Shipments of DRAM aimed at the mobile market rose 27.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, amounting to a value of over $3.6 billion.
That’s according to market intelligence company DRAM Exchange, which observed that mobile DRAM now accounts for 40 percent of all shipments of this memory type.
Increased shipments of smartphones account for the lion’s share of mobile memory sales, and DRAM Exchange said in its report that sales look strong in the first quarter of this year – traditionally one of the weaker quarters in the memory market.
The report said that the industry is waiting for the release of the next generation LPDDR4 – right now only Qualcomm supports this memory type. It is expecting some high end smartphones to ship in the second quarter of this year.
As far as manufacturers are concerned, Samsung remains the leader, followed by SK Hynix and Micron. These last two are the main suppliers for Apple iPhone 6s.
Samsung say a small drop in revenues of 5.2 percent, but Micron says its revenues soar by 27.8 percent in the fourth quarter.
Sales of DRAM
rose by 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter, bucking the usual pattern in the memory market.
DRAM Exchange, which tracks the memory market said manufacturers of devices migrated fast to 20 and 25 nanometre production, and the additional output meant quarterly revenues worldwide amounted to $13 billion.
The firm said that Samsung has shown the most profit from making DRAM, with typical operating margins of 47 percent.
SK Hynix also makes healthy margins of 42 percent, while American DRAM maker Micron managed to turn in margins of 29.5 percent.
Although Micron is still manufacturing using 30 nanometre technology, it raised production of DRAM for servers, which is the most lucrative application.
Samsung started volume production on 20 nanometre in the fourth quarter and the yield rate and output of chips made at 25 nanometre has increased.
Micron has begun sampling on the 20 nanometre process but plans to migrate so fast that there will be 80,000 wafer starts a month by the end of this year.
Revenues for biometric
identification to access computer systems will be worth as much as $13.8 million this year.
So said market intelligence company ABI Research.
Spending on biometric technology is because both consumer and enterprise segments are rapidly catching up with spending by governments.
A growing perception of terrorist threats in both Europe and the USA are also accelerating sales of biometric identification gear.
Fingerprint identification remains the dominant type of system and is more acceptable to people than other methods, although it is not the most accurate type of system.
Demand from enterprises and the use of smartphone and wearable technology is also increasing the trend.
3M Cogent, MorphoTrak and NEC are the leaders in the field but Apple and Samsung are also prominent as companies that will support these kind of technologies.
A court case between Microsoft and Samsung over patent royalties appears to have sorted itself out.
Microsoft sued Samsung last year claiming the spy TV maker had breached a collaboration agreement by initially refusing to make royalty payments.
This was soon after Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset business in September 2013.
The lawsuit claimed Samsung still owed $6.9 million in interest on more than $1 billion in patent royalties it delayed paying. Samsung has countered that the Nokia acquisition violated its 2011 collaboration deal with Microsoft.
Microsoft has not said how much Samsung is paying it. In 2011, a technology analyst at Citigroup estimated that Microsoft was getting $5 per Android handset sold by phone maker HTC under a patent agreement, and that Microsoft was looking for up to $12.50 per phone from other handset makers it had yet to come to an agreement with.
Microsoft denied this figure but if it applied the $5 price to Samsung, the Korean company could be paying Microsoft about $1.6 billion per year.
Samsung said it had agreed in 2011 to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license covering phones that ran Google Android operating system. Samsung also agreed to develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft, according to court filings.
US tech giant
Qualcomm may face a fine of as much as $1 billion after antitrust regulators decide on its future.
And it may also face sanctions that make it cut its royalties by a third.
Reuters reports that talks between Qualcomm and the authorities in China are close to reaching a conclusion.
The article quotes Xu Dunlin, head of China’s antitrust agency, as saying his authority will soon release details of the settlement.
The ruling will have a significant effect on Qualcomm because nearly fifty percent of its worldwide revenues from from the country.
Further, much of its profits come from royalties through its licensing division.
says that it’s not just Qualcomm that faces a problem from the Chinese agency. It is also investigating Microsoft and Samsung to see if they infringe its antitrust rules.
It’s estimated that Qualcomm generates over $25.5 billion in revenues from the Chinese mainland.
A report said
Samsung faces increased competition from mainland China.
And that will affect Apple’s bottom line too, according to a survey by Taiwanese market research company Trendforce.
