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Cellphones Apple Hardware Technology

Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Down For First Time Ever ( 77

According to Gartner, global sales of smartphones have declined year-on-year for the first time since the research company started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004. "Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled nearly 408 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 5.6 percent decline over the fourth quarter of 2016," reports Gartner. The Register reports: In Gartner's Q4 sales stats, Samsung maintained a narrow lead in global volume shipments of smartphones -- but every major (top five) vendor outside of those based in China saw unit shipments slip. Several major factors caused the market shrinkage, said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed right down due to a lack of quality 'ultra-low-cost' smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones. Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales," Gupta added. This is a characteristic of the emerging markets, where all the action is -- not mature markets like the UK or USA. Samsung leap-frogged Apple by virtue of its sales declining slower than the market average -- Sammy's numbers were 3.6 per cent to 74.02 million units.
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Worldwide Smartphone Shipments Down For First Time Ever

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  • People are getting smarter about purchases. Unfortunately, smartphones aren't getting smarter. I haven't bought a new phone since my S5, though the OLED (what a terrible technology) screen is suffering and I will need to replace it soon. People don't want 12 megapixels over 10 or 5. At a certain point, shooting in higher resolution just makes for ungainly file sizes for no real benefit. No one really uses voice control serioiusly, and all we get with each generation is more midle-of-the-bell-curve junk and bloatware. Since my S5 Samsung deleted infrared, HDMI, and FM radio - they tried even deleting the SD slot, and they give what bac in return? An OLED screen with even more density that degrades even faster. Great work!

    • I can't really think of what else would compel me to get a new phone over the one I currently have. With 128Gb space hasn't been an issue. I use it mostly for web browsing when out and about, email checking, and Google Maps. I listen to music and sometimes watch Youtube on it. I even make payments with it at checkout at the few places that have that setup.

      Longer battery life has been solved with an external 12000mWh pack, which I rarely need to use.

      Is there anything I would think, what would I do on a 4" sc

    • People are getting smarter about purchases.

      There's absolutely no evidence of that. There is however plenty of evidence that the smartphone industry is now completely stagnant in terms of features and improvements.

      though the OLED (what a terrible technology)

      It's the worst! Except for all the others. You have a dead screen. Whoop de do. Until it got to that stage it outperformed all other technologies.

      At a certain point, shooting in higher resolution just makes for ungainly file sizes for no real benefit.

      Exactly.... what I would expect someone to say who has no idea of the benefits of high resolutions, including better filtering, noise reduction, and if you have a high enough resolution better deb

  • New phones are going to cr@p. There now, I said it. Between no SD slot, no user-replaceable battery, no headphone jacks, and only incremental improvements in speed and utility, why bother?
    • by dohzer ( 867770 )

      You're also "forced" to pay a lot more for them.

    • Re:New phones... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @09:10PM (#56185633) Homepage

      Ironically, it's the less expensive phones that are NOT getting rid of useful features like SD slot, headphone jack, and user replaceable batteries. It's just the top-of-the-line phones that ditched these features.

      • My conclusion is that it's the usual "form vs function". If you want to get shit done, you don't care about looks and style. If you go for style and fashion, you probably don't need it to get stuff done.

        That's basically what's the difference between a rugged backpack and a Gucci case. The former isn't for looks or style but you can use it to get some serious work done. The latter is probably not the best in function, but that's only its secondary function, so to speak.

      • Headphone jacks are staying because waterproof ones are expensive, but no one expects a cheap phone to be waterproof. SD cards are staying because you can stick less on-board flash in and convince people that an SD card will let them add a useful amount later (spoiler: it doesn't, and unless you're using really expensive SD cards, expect them to die in normal phone operation, at which point they're likely to give up and buy a new phone). User-replaceable batteries are also going, but it varies a bit. Cus
        • There is something to your argument, but it's not the whole picture. My $200 Moto G has 32GB of onboard flash memory, and still has an SD slot. I never even get close to using all of my storage.

