Tag: Gartner

Apple suffers as global sales of smartphones grows

CaptureThe fruity cargo cult Apple is floundering even while the smartphone market has picked up, according to the latest figures from the Gartner Grope.

According to the Big G, Apple has had three consecutive quarters of slowing demand and seen its sales decline by 7.7 percent while its rivals saw an increase of 4.3 percent.

Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 344 million units in the second quarter of 2016.  Overall sales of mobile phones contracted by 0.5 percent with only five vendors from the top 10 showing growth. Among them were four Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and BBK Communication Equipment and South Korea’s Samsung.

Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner said that demand for premium smartphones slowed in the second quarter of 2016 as consumers wait for new hardware launches in the second half of the year.

In addition, the decline in sales of “feature phones” (down 14 per cent) bolstered the decline in overall sales of mobile phones in the second quarter of 2016. All mature markets except Japan saw slowing demand for smartphones leading to a decline in sales of 4.9 percent. In contrast, all emerging regions except Latin America saw growth, which led to smartphone sales growing by 9.9 percent.

In the second quarter of 2016, Samsung had nearly 10 percent more market share than Apple. Samsung saw sales of its Galaxy A and Galaxy J series smartphones compete strongly with Chinese manufacturers. Its new smartphone portfolio also helped Samsung win back share it recently lost in emerging markets.

Apple continued its downward trend with a decline of 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2016. Apple sales declined in North America (its biggest market) as well as in Western Europe. However, it witnessed its worst sales decline in Greater China and mature Asia/Pacific regions, where sales declined 26 percent. Apple had its best performance in Eurasia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe regions in the second quarter of 2016, where iPhone sales grew more than 95 percent year on year, Gupta said.

Among the top five smartphone vendors, Oppo exhibited the highest growth in the second quarter of 2016 at 129 percent. This is due to strong sales of its R9 handset in China and overseas.

“Features such as an anti-shake camera optimized for selfies, and rapid charge technology, helped Oppo carve a niche market for itself and boost sales in a highly competitive and commoditized smartphone market,” Gupta said.

Android regained share over iOS to achieve an 86 percent share in the second quarter of 2016. Android’s performance continued to come from demand for mid- to lower-end smartphones from emerging markets, but also from premium smartphones, which recorded a 6.5 percent increase in the second quarter of 2016.

A number of key Android players, such as Samsung with the Galaxy S7, introduced their new high-end devices, but Chinese brands like Huawei and Oppo are also pushing their premium smartphone ranges with more affordable devices.



World’s first computer told fortunes just like Big G

antikethera-mechanismeThe world’s first computer was the Ancient Greek IDC or Gartner Group of its day, according to researchers.

The Antikythera Mechanism was once thought to be used for navigation but a decades-long investigation into the 2,000-year-old-device has worked out that it may have been used for more than just astronomy and was a key divination tool.

It had been known that the bronze gears and displays was used to predict lunar and solar eclipses, along with the positions of the sun, moon, and planets.  However, without a user manual, boffins have been trying to work out what it did using the same method that people work out how to programme their video recorders.

The Katerina Laskaridis Historical Foundation Library in Greece had a deeper look into the tiny inscriptions meticulously etched onto the outer surfaces of its 82 surviving fragments. Some of these letters measure just 1.2 millimetres (1/20th of an inch) across, and are engraved on the inside covers and visible front and back sections of the device. To do it, the researchers used cutting-edge imaging techniques, including x-ray scanning.

Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University said that the original investigation was intended to see how the mechanism works, and that was very successful.

“What we hadn’t realized was that the modern techniques that were being used would allow us to read the texts much better both on the outside of the mechanism and on the inside than was done before.”

There are 3,500 characters of explanatory text within the device.

The researchers described the machine as a kind of philosopher’s instructional device. The new analysis confirms that the mechanism displayed planets, while also showing the position of the sun and the moon in the sky. This was because it was used for divination. The researchers suspect this because some of the inscriptions on the device refer to the colour of a forthcoming eclipse.

The colour of an eclipse was some sort of omen or signal. Some colours might be better for what’s coming than others.

