Mobile OEMs hitting a high wall..!



One doesn’t have to be an Einstein to know what is happening in Mobile Industry. It is in many respects similar to what PC industry went through.

Today, Everyone has access to same HW + OS, thanks to democratization by Qualcomm,Bcom,MTK and Google. More than Basic App package is part of OS which satisfies 70% of customer needs. Rest are available as “free downloads” from market places. In Nutshell, It is a very level playing field for everyone small or big, new or old.

With Operator’s relevance going down, entry for new player is relatively easier. OPEN Market share is increasing every year against OPERATOR closed markets.

Absolute ZERO innovation from Network Operators have made them redundant in today’s  device (or Ecosystem’s ?) discussions. They are sitting on sidelines and chewing bandwidth revenues. Some half cooked attempts failed miserably (e.g. Joyn). Their say in product is decreasing day by day. Still it is not late for Operators to realize that they have no business to be in Device Business. They should focus on services on their networks.

Back to OEMs, their fate will be no different if they fail to innovate here. The one with best value offering will eat other’s lunch over time. Those basking in false glory of brand will have unpleasant shocks. I seriously doubt there is much brand loyalty in this market except “High End” bracket. Everything under the “High End” is OPEN market which only values “VALUE”.

But, how can OEM’s differentiate (Innovate) ?? I wish I knew the answer..But, here are few things i will try aggressively.

1) Appcessories == Application + Accessory. Opportunities are endless. Practically every electrical/electronic small device can be converted to Appcessory with nice interface Mobile App. Imagine Security Cameras, Small Health devices, Sensors gadgets etc.

2) Enterprise Services. Samsung Knox is good example. This is open space..If OEMs dont move fast and partner with existing players, those geeks in startup colonies will very soon eat this lunch as well.

3) Productivity Increase: Anything else which increases Productivity: A very good example in early days is Dual Sim phones. Another good example i think is Note series of Samsung with Spen.

4) B2C Services:  No one has done it better than Apple. Apple has used the devices as digital agents in customer’s hands which are used to deliver all kinds of services. This is a fantastic and sustainable business model.  No other OEM is even close.

5) Design:  Apple has shown in the past that even in mature products, if design limits are pushed, it can create a whole new product. I think this is another area where we should see lot of action in coming days.  Imagine a phone which with material/color/shape customized for each customer.

In Tech product or service category, it is very important to do things right and fast. Work-In-Progress quality is brand destroyer and leaves market with bad tastes.

It will be very interesting to see the reshuffle in Top5/Top10 by value and volume next year.

Comments welcome ..!



  1. Good article. Yes it is true that in next 2 years current OEM market leaders may exist or may not. Point 5 is something that works in current situation. Galaxy S3 is good example from Samsung.


  2. Interesting review, but still OEMs and Carriers have a bigger role to play in the future. OEMs and Carriers have the reach and platform which can act as enablers for content providers. Product differentiation was the focus till now but consumer insights would be the key for future innovation.
    Till today the coupling between H/W and S/W is not very deep and there is a need to find the right synergy to provide a richer experience to the end user. Startups or new companies definitely need the support from a big brand to create breakthrough products and collaborative innovation can be another key area. Thinking ahead would really be the key for the OEMs


    1. Interesting thoughts Dheeraj. Thanks. Definitely, a deeper bond between SW and HW will give better products as a whole.

      But not sure i will agree with below statement

      >>>Startups or new companies definitely need the support from a big brand to create breakthrough products>>>

      Although Partnerships with OEM and Network Operators are definitely good, but, “Needing Support” is not sure.
      I think opposite seems to be true somehow..where big players (Network Operators and OEMs) need to collaborate and take support from smaller tiger start-ups for fresh ideas and faster execution. I am still waiting to see a breakthrough platform or solution from Android
      OEM space or Network Operator community which has been adopted on MASS SCALE.But there are plenty of flop examples. I think it is the DNA and NetworkOperators dont have that kind of DNA.They have historically exploited their dominant position rather than contributing innovation to ecosystem. Yes, There are some small success examples from OEM side and i am very eager to see more.
      Lets see how this unfolds with time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s