back to article Huawei elbows aside Apple to claim number-two phone maker spot

Huawei overtook Apple in Q2 as the world's number-two phone maker, according to fresh stats from Gartner. Some analysts had recorded months in 2017 where Huawei took the silver, but for Gartner, April to June was the first full quarter in which the Shenzhen upstart outsold Apple globally. The analyst house also confirmed that …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

    No value that I've noticed.

    I've just replaced an old Moto G (which was about £120 a few year back) with an Honor 9 Lite (£140) and I couldn't see any value at all in spending any more money. I'd need some considerable persuasion to be convinced that a £900 phone offered me a more-than-sixfold increase in utility.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

      Last year's £900 phone is eventually discounted to around £500, and at that money there's a strong case for the value. Admittedly the value takes the form of lots of little features that add up (compatability, water proofing, Qi charging, fast processor) and/or a strong feature that is important to some users ( excellent camera, for example).

      Of course these features often work in unison.. a good camera with fast processor can only record high frame rate high definition video if the storage is fast enough.

      1. Tenkaykev

        Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

        I like the camera on my S7 and quite like the look of the camera on new Huawei P20 pro. I've made a note to check it out next year once the price has dropped ( though no doubt there will be a newer phone with better camera available then ).

        I see the Mate 10 Pro 128GB is selling for £399 with a 2 year warranty in John Lewis right now.

        Hopefully the P20 Pro will follow a similar trajectory.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

      Honor V10 for me, £450 and as good as any £1k phone I'd wager!

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

      "I'd need some considerable persuasion to be convinced that a £900 phone offered me a more-than-sixfold increase in utility."

      The people who spend that much aren't looking for a six-fold increase in utility, they're looking for a six-fold increase in self-image.

      1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

        Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

        " The people who spend that much aren't looking for a six-fold increase in utility, they're looking for a six-fold increase in self-image. "

        Thats not entirely true.

        Take the recently released Samsung Note 9 and if you can tell the difference between that and a Note 8 from a glance as somebody walks past, then you must have eyes like a balled eagle. The people who spend money for self image will pay for brands like apple, and they make sure the visible stuff like the over priced headphones they use with it are in view. The MacBook is under the arm, NOT in any sort of protective case, unless that case has a very big expensive looking logo on it...

        Most people do not use anywhere close to a fraction of all the features on a flagship device, that's a given, but once you have used a flagship phone for a while, try using something on the budget end and you soon start to notice the differences. That said, upgrading every year is ridiculous, and those that do are in it for the show off reasons.

    4. BillG Silver badge
      Holmes

      Semi-Captive Chinese Market

      I wonder what the numbers for Huawei are if you remove the Chinese market from everyone's sales?

      China is a semi-captive market for Huawei.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Semi-Captive Chinese Market

        The people who spend that much aren't looking for a six-fold increase in utility, they're looking for a six-fold increase in self-image.

        Indeed. Sports cars are also sold for double or triple the price of a bog-standard car. They are not bigger or more comfortable, and you can't even drive them faster because of speed limits. They do give you a faster acceleration, but considering most driving is done either in the traffic waiting to move or on the highway waiting to arrive, this hardly seems rational.

        And note that the sums involved are two or three orders of magnitude higher than mere cell phones. Whenever El Reg describes the price of the iPhone X as "eye-watering", car businessmen have a long and hearty laugh.

      2. J27

        Re: Semi-Captive Chinese Market

        Huawei has plenty of domestic competition like Xiaomi, Oppo/Vivo, Le Eco, ZTE and many smaller companies. The Chinese mobile market is particularly cutthroat.

      3. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Semi-Captive Chinese Market

        China is a semi-captive market for Huawei.

        I'm not sure about that, but they seem to be really good value for money.

        They recently began flooding my country with ads, TV, online, everywhere and they make a compelling case too.

        A young lady I work with bought one, it might be the Huawei 3i. It's a nice phone ( for roughly £150) with a good screen, quite fast, and an all right camera (not amazing, but she won't notice).

    5. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

      Like cable TV, it's all about the bundles. You want microSD, headphone jack, and a lot of LTE bands so the phone works in urban US, rural US, and Japan. $400 in other features come along for the ride.

      1. Gerhard Mack

        Re: There's noticeable value ... upgrading from a $200 or $300 smartphone

        "Like cable TV, it's all about the bundles. You want microSD, headphone jack, and a lot of LTE bands so the phone works in urban US, rural US, and Japan. $400 in other features come along for the ride."