          There doesn't seem to be a straight line of cost vs. quality in phones. My theory is that the big names charge what they do because they can, not because they have to.

          • My $200 Moto G has 32GB of onboard flash memory, and still has an SD slot. I never even get close to using all of my storage.

            Mine is an earlier generation and has even less, but the current iPhones on sale have 64GB to 256GB. 32GB is a lot for me - the largest things I download to my phone are vector maps for OSMAnd - but it's pretty small for someone who watches a lot of videos on their phone. An SD card means that they can think 'well, a 64GB SD card is cheap, so I can always add a load more storage for videos'. I also suspect that a lot of people don't really have a good feel for how much they use and will just see that 32G

        • by nasch ( 598556 )

          It depends what you use the SD card for. If you're using it for main storage, then it's going to get a lot of writes, which I assume is what you're referring to frying it over time. If you put stuff on it that is mostly read access (music, podcasts, movies, etc.) it should work fine, right?

          • That's what I thought, but the ones in my old phone and a tiny laptop that supported SD cards for extra storage both died after a couple of years with very few writes. I think the cheap ones just die over time.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Indeed. I am still on my z10, because I cannot find any Android phone that even moderately appeals. (No, I will not join the cult of Apple...) Since I do not run any "Apps" on my primary phone, that works fine. For the few Apps I have to use, I use a SIM-less very cheap Moto that is usually off. Hilariously, for that SIM-less phone I use the z10 as wireless access point.

      But the situation is really a disgrace. By now I would expect to get well-designed Android hardware (with headphone jack, SD slot, user-rep

  • by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @08:34PM (#56185587) Homepage

    let see, costs of $1,000+
    short battery life
    even more and better spyware

    I cannot imagine why

    • I suspect it's more the 'isn't noticeably better than the one I have now'. I have a cheap first-gen Moto G. It's crappy, but it does everything I need it to. A newer phone does the same stuff, but marginally faster. My previous phone was an HTC Desire (bravo) and it had such a small amount of on-board flash that it was hard to upgrade. It was also very slow (one core that was about the same speed as the four in my Moto G). That upgrade was worth it, but the next one will probably only happen when the

  • by WoTG ( 610710 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @08:37PM (#56185591) Homepage Journal

    All the Q4 2017 vs Q4 2016 are messy this year - there was an extra week in 2016. Most journalists are oblivious to it... Gartner being Gartner.... who knows...

    • Occasionally, there are 53 week years. This is because there are an extra 1.25 (technically, 1.2425) days that don't fall into a week in any given year. And things are done on week boundaries (mostly salaries). So every.... 7/1.25 years... they add an extra week.

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Sunday February 25, 2018 @09:01PM (#56185627)

    What "endless-growth" unicorn will Wall Street chase now that the time of cell phone sales is ending?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      4K and 3D. With 5G. VR? More free cloud? All from a thinner cell phone. Games and a photo from software linked 5 lens to make one image.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      They will find something. Extreme greed coupled with stupidity always does the trick. Until the house of cards collapses.

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      If they don't find, they will simply invent one. Maybe another "structured" product?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Simple really. I have an iphone 6s with headphone jack, jailbreak, brand new apple battery and a E-ink case. I am not upgrading without a jack. I am even Considering switching to a High end android Audiophile DAP and 4g mini wifi hotspot.

    Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are still terrible in 2018, iPhone still doesnt support Apt-X HD or Sony LDAC and cheap chinese wired IEMs sound amazing.


    • I mean, I get that it was "clever" to put analog audio pins in the USB-C standard. Sure, fewer ports. But I'm just going to have to plug a converter in, so build in the damn port.

      Also, the lightning plug is very secure. microUSB always wear out due to there torus plug and pins on the inside design. I'm guessing USB-C does as well. Why isn't the plug a sold piece of metal that slots in?

      • USB-C was intended to be significantly more robust than microUSB and the group that designed it included some of the Apple folk behind the Lightning connector, so I doubt it has the same problems.

