Displaying items by tag: Devices

Samsung takes the fight to Apple by opening new US stores

Written on Monday, 18 February 2019 12:53

South Korean conglomerate Samsung has unveiled its ambitious strategy to enhance its market share in the US by launching three new retails stores nationwide.

Samsung officially announced that it will open the new retail facilities as it gears up to launch an updated version of its flagship Galaxy handsets in the United States.

Some consumer experts are also claiming that the marketing strategy adopted by Samsung indicates clearly that the Seoul-based behemoth is directly challenging Apple in its domestic market.

Samsung said in a detailed statement that it made the move based on feedback from its customers.

The statement said, "They told us that they love having the ability to walk into a store and experience how the latest technology from Samsung works together to create a unique, immersive experience. Galaxy fans, in particular, mentioned that they were looking for a space to call their own, a place where they can get a feel for Samsung products first-hand."

It was further disclosed that the new stores will be located at the Americana at Brand mall in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston, Texas.

In addition to this, Samsung is holding a product launch in San Francisco amidst speculation it may launch a folding smartphone, which would make it the first of the major handset makers in the segment.

President of Samsung Electronics America, YH Eom, expressed his delight at the announcements and said the decision would solidify Samsung’s position as the world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer.

He said, “Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before. We want to build a 'playground' for Samsung fans -- a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer."

Samsung remained the number one global handset maker with a 20.8 percent share in 2018 despite an eight percent sales slump for the year, according to research firm IDC -- which also said last year showed the worst overall decline in sales for the smartphone sector.

Published in Devices

US technology behemoth Google is at the centre of an investigation by Indian competition officials after it was alleged that Google may have engaged in anti-competitive practices.

Google stands accused of abusing the market dominance of its Android platform. The European Union conducted a 3-year investigation that only concluded last year.

The European Commission determined that the deemed requirements for Android device makers to use Google apps were illegal. The US tech leader was subsequently fined €4.3bn.

Reports emerging from India claim that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) began probing potential abuse of Android’s position six months ago, following a complaint filed by a group of individuals.

In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that Google executives met with Indian officials to discuss the matter in greater detail. The CCI must now make their deliberations before deciding whether the case merits a further investigation, or if it should be dismissed.

A source told Reuters, “It is on the lines of the EU case, but at a preliminary stage. The EC’s action would make it difficult for the CCI to reject further investigation without demonstrating the problem has been addressed.”

Following the decision handed down by the EC, Google announced its intentions to stop bundling preinstalled apps with its Android platform and instead charge manufacturers a fee to licence its apps, as part of a bid to avoid additional fines.

Google has been in trouble in India before.

In February 2018, the CCI imposed an INR1.36 billion ($19.3 million) fine on the company for abusing its dominance in online web search and search advertising markets.

Google appealed against the fine, stating it could cause irreparable harm and reputational loss.

Published in Apps

US tech giant announces recruitment cutback

Written on Tuesday, 22 January 2019 06:26

US technology giant Apple has announced that it will impose a recruitment cutback - which has been primarily forced due to weak sales on the company’s iPhone devices in the lucrative Chinese market.

Bloomberg has reported that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, announced the recruitment cutbacks just a day after he sent a letter to Apple investors that warned the company was bracing itself for a year-on-year decline in revenue for its fiscal Q1, which would shave $5bn from its guidance. 

In a series of meetings that were held following the disclosure, it was reported that Cook informed some staff that a number of divisions would reduce hiring, but stated that he didn’t think a complete freeze in recruitment would be an appropriate solution to take.

In addition to this, it has been further disclosed that the CEO is also yet to determine which divisions will face hiring cutbacks. However, it is believed that divisions such as Apple’s AI team will not be affected due to the leverage of investment made by the US tech company into the emerging technology.

The move will also not affect plans to open a state-of-the-art new office in Austin, Texas or its expansion plans in Los Angeles, where the company is fleshing out its original video content ambitions.

Bloomberg also pointed out that Apple has hired new staff at a significant rate over the past decade. The company recruited 9,000 workers in its most recent fiscal year, taking the total up to 132,000, while adding 7,000 a year earlier.

Published in Devices

Q2 growth for tablets and business smartphones was up slightly this year, as the market shows signs of a rebound, according to research by Strategy Analytics. Business smartphone shipments grew 14.8 percent year-on-year to reach 107.1 million units in Q2, up 6.1 percent sequentially from Q1. Tablets reached 17.3 million units in Q2, up 7.5 percent from Q1.  

