The give-away will run until May 1, or while supplies last, Microsoft said on its e-store.
Last week, Microsoft told Wall Street that sales of its Lumia devices — virtually the only smartphones powered by Windows 10 Mobile — plummeted 73% in the March quarter compared to the year before, falling from 8.8 million in 2015 to 2.3 million in 2016. Revenue from its phone division fell 47%, to $662 million, in the first three months of this year.
More to the point of the two-for-one sale, on Thursday, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, Amy Hood, said, “Sell-through of our Lumia products was weak, and we exited the quarter with relatively high channel inventory.” Simply put, poor sales left more than the expected number of devices in stores and warehouses.
The buy-one-get-one-free deal may be Microsoft’s way of flushing out the current overstock.
Buyers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico will receive a $549 unlocked Lumia 950 when they purchase an unlocked Lumia 950 XL. The latter is Microsoft’s top-of-the-line Windows 10 Mobile smartphone, which went on sale in November 2015.
The offer is limited to two Lumia pairs per customer.
Microsoft’s smartphone business continued to drag down the Redmond, Wash. firm’s overall revenue outlook. While Hood did not pin a dollar amount to Lumia’s impact on the June quarter, Microsoft’s final in its 2016 fiscal year, she acknowledged that, “We expect year-over-year revenue declines to steepen in Q4 as we work through our Lumia channel position.”
That, at least, is the vision of Jia Yueting, a billionaire entrepreneur and one of a new breed of Chinese who see their technology expertise re-engineering the automobile industry, and usurping Tesla Motors, a U.S. pioneer in premium electric vehicle (EV) making.
“Tesla’s a great company and has taken the global car industry to the EV era,” Jia said in an interview at the Beijing headquarters of his Le Holdings Co, or LeEco. “But we’re not just building a car. We consider the car a smart mobile device on four wheels, essentially no different to a cellphone or tablet.
“We hope to surpass Tesla and lead the industry leapfrogging to a new age,” said Jia, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans.
A wave of EV start-ups has emerged in China after the government opened up the auto industry to deep-pocketed technology firms to drive a switch to cleaner electric as an eventual alternative to gasoline cars. Skeptics wonder just how start-ups like LeEco will deliver on their grand visions.
As a sign of intent, 43-year-old Jia last week unveiled the LeSEE electric concept supercar, a rival to Tesla’s Model S. The “smart, connected and self-driving” car will be displayed at this week’s Beijing autoshow.
“People questioned our idea, a small IT company building a car to compete with the BMWs and Teslas of the world, and laughed at us. It wasn’t easy, but here we are,” Jia told Reuters.
LeEco hopes to start producing a version of the LeSEE in a few years at a plant being built near Las Vegas by U.S. strategic partner Faraday Future, in which Jia has invested. Those cars would be sold in the United States and China. Further ahead, the plan is to produce electric cars in China, too, probably through a partnership with BAIC Motor.
The web-connected electric cars will have a “disruptive” pricing model similar to phones and TV sets LeEco markets in China, Jia says. His company, often called China’s Netflix, will sell movies, TV shows, music and other content and services to drivers of its cars. That’s why he says “one day our cars will be free.” Nearer-term, the disruption is more likely to be “double the performance at half the price.”
Sirin Labs AG said on Monday it had raised $72 million in private funds to launch the device, which would be aimed at executives. It plans to open its first store, in London’s Mayfair, in May.
“(Our) smartphone …brings the most advanced technology available – even if it is not commercially available – and combining it with almost military-grade security,” said Sirin co-founder and president Moshe Hogeg.
The phone will be based on the Android operating system and run otherwise unspecified technology two to three years in advance of the mass market, he said.
Hogeg told Reuters the phone would sell for less than $20,000.
He believes thousands of executives in the United States and Europe will pay that sort of price, since the cost of being hacked could be more expensive in terms of information lost.
Hogeg put the value of the global luxury phone market at about $1.1 billion, a fraction of total mobile phone sales. Most top end phones sold are more for status – regular phones with gold and diamonds.
Britain’s Vertu sells phones in that category from $10,000 to $300,000, while Apple’s iPhone 5 Black Diamond sold for $15.3 million.
Sirin’s financing came from Israeli venture capital fund Singulariteam – which Hogeg co-founded and included backing from Kazakh investor Kenges Rakishev – and Chinese social networking company Renren.
