Who will get the third place? LG, Sony, and Huawei duke it out

July 8, 2013
Amidst intensifying competition and dwindling profits, three phone makers are battling for the third place in the global smartphone market. Who will prevail?

    best gold prize first shutterstock Credit: Gold medal/Shutterstock

    We are at a point in the mobile industry where the battle for the third place has become more interesting than the competition for the first position in the world market. Samsung and Apple are clearly ahead of the pack, and it’s hard to believe that anyone could disrupt their leadership in the next year or so. But behind Samsung and Apple, several players vie for the third place, and potentially, the chance to displace the leaders. These three players are LG, Huawei, and Sony.

    LG: 45 million

    These three companies all have ambitious plans for the rest of the year. LG puts all its hope in the G2, which will debut on August 7 at a New York event. The Korean company has already begun teasing the device, and I expect a big marketing push to drum up the interest for the G2.

    LG wants to sell 10 million units of the G2, which may not seem much compared to blockbusters like Samsung’s Galaxy S4, but is quite ambitious for a relatively small player like LG. With the G2 on the horizon, and encouraged by the success of the Optimus G and the G Pro, which propelled it on the third place in the first quarter of 2013, LG increased its internal target to 45 million smartphones this year, up 5 million from the initial goal.

    LG Optimus G aa 1600

    LG Optimus G

    Huawei: 60 million

    Huawei is just as ambitious – the Chinese telecom giant is a big player in its home market, which buoys its hopes for 2013 – Huawei wants to sell no fewer than 60 million smartphones. That’s a lofty goal, but if Huawei plays its cards right, it may profit from the LTE boom that’s expected to sweep China soon.

    In the international market, Huawei will continue to push attractive devices like the Ascend P6, the current world’s slimmest phone. Are Huawei’s goals realistic? Last year, the company had the same 60 million target, which proved unreachable. Could this year be different?

    huawei-ascend-mate-in-hand-aa

    Huawei Ascend Mate

    Sony: 42 million

    Sony may be the dark horse of the smartphone race right now. After a long period of lagging behind competitors in terms of specs, design, and software, in 2012 Sony has been making up the lost ground. The company told the Chinese press gathered for the launch of the Xperia Z Ultra that it plans to sell 42 million smartphones in 2013, to end the year on the third place. The Xperia Z and its siblings were moderately successful, while the Z Ultra shapes up to be a good competitor to the Samsung Note series.

    But probably Sony’s real hope is the i1, also known as Honami, which is rumored to be the first device created from scratch under the One Sony strategy. One Sony is the plan pushed by CEO Kaz Hirai to use the entire technological expertise of the Sony group in the making of each product. In other words, the i1 might benefit from Sony’s rich photography acumen and all the display expertise accumulated in years of making high-end television sets.

    xperia-z-in-hand

    Sony Xperia Z

    Disruption

    So, who will be in the third spot come December 31? Judging from estimates alone, Huawei, but history tells us that setting targets and actually meeting them are completely different things in the smartphone business.

    In the best scenario for the Android ecosystem, all three players will meet their targets and begin putting pressure on Apple and Samsung. Both juggernauts show signs of slowing down, and in times like this, upstarts have the best chance of disrupting the status quo. And, while, disruption may not be good for the incumbents, we, the consumers, can only gain from it.

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    Comments

    • [A]dri[A]n

      SONY! :D

      • LOL

        I knew it sony will took the last place, with the bad of battery life, the crappy camera not to mention the worst of viewing angles as well ;)

    • moon Luna

      Would like to see Sony but probably will be LG, especially if they get the next nexus

    • john

      SONY

    • rey

      SONY

    • Mike Bastable

      HTC or LG?…………….

      • Facepalm

        HTC already took the 2nd place, we’re talking about android OEMs FYI.

        • OMGgary

          “But behind Samsung and Apple, several players vie for the third place,…”

          Apple are an Android OEM now, are they? Wow, there’s a corpse in Alta Mesa that must be doing 10,000 revs per minute.

        • Mike Bastable

          Did you read the article? It clearly discussed who will be third behind Sammy/Apple.
          I was actually being very hopeful with HTC possibly being 3rd, they have a long way to go…

    • Dimitri Sevastis

      I think LG will win third place, they just need to build up their reputation with an awesome phone (possibly G2).