        You have really not been paying attention to what's been going on with the non brand name phones. I just did a quick check on Amazon and right smack in the middle of your price range (in CAD no less) is the Xiaomi MI A1 which has dual cameras, dual band Wifi, dual SIM, multband 3G/4G, headphone jack and a microSD slot.

  2. djstardust Silver badge

    There may be trouble ahead ....

    Seems the developer community are walking away due to them withdrawing bootloader unlock keys.

    There are also rumours that OTA updates are causing previously rooted devices not to boot at all.

    Given that originally Huawei / Honor devices were the easiest to root and make custom ROMs for, this seems a strange change of direction.

    I know only a small percentage of buyers actually do this, but it will have an impact in the longer term. At least with some Samsung devices knox can be overcome quite easily.

    Above that, their array of handsets are totally confusing. Hundreds of models all sort of similar but different between two brands that are essentially the same. Seems they are doing what Samsung used to do by releasing a new handset literally every week hoping that if they flood the market it will make them succeed.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: There may be trouble ahead ....

      For the moment their handsets are relatively cheap, much cheaper than Samsung, their quality is pretty good, ( we've stopped buying Samsung at work because of the price) and they are snappy.

      We've got P9s, P10s et even P20s, no complaints whatsover. ( Don't know about their cheaper versions)

      As for rooting telephones, I used to do it, now I can't be bothered as it causes more pain than anything else. There is always something that doesn't work correctly afterwards...

      Now I just use Blokada in order to make an "attempt" at blocking Ads and to try and reduce/limit the Google Slurp...

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: There may be trouble ahead ....

        What percentage of Huawei's customers are developers or have any desire to root their phone?

      2. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

        Re: There may be trouble ahead ....

        "As for rooting telephones, I used to do it, now I can't be bothered as it causes more pain than anything else.

        for the benefits of rooting, the losses are annoying.... like not being able to use stuff like watch TV programs and stuff that comes with my satellite TV package and 2 out of three of my online banking apps don't work on a rooted phone....

        The same goes for my wifes super cheap samsung J3, needs rooting to be able to expand system memory onto the SD card, but then no internet banking.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There may be trouble ahead ....

          "for the benefits of rooting, the losses are annoying.... like not being able to use stuff like watch TV programs and stuff that comes with my satellite TV package and 2 out of three of my online banking apps don't work on a rooted phone...."

          Get a better root manager app and block those app from seeing you have root.

          Then again, if you have no control on what tracking is happening on your phone (non-root device/ none clean android device), you probably shouldn't use those online banking apps anyway.

  3. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Lower phone sales

    Less land fill and less money thrown away.

    I work with industrial Android device testing BTW.

  4. Korev Silver badge
    Headmaster

    One idea

    Maybe they'll sell more phones if they start spelling Honour correctly...

    1. dajames Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: One idea

      Maybe they'll sell more phones if they start spelling Honour correctly...

      Methinks that if they named the phones after Honor Blackman (and why not?) then the spelling is already correct ...

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Indeed. A fine actress, and a fine series.

        It's a wonder to think how the series would have evolved if they hadn't changed principle actress.

      2. J27

        Re: One idea

        'Murica is a bigger market.

        1. John Bailey

          Re: One idea

          "'Murica is a bigger market."

          Yes. But only by the pound.

    2. spold Bronze badge

      Re: One idea

      They are spelling it róng :-)

      (check your Mandarin)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People are just not spending money

    With all the uncertainty over BREXIT and stories about a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather I am sure that for many people replacing a phone is well down on the list of priorities for their disposable income.

    If Premiership Footie Players are into hedging currency, what hope is there for the rest of us?

    If I had the money, I'd buy a few grands worth or Euros right now. Then when the pound becomes worth less than a Euro next march, at least you can head for the Costa's and get blind drunk knowing that getting pissed out of your mind won't cost you a cent (or penny) OR you can buy those wiper blades for your German made car that are even more stupidly expensive with the crap exchange rate.

    Your choice.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: People are just not spending money

      You get drunk on coffee?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: People are just not spending money

        > If I had the money, I'd buy a few grands worth or Euros right now

        The way that markets work is that the current rate of Sterling against Euro is already partially determined by expectations of the Pound losing value in future, so it's not the dead cert investment you think it is. Some people of course have bet on Sterling because they think that it won't drop as much as others think it will, and vice versa.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

      Citation please ?

      Or are you just pulling that out of somewhere I'd rather not mention ?

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

        Food prices 'to rise 5%' because of extreme weather

      2. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

        Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

        The BBC has an article that says that food prices in the UK will increase by at least 5% due to this years weather - see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45317023 for more details

        1. ivan5

          Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

          But 5% is not 10% and no one can be certain that it will happen because it didn't happen in the past with the same weather pattern.

