Huawei is biggest winner of 2015

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Apple also praised, while HTC and BlackBerry have year to forget say industry analysts 

Apple and Huawei have been branded the biggest winners of 2015 by industry analysts, but it was a year to forget for HTC and BlackBerry.

Apple released the Watch on April 24, with sales estimated to be close to 10 million. It then released the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in September, with opening weekend sales hitting a record 13 million units.

Huawei’s Q3 smartphone market share doubled yearly to 7.5 per cent. In Q1, it had overtaken Lenovo to become the third biggest smartphone vendor.

CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood said: “Huawei has proved it can produce some seriously attractive and powerful handsets for an equally attractive price. There’s a clear market for these handsets in the UK.

Diversifying portfolio

“Apple has disrupted the market. The iPhone upgrade programme, smaller iPhone, Watch and Music showed that not only can it produce fantastic phones, but products in the wider market too.”

IDC senior research analyst Susana Santos praised Apple for its diversification, and Huawei for closing the gap on its rivals.

“Apple has introduced a larger screen phablet, which shows its portfolio is diversifying. Huawei has shown with devices like the P8 that you can get a value-for-money handset with hardware that competes with the likes of Apple and Samsung.”

Practice leader of Ovum’s service providers and markets practice, Steven Hartley said: “Huawei mass produce devices and crammed them full of useful features, but kept them at an affordable price. That’s an enormous challenge they have easily achieved.”

No differentiation

However, analysts said HTC and BlackBerry had failed. In August, HTC said it was cutting 2,500 jobs in a cost-cutting exercise to reduce costs by 35 per cent, following Q2 losses of £163 million.

Wood said: “HTC is in a punishing position and will likely cease to exist in the smartphone market in the future. In the massive sea of Android smartphones, it hasn’t done enough to differentiate itself in the market. The One M9 simply didn’t do enough to build upon the success of the One M8.”

Gartner research director Roberta Cozza added: “The One M9 hasn’t given many reasons to upgrade. The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is an example of differentiation done properly, with its curved screen and wireless charging.

Too little, too late?

In May, BlackBerry said it was cutting jobs in its smartphone business, and in October it announced the release of the Priv – its first Android handset.

IDC’s Santos said: “The Priv should have happened three years ago. It’s going to be challenging to attract consumers who already moved [and become] used to and developed more trust with other Android manufacturers.”

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