Mobile third-quarter 2012: analysis and outlook

1Executive Summary

Apple stole the spotlight in the third quarter with a fascinating series of both positive and negative headlines. Its iPhone 5 was met with record sales that were nonetheless stymied by supply shortcomings, and its first mobile mapping product was roundly criticized in a development that saw CEO Tim Cook issue an apology. Meanwhile data usage continued to grow, and the nation’s two largest operators added to their already massive hoards of spectrum.

A few other highlights from the quarter include:

  • Amazon continued to pursue the tablet market aggressively with a new line of tablets ranging from an affordable e-reader to an impressive, LTE-enabled version of its Kindle Fire HD.
  • Deutsche Telekom orchestrated a $1.5 billion deal that would merge MetroPCS with its own T-Mobile USA, creating a substantially stronger tier-one operator. But Sprint may be looking to create a bidding war for MetroPCS, and Dish Network’s options for finding a partner in mobile may be narrowing.
  • Microsoft prepared to launch Windows 8 at the peak of the holiday season with the highly anticipated Surface tablet as well as two new handsets from Nokia. But the Lumia 920, a high-end device that will become Nokia’s latest flagship, will be available in the U.S. exclusively through AT&T — a deal that could spell trouble for the Finnish manufacturer, which desperately needs a hit device.

This review discusses these developments and offers other trends and topics to watch in the final quarter of 2012 and into 2013.

Relevant Analyst
Colin Gibbs

Colin Gibbs

Mobile Curator Gigaom Network

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