Old Guard Handset Makers Under Threat, says BuzzCity

The dominance of the ‘old guard’ smartphone brands, such as Nokia, Apple and BlackBerry, is being challenged by the rise of localised ‘white box’ manufacturers which are coming out of China and Asia. So says global mobile media company BuzzCity, based on the findings of metrics from its free mobile games portal, Djuzz. 

Djuzz is designed to deliver games typically built on Java, Symbian, Windows Mobile, Android, Flash and BlackBerry, as well as to feature phones at the lower end of the market.  The portal recognises and delivers games for more than 1,800 handsets.

BuzzCity analyses the type of handsets that its gamers are using, and says it has seen a rise in the ‘white box’ manufacturers coming out across Asia, which were responsible for 20 per cent of overall downloads in October 2010, compared to just 8 per cent the previous month.

Handset makers featuring in the Djuzz data include MicroMax (India), Nexian (Indonesia/Malaysia), K-Touch (China), Spice Mobile (India) and Visual Fan (Romania). BuzzCity believes their prominence may be attributed to the very competitive pricing of these devices in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

The trend is supported by recent Gartner figures, which claim that global sales of handsets rose 35 per cent in the third quarter of 2010 to 417m units, and that a third of the devices sold were made by companies that were not among the top five players, and that many of them were ‘white box’ manufacturers.

“White box’ competition will continue to cannibalise sales from the major manufacturers, largely by mimicking handsets like iPhone or BlackBerry, while offering more features such as multiple SIM capabilities, at lower price points,” says BuzzCity CEO, Dr KF Lai. “We believe the game ultimately lies with those who control hardware, software and services and these localized ‘white box’ handsets will soon need to add value with services. Users have moved beyond using phones as just a communications tool and the growing priority for consumers is getting more and better content into their phones.

BuzzCity delivered more than 6.5m games in October alone, a 12 per cent increase over September. October also saw a 5 per cent increase in the number of unique daily visitors to the Djuzz portal, to 83,000. Each visitor generates at least three downloads. 

Additional key findings from the Djuzz report provide evidence that mobile advertising campaigns boost downloads. The success of Adidas in promoting its application, The Quest, hosted on Djuzz in June 2010, was repeated in October by a number of others. Brands like RockeTalk (messaging) and Reebok ZigTech (Sports) sky-rocketed to the top of the charts in less than a week due to placements in key areas on the site, plus the right mix of bids and budgets for mobile advertising.  RockeTalk is the first application on Djuzz to reach 1m downloads, taking 13 per cent of overall downloads in October.

You can access the full report here.