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Fantastic non-smartphone products from smartphone OEMs
LG – Appliances
LG’s appliance game is fairly strong. They have an estimated 10% of the market share for washers and dryers (fourth overall) and a total of 15.4% of the entire appliance market in 2017, second only to Samsung while barely edging out Whirlpool.
LG's appliance game is surprisingly strong.
LG sells refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, microwaves, and all kinds of other stuff and most of those products are fairly decent. Additionally, LG smart home appliances often come with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support for integration into that part of your house. LG routinely comes in first or second in JD Power customer satisfaction rankings for basically all appliances, no small feat for the Korean company.
LG’s mobile division lost quite a bit of money in late 2019. However, its appliance game picked up the slack and helped LG be profitable overall for the year. Its appliances are basically holding the company up at this point and, luckily, LG is doing quite well in the area. Of course, we’d all like to see them make a run in the mobile space and become profitable there again as well.
HTC – VR products
The Vive product line isn’t helping HTCquite like LG’s appliances are for LG, but the potential is certainly there. The Vive only has one real competitor and it’s the Oculus Rift. There are other VR headsets, such as the PlayStation VR, but those are usually tied to a console or other platform. That leaves HTCand Oculus to duke it out in the PC VR space and, to be honest, HTCisn’t doing half bad.
It's basically Oculus versus HTCat the top of the VR industry right now.
Its base Vive device competes well with the Oculus Rift. However its Vive Pro, despite being very expensive, is arguably the best VR experience available right now in terms of pure specs, comfort, and power. The device uses the SteamVR store for its content and Steam is an excellent source of games.
We’re sure the market will saturate once VR finally starts picking up momentum. However, much like mobile phone history, people will remember that HTCwas one of the first and one of the best VR headset makers.
Sony – Audio gear
Sony’s audio gear is among the most popular in the industry. The company’s 1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones are arguably the best in the world right now. Additionally, its truly wireless earbuds are pretty good, its Bluetooth speaker selection is excellent, and even its midrange Bluetooth headphones are good.
It is entirely possible to listen to a song recorded by Sony on a Sony device and listening through Sony headphones.
Switching to traditional audio, Sony still sells its legendary MDR7506 studio headphones for under $100 as well as its surprisingly light and bassy MDR-1A headphones. Of course, it maintains a space in the super expensive audiophile realm with its over-priced by beautiful sounding MDR-Z1R. Of course, Sony is also the world’s largest recording company after its purchase of EMI.
It is entirely possible to listen to a song recorded by Sony on a Sony device through Sony headphones. That’s kind of a neat distinction for Sony. In its yearly earnings breakdown in 2019 (looking at 2018’s numbers), Sony listed TVs and mobile as its declining assets while its imaging and audio remain its best. Sony’s not doing bad right now.
Samsung – Washers and dryers
First and foremost, Samsung sells more appliances than any other brand across the board, including stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. It’s an impressive feat when you have old giants like GE, Whirlpool, Maytag, etc in that same category. Their washers and refrigerators especially due to its higher average capacity versus competitors. Some of their freestanding stoves have some neat features as well.
Samsung also sells more 4k TVs than any other manufacturer by a long shot.
You can go a step further, though. JD Power ranks Samsung number one in front-load washers, top-load washers, and clothes dryers in terms of customer satisfaction (LG comes in second in all three categories). The funny thing is that Samsung doesn’t do anything too insanely unique with these products. They’re just solid and they function well.
Of course, most of our readers now the company for its Galaxy lineup of devices and rightfully so. People seem to really enjoy them. Plus, Samsung is also top dog in TVs but people can probably guess that. However, Samsung is quietly wiping the floor with the appliance market and is unmatched in the washers and dryers segment. Who knew?
Xiaomi – Fitness Bands
The Mi Band does better than you might think. Xiaomi controls roughly 13% of the wearable market, second only to Apple and its Apple Watch product. It usurped Fitbit long ago and had more sales in the segment than both Apple and Fitbit during parts of 2018. The numbers are a little weird because they include both fitness bands and smartwatches. However, the fact Xiaomi is in the conversation is very encouraging for the Chinese OEM.
Xiaomi is the master of the budget fitness band and its market share proves it.
The latest product in the lineup, the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, received favorable reviews from us. It won’t blow your mind, but it’s surprisingly cheap at under $40 in the US with more than enough features to justify its price. Chinese OEMs like to do the whole value thing right now and Xiaomi does it quite well with its fitness trackers.
Xiaomi is still a growing company. Its yearly revenue has climbed hand over fist for a few years now. The company’s phones are obviously the main attraction, but its fitness bands and other products do good as well. Things are looking up for Xiaomi.
Huawei – Laptops
Before the blacklist stuff, though, Huawei laptops were actually doing well. Laptop and PC sales are actively declining, but Huawei’s laptop sales were actually increasing during 2017 and 2018. Sales were bolstered by Huawei’s excellent MateBook series of laptops.
Huawei's laptops are actually really good.
The company borrows many of its design elements and spec philosophy from Apple, but the laptops are still pretty good. Huawei focuses on creators with high tech screens with 100% sRGB coverage, excellent contrast ratios, and higher than average resolutions with specs good enough to run editing software. You’ll never run high end games on the MateBooks, but you can do basically anything else.
Huawei is in for an interesting 2020. We’ll cover most of its smartphone woes, but those who enjoy Huawei’s non-smartphone products will also have to wait and see if they’ll ever get to use these products again.
Oppo – Audio gear
The company has a few products in the audio space and they cater specifically to audiophiles. The products include a range of headphone amp/DAC combos in both portable and desktop varieties. However, the stars of the show are the company’s planar headphones. The headphones had a relatively short run but garnered good reviews at the time.
Oppo isn’t actively selling any of these products right now, but we hope they do again eventually. The headphone lineup features planar magnetic technology, something different than the dynamic drivers you find in most headphones.
Lenovo – PCs
The company has a wide range of products, including the ThinkPad, ThinkBook, IdeaPad, and Yoga laptops along with its surprisingly successful Legion gaming laptop lineup. The laptops are fairly standard fair and have competitive specs and prices in each of its industries. The Legion series especially competes favorably in the gaming space.
Lenovo's laptop market share is higher than Asus and Apple combined.
HP competes with Lenovo with its own office and gaming PCs, including the widely popular HP Omen series while Dell finishes up the top three with its popular Alienware and XPS lineups. Dell has been in third place for a decade now, but HP and Lenovo routinely swap the top position as the most popular laptop manufacturer as each company has ebbs and flows in its sales.
It would be nice to see Lenovo and Moto make a big push in the mobile space and give some much needed competition to BBK, Huawei, and Samsung. However, for the time being at least, it seems like its laptop division is the crown jewel in Lenovo’s cap.
Of course, there are many other products by many other OEMs. However, in many cases, such as OnePlus’ burgeoning TV division, the OEM isn’t quite known for those things yet. We’re not stingy about it, though. Hit up the comment section if you want to talk about a product that an OEM does well outside of smartphones.