          1. JohnMurray

            Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

            I have to buy more food, not because I'm more hungry, but because the sizes of the foodstuffs keep decreasing...while the packing stays the same...except milk...

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

              "because the sizes of the foodstuffs keep decreasing"

              Except Toblerone seem to have seen the error of their ways.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: "a 10% rise in food prices due to the weather"

            "But 5% is not 10%"

            Always allow for optimism in economic forecasts. As long as I can remember Treasury forecasts for annual growth a few years ahead were always at least twice those of the forecasts for the next few years. By the time those actual years were the next few years they'd fallen to next few years level.

  6. dajames Silver badge

    Lifetime ...

    It's hard to justify splashing out on a high-end smartphone when you know that it will need replacing in two or three years time. If the non-replaceable battery hasn't failed then the software will be obsolete, buggy, and unpatched (even if Google have issued a patch for any bugs in Android you can't rely on the OEM to have applied that patch to the firmware for your handset -- that problem's not so bad in the Apple world, if you can live with the view from their walled garden).

    The mobile phone has, unfortunately, to be seen as a consumable, disposable, device that needs to be replaced every couple of years, and as such it's not worth paying more than a couple of hundred each time.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Lifetime ...

      Cost of official battery replacement on a high end handset is around 10% if the original cost... the sort of margin that could be lost in buying a handset on a special offer, or buying one brand over another.

      If you buy a high end handset that's shipped with Oreo then updates aren't dependant on binary blobs from silicon vendors any more.

      Even in the days of swappable batteries and no software updates required, people would often get a new phone every year or two - there's nothing new here. Indeed, the update cycle used to be a year, now two years is the norm.

      1. Joel 1
        Trollface

        Re: Lifetime ...

        "If you buy a high end handset that's shipped with Oreo then updates aren't dependant on binary blobs from silicon vendors any more."

        I thought high end handsets were shipped with iOS...

        <ducks into trench with bucket of popcorn>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lifetime ...

          High-end =/= most expensive

          1. earlygeek

            Re: Lifetime ...

            Congratulations! You just learned about phones what everyone has always known about steak/hamburger, Fords and BMW, etc. The top gear is never WORTH the extra you pay- but if you want a 10% improvement, the 30% increase in price -or more-is- the price.

            Please provide details of anything ever sold where the really good stuff is sold dirt cheap and the crap gets sold for high prices.

            Welcome to Capitalism 101

            1. DerekCurrie
              Stop

              Re: Lifetime ...

              "The top gear is never WORTH the extra you pay"

              There is more to the situation. Where shoppers fall down most commonly is thinking that the Price Tag equals the actual price. No it does not. There are the two core additional factors to consider. Don't skip them or you'll be hurting yourself:

              1) Total Cost of Ownership (TCO or COO): "...Intended to help buyers and owners determine the direct and indirect costs of a product or system." If you have to buy more stuff in order to use your phone, such as anti-malware in the case of Android, add that cost to the phone price tag. Etc. You want TCO to be low.

              2) Return on investment (ROI): "...The ratio between the net profit and cost of investment resulting from an investment of some resources." How much money do you actually make or save due to purchasing the phone, compared to purchasing an alternative phone? Subtract this gain from the cost of the phone. You want ROI to be as high.

              Determining TCO and ROI for individual devices depends upon reading reviews, talking to users and considering your specific purposes for which the phone will be used. Purchase the device that provides the highest gains and lowest costs at the lowest price tag according to your needs. The highest priced phone may well be the less expensive overall.

              IOW: Don't "Keep It Simple" when it means you're being stupid, a common situation within the complex field of technological devices.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Lifetime ...

          ""If you buy a high end handset that's shipped with Oreo then updates aren't dependent on binary blobs from silicon vendors any more."

          I thought high end handsets were shipped with Apple..."

          ftfy because iOS isn't edible.

          [run off with my chocolate coat]

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Lifetime ...

          I thought high end handsets were shipped with iOS...

          No, the handsets can still have high end hardware even if the OS is low end.

      2. Patrician

        Re: Lifetime ...

        "If you buy a high end handset that's shipped with Oreo then updates aren't dependant on binary blobs from silicon vendors any more."

        But you are still dependent on you manufacturer or service provider, if bought under contract, for those updates to be pushed out to your phone. It is that stage where things go south.

    2. Patrician

      Re: Lifetime ...

      One of the benefits of buying a "high-end smartphone" is that it *can" last longer than three years before it starts to slow down and the battery fails.

      I have a Nexus 6P that is now three and a half years old and is still working with no issues, including the battery still allowing a full day of pretty heavy use.

