Category: Products

A billion smartphones ship

threeiphonesIDC said that a billion smartphones shipped worldwide.

There are over seven billion humans on the planet.

IDC said that that vendors sold 1,004.2 million smartphones – a rise of 38.4 percent from 2012 – which equates to 725.3 million units in 2012.

And smartphones accounted for 55.1 percent of all mobile phone shipments in 2013 – a rise from the 41.7 percent smartphone share in 2012.

Samsung was the market leader, with Apple, Huawei, Lenovo and LG occupying the top five vendors.

Samsung shipped 313.9 million units in 2013, Apple 153.4 million, Huawei 48.8 million, LG 47.7 million and Lenovo 45.5 million.

“Others” exceeded Samsung by shipping 394.9 million units during 2013.

DRAM shortage continues to bite

nand-chipsIt looks as though the shortage of DRAM will continue well into 2014.

A fire at an SK Hynix factory last year was primarily responsible for the run on DRAM and even though the company says that production has resumed, there is still an element of catch up.

According to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, speciality DRAM chips are particularly badly affected due to increased demand from various sectors for SDRAMs.

Spot prices for DDR3 memory have risen and are expected to rise even further as the year goes on.

Samsung readies a tablet blitz

Samsung rules the roostGiant chaebol Samsung is readying an assault on the low end tablet market with a range of cheapo machines intended to consolidate its place in the sector.

It will introduce a Galaxy Tab 3 Lite – a seven inch unit – which is set to be priced at $129, Taiwanese wire Digitimes reports. The machine will have a 1024×600 display, use a 1.2GHz Cortex A9 microprocessor, come with 1GB of storage, have a three megapixel camera and Android 4.2, the wire reports.

But it’s not leaving it there, it seems.  It will also introduce more seven inch as well as eight inch, 10 inch and 12 inch models this year.

Samsung remains second in the tablet market, behind Apple, but wants to be number one.

Unlike Apple, and many other players in the tablet market, Samsung has its own fabs and can source memory, microprocessor, display and other components as well as use its own machine assembly lines.

Business to go for smart specs

spyspexA company claims that enterprises will adopt smart glasses faster than your average geek.

APX Labs, which makes Skylight software, claims that Google, Epson and others are making devices which in conjunction with apps will be adopted by large corporations.

Skylight, it claims, will let workers share their view with remote colleagues, continuously monitor important information, control devices, sensors and equipments remotely and find and track objects and people.

Vertical sectors adopting smart glasses are likely to include nurses, doctors, fieldservice technicians, warehouse workers, and factory workers.

Skylight is already being used in multiple large businesses in a beta programme while the software officially launches next January.

Ed English, product manager at APX Labs, gives a little demo in a video here. He isn’t wearing smart glasses.

CWCS to offer unlimited bandwidth

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeManaged hosting company CWCS said today it will offer unlimited bandwidth on cloud server packages.

According to the company, its cloud servers are more inexpensive because removing data transfer charges will lower the prices.

MD Karl Mendez said: “We can offer unlimited bandwidth because we run, manage and operate our own data centres, using high specification equipment and servers with a deliberately built-in amount of spare capacity.”

He said his company is one of the first in the UK to offer cloud servers with unlimited data transfer.

He said that the unlimited bandwidth is now available on CWCS Managed Hosting’s recommended cloud server plans and also on cloud servers that clients have configured themselves.

The services – which have a number of Windows and Linux specifications, are available from its UK data centres.

Android leaps ahead in smartphone sales

Keep taking the tabletsA report from analyst company Gartner shows that while the Android OS has lept ahead in the third quarter of 2013, Apple’s iOS has lost share.

According to Gartner figures, Android has 81.9 percent share, iOS 12.1 percent, and Microsoft 3.6 percent.  In the same quarter last year, the figures were 72.6 percent, 14.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Gartner attributes growth of Microsoft sales to decline in the shares of other OSes – particularly Blackberry, which had 1.8 percent in Q3 2013 compared to 5.2 percent in the same period last year.