The idea for the start-up came about after Rakishev’s phone was hacked in 2013. He asked Hogeg why he couldn’t find a mobile phone that would ensure privacy and why new technology seen in tech shows and publications was not available in consumer devices.
“There were no good solutions that combined high-end technologies with maximum security,” Hogeg said.
Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) have accidentally – yes, accidentally – discovered a nanowire-based technology that could lead to batteries that can be charged hundreds of thousands of times.
Mya Le Thai, a PhD candidate at the university, explained in a paper published this week that she and her colleagues used nanowires, a material that is several thousand times thinner than a human hair, extremely conductive and has a surface area large enough to support the storage and transfer of electrons.
Nanowires are extremely fragile and don’t usually hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. They expand and grow brittle in a typical lithium-ion battery, but Le Thai’s team fixed this by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and then placing it in a Plexiglas-like gel to improve its reliability. All by accident.
The breakthrough could lead to laptop, smartphone and tablet batteries that last forever.
Reginald Penner, chairman of UCI’s chemistry department, said: “Mya was playing around and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it.
“She discovered that just by using this gel she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”
The battery-like structure was tested more than 200,000 times over a three-month span, and the researchers reported no loss of capacity or power.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”
The breakthrough also paves the way for commercial batteries that could last a lifetime in appliances, cars and spacecraft.
British fuel-cell maker Intelligent Energy Holdings announced earlier this year that it is working on a smartphone battery that will need to be charged only once a week.
Qualcomm predicted a third-quarter profit below analysts estimates as it expects to ship fewer chips, including those for smartphones, its biggest business.
Qualcomm, whose customers include Apple and Samsung expects chip shipments to fall 13-22 percent to 175-195 million in the current quarter with its expects 3G and 4G devices to increase to eight percent at the midpoint in this quarter, lower than its previous estimate of about 10 percent growth.
Besides slowing smartphone sales, Qualcomm is also being squeezed by competitors making chips that rival its own in price and performance, and the likes of Samsung and Apple increasingly making their own components for smartphones.
Research firm Gartner expects global smartphone sales to grow in single digits in percentage terms for the first time ever this year, while Apple in January also forecast its first revenue drop in 13 years.
The uncertainty in the smartphone business seemed to show in the company’s third-quarter revenue forecast of $5.2-$6.0 billion, which implies revenue could be between 11 percent lower and 3 percent higher than the year-ago quarter.
However, while Qualcomm’s chip business is the bigger contributor to revenue it makes most of its dosh by licensing its chip technology. But the outfit has sufferd from delays in closing licensing agreements in China, its biggest market.
Qualcomm, which has recently signed new deals with several companies including Lenovo and it was still in talks with key Chinese smartphone makers to sign agreements.
Revenue at Qualcomm’s chipmaking division and its licensing business fell, 25 percent and 12 percent respectively, in the latest quarter, dragging down total revenue for the fourth quarter in a row. However, the 19.5 percent drop, to $5.55 billion, in the three months ended March 27, was less than the nearly 23 percent drop analysts were expecting. Net income attributable to Qualcomm rose 10.5 percent to $1.16 billion, or 78 cents per share.
As UHD tellies promise that huge amounts of data will need to be shifted the question of how to do it fast enough is being answered by a new generation of SSDs based around Thunderbolt.
This week two new drives were announded. One by Sonnet and the other by Akitio and both combine Thunderbolt 3 and the latest PCIe SSD technology.
Sonnet’s CEO Robert Farnsworth said:
“The Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive can sustain the ultra-high file transfer speeds required for just about any 4K workflow – whether users need an ultra-fast shuttle drive or a take-anywhere scratch drive for editing high frame rate 4K video at offsite shoots.”
The 512 GB storage unit is compatible with Windows 7 and 10 machines, and features the latest PCIe Gen 3 flash memory technology and a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 interface on the end of an included 0.5 m (1.6) cable. Sonnet claims it can manage data transfer speeds of up to 2,100 MB/s.
The drive is 2.8 in (70 mm) wide, 4.1 in (103.2 mm) deep and 1.25 in (31.5 mm) high, and placed in an aluminum enclosure. The Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is available at the end of this month for a suggested retail price of $799.
