Tag: samsung

Handset sales up, Samsung gains share

nexus4-ceSmartphone wars are becoming rather predictable. Every quarter sales notch up and every quarter Samsung emerges as the big winner. The last quarter was no exception. However, growth is slowing as the market matures, although there is still plenty of room for growth in emerging markets. 

Worldwide phone sales totalled 426 million units in the first quarter, up 0.7 percent year-on-year. Smartphones saw a lot more growth, with sales totalling 2010 million units, up 42.9 percent from a year ago, according to a Gartner survey.

Sales of feature phones are down in all regions except Asia, while smartphones accounted for 49.3 percent of all phone sales worldwide, up from 34.8 percent in Q1 2012. At the same time feature phone sales contracted 21.8 percent.

“Feature phones users across the world are either finding their existing phones good enough or are waiting for smartphones prices to drop further, either way the prospect of longer replacement cycles is certainly not good news for both vendors and carriers looking to move users forward,” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said.

Samsung saw its market share go up from 21.1 percent to 23.6 percent. Apple also did well, growing from 7.8 to 9 percent, while Nokia’s share dropped from 19.7 to 14.8 percent. However, looking at smartphone sales, Samsung’s share was 30.8 percent, up from 27.6 percent. It was trailed by Apple at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent. LG grabbed the bronze, with a 4.8 percent share. Huawei also had a good quarter, upping their share to 4.4 and 3.8 percent respectively and outperforming former heavyweights like Nokia, Sony and HTC.

Android is still the dominant mobile operating system, with a share of 74.4 percent, up from 56.9 a year earlier. Apple’s iOS share stands at 18.2 percent, down from 22.5 percent a year ago. Just so it wouldn’t look like a two-horse race, Blackberry is still in the game with a 3 percent share, down from 6.8 percent last year. Apparently BB10 did not make a huge difference. Windows Phone has a 2.9 percent share, up from 1.9 percent last year. It is growing, but at a painfully slow rate.

Samsung boosted by smartphone sales

Samsung HQ in CaliforniaGrowing sales of its smartphones have helped Samsung reach a record quarterly profit.

The company announced that it had raked in a net profit of $6.4 billion in the first quarter of 2013, 42 percent higher than the same time last year.

Samsung said its IM Division rang up the first quarter with a  seven percent increase from the previous quarter. It added that this was driven by “sound sales” of its GALAXY S III and GALAXY Note II devices, which aided profit margins for Mobile Communications.

However it warned that it expected global demand for smartphones in the second quarter would “dampen” as a result of  “heightened competition”.

It also admitted that the January-to-March quarter proved trying on the PC business, while the Networks Business came around with a stable supply of Long Term Evolution (LTE), fourth-generation equipment.

Demand for consumer electronics products in emerging markets stemmed further sales losses but weak seasonality and a sluggish economy took their toll on Samsung’s sales of TVs and home appliances. However, Samsung’s VP and Head of Investor Relations moved to drum up support claiming the company expected to increase R&D spending for strengthening its “competitiveness ahead of planned new product launches.”

He did, however manage expectations, warning that  the company couls experience stiffer competition in the mobile business due to expansion of the mid- to low-end smartphone market while TV growth would continue to wane in developed markets.

On the components side, global supply of PC DRAM remained weak, brought on by adjustments in the product mix by chip makers opting to manufacture mobile and server DRAM over chips used in PCs. Samsung is looking to improve its profit margins with a differentiated product portfolio.

The Display Panel segment faced a challenging quarter due to seasonally soft demand from set makers. However the introduction of new devices and increased shipments of smartphone display panels, prevented steeper losses.

PCs plunge as smartphones and tablets soar

ipad3The latest survey of connected intelligent devices from IDC has revealed what we were all beginning to suspect – the day of the PC has gone, while tablets and smartphones continue their inexorable ascent.

The survey covers PCs, notebooks and smartphones.

IDC thinks that shipments of tablets will exceed desktop PCs in 2013 and topple notebook PCs next year. The tablet market is expected to grow year on year by 48.7 percent, representing 190 million units, and the smartphone market  will grow 27.2 percent to 918.5 million units.

Apple did better than expected in the fourth quarter of 2012, closing the gap with Samsung. That’s because of sales of the Apple iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini, meaning that Apple had 20.3 percent unit shipment market share compared to 21.2 percent for Samsung.  However, from a revenue point of view, Apple had 30.7 share compared to 20.4 percent for Samsung.  In short, Apple kit is more expensive.

During the rest of the decade, tablets and smartphone sales will continue to rise, as they are taken up by emerging markets.  Notebook PCs will only show single digit growth and desktop PCs will continue to fall. By 2017, desktop PCs will show to practically no growth.

Megha Saini, IDC research analyst, said that in emerging markets in particular, consumer spending starts with mobiles but move directly to tablets before they think about PCs.

Tablets a boon for shops

stylustabletWhile the humble desktop PC emits a death rattle across Europe, consumers are flocking to tablets – devices which tend to be much more comfortable to keep on your lap when channel surfing.

According to analyst house Context, tablet sales have increased an enormous 350 percent in a single year, proving a boon to retailers who had the foresight to invest in the devices. Global MD of retail research at Context, Adam Simon, pointed out that there is a shift away from online-only retail channels, giving bricks and mortar stores the opportunity to capitalise while the consumer embarks on its cheap-and-cheerful tablet frenzy. Amazon is an example, which now stocks the Kindle in regular stores.

Click and collect is an emerging trend which is also helping the traditional retailers. Rather than waiting for the postman to stealthily drop in a “Sorry you weren’t at home” card in the nanosecond he or she was at the door, customers order online and pick up their product from a designated site. This is a pretty neat option because you don’t need to take a week off work to make sure you catch your delivery. Argos has enjoyed success with this model.

Of course, Apple is still very popular, but Context pointed out that top tablets in Western Europe also included the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, the Galaxy Tab2 10, and the Nexus 7. Samsung’s laughing.

Context tablet analyst Salman Chaudhry said in a statement that Apple’s show and play concept “was a real leader and taught consumers to enjoy experiential purchases while also creating links between their own stores and other retail outlets”.

“Various tablet vendors are now following these footsteps by making more devices available in stores for people to trial before they buy, with even Google getting in on the act with their stands in PC World,” Chaudhry said.

 

Monitor market in decline

50scrtThe stagnating and eventually declining demand for the traditional PC desktop has had an inevitable knock-on effect in the monitor industry, with the latest report from analyst house IDC lowering its Q4 2012 estimate from 37.9 million to 36.3 million units.

IDC also lowered total shipment forecasts for 2013 from 142.8 million to 140.1 million units, or a six percent yearly decline. The grim forecast will not be getting any better, with expectations that by 2017 shipments will drop to 122.2 million units.

As with the desktop itself, the booming mobile computing trend is essentially killing off demand for the monitor. IDC pointed to “consumer confusion” about Windows 8 paired with the wider economic situation as pretty solid reasons why people aren’t buying, which means decreased demand going into 2013.

Average selling prices, too, are likely to decline by as much as 1.5 percent per year going through to 2017. Those that are interested in buying will be glad to hear that overcrowded competition will mean companies lowering prices as they try to win custom. Price per inch could decline from $8.35 in 2012 to $7.46 in 2017, which should continue because of what IDC calls the natural migration of users to larger screen sizes. In 2012, the mean screen size was 20.4″, but this should grow to 21.4″ by 2017.

Vendors can boost their margins by looking towards innovation and building consumer value with lower cost monitors. IDC cites Samsung’s PLS technology as an attractive way to seduce custom.

IDC’s senior research analyst, Linn Huang, said that failure to drive innovation in the market will “likely result in the long-term tradeoff of profit margin for volume retention”.

Of the vendors still in the game, Samsung is ahead with 15 percent of the market share. Dell followed with 12.7 percent, and HP, Lenovo, and LG had 10.8 percent, 9.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

HTC guerrilla marketing campaign takes on Samsung juggernaut

htc-quietly-going-underTroubled smartphone maker HTC is not giving in yet. It used the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event to stage a guerrilla marketing event of its own. HTC can’t take on Samsung in a set piece battle or in a war of attrition, but it seems eager to fight on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets. The streets of New York that is. 

HTC did not use Spitfires and Hurricanes, it resorted to an even more potent marketing weapon – lovely ladies handing out HTC One samples. Sometimes a friendly smile works better than a Vickers machine gun. HTC let the crowd try out its new flagship phone at the sidelines of Samsung’s Unpacked 2013 event and it offered a $100 rebate for anyone who trades in their old phone, reports Business Insider.

Samsung held two separate events in New York, one for the media and one for consumers. Apparently HTC chose to target the latter. It is unclear how many consumers fell for it, but in our opinion the HTC One has what it takes to slug it out with Samsung’s Galaxy S4. Sadly though, HTC lacks hundreds of millions of dollars to take on Samsung’s hype machine and hype is proving more important than actual products. 

