Архив метки: North American

Smartphone shipments hit a five-year low in North America

More dismal news from the smartphone number crunchers. New figures out of Canalys put the North American smartphone market at five-year low for the first quarter of 2019. That’s…bad. But also, pretty inline with what we’ve been seeing globally. The market has stagnated, and while manufacturers aren’t in full-on panic mode, there’s certainly cause for concern.
Shipments dropped from 44.4 million down to 36.4 million, marking an 18% drop year over year for the first quarter. Canalys says it’s the steepest drop it’s recorded for the category, chalking up some of the issues to “a lackluster performance by Apple and the absence of ZTE.”
Apple is still the top of the heap, commanding 40% of the North American market with help from the sale of older discounted units. But Samsung managed to tighten the gap on the back of a successful Galaxy S10 launch. The company grew by 3% for the year, up to 29.3% of the market.
LG, Lenovo and TCL rounded out the top five, with the latter two making pretty solid market-share strides. The remainder of the market took a massive hit, however, with a 65% drop in shipments. Analysts seem confident that 5G’s imminent arrival will help give the market a boost in coming quarters, but it’s going to be hard for manufacturers to maintain that momentum.

Smartphone shipments hit a five-year low in North America

Snapchat fully rolls out reengineered Android app, boosting usage

After a year of its user count shrinking or staying flat, Snapchat is finally growing again, and more growth is likely on the way. That’s because it’s finally completed the rollout of Project Mushroom, aka a backend overhaul of its Android app that’s 25 percent smaller and 20 percent faster. Designed for India and other emerging markets where iPhones are too expensive, Snapchat saw an immediate 6 percent increase in the number of people on low-end devices sending Snaps within the first week of upgrading to the new Android app.

Snapchat revives growth in Q1 beat with 190M users as share price spikes

Snapchat grew from 186 million daily active users in Q4 2018 to 190 million in Q1 2019, adding 1 million in North America, 1 million in Europe and 2 million in the Rest of World, where the Android app makes the biggest difference despite rolling out near the end of the quarter. It has been a long wait, as Snap first announced the Android reengineering project in November 2017.
“As of the end of Q1, our new Android application is available to everyone,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in his prepared remarks for today’s estimate-beating earnings report. “While these early results are promising, improvements in performance and new user retention will take time to compound and meaningfully impact our top-line metrics. There are billions of Android devices in the world that now have access to an improved Snapchat experience, and we look forward to being able to grow our Snapchat community in new markets.”

Some of the growth stemmed from tweaks to Snapchat’s ruinous redesign, including better personalized ranking of Stories and Discover content, as well as new premium video Shows. Now with the Android app humming, though, we might see significant growth in the Rest of World region in Q2.
Unfortunately, since Snapchat uses bandwidth and storage-heavy video, more usage also means more Amazon AWS and Google Cloud expenditures. That’s partly why Snapchat is predicting a slight increase in adjusted EBITDA losses from $123 million in Q1 to between $125 million and $150 million in Q2. Rest of World users only earn Snap about one-third as much money as North American users, but cost nearly as much to support.
We first highlighted Snap’s neglect of the international teen Android market when Instagram Stories launched in August 2016. Spiegel and Snap were too focused on cool American teens, squandering this market that was snapped up by Facebook’s Instagram and WhatsApp. Now Snapchat will have a much harder time winning emerging markets as they’re not the first to bring Stories there. But if it can double-down on ephemeral messaging, premium video and its augmented reality platform that are leagues ahead of Facebook’s offerings, it could finally creep toward that 200 million DAU milestone.
 Come see Snap CEO Evan Spiegel speak at TechCrunch Disrupt SF on October 2nd-4th. Get your tickets here.

Snapchat fully rolls out reengineered Android app, boosting usage

ShoreTel To Acquire Cloud Communications Company M5 Networks For Up To $146 Million


IP phone company ShoreTel has today announced that it is beefing up its offerings by acquiring unified communications company M5 Networks in a deal that is valued up to $146 million in cash and stock.

ShoreTel’s motivation for snatching up M5 was an effort to be able to offer its customers a choice of either on-premise or hosted solutions, enabling the company to reach a larger and growing market of users looking to deploy unified communications solutions. Gartner predicts that the “Voice as a Service” market is expected to show a 36 percent compounded annual growth rate in North America before 2015 — to $2.2 billion.

ShoreTel acquired enterprise mobility leader Agito Networks in October 2010 to extend the unified communications technology to mobile devices, enabling them to solve the bring-your-own-device problems that are changing the enterprise market.

M5 Networks, too, has made a couple of acquisitions lately, including Callfinity last year and Geckotech the year prior. The cloud communications company, which was founded in 2000, provides phone systems, applications, and cloud communications for businesses, and claims to be one of the country’s largest specialized VoIP providers.

