Author: Staff Writer

Sandisk increases channel purview

datacenterFlash storage company Sandisk said today it has introduced an enterprise reseller partner programme for its worldwide partners.

Sandisk said it will add support, resources and rewards to existing VARs who qualify to resell its enterprise products.

The reason for the expansion is that flash tech delivers better performance and efficiences for data centres.

The enterprise programme is for Sandisk Commercial business channel partners that re-sell Sandisk hardware and software data centre products, including CloudSpeed SATA drives, caching software, and Optimus SAS solid state drives.

Some of the benefits of joining up include education and training, certification, a web based partner portal, and incentive programmes. There will also be a volume incentive rebate for particular resellers.


Hon Hai profits soar

foxconn-tvHon Hai – a Taiwanese firm also known as Foxconn, said that its fourth quarter profits rose to $1.8 billion on the back of the success of Apple’s iPhone.

Hon Hai makes most of Apple’s iPhones and has been criticised in the past for harsh employment practices.

But Bloomberg estimates, based on yearly results filed on Taiex – the Taiwanese bourse today – is far higher than financial analysts originally estimated.

Bloomberg claims the profits have been generated by iPhone 6 phones, which saw a surge in sales since their launch in Autumn last year. It believes half of Foxconn’s revenues are generated by Apple business, although there’s no hard and fast evidence for that.

But while Hon Hai may have turned in a rather healthy profit, its operating margin was only about 4.2 percent. Generally speaking, Taiwanese manufacturers of electronic devices have very slim margins indeed – not anything like the kind of margins Apple itself generates.

Although Foxconn’s Terry Gou had forecast growth of 10 percent in its full financial year, the actual growth was only 6.6 percent, Bloomberg reports.


Smart buildings to generate fortunes

asus-buildingA report from IDC estimates that there’s so much interest in so-called smart buildings that spends will grow to $17.4 billion worldwide by 2019.

IDC said that although the market had been expected to blossom before now, it’s flowering pretty vigorously and will soon bear fruit.

Growth will be concentrated at first in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, with people becoming a bit smarter themselves and realising that investing in the technology can save money.

Commercial buildings in particular are expected to grow more than domestic buildings and companies realise that such construction can save energy as well as create operational efficiencies, the report said.

In Europe, legislation driven by EU regulations is helping the market to burgeon.

Spending in 2014 was only $6.3 billion but that’s expected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6 percent, reaching $17.4 billion by 2019.

That figure, however, is only a small percentage of the whole construction market.

Notebook makers tire of Europe

notebooksManufacturers of notebooks and tablets are looking to new markets to bolster their businesses because Europe can no longer be relied upon for healthy sales.

Last week we reported PC demand, particularly in Eastern Europe, was well done.

Now, Taiwanese wire Digitimes said that the manufacturers are looking to other market such as South East Asia and and Central and South America to make up the shortfall.

It’s not just lack of demand that is the problem because the margins the mostly Taiwanese companies are also taing a hit because of the parlous state of the Euro.

The notebook manufacturers can’t see light at the end of the tunnel in Europe until at least the end of the second quarter, the report adds.

The research wing of Digitimes believes that 221.4 million tablets will be shipped this year, and that’s a fal of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.


Frequent flyers hit by hackers

ukflagBritish Airway’s air miles scheme appears to have been hit by Russian hackers.

The BBC reported that a number of people appear to have their air miles accounts cleared out, or even used to book items using air miles.

But BA said only a small number of people appear to have hit – and it has written to all its users to notify them of the problem.

The report points to, which has several people complaining that the BA points – called Avios and two rooms in Spain were booked under the name of the person who owns the account.

Some people, apparently, had their own mobile phone number substituted for a Russian number.

BA said that its customers could be re-assured that their personal credit card details hadn’t been hacked, and it has taken steps to prevent the hack from happening again.

Google loses over privacy settings

330ogleThe UK Court of Appeal has turned down an attempt by Google to overthrow a previous verdict that allowed people to sue it over privacy settings.

The case, according to the BBC, centres around allegations that Google got round security settings on the Apple Safari browser and threw advertising cookies on people’s websites to advertise stuff.

Google said it wasn’t pleased with the court’s decision. It had attempted to get the courts to prevent peole suing it because it claims people didn’t suffer financially.

But the judges said that the allegations raise serious problems which do merit a trial.

They continued: “The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused. They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and coalition of information.”

Google’s motto is it does no evil. It claims it hasn’t done anything wrong.

But the US Federal Trade Commission has already fined Google $40 million, while 38 US states also fined the search giant.

BlackBerry makes a profit

Samsung Browses BlackberryIt seems that BlackBerry has turned the corner as it reported a quarterly profit today – results that sent its share price up by over five percent.

Revenues however fell to $550 million for its quarter, down from $793 million in the same period last year. Net profit was £28 million, compared to a loss in the same quarter last year of $148 million.

So what’s BlackBerry doing right? It seems that CEO John Chen is keeping a close eye on expenses but its revenue from software rose 20 percent in the quarter, accounting for $67 million in revenues.

Despite its formerly impregnable position as the handheld of choice for the corporate market, sales of its more up to date models don’t appear to be particularly good.

BlackBerry is attempting to change its model from hardware and services to software.

Wall Street analysts hailed the profit figure but fretted about the revenue, which the company had estimated would be $786 million.

PC sales continue to decline

A not so mobile X86 PCMore tales of poor sales of PCs have emerged.

This time it’s Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) which are showing a decline, according to IDC.

Sales fell in 2014 by a rather whopping 14 percent, representing 18.55 million units – it’s the second year in a row that this region has declined.

Even notebook PC sales fell, by 14.5 percent year on year.

IDC said that sales were inhibited by currency fluctuations and poor economics, but even given that, there’s a fairly constant underlying trend worldwide.

