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Some Apple Watches To Arrive Ahead Of Schedule

April 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Some Apple Watch buyers who were told that they would have to wait until June to receive their new gadgets will get them sooner, according to a statement made by Apple.

When online pre-orders for Apple’s first smartwatch started on April 10, many customers were surprised to see delivery times as far out as June instead of on April 24, when the devices officially go on sale.

On Wednesday, Apple notified some buyers that they would not have to wait so long after all.

“Our team is working to fill orders as quickly as possible based on the available supply and the order in which they were received,” Apple said in a statement.

An Apple spokesman declined to say how soon the company would ship the watches or how many customers would be affected.

The Cupertino, California company previously predicted that demand would exceed supply at product launch. It has not said how many watches its customers have pre-ordered.

In a note to clients on Wednesday, FDR analyst Daniel Ives estimated Apple would take over 2 million pre-orders for the watch and ship 20 million of them in 2015.

“The longer-term consumer adoption curve for the Apple Watch remains a major ‘hot button’ question among tech investors as broad customer feedback is yet to be seen,” Ives wrote.

 

ARM Appears To Be On The Rise

April 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chip designer ARM reported a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit amid strong demand for its technology.

The British company said that expects 2015 revenue to meet the expectations of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

ARM recorded net profit of $126.7 million for the three months to March 31 and revenue rose 22 percent.

Shares in ARM, which makes money by licensing its designs to chip makers, then collecting royalty revenue when the chips ship, were up by more than 5 per cent on the back of the news.

Processor-royalty revenue in dollar terms, a much-watched figure, rose 31 per cent on the year, the company said, adding that it has signed 30 processor licenses for a broad range of applications.

ARM CEO Simon Segars said: As the world becomes more digital and more connected, we continue to see an increase in the demand for ARM’s smart and energy-efficient technology, which is driving both our licensing and royalty revenues.@

Processor-licensing revenue was down 2 per cent in the quarter, which was in line with expectations following strong growth previously. Chief Financial Officer Tim Score told journalists he expects it to grow in future quarters.

Aside from smartphones and tablets, ARM said it is also seeing demand for its processors to be used for servers and networking and for the “Internet of Things”, a term used for the growing tendency for more items to be wirelessly connected.

ARM expects to benefit from the growth of the Internet of Things in areas such as health and in cars, Score said.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Samsung Projecting 70M Galaxy S6, Edge Phones To Be Sold

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung has recently described the first week of Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge sales as “impressive” and predicted overall sales for both devices will break a record, passing 70 million globally for both.

That projection, offered by an unnamed Samsung executive in a recent Korea Times report from Seoul, would be welcome, indeed, after the company’s problems selling the Galaxy S5.

A Samsung spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the sales estimate. Both phones went on sale April 10 in the U.S. and other major markets.

The 70 million in sales for both phones would compare to reported sales of 70 million for each of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4 phones. The Galaxy S5′s sales fell 40% below expectations, as measured last November, leading to an executive shakeup.

Samsung has been using the Edge device as a kind of promotion for both phones, which are reportedly sold to carriers in a ratio deal: When a carrier buys 10 Galaxy S6 phones to resell, the carrier gets the right to buy five Edge phones to resell.

The Edge is the first smartphone with two curved front display edges on either side, something Samsung expected would be a crowd pleaser. Some reports have said there were a record high 20 million pre-orders for both new phones and that some retailers sold out within a day of availability.

Samsung is apparently seeing good early sales despite user complaints of a problem with the auto-rotate feature on some Edge devices. Some images and apps remain stuck in the portrait mode (vertical) and won’t rotate as they should to landscape mode (horizontal), according to dozens of users in forums.

Samsung and U.S. carriers have offered no public explanation for the problem or its fix, nor have they said how many units are affected. Some customers have returned an Edge device only to have a second one fail. Sprint referred all queries on the matter to Samsung, while Verizon and AT&T have not commented.

 

Samsung To Make Qualcomm’s New Snapdragon Chip

April 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

U.S. chip maker Qualcomm Inc plans to have its next-generation Snapdragon 820 mobile processors to be made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, tech news website Re/code reported, citing unnamed sources.

The move comes after Samsung opted to use its own Exynos processors for the recently launched flagship Galaxy S6 devices instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, prompting the U.S. firm to cut is financial outlook for the year.

