N95 and iPhone: a smartphone revolution?
I read a couple of things over the weekend that started me thinking. Firstly this piece by Steve Litchfield over at AAS:
in which he notes the spectacular presence of the Nokia N95 advertising on UK high streets:
'If this isn't the smartphone going mass market then I don't know what is. It's completely true that 99% of people signing up for the Nokia N95 at (for example) £50 buy price plus a 18 month contract at £35 a month are expecting an extremely high-end, converged phone and it's true that 90% of them probably won't have heard of Symbian OS or even S60, but with this level of market awareness I'm guessing it probably doesn't matter at this stage - the interest and the sales figures will bring their own inertia.
If you'd said 3 years ago that the flagship Symbian OS smartphone would be the object of mass market, High Street adulation on this scale, noone would have believed you...'
Second up was this poll by HarrisInteractive:
It contains some truly amazing stats:
'Harris Interactive® recently took a quick pulse of American adults to determine how strong the buzz really is. Although iPhone is not yet a household word, 47 percent of respondents were aware of the product and a full 17 percent expressed interest in purchasing it, which makes for a pretty loud buzz from consumers for a product that isn’t yet available.'
'Perhaps a more interesting question to ask is when U.S. adults would buy this product. Of those expressing interest to purchase, nine percent say they would buy at product launch and another eight percent would buy before their current wireless service contract expired. About 17 percent say they would wait for their current wireless contract to expire before purchasing and 25 percent would purchase it - when their existing wireless carrier offers the iPhone. Finally, a full 40 percent of buyers intend to wait for the price to come down.'
17% of American adults are interested in buying it and 9% of those (more than 1.5% of the total) say they will buy at launch! I'm not sure how many American adults there are, but for the sake of the argument let's say 200 million. Extrapolating: 34 million Americans say they're interested in buying the iPhone and more than 3 million say they will buy at launch. Those numbers sound just huge to me! Compare that with the global sales figures for smart devices (smartphones and PDAs) Q4 2006:
Nokia 11.1 million
RIM 1.8 million
Motorola 1.5 million
Palm 1.2 million
Sony Ericsson 1.1 million
Others 5.4 million
OK, it's only right to be cautious drawing conclusions from the way one phone is advertised and a single poll about another, but it does seem to me that there is every chance that we'll look back on 2007 as the year that two devices, the Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone, finally took smartphones mass market.
Thoughts? Anyone care to have a stab at how the table above will look Q4 2007, Q4 2008? I wonder what this one will look like too:
Symbian: Q4 2006 67%
Windows Mobile: Q4 2006 14%
RIM: Q4 2006 7%
Linux Q4 2006 6%
ACCESS/Palm OS: Q4 2006 5%
- 04-23-2007, 08:18 AM #2
While the Nokia N95 is being heavily promoted, its not a wondrously advanced and useful device in and of itself. Its not "5 years ahead of everyone else". Just like the Iphone, if the device has great success it would be due to marketing. One expects a similarly powerful device marketed by a similarly powerful brand name would have similarly powerful interest. It does not mean anything in and of itself, and certainly does not say anything about the merit of the device.
- 04-23-2007, 08:47 AM #5
- 04-23-2007, 08:52 AM #6
While its relatively small, the Nokia N95 is still much larger and bulkier than most consumer phones, and while this is a matter of opinion, I find the fascia bland and utilitarian, and the front control pad uncomfortable looking. I don't see anything "visually attractive" about it. It just looks like another Nokia.
I notice you didn't comment on the iPhone in this respect.
I seem to recall that you said your wife likes the iPhone so perhaps you should ask her what she thinks and I'll canvas the teenage market and ask my daughter where it fits in her awesome/rubbish binary clasification system
- 04-23-2007, 09:43 AM #9
I've heard it said, but haven't looked into it and actually know almost nothing about it.
A line from there:
They acknowledged that Motorola had been slow to respond to changes in the global handset market, including growing demand for higher-priced, higher-margin 3G handsets in Europe and cheaper phones in developing markets.
Ok, 'sexy' is subjective and we may have to agree to differ. Size is a matter of fact and for smartphones they are pretty small.
To add objective numbers, the Nokia N95 is 110 cm3 and the Iphone 81 cm3, while the ever popular Razr is 72 cm3. The LG Shine, which is the current fashionable feature phone is only 69 cm3, and its main feature is that its shiny. Small for what you get is a calculation only enthusiast make. Its either small or its not.
Do you have any evidence at all for this?
Here's an example link.
Combined with your stats from above, this means a Win CE user is 14 times more likely to browse the web on his device. I think thats a striking number, and shows the very different demographics the devices address.
That debate has already been done to death and I don't think there's much point revisiting it. I wonder how canalys et al will see it.
so the first phones with it were only just on the market a year ago (IIRC).
EDIT: scrub that last bit, I see you updated your post with newer info. I take your point now.
Perhaps you can explain. I just looked at the marketshare.hitslink.com info page. It says:
We use a unique methodology for collecting this data. We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on demand network of small to medium enterprise live stats customers. The sample size for these sites is more than 40,000 urls and growing. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics.
I think this means that they're stats are of enterprise customers visiting their network. This sounds rather selective to me and is bound to under-represent the Nokia browser (assuming it has a lower presence in the enterprise than the whole).
- 04-23-2007, 10:54 AM #12
Additional estimates about the website population:
76% participate in pay per click programs to drive traffic to their sites.
43% are commerce sites
18% are corporate sites
10% are content sites
29% classify themselves as other (includes gov, org, search engine marketers etc..)