Under the terms of the deal, M5 shareholders will receive approximately $84 million in cash and 9.5 million shares of ShoreTel stock, for a total of about $146.3 million in “initial consideration based on ShoreTel’s average stock price over the prior 30 days of trading.” Furthermore, M5 shareholders could receive additional consideration of up to $13.7, according to the company’s statement.

ShoreTel announced its Q2 earnings today, with revenue coming in at $58.0 million, up 8 percent sequentially from the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and up 22 percent from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011. Despite GAAP net loss for the quarter being $2.5 million, or $0.05 per share, ShoreTel had some highlights over the last six months, forging a distribution relationship with Ingram Micro in October, an expanded distribution agreement with Windstream, a North American communications service provider, along with expanding its relationship with Hewlett Packard, which will become a reseller of ShoreTel’s “Mobility solution.”

According to the statement, following the close of the acquisition, M5 will be operated as a ShoreTel business unit, which will be led by M5 CEO Dan Hoffman, while engineering teams will remain separate.

For more, see ShorTel’s announcement of the acquisition here and the announcement of its Q2 earnings here.

Check out our prior coverage of M5 Networks here.

ShoreTel To Acquire Cloud Communications Company M5 Networks For Up To $146 Million

Kik’s Cross-Platform Messaging App Makes Its Public Debut On Symbian (Yes, Symbian)


Kik, the cross-platform messaging app that works on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, is today publicly launching on Symbian after a month of private beta testing. The new Kik Messenger for Symbian brings improved group texting, sent, delivered, and received receipts, notifications to indicate when someone is typing, support for photo sharing, and the ability to locate your contacts who already using Kik.

But I know what you’re thinking: why Symbian?

According to Kik CEO Ted Livingston, Symbian was “a logical next step” given the app’s recent return to BlackBerry devices. The company feels that to be truly a cross-platform application, you can’t just focus on the leaders, iPhone and Android, you have to address the needs of the complete smartphone market.

Says Livington, “frankly, I think writing Symbian off is a very North American centric perspective and is quite premature. There are hundreds of millions of Symbian users globally, with millions more expected to be added to the platform with the last generations of Symbian devices.”

“That’s a huge, diverse, global group of users who are hungry to use their smartphones in new ways,” he says. “If you want to truly change the way the world communicates, you can’t ignore Symbian users.”

So there. That’s why.

It’s also not a bad strategy for user adoption, either. The problem with many of today’s messaging apps (or voice apps, video chat apps, “social” apps, etc.) is that you’re expected to use them with others, but the app doesn’t run on but one or two platforms. As an iPhone/Android household ourselves, there’s an endless frustration with today’s iOS-centric marketing focus alone. Android users are people too!, I want to scream. I can’t imagine how the poor, slighted Symbian folks must feel then. (But seriously, maybe you should upgrade.)

If you’re still a Symbian user, though, at least you now have a great new app to try. You can grab Kik from the Ovi Store here. Everyone else can get their version from the mobile Kik homepage: just click here from your phone’s browser.

Kik’s Cross-Platform Messaging App Makes Its Public Debut On Symbian (Yes, Symbian)

Nokia To Kill S40, Symbian Efforts In North America

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If you were to sit down and look at all the devices Nokia has for sale in the United States, you may come away thinking that they weren’t in the business of making impressive devices. With only a few exceptions, Nokia’s domestic offerings are low-end, S40-powered talk-and-texters — hardly what one would expect from the self-proclaimed “world leader” of the cell phone industry.

It seems as though the higher-ups at Nokia are starting to feel the same way. Instead of sullying the image of their North American operation, they have announced their intention to kill their low-cost S40 and Symbian smartphone business in an interview with AllThingsD. Instead, they’re putting all of their resources into one big push with Windows Phone 7.

Nokia wasn’t always this clumsy when it came to handling the United States. In 2002, Nokia held onto as much as 35% of the domestic mobile market, thanks in part to some innovative feature phone designs. As the country made the move to smartphones, though, Nokia stubbornly stuck to its S40 and Symbian guns and lost much of the relevance they had worked to gain.

It didn’t help that Nokia’s trouble with carriers also forced them to sell many of their more impressive devices unsubsidized by themselves. Customers, not used to purchasing phones without steep carrier discounts, paid them no mind. Currently, AT&T only has one Nokia device in their inventory, while T-Mobile stocks two.

It’s quite the gamble Nokia is making, as they won’t have a safety net in case their Windows Phone ambitions don’t pan out. The implications aren’t lost on Nokia Inc. President Chris Weber.

“It will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do.”

Nokia To Kill S40, Symbian Efforts In North America