Tag: samsung

Samsung signs up Mediatek

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picGiant Korean chaebol Samsung has signed a deal with Mediatek to supply application processors for smartphones, with shipments set to start in the second half of this year.

So says Digitimes Research, which said that currently there is a hole in Samsung’s lineup. Samsung currently uses Marvell and Spreadtrum to provide applictation processors.

But apparently Samsung is unhappy with its two suppliers because it’s claimed supply and support was indifferent.

Mediatek actually competes with Samsung in both the Chinese and Indian markets but it seems that because of the range of the products it supplies.

But it seems a deal has been satisfactorily struck.

It is something of a puzzle that Samsung feels it needs to turn to Mediatek because the Korean company has advanced semiconductor fabrication equipment and expertise of its own inhouse.

But Digitimes Research speculates that Samsung still needs help from outside, particularly in the wearable marketplace.On the face of it, the Mediatek partnership is intended to bolster Samsung’s low end range of phones, but it may also begin to supply its high end models too.

 

Freescale-NXP merger challenges the giants

renesas-chips (1)The proposed merger of Freescale and NXP will result in a semiconductor company that challenges the giants.

That’s according to chief analyst Dale Ford at IHS, who said the merged entity will be in the top 10 semiconductor companies in the world, outranking other giants such as Broadcom and ST Microelectronics.

He said the strength of uniting Freescale and NXP will be shown in automotive applications particularly.

NXP, formerly the semiconductor division of Dutch giant Philips, used to compete in the same market, said Ford.

But the new top 10 will look fundamentally different. By revenues, Intel will remain number one with 14.14 percent, followed by Samsung, Qualcomm, SK Hynix, US DRAM firm Micron, Texas Instruments and Toshiba.

The merged company will be second place in the micro controller market, and it will also have significant share in the digital signal processing (DSP) market, much used in consumer applications.

IHS noted in its report that Freescale is practically an exclusive source for power architecture processors – and although its share in this market is tiny compared to ARM and X86 semiconductors, it has big wins in the military aerospace market.

Light sensor market set to boom

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picMEMS and sensors will be integral to the internet of things (IoT).

And today a report from analyst firm IHS said that the main beneficiaries of the boost in light sensors will be Samsung, Apple and Chinese original equipment manufacturing.

By 2016, revenues fro this sector will amount to $767 million, and Samsung is the main driver of the growth. Last year Samsung accounted for 43 percent of light sensor spending in smartphones.

Apple accounts for 19 percent of the market in 2014, mostly because it currently uses customised and high performance parts.

But Chinese OEMs spending in 2014 represented 23 percent of the market, mostly on low cost components as companies vied to produce inexpensive smartphones which actually have started competing with Samsung on the smartphone front.

As far as suppliers of the sensors go, AMS shipped 744 million units in 2014 and was the top vendor with design wins from both Apple and from Samsung.

Maxim shipped 132 million light sensors last year – most of them components in Samsung flagship products

But there are some contenders on the block, including Sitronix, Elan and Everlight, said IHS.

Sound systems face wireless revolution

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 14.24.31Home audio systems are undergoing a sea change because of the popularity of mobile phones, according to a report from IHS Technology.

The analysts said that shipments of connected audio products – that includes wireless speakers, wireless sounders and connected AV receivers will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 88 percent.

In unit terms, that’s a rise from 1.5 million units in 2010 to close to 66 million units in 2016.

Paul Erickson, a senior analyst at IHS, said that its penetration of tablets and smartphones and streaming services including Spotify that are creating a shift in peoples’ perception.

“Consumers are seeking ways to wireless play audio from their mobile devices on speakers in the room they’re in, in multiple rooms in a household, and on speakers carried with the. This need will drive strong global growth in wi-fi and Bluetoosh connected speakers over the next few years,” he said.

Major players in the market will include Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Denon, and DTS.

And while prices for connected multi-room speakers are high, they will still be adopted by many people. Sony, Samsung and LG are all expected to put serious marketing bucks into the equation.

Judges question Apple’s Samsung harm

Samsung Logo GrillworkApple received a shock in a US Appeals court when judges actaully questioned if it had been really financially harmed by Samsung stealing its ideas.

Apple told a US appeals court that rival Samsung should be barred from selling products that infringe on its smartphone patents, but the judges were skeptical.

Judge Kimberly Moore was skeptical that Apple was being harmed since it already licenses some technology to other companies. “You’ve already licensed these patents up the wazoo!” she said.

For those who don’t speak American, she was saying that it was difficult to claim you were damaged by the patent information being used, when you gave it to lots of other people for a small fee.

In the latest round, Apple is seeking an injunction against sales of some Samsung products it says infringe on its patents for technologies such as slide-to-unlock, auto-correct and quick links that can, for instance, send a telephone number from an email to the phone dialer.

Apple lawyer William Lee said Samsung could quickly design work-arounds for the patents but did not do so. He told the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington that Samsung was harming Apple.

Moore disagreed: “You’ve licensed them to everyone. So why is it irreparable harm if Samsung uses the patents?”

Judge Sharon Prost said she was “having a hard time getting past irreparable harm.”

Lee said other smartphone companies, like Google and Huawei had not licensed the technology.

To make matters worse, Samsung lawyer Kathleen Sullivan said the South Korean company had all but stopped using the patents, so no injunction was needed.

Moore lost his rag a bit and wondered then if Samsung had stopped using the patents, why were they still fighting it. “Why am I wasting my time?”

It is a good question. The so called thermonuclear war started by Steve Jobs when Samsung used his rounded rectangle design failed to do anything other than keep lawyers rich. Now it seems pointless to continue it. But it is a bit on the nose to expect Samsung to quit.

Intel loses the plot – analysts

Intel-logoA financial analyst said that an announcement made by Samsung at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona has thrown into sharp relief Intel’s inability to capture market share.

Mark Hibben, at Seeking Alpha, said that while the CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich, delivered a keynote at MWC, Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S6 phone shows that the California company is way behind in its egregious goals.

Hibben said that Samsung is targeting Apple’s iPhone 6, “making it clear that Apple and Samsung completely dominate the mobile device world, leaving Intel with only aspirations”.

The Galaxy S6 smartphone uses a Samsung 64-bit processor, using the company’s 14 nanometre FinFET process.

He said this shows that ARM has leaped into the process lead over Intel, which only has its SoFIA on a 28 nanometre TSMC process, said Hibben. That, he thinks, makes Intel two generations behind process tech for smartphones.

He said companies like Apple and Samsung “can deploy staggering capital resources in the pursuit of non Intel Inside”.

Intel made a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group in 2014.

 

Smartphone sold over a billion last year

smartphones-genericIn 2014, sales of smartphones to individuals reached 1.2 billion units worldwide, a rise of 28.4 percent compared to 2013.

Worldwide sales of smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2014 saw an increase of 29.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013, totalling 367.5 million units, according to Gartner.

And in the fourth quarter, Samsung lost its number one spot to Apple – as a result of product introductions in Apple’s case, and erosion of sales in Samsung’s case.

Samsung lost 10 percent in market share, according to Anshul Gupta, a Gartner analyst. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” said Gupta.

For the whole year, Samsung remained the leader, shipping 307,597 units worldwide, while Apple shipped 191,426 phones.

The top five vendors in the fourth quarter were Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, according to Gartner. These last three vendors are all Chinese companies.

Enterprise to boost tablet sales

cheap-tabletsA report said that adoption of tales by commercial enterprises are set to boost sales in Western Europe.

IDC said the commercial market for tablets will reach over 11 million units by 2019 – that’s 130% CAGR.

The tablet market so far has largely been driven by home users, and by early adopters in corporations. Newer designs are lighter, better connected and have options including keyboards.

IDC said that devices are now shipping with features that IT departments like, particularly in security, and both Samsung and Apple have started to target the corporate market.

According to Chrystelle Labesque, a research manager at IDC, over two thirds of the enterprises IDC surveyed in Western Europe have already deployed tablets.

The main reason for their adoption in enterprises include price erosion, more features and increasing employee productivity.

The news couldn’t come any sooner for vendors selling tablets for personal use. All indications are that there is a degree of saturation in this sector.

 

LG and Samsung make iWatch screens

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picLG Display and Samsung Electronics are to supply screens for Apple smartwatches when the shiny toy finally hits the shops.

The Electronic Times reported that LG Display will be the sole supplier of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for the Apple watches that go on sale in April.

Samsung Display will also become a supplier for the next version of the smartwatch that is expected to go on sale either sometime in the second half of this year or early 2016.

No-one is confirming the rumour, but it makes sense and is probably true.

Apple has scheduled a special event on March 9, where it is expected to showcase Apple Watch. To have got this far in the production process, Jobs’ Mob should have sorted out its display supplier months ago.

The watch, which will let consumers check their email, pay for goods at retail stores and monitor personal health information, represents Apple’s only product introduction since the 2010 launch of the iPad.

The watch is likely to sell millions, but only because of the Apple logo. It has been shipped so late and with half of the promised healthcare enhancements dropped, because Jobs’ Mob could not get them to go.

Samsung Group freezes salaries

Samsung rules the roostSouth Korea’s lead chaebol, Samsung Group, announced on Thursday that it has decided to freeze salaries for its executives next year in an attempt to reduce costs, the first time since the 2009 global financial crisis. The income of approximately 2,000 executives at the business group, which includes Samsung Electronics Co. will remain fixed throughout 2015. Incentive pay will continue and will depend on each division’s profit performance.

The main culprit for the corporate belt tightening is Samsung Electronics unit, which has seen consecutive quarterly earning falls as the company continues to lose market share to Apple and aggressive low cost Chinese rivals. Samsung Electronics has seen its market share drop 7.7% to 24.4% of the global market according to Gartner Inc. Meanwhile major Chinese brands including Huawei, Xiami and Lenovo expanded their global market share to 15.5% in the third quarter – up 4.1% year-on-year.

Samsung Electronics took other cost-saving reduction earlier in the year, which include executive travel in economy class on flights under 10 hour durations and encouraging employees to take vacations instead of receiving pay for unused time off.

Techeye Take

Samsung has been warning for some time now that the profitability of its mobile phone division would be under duress – in fact they earlier declared that the chaebol’s main profit centre would be the semiconductor division which has been reporting good results. The fact that all the group’s executives will share in the discomfort will not be lost on those deemed responsible for their lack of expected Korean management skills…,

Tablets slow right down

cheap-tabletsOnly 221.4 million tablets will ship worldwide this year – a drop of 11.9 percent compared to 2014.

That’s according to Digitimes Research (DR), which predicts that Apple will continue to take the lead, managing to ship over 54 million units this year. While this sounds healthy, that’s a predicted decline of 16/6 percent.

The so-called “white box” market will see the biggest decline, with a drop of 20 percent. Margins on these products are super slim.

DR gives estimates for the different vendors’ shares of the market – with Apple accounting for 24.5 percent, Samsung 16.3 percent, Lenovo 5.3 percent, Asustek 4.2 percent, Google 1.7 percent, Acer 1.7 percent, and Amazon only 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, a report in Chinese language Economic Daily News said that Amazon has cut orders of tablets, sourced by Compal and Quanta by as much as 30 percent.

Compaq has the lion’s share of Amazon tablet business, churning out 80 percent of them compared to Quanta’s 20 percent, the Economic Daily News said.

 

Virtual reality market set to soar

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 14.19.20While virtual reality (VR) has been around for a good old while, a market research firm now predicts massive growth in the marketplace.

ABI Research said it expects to see three million VR units ship this year, but that will soar to 55 million by 2020.

It believes that head mounted displays will be the winning form factor for both augmented reality (AR) and VR.

The reason for the growth is that mobile reliant devices such as the Samsung Gear VR will be successful, while “tethered defices” and stand alone devices are likely to need more time to mature.

One of the reasons is that existing software, like CAD (computer aided design) software, can be easily modified to support VR devices.

Sports networks and video makers will also start supporting these type of devices.

ABI believes that it won’t be until next year before this market really starts to fly.

Samsung starts trading in Chinese currency

samsung-hqSamsung Electronics has announced that it will start trading the Chinese currency directly with the South Korean won.

The news came as the South Korean government announced that it hoped to sign a final free trade agreement with China within the first half of the year, in a further sign of strengthening relations between the countries.

South Korea is the third country in the world to begin direct trading of the yuan for a local currency in December under the aim of grabbing a larger share of the growing business opportunities involving the yuan outside China.

With a big player like Samsung taking part, the thought is that other big companies will join in.

Samsung said in a statement it was “looking into starting won-yuan direct trading”. It did not elaborate, but traders said such a move would be a big boost for the market, which until now has been in operation led by banks.

“The fact that there’s real demand and supply for commercial purposes carries a big significance even though the amount is small,” said one currency dealer at a local bank.

South Korea has been encouraging companies trading with China to settle transactions with the yuan or the won instead of the US dollar, but actual use of the local currencies in trade deals remains very low.

Samsung uses the currency market to settle direct transactions between its headquarters and its foreign subsidiaries, and it is not clear how much influence it can make on the market on its own.

LG fights to make OLED more mainstream

tvLG will partner with Chinese and Japanese firms in a bid to make organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display televisions more acceptable to the great unwashed.

LG has not said who it is teaming up with or what its OLED partnership would mean for those signing up to it.

So far, its affiliate LG Display is the only panel maker that can mass-produce OLED TV panels, and Samsung and LG are the biggest proponents of the technology for the TV market.

The LG companies say OLED offers better picture quality and consumes less power than mainstream liquid crystal displays (LCD).

However, they are still more expensive than LCD televisions. Quantum dot technology, which has many of the advantages of OLED but costs less, could also undercut OLED TV sales.

Some Chinese TV makers like Skyworth Digital Holdings and Konka are using OLED, but analysts say the technology needs to be more widely used by manufacturers to take off.

Samsung has said it has no plans to make OLED TVs in the immediate future because the technology is not yet ready for mass consumption.

Sony said it would be open to using OLED displays for its televisions but nothing appears to have happened yet.

Apple might troll its way into VR control

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405Famous for operating its reality distortion shield, Apple might have taken control of the Virtual Reality market with an ancient patent application.

Apple was granted a patent for a Gear VR-like mobile headset which would use a portable device (like a smartphone) as the primary display. However the patent is similar to Samsung’s Gear VR and a swath of VR smartphone adapters out there like Google Cardboard.

According to patent attorney, Eric Greenbaum the patent could kill off all competition for mobile VR headsets and patent troll the market to oblivion.

In 2008  Apple filed a patent for a “Head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”

The patent describes a device which sounds an awful lot like Gear VR and other VR smartphone adapters. Eric Greenbaum, told Road to VR  that the Apple patent may have broad ramifications for mobile-device based head mounted displays.” Which I take to mean, Apple could have a case on their hands if they wanted to challenge Gear VR or similar devices in court.

He thinks that Jobs’ Mob may have pressed to get the patent through the system after Gear VR was announced.

Greenbaum  warned that Apple has not yet announced a plan to build any VR products. However their patent filings indicate a strong interest in the field and I would expect them to be planning something.

This Apple HMD patent is significant. I would say it introduces potential litigation risks for companies that have or are planning to release a mobile device HMD.

There is no duty for Apple to make or sell an HMD. They can sit on this patent and use it strategically either by enforcing it against potential infringers, licensing it, or using it in forming strategic partnerships.

In other words, Apple without actually inventing anything could take control of the entire market.  It could cherry pick the best technology out there and then release its own product.