Russia accounted for 42.6 percent of total PC shipments in the region last year, and IDC said the plummeting sales sales were accounted for by the poor economy.

However, the picture in places is not so dim. Some countries showed a rise in sales on the back of PC upgrades from Windows XP.

In particular, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania all showed double digit growth in 2014.


Philips turns out the lights

lightbulbsDutch giant Philips had already said it would split its existing business into two companies – automotive lighting and LED and its healthcare business.

But now it looks like it’s exiting its core business – lighting – completely.

The lighting company will be spun off and will be floated on the stock exchange, probably in 2016.  Its lighting business generates revenues of around $2 billion and has 37,000 staff.

Philips originally started in the late 19th century in its core business – making electric lamps.  It diversified greatly during the 20th century at one time even operating its own aircraft business. It also was for a while a player in the audio-visual business and in PCs.

A few years back it spun off its semiconductor business which is now trading as NXP and which is expected to merge with Freescale soon.

Lumileds, the name of the automotive and LED lighting business, will eventually be completely sold off, according to a report in Electronics Weekly.


Amazon offers unlimited cloud storage

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeOnline giant Amazon said it is to offer unlimited cloud storage, offering two plans for people who want to upload vast collections of media that they have.

The first is called the Unlimited Photos Plan – it comes with a free three month trial, then a subscription of $12 a year – this lets you store as many photographs as you like on the Amazon Cloud and includes 5GB of extra storage for videos, documents or other files.

The second is called the Unlimited Everything Plan – this also comes with a three month trial at no charge then a subscription of $60 a year.  As the name implies, it lets you store all of your stuff in Cloud Drive.

Existing members with a Prime subscription already can use unlimited photo storage but can add a subscription to the Unlimited plan to store everything else too.

Amazon is now a considerable player in the IT business – although many people can buy CDs, books and the like – it also offers services for enterprise players too, particularly in the cloud.


EU to shake up e-commerce market

euroflagzEuropean Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is set to start a year long quest to break down barriers to e-commerce trading across borders.

According to a report on Reuters, she believes barriers are preventing the growth of sales online.  She also appy ears to believe that some companies are using the existing situation to block trade between the 28 European Union countries.

The European Union said that one in two people bought stuff online during 2014, but only 15 percent of people bought kit from another EU country.

She will send a set of questionnaires to the 28 members of the EU and she will also send the billet doux to a number of companies that she believes might be actively blocking trade by using border barriers.

She expects to have a report ready by the middle of next year and believes that it’s important to have a single digital market in the European Union.

Apparently, investigators from the Commission raided European companies that sell electronic gizmos online that Vestager believes may be engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.


Biometrics come into their own

fingerprintBiometric systems, particularly in relation to smartphones, look like they’re going to boom during this year.

ABI Research, a market analysis company, said that worldwide revenues for such systems will deliver $3.1 billion this year.

The systems will be targeted not only at home users but at authentication systems for the enterprise market, according to ABI.

Algorithms linked to cloud computing are set to give better user authentication, with applications for mobile payments, bring your own device (BYOD) systems.

The research said that the leaders in the biometric pack are Apple and Samsung but there are other players who are introducing voice and face recognition into the equation.

We reported elsewhere today that Apple is rumoured to be brining out three more iPhones this year that incorporate fingerprint recognition.

Dimitrios Pavlakis, digital security research analyst at ABI, said: “Biometry is moving rapidly into the security ecosystem and its adoption by CE devices will jumpstart this phenomenon.”


Apple iPhone deluge continues

novità-apple-2013It appears that Apple is set to release three more iPhones in the second half of this year.

Informed sources have leaked details of the models to Taiwanese wire Digitimes.

It reports that the phones will be the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 6S Plus and a four inch device currently codenamed the iPhone 6C.

Each of the phones will use Corning Gorilla Glass come with LTPS panels and while the 6S series will use Apple’s A9 chips, the 6C will use A8 microprocessors.  They’ll all be kitted out with NFC as well as fingerprint scanners.

Digitimes also reports that Taiwanese firms Wistron, Foxconn and Pegatron will manufacture the handsets.

Meanwhile the same wire reports that chip foundry TSMC will fabricate the chips for the 6S and 6C.

ZTE profits soar by 94 percent

zte-open-firefox-osChinese telecomms provider ZTE said higher sales of 4G network kit and smartphones meant that for its financial year it turned in a 94 percent net profit increased.

The Shenzhen based corporation said the net profit rose to $423.5 million in its 2014 financial year.

It claims it is the fastest growing providers of 4G across the world, with strong wins internationally and consolidation of its number one position in mainland China.

It claims its lead in 4G technology is allowing it to take the lead in research on 5G technology and it has already introduced pre G5 base stations for trial.

In addition to telecomms, ZTE made inroads into the cloud computing for the financial services market, and also showed growth in data centre products

Revenues from business outside China accounted for 50.2 percent of ZTE’s results.

The company said that it showed growth for both 4G smartphones and 3G handsets worldwide, and improved its branding, its channel distribution and its services.


UK MPs to get free iPads

new-ipadMembers of Parliament are to be given iPad Air 2s worth around £500 apiece after the general election in May.

The Times reports that parliament’s administrative body, the House of Commons Commission, thinks that the 650 members having an Apple device “will save money”.

The total bill of £1 million will be paid for by taxpayers.

MPs without ministerial jobs get paid £67,000 a year.

In addition to the iPads, MPs will also get spanking new laptops although it’s not clear which lucky vendor will get the order.

The iPad Air 2s come with 16GB of memory, wi-fi and Cellular iPad Air 2.

But an opposition cabinet officer, Chi Onwurah, said MPs should not use Apple iOS. Most of his constituents can’t afford the luxury of an Apple iPad, he said.