    • akihiro

      Great 2 have “G2″

      its LG!

    • LAKAME

      Me wants to see SONY on top :D

      • Micro Shaquer

        Again, If and Only IF Sony will optimize the software of their top-notch camera modules then I will be happy to see Sony back in the game.

        Rectify the BAD battery life of their smartphone.

        My SGS3′s Camera does even better in dark or low light conditions and much much more to normal light conditions than the 12MP or 13MP’s of Xperia S, V, P, Ion, L, Z, X lol……….

    • Siphiwe

      Team SONY!

    • SonyFan

      Sony made a comeback with the Z Serie…the i1 will be the ultimate phone that crushes the competition easy…just better marketing and the 3rd place is your Sony
      make.me.belive

      • Micro Shaquer

        If and Only IF Sony will optimize the software integration of their top-notch camera modules then I will be happy to see Sony back in the game.

        LG????? I don’t think so, I have been playing LG smartphones but their UI simply FAILED before any competition. FIRST company to late software update, poor quality camera optimization (good for this company who’s always the FIRST to market in almost all aspects of technology like highest pixel camera, FIRST to market a fastest processor smartphone) but HELL always the most late to update software and leaves their customer in the cave era.

        I’d rather vote HUWAIE because this smartphone maker strives hard to inflict customers attention to their top-notch product (Ascend P6) at affordable price.

        • SonyFan

          I hope that the Honami i1 will change that…but yeah… you’re right…S4 also uses Exmor RS but u can see the difference btw Z and S4..

          • Micro Shaquer

            I have been using two Samsung flagship smartphones and I could say that the Camera photo quality is very excellent in low light and normal light conditions. The Camera software is really well optimized.

            Though the build quality of the phone is inferior to Sony’s offering.

    • satsmine2k4

      Sony is taking GAINT steps in challenging Samsung’s top spot… Xperia Z Ultra wow.. i love it… and will buy it…

    • Locutus

      Huawei – their phones offer a lot for the price.

    • Yasir

      LG will definatley be standing at 3rd Spot.
      it can easily outnumber Sony and Huawei and close in with Samsung if it launched the G2 globally in a single time period.
      G2 must be launched in USA, Asia, Europe in one time so that they get ample time to make the sales actually happen!

      • Micro Shaquer

        LG????? I don’t think so, I have been playing LG smartphones but their UI simply FAILED before any competition. FIRST company to update very late software, poor quality camera optimization (good for this company who’s always the FIRST to market in almost all aspects of technology like highest pixel camera, FIRST to market a fastest processor smartphone) but HELL always the most late to update software and leaves their customer in the cave era.

        I’d rather vote HUWAIE because this smartphone maker strives hard to inflict customers attention to their top-notch product (Ascend P6) at affordable price.

        • brendan soliwoda

          it’s spelled Huawei, just fyi

    • http://myanimelist.net/profile/_Megatron_ Megatron

      LG? Huawei? LMAO no. 3rd is a done deal for Sony

    • ihsan

      i guess sony does better job even though they didn’t do partnership with google yet on the nexus lines,still hoping for xperia nexus to become reality

    • Tushar

      SONY Anytime!!

    • Hva

      Sony

    • nishantsirohi123

      Sony has always been like Apple. wasnt until the open handset alliance, they used o sell music focused phones without 3.5 mm headphone jacks

      not to mention their own memory sticks instead of Micro SD cards

      Even now lot of headphones are not compatible with Sony phones, despite 3.5 mm headphone jacks

      LG has a brand presence in emerging markets and thanks to their TV and home appliances, setting up distribution wont be difficult.(phones are not sold through careers in most emerging markets, including India)

      Huawei has great products but they really need to push their sales. people do not even know the brand in India
      even i havent seen any huawei phone in any shop here

    • Daniel O. Barga

      Sony and LG

    • 26

      To me, you are perfect! From G…

      LG

    • brendan soliwoda

      I say it’s a tight race between Sony and LG, both companies who in the short spawn of 12 months have completely turned around and delivered amazing products. If I have to pick one, I say Sony slightly edges out LG just because of the products they have turned out recently (Xperia Z Ultra!). But they are two great manufacturers in their own right.

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