It was not a research tool for astronomers; it was more something you would use to teach about the cosmos and our place in the cosmos.

There is nothing in the Greek to suggest it could be used by an Ancient Version of IDC predicting a downturn in the Antikythera Mechanism, but it could well have been.

IT spending still in the doledrums

quicksand1Worldwide IT spending is only going to increase by a miserable 0.6 per cent, according to beancounters at Gartner.

According to Big G fortune tellers, worldwide IT spending is forecast to total US$3.54 trillion in 2016, just a 0.6% increase over 2015 spending of US$3.52 trillion.

Last year saw the largest US dollar drop in IT spending since Gartner began tracking IT spending.  $216 billion less was spent on IT in 2015 than in 2014.  Gartner predicts that 2014 spending levels will not be surpassed until 2019.

John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner blamed the rising US dollar. “US multinationals’ revenues faced currency headwinds in 2015. However, in 2016 those headwinds go away and they can expect an additional 5 per cent  growth.”

PCs, ultra-mobiles, mobile phones, tablets and printers are forecast to decline 1.9 per cent in 2016. This is because of a combination of economic conditions preventing countries such as Russia, Japan and Brazil from returning to stronger growth. There is also a shift in phone spending in emerging markets to lower-cost phones, is overlaid with weak tablet adoption in regions where there was an expectation of growth, Big G wrote.

Ultra-mobile premium devices are expected to drive the PC market forward with the move to Windows 10 and Intel Skylake-based PCs.

Gartner has slightly reduced the speed of adoption over the forecast period, as buying in Eurasia, Japan, and the Middle East and North Africa moves away from purchasing these relatively more expensive devices in the short term, but expect them to revert back to buying in 2017 as the economic environment stabilizes.

Data center systems’ spending is projected to reach $75 billion in 2016, a 3 per cent  increase from 2015. Demand in this segment is expected to continue to be strong through 2016.

The worsening economic environment in emerging markets has had little effect on the global enterprise software spending forecast for 2016, with IT spending on pace to total $326 billion, a 5.3 per cent increase from 2015. Key emerging markets, particularly Brazil and Russia, face escalating political and economic challenges.

Spending in the IT services market is expected to return to growth in 2016, following a decline of 4.5 per cent in 2015. IT services spending is projected to reach $940 billion in 2016, up 3.1 per cent from 2015. This is due to accelerating momentum in cloud infrastructure adoption and buyer acceptance of the cloud model.

Telecom service spending is projected to decline 1.2 per cent in 2016, with spending reaching $1.45 trillion. The segment will be impacted by the abolition of roaming charges in the European Union and parts of North America. While this will increase mobile voice and data traffic, it will not be enough to counter the corresponding loss of revenues from lost roaming charges and premiums.

Semiconductor sales to fall this year

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsSales of semiconductors are expected to fall by 0.8 percent during 2015, and that’s the first revenue decline since 2012.

That’s according to Gartner, which said worldwide revenues will total $337.8 billion this year, largely because of a decline in demand from consumers.

“The outlook for the major applications that drive the semiconductor market, including PCs, smartphones and tablets, has been revised downward,” said Andrew Norwood, a research vice president at Gartner.

He said that has combined with the continuing effect of the strong dollar in important markets outside the USA, to cause the decline.

“Not only did the year start badly, but we are not seeing the typical ramp up in sales of semiconductors in many areas of the market in anticipation of the holiday season,” Norwood said. “As a result, sales are not going to recover enough in the second half to halt an annual decline in semiconductor revenue for 2015.”

The slowing Chinese economy and the strong dollar mean electronic equipment in Western Europe and other markets are more expensive.

But Gartner believes that semiconductor revenues will rise by 1.9 percent in 2016, although there will be a glut of DRAM.

He said DRAM revenues are likely to fall by 12.2 percent next year because of oversupply.

PC shipments fall further

elepantsIt looks like any hopes that Windows 10’s launch might improve PC sales have proven wrong and sales of PCs have dropped further.

