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CES 2016 Trade Show: Day 4

by Rajeev Nair | 1月 10, 2016

Our continuous and relentless coverage of Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2016) focuses on Day 4 of the trade show.  With most of the high profile launches up and done with, the frenzy had wound down.

Analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) and Wearable Device Ecosystem (WDE) services were at the trade show in Las Vegas. Our coverage of the first three action-packed days of the trade show can be found @ Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Per our predictions, apart from Wearables and Virtual Reality there were some stand out products from Chinese smartphone micro vendors and in the Accessories and Headset category.

Mushrooming “Unlocked” Smartphone Vendors 

BLU (Vivo 5 and Vivo XL)

Both the phones from BLU have identical specifications and are targeted at the US market for now. Vivo 5 and Vivo XL feature a 5.5-inch Super Amoled display with a screen resolution of 720x1280 pixels and a pixel density of 267ppi. They are powered by Octa-core MediaTek (MT6753) processor, run on Android 5.1 Lollipop and sport Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. Both the devices are Dual-SIM, 4G compatible and boast of a 13MP rear and 5MP front facing camera.

The key difference lies in their storage options: while Vivo 5 features 3GB of RAM and comes with 32GB inbuilt storage, Vivo XL packs 2GB of RAM and 16GB inbuilt storage. The smartphones would be available via BestBuy.com and Amazon, while Vivo 5 has a whole sale price of US$ 179, Vivo XL would be available at US$134.

Other microvendors on show floor included MaxWest, Yezz, RCA, Unnecto etc. Most of these firms, while having sales office in the US, have outsourced R&D and manufacturing to Chinese OEM partners.

Our recent analysis , indicate the US “unlocked” smartphone market growing at an impressive 43% in 2016 and BLU’s leadership position being threatened by established players like Apple in this segment.

 
   Blu Vivo XL and Vivo 5


LeTV Max Pro

LeTV Le Max Pro is the first smartphone running on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 820 processor. It features a 6.3 inch 2K Display, Type C USB, 802.11ad and customized UI by LeTV. The new Sense ID fingerprint technology from Qualcomm and the fast response time while being standouts, the phone’s form factor can’t be much differentiated from its competitor’s flagship offerings.

China, its home market was the largest for LeTV smartphones in 2015 and its business model hinges around bundling content with devices. The unlocked version of LeTV Max Pro is likely to be launched in the US market this year via its own online store but providing appealing video content might be the key challenge here. The vendor for the same reason might consider working with third party partners like Netflix etc.

   LeTV Max Pro


Yezz Sfera VR Phone

Yezz, a Florida-based firm showcased the first 360 degree camera smartphone prototype. It is powered by a MediaTek 2Ghz Oct-core chipset (Helio P10) with 3GB RAM. Two 5-megapixel cameras (fish eye lenses) allow users to capture 360-degree virtual reality videos and spherical photo. The content can be viewed directly on the phone, and via Google Cardboard. Photo and video content can also be shared on social media / networks, as well as converted to YouTube video directly from the phone. Yezz Sfera phone is likely to ship by April 2016, at a wholesale price of ~US$270.

 

If the feature is to hold out and gain traction in the mass market, complemented by an evolving ecosystem, it could well turn out to be a new growth driver in the smartphone industry, which is currently hit by technology innovation bottle necks. If successful, it is sure to bring about some drastic changes in the future imagery related use cases for smartphones too, while posing substantial challenge to current camera makers. As it evolves, privacy may emerge as a key concern, as has been seen with other devices such as Google Glass.

 

   Yezz Sfera VR Phone


Heat Rate Sensing Headphones from Under Armour

Under Armour partnered with JBL to showcase its Heart Rate Sensing Headphones that can capture pulse on demand. The device would report one’s heart rate to the ears at the touch of a button, so there's no need to glance at a watch or band. With an IPX5 rating, they, like most of the other exercise headphones, are sweat and water resistant. JBL brings in the twistlock technology to ensure the earbuds stay attached to the ear during work outs.

 

The most dedicated athletes may though find the battery wanting, as it lasts up to just five hours on one charge. The headphones from Under Armour would have a whole sale price of US$ 225 and would be inclusive of a one-year subscription to the fitness tracker app, MapMyFitness, which was acquired by the company back in 2013.



   UA under armour headphones



LeVR Cool 1

This VR display from LeTV supports 5.5 inch LeTV 1 and LeTV 1 Pro and is also compatible with other 5.5 inch smartphones. This is one of the most affordable VR displays at a whole sale price of US $20.

As with other devices from LeTV, content is a key differentiator and use case for Cool 1 too. The vendor has been working with some content providers to make VR video content for this device.

  
   LeTV VR


Strategy Analytics forecasts that while sales of VR Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) will remain fairly niche for the next few years, sales by 2020 will approach 30 million units globally. 

Please check our blog page, for further analysis and updates from CES 2016.

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