NEW ORLEANS –
Smartphone shipment growth
slowed in the first quarter, but advances in smartphone
technology will accelerate at CTIA Wireless 2012.
Some of the first quad-core smartphones, a growing
selection of Android 4.0 smartphones, and smartphones
with high-end digital-camera
capabilities will turn up at
the show following debuts at
the Mobile World Congress
(MWC). So will new 4G LTE
smartphones, thanks to the
rollout of LTE by national and regional U.S. carriers.
Here at the CTIA show, analysts expect suppliers to announce
U.S. availability of some of the models launched
globally at MWC.
In quad-core Android-based smartphones, the industry’s
first models include handsets from HTC, Huawei,
LG, and ZTE at processor speeds up to 1.5GHz. Android
4.0 phones are also on the way from the four companies,
all of which have also unveiled new LTE phones.
More tablets with dual-core processors also turned up
at the MWC event and could get distribution announcements
here. Such models were unveiled by Samsung
The new-technology activity is picking up at a time
when growth in North American smartphone unit shipments
slipped to 14 percent
in the first quarter compared
to full-year 2011 growth of 46
percent, said Strategy Analytics.
The company, however,
expects smartphone growth
rates to accelerate in the second half.
Many North Americans delayed upgrading from feature
phones to smartphones in the first quarter because
carriers “have been stricter with upgrade incentives, and
there were few exciting new releases in the first quarter
[compared to the fourth quarter] to drive consumer activity,”
explained analyst Alex Spektor. “Smartphone growth
should pick up by the second half of the year thanks to
anticipated devices like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the next-generation Apple iPhone.”
At least one U.S. carrier, however,
isn’t so sure smartphone sales for its
network will pick up. Ralph de la Vega,
president/CEO of AT&T Mobility, said
during a recent investor’s conference call
that he expects flat sales of AT&T-network
smartphones this year. That would amount
to 25 million smartphones, AT&T chairman/
CEO Randall Stephenson said during the call.
New upgrade fees imposed by AT&T in March will
contribute to that and “will have a meaningful impact
on us in managing handset costs,” Stephenson
said in referring to carriers’ smartphone subsidies.
Overall North American cellphone shipments fell 9
percent in the first quarter because of a 33 percent decline
in feature-phone shipments, Strategy Analytics said.
Here’s what mobile suppliers plan to show at the convention
for the maturing U.S. smartphone market:
The company’s first LTE phones are likely to
show up, having turned up at MWC. They include the Ascend
P1 LTE with dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Android 4.0
OS, 4.3-inch 960 by 540 touchscreen, MHL-HDMI connection
and advanced camera features. Huawei’s second
LTE phone unveiled at MWC was the Ascend D LTE, which
features dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 4.5-inch HD touchscreen
and Android 4.0.
The company’s first two quad-core smartphones could
also turn up. They lack LTE but feature Android 4.0, Huaweimade
K3V2 quad-core 1.2GHz/1.5GHz processor, and 4G
HSPA+ technology. They are the Ascend D quad and D
quad XL, both with 4.5-inch 720p HD screen and ability to
view content in direct sunlight, the company said.
The first two Android 4.0 phones from the company
include the Hydro, which is the company’s first
water-resistant smartphone for the U.S. market.
The company is expected to show its
expanded lineup of 4G LTE smartphones
unveiled at MWC, including LG’s first LTEequipped
glasses-free 3D phone which
features HSPA+, and a big-screen
LTE phone that competes with
Samsung’s Galaxy Note hybrid
tablet/phone. The new
phones also include LG’s
first quad-core phone, which
is the Android 4.0 Optimus
4X HD with Nvidia’s quad-core
1.5GHz Tegra 3 processor.
HSPA+21 technology and
True HD IPS 4.7-inch display.
The 4-Plus-1 quad-core processor
incorporates a fifth
battery-saving core for lessdemanding
China Tech Faith Wireless of Beijing will expand
its presence at the show with a broader handset range
under the TecFace brand.
GSM/W-CDMA handsets include the Android 2.3 Swift
with 5-inch screen, dual SIMs, dual cameras and Wi-Fi. The
Titan is a ruggedized water- and shock-resistant smartphone.
CDMA EV-DO handsets will include the Android-based Eagle
with 3.8-inch touchscreen.
New York-based Unnecto, founded last summer,
is launching a quintet of dual-SIM phones, including the Quattro,
its first smartphone. All are targeted to the U.S., Canada,
Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
In the U.S., the company currently sells to rural U.S. carriers but plans to
market to tier-one
and regional carriers.
It also sells
In bringing dual-
to regions where
it not common,
its sees potential
for sales to
and to others.
MWC and expected
first Android 4.0
smartphones. Two of them incorporate 4G
LTE and dual-core processors. A third Android
4.0 phone is the company’s first phone with