Mobile phone market evolution: An animated view

I took the stacked cascade chart of profit/phone x phones sold into a multi-quarter animation subtitled “The evolution of Shipments, Revenue, Profitability and Cost structure of eight vendors selling mobile phones between second quarter 2007 and second quarter 2011.”

(I recommend selecting 1080p HD view and full screen to sufficiently resolve details.)


  • Gordon Shephard

    Great visualization! I think the final Pie Chart should reflect a 2011 date on it's second instance, not 2007.

    • George Bailey

      Yes, the final chart is mislabeled.

  • It's fun to see several years worth of data condensed into such a compact format, but calling this "animated" is a little misleading. It's about as animated as opening several tabs-worth of the charts, and flipping through them in quick succession.

    I'm sure many people would be thrilled to see properly-animated (30fps) presentations of the data, with as much care given to those as is typically given to the static charts here.

    • asymco

      So if it's not animated and it's not static then what is it?

      • I think the grandparent commentator would like to see a spline interpolated animation with the data points being the keyframes.

      • A static image is like a single point of temporal data.

        What you've offered here, which I'll call a "slideshow" for lack of a better term, is like a scatter plot of temporal data — composed of many individual points, but with no visualized connections between them.

        An animation is like a line chart, showing interpolations of many temporal points of data. This is what I would love to see. If the interpolation curves were well chosen (that is, not just linear) it would offer a wonderful sense of the momentum of changes as time progressed.

      • asymco

        Can you point me to a tool that would allow that to be done for a stacked cascading chart?

        I've used the motion charts from Google Docs (see vendor data here: but this cannot support stacked cascade chart type.

      • Here's an animated graphic I created (starts at the 3:08 mark):
        I could do a cascade chart like yours and have it look sexy like mine.
        Let me know if you wanna work together.
        Best, Rod

      • Waveney

        Yeah, nicely done tho' not sure about some of the content interpretation.

      • Nangka

        “Animating statics”?

        I’m one of those who have been eagerly waiting for this animation. Just watched in on iP4 and can really see all the info labels. Can’t wait to get to my Mac for the 1080 version.

        Thanks Horace for your work.

      • handleym

        I have no problem with animated in this context. But if it upsets many people, an alternative term might be "dynamic view" rather than "animated view".

        (This will upset purists. The correct term should be "kinetic view". Kinetic refers to motion, dynamic refers to the *causes of motion*. Hence kinetics is the mathematical description of motion and refers to vectors, derivatives, velocity, euler angles, etc; whereas dynamics brings in WHY the motion occurs, and refers to forces and torques. But in everyday English, people rarely use kinetics, and tend to use dynamic as a synonym for kinetic.)

      • KenC


    • George Bailey

      The king of animated data has got to be Hans Rosling. He's amazing. If Horace could do something close to this level it'd be very impressive.
      The same talk on youtube:

      • asymco

        You mean like this page on my site:

        or this:

        (both are available under the Products tab at the top of each page on this site).

        The problem is that the tools don't support stacked cascade charts such as the ones I'm trying in this post.

      • George Bailey

        Yes, like that 🙂
        My apologies!

      • Here is a Marimekko Chart that I made in Tableau Public:

        You can see that you can create the result that you are looking for in Tableau.

        The downside of Tableau Public is that it is a Windows only application. If you can supply the data, I would be happy to create the visualization in Table Public, enabling you to embed the view in your blog.

      • Keynote is the tool you are looking for. You can animate those stacked cascade charts and even upload the "presentation" to YouTube right from the app.

        Mr. Rod above in the comments is using Keynote for his Gold presentation.

        Keynote really is the best app Apple has ever made.

      • asymco

        One problem may be that the chart is "hand-made". Each rectangle is separately drawn by hand based on guide marks generated by Numbers. The chart is not a native format.

        There are 272 separately drawn rectangles in the animation and then there are the hand-placed captions and explanatory descriptions.

      • Waveney

        @thecreative is spot on. Keynote will do all the animation you need. Paths is a powerful tool – smooth as silk.

  • "Animation" might be a bit of a stretch. Good info though!

  • Leslie

    The chart changes with time. It may not have many frames but it is an animation. If you want to see it be more "dynamic", Horace just has to change the length to about one second.

  • Bill

    What's important is the data and that's great.

  • Well, whether the animation is good as animation, I found it a useful visualization. However, what's up with the audio? Lame. You need something with more umph. May I suggest Iggy Pop's Lust for Life.

    If you really wanted to do it right, you could commission someone to record it with these updated lyrics I did for you:

    Lust for Life (Smart Phone version)
    Here comes Steven Jobs again
    With the iPhone 5
    And one more thing
    He's gonna do another key note

    Hey man, where'd you get that app store?
    I've been hurting since I bought a Symbian
    They say it's a phone
    Yeah, they sell it as a phone
    Well, that's like hypnotising chickens

    Well, I'm just a modern guy
    Of course, I've had it in the ear before
    'Cause of a lust for life
    'Cause of a lust for life

    I'm worth three billion in app sales
    With my pinch to zoom
    Use a multitouch
    I wear white headphones
    All on two year contract

    I'm worth three billion in app sales
    Yeah, I'm through with tweaking my preferences
    No more beating my brains
    No more beating my brains
    With flashing my ROMS
    With flashing my ROMS

    Well, I'm just a modern guy
    Of course, I've had it in my ear before
    'Cause, of a lust for life (lust for life)
    'Cause of a lust for life (lust for life, oooo)
    I've got a lust for life (oooh)
    Got a lust for life (oooh)
    Oh, a lust for life (oooh)
    Oh, a lust for life (oooh)
    A lust for life (oooh)
    I got a lust for life (oooh)
    Got a lust for life!

  • gotwake

    Geez, tough crowd. Great job Horace!

    • Eric D.

      Everybody wants to be a director.

    • Waveney

      Mmm … maybe tough but we're rooting for Horace.

  • Gprovida

    I wonder what has been the accumulated sales of iPods. If averages 50M per year times 10 years that 500M devices and customers albeit probably 1/2 are repeat. One might imagine that this is a model of product transition from original non-iOS models to touch and might be an analog for SAMSUNG and Nokia from MS and Symbian.

  • Sure – the animation could be better. But no doubt there was zero budget for this? 🙂 It takes a bit of time to plug the numbers into a data visualization and then to output the movie. Would a smoother animation be more presentable? , more viral? – probably.

    Interesting stats none-the-less.

  • Mike11

    "…with probably two players dominating everything, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc."

    Well, as it turns out Dvorak might be kind of right in the long term, if you add Apple to the mix. Especially now since Microsoft practically "bought" Nokia (Windows Phone 7) and Google bought Motorola Mobility (Android). So the parent companies of Nokia and Motorola, plus Apple, will probably dominate everything.

  • dglow

    Nice work, but how about attribution for the music?
    Please, is polite.

    • asymco

      Yes, of course. My apologies.

      The audio is a sample of Electrorloge by Troublemakers (An electronic music band from Marseille. )

      I obtained it from the album Hotel Costes 3 by Stephane Pompougnac.

      You can listen to the entire song here: