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BlackBerry to be throttled by own supply chain

If you can't sell 35m phones in six months, you and your handsets are landfill

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Mobile phone makers that can't sell 35 million phones every six months – three per cent of the global market – are doomed, according to Taiwanese analyst outfit Trendforce.

The firm has just popped out some predictions about the mobile market, one of which suggests “obtaining upstream components and materials at good prices can be difficult” for mobe-makers that don't hit the 35 million sales mark.

That's bad news because “The inability of these manufacturers to adjust or lower their products’ high retail price can be a detriment given the prevalent price-drop trend within the market.”

For the likes of BlackBerry, currently sitting at about one per cent of global market share, that means being trapped in high price hell in a market that Trendforce says has blanded out because the likes of Qualcomm and Mediatek have managed to “facilitate the surge in mid to low-end smartphones” leaving “the hardware … differences among competing smartphones … increasingly less noticeable.”

If the firm is right, it's describing a perfect storm in which struggling mobe-makers can't innovate their way out of trouble without big investments in research that result in pricey handsets. And those investments are less likely, it says, because declining margins mean outsourced manufacturing of mobile phones is about to take off.

The report also says pricey handsets are bad news, the analyst says in a prediction that the iPhone 5C's price tag is so high that it has lopped 11 million units from its forecast for sales during 2013's fourth quarter. Trendforce expexts the new model to account for only ten million or so sales, not many more than ye olde iPhone 5S in the same period.

The big mover on Trendforce's radar is the Galaxy Note S3, which it says clocked up 15 million sales in the first half of 2013.

The firm is bullish about Sony and LG's prospects, noting decent sales rises for both. HTC is a walking corpse, with sales expected to fall 40 per cent year over year. ®

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