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MWC: Apple, Google, still most valuable tech brands

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As the world’s tech companies gathered this week in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, Brand Finance has released its annual review of the state of their brands, the Brand Finance Tech 100.

Key Findings:

  • Apple extends lead with record breaking US$145bn brand value
  • Galaxy S6 restores Samsung’s brand rating to AAA
  • Qualcomm takes brand value hit following Snapdragon 810 fiasco
  • Uber enters table with US$11bn brand value
  • WeChat grows brand value by 83%

Apple Not Rotten Yet

With a value of US$145, Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand. Despite annual predictions of a plateau or fall from grace, brand value is up 14%. Revenue for the last three months of 2015 was a record-breaking US$75.3 billion. Though there has been much disappointment about slowing growth, this must be seen in the context of an exceptional period at the end of 2014 following the release of the iPhone 6. To not just maintain but increase sales in a saturated market is encouraging and assertions that Apple has gone rotten are premature.

Snapdragon Leaves Qualcomm Red-Faced 

Qualcomm is one of this year’s biggest losers in the technology table, brand value has taken a 17% dip whilst the brand rating has been downgraded from AA+ to AA. This is largely due to the fact that the company’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 810, was nothing short of a disaster. Qualcomm’s highly anticipated processor was found to overheat and malfunction when subjected to heavier workloads. The issue was so critical that Samsung dropped the Qualcomm processor from its extremely popular Galaxy line. Qualcomm lost a year’s worth of orders from one its biggest clients, and the consequent damage to brand value is clear.

S6 & S7 Restore Samsung’s Image

Samsung’s brand rating, which indicates the strength and future potential of the brand, has been restored to AAA this year thanks in part to the positive reception of the Galaxy S6. Critics raved about the significantly improved design, which also put the Galaxy S6 on the radar of voguish iPhone users. The recently unveiled Galaxy S7 looks to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor but adds features such as water resistance, extended battery life and the sorely missed expandable storage option. Revenues have also improved this year, most of them coming from Samsung’s semiconductor business which produces chips for most smartphone manufacturers, including, ironically, their fiercest rival, Apple.

Uber Starts Well but has a Tough Road Ahead

Uber has firmly established itself in the top end of this year’s technology table with an impressive brand value of US$11bn. This makes the ride hailing app’s brand more valuable than industry giants such as Panasonic, Dell and Sony. However challenging times could lie ahead. Uber launched its new logo with great fanfare this year, however the colourful geometric shapes that make up the new identity failed to impress. Critics were quick to label the new logo ’unattractive’ and ‘ambiguous’. The backlash resulted in Uber’s head of design stepping down only a day after the new identity was revealed. Uber continues to face regulatory challenges in the west, as the company is bombarded with protests and lawsuits from taxi unions and transport authorities while in the east, the company struggles to turn a profit. This is largely due to fierce competitors, such as Didi Kuaidi, which is the favoured low-cost ride hailing company in China.

WeChat Nearly Doubles

WeChat increased its brand value by 83% this year, making it one of the fastest growing brands in the technology table. The messaging app, which also offers a payment platform, has seen rapid growth, with registered users totalling at an astonishing 1.1bn, out of which 100m are based outside of China. Tencent, the holding company that owns and operates WeChat, recently announced that WeChat will start charging its users for payment transactions in March 2016, a move that could boost revenues even higher.

The World’s Most Valuable Tech Brands (Top 10):

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 1.47.48 PM

* Click on graph for an enlarged option.

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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