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Handset Makers Adopt Android, Push Advanced 3G and 4G Smartphones, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

For 2022, analysts at Gartner reported that 1.28 billion smartphone units were sold worldwide (as well as much smaller number of basic cellphones).  Advanced smartphone features on modestly priced handsets are helping to fuel sales.
Upstart competitors have been growing in the mobile handset business.  However, this is a very challenging, highly competitive business.  Profit margins can be very thin (outside of Apple’s enormously profitable iPhone business).
A firm in China called Xiaomi Corp. rapidly grew to be a major competitor in the handset manufacturer race.  Xiaomi’s phones are full featured but sold at near cost.  The company is shipping its phones worldwide, with English versions bearing the brand “Mi.”  The firm’s strategy is to build long-term revenues by selling services, such as music, video and games.  Mi also quickly became one of India’s leading brands in terms of market share.  Meanwhile, India’s Micromax, the largest smartphone vendor in India, is also making its phones available to Western consumers, at modest prices.
Phones are also featuring larger screens, especially in China.  Large screens had been slow to catch on in the U.S. until the launch of the very popular Apple iPhone “Plus” models, which feature large screens.
Google forced transparency and open software on the cellular market in one bold act during 2007, with the launch of its Android wireless device operating system.  Android is readily usable, at no fee, by any or all of the world’s manufacturers.  At the same time, it is open to the world’s software and mobile app developers, free of charge.  Google’s highly successful strategy was to offer an open platform for mobile devices that is flexible and free, thus setting itself up to be the leader in mobile search and related services.  The result is that Google is the envy of all other mobile search providers and all other mobile operating system creators.  Google’s Android is the most popular smartphone operating system worldwide.
Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS put additional competitive pressure on Microsoft in the mobile arena.  Microsoft offers its Windows mobile operating system, which combines potential access to its Office suite of applications, Xbox LIVE gaming and a wide array of apps.  However, Microsoft is running far behind Apple and Android in the mobile market.
The biggest news in the handset industry is the massive investments that manufacturers are making in order to offer state-of-the-art handsets capable of accessing ultra-fast 5G cellular networks.  Such networks can offer ultrafast service, including internet downloads, at speeds substantially higher than those of 4G networks.  5G service is steadily rolling out in major cities worldwide, and consumers are excited about the prospect of near-instantaneous download of full-length movies, higher resolution for images and fast access to all online services.
Pioneers in 5G handsets include Samsung, OnePlus, Motorola, Huawei, Xiaomi and LG.  Apple’s 5G iPhone was first released in October 2020.


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