Akitio’s Thunder3 PCIe SSD is not as portable. It is 9.17 x 5.96 x 2.99 in (233 x 152 x 76 mm) dimensions and will need to be powered via the an adapter. However it has 1.2 TB of storage capacity using a PCIe Gen 3 Intel 750 Series SSD. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a DisplayPort video output for connection a 4K monitor. It claims to ahve a data transfer speeds of a 2,500 MB/s.
The Akitio drive is housed in an aluminum enclosure, comes with a 40 Gbps cable included and is compatible with Windows 7 or newer computers. It can also be daisy chained to up to six other units.
European Union antitrust regulators said that by requiring mobile phone manufacturers to pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser, the U.S. company was denying consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and stifling innovation.
Google is already facing EU charges over the promotion of its shopping service in Internet searches at the expense of rival services, in a case that has dragged on since late 2010 despite three attempts to resolve the issues.
The stakes are higher for Google in the Android case as it made about $11 billion last year from advertising sales on Android phones through its apps such as Maps, Search and Gmail, according to estimates by financial analyst Richard Windsor.
“A competitive mobile Internet sector is increasingly important for consumers and businesses in Europe,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” she said.
Internet Explorer-browser maker Microsoft Corp declined to comment.
Suppliers of browsers including Mozilla, which is behind Firefox, as well as Apple, with its Safari browser, and Norway’s Opera Software were not immediately available to comment.
The European Commission said about 80 percent of smart mobile devices in Europe and the world run on Android, the operating system developed by Google.
Google, which has 12 weeks to respond to the charges, said in a statement that Android was a remarkable system based on open-source software and open innovation.
“We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate that Android is good for competition and good for consumers,” Google’s general counsel Kent Walker said.
FairSearch, the lead complainant, said Google had launched Android as an open source project, but was now hindering the development of versions that might lead to new operating systems able to compete with Android.
The Commission alleges Google has breached EU antitrust rules by making phone manufacturers pre-install its search function and Chrome browser, and by preventing them from selling mobiles running competing operating systems based on the Android open source code.
Remember when some analyst told us that the world wanted to go back to small phones and that the iPhone SE would be a money spinner? It turns out that we were not the only ones who thought that idea was rubbish – Apple does not believe it either.
Apple has continued to have a limited production run of iPhones in the quarter ending June. According to the Nikkei business daily this will be the second quarter that Apple will run reduced production of its main bread and butter – the iPhone. Practically it means that not is well behind Apple’s Walled Garden of Delights. It also suggests that the iPhone SE is as pants as we expected.
For those who came in late, Apple re-released its iPhone 5C with a slightly better chip and called it the SE. This old design was tiny in comparison to later models and clearly out-of-date. This has been a bad time for Jobs’ Mob the Nikkei reported in January that the technology giant was expected to cut production of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models by about 30 percent in the quarter ended March, but production was expected to return to normal in the current quarter. Clearly it didn’t and the SE failed to interest anyone.
Apple’s shares fell 1.8 percent to $110.05 and some of its partners went the following way. The production cut could last longer than the one it implemented in 2013, when Apple cut production orders for its cheaper iPhone 5C a month after its launch.
Apple has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter, the Nikkei report said.
In January, Apple said it expected a fall in revenue for the quarter ending March – its first forecast for a revenue drop in 13 years – as the critical Chinese market showed signs of weakening. It also reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments.
The European Union antitrust chief, who has already charged Google with favoring its own shopping service in internet searches, announced that she was now examining its deals with mobile phone manufacturers and operators.
The comments by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager follow a year-long investigation into Android, the world’s most popular operating system for smartphones, triggered by two complaints.
A decision on the shopping service could come this year. Like the Android case, it could lead to a fine of up to $7.4 billion or 10 percent of Google’s 2015 revenue, and force it to change its business practices.
Vestager said big companies should not try to protect themselves by holding back innovation.
“That’s why we’re looking closely at Google’s contracts with phone makers and operators which use the Android operating system,” she said at a conference organized by the Dutch competition authority.
“Our concern is that, by requiring phone makers and operators to pre-load a set of Google apps, rather than letting them decide for themselves which apps to load, Google might have cut off one of the main ways that new apps can reach customers.”
The Commission said last year that it was also investigating whether Google had prevented smartphone and tablet manufacturers from developing and marketing modified and potentially competing versions of Android.
