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Smartphones see first ever full-year drop in sales

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Global smartphone shipments fell 6 percent from 400.7 million units in Q4 2017 to 376 million units in Q4 2018, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. Global smartphone shipments for the whole year declined 5 percent in 2018, the smartphone industry’s first ever full-year decline.

Samsung maintained first position with 18 percent global smartphone market share in the final quarter of 2018, ahead of Apple iPhone in second, while Huawei was a whisker behind in third place.

“The global smartphone market has now declined for five consecutive quarters, due to longer replacement rates, a lack of wow models, and economic headwinds,” said Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics. “Global smartphone shipments fell 5 percent from 1.51 billion in full-year 2017 to 1.43 billion in full-year 2018. This was the first time ever in history the global smartphone market has declined on a full-year basis. It is a landmark event.”

Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics said, “Huawei remains the world’s third largest smartphone vendor with 16 percent market share in Q4 2018. Huawei grew 35 percent and shipped a record 205.8 million smartphones globally in full-year 2018. Huawei is now just a whisker behind Apple, who shipped 206.3 million iPhones last year. Huawei is massively outgrowing the iPhone and we expect Huawei to overtake Apple on a full-year basis worldwide for the first time in 2019.”

Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics said, “OPPO held fourth place, capturing 8 percent global smartphone market share in Q4 2018, up slightly from 7 percent a year ago. OPPO is expanding swiftly across Europe and Africa, in countries such as Egypt and Italy, and this is complementing its core Asia presence. Xiaomi fell 6 percent annually and shipped a lackluster 26.0 million smartphones worldwide in Q4 2018. Xiaomi held fifth position with 7 percent global market share during the quarter. Xiaomi’s growth crashed in the final few months of last year, due to overstocked inventory and fierce pricing competition from Chinese rivals like Huawei and Realme in key regions such as China and India. Xiaomi faces a much tougher 2019 and may struggle to maintain profits if growth continues to decline.”

The full report, Global Smartphone Shipments Slip 6 Percent in Q4 2018, is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y75uhw62.

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Google announces its ‘Netflix for gaming’

The new gaming platform, Stadia, promises high-definition gaming on TVs, computers, and mobile devices, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Google has announced that it has moved into the gaming space, and it focuses on two big aspects of gaming: streaming of games for gamers, which will allow gamers to game anywhere with a fast, low-latency Internet connection; and audiences that watch gamers in-game.

This is a big move in making gaming accessible to more gamers, as it reduces hardware costs, by utilising the benefits of low-latency cloud computing. This will be achieved by using a globally connected network of Google data centres. Gamers who stream games are most likely already using a high-speed, low-latency Internet connection, so access to the Stadia platform will be an added expense.

Through the Stadia platform, gamers will be able to access a large library of games at all times, with no installation time, on virtually any screen. Scaling of hardware like CPU, GPU, memory, and storage is also possible, as one would for cloud server resources.

Google will be leveraging its other platforms, like YouTube, with Stadia streaming. It claims that 200-million people are watching game-related content daily on YouTube. This allows, for example, Stadia players to jump in with other Stadia players – no downloads, no updates, no patches, and no installs.

For console players, Google has designed a custom controller.

The controller was designed to establish a direct connection from the Stadia controller to Google’s data centre through Wi-Fi for the best possible gaming performance. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving, and sharing gameplay in 4K resolution. It sports a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as many Google products do, for voice control. 

The device is expected to be released later this year, pending FCC approval.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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