      This would not have been true had I bought whatever the budget smart phone of the time was, as they quite often begin somewhat "slow" and get worse from there on wards.

      I must admit the price of the Nexus 6P is more "budget" these days :)

  7. AndrueC Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I'm at the end of my 2 year phone+contract right now. I'm waiting to see if Vodafone will reduce my next month's bill without me having to chase them. I currently have an S7 Edge and looking around can't see anything worth upgrading to. The one thing that might tempt me (better battery life) doesn't seem to be on offer. I'm not a heavy user (a very light user in fact) and I'd like to be able to charge my battery just once a week. But apparently that's not possible. When it's in a good mood my S7 Edge can sometimes make it Monday to Friday without needing a charge but other times it's down to 20% by mid-week and needs a top-up.

    And to make it worse, for all their much vaunted attempts to extend battery life all Google's developers have managed so far is to make email unreliable because the phone goes to sleep and now it seems SMS notifications are unreliable as well. What next - is the phone going to be so deeply asleep that it can't ring when a call comes in?

    And despite all of that the phone is no better at staying charged than it ever was. I thought Google was supposed to employ only clever people? I might have to upgrade in a while anyway simply because there's a dead area developing on one scren edge. So far it's nowhere of any importance but I hear these things spread. Curious how it started just toward the end of the contract period :-/

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      A Motorola with a battery pack Mod will give you the longer battery life you crave.

      Your eMail client can be exempted from Android's power saving policy, though of course the 3/4 G radios will be constantly on - and in areas of mediocre reception this will deplete your battery.

      Other Samsung battery saving options include underclock get the CPU and reducing the screen resolution.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Thanks, I'll look at that phone.

        As for my email client it's currently Google Mail (I have my server forward emails to my GMail account). Unfortunately any other client needs to use IMAP and all of the ones I've tried soon get put to sleep for longer than half an hour and the connection drops. From that point on they won't connect again until I wake the app to check for mail. Google Mail will eventually notify me of an email by itself, albeit sometimes up to three hours late. Or else it will reconnect when the phone wakes up and then notify me. It's quite common for me to pick my jacket up to go out for lunch and have an email notification sound.

        And yes I've whitelisted and exempted all mail clients from battery savings but ultimately there seems nothing anyone can do to prevent Android from putting them to sleep if you leave the phone idle for long enough (a couple of hours seems to suffice).

        Unfortunately I doubt your other battery saving tips will help. I'm one of those rare people who can genuinely leave their phone alone for hours at a time. Thus Android ends up putting the phone into 'full on' doze mode. Consequently almost everything except the radio and phone functionality ends up asleep. That's presumably how I manage to keep battery discharging down to 1% an hour since most people seem to struggle to avoid charging the phone once a day. The screen is probably on for less than 15 minutes out of every 24 hours and the CPU hardly ever worked hard.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pass the rubber duck, number one

    "Huawei overtook Apple in Q2 as the world's number-two phone maker"

    When I had a Huawei, I thought it was a bit rubbish, but calling it a "number two" phone maker is a bit harsh.

    'Scuse me whilst I nip off to do a number one....

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Anecdotal evidence

    My hairdresser was proudly showing me here Vivo today: Notch knock-off with 128 GB for about € 280. She's from Shanghai so got it from her brother. If she's anything to go by, and I'm not suggesting she is, then Apple might indeed need to start worrying as the Chinese phones have essentially caught up technologically and, more importantly, the market is starting to believe this. The Orange One's cack-handed trade war won't help here either: if China Daily suggests that I-Phone's are somehow unpatriotic then sales will plummet (form here for Korean or Japanese products).

    But, thus far, Apple's brand is holding up well with fans and the Hotel Cupertino walled garden makes it difficult to leave.

  10. Lee D Silver badge

    When / if my phone dies I'll look at another.

    And likely, from what I see, I'll end up with some unknown-Chinese brand thing that has everything I need and just runs Android.

    If it appears on the LineageOS compatibility lists, even better.

    Chances are that even Samsung (whose products I have historically ended up buying after a process or elimination without any conscious bias towards their brand) are no good to me any more. Too much focus on "tiny, tiny, look what we can fit on the head of a pin" rather than "hey, here's a phone that you can make good use of".

    Yet, like with DVD players etc. many years ago, the cheap Chinese stuff does everything without losing all the functionality and STILL looks the same and is the same kind of size as the expensive gear from the famous brands. Oh, and let's you do things like play all regions and skip UOPS.

    I can't fathom what they think they are up to at the moment. Make a "Showoff" range and a "Worker" range and a "Home" range and put the fecking connectors and batteries and stuff back into the latter.

