The other of the largest smartphone makers, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), is also expected to be near an introduction of its latest operating system — iOS 7 — and a new iPhone 5S, and possibly an iPhone 6. There is some question about the actual release dates for the products, but the introduction is touted for right around the time of the Samsung introduction.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) just released its Moto X phone to glowing reviews and has even given a strong hint that a sub-$200 version of the phone is coming. The Moto X followed the HTC One from HTC Corp. by about a month. Major announcements from BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) aren’t due until later this year, but presumably before the holiday shopping season rolls around.
The Galaxy Note III is expected to have a larger screen than the already-huge 5.3-inch screen on the Note II. Thus far the Note II is the only stylus-enabled smartphone, but there is talk that HTC will launch an HTC One Max with a 5.9-inch screen and other internal upgrades.
The IDC report on lagging tablet sales in the second quarter blamed the lack of a new product for the drop in tablet sales, and specifically noted that consumers are holding off purchases until they see what Apple’s next iPad will offer.
The large-screen phone/tablet hybrids (often referred to as “phablets”) like the Note and the One Max (if it is real) are getting close to the size of the small-screen (7-inch) tablets from Apple, Google, Samsung, and others. If a smartphone screen size of around 6 inches is deemed by customers to be “big enough” for a tablet, tablet sales could take another hit after the madness following the next iPad release. But then, will consumers think that the device is too big to be a phone?
Of the smartphone makers, BlackBerry is seeing the most trading action this morning, up 7.6% at $9.60 in a 52-week range of $6.22 to $18.32. Barron’s notes “chatter” on good sales of the company’s Q10 keyboard smartphone.