LAS VEGAS – Increased carrier competition and carrier trade-in programs have lifted smartphone prospects despite high penetration rates, prompting newcomers to enter the market and established players to maintain their presence despite the consolidation of market share by top players.
Newcomers here at International CES include RCA and Snail Games.
Other companies are coming to CES not with phones but with cellular-equipped GPS devices to track kids, pets and vehicles and tap into the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT).
In 2015, Strategy Analytics forecasts U.S. smartphone shipment growth of 6 percent to 148.8 million units, down slightly from 2014’s estimated 7 percent gain and down from 2013’s 14 percent growth.
Wholesale dollar volume will remain flat in 2015 at $57.3 billion compared to a 2 percent gain in 2014 and an 11 percent gain in 2013.
Here’s what attendees will find:
AT&T: The carrier will announce plans to offer a device on an exclusive basis.
Aspenta: A variety of tracking devices are on tap with global roaming service to track individuals and vehicles for the consumer and enterprise markets. Details were unavailable.
Huawei: The company plans to announce a partnership with Caesars Entertainment for a consumer promotion campaign.
Separately, Huawei will display new phones, though it has no plans yet to bring them to the U.S.
One is the Honor 6 Plus with dual 8-megapixel cameras whose algorithms are said to deliver “outstanding images” in large-aperture, backlit or nighttime shooting. The Honor Spree 4X features 5.5-inch edge-to-edge display, octa-core 64-bit Kirin 620 processor, 2GB RAM, 13- and 5-megapixel cameras, and 3,000 mAh battery. Other details were unavailable.
Lenovo: The company is showing two new Lenovo-brand Android phones but has no plans for U.S. distribution. The Vibe X2 Pro builds on the Vibe X2 and adds a full metal chassis, a new range of colors, a bigger display, a faster processor and more robust main camera.
The display of the LTE phone goes to 5.3 inches from 5, the front camera goes to 13 megapixels from 5, the main camera remains at 13 megapixels, and the processor goes to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit 1.5GHz octacore processor. It will be updatable to Android Lollipop. The display is Full HD.
An optional selfie flash optimized for the phone features eight LEDs. The company plans to make a selfie flash available for other phones as well. Other features include 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, 2,140 mAh embedded battery and dual nano SIMs.
The P90 is an Android LTE phone with 5.5-inch Full- HD IPS display with 400 ppi, Intel Atom Z3560 64-bit 1.83GHz quad-core processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB RAM, 32GB memory, optical anti-shake mechanism, embedded 4,000 mAh battery and Lenovo’s Do It apps, including an app that enables Android, iOS, Windows phones and computers to share information 40x faster than Bluetooth. A Sync It app backs up content, including SMS messages, and Clone It migrates content from one phone to another.
RCA: Sonoma Communications, the RCA licensee for smartphones, is launching its first two RCA smartphones, both of them Android 4.4 KitKat models with big screens. They will be available in late January unlocked at a suggested $139 and $159 through Amazon.com, Sears. com, and Rakuten.com.
The $159 4G $159 G1 features 5.5-inch 1,080 by 720 display, 1.3GHz quad-core, 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture, auto focus, LED flash and face detection. The device also features 2-megapixel front-facing camera, 32GB microSD card slot, and 2,000 mAh battery for up to 10 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby. It weighs 6.6 ounces.
The $139 Q1 5-inch phone with 4G offers the same features but with 5-inch 1,080 by 720 display.
Another company licenses the RCA brand for tablets.
Safe Family: The start-up is entering the kid-tracking wearables market with the Safe Kids Paxie Band, which lets parents track the kid’s location via an app and get notifications when the kid leaves a preset boundary. The wearable also notifies parents of ambient temperature reaches a dangerous level and track a kid’s heart rate. It comes with two-day battery life and interchangeable water-resistant bands.
The device ships in May at $175, including three months of cellular data service. Data charges are $9.99/month after that. The price includes two fashion bands, a charger, and a USB cable.
Snail Games USA: The Santa Monica, Calif.- based company, owned by a China-based gaming company, is unveiling two Android smartphones with a gamepad-style design to maximize game play. They are the W and W 3D. The latter features glasses-free 3D display. They come with preinstalled games.
Details were unavailable.
Wonder Technology Solutions (WTS): New products include the Trax Mini, a smaller version of the Trax, which is a GPS tracking device for children and pets. The Mini is intended for pets and comes with a collar. They offer indoor-tracking capability.
Trax devices can be tracked via Android and iOS apps, which let users set up geofencing boundaries in different shapes, including free-hand drawn shapes. The apps allow for speed alerts. The waterresistant Trax fits in a pocket or clips onto garments and collars. Additional details were unavailable.
Yezz: Three new smartphones will each run on a different OS: Windows, Android Lollipop and Firefox.