    If you're gonna make me pay ridiculous money, make it last for me. That means removeable batteries etc. If you're going for cheap-and-cheerful I may suffer such restrictions.

  11. Greg D

    Lacking any kind of incentive to upgrade constantly

    The yearly cycle died for me when they started asking for £500 for a phone. Switched to 24 month contracts (cheaper monthly cost). Now I've got a 3 year old HTC and SIM only deal at the cheapest I've ever paid (£20/mo).

    Even with an old handset (HTC One M9), I still dont have a SINGLE compelling reason to upgrade. And for £1000 for top of the line devices? Out-bloody-rageous. Not a chance in a million years. And thats not even built for longevity, what with the battery being inaccessible. That limits it's lifetime to a max of 3-4 years (same as my HTC, but I'll see how far the battery goes).

    I can get cheaper laptops than that, which are arguably much more productive devices for any meaningful work or play.

    Only chance I would upgrade now is if Sammy decide to release the W2018 in the UK (flip-phone, only available in Korea). Dont even like the slab form-factor any more, and especially hate the side-mounted power/volume buttons. Ridiculous design.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Lacking any kind of incentive to upgrade constantly

      I never understood the "yearly cycle" in the first place.

      Philips C12 "Savvy"

      Some Nokia Thing

      Samsung Galaxy Ace

      Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

      Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

      That's every phone I've ever owned since... 1998.

      I make that a "once every 4 year" cycle at best. Hell, laptop buying cycles are even less. I've probably owned... 4 in the same time (one every 5 years on average).

      Like hell am I going to drop any significant portion of a grand on a whim for a gadget, however useful when my laptops don't cost that and last longer, and I certainly wouldn't do it every year.

      In the era of market saturation, you have to be DIFFERENT by being BETTER than your competitors. Not carbon-copying their stupid ideas.

      I would happily pay £250 for a device which had a removable battery, a headphone socket, and all the cheapest features you can shove it, and just run plain Android. I can get an Android tablet that does everything I want for half that price, and I bought a toy phone the other day that's 5cm tall and is fully working, dual-SIM with Bluetooth. You're telling me you can't put one into the other with a slightly smaller screen and a battery compartment?

      At this rate, I could easily be forced out of using a smartphone and just carry something like a GPD-Win around with me for such things.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Lacking any kind of incentive to upgrade constantly

        Same timeframe and similar number of devices. Hagenuk (first phone with internal antenna), Ericsson R520 (lovely bit of magesium!), Ericsson T68, Nokia E6, Samsung Wave, Samsung S4 Mini (got nicked), Samsung Rugged, Samsung S5 (2nd hand), Samsung S5 (also 2nd hand, screen on 1st has a hairline crack, so it's now backup), Planet Gemini. There was a company Motorola in there somewhere but I never worked out how to use it.

        Are we twins separated at birth? And, if so, who's the evil one?

  12. JohnMurray

    My iphone 4S is still working......so that's 4 years now.....a bit slow to load twatter...but that's ok..

    1. Lost it

      I'm still using a Nokia 630 Windows phone. Does everything I need including having a half decent battery life. I even bought a spare battery for it. Now it does everything I want it to do for twice as long.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We reuse the tea bags

    Have to admit, I thought this was a tech site, but it appears to be frequented by the Money Saving Experts website fanbase...

    Commentard: I love tech

    Also commentard: spend money on new tech? Away and ******!

  14. DerekCurrie
    Holmes

    So, who owns phone maker profit share?

    Apple.

    2015: Apple’s Share of Smartphone Industry’s Profits Soars to 92%

    Apple’s share of profits is remarkable given that it sells less than 20% of smartphones

    2016: How Apple Sucks the Profit Out of Mobile Phones

    2018: Apple Continues To Dominate The Smartphone Profit Pool

    As ever: There will always be more cockroaches than humans. Enjoy your cockroach. Upgrade to human when it makes sense to do so.

  15. alsantana

    Sales doesn't mean that it's quality is better

    Huawei still behind way Apple. I bought a Huawei P10 like 4 months ago, Android Oreo and EMUI 8 have already rolled out, not a single patch/update since i bought the phone, i constantly check if i got the update, i send emails to Huawei support and everything, they just say wait, they are 'updating ' phones but not all at once.

    Don't get me wrong, i like the Android device, its really customizable and fast but if i don't get either the Oreo 8 or Emui 8 it's would be really sad and i wouldn't buy again a Huawei device.

    These little things are really important, Apple would constantly roll out updates for its users, either security or new stuff, but nothing from Huawei, not even a single hi.

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