While Q2 2017 showed signs of an increase on a slower first quarter, suggesting signs of an improvement for the remainder of the year, the outlook still remains volatile, according to Strategy Analytics, with longer replacement cycles and GDPR (general data protection regulation) likely to impact the market over the short to medium term.

“Overall, the business smartphone industry expanded steadily in the second quarter, Samsung saw positive shipment growth while Apple's shipments slipped by 11 percent,” said analyst Gina Luk. “Android and iOS are the two dominant operating systems in the market, as Windows 10 smartphone shipments continued to be squeezed out by the industry with close to zero market share.”

Through the first half of the year, the pace of business mobile devices shipments appears to be on trend with what the industry is accustomed to seeing with the current expansion – shipments registering disappointing first quarter growth performance to be followed with a stronger pace of growth in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.

“The worldwide business tablet market remains volatile; it rebounded slightly to reach 17.3 million units in the second quarter, a 7.5 percent increase from Q1 2017, but year on year growth was flat at 0.7 percent on Q2 2016. The picture is still quite mixed,” said Andrew Brown, Executive Director of Enterprise Research at Strategy Analytics.

“North American business tablet volumes were up 5.4 percent sequentially in Q2 2017, however shipments declined 4.2 percent year-on-year,” he added. “The story was similar in Central & Latin America, which grew 2.2 percent quarterly, but shrank by 6.1 percent from Q2 2016, although other regions are registering positive quarter-over-quarter growth.”

Published in Devices

Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei Technologies has altered its strategic approach in Kenya in a bid to boost sales of its handsets. It has restructured the price of some of its devices and is now showcasing smartphones that are retailing at between $100-200. It is hoping that a sharp increase in sales will boost its market share in Kenya.

Huawei is currently positioned as number three in relation to market share in the African nation which has been described as a fast-growing local smart devices market. Huawei is trailing South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics and Tecno which is owned by Hong Kong’s Transition Holdings.

Huawei’s manager in Kenya, Derek Du said it entered the smartphone market by introducing three smart phones, but it didn’t focus on products retailing for under $200 and that costed the company long-term. In an effort to increase its market share in that segment from 4% to 15% it will overall its entire strategic approach.

Kenya’s telecommunications incumbent Safaricom enjoys a 72% market share (around 28m users) and they reported that there is now 13 million smartphones on its network, which is a significant jump from 10 million last year.

Kenya consumers have finally parted with their well-worn standard phones in favor of relatively cheap devices that offer them faster internet speed and access to applications such as WhatsApp, online banking and taxi-hailing services. According to Du, Huawei has switched its strategic focus after it became evidently clear that the average Kenyan consumer is price sensitive.

Du added: “The new focus on the lower end of the market has come about because the Kenyan consumer is price-sensitive. The $100-200 is the key part we can play. If we can bring it up, it means we will also bring up the whole market share.”

He believes that change will enable Huawei to boost its overall market share to around 25-30%, from the current 14% it has been rooted on for the last two years. Research has revealed that the average Kenyan worker earns an annual wage of $1,200, which subsequently means that most people can’t afford expensive smartphones.

Huawei’s previous approach centered on their mid-range smartphones were it enjoys a 30% market share. Huawei has enjoyed a successful twelve months globally, and the Chinese conglomerate, based in Shenzhen, is now seen as a real threat to the smartphone monopoly which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

Huawei’s African boss said that the Kenyan economy was enjoying a resurgent comeback after a difficult number of years, and is in a stable position. This makes it an attractable market for investors, and du has reiterated its commitment to growing its business in Kenya.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecommunications colossus ZTE has attributed its first-half net profit success to its investment in 4G infrastructure and handsets. The world’s fourth-largest vendor of smartphones has hit its projected first-half net profit target forecast of 30%.

Analysts said that domestic telephone network providers continued to invest in 4G infrastructure provided by ZTE, and the firm also enjoyed a significant growth in the sales of its mobile devices. ZTE’s profit was $344M, whilst revenue rose by 13% which incidentally was also ZTE’s projected target.

In a statement released to the press, ZTE acknowledged that the organization has been presented with many new opportunities and expressed its vision to deploy 5G products and services. 5G standardization is expected to be established in 2018.

The statement read, “Looking to the second half of 2017, the company faces new opportunities," ZTE said in a statement in Chinese. "4G users and traffic will enter a peak period and pre-5G products will have more application, while 5G's standardization, technology and testing will experience a breakthrough."

