STRENGTH AT THE TOP: Samsung’s two most recent flagship smartphone devices, the Galaxy S3 and S4, make up about 58% of all traffic derived from Samsung devices in North America, according to a new study from Chitika. In the U.S., the S3 continues to be sold prominently by most carriers, and for a discounted price. This has helped the device sustain the largest share of Samsung traffic, besting the more recent S4. Nevertheless, the S4 has managed to capture nearly one-quarter of Samsung’s traffic in North America in less than 9 months of existence, indicating just how fast people are taking up the newer device.
Looking at sales of the iPhone, the premium iPhone 5S accounted for almost 60% of Apple’s fourth quarter iPhone sales in the U.S., according to a study provided to us from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. That’s almost a 10% greater share than what the iPhone 5 captured in its debut quarter between October to December 2012. Interestingly, sales of Apple’s lower-priced 5C are still not beating out 4S sales from the fourth quarter 2012. The 5C accounted for 27% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to a greater 32% of sales for the legacy 4S one year earlier. Perhaps Apple’s discontinuing of the legacy iPhone 5 weakened the perceived value of the second-tier 5C iPhone option in the eyes of some U.S. consumers, convincing them to spend a little bit more in order to purchase the 5S.
Whatever the case, there seems to be a few factors working in the U.S. in favour of Samsung and Apple. U.S. consumers have now shown a willingness to spend big for smartphones, likely syncing handset upgrade cycles with new flagship device launch schedules. Second, the rate of new flagship device launches has created a new market for legacy flagship devices as second-tier models. This incentivizes these companies to launch new devices more rapidly than before, because above all else, amassing a majority of mobile users on the most recent top-tiered, high-margin handsets creates a huge boon for hardware profitability. (Chitika)
APP STORE OPTIMIZATION RACE: With app stores getting increasingly more crowded, developer demand for app store optimization (ASO) services, such as improving app discoverability within stores, is through the roof. One ASO company, MobileDevHQ, is looking to gain a foothold in this market and will make its basic ASO tool set free for app marketers. (TechCrunch)
CHINA MOBILE GEARS UP: The iPhone is set to launch on China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier, this coming Friday. To prepare for what analysts think will be overwhelming demand for the 5S among China Mobile subscribers, Foxconn has shipped approximately 1.4 million units to the carrier. (Wall Street Journal Digits)
BIGGER THAN ANDROID? Christopher Mims at Quartz thinks the Nest acquisition will go down as a more important part of Google’s legacy than its own Android operating system. While Google let Apple get ahead of it in defining the era of smartphones, Nest represents Google’s first step toward defining the Internet Of Things. (Quartz)
NET NEUTRALITY IS DEAD: A federal appeals court has denied multiple parts of the Federal Communication Commission’s Open Internet rules, effectively ending a rule that Internet service providers (ISP) must treat all broadband Internet traffic equally. Consumers may bear the brunt of this; ISPs now have the right to slow down certain traffic, or charge more for bandwith-heavy Internet traffic, like video streaming. For mobile, this may lead to more smartphone and tablet owners utilising neutral 4G and LTE networks on their devices for certain activities that may be slowed down on broadband. (Wall Street Journal)
NETFLIX, BUT FOR BOOKS: Oyster, a startup looking to mimic a similar subscription content strategy as Netflix but for e-books, recently raised $US14 million to help it expand its growing library of literary content. While Netflix wasn’t designed for mobile initially, it has flourished on tablets and smartphones. Oyster, interestingly, was created as a mobile app, indicating once again the huge opportunity for content distribution on mobile. (GigaOm)
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