Another area of concern was whether Google had illegally hindered the development and market access of rival applications and services by bundling some of its applications and services distributed on Android devices with other Google products.
Mitel’s planned purchasing of phone and videoconferencing veteran Polycom for nearly $2 billion comes as the enterprise communications industry faces dramatic changes brought by mobility and cloud-based services.
The Ottawa-based manufacturer of corporate voice systems has agreed to pay $1.96 billion for Polycom in a deal it says would form the biggest conference phone and business cloud communications company in the world. The deal, announced Friday, still needs shareholder approval but is expected to close in the third quarter.
The combined company would be led by Mitel CEO Richard McBee under the Mitel name, but it would maintain Polycom’s brand. With about 7,700 employees across five continents, it would bring in annual revenue of $2.5 billion, the companies said. Economies of scale and steps like consolidating facilities would cut costs.
Workers used to rely heavily on desk phones and needed specialized enterprise platforms to participate in videoconferences. Now they increasingly use mobile phones and cloud-based video services that help them stay in touch both in and out of the office.
That’s putting the squeeze on everyone selling professional communication tools and driving down prices, said Wainhouse Research analyst Ira Weinstein. For example, there are now hundreds of videoconferencing service options where companies once had just a few dedicated platforms to choose from.
Though more portable and less expensive options abound, traditional systems are still in demand for their quality, reliability, security, and integration with enterprise directories, Weinstein said.
Friday’s deal could combine the strengths of two vendors hit by this trend, but it might also blunt their effectiveness, he said.
Verizon Communications Inc is the clear favorite in the fast approaching bid for Yahoo Inc’s core Internet business, according to Wall Street analysts, in large part because the telecommunications company’s efforts to become a force in Internet content have gone relatively well under the leadership of AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong.
Verizon acquired AOL last June for $4.4 billion – its first big foray into the advertising-supported Internet business – and it is not yet clear how well the unit is performing financially. Subsequent moves, including the takeover of much of Microsoft Corp’s advertising technology business, a deal to buy Millennial Media for about $250 million and the recent launch of the mobile video service go90, are also too recent to assess.
Yet analysts have given the big phone company high marks for allowing AOL to operate independently and folding in other recent acquisitions without much drama. And they said Armstrong seems to be driving Verizon’s recent moves in go90 and recent acquisitions.
“The management puts a lot of faith in Armstrong,” BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk said.
That faith derives in part from the belief that Armstrong did a good job at left-for-dead AOL, especially in assembling a strong set of products to deliver targeted digital ads to customers.
Combining AOL and Yahoo, an idea that has come up many times over the years, could instantly make Yahoo a major player in Internet advertising, with Armstrong – one of the world’s top ad executives – at the helm, analysts said.
Armstrong “has good M&A experience, and a pretty solid ad tech stack,” B. Riley & Co analyst Sameet Sinha said.
Verizon’s hands-off approach that has worked with AOL, though, might not be suitable if the far-bigger Yahoo were taken over. With Yahoo’s struggling business, “the luxury of autonomy is simply not there,” Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said.
Verizon, AOL and Yahoo declined to comment.
Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards (FPC) sees biometric smart cards — those using fingerprint identification — becoming its fastest growing market as early as 2018, having already become the market leader in a crowded sector for supplying such sensors for smartphones.
Others within the industry are not convinced the smart card business will take off so quickly, prompting questions about whether FPC can maintain its runaway rise in valuation.
FPC’s share price surged around 1,600 percent last year as demand for fingerprint sensors in phones soared after Apple, which uses its own in-house supplier, helped to popularize the technology. FPC now has a market value of around $4.1 billion.
Advocates say the technology offers greater security and simplicity when compared to techniques such as using pin codes to confirm identification.
The fingerprint sensor business has a handful of companies supplying significant volumes today, with an equal number planning to enter the market. Three are based in the Nordic region where technology companies have thrived.
Needing to maintain its momentum, FPC says it is in initial talks with potential big customers for smart cards. It declines to name names at this stage.
“Our ambition for smart cards, and all other segments, is that we shall continue to be number one,” FPC’s Chief Executive Jorgen Lantto told Reuters.
Silicon Valley firm Synaptics, the closest rival to FPC in sensors for smartphones, is more cautious on new markets.