ZTE reported more growth in relation to its telecom equipment sector, disclosing that revenue in that business grew by 13%. Its telecoms sector focus primarily on constructing infrastructure such as communications towers and accounts for 60% of overall revenue. ZTE’s remarkable financial results were cemented with the fact that its consumer business had also increased by a whopping 24%.

In March of this year, ZTE was left reeling after it was found guilty by the US Commerce Department for breaching US trade rules. It was fined almost $900M for breaking exports regulations. It’s the only smartphone vendor with a real presence in the US, and it has recovered well since that setback earlier this year, remaining the fourth-biggest vendor in the US after Apple, Samsung and LG.

ZTE executives have insisted they will continue to aggressively invest in wireless and 5G technology, whilst also revealing it aims to invest more in international marketing in the second-half of 2017. Revenue from ZTE’s smallest business area which is government and enterprise services has declined by 18%.

In addition to this, ZTE confirmed that it has agreed to sell 10.1% of its smartphone subsidiary Nubia for 727 million Yuan. That will reduce its equity in the company to 49.9%.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecommunications conglomerate ZTE has increased its market share in the US smartphone industry. Analysts have suggested that its success is down to a combination of aggressive marketing and its manufacturing of cheap and affordable devices.

Research from Counterpoint Technology has indicated that the Chinese firm has enjoyed a rise of 36% in the shipment of its smartphones to the US. ZTE sold 4.8 million units in the second quarter of this year. However, the launch of another big-screen, budget-friendly smartphone in the US is estimated to bring more success for the Chinese vendor.

ZTE is already the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the US, and is increasing the pressure on its rivals which include LG, Samsung and Apple. ZTE has formally announced that it will launch the Blade Z Max after it agreed to enter a partnership with Metro-PCS. It has been disclosed that the new device will retail at $129, which is the same price point as the ZTE Max XL.

ZTE strategy is quite clear, and it is also evident that it is proving to be a very successful one. CEO of ZTE’s mobile devices, Lixin Cheng said the firm’s latest device focuses on high-end specifications at an affordable price in order to make it available for the masses.

ZTE’s new device does boast a number of premium features, which include a six-inch full HD IPS LCD display with a scratch resistant screen. When compared with its much more expensive counterparts such as the iPhone 7 and the OnePlus 5, it has many of the same features and capabilities as those devices. The Blaze Z Max has dual rear cameras at 16 megapixels.

It has been announced that Metro-PCS will begin taking pre-orders for the Blade Z Max online, whilst it will also be available in some selected Metro-PCS stores from August 28th. In addition to being the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the US, ZTE has also established itself as the second-largest vendor in the no-contract market sector.

The encouraging latest figures released show that ZTE’s US strategy is having the desired effect, and with this latest device launch, which is expected to be a massive success, the future looks bright for the Chinese conglomerate as its aims to accelerate its growth in the US market in 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

US chipmaker Qualcomm has reignited its ongoing dispute with Apple following its decision to call on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the sale of certain iPhones. Qualcomm is calling for the prohibition of sales on the devices because it alleges that Apple has infringed up to six of its patents.

Qualcomm issued a direct and blunt statement in which it claims Apple had ‘engaged in the unlawful importation and sales’ of some iPhones – and confirmed that it is currently in the process of filing an official complaint with the ITC. Qualcomm which unveiled its Snapdragon 835 processor at CES 2017 in January, has argued that the patents in question involve ‘key technologies’ that enable important features and functions in iPhones, which includes the capacity to prolong battery life and overall efficiency of the devices.

Qualcomm has urged ITC to begin an investigation into Apple’s conduct, infringing imports and that they issue a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) to bar importation of the devices into the US. It stressed that the ITC must stop Apple’s unlawful and unfair use of Qualcomm’s technology. This row is the latest in a long-running feud between the two technology titans, and Qualcomm added that it’s also seeking an LEO against iPhones that used cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.

Analysts have suggested Qualcomm are talking about Intel indirectly, although they never name Intel in its official statement. But it is widely known that Intel began supplying chips to some iPhone 7 devices in September 2016.

Through a Cease and Desist order, Qualcomm is also attempting to block the sale of devices already in the US it believes infringe on its patents. Apple’s iPhones are assembled in Asia. Don Rosenberg, EVP and general counsel at Qualcomm said: “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies.”

The row began in January when Apple sued Qualcomm alleging them of being guilty of overcharging them for chips, and refused to pay $1 billion in rebates. Qualcomm hit back in a counterclaim against Apple for breaching agreements and a number of other allegations.

