mobile photography technology, culture and community

Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE pull ahead in smartphone sales

The ZTE Grand S was one of the "superphones" announced at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013.

As industry analysts report on growth in the mobile phone market today, it's clear that Chinese manufactures are making significant headway.

"The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the Top 5 smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market," noted Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both companies have grown volumes by focusing on the mass market, but in recent quarters they have turned their attention toward higher-end devices."

We saw evidence of this trend at the recent Consumer Electronics Show where both Huawei and ZTE debuted 5-inch format 13-megapixel devices with 1080p screens, the Ascend D2 and Grand S, respectively. IDC reports that Huawei took the third spot amongst top smartphone vendors in the last quarter of 2012 with 4.9 percent market share; ZTE was fifth with 4.3 percent. Sony fell in between at 4.5 percent, while Samsung took the top spot with 29 percent market share and Apple close behind with 21 percent.

Overall the global mobile phone market grew by just 1.2 percent in 2012, but smartphone shipments are accounting for an increasingly larger percentage of the total mobile phone market as global smartphone shipments grew by 44 percent annually. Over 700 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 2012.


Total comments: 5

Significance of Chinese Mobile Phones coming

I live in China and I have a Huawei Android phone since one Year. In many regards I love it more than the Apple phone of my colleague:
* Free choice of Phone Network Provider
* Rounded shape is more comfortable to hold
* I can upgrade SD memory to ridiculous size at ridiculous low cost
* It costs < 100 Euro

In all aspects I care the quality is comparable to iPhone and it has features important to me which the iPhone has not and all of that for 1/5 of the cost ( in China the iPhone costs 500 Euro ).

That this is Android and not iOS is a bonus to me, as I do not feel so locked in as with iOS.

Today in the western wold iOS phones and Android Phones cost about the same. Imagine how the market share will further shift towards Android once Chinese Phone makers sell their phones in the western world at they same price level as they sell in China!

1 upvote

Hi Hubert.
I don't know which western world you consider.
Here in Italy for example, it is easy to find Android phone from 100 Euro onward (the Samsung Galaxy S III is about 450 Euro), while the Iphone 5 starts from 729 Euro and arrive to the unbelievable level of 949 Euro (official prices on the Italian Apple web store).
So in my opinion is not strange that Android is taking a so large part of the market.
By the way, I still daily use my Nokia E5 with the old Symbian :-)

Edited 1 minute after posting

According to these figures the iOS has about 20 % market share. Since Android is significantly more common than all other mobile phone OS combined, it should be safe to say that Android would amount for 60 % market share, the rest shared by other OS. This would make Android a 300 % more common mobile OS than iOS. I bring this up because months ago there was a lively discussion here on connect that many readers felt it is not proportional to the market that all SW Articles are iOS only. The connect team response was two fold:
a) They promised to deliver more Articles of SW for Android soon.
b) They claimed that iOS is the majority of the market widely outperforming Android devices in terms of sales

I am observing the following:
a) Until today I have not seen the promised Android based Articles.
b) According to above report published by connect themselves it is not correct that iOS devices are outnumbering Android devices.
c) Chinese Mobile phones are coming to western market

Lars Rehm

Hi Hubert, if you look through our more recent articles and features you will see that we have been covering a lot more Android related topics and we will continue to do so. I use a Nexus 4 as my personal device, so I am as interested in Android as anyone else. I would say however, that despite Android selling many more devices than iOS, within the mobile photography community iOS is still the dominant OS. There is of course no market research data on this, so my statement is purely based on anecdotal evidence. Most of the mobile photographers we meet and talk to use iPhones. That doesn't mean that you couldn't do the same things with an Android or Windows phone of course but it is an observation we are making.


Hubert - as a recent iPhone to Android switcher (Galaxy Note II), I'm also interested in reading about Android on this web site.

Problem is that (as Lars points out) the Android photo community is much weaker, and photo apps for Android are much weaker too.

Maybe Android market share is 3x bigger than iOS- but a lot of Android sales are low end devices. A large proportion of Android users are also unwilling to pay for apps. So I think that iOS still has a larger proportion of premium users who are prepared to fund the development of good photo apps, and while this is the case I don't blame DPreview's reporting for reflecting that reality.

Edited 38 seconds after posting
Total comments: 5
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