“It’s hard for me to project market share in a segment of the market (when) we’re not sure when it’s going to happen,” said Anthony Gioeli, vice president of marketing in the biometrics division of Synaptics.
Sascha Behlendorf, a card systems product manager at Germany’s Giesecke & Devrient, one of the top three smart card makers, expects widespread adoption of biometrics in smart cards could take some five to 10 years.
The project will increase Internet speeds and help Boston, which has 650,000 residents, expand broadband as part of its priority to ensure every resident has Internet access, Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement on Tuesday. Business, schools, hospitals and libraries will also be connected.
Smart city elements will be added as well, including a trial project to reduce traffic congestion along Massachusetts Avenue. The city and Verizon will partner to experiment with sensors and advanced traffic signal technology to increase safety, measure bike traffic and improve public transit vehicle flow.
Future smart city apps could include sensors for environmental conditions, energy efficiency and city lighting management.
Verizon will also attach wireless equipment to city street lights and utility poles to boost wireless service for residents.
Because of the extremely high bandwidth capability of fiber optic cable, Verizon said the cable can serve as a foundation for future technology, such as 5G wireless. Verizon also operates an innovation center in Waltham, Mass., which will host the company’s development and testing of 5G wireless.
The company plans to monitor the Boston fiber rollout to help it decide whether to take similar fiber networks to other markets.
Verizon also said it will begin a franchise licensing application to provide cable TV to the city through its Fios TV service, relying on the same cable used for Internet access. Similar franchises in other cities have resulted in financial support for public access, including cable TV connections to schools, Verizon said.
South Korean carrier KT is aiming to launch the first 5G network at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. KT has announced a successful trial of one potential 5G technology in the mountain resort region.
The carrier tested a system from NEC that uses super-high frequencies to transmit data at speeds as high as 3.2Gbps (bits per second). Though the companies didn’t mention the Olympic Games, and there’s no guarantee the technology will be part of the 5G standard, it’s no coincidence the trial took place high in the Taebaek Mountains.
KT used NEC’s iPasolink EX ultra-compact microwave system instead of fiber for links between LTE base stations. It’s well suited to the mountains, because laying fiber in steep terrain is hard. NEC’s system is so small and light that it’s relatively easy to deploy, the companies said.
The microwave system transmits data on frequencies between 70GHz and 80GHz, a band that doesn’t lose as much of its signal going through the atmosphere as others do, according to NEC. The iPasolink also uses 256QAM, a form of encoding that lets it send more data.
High frequencies are expected to play a big part in 5G. There are wide swaths of little-used spectrum in so-called millimeter-wave bands that mobile networks have never used. Researchers are now starting to crack the technical issues that stood in the way.
While the KT-NEC trial used straight-line connections between base stations, researchers are working on ways for mobile devices to reach the nearest small cell using millimeter waves. Those techniques may lead to faster connections for users of eventual 5G networks.
Vendors and carriers looking to 5G are considering bands around 28GHz, 39GHz, 60GHz and other millimeter-wave frequencies. Current cellular networks operate below 6GHz.
The final 5G standard, and the bands that 5G networks can use, are expected to be locked down by 2020.
Google is so hacked off with Oracle’s java antics it is seriously considering taking it out of Android and replacing it with Apple’s open sauce Swift software.
While we would have thought that there would be little choice between Oracle and Apple as evil software outfits, the fact that Apple uncharacteristically made Swift open source might make life a bit brighter for Google. At the moment Oracle is suing Google for silly money for its Java use in Android.
Swift was created as a replacement for Objective C, and is pretty easy-to-write. It was introduced at WWDC 2014, and has major support from IBM as well as a variety of major apps like Lyft, Pixelmator and Vimeo that have all rebuilt iOS apps with Swift.
But since Apple open sourced Swift, Google, Facebook and Uber have al said that they are interested in it. Taking Java out of Android is a big job. Google would also have to make its entire standard library Swift-ready, and support the language in APIs and SDKs. Some low-level Android APIs are C++, which Swift cannot bridge to. Higher level Java APIs would also have to be re-written.
Of course if it did all this, Apple might realize that its biggest rival was using its own software to club it to death. It might not be be so nice about allowing Swift out to play and eventually Google have to fork Swift and dump the Apple version. This would probably result in an anst-ridden moan album about how life is so unfair which makes a fortune while scoring passive agressive revenge on the dumpee.