I think the numbers are pretty representative however, as other sites have similar numbers, if not in as much detail. Why do you think there are so many PocketPC websites, and so few Symbian websites? All the nerds are on WM
- 04-23-2007, 11:42 AM #14
Naw. The N95 is OVERKILL. Its a great blogger phone, for Steve L and news reporters. (oh wait a Treo already did that, 700w. fox news)
But who needs a 5 mpeg cameraa & 30fps phone?!
Networks & other cellphones don't even support that type of media, (meaning who r u going to send vidz and fotos to and what network would let u send a vid of that size?).
If Nokia gets PIMs figured out, and media issues (music player and real player crap) then the" Nokia XXX is the the best phone in the world" claims would be acceptable.
My treo runs circles around any nokia when it comes to playing media (music, vidz and photos) and PIMs. there is no comparison, treo wins hands down in every phase except taking pics and videos.
Nokia is way bigger than Palm and makes tons more $$$, but still has a loooooong way to go to get the america vote.
- 04-23-2007, 12:10 PM #16
The N95 will sell about as well as any Nokia high end phone, meaning very well, but there is very little differentiating it from any other high-end Nokia phone. It will sell millions but it wont double Nokia's volume of smartphones, or even increase it by 30%.
Here are my guesses. I think punters willl like the N95 much more than the other Nokia N series phones (which comprise 80%+ of Nokia's smartphone sales). Nokia sold 11 million smartphones Q4 2006 and I reckon mostly on the back of N95 that will be up to 20 million Q4 this year. iPhone: Apple said 10 million by end of 2008. That's way below what's suggested by the HarrisInteractive poll (just for the US). I'll go with 20 million for iPhone too (total by end of 2008; a lot will depend on carriers deals and pricing outside of the US). That would still leave Nokia as the biggest fish in the pond, but almost certainly give Apple second place.
- 04-23-2007, 01:52 PM #18
- 04-23-2007, 03:24 PM #20
I'm mobile now and don't have time to check, but from memory didn't you suggest 15-20% of all potential iPod buyers would switch to Zune but then agreed with my suggestion of 15-20% of HD iPod buyers when I suggested it?! Also those NPD figures are rather dodgy (no Apple Store purchases for instance).
- 04-23-2007, 03:59 PM #22
- 04-23-2007, 04:28 PM #23iPhone Newbie
- 23 Posts
Hey Surur and Marcol; great discussion you both have here. I played with the N95 quite a bit at CES, and have one at my doorstep today as a matter of fact . But before the device, I'll speak on the topic as it was started.
The N95 and iPhone probably don't represent a major shift in terms of smartphone adoption as much as it does smartphone mindshare towards the "normal" consumer. Whereas folks in various means know that a phone can do a lot, to have ads and buzz about it constantly coming at you does a bit better than just make you want something more than a RAZR, you start to expect that the $0 phone does do a bit of what the iPhone and N95 do. If you will, the N95 and iPhone are like the car-marker's halo models. Not far enough out of reach to get and touch one (country issues aside), but enough to make you wonder what else could be had if your budget wasn't as high and you didn't need all those features. Its a plant, and probably a successful one. Ironically, RIM, WM, and Palm made the soil fetrile for this kind of marketing.
As a device, the N95 is no larger than a Treo 650 when closed., It is however, not ungainly when opened. The directional butttons are weird, as Surur pointed out, but nothing that wouldnt take some time to get used to like most other phones we haven't "mind-mapped." The kicker for both will be battery life and device stability. Right now, the N95 fails on the first (under hard usage) and is OK on the second. Because, as this discsussion and AAS's pointed out, most will not use all of the features all of the time; just like with the Treo 680, the battery life will be fine for most - and the hardcore users like carrying a brick battery anyways so they'll be fine
The iPhone will have a slightly harder road to climb in the battery end as users who will be used to swapping phone batteries will have an issue when they cannot listen to music any more. However, I am sure that there will be tie in to work adn play and accessories that make the battery life not seem "as bad" will come quicly - especailly when folks start panting about it.
I am with Surur in saying that the N95 (and similar devices) will not improve teh bottom line of ANY smartphone making company. While the high margins are great for headlines, they suck because they are low volume. Nokia wants to make funds on the mid-range models, and to do that they need to get people in the stores. The N95 will do that to those who window shop. It might even get a few extra N95s sold after the buzz period (give it another month) wears off. That being said, its a solid enough product at the right time. I just wish the US had its wireless act together so that phones like the N95 wouldnt cost my kidney and a tank of gas (and I own a Civic, sheeesh).
Great discussion though. Glad I could read and contribute (I hope).
- 04-23-2007, 05:16 PM #24
Antoinne, you are always welcome in this two horse race There is no doubt the N 95 is an interesting device, but I believe the question is whether its a break-out device, and I, like you, just dont feel it has that "feel" to it. Its not "hot" like the Razr was, or like the LG Shine is now. It seems more a push by Nokia, rather than real consumer demand.
The IPhone is of course "hot" but I believe practical issues will scupper its success.
One can see the two devices are qualitatively very different, but in both cases do not appear to be mass market devices.
- 04-23-2007, 05:51 PM #25
You are not considering the laziness factor. Most people do not want to get into complex interaction with their technology. For example, take a look at our community here which would be hardcore. I would wager that only about 5% or less of this community flash their own custom ROMS.
I would also bet that another small percentage uses most of the functionality of their Treos (Bluetooth DUN, Voice Command on the WM phones etc) Its the same with PCs. I have been using one for 27 years, consider myself a SuperUser, and I probably only use 20-30% of its capabilities. So, the vast majority of consumers will not want to get into the complexities of a high end PDA, especially when the pricing is at or higher than a PC. (The Nokia N95 costs $400 more than my Turion Dual Core Media Center Compaq Laptop)
If these new end phones have the ease of use of the iPOD at a reasonable price point, watch out!