HTC is down, but it is not out. And if the HTC One fails we will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted Samsung science.

HTC is not the only Android outfit that chose not to yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. LG took out a few cleverly placed ads, trolling Samsung’s SIV ads in New York as well.

Tech execs still dislike Windows 8

msWindows 8 has failed to rejuvenate the PC market and even hopes of a Win 8 tablet push are slowly evaporating. Jun Dong-Soo, the head of Samsung’s memory division, recently said Windows 8 is no better than Vista, which is pretty much the worst insult one can bestow on a Microsoft product.

Dong-Soo pointed out that the PC industry is still shrinking despite the Windows 8 launch and he also said Redmond’s Surface tablets aren’t doing well, which is hardly a secret. What’s more, Dong-Soo is not alone. Computerworld reports that an HP exec recently said that the Surface RT is too pricey, slow and not very nice to use.

Acer president Jim Wong also believes Windows 8 is not successful. However, Wong told the Wall Street Journal that he expects sales of Windows 8 touch enabled devices to pick up in the second half of the year. This does not mean that we will see tons of tablets, as it is more than likely that the bulk of Windows 8 touch devices will be Ultrabooks and hybrids.

Many are now looking to Redmond for some action, any action will do. IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell told CNET that it might be time for Microsoft to start thinking about some changes.

“There were certain decisions that Microsoft made that were in retrospect flawed. Notably not allowing people to boot into desktop mode and taking away the start button. Those two things have come up consistently. We’ve done some research and people miss that,” he said.

In retrospect, the decision to ditch the start button was probably a wrong call on Microsoft’s part, as many Windows users tend to be rather conservative and fear change. O’Donnell says it is time for Microsoft to rethink its design, relying on input from PC makers. He argued that Microsoft should change the OS, allowing it to boot to desktop mode, as many users simply dislike the new Metro UI.

However, Microsoft is is still not saying anything on design changes or possible price cuts. O’Donnell believes Windows 8 sales are “horribly stalled,” so it might not be too long before the company is forced to take action. In doing so, it will tell the world that its Windows 8 strategy was flawed, on top of its flawed tablet strategy. And smartphone strategy, search strategy, social strategy, consumer electronics strategy and just about every other botched idea that came out of Redmond since Vista.

Sharp moves at the blunt end of financial disaster

calmaThere are some rubbing of paws in the Far East over Samsung’s odd move to invest in Sharp.

For ages the two have been rivals, so sudden moves to smoke a peace pipe is a bit like Apple and Microsoft saying that they had been mates all the time.

The move appears to mostly come from clever negotiating from Sharp which needs an alliance in flat-screen TVs and mobile phone handsets, but it also needs some cash badly.

Samsung appears happy to write a cheque for $111 million in exchange for a three per cent stake in the Osaka-based company. It is likely that it will see a return in its money by getting a stable supply channel of liquid-crystal display panels.

According to NPD DisplaySearch, Sharp has been a key supplier of 40-inch LCD panels to Samsung, shipping over 400,000 units per quarter as well as 200,000 units per quarter of 60-inch LCD panels.

A report into the deal said that Sharp started to ship 32-inch (LCD panels) to Samsung at the beginning of 2013.

This means that Samsung will be buying more than one million panels from Sharp and it does not want someone coming in and muscling in on its supply.

Samsung can concentrate on the development of the next-generation organic light-emitting diode displays (OLEDs), which it has yet to mass produce while keeping its foot in the door with a nice low-cost supply of LCD TV display panels from its new chum.

It also isolates Apple from its main panel supplier. Sharp is currently one of the top display panel suppliers for Apple as it produces displays for the iPhone at its Kameyama plant.

Sharp can’t be too choosy about where its money is coming from. It wanted to raise millions from Foxconn, last year. But the deal fell through because the companies could not agree on the stock price and because Foxconn wanted to tell Sharp what to do.

Even after the deal with Samsung signed, the company still needs more investment. There is talk that either Intel writing a cheque but that might stuff up Sharp’s agreement with Qualcomm to manufacture next-generation LCD panels for smartphones in return for cash investments from Qualcomm.
As it is Qualcomm is already giving Sharp a contract in return for a three per cent stake in the firm once the project is completed.

 

How the big boys killed Google and Apple’s TV

5d5ff59c-434d-11e2-989b-12313d1f5c43About a year ago you could not read anything in the tech press about how the big names were pressing into the telly industry.