On the smartphone device front, Samsung has 32.1 percent, Apple 12.1 percent, Lenovo 5.1 percent, and LG 4.8 percent for the third quarter.

The figures for smartphones shipped for the whole year is expected to reach 1.81 billion units, up 3.4 percent from 2012. Gartner thinks that in mature markets, people will buy smaller sized tablet over replacing older smartphones.

ODM bullish about notebook sales

Flying in the face of received wisdom, Compal’s president Ray Chen is talking up notebook sales in 2014.notebooks

Compal is an original design manufacturer (ODM) – that is to say a company which makes notebooks for big brand names.

According to a report in Digitimes, Chen expects shipments to hit 40 million units next year.

But he is conservative about touchscreen notebooks, despite Microsoft’s best efforts, and thinks they’ll only account for 15 percent of shipments next year. Compal will ship 15 million tablets next year.

He told the Taiwanese wire that its customers have been placing additional orders in this final quarter and expects notebook business to increase as enterprises are forced into upgrading as Windows XP reaches the end of the road.

You can read more, here.

Apps ain’t heavy, they’re by Brother

ipad3Brother said it has created a series of apps intended to help its reseller community and its salesforce.

And to that end, it has given its entire sales force iPads with 3G access intended to help them put the message across about their products to resellers when they’re on the road.

David Peters, who heads up strategic development at Brother UK, said: “Access to our bespoke iPad apps means that our salesforce can easily access our online corporate resources, including those on our partner programme Brother Network, and as a result, provide better answers and a higher level of service.

“Brother UK is living and breathing an agile working culture, which increasingly typifies the working style of many of our partners and product end-users. By investing in the latest technology, we are not only improving our service to our partners, but also showcasing the progress we are making as a forward thinking solutions provider.”

Sharp readies cloud push

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeSMEs are not taking sufficient advantage of the opportunities and cost advantages of the cloud, according to a survey by Sharp.

It has launched its Cloud Portal Office today, a subscription based model aimed at SMEs with data held at Amazon Cloud Services in Dublin.

Chris Hale, product manager of software at Sharp UK told ChannelEye that people running small to medium enterprises often didn’t realise the savings that could be made by having their data in the cloud, rather than in their offices. There were advantages from the security aspect too, with backups held remotely in case of fires or other catastrophes.

Hale said companies often had little idea how much it cost to maintain their own IT equipment costs.  The Cloud Portal offering, while launched today, will go live on the 2nd of December next giving it time to train its own direct and its channels’ indirect sales force.

SMEs, Sharp said, are “not only failing to realise the business benefits the cloud can bring, but also can lose control of networks and introducing vulnerabilities”.  Of the 1,500 plus employees surveyed across Europe, 83 percent didn’t think that they had an official cloud network in the workplace.

Brits just want to keep taking the tablets

Santa CalusIn the buildup to Christmas it seems that the hot item for Santa’s stocking are tablets.

That’s according to nevouchercodes.co.uk, which today reports there’s an 18 percent increase for people searching for tablets.

But the white box buys may not fare so well, because the company says most of the searches are for iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets and Amazon Kindles.

MD of the company Steve Barnes said that whiole people are searching they’re not buying yet.  Tesco and Argos entering the fray makes tablets more affordable as a gift, he said.

People are also searching for deals on Xbox360s and PlayStation 3s because they’re expecting older models to be discounted in advance of the release of new consoles.

White box tablets make the grade

ipad3A report said that shipments of unbranded tablets amounted to 25 million in the third quarter of this year.

Digitimes Research said that figure is up by 56.3 percent sequentially and up 40.4 percent year on year.

Most of the shipments went abroad and seven inch screens accounted for most of the growth.

