TAIPEI, Taiwan - Local smartphone makers might have to wait until the second quarter of 2015 at the earliest to see smartphone original design manufacturing (ODM) orders come in from Amazon and Facebook, said a research firm.
Compal Electronics, FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of the Hon Hai Group, and other Taiwan handset makers originally expected to continue receiving orders for Lumia series products from Microsoft Mobile, as well as new orders from Amazon and Facebook in 2014.
However, Taiwan-based Digitimes Research recently quoted sources from upstream companies to say that Taiwan makers were not able to land orders from Amazon and Facebook as expected, and may even see their orders for Lumia-branded Windows Phones decrease.
Digitimes Research attributed the likely outcome to the delayed launch of new smartphone products, adding that local smartphone makers will need to wait until the second quarter of 2015 or even the second half of 2015 to have a chance to see improvements.
According to local media reports, from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the first half of 2014, Compal Electronics and FIH Mobile had both been talking with Amazon about business cooperation and also received requests for quotes from the vendor.
After more than half a year of negotiations, and Amazon releasing its in-house designed Fire Phone, Amazon has not yet fully established its smartphone outsourcing plans, causing Compal and FIH Mobile to fail to land Amazon's smartphone ODM orders in 2014 as expected.
Regarding Microsoft Mobile, the forerunner of which is Nokia's smartphone department, Taiwan's smartphone makers originally expected the vendor to expand its ODM orders for the Lumia series Windows Phone in 2014.
Instead the vendor has been cutting Taiwan makers' ODM orders since the third quarter of 2014, in the meantime, Microsoft Mobile completely terminated smartphone and tablet projects as it has turned to focus on business reorganisation and cost reductions.
In the second half of 2013, Facebook started cooperating with Compal Communications, now a business unit of Compal Electronics, to outsource smartphone ODM orders.
After Compal's merger with Compal Communications in the first half of 2014, and having shipped several thousand entry-level Android smartphones to Facebook, Compal's cooperation with Facebook ended and the two firms have not had any other cooperation so far.
Sony A New Darling
Sony Mobile Communications expects to launch new water-resistant smartphones and is likely to make waterproof a standard for its mid-range models in 2015, Digitimes earlier cited industry sources to report.
Sony Mobile's ODM production partners in Taiwan, including FIH Mobile, Compal Electronics and Arima Communications have been developing waterproof models in line with the requirements from the vendor, according to the report.
Sony Mobile has recently launched the Xperia M2 Aqua. The device can stand being immersed in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes and supports long term evolution (LTE) technology.