Beancounters at market research firm Gartner have added up the numbers and divided by their shoe size and worked out that worldwide shipments of personal computers fell 7.7 percent to 73.7 million units in the third quarter as a stronger dollar made them costlier.

Across town another group of beancounters at IDC said shipments fell 10.8 percent to 71 million units.

Gartner also said the Windows 10 launch in the quarter had minimal impact on shipments as users chose to upgrade to Windows 10 on existing PCs.

Gartner said analysts “see some signs for future stabilization and growth” in the PC market. The firm said in July that it did not expect the global PC market to recover until 2016.

Jay Chou, research manager at IDC Worldwide PC Tracker said that the PC market continues to contract as expected, but he remained optimistic about future shipments.

While it is nice to see that someone is optimistic in these dark, cynical times, it is not as if the PC market could get much worse and it is hard to see what, short of a lightning bolt from Zeus is going to wake it up.

Smart machines threaten control freaks

Robby the Robot - Wikimedia CommonsPeople face losing their jobs as machines become smarter.

That’s according to a report from Gartner Inc, which said chief information officers (CIOs) should wise up to the possibilities.

Stephen Prentice, a Gartner vice president, said: “As smart machines become increasingly capable, they will become viable alternatives to human workers under certain circumstances, which will lead to significant repercussions for the business and thus for CIOs.”

He said a survey Gartner had undertaken showed that top executives were beginning to take notice and “more readily acknowledge that the threat to knowledge work is real”.

But while “smart machines” will threaten some jobs, and technology has “eliminated millions of jobs”, entirely new industries have emerged as a result of tech, leading to millions of new jobs.

Prentice believes that many people fear machines will take over and “run out of control”. But the notion that machines can be self aware, conscious or sentient is still science fiction.

Gartner thinks that 25 billion devices will be connected by 2020, using the internet of things.

Cloud infrastructure as a service in turmoil

Clouds over the Old Power Station, OxfordA report from Gartner said that cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is in “upheaval”, with vendors changing their minds about strategies because they haven’t sold enough.

Even so, IaaS spending will hit $16.5 billion this year, up 32.8 percent from last year and with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 to 2019 of 29.1 percent.

“Brutal competitive dynamics” meant last year was “a year of reckoning” for cloud IaaS providers. Many made changes to their current platform while other providers will end or cut investment in cloud IaaS offerings.

Senior analyst Lydia Leong has some strong words of advice for buyers. “We urge buyers to be extremely cautious when selecting providers; ask specific and detailed questions about the provider’s roadmap for the service, and seek contractual commitments that do not permit the provider to modify substantially or to discontinue the offering without at least 12 months’ notice,” she said.

While cloud IaaS can be used to run many workloads, not every provider can do that well, she continued. “Cloud IaaS is not a commodity. Providers vary significantly in their features, performance, cost and business terms.”

Richard Davies, the CEO of ElasticHosts said that while it was good to see the growth in IaaS there’s bad news for buyers. “A lot of capacity spend is actually being squandered. Even in a cloud environment, people are still regularly over provisioning by an average of 50 percent,” he said. “As IaaS workloads continue to surpass the growth of on permises workloads, this level of wastage is set to increase further.”

Android is the Malware king

Android is paying the price of its popularity with more than 97 percent of all malware being tailored for the Google operating system.

Security firm F-Secure, which today released its 40-page Threat Report for the second half of 2013 said that the situation has become bad.

Android malware rose from 238 threats in 2012 to 804 new families and variants in 2013. Apart from Symbian, F-Secure found no new threats for other mobile platforms last year.

To be fair Android threats come from the strangest places. Of the top 10 countries reporting Android malware detections to F-Secure’s systems in the second half of 2013, 75 percent of the reports originated from Saudi Arabia and India; in comparison, the five European countries in the list combined only accounted for a little over 15 percent of reported detections.

The other problem is that Android has become so popular that Malware writers have more of an interest in mounting attacks on it.

F-Secure adds that despite the extreme focus of malware authors on the Android platform, F-Secure believes it would be incorrect to say that Google hasn’t been doing anything about it.

Only 0.1% of those virus threats were found on Google Play which suggests that third-party app stores are the most likely sources of mobile malware.

