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CES 2017 Device Blog : Day One

by Linda Sui | Jan 05, 2017

Analysts from our Emerging Devices Strategies / Wireless Smartphone Strategies / Handset Country Share Tracker / Smartphone Model Tracker services are attending CES 2017, one of the biggest and hottest mobile and electronic trade shows, in Las Vegas, US, this week, from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th January, 2017.

Our earlier CES 2017 pre-blog / report can be viewed here.

These are three key trends and appealing smartphone models we have identified at the event on Day 1 (Wed):

1. Huawei launched Honor 6X in US and other overseas markets: Huawei, the 3rd largest smartphone vendor in the world, formally bring mid-tier Honor 6X to US and more overseas markets. This model has launched in China in October 2016 and featured dual rear cameras (12MP and 2MP), fingerprint sensor, dual-SIM, and 5.5 inch HD display.

Interestingly the Chinese vendor launched predecessor model Honor 5X at CES 2016 one year ago. Following that, Honor 8 was debuted in San Francisco in August. However, all these attempts haven’t bear meaningful fruit for the rising vendor in hyper competitive USA market. We believe distribution channel bottleneck remains one of biggest barriers behind the disappointing performance. While open channel and unlocked smartphone market has been surging over the past few years in US, top four carriers and multiple regional carriers still dominate smartphone distribution and sales. Apparently more patience / efforts are needed for the Chinese vendor to tap valuable US market in 2017.

2. TCL-Alcatel outlines new handset strategy by working with BlackBerry: TCL-Alcatel manufactured DTEK 50 and 60 two models for BlackBerry last year. It will continue the cooperation and try to leverage BlackBerry brand to attack enterprise and high end segments. A new QWERTY model- BlackBerry Mercury is expected to formally launch at MWC in Feb in Barcelona.

TCL had a tough year in 2016. It lost smartphone volume and market share worldwide annually due to fierce competition in mass market from other rising Chinese players such as Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, vivo etc. While it maintained strong momentum in US market last year, it kept losing ground in China, Latin America, and other key regions / countries. We caution BlackBerry brand is fading quickly in consumer segment, and the competition is getting intensified in enterprise segment from mainly from Apple and Samsung etc. In addition to teaming up with BlackBerry, we recommend the company to further differentiate own branded Android devices in mass market by providing innovative features / premium feel under affordable prices.

3. LG's refreshed mid-tier K series: LG unveiled K brand and launched a couple of affordable models last year at CES 2016. K series generated meaningful volumes for LG in 2016, especially K7, K10, K3 etc. This year LG enriched K portfolio by launching new K3, K4, K8 and K10 at CES 2017.

LG also had a tough 2016. It global smartphone volume and market share kept declining annually. Except North America where K series in mid-tier, V and G series in high end segments helped the Korean vendor maintain momentum, LG has lost glory in many other regions / countries. K series didn’t help LG regain foothold in China and India, two of top three largest smartphone markets worldwide. In 2017, LG urgently needs more innovative and competitive offerings to turnaround smartphone business. In addition, channel expansion is also needed in selected countries / markets.

Image result for Huawei Honor 6X at CES 2017Image result for TCL BlackBerry mercury phone at CES 2017 Image result for LG K phones at CES 2017

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