Samsung and Qualcomm declined to comment on Re/code’s report. The report, dated April 20, did not say whether Qualcomm was looking at other manufacturers for the 820 processor besides Samsung.

The report suggests gathering momentum for Samsung’s system chips business, which investors and analysts expect will swing to profit this year. That could be negative for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which analysts say has gotten the bulk of Qualcomm’s orders for high-end chips.

Samsung’s 14-nanometer manufacturing technology gives the firm an edge over rivals such as TSMC, as smaller chips are more energy-efficient and deliver better performance. Investors and analysts say the superior technology will lead to more outside orders for Samsung’s contract manufacturing business and further boost earnings.

Media reports say Samsung will make processors for Apple Inc’s new iPhones expected to launch later this year, and the firm also recently added Nvidia Corp as a contract manufacturing client.

 

 

Mozilla’s Firefox Coming To iPhone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla will offer Firefox for Apple’s iPhone “soon,” according to a company announcement of an open marketing position.

As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”

Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”

Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.

The phrase “Firefox-like experience” was crucial: Apple allows only those browsers into the App Store that are built atop its own rendering and JavaScript engines, WebKit and Nitro, which power Safari. Mozilla relies on its own technologies for both. Firefox on iOS, then, will be a user interface (UI) layer atop WebKit and Nitro.

Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.

The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.

Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.

 

 

 

Sony Unveils New Xperia Smartphone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sony Corp on Monday announced a new high-end Xperia smartphone featuring an aluminium frame and a 5.2-inch screen, showing it is still in the phone race even as it scales down its struggling mobile operations.

The launch of the new flagship model comes amid a painful restructuring at the Japanese consumer electronics giant which has thrown the future of its smartphone division into doubt, with top executives saying an exit cannot be ruled out.

But as the company focuses on cutting costs rather than growing its mobile market, the division still needs investment in new products and marketing to maintain Sony’s brand and hold off a more rapid deterioration.

Sony said the Xperia Z4 would be available in Japan around the middle of the year, though it did not provide a launch date, details on carrier partners or price. The handset would be available in four colours and was slightly thinner than the previous Z3.

Hiroki Totoki, who was appointed last year to turn around the mobile unit, said Sony was targeting the upper end of the market where rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc dominate.

“There’s a broad variety in the prices of smartphones, from around $100 to $1,400 at the upper end,” he told a news conference. “We want to focus in the upper half of that.”

Sony’s mobile division has fallen far behind high-end rivals such as Samsung and Apple, while at the low end it is battling pricing pressure from Asian manufacturers such as China’s Xiaomi Inc.

The company whose Walkman and Trinitron TV once played a critical role in the global entertainment industry has struggled in recent years to come up with trend-setting gadgets.

Sony announced in February that it would scale down its weaker operations such as TVs and mobile phones to focus instead on more successful products such as video games and camera sensors.

 

Apple Pay Headed To Canada

April 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc is gearing up to launch its electronic payments service in Canada in November, the first international expansion of Apple Pay, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The iPhone maker is in talks with Canada’s six biggest banks, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank , Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada, the people told the Journal.

The banks are open to an agreement, but are not happy with Apple’s fee proposals and are worried about security vulnerabilities like the ones that U.S. banks experienced, the Journal said, citing the people.

It was still unclear if all six Canadian banks would launch Apple Pay at the same time, the Journal said.

Apple launched the service, a mobile payment app that allows consumers to buy things by holding their iPhone6 and 6 Plus devices up to a reader, in the United States in October.

 

Microsoft Unveils Office Touch Apps For Windows Phones

April 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp has finally rolled out a long-awaited suite of touch-friendly Office apps that allow Windows phone users to work on Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on their phones with touch commands and to transfer them easily between devices.

Test versions of what Microsoft is calling its Office Universal apps are available to download immediately and full versions will be available by the end of the month, Microsoft said.

Many Office users have waited months for Microsoft to introduce the apps, which adapt their look and commands to the device being used, whether Windows Phone or tablet.

Microsoft, in a departure from tradition, has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s  iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.

The company’s reasoning was that those popular devices, which have dominated mobile computing, represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.

Basic functions are free for everyone, but for advanced editing features, users must pay for a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.

Microsoft is set to release a new version of Office for desktop PCs, and a new version of Windows, later this year.

 

 

IKEA Launches Wireless Charging Furniture Collection

April 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

IKEA has rolled out its Wireless Charging collection of furniture, which has built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers for compatible mobile phones.