Qualcomm then subsequently initiated legal proceedings against four Apple iPhone manufacturers for failing to pay royalties and breaching licensing agreements, before Apple launched a legal attack on Qualcomm’s business at the start of this month. Despite Qualcomm’s latest onslaught, the short-term impact on Apple is expected to be limited. Qualcomm has indicated that it expects the ITC to begin an investigation in August, but the case will not be tried until next year.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba has taken its first venture into developing artificial intelligence home devices by launching its voice assistant speaker, which has drawn comparisons to Amazon’s ‘Echo’.

Alibaba’s voice assistant which will be a low-cost device has been named ‘The T-mall Genie’ after its e-commerce platform T-mall. It will retail at $73.42 which is significantly less than that of its US competitors Amazon and Google’s Alphabet which range between $120-$180 dollars. 

The ‘smart home’ voice assistants are activated by voice commands to perform daily tasks such as searching for weather reports, changing music, using AI to control other ‘smart home’ devices. China’s top technology firms have all expressed their ambitions to become global leaders in relation to AI – which has been evidenced by companies like Amazon and Alibaba increasingly competing in the same markets.

China’s search engine colossus Baidu, has also invested heavily in emerging technologies, and recently announced its investment with the Chinese government for an artificial intelligence lab, whilst it recently launched its own device which was based on its own Siri-like ‘Duer OS system’.

Alibaba’s ‘T-mall Genie has been specifically programmed to use Mandarin as its language and will only be available in China. It is activated when a user recognized by the system utters the words ‘T-mall Genie’ in Chinese. In a demonstration which was streamed live, engineers ordered the device to perform a series of tasks such as order some Coco-Cola, play music, add credit to a phone and activate a smart humidifier and TV.

In addition to its foray into AI devices, Alibaba has continued to invest heavily in offline stores and big data capabilities in an effort to capitalize on the entire supply chain as part of its retail strategy. Analysts have claimed it has striking similarities to strategies already adopted by Amazon.

Published in Internet of Things

Nokia announced the availability of the largest, most comprehensive line of connected consumer health products in the market. Completing the transition of products from the Withings brand, Nokia trackers, scales, vital health devices and home products will now be available in store and online through top retailers.

"Nokia's global expansion into digital health builds on Nokia's unmatched track record of quality, reliability and trust, which are characteristics that are all critical to success in the health industry," said Brad Rodrigues, interim president at Nokia Technologies. "The products are beautiful, easy to use and fit seamlessly into people's daily lives, enabling individuals to easily monitor and improve their health."

The Nokia digital health product line offers convenience, choice and accessibility for every lifestyle. From those desiring a healthy change without a drastic behavior overhaul, to those looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Nokia meets the widest range of consumer health needs. New products announced today include Nokia Body, a BMI Wi-Fi connected scale, and Nokia BPM+, a compact blood pressure monitor with a flexible cuff. The redesigned Nokia Health Mate app functions as the heart of the ecosystem by giving users a 360-degree view of their well-being.

"Nokia's line of digital health products delivers actionable insights, giving users the equivalent of a daily check-up," said Cedric Hutchings, vice president of Digital Health at Nokia. "Today's launch extends the accessibility of our products to a broader range of users and needs, giving families the personalized experience they need to live healthier lives together."

Nokia is focused on transforming the dynamic between patients, doctors and the medical community with tools focused on the prevention of chronic conditions. Through its partnerships with some of the world's most renowned institutions in medical research and clinical trials - including Scripps, the University of Pennsylvania, the Mayo Clinic, the American Medical Group Association, Stanford MedX, Ochsner Health System and the University of Helsinki - Nokia is committed to collaborating with leaders in the medical community to positively impact societal health worldwide.

"To face the global health crisis of chronic diseases related to lifestyle and behavior, we need powerful and engaging tools and solutions," said Nokia Chief Medical Officer, Matthew Diamond, MD, PhD. "Nokia is committed to shifting the focus from treatment to prevention, empowering consumers to take control of their health."

Nokia Health Mate sits at the center of the digital health experience, collecting data from each device to provide insights and trends on weight, activity, sleep and blood pressure. Also included are new wellness programs to help users reach health goals based on their specific health and well-being needs. These programs, endorsed by medical professionals, take users on a multi-week journey with tailored content and recommendations that adapt to each user's progress over time.

Published in Internet of Things
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