Yet the research outfit believes it won’t be all plain sailing for the white box suppliers because big brands will, and are, offering Android units at prices that compete with the white box units.

Mediatek continues to make progress in the sector, with its chips accounting for 70 percent of application processors.

Sales in Europe and the US of white box units often accompany other bundling deals, but the Chinese manufacturers of the tablets can expect to make headway in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, according to the research.

Huawei, HGST intro 6TB systems

huawei-liveHitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) and Chinese comms company Huawei said that they will deploy the Ultrastar He6 terabyte helium filled hard drives.

Huawei said that it is one of the first vendors to use the helium filled hard drives.

The use of helium instead of air lets the hard drives reduce shea resistance caused by the platter movement as well as letting standard 3.5-inch drives to include more platters.

Huawei claims that the drives improve capacity density by 87/5 percent, cuts power consumption by 23 percent and reduces temperature by four degrees Celsius.

The advantage of the drives also allows new designs for storage systems and datacentres, Huawei claimed.

Microsoft uses Thales to protect Azure

clouds3Software giant Microsoft is using Thales’ technology to protect its Rights Management service  – Azure.

Thales said that Microsoft is using its nShield hardware security modules.

Rights management, said Thales, was largely handled by infrastructure within enterprises.  But shifting to a cloud model allows more accessibility and ease of use.

Microsoft thinks that by using an nShield MSM to allow the transfer of individual critical keys more security will be available to companies.

Microsoft partner management Dan Plastina said that because it was working with Thales its customers can generate and upload master keys to a cloud based HSM.

AMD bullies Nvidia with $399 Hawaii card

radeon-r9-290A few weeks ago AMD introduced its Volcanic Islands products at an event in Hawaii. Most of the line-up were just rebrands, but the flagship R9 290X and R9 290 weren’t. 

The Hawaii cards are based on all new silicon, 6.2bn transistors crammed onto a 28nm die. AMD did not announce the prices at the event, but a couple of weeks later it launched the R9 290X at $549. The price was lower than expected and it forced Nvidia to slash the price of the GTX 780 by $150.

Just as Nvidia countered the R9 290X, AMD decided to make its life miserable once again. The Hawaii Pro version of the card, the R9 290, launched at $399 – making it $100 cheaper than the GTX 780, which went down from $649 to $499 last week.

There is, however, a slight problem for Nvidia. The R9 290 ends up significantly faster than the GTX 780 and in some cases it can even give the $999 GTX Titan a run for its money.
So, the new card is $100 cheaper than what Nvidia has to offer, yet it’s faster. There is one problem though, reviewers report the R9 290 can get very loud, but it seems like a small price to pay considering the price/performance ratio. In addition, it’s only a matter of time before AIB partners come up with non-reference designs, with custom coolers to keep the noise down.

Nvidia was already forced into two price cuts following AMD’s launch. First it slashed the prices of its sub-$199 products to compete with AMD’s rebranded R7-series. Then it slashed the prices of the GTX 780 and GTX 770, only to be undercut by AMD’s new $399 card. Most punters were expecting the R9 290 to end up at ~$449, but like we said last month, AMD had a couple of good reasons to launch it at $399 – and it did.

Nvidia simply doesn’t have much wiggle room left. Perhaps it’s feeling a bit like Guy Fawkes, and hoping bonfire night is merely a damp squib.

The Itanium lives on in HP kit

HPWe don’t know how many Itanium microprocessors Intel still manufactures in its wafer manufactories.

The chip hasn’t been an Intel runaway success but today HP said it lives on its mission critical HP Nonstop technology for X86 servers.

According to HP, eight of the top 10 world banks use HP Nonstop and now the company is selling Integrity blade servers based on the Itanium 9500 series.

HP is, it said already developing tech to extend Nonstop to the X86 but it willtake several years before adoption, the company said.

Blade systems NB56000c-cg and NB56000c are already available, with prices varying. Resellers should contact their HP account manager for more information.