Google and Apple were all outed as being likely to become big players. Their channel partners waited, after all there was some big dosh to be made in joint operations, and suddenly there was nothing.

Google pulled off a big “oh look a badger” and started talking about Google Glass while Apple instructed its Tame Apple Press to start writing meaningless pieces about watches instead.
So what happened to the television being the cure for Apple and Google’s woes?

According to Forbes it was some dark satanic practices being carried out behind closed doors in the Far East.

But in the old days control the TV meant you might also control other household functions, like remote control of the air conditioning. Microsoft was early into TV operating systems for that reason.

Its logic is that the TV market is owned by Korean manufacturers and in particular Samsung, and by LG and they are making their plans grander by the minute.

LG recently bought WebOs from HP, specifically for use in smart TVs while Samsung already has a smart TV project that has sucked up developers of iOS, Windows and Android.

For Apple and Google to get into this market they have to do something pretty sexy in a channel where they are an innocent Shirley Temple doing a rounding redition of “good ship lollypop” before a convent of Nuns.

Apple looked at the competition, saw how good it was, and thought “Nah lets stick to making toys.” Google on the otherhand has been a bit more shifty.

The Web OS purchase was bad news for Google TV, but it exposed the extent of Google’s plans. In the beginning the company courted a number of big TV manufacturers for Google TV, with the idea of having the system embedded in a wide variety of TV sets.

It spoke to Sony, which was one of the first to make Google TVs, LG came on board for the second generation, and Samsung seemed to be ready to go Google as well by early 2012.

However a year afterwards Samsung’s Google TV never materialised and Sony stopped selling and now, LG is buying its own smart TV operating system. This means that Google is stuck to a companion box and is snookered.

So why have the big players gone all Altair’ on Google? It appears that it might not be Google, but the operating system that it runs on which has the big Asian names miffed.

For a while now there has been muttering that Android has become too powerful. The moaning has not just come from the Chinese Government, which is looking to build its own Red Friendly operating system, but Google’s partners too.

Some of that was Google’s fault, in buying Motorola, but there are some other reasons too. The first is that many are terrified of returning to a situation where one operating system has control over the market. Although Android is Open Source it still operates at the will of Google.

What is starting to look possible is that Samsung could use Tizen and LG will use Web OS.
The interesting point here that recently Intel revealed its TV plans. It is coming in late, and really few people will care, but it looks like it means that it will not only have to do it without Samsung or LG. True it could run its TV on WebOs or Tizen but that is not normally its style. It probably thought it could come in with Android and everything would be home and hosed. Only it wasn’t.

HTC struggles to stay afloat despite top notch products

htc-quietly-going-underHTC was one of the first smartphone makers to cash in on the Android craze a couple of years ago, but the good times are long gone and if its fortunes don’t turn around soon, it might be up for sale, or worse.

Back in 2010 and the first half of 2011, HTC was the darling of tech hacks and investors alike. It was posting strong sales, with triple digit revenue growth for four consecutive quarters. However, it has been downhill ever since.

On Wednesday HTC announced that its sales in February dropped a whopping 44 per cent year-on-year and 27 per cent compared to January. At the moment, HTC’s market cap is roughly one fifth of what it was in mid-2011.

So what on earth went wrong, and what led to HTC’s annus horribilis last year?

It wasn’t the products. Last year HTC decided to focus on fewer phones, which seemed like a logical step for a small outfit, as it could allocate its resources more efficiently and turn itself into an upmarket brand. The resulting One series phones got stellar reviews, but the positive vibe did not result in strong sales. HTC’s flagship One X featured a better screen than its arch nemesis, the Samsung Galaxy S3. It also looked a bit nicer and its build quality was vastly superior. In terms of hardware and software, it was on a par with Samsung’s S3 juggernaut. The same is true of other HTC phones.

For years HTC was viewed as a geeky smartphone brand with excellent but somewhat dull products. It tried to shake off this perception by introducing a bit more flare to its smartphone designs and then there was the ill-conceived Beats Audio deal. Clearly, it didn’t help. Worse, Samsung’s approach of flooding the market with countless Galaxy models worked like a charm. Instead of diluting the Galaxy brand with cheap, plasticky phones, Samsung managed to get more brand recognition than Google’s Android OS. Galaxy has become synonymous with Android, and then some.

HTC’s new flagship, dubbed One sans suffix, is already getting great reviews. It features a 4.7-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor, which is the fastest currently available mobile chipset, along with an innovative Ultrapixel camera and a new dual-membrane microphone. It ticks all the right boxes and should be able to take on anything Samsung, LG or Sony could throw at it.

