the absence of Microsoft in that list by MG Siegler).

The Fifth Horseman- Samsung!

Even while Samsung has made its modest efforts to extend its run in smartphones to Smart TVs, Smart Cameras and Smart Refrigerators – the key to Samsung is and will remain to be smartphones. If smartphones as a device follow the PC/Laptop route – i.e only incremental changes and no quantum leaps- then Samsung will end up the HP, Compaq and Dell route – where these players kept producing laptops until laptops became redundant – due to the advent of Smartphones and tablets (Handhelds is the industry terminology). Those profit figures will be difficult to emulate year on year in horizontal device domain.

Currently, at this point of time, Samsung seems to be going the Sony Way – Like Sony had the Walkman, the Bravia TV, Sony Music system, Vaio laptops, Mobiles & Smartphones, Cameras and other very strong sub brands in the consumer segment and has been largely unable to piece it together in a coherent strategy. The lack of this coherence was what has led to the slow skid at Sony. Samsung similarly is invested in a dozen and more device categories – TVs, Mobiles, Tablets & Smartphones, Laptops, Cameras, Refridgerators, ACs and Washing systems and in the current context is seemingly trying to put all these devices in the connectivity era. However, that is nothing more than just a smart tactical move – and Samsung knows this. Samsung’s dilemma is about not being able to marry these disparate components into one converged strategy.

(to be continued)

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Internet in Indian context – The prime mover

Posted in Industry updates, Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on January 11, 2013

If 2000-10 was the decade of voice, the current decade 2010-20 would be the decade of data. Over the next three years, data could more than double in size to a US$14 billion industry, contributing over half the incremental industry revenue and add 500 bp CAGR to an otherwise slowing voice industry. The economic payoff of a data-connected population would also be significant. A World Bank study shows every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration leads to a 1.38 percentage point increase in per-capita gross domestic product growth in developing economies.

With 121 million Internet connected consumers, India’s tally lags 565 million Chinese Internet users by more than some distance. However a 42% CAGR in Internet subscribers over a 3 year period from 2008-2011 provides ample reason to get excited about the Internet market’s potential for stellar growth in India. An industry study by Assocham and ComScore indicates that the Internet user base in India is approximately 125 million and among the BRIC nations, India has been the fastest growing market adding over 18 million Internet users and growing at an annual rate of 41 per cent.

India is one of the youngest online demographic globally with about 75 per cent of online audience between the age group of 15-34 years. Among the age segments, 15-24 years of age group has been the fastest growing age segment online with user growth being contributed by both male and female segments. The female population accounts for almost 40% of 125 million internet users – indicating that gender equality on the information superhighway is catching up.

Internet Growth India

The Assocham-ComScore report on Internet usage in India (october 2012) indicates – The top five popular categories accessed online are social networking, portals, search, entertainment and news sites.

Online travel has seen growth across all subcategories including car rentals, online travel agents, airlines as well as hotels and travel information sites.1 out of 5 online users in India visit the Indian Railways site.

Others waiting to benefit include companies offering Indians everything from online travel bookings, recruitment and matrimonial portals. The country’s Internet retailing market will reach $2 billion by 2014, with consumer electronics, toys and games growing the fastest, forecasts by Euromonitor show. Retail category penetration has increased to 60 per cent reach and has grown to 37.5 million unique visitors a month. The travel segment sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 38% in five years from 2009, and total $5.7 billion in 2014, according to Euromonitor. Apparel has been the fastest growing subcategory in retail and reaches 13.4 per cent online users in India.

These are still early days for Data and Internet in India and there are many business empires and business models which would scale up with the rise of the internet and Always on real time data access. The Internet and data industry in india may be 10 years – but the big numbers are starting to build up. Watch this space.

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Steve Jobs was right – Its a world of Tablets with Laptops only a niche!

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2013

NPD predicts that 2013 will see the first time that worldwide sales of tablets will surpass sales of laptops. NPD expects 240 million tablets to ship, but only 207 million laptops. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. By 2017, laptops are on track to shrink to just 27% of the mobile PC market.

In a market that has been dominated by Apple, shifting market dynamics are creating the opportunity for a greater variety of choices and screens, which will drive shipment growth in 2013 to 64% Y-o-Y (against 2012). In 2013, 7- and 8-inch tablets are expected to ship 108 million units. That’s a whopping 45% of the market. The 9.7-inch screen size of the traditional iPad is set to shrink to only 17% of the market. Undoubtedly, the huge surge in the 7inch devices is thanks to last year’s launch of the iPad Mini. While Apple is still facing stiff competition in the coming years, it will continue to do well in the market thanks to its brand awareness and high-quality ecosystem.

NPD Tab laptops

North America and China, the top two tablet markets, already saw tablets surpass laptop shipments last year. North America will remain the largest market with a 35% share (85 million units) in 2013. Having passed EMEA in 2012 to become the second-largest market for tablet PC shipments, China will have 27% of the global tablet market in 2013 with shipments of 65 million units, driven by small local brands. As the variety and demand for new screen sizes increases, so will market growth in emerging markets. As countries like China and India continue to modernize while growing their middle class, the demand for tablets will continue to grow at an amazing rate. The cost-to-utility ratio of tablets is clearly a winning formula for PC companies and consumers alike.

Tabs vs Laptops

Meanwhile, desktops and laptops are continuing their fall to niche status. When the vast majority of everyday tasks are handled on cheap, sleek, and portable devices, the need for a traditional computer peters out for most people. Notebook PC shipments have been slowed by declining demand worldwide, reaching even emerging markets where low penetration rates could have stimulated demand. However, increasing tablet PC adoption is stymieing notebook PC growth. The second half of 2013 may provide a respite as new processors aim to bring more tablet PC-like features, such as instant on, all-day battery life, and sleek form factors, to notebook PCs. If the NPD numbers hold true, we can expect a number of players in the traditional PC market to jump ship, and switch to making tablet and smartphones exclusively in the coming years.

The tablet markets saw increasing investments in North America in the second half of 2012, from major brands that tested not only new screen sizes and price points, but also unconventional business models to support their efforts. The subsequent increase in shipments and demand underscored the benefits of segmentation in the market as it drove rapid market expansion. In 2013, further investments are expected worldwide, stoking demand to the point that tablet PC shipments will exceed those of notebook PCs.

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Infographic: Indian Tablet Markets: Charting the growth curve

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 8, 2013

2012 has been a year of tablets! (indeed). The Indian tablet growth story is very much in line with the global growth in tablet and tablet based consumption. Here’s an infographic that relates to the growth of Tablets in India and the segment wise splits.

Tablets - Indian Growth

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