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Embattled Chinese telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE have received a welcome reprieve following the news that two Spanish operators are planning on using them for forthcoming 5G pilots.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has unveiled its newest flagship smartphone – and the organization is confident the device can have a positive impact in the saturated smartphone industry. Xiaomi CEO conceded that the company had suffered a significant sales slump last year, and that it was going through somewhat of a ‘transitional period’.
However, that pessimism has been replaced with optimism with the launch of the ‘Mi 6’ smartphone. Management at Xiaomi believe the new device can serve as a catalyst that will see them make up for lost ground on rivals, after a disappointing 2016. The Chinese conglomerate launched the ‘Mi 6’ at an event in Beijing, having shelved plans to launch it at MWC in Barcelona, earlier this year.
Well what is so different about this product that has Xiaomi representatives believing it will provide a pathway back to challenge the titans of the smartphone sector? The first striking feature is the similarity to that of the iPhone 7, but the price isn’t one of them. The entry model — featuring 64 GB of storage — comes in at 2499 RMB, that’s around $360, with a 128 GB option (2899 RMB, $420) and ceramic edition (2999 RMB, $435) completing the range. All three are far cheaper than iPhone equivalents, but, interestingly for Xiaomi, the range is more expensive than the company’s usual flagship prices.
Another quite obvious iPhone comparison that stands out is that there is no headphone jack on Xiaomi’s new device, just as Apple elected to do with last year’s iPhone 7. The Chinese firm has seemingly followed that trend, or is doing what makes sense for itself in this instance, that is already ammo for Xiaomi skeptics.
With the Mi 6, Xiaomi has bumped up its RAM to 6GB, the most it has ever offered in a smartphone. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 835 10nm processor with a 64-bit, octa-core CPU with a whopping 3350 mAh battery that the company said will last a day thanks to “optimization” controls built into its MIUI operating system.
The device will go on sale from a number of selected stores in China in the next few days, expansion into international markets carefully selected by executives will commence at a later date, Xiaomi declined to provide a specific date it plans to initiate this launch. Xiaomi suffered a huge blow when the dynamic face of the organization, Hugo Barra decided to quit the company to lead Facebook’s VR department.
Xiaomi revealed it cleared $1 billion in revenue in India, its second largest market behind China, last year, while Lei Jun added that it ranks second in the country, but nothing has been said of its performance in the other 20-odd countries where its phones are sold.
Nokia said that it aims to accelerate savings after costs of absorbing former French-American rival Alcatel-Lucent pushed it into a second-quarter loss. The net loss of 665 million euros ($741 million) was mostly due to the 600-million euro restructuring charge as it integrates Alcatel-Lucent, which it acquired in 2015.
Under the move, Nokia aimed to expand from telecoms networks to internet networks and "cloud" services after abandoning the mobile handset market. Chief executive Rajeev Suri said in a statement that Nokia is "now targeting 1.2 billion euros in total cost savings to be achieved in full year 2018,” up from the previous target of more than 900 million euros.
Nokia said net sales fell by 11 percent from the same period last year on a comparable basis, to 5.6 billion euros. The operating margin fell to 6.0 percent from 7.0 percent, with Nokia putting the blame on needing to increase risk provisions over a Latin American client undergoing court-supervised restructuring. It did not name the client, which is believed to be Brazilian operator Oi.
The Q2 results "were largely as expected and reflect solid execution in the midst of a challenging market and the ongoing integration of Alcatel-Lucent," said Suri. "We expect to see slight sequential improvement in both net sales and operating margin in our networks business from the second quarter to the third, followed by significant improvement from the third to the fourth quarter," he added in a conference call with reporters.
He said the company was "well-positioned" pointing to Nokia products which can work in various configurations, as operators move from 4G, or fourth-generation mobile network technology, to 5G that will offer ultra-fast data transmission times that the industry hopes will enable autonomous vehicles, smart cities, remote medicine and other innovations.
Markets, however, were disappointed by the results. Nokia shares plummeted at the opening of the Helsinki stock market, and after an hour of trading it was still down -4.6 percent at 4.73 euros.
Analyst Mikael Rautanen of equity research firm Inderes called the quarter a "disappointment". "It has emerged as a bit of a surprise how difficult this market is and therefore the result is clearly below expectations," Rautanen said in his video comment.
Nokia was the world's top mobile phone maker between 1998 and 2011, but was overtaken by South Korean rival Samsung after failing to respond to the rapid rise of smartphones. After selling its handset business to Microsoft in 2014, it launched in 2015 the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, a company that had only recorded one year of annual profit since its inception in 2006.