        I'm not too bothered about the dongle - it can live with my headphones - the problem for me is that you need a different and annoying adaptor if you want to listen to music and charge your phone, which is pretty common while travelling.

  • Galaxy Note 4 was the peak Samsung phone with a 3.5 inch headphone jack, removeable SD card and removable battery. Why the heck should I ever upgrade?

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @01:03AM (#56185985)

    Then maybe we can now finally get devices that have a reasonable long-term availability and regular updates for at least 5 years (better 10) and easily replaceable batteries. You know, the level of quality, lifetime and user-friendliness that can reasonably expected from something as expensive as a smartphone.

  • Maturing Industry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nateman1352 ( 971364 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @01:31AM (#56186049)

    The smartphone industry is starting to mature. Smartphones have gotten to the point where the delta between a 4 year old smartphone and a brand new one isn't very big anymore. The same was not the case 4 years ago. In a way, the smartphone is going the the way of the PC, 4 year old models are "good enough" so the 2 year upgrade cycle is going away, becoming more like every 6 years.

    The natural consequence that is a smaller number of higher quality, higher end, and more expensive phones will be made, and will be used for 6 years before replacement. The same thing is happening with the PC, where slim metal cases and $1000+ prices are now the norm, the cheap glossy plastic $400 PC that gets thrown out every 3 years isn't selling anymore. Overall I think its a good thing that smartphones are starting to see longer refresh cycles, it will be better for the environment, and hopefully they won't depreciate quite so quickly.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      hopefully they won't depreciate quite so quickly.

      Though that would be bad for people who like to buy used.

  • idiots with ties (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @02:01AM (#56186099) Homepage Journal

    Several major factors caused the market shrinkage

    So you are selling around 400 million devices every quarter, that is 1.6 billion a year, and you are surprised that doesn't go on forever?

    Smartphone users total only about twice that []. So the average one buys a new smartphone every two years. That sounds about right, doesn't it?

    Even in the USA, smartphone usage is only about 77% of the population. Some people still don't have one, and some are too young, too imprisoned or otherwise incapable (I don't count "too poor" anymore, as even if you are very poor, a smartphone has become a necessity).

    "market shrinkage" my ass. The market is still growing (see the link above). You've just saturated it and most sales go not to new owners but to people replacing an existing phone.

    • smartphone has become a necessity

      A cellphone, sure. A smartphone, nope.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Sorry, I disagree. Not having a smartphone is a luxury these days. It appears that vast majority of the population agrees with me.

        • by Teun ( 17872 )
          Sad but so true.
          There is one other option, be very careful who you give the number.
      • That's increasingly untrue. For example, if I get a train ticket I can either collect it physically, pay to have it physically posted to me, or use a smartphone app with the barriers. Most airlines now make it very easy to use their app, but much more annoying to get printed boarding passes. RyanAir is particularly bad for this - you can't print your own boarding pass more than 5 days in advance and they charge you to print one for you, so if you're going away for more than 5 days then you need to find a
  • It is official; Netcraft now confirms: smartphones are dying.

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered smartphone community when Gartner confirmed that smartphone market share has dropped yet again, now down to to 408 million units per quarter. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that smart[phones have lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Smartphones are collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplifie

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday February 26, 2018 @06:03AM (#56186659)

    And you complain?

    For real?

    400 million units a quarter means you sell 1.6 BILLION phones a year. There are roughly 4.5 billion people using cellphones on this planet. That means that on average they throw away their old phone and buy a new one every three years. And let's remember for the moment that BY FAR not all people are rich enough to simply dump 500 bucks every three years, I dare say that the majority of those 4.5 billions clings to their phone 'til it falls apart.

    Economic growth does have a limit, even if your greed doesn't.

  • I'm doing my part to hurt smartphone sales by refusing to buy any electric device into which a battery has been glued.

    The good news for manufacturers is that I and many others have a lot of money to spend on a flagship phone into which a battery has not been glued.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra