Bad timing? Smartphone shipments in China fall, just as a new player announces its arrival

qiku phone launch news smartphones
For the first time in six years, the amount of smartphones shipped in China has fallen, but it’s not deterring new players from entering the market. The drop isn’t much, just 4.3 percent over this time last year, but it shows the market is nearly mature — and manufacturers will turn their attention to pushing upgrades towards existing users, rather than targeting first time owners.

The news comes via ZDNet and from market analysts IDC China, and the company’s research also showed Apple at the top of the shipment charts with 14.7-percent, followed by Xiaomi with 13.7-percent market share. Behind the leading pair in third position is Huawei with 11.4-percent, then Samsung at 9.7-percent and Lenovo with 8.3-percent market share.

Interestingly, the story this time last year was very different. Samsung led with 19.9-percent market share, way out ahead of Lenovo with 10.2-percent. Xiaomi and Apple were in third and fourth place respectively, each with around 9-percent share. IDC says the results from early 2015 will set the tone for China throughout the year, and it expects flat growth aside from those switching from feature phones to low-cost smartphones costing less than $150.

QiKU’s the new name in town, and it’s going to take on Xiaomi

It’s surprising, then, that a new smartphone company has started up in China. It’s called QiKU, and it’s a joint venture between Qihoo 360 Technology and Coolpad. The target? Xiaomi, and probably its second place in the market too. Qihoo 360 makes security software and operates the so.com search engine, while Coolpad is a well-established phone and tablet manufacturer. Coolpad’s one of the top five manufacturers in China, but its market share has suffered at the hands of Xiaomi over the past year.

At QiKU’s launch event, the company promised a wide variety of high-quality phones, which are rumored to start at around $160 — a key price point in IDC’s research. Qihoo 360’s CEO, Zhou Hongyi, said the hardware would be better built than Xiaomi’s, and more affordable. However, no phones have been revealed just yet. According to a report in the China Daily, they may arrive next month. Qihoo also has its own, newly developed mobile operating system, based on Android, which will almost certainly be installed on the new phones.

QiKU’s target of taking on Xiaomi was already ambitious, and has now been made harder by a stabilizing Chinese smartphone market. We’ll bring you more news on the QiKU phones when they’re fully announced.

Mobile

Midrange phones can’t do A.I., but MediaTek’s P90 chip aims to change that

MediaTek has announced the Helio P90 mobile processor, which it says will bring the best A.I. features we see on high-end smartphones, to the mid-range. We spoke to the company about the chip.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Business

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Xiaomi is preparing to set records with 48-megapixel phone camera

Bigger doesn't always mean better, but it certainly makes headlines. Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is set to release a phone camera with a staggeringly large 48 megapixels on a single sensor.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?
Mobile

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Mobile

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.
Outdoors

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.
Mobile

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.
Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.