If you are shopping around for a new smartphone, you may want to pause and wait for the slew of new products to come over the next few months, as the battle for the smartphone market heats up. In fact, what happens over the next few months will help to dictate which company will control the smartphone market in the upcoming years. Of course, every company is trying to catch current smartphone market leader Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) with its “iPhone.”
Just take a look at the lineup that is expected to be on the market soon, starting with former high-flying and market-leading cell phone maker Nokia Corp. (NYSE/NOK), which introduced its “Lumia” smartphone on Wednesday. The Lumia is betting on the “Windows 8” mobile platform by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ/MSFT) to provide the necessary edge that will help it advance in the highly competitive and crowded smartphone market. In fact, for Nokia, the Lumia may be the company’s last hope for survival.
Nokia is facing declining growth and losses. The company has lost about 90% of its market value since the launch of the iPhone five years ago. Nokia’s venture with Microsoft in building the Lumia will be crucial; failure to achieve acceptance from a picky consumer market will be devastating for Nokia. It will also affect Microsoft in its bid to gain some traction in the smartphone and tablet markets with its upcoming “Surface” tablet.
Microsoft will need to convince smartphone buyers that the Windows 8 platform is superior to the platforms offered by Apple, with its “iOS,” and Google Inc. (NASDAQ/GOOG) with its “Android,” which are clearly number one and two in the market at this time. It will not be easy for Nokia and Microsoft, and I sense that unless the new Lumia is mind-blowing, it may be the end of Nokia, and Microsoft may suffer a hard blow. Apple is scheduled to release the details of its new and highly anticipated “iPhone 5” on September 12. I sense it will likely be a major upgrade from the “iPhone 4S,” which was a disappointment as far as new features go, except for the “Siri” function that allows users to verbally ask their iPhone questions and receive responses.
On the same day the Lumia is introduced, Google will launch its first major smartphone since the company acquired Motorola Mobility in 2011. I sense Android-powered smartphones will be the biggest threat to Apple. Samsung is the chief rival to Apple at this time with its Android-powered “Galaxy” series of smartphones and tablets, according to my stock analysis. (Read “Heavyweight Bout—Apple vs. Samsung.”) Samsung will also launch a smartphone using the Windows 8 platform in October.
In my view, Apple will be the company to beat. Unless the other companies introduce an iPhone killer—and that will not be easy—Apple will remain the dominant smartphone maker for years to come. The next few months will surely be interesting for the smartphone market.