In addition to offering bedside tables, floor- and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads, IKEA is also selling a DIY kit that lets users embed wireless chargers into furniture of their choice.

The furniture, and other items in IKEA’s wireless charging collection, ranges in price from $9.99 to $119.

The Wireless Charging collection will be rolled out globally, with U.S. stores seeing availability beginning in late spring, IKEA said today in a statement.

“With smartphones becoming such a natural part of our lives, we wanted the charging part to become a natural part of our homes,” Holly Harraway, IKEA’s lighting sales leader, said.

The furniture uses the most popular wireless charging specification, Qi, which is supported by brands such as Samsung and Energizer and has gotten an extension to its specification allowing it to charge devices at short distances

Users can check whether their mobile phone is compatible with the Qi standard at the Wireless Power Consortium’s this website.

The WPC with its Qi specification is up against two other industry organizations with their own wireless charging protocols: the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP.

The Qi spec transfers 5 watts of power for enabled mobile devices, such as the Galaxy S4 and S3, Nokia Lumia 1020, LG G2, Motorola Droid Maxx and Mini and the Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet.

If a smartphone does not have native wireless charging capability, such as an iPhone, users can purchase a VITAHULT charging cover (for Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy only), or other Qi-enabled covers for use with the IKEA wireless charging furniture.

 

 

 

 

 

Huawei Unveils P8 And P8 Max Smartphones

April 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

China’s Huawei unveiled its flagship P8 and P8 Max mobile phones, devices that stack up against the latest models from Samsung and Apple in technical specifications if not marketing budget.

The P8, which runs Google’s Android operating system, has a 5.2 inch display screen — slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S6, unveiled last month, and the iPhone 6 — and an eight-core 64-bit processor.

Made from a single piece of metal, the phone is thinner than its rivals, with a width of 6.4 millimeters, Huawei said at a packed global launch event in London.

Like Apple, the Chinese company also launched a super-size version, the P8 Max, which comes with a 6.8 inch screen.

Huawei, a major player in the telecoms network equipment market, ranked fourth in global smartphone sales last year, shipping 68 million units, giving it a 5.5 percent share, according to research group Gartner.

The market is dominated by Samsung and Apple, which Gartner said had combined sales of nearly 500 million units.

Industry analyst Ben Wood said the P8 ticked all the boxes on design and performance, but it had a mountain to climb to position Huawei as a premium brand.

Seeking to differentiate itself from rivals, Huawei showed it could innovate, with features such as “knuckle sense”, which can differentiate between a knuckle and a finger to select and share content.

It also optimized the devices’ cameras to take “selfies”, including an ability to adjust skin tones, a move consumer device marketing president Shao Yang said would particularly increase its appeal to fashion-conscious young women.

“Huawei didn’t do very well in the past in the female market; this is the big potential market for the P-Series,” he said in an interview after the launch.

Huawei, and fellow Chinese companies Lenovo and Xiaomi, are leading the challenge to the two big players, particularly in their home market.

 

 

Jawbone, Amex Team Up On NFC Enabled Fitness Band

April 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Fitness-band maker Jawbone and charge card company American Express plan to give cardholders the ability to purchase goods using a future fitness band equipped with NFC, according to a report.

Neither company would confirm the new product, said to be announced this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report said AmEx payments won’t be possible with the coming Jawbone UP3, but will appear on a future product.

Apple Watch, which last Friday went on pre-order, will also support NFC payments. Apple recently said it has more than 700,000 U.S. stores supporting its technology. In addition to American Express, Apple Watch supports MasterCard and Visa.

The use of NFC in wrist-wearable devices for use with in-store payments is expected to grow. In January, a Fitbit representative at the International CES trade show said the company plans to remain open to including mobile payment capabilities in its fitness bands.

However, adding NFC could drive up costs for wearable devices while creating a sense of application bloat. One smartwatch maker, Guess Watch, a subsidiary of Timex, has not included NFC in its Guess Connect smartwatch, which is coming in the fall for about $350. “We don’t think [payment capability] is what a fashion-focused consumer wants,” said Rob Pomponio, senior vice president for creative services at Guess Watches in an interview at CES in January.

What will matter to consumers about mobile payments on a smartwatch or fitness band will be whether the device can be widely used in stores. While Apple Watch can presumably work in payment terminals at 700,000 stores, that is just a fraction of the 12 million payment terminals in the U.S.