Sadly though, that is not enough. HTC simply can’t sell its gear or get its message across. It lacks the resources of consumer electronics giants, so it can’t market its products as effectively and it can’t get sweetheart carrier deals like big players. What’s more, smartphones have already gone mainstream and HTC simply lacks the brand recognition of more consumerish brands. Geeks might love HTC phones, they can get very positive reviews, but mainstream consumers just don’t care. They don’t read tech sites and they buy Samsungs instead.

So although HTC pioneered Android phones and although it still has excellent products, it could get the unflattering distinction of being the first Android smartphone maker to go out of business, in the middle of a mobile boom and with very little fault of its own.

LTE smartphone shipments surge 1100% in Q4 2012

LTE-logoThe smartphone market is slowly maturing and overall handset sales, including feature phones, remained flat in the fourth quarter of 2012. However, sales of LTE enabled devices skyrocketed in developed markets.

According to Strategy Analytics, shipments of 4G smartphones grew by 1100 per cent in Q4 2012.

The surge was led by Apple and Samsung, while at the same time shipments of 3G phones slowed. The trend coincides with an aggressive carrier push in Europe, including the UK.

Just a year ago, LTE connectivity was reserved for high end smartphones, but the mobile landscape is changing and even cheaper SoCs now offer integrated LTE. Qualcomm leads the way with last year’s Krait-based Snapdragon S4 chips, along with new “century series” Snapdragons coming on line right now. Apple already has LTE in current generation products, although older 4-series iPhones lack LTE support. By the end of the year Nvidia will introduce the Tegra 4i, its first SoC with integrated LTE, and Intel also plans to deliver LTE in its next generation mobile chips, coming in early 2014.

In terms of volume, smartphones are expected to overtake feature phones this year, which means plenty of mid-range LTE smartphones will find their way to consumers’ pockets. Although LTE is expected to be the fastest growing WWAN technology in history, it is still off to a slow start in many markets, including Britain. According to its last earnings report, Everything Everywhere didn’t add many 4G users since it launched its 4GEE network. However, things are picking up and other carriers will enter the market later this year, although Ofcom failed to raise plenty of cash on its 4G spectrum auction.

Heavyweights hug mobile payments, but more work ahead

google-walletA series of optimistic reports and forecasts on e-commerce seems to indicate that mobile payments are becoming increasingly commonplace and that we could soon ditch our trusty leather wallets in favour of smartphones. Sadly though, we won’t, at least not anytime soon.

The trend is positive and we are seeing a lot of growth, especially in m-commerce. In addition, a number of big players have made significant announcements in recent months. Last week Visa expanded its Visa Ready Partner Programme in an effort to get more vendors, developers and retailers on board. Samsung followed up with a service of its own, the Samsung Wallet, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s Passbook app. Samsung already managed to attract several partners for its new service, including Visa.

Then there is MasterCard’s MasterPass service, which allows retailers come up with their own applications and services, based on MasterCard’s infrastructure. PayPal is no newcomer to the market, but its PayPal Here service is. Launched in the US last year, it finally found its way across the pond to European shores. It offers a comprehensive solution, with a hardware dongle and cross-platform app support, and it allows users to pay using credit cards, cash, PayPall wallet or checks.

What about the elephant in the room? Well, there’s actually two elephants. Google Wallet has been around for quite a while, but it failed to take off. It was supposed to demonstrate NFC capabilities on Nexus gear, dating back to the Nexus S, which it did. However, much like NFC, Google Wallet never made much of a name for itself.

It might have something to do with the second elephant, Apple, as it never embraced NFC technology and it is still unclear whether the next iPhone will feature it. Apple has not made much noise on the mobile payment front, which doesn’t mean it is not looking into it. To the contrary, Apple has already filed several patents for NFC enabled devices and services. Cupertino doesn’t like spilling the beans on upcoming products and services, and unlike some companies, it tends to have excellent execution. It is also worth noting that Apple bought AuthenTec, a maker of fingerprint sensors and security solutions, for $356 million last year.

With all that in mind, nobody should be surprised by soaring m-commerce and mobile payments statistics. In fact, we should be seeing even more services, from brick and mortar shops to pubs, but we aren’t. Mobile payments and are still geeky turf, with little traction among mainstream consumers. The sheer lack of widespread support for m-commerce platforms and the fast pace of development means that many consumers don’t even know it exists. What’s more, many of those that do still have some reservations.

