Counterpoint Snap Tech || 17th December, 2015

Welcome to Counterpoint Research’s Snap Tech.

Snap Tech is a round-up of recent news events with our analysts’ expert insight summarised in a concise and digestible format. It is designed so you can absorb the key events and what they mean, quickly and painlessly.

We are experimenting with the format and timing. If you have feedback or suggestions, please let us know.


Tech

Google sees India as potentially bigger market than USA. Source: Business Standard

With Android users in India expected to leapfrog USA in 2016, India is now strategically placed regarding Google’s ambition to connect the next billion users. Announcements like vernacular language support, developer training and Google’s new Indian campus, suggest that Google wants to tap a large base of first-time users connecting to the internet through its trained pool of resources. As advertisement continues to be the main revenue driver for Google, it wants to make sure that it doesn’t lose out to competition in the mobile-only era where in app advertisement is going to be a critical factor. —Tarun Pathak


AT&T introduces NumberSync for wearables. Source: AT&T

US carriers like selling wearables, but they really love selling wearables with a SIM card. AT&T launches NumberSync, which allows subscribers to receive/send texts as well as make/receive calls to same number when you leave your phone behind. The service is available for $99 on the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. This is just the beginning–more connected watches & services will be announced in 2016. —Jeff Fieldhack


Brazil forces WhatsApp to shut down – briefly.  Source: Techcrunch

The judge that ordered WhatsApp off air reversed his decision after protests. It was a significant backward step for a Brazilian government that had initially seemed progressive on internet use. Even more concerning is its current posturing to close off large parts of social web use – potentially criminalizing posting social media content. Brazil is a powerful player in Latin America. Other countries in the region, for example, Venezuela may take its lead from Brazil. If this ban persists and leads to other restrictions around freedom of speech, there’s a very real risk of civil unrest and further pressure on an already beleaguered economic situation.– Tina Lu


Micromax brand YU’s new flagship scales new heights Source: Indian Express

With the launch of Yutopia, YU is now scaling up its portfolio and making sure it covers the different ends of the price spectrum. Backed by Cyanogen, it intends to venture more aggressively into the services ecosystem, deeply integrating them into the platform and thereby differentiating itself in terms of user experience. It increasingly aims to position itself as a brand aiming to make “Android better” for its end-users and not providing an “alternate Android” to the users, thereby giving tough competition to OnePlus and other Chinese players like Huawei and Oppo, all of which are moving up the price bands in India. —Tarun Pathak


Wheels are wobbling on the Xiaomi wagon. Source: WSJ [paywall]

Xiaomi is facing intense pressure as China’s smartphone market saturates. While its global expansion isnt yielding the results as expected it is likely to miss the revised sales target of 80 million units this year from an earlier target of 100 million. In its search for growth we expect Xiaomi to enter the MEA region – following in Huawei and Lenovo’s footsteps. It may also try to enter developed markets like the US, though it likely remains vulnerable to patent assertion by IPR holders that have not been able to fully exercise their rights while Xiaomi has focused on the domestic China market. —Tarun Pathak


Facebook adding multiple new features. Source: CNBC

With 1.5 billion monthly users Facebook is likely to massively undermine the market for business review and recommendation sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Trip Advisor and others. In addition it is taking on Twitter’s Periscope with another recent launch – live video streams. Facebook is continually exploring how to extend its ad revenue beyond developed markets. New services like these will help it become more relevant in hyper-local Online to Offline (O2O) commerce. Location players with local language support will have more opportunities to extend their consumer reach with Facebook. —Pavel Naiya


iPhone 6c coming soon Source: CNET

Apple’s 4″ display iPhone 6C is imminent: It looks like the new 4 inch iPhone will come out in Q1 2016. This will likely not be a smash hit, but it fills the slot for 4 inch devices and also for the $380-$450 price range for Apple. We think the iPhone 5S price drop was an experiment to test this market. So the result is that it will be successful in Emerging Markets but still demand limited as the price will start at $450 no-contract and fall to $350 in 6 months after launch. There remains interest in the small screen form factor but with phablet penetration rising globally and more than 90% of phones in this price band with 5″ and above displays, this will be a stern test for Apple. We believe a 4.7″ or 5.5″ low-cost iPhone 6c could have made more sense —Tom Kang & Neil Shah


Samsung and Sprint opt for desperate measures Source: Fierce Wireless

Samsung commands 27% of smartphone share at Sprint and wants to increase it this holiday season with attractive offers for its devices. Samsung and Sprint are bundling a 32″ Samsung LED TV for users switching to Sprint or upgrading their devices or adding new lines. This could drive some uptick in holiday sales for Samsung but is certainly a desperate move by both players as they try to limit market share losses. —Neil Shah


Forex

Forex 2015-12-17


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