Google said it is expanding the amount of free storage for users of its cloud storage service Google Drive. Google Drive on Monday announced it’s increasing the amount of free storage it offers subscribers from 10GB for Gmail and another 5GB for Drive and Google+ Photos.
Combined, Google subscribers will get a net total of 15GB of free unified storage and will be able to share all the additional data among the Drive cloud storage service, Gmail and Google+ Photos.
Clay Bavor, director of product management at Google Drive, wrote in a blog that with the new combined storage space, “you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where.
“For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want,” he wrote.
Google has been increasing its competitive pressure on other cloud storage providers since launching its Drive service last year.
Among Google Drive’s competitors is Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud, but the companies most threatened by Google’s move into online storage are smaller specialized service providers, such as DropBox, Box, SugarSync and YouSendIt, according to analysts.
Dropbox offers 2GB for free, and its first paid upgrade option is to 50GB for $9.99 a month or $99 per year.
“[Average consumers] don’t have much of a relationship with these smaller [cloud] companies,” Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said at the time of Google Drive’s launch. “The challenge for these smaller companies is reaching out to consumers or shifting to somewhat of a different market; the problem is that Google also wants the business market, the small business market and ultimately the enterprise IT market.”
It appears that the Ouya is going to be a bit delayed.
This is good news though, as it is being delayed because the console developers have more cash to spend on it, $15m more to be precise.
Ouya already raised around $7m on Kickstarter, and now, when it should be taking its last steps towards completion, it has had almost twice as much more injected into it by lovely venture capitalists.
We were expecting the console in early June, but that has slid back to 25 June. The time and money will in part be used to solve an issue with sticky buttons, something that usually only happens once consumers have taken some hardware home with them.
The money comes from venture capital firms and other companies including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Nvidia, Shasta Ventures, and Occam Partners. KPCB’s general partner Bing Gordon will join the Ouya board of directors as a result.
“We want Ouya to be here for a long time to come,” said Julie Uhrman, Ouya founder and CEO.
“The message is clear: people want Ouya. We first heard this from Kickstarter backers who provided more than $8 million to help us build Ouya, then from over 12,000 developers who have registered to make an Ouya game, next from retailers who are carrying Ouya online and soon on store shelves, and now from top pioneering investors.”
Gordon is in charge of digital investments at KPCB and is a veteran of the games industry, having started at Electronic Arts in 1982.
“Ouya’s open source platform creates a new world of opportunity for established and emerging independent game creators and gamers alike,” he said.
“There are some types of games that can only be experienced on a TV, and Ouya is squarely focused on bringing back the living room gaming experience. Ouya will allow game developers to unleash their most creative ideas and satisfy gamers craving a new kind of experience.”
Ouya consoles should start arriving in living rooms on 25 June. If you want one, you are going to have to come up with around $100 dollars, plus another $50 dollars if you want two controllers.
The Iconia A1 is full-featured, has an “accessible” price and will raise the stakes in the tablet wars, said Jim Wong, president of Acer, during a speech at a press event in New York on Friday morning.
The tablet offers more than eight hours of battery life and an IPS display, also found on iPads. The tablet also has a quad-core processor, which is likely based on an ARM design. Shipment information for the product was not immediately available.
With the Iconia A1, Acer is entering a highly competitive low-cost tablet market, with vendors lowering prices as a way to gain market share. Acer’s new tablet comes just a few days after Hewlett-Packard started shipped the $169.99 Slate 7, which has a 7-inch screen and dual-core processor, but misses many basic features like GPS. Acer’s tablet has a larger screen and an equivalent processor to Google’s Nexus 7, which has a 7-inch screen and the latest version of Android.
Acer’s PC shipments have been falling over the last few quarters, and it is now the fourth largest PC maker in the world.
The company’s PC market share started tumbling as people moved to tablets and left behind netbooks, a market in which Acer was a leader.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd snatched more smartphone market share from its biggest rival, Apple Inc in the latest quarter, with sales of its phones surging to account for one third of the global market.
Sales of the iPhone 5 helped Apple’s volumes grow 6.6 percent to 37.4 million phones in the quarter from a year earlier, but that was not enough to stop its share of the market dropping to 17.3 percent from 23 percent, research firm IDC said.
A flood of cheaper Android-powered devices from the South Korean maker lifted its shipments about 60 percent to 70.7 million, giving it a 32.7 percent of the market, up from 28.8 percent a year earlier.
During the first quarter Samsung shipped more smartphones than the next four vendors combined, IDC said.
The research firm said it was eager to see how new phones from Samsung using its Tizen operating system will look and fit into the company’s product line-up.
Of the top five vendors, only Apple lost market share, with LG Electronics Inc, Huawei and ZTE Corp making incremental gains.
Samsung is making an aggressive sales play in the U.S. market by moving into thousands of third-party retail outlets where dedicated staff will sell and provide advice on the company’s smartphones,tablets and entertainment products.
Samsung has established “pop-up” stores in the past and had a full-scale outlet in New York that was ultimately shut down. A part of the new expansion plan includes retailer Best Buy, which on Monday announced that it would establish a special zone in its 1,400 U.S. retail stores to sell Samsung products.
The company already has authorized resellers, and the Best Buy partnership is an effort to give users a hands-on experience with its products, said Tim Baxter, CEO of Samsung Electronics America, during an event in New York on Wednesday to announce the Samsung and Best Buy partnership.
Providing a hands-on experience is a “vital” part of getting users to buy Samsung products, Baxter said.
Also, mobile computing is headed in a direction where tablets, smartphones and other devices such as TVs are able to easily interact with each other. A larger in-store presence will educate users on how these products work together, Baxter said.
Baxter declined to say if Samsung would open its own stores in key locations, but said that the company would partner with more retailers. Samsung spends $8 billion to $9 billion on product research every year, and a larger retail presence will also help understand product trends in the U.S., Baxter said.
The U.S. is a key market for Samsung, and the company believes it can grab a larger share in smartphones, tablets and PCs through a larger in-store presence. Samsung’s smartphone rival Apple already has a large retail presence where customers can buy products and get support.
First they killed MP3 players, then they came after the point-and-shoot camera market and now it seems smartphones are poised to destroy the market for dedicated navigation devices.
Berg Insights now estimates that shipments of navigation devices dipped from 33 million units in 2011 to 28 million last year. The negative trend is set to continue and by 2017 only 17 million standalone navigation devices will be shipped.
Shipments of navigation devices are still growing in some markets, such as Eastern Europe, South America and India. However, as smartphone penetration increases in emerging markets, the positive trend will probably come to an end.
So what’s next for makers of navigation systems? The future is clearly app-centric, but they will have to come up with new features and new monetization schemes to compete with mapping apps from Google, Nokia and Apple.
Yahoo wants to speed up its development of mobile products geared toward delivery of personalized content, CEO Marissa Mayer said, as the company works to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets are becoming dominant.
How Yahoo will accomplish that goal is not immediately clear — it has yet to announce any specific mobile apps or services it has in the pipeline — but it was an objective oft-repeated during the company’s first-quarter earnings call.
But if the “how” is not clear, the “why” is more evident. Mobile is top of mind for all Internet firms, Google and Facebook included, and mobile will be crucial to Yahoo’s efforts to increase user engagement and expand advertising revenue.
By 2015, Yahoo expects more people to be accessing the Internet on mobile devices than on PCs. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us, and we’re working hard to take advantage of it,” Mayer said.
Yahoo’s earnings for the quarter were US$390 million, up 36 percent from last year, but revenue was down. Continuous improvements to Yahoo’s products “will set up the company for long-term growth,” the company said earlier Tuesday.
Yahoo is already making some progress in mobile. In the first three months of 2013, the number of monthly, mobile active users on Yahoo surpassed 300 million for the first time, Mayer said. That’s up from 200 million reported in its last earnings call in January.
The number of daily active users on Yahoo-branded apps like Mail and Flickr also increased by more than 50 percent during the quarter, the company said. On Flickr, mobile photo uploads increased by more than 50 percent quarter over quarter.
“Our early results in mobile are promising,” Mayer said, “and there is a lot more in store for mobile in the coming months.”
Yahoo continues to face pressure to demonstrate its value to users, as more people flock to social networks like Twitter and Facebook and to an array of social apps on smartphones. Yahoo currently does not have any social network or mobile phone of its own.
Microsoft is developing designs for a touch-enabled smart watch, joining a number of other large competitors like Samsung Electronics and Apple who are said to be working on similar devices, according to a recent report.
Executives at suppliers to Microsoft told The Wall Street Journal that the company was sourcing components for the prototype of what could potentially be a “watch-style device.”
Microsoft has, for example, requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers for the prototype, an executive at a component supplier told the newspaper. It is unclear whether the company will decide to go ahead with the watch, the newspaper added.
Microsoft could not be immediately reached for comment.
A large number of vendors are looking at new product categories beyond smartphones and tablets.
This isn’t the first time, however, that Microsoft may be looking at watches as a product. It launched a smart wrist watch around a concept called Smart Personal Object Technology it unveiled in 2002, but withdrew it after a lackluster performance.
The Redmond, Wash., company is seeing its key PC market under threat from smartphones and tablets, and the failure of its new Windows 8 operating system to boost sales significantly. IDC said last week that first quarter PC shipments totaled 76.3 million units, down 13.9% compared to the same quarter last year. (The decline was worse than the 7.7% previously forecast by the analyst firm, and the market could be headed into further contraction, the research firm added.
Nvidia will buy back $1bn worth of shares over the course of its financial year in a bid to return money to investors.
In a bid to please investors, Nvidia $100m of the buy-back will be during its current quarter.
Nvidia has being paying out a dividend to investors, though it is hardly something to shout about. The firm said part of its total $1.2bn return to shareholders will include a $0.075 per share dividend, which amounts to $50m a quarter.
“Nvidia’s strategies are gaining traction in the market and make us confident in our ability to continue generating cash. We are now broadening our program of giving back cash to our shareholders and plan to return a further $1bn by the end of this fiscal year,” he said.
Nvidia has been reaping the rewards of its Tesla and Tegra businesses, with revenues increasing and very healthy gross margins that sit comfortably above 50 percent.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed at the GPU Technology Conference last month that the firm will invest heavily in developing its Tegra system on chip (SoC), telling analysts it represents the company’s largest revenue generation potential.
However, like many semiconductor firms, Nvidia’s share price has stagnated recently. It pays a relatively poor dividend, especially in comparison with rivals like Intel. The firm’s decision to return $1.2bn to investors is a move to keep its share price steady and give investors a reason to have more confidence in the company.
Nvidia said it will provide further details of its share buyback program when it releases first quarter fiscal 2014 financial results.
PayPal, part of eBay Inc, did not disclose a purchase price.
PayPal is a dominant online payments service with more than 120 million users, but its growth has slowed in recent years and the company’s new president, David Marcus, is looking for ways to revive that.
Iron Pearl, a Silicon Valley start-up, analyzes data and develops computer models designed to drive the viral spread of products and services over the Internet, often across social networks such as Facebook Inc.
This niche in the technology world is often called growth hacking, and PayPal’s Marcus said on Thursday that Chudnovsky and Currier are among the leading growth hackers. Other top growth hackers include Chamath Palihapitiya, who helped drive Facebook’s own rapid expansion, Marcus noted.
“It’s time for PayPal to take this very seriously,” Marcus said. “This is a key function of any growth company.”
Technology companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn Corp and Twitter have specific groups of employees who focus on growth hacking and PayPal should too, he added.
Chudnovsky will take on the new role of vice president of growth at PayPal and report directly to Marcus, while Currier will be a “growth adviser” to the company, Marcus said.
Chudnovsky and Currier started Tickle, an early social media company that used online viral marketing and was acquired for $100 million by Monster in 2004.
Chudnovsky also helped design online growth strategies for start-ups such as GoodReads, Path and BranchOut.
GoodReads, a social network for readers to recommend books to friends online, was acquired by Amazon.com Inc, the world’s largest Internet retailer, earlier this year.
The products will be a refresh of Dell’s current tablet offerings, said Steve Lalla, vice president and general manager of mobile products and solutions at Dell, in an interview.
Dell is exploring designs with different screen sizes to its current 10-inch models, he said, though it was unclear if those new sizes will be among the products released later this year. Dell is primarily interested in screen sizes of 10 inches or larger, Lalla said.
The new tablets will succeed the XPS 10, which runs Windows RT, and the Latitude 10, which runs Windows 8 Pro. Dell continues to work on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, Lalla said, but he didn’t give further details about the upcoming products or their exact release dates.
The company also plans to release thinner and lighter laptops and convertibles later this year.
Nvidia announced five graphics processing units (GPUs) for notebook computers today.
These mobile GPU models aim to conserve battery life with three technologies that run in the background and increase performance.
Nvidia’s Geforce GT 720M and 735M make up the mainstream segment of the announcement with their focus on budget and mid-range notebooks, while Nvidia’s GT 740M, 745M, and 750M are the performance part of the lineup and are intended for users that demand more power.
The chip designer said that all five of these notebook GPUs will come with its GPU Boost 2.0 technology that adjusts the chips’ clock speed to maximise graphics performance.
Two other power enhancing features built into the GPU lineup include Nvidia’s Optimus technology that enables longer battery life by switching the GPU on and off so it runs only when needed, and its Geforce Experience software, which adjusts in-game settings for the best possible performance and visual quality specific to a user’s notebook specifications. This feature also automatically keeps chip drivers up to date.
Nvidia said the new GPUs are available from today. According to the chip designer, all leading notebook manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, will be introducing these GPUs. We predict that notebook release dates will be in the latter half of this year.
Nvidia held its GPU technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, California two weeks ago, where the firm admitted that physically large GPUs have difficulty passing verification.
With Nvidia’s Volta GPU architecture stacking DRAM on the same silicon substrate as the GPU, the firm said that this will require it to increase the size of its chips.
Ouya, the open Android-based console designed by Yves Behar, is being shipped to its Kickstarter backers today, and the company officially announced this week at GDC that it will hit retailers in the US, UK and Canada on June 4. Ouya is promising “hundreds” of titles for the June 4 release and the $99 console will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, GAME, GameStop, Target, and the store on OUYA.tv. Additional controllers will be sold for $49.99. And for digital purchases, consumers will be able to get pre-paid cards with redeemable codes at retail if they wish.
The company said that over 8,000 game developers worldwide are currently developing games, including both up-and-comers and more well known game makers like Square Enix, Double Fine Productions, Tripwire Interactive, Vlambeer, Phil Fish’s Polytron Corporation, and Kim Swift’s Airtight Games. “The majority of devs so far are experienced devs who’ve never built an Android game before. About 1 out of 5 have never even built a game before,” Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said that at the GDC unveiling. She boasted that Ouya “already has more titles a couple months before launch than any console has ever launched with.”
The Ouya hardware itself is even smaller than we had previously thought (think Rubik’s Cube or smaller), and its sleek design and brushed aluminum is pleasing to the eye. Uhrman, however, stressed the controller more than anything else. “What we spent the most amount of time on is the controller. We really want this to be our love letter to gamers,” she said, adding that Ouya focused on the ergonomics, the weight, the feel, and wanted it to be a precise, accurate controller. “This is one of the pieces of Ouya that evolved a lot based on early supporter feedback,” she continued.
Apparently, the feedback led to numerous changes on the controller in terms of button placement, and the style of d-pad. The team found out that many preferred a cross-style d-pad than a disc because it’s superior for fighting games. Also, the engineers retooled the tension of the analogs and the design of shoulder buttons. And Ouya even made the responsiveness and speed of the center touch pad customizable. In this journalist’s hands, it felt comfortable and familiar while playing a few titles.
After showing off the hardware, Uhrman dived into the user interface of Ouya. The whole UI is incredibly streamlined, with four categories and an apps-like layout. The four categories are Play, Discover, Make, and Manage (which is for settings). Play is simply where anything you’ve downloaded – games or music or video apps – will be placed. Discover is the store, and it’s been designed to encourage people to “find the best games.” For example, sub-selections in Discover include featured channels like Go Retro, Hear Me, Genres, and Sandbox. The plan is to offer more descriptive names for games within genres.
“The way games get exposed in the genre list is based on what we call the O-rank, which is our fun algorithm. It’s how we rank great games. A lot of app platforms today use downloads as a metric or they use revenue as a metric and we don’t think that’s a good way to say if it’s a good game,” Uhrman said. “You could download a game and never play it again. And with the free-to-try model, revenue isn’t necessarily the best model either. What is [a good metric] is what proves that the game is fun, and that’s engagement. So things like how long you have played a game, how many times you’ve played that game over a certain period of time. How quickly from the time you boot up Ouya, which is an always-on device, do you play that game… It’s those types of engagement metrics that we think prove it’s a fun game.”
Another interesting area within Discover is Sandbox, which offers developers an opportunity to put builds up and ask people to thumb it up. The idea is for great games to get out of the Sandbox and be searchable and merchandized. It encourages developers to market their games and promote them to fans. Once you get out of Sandbox you know the people next to you have great quality games, Uhrman explained.
The Make channel is an area that appears to still be in flux. Uhrman said the goal is to serve two audiences, gamers and developers, equally. While Make is a place where a developer can upload early builds, over time it’ll be a place for devs to communicate with fans. “We also can grow it to be, what if you want to make a game, here’s how to market a game, etc. We’ll look to devs and gamers for feedback on how to evolve the section,” Uhrman said.
A console that’s as open as Ouya should have a fairly simple submission process for developers right? Uhrman confirmed that it’s not overly complicated and should be something most can complete within an hour. “It’s something we thought a lot about given that we’re an open platform… but we wanted to make sure that there are good quality games, at least to the extent that it was optimized to the television and for the controller. So the guidelines isn’t necessarily a quality review, but it checks if there’s malware, does it break or freeze often, does it use our controller schema in the right way, we need to make sure there’s no IP infringement, no pornography, does it elicit real-world violence, you are who you say you are kind of thing – that’s the review. We try to keep it under an hour. Developers can choose to go live immediately or they can choose a certain time,” she detailed.
Curiously, there’s been no partnership reached with the ESRB to rate the games in North America. Right now, the games will be self-rated by devs and community reviewed. Given that Ouya is being sold in mainstream retail, however, we do have to wonder if this will pose potential problems for the company in an atmosphere where some people are still pointing fingers at violent video games. “We’ll take it as it comes; right now we want to expose great content from any type of developer and we do have the thumbs-up/like feature or the report if this is abuse on the system,” responded Uhrman, adding that “We basically say that we can change the rules at any time and we can reject the game for any reason that doesn’t fit our content guidelines – we want everybody on Ouya to have a great experience.”
Ratings aside, one of the big questions surrounding Ouya is whether or not it can truly carve out a market for itself in the console space as industry veterans Sony and Microsoft prepare to launch their respective next-generation systems. The games we saw on Ouya are not graphically intense and are very indie in nature. Can Ouya handle high fidelity triple-A releases? Or does it even need to in order to get noticed?
Ouya does has a partnership with OnLive, so that’s one way to get triple-A games. “That’s one solution. We also support 1080p, hi-def… and we have a USB port so someone can add an external hard drive, so for games that are heavy you could absolutely use that. We have a max download size of 1.2GB for the first download, but as a developer if you want to add and send additional content from your servers you can,” Uhrman said.
“Traditional games take longer to develop, and we have some of those in development that we’re really excited about. Ouya is not about the number of polygons on the screen,” Uhrman acknowledged. “That’s not where we went. We wanted to have innovative and creative exclusive content, and we’re already starting to see that.”
Exclusive content plus a very appealing $99 price point is what could make the system an easy impulse buy for many gamers Uhrman believes. Moreover, Uhrman noted that most core gamers tend to purchase more than one console, so Ouya is likely to be something they’ll want to buy even if they are getting a PS4.
“Ouya offers something different; every gamer has a different expectation depending upon the platform and we believe we’re going to have innovative, creative games and exclusive games to Ouya… And the barrier to entry at just $99 where every game is free-to-try, I think opens up the opportunity for a number of gamers, even core gamers. Core gamers on average own more than one console. We don’t really think it’s an either/or situation. We’re offering something different – I think they’re going to want Ouya too,” she said.
A number of traditional consoles in the past have launched selling at a loss. Since Ouya is built with off the shelf components, it may be easier to contain costs, but Uhrman wouldn’t confirm that each unit is sold at a profit. “We’re really comfortable with our business model,” is all she would say.
That said, if things go the way Uhrman would like, this is only the beginning. Ouya will continue to evolve its software and hardware, and the hardware is likely to get refreshed quickly.
“We’re like any other software platform that iterates and grows over time, and we’ll have a hardware refresh rate more similar to a mobile refresh rate than a console refresh rate because we want to take advantage of the best chips out there and falling commodity prices. We will certainly make sure that there’s enough content that’s optimized for that chip and we don’t push on higher prices to the consumer,” she said.
Does that mean some Ouyas in future will not be compatible with certain games? Uhrman is looking to avoid that scenario. “We have a plan where all content will be compatible with future Ouya systems; we don’t want to fragment our own market for developers, and we always want gamers to have a great experience,” she commented.
Ouya will be interesting to watch. It’s a bold move for the industry and everything we’ve seen so far is completely unconventional. Whether or not that will pay dividends in the long-run is hard to judge at this point in time. “The market is calling us the ‘un-console’ and we like doing things the ‘un-way’,” Uhrman remarked.
The three devices will run the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system, which powers the Z10 smartphone and the upcoming Q10, which features a physical qwerty keyboard, according to the slide, which first appeared over the weekend on Twitter as @BB10Leaks.
BlackBerry officials didn’t comment on the road map. However, in comments to analysts last Thursday, CEO Thorstein Heins said repeatedly that the company will introduce more BlackBerry 10 devices this year, though he didn’t indicate what form factors the products would feature.
The three new devices shown in the slide include a BlackBerry 10 tablet with a widescreen aspect ratio, as well as a “U10″ phone-tablet, which some call a phablet, and an “R10″ phablet with a physical qwerty keyboard.
The slide indicates that the B10 tablet will ship in the third or fourth quarter, while the two phablets will be released later, with the U10 shipping at the end of the year and the R10 in spring of 2014.
There are no specifications on the slide, but the devices appear to be shown roughly in proportion to one another, with the phablets appearing to be wider than the existing Z10 and Q10 smartphones.
BlackBerry already has a 7-in. tablet called the PlayBook that is more square in shape than the widescreen look of the B10 in the slide. Some analysts and bloggers said it’s possible that BlackBerry is developing a competitor to the various 9-to-11-in. tablets already on the market, including many Android tablets, as well as the 9.7-in. iPad.
“BlackBerry wants to be a full-line competitor, particularly for business users, so they have to have a full line of products to compete head-on with Apple and Android, primarily Samsung,” said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. “I would expect any viable competitor to establish a full line of products touching on all the various preferences of the marketplace, which includes smartphones, phablets and tablets.”
Gold couldn’t confirm whether any of the details in the leaked slide were accurate, but he noted that it doesn’t appear to include the mid-priced smartphones that Heins and other executives have hinted that BlackBerry may launch over the next few quarters.
The PlayBook tablet first went on sale in April 2011, running on what BlackBerry then called the BlackBerry Tablet OS, based on QNX. BlackBerry later said it would merge that tablet operating system into BlackBerry 10. The company also released a major update to the PlayBook tablet operating system in February 2012.
The first release of the PlayBook was criticized for not having native email.
Analysts are not sure that BlackBerry can keep up with production demand for so many new devices that depend on a relatively constrained supply chain for displays and other components. But to boost its global smartphone market share, currently at less than 10%, BlackBerry will need a product lineup with a variety of options.
Japan’s NEC Corp is in negotiations to sell its struggling mobile phone unit to its PC venture partner Lenovo Group Ltd, a source familiar with the discussions said, confirming media reports of the negotiations.
NEC is also in talks with potential domestic buyers, the source said on condition that he wasn’t identified.
“Amid the rapidly changing market we are considering a number of ways to bolster the competitiveness of our mobile phone business, but nothing has been decided,” NEC said in a statement through the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday in response to the media reports.
Lenovo officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Japanese phone makers have struggled to gain traction overseas inmarkets dominated by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc where they are also being challenged by upcoming Chinese makers. In Japan, the two foreign giants are whittling down their share of cell phone sales.
Last October, NEC cut its mobile phone sales target for the year ending March to 4.3 million from a previous estimate of 5 million units. Lenovo, the world’s No.2 maker of PCs, is cranking up overseas expansion in smartphones after solid growth in China.
Japan’s biggest cell phone maker, Sony Corp, is vying with China’s Huawei Technology Co and ZTE Corp to be No.3 in the global smartphone market.
NEC also plans to sell its mobile services subsidiary NEC Mobiling Ltd for as much as $850 million, separate sources told Reuters this month.
Marubeni Corp’s telecommunications unit and TD Mobile, a joint venture between Toyota Tsusho Corp and Denso Corp, are vying for the 51 percent stake, the sources said.