Vivo launches new smartphone with 5G version, the Nex 3

Chinese maker announced its new premium device, the Nex 3. Vivo will offer a 5G of the handset, following the rest of the world's major smartphone makers.

Why it matters: Vivo is vying to remain competitive in global markets, as telecom operators around the world work  to deploy 5G services to consumers.

  • Still nascent, adoption of 5G devices are expected to remain limited until well into 2020, according to research firm Gartner.

“We're trying to provide more choices for consumers.” 

Details: The screen on the Vivo Nex 3 curves over the sides on the phone, giving the device the world's largest screen-to-body ratio at 99.6%, according to Vivo Nex Product Manager Li Xiang. This “Waterfall Full View” feature is unique in the market, and should remain without any competitors for the next six months, Xiang said in a Weibo post.

  • Both 4G and 5G versions of the Nex 3 use the Snapdragon processors made by US-based Qualcomm.
  • Gartner expects global 5G smartphone sales to represent 1% of total sales in 2019 at 15 million units.
  • At most, 1 million 5G handsets will to be sold in China in 2019, Bryan Ma, Vice President of client services at market intelligence provider International Data Corporation (IDC), told the South China Morning Post. Ma said this number will jump to 57 million units in 2020, or 15% of the Chinese smartphone market.
  • The new handset will be available in China, and Vivo is in talks to launch the device in Europe and the US, Engadget reported.

Context: Share of international sales for the Dongguan-based company are some of the smallest among Chinese smartphone makers, but is climbing. Vivo accounted for 7.4% of global smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2019 compared with 5.6% the same period a year earlier, according to data from IDC.

  • Gartner forecasts smartphone sales in China will increase in 2019 by around 3%, whereas single-digit rates of decline are expected in Japan, Western Europe, and North America.
  • Vivo posted an 8% year-on-year decrease of domestic smartphone shipments in the second quarter, whereas those for Huawei surged 27% during the same time period.
  • Huawei, ZTE, and Xiaomi are already selling 5G handsets in China, while Apple's newly released iPhone 11 does not include any 5G capabilities.
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