The top four stores are Anzhi, Mumayi, Baidu and eoeMarket, which all cater to the mainland Chinese user population that has restricted access to Google Play, less than 10 percent of the samples were identified as malicious. But at the very bottom of the list was Google Play itself, with the lowest percentage of malware in the gathered samples: 0.1 percent. F-Secure also noted that “the Play Store is most likely to promptly remove nefarious applications, so malware encountered there tends to have a short shelf life.” 

Android is lord of the tablets

Figures from Gartner say that while tablet sales grew 68 percent in 2013 it appears that Android is the big winner.

Big G said that worldwide sales of tablets to end users reached 195.4 million units in 2013, a 68 percent increase on 2012.

Sales of iOS tablets grew in the fourth quarter of 2013, iOS’s share declined to 36 percent in 2013. This is because tablet growth in 2013 was fuelled by the low-end smaller screen tablet market, and first time buyers rather than those who want to mortgage their house to buy another overpriced toy.

History will look back on 2013 and say it was the year that tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications, Big G said.

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said that as the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditised, in 2014, it was critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value. Otherwise, they are going to lose brand loyalty and improved margins, she said.

In 2013, the share of Apple’s iOS dropped 16.8 percentage points as the market demand was driven by the improved quality of smaller low-cost tablets from branded vendors, and white-box products continued to grow in emerging markets.

Gartner analysts said emerging markets recorded growth of 145 per cent in 2013, while mature markets grew 31 percent.

“Apple’s tablets remain strong in the higher end of the market and, Apple’s approach will continue to force vendors to compete with full ecosystem offerings, even in the smaller-screen market as the iPad mini sees a greater share”, Cozza said.

In 2013, Microsoft’s tablet volumes improved but share remained small. Despite Microsoft now acting more rapidly to evolve Windows 8.1, its “egosystem” still failed to capture major consumers’ interest on tablets.

“To compete, Microsoft needs to create compelling ecosystem proposition for consumers and developers across all mobile devices, as tablets and smartphones become key devices for delivering applications and services to users beyond the PC,” said Cozza.

Microsoft is better in the ultramobiles market which are more productivity oriented, where its partners are ramping up new form factors and designs.

The tablet market has become a challenging environment for branded hardware-driven players. They are squeezed by service-driven and content-driven players, and aggressive prices from white-box vendors. In addition, a situation where the top two tablet vendors have captured 55 percent of the market in 2013 compounds the challenge, the report said.

Samsung exhibited the highest growth of the worldwide tablet vendors, at 336 percent, in 2013. The expansion and improvement of its Galaxy tablets, together with strong marketing and promotions, helped Samsung bridge the gap with Apple. 

Gartner sees smartphones smarter than users by 2017

Smartphones are getting smarter with each new generation, so research firm Gartner has gone out on a limb with a new forecast straight out of a dystopian sci-fi movie.

It claims smartphones will become smarter than their users by 2017.No, this will not be the result of artificial intelligence or magic for that matter. Smartphones will get smarter by tapping data gathered using cognizant computing, the next step in personal cloud evolution.

Basically smartphones will collect so much data about your habits, schedule, location and all movements (apart from bowel movements, hopefully). This data will then be shared with the NSA, but it will also be used to come up with contextual information used by your smartphone. 

“Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague.”

Saying that smartphones will get smarter may not be the right description. Smartphones will get faster, the cloud will be bigger and more information will be available, allowing phones to make sense of more information and put it to good use. Of course, to make it all work, users will have to share more information with their devices and the tin foil hat gang won’t like it at all.

Cognizant computing consists of four distinct stages. First of all users will have to sync more information and make it available. These first two stages are known as Sync Me and See Me. The next two stages are Know Me and Be Me. The latter sounds a bit scary.

Gartner believes cognizant computing will become a big thing over the next two to five years. It will also see more players vying for information in the cloud and offering more services, so monetization should not be an issue.However, privacy will be a big concern for many consumers, but in many cases this is an issue only if the users don’t get much in return for their data. As Big G puts it – consumers tend to give up a lot for convenience.