2013: It's All About Smartphones and Tablets - Part 2
Yasir is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
2013 is not only an important year for the tech industry giants, but will also be crucial for struggling smartphone and tablet manufacturers. In the previous post, I discussed about the popular names in the tech sector and companies which have been making headlines. For companies like Nokia, 2013 will be a year to bounce back on the right track.
Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has lost its dominant position from the smartphones market, which Apple and Android continue to dominate. The previous Lumia smartphones were seen as an attempt to get back in the game. The lack of success from the previous smartphones was pointed towards quickly releasing smartphones soon after the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, without enough time for development.
The Lumia 920, on the other hand, looks quite promising. Nokia's latest quarter showed significant growth as the company sold over 4.4 million smartphones. Also, Nokia investors now have something to smile about as the company finally reported a profit after straight 6 quarter losses. While the Lumia 920 isn't the reason for Nokia's improved performance, the discounted older Lumia smartphones have contributed towards increasing sales.
As the latest Lumia line hasn't picked up pace, we'll have to wait for the next couple of quarters in order to analyse the performance of Nokia's latest high-end smartphones. On the other hand, the Lumia 920 has done quite well in China, as 3000 Lumia 920 smartphones were sold in one hour.
While Nokia's stock is still shaky on the news that the company won't be paying dividends, reports suggest that this could be quite beneficial for the company going forward. Nokia still has a relatively weak cash flow compared to competitors, with the Siemens deal being the cash cow for the company. Cutting dividends, along with shutting down factories and cutting jobs, will help improve invest further in the growing smartphones business. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, stated that Nokia needs to speed up the clock in order to release devices quickly if it wants to compete against giants like Samsung and Apple.
As for tablets, it is still unlikely that Nokia will release a tablet at the Mobile World Congress, later this month. Although, a Nokia tablet in 2013 is definitely a possibility as Elop hinted that the company is closely looking at the tablets segment. While many users would think that Nokia will only go for a Windows based tablet, we cannot rule out the possibility of an Android tablet. Elop, in an interview, said that the company is trying to learn from the Windows based tablets, including the surface, in order to avoid any mistakes and enter into the market at just the right time.
Sony (NYSE: SNE) is another struggling manufacturer of smartphones and tablets, looking to get back on the right track. After the new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, did some restructuring changes, Sony's new lineup looks impressive. Not only is the company hoping to improve on Television and gaming, but the company has also decided to step up its game in the smartphones market. Hirai believes that the new smartphones will be successful in the market, which is why he decided to invest heavily in the smartphones division.
Sony's latest flagship, the Xperia Z, is the first ever next-generation Android smartphone of 2013. Not only does it feature a 1080p full HD display, which other smartphone manufacturers will be implementing this year, but it also features a striking design, something which has been a strong factor in Sony's Android smartphones.
The reason why many believe Sony's flagship will be successful is because the smartphone features top-notch hardware, a polished UI but also "Plus" features with other smartphones, including the iPhone, lack. Even though it is a premium high-end device, it is also water and dust resistant.
While the latest smartphone will be releasing in several countries this month and in the upcoming month, Sony has also unveiled a new Xperia Z tablet, which is also dust and water resistant. New smartphones from Sony at the MWC is highly unlikely; however, we can expect a couple of more devices from Sony later this year.
Conclusion and What More to Expect
Aside from these companies, other smartphone manufacturers will also look to improve in 2013. LG and HTC are also likely to unveil a couple of devices this year. The MWC event will definitely be important in setting a tone for the year. However, a surprise event from Samsung in March is also a possibility.
While the PC market continues to decline, Android and Apple devices will look to gain even more of the market. Microsoft's Windows 8 convertibles and hybrids will also make headlines in 2013, its slow growth is an indicator that 2013 will be another strong year for dominant Apple and several Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers.
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