Privacy and security are valid concerns, but a recent survey by Intela revealed that the majority of smartphone users in the UK now feel comfortable with mobile payments. It is hardly surprising, as most smartphone users have grown accustomed to making micro transactions in app stores or through in-app payments. The difference between spending a few pence on an app and a few pounds in a retail shop is philosophical and not technical in nature. In fact, it appears that humble micro transactions have already done more for m-commerce confidence than all the fancy services rolled out by credit card companies and tech outfits.

In spite of that, smartphones will not replace wallets, at least not entirely and certainly not anytime soon. Cash can’t be hacked, it can’t be rendered useless by a flat battery or a few drops of lager. In some cases it is just more practical. The same pretty much goes for credit cards. Smartphones have their own set of advantages. Motorway tolls, public transportation, congestion charges and parking based on GPS information are some that come to mind. Phones are an excellent payment platform, but they will complement cash and cards, not replace them.

Nexus 4 shipments estimated at just one million units

nexus4-ceGoogle’s Nexus 4 has been on sale for three months, although one could argue that it has been on sale for a couple of weeks, since it wasn’t really available anywhere. For some reason, Google grossly underestimated demand for its latest vanilla Android phone, resulting in ridiculous shortages in every single market.

Android enthusiasts managed to work out that Google shipped just a million units in the first three months of sales, after four months in production.

Microserver market set to be a money spinner

HP-MicroServerCompanies interested in jumping on the next industry craze might want to have a look at what is being cooked up in the microserver market.

Analysts like iSuppli thinks that shipments of microservers will go up by three times this year. While that sounds like a lot, we are talking about a miniscule market now so a threefold increase is only 291,000 microservers.

But, if the pundits are right, this year will just be the start of something fairly bright and glorious which will start netting huge numbers of sales next year.

The forecast shows shipments increasing substantially each year until 2016. By then, it will represent one-tenth of overall server shipments.

For those who came in late, a microserver uses a bunch of densely-packed, low-power chips. The chips themselves are slower than an asthmatic turtle with a heavy load of shopping, but they can manage to do simple tasks without wasting power.

This makes them ideal for providing contact information on one website user. The bigger web-companies, including Facebook and Yahoo, and the banks are looking at them.

IHS says that Microserver shipments are going up faster than general servers and blade servers.
It will take a while for them to dent normal server shipments. To match that IDC estimates that microservers will have to come up with 8.4 million sales. It is worthwhile remember those are  last year’s figures and that companies were not buying due to the recession.

Already the big names in the chip industry are starting to come up with their plans for this big boom. Both Intel and ARM have announced that they are ready to come up with chips ready. The key was having 64-bit versions, which Intel was tooled up for while ARM wasn’t.

Now it looks like ARM is ready to come to the party and its partner AppliedMicro announced it will have something ready by the middle of the year.

Chief Financial Officer Robert Gargus told Reuters this morning he has been increasingly impressed this month with performance test results on new chips that include 64-bit features widely used in servers.

The company’s shareholders also like such talk. AppliedMicro stock has surged almost 80 percent since September. Gargus however seems to think that the serious revenue from microserver chips will not be around until next year. When they come through, those chips could account for as much as half the company’s business.

Intel is vying for a sizable cut with its Atom-based processor that uses just six watts. AMD snapped up SeaMicro, and Rackspace has already certified the new SM15000 for use in OpenStack.
Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, which both use ARM’s technology to make chips for mobile gadgets, could also move into the microserver market and create a formidable challenge for AppliedMicro, analysts say.

Then there are the hardware makers who will be wading in for a slice of the pie. All up, there will be a lot of people who will want to make a pile out of technology before the technology becomes old hat.

Samsung eats into Apple’s tablets

Samsung HQ in CaliforniaResearch firm IDC has released a set of figures showing that Apple’s dominance in the tablet market has started to slide.

But Samsung effectively doubled its market share in the last quarter of 2012, according to IDC. The Galaxy tablets sold nearly eight million units representing a market share of 2.2 million.

Apple, on the other hand, has seen its market share slip from 51.7 percent to 43.6 percent, although it sold more units.

IDC said that the last quarter of 2012 saw worldwide sales of tablets rise to 52.5 million units, a rise of 75 percent.

It’s not a direct correlation, but PC shipments fell in the last quarter of 2012. But even though Microsoft introduced the Surface tablet towards the end of last year, it only sold 900,000 units.  The price of the Surface is hurting sales, IDC believes.