 

 

Altera Shareholders Not Too Happy With Intel’s Merger Offer

April 16, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Several key Altera shareholders have forced the company back to the negotiating table to discuss the merger with Intel.

Talks with Intel broke down over the price, which Alteria management felt was too low. Cadian
Capital Management and TIG Advisors, have told Alteria to stop mucking about and talk turkey with Chipzilla.

In letters to Altera’s management, shareholders have raised concerns about the company’s ability to create value on its own that matches Intel’s offer, Bloomberg reported.

The company has agreed to resume takeover talks with Intel.

Some other large investors also have also sent letters, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Intel’s offered $50 per share range while Altera’s shares are currently worth $43.86 and valued at $13.2 billion. The stock has surged nearly 27 percent since merger talks was first reported by the Wall Street Journal in March.

Cadian was Altera’s 10th-largest shareholder, with a 2.77 percent stake. TIG owns about 1.5 percent of Altera’s outstanding shares, one of the people told Bloomberg.  It looks like what will  be Intel’s biggest buy out is back on again.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Has A Team Devoted To Making Screens For Apple Devices

April 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co has put together a standalone team of about 200 employees to work exclusively on making screens for rival smartphone maker Apple Inc’s products, Bloomberg reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The team at Samsung Display Co, which provides screens for iPads and MacBooks, helps develop products and is only allowed to share information about Apple’s business within the group, Bloomberg said.

The team, formed on April 1, also helps with sales and Apple is now the biggest external customer for Samsung components, Bloomberg said.

Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock and a Samsung Display spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Samsung and Apple last year agreed to drop all patent litigation outside the United States, scaling down a protracted legal battle between the smartphone rivals.

The legal battle between the smartphone rivals began in the United States in 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of copying its iPhone designs. Samsung countered that Apple was using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission.

 

 

Apple Seeking Exclusive Streaming Deals With Musicians

April 13, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple Inc has reached out to more than a dozen musicians, including British band Florence and the Machine, hoping to sign exclusive deals for some of their music to be streamed on Beats, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company is in talks with Florence and the Machine to give Apple limited streaming rights to a track from their album set to be released in June, Bloomberg said.

Apple has also approached Taylor Swift and others about partnerships, the report said.

Apple declined to comment.

Beats Music will be re-launched in coming months. There will be a $9.99-a-month subscription for individuals and a family plan for $14.99, according to sources, Bloomberg said.

Music streaming service Tidal, launched last month by rapper Jay Z, is also trying to convince artists to sign exclusive deals for their content, to fend off competition from services such as Spotify and Google Inc’s YouTube.

Apple bought audio equipment and music streaming company Beats for about $3 billion in May 2014, hoping to catch up in fast-growing music streaming industry.

 

 

Global Foundaries Sheds Light On 14nm Game Plan

April 10, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Global Foundries clarified details of the ramp up of 14nm chip production at fab 8 manufacturing facility in New York.

It has apparently  has taped out multiple 14nm designs and is tweaking its equipment using a lead product at the moment. The company is on track to start high-volume shipments of 14nm chips this year.

Jason Gorss, a spokesman for Global Foundries said that the outfit’s 14nm FinFET technology is maturing and on schedule at our Fab 8 facility in Malta, New York,.

“The early version (14LPE) is qualified in our fab and our lead product is yielding in double digits. Since 2014, we have taped multiple products and testchips and are seeing rapid progress, in yield and maturity, for volume shipments in 2015.”

The comment follows a statement from Mubadala Development last week week which claimed htat Global Foundries had begun ramping manufacturing of 14nm chips for customers.

Mubadala, which owns GlobalFoundries, did not provide any details. Even though production is currently not in high volume, it is clear that GlobalFoundries ships certain chips to clients.

It is not clear what 14nm chips GlobalFounfries produces at present, but it is highly likely that the company makes Samsung Exynos 7420 application processors for its process tech partner.

Another early partner of GlobalFoundries with its 14nm FinFET production could be Apple, which is expected to use Samsung’s 14nm process tech to make its upcoming A9 system-on-chip.

Global Foundries licensed Samsung’s 14LPE (low-power early) and 14LPP (low-power plus) process technologies last year.

This process uses FinFET transistors and rely on back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnects of 20nm manufacturing technology. The14nm FinFET transistors allow a performance boost for chips by 20 per cent at the same power or cut power consumption by 35 per cent without decreasing performance or complexity.

Courtesy-Fud