It published figures that showed that in 2014 home grown companies Huawei, Xiaomi and others managed to ship 453 million units – nearly 40 percent of total smartphone shipments worldwide.
Samsung is being squeezed by Apple as well as Chinese smartphone brands but Apple itself is showing signs of losing the brand loyalty it largely depends on.
The company predicts that during 2015 the Chinese branded smartphones will account for shipments of 531 million units. That will be a growth, year on year, of 17.2 percent.
But the Chinese brands showed a growth last year of 54.8 percent.
One of the reasons for the smaller growth is because Chinese telcos have been cutting subsidies, making handsets more expensive.
But that is also likely to affect Samsung and Apple too.
When Samsung released its financial results recently, it reported smaller profits on its smartphone devices in the face of increased competition from Apple and others.
it the internet of things (IoT), some call it the internet of everything (IoE) and some even call it the internet of fangs (IoF).
These terms are not, as yet, perfectly defined and there is a complete lack of standards defined, just like in the “cloud” space. But there’s one thing for sure, and that is it’s going to be worth a lot of money so as many vendors as possible are getting on board the gravy train.
Future Market Insights (FMI) prefers the IoE and said that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4 percent between 2014 and 2020.
It will be the Asia Pacific market which will kick off the growth, synched to the arrival of big data. That’s because there will be investment in so called “smart cities” and smart grids, financed by the Indian, Chinese and Japanese governments.
FMI divides the market into business to business (B2B) and IoE vertical markets.
The verticals include manufacturing and public sector, but the health care sector will grow by 20.6 percent CAGR during the period, followed by utilities.
The major players in the market are Cisco, Samsung, IBM, Apple and Accenture – these vendors had over 50 percent market share in 2013.
Giant South Korean
chaebol Samsung had 22.8 percent of the LCD TV market last year, outstripping the second Korean player, LG Electronics.
A report from Trendforce said Sony came third in place with a market share of only 6.8 percent, compared to LG Electronics’ 14.9 percent.
In all, 215 million LCD TVs shipped in 2014, more than the market expected. Factors that helped the 5.4 percent growth included the US economic recovery and strong promotion of larger size TVs.
But the top three vendors need to keep their eyes on the ball. Trend force said that Chinese brands occupied positions from the fourth to the seventh.
They are making progress globally because the home Chinese market is saturated and they are pricing their brands aggressively.
Well known brands such as Philips and Toshiba have vanished out of the top ten vendor list.
Samsung is being pushed out of its key Indian market by a local budget smartphone maker Micromax.
Micromax has become the leading supplier in India’s booming smartphone market for the first time in the fourth quarter.
According to beancounters at research firm Canalys, New Delhi based Micromax accounted for 22 percent of smartphone sales in India in the October-December quarter, ahead of Samsung’s 20 percent. In total, 21.6 million smartphones were sold in India in the period, a 90 percent surge from a year earlier.
India, which has the world’s second-highest number of mobile phone accounts after China, is the third-biggest market by number of smartphones sold. Low-priced smartphones are the top sellers in a country where many buyers are upgrading from feature phones.
Micromax’s performance was partly due to its “continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smartphones,” Canalys said.
It estimated nearly a quarter of smartphones sold in India in the fourth quarter were devices priced under $100, while 41 percent of devices sold were in the $100-$200 range.
Micromax and Samsung were followed by two other Indian budget smartphone brands, Karbonn and Lava, by number of handsets sold in fourth quarter. Japan’s Sony Corp said its net annual loss will likely be smaller than previously forecast after cost cuts and higher-than-expected sales of its image sensors and PlayStation video game consoles helped its third-quarter profit beat estimates.
to be the market leader for tablets in 2014 but it, in common with other vendors, showed a drop in sales.
A report from Trendforce said that the tablet industry has no reached the maturity point with shipments globally totalling 192 million units. That’s a fall of 2.2 percent compared to 2013.
Apple fared rather worse, it shipped 63.4 million units, a drop of 13.6 percent.
Number two in the pack was Samsung, but its shipments at 41 million units dropped only 2.5 percent.
Lenovo beat Amazon to take third place, and now has 5.6 percent market share.
Both Amazon and Google trailed behind, and Microsoft hasn’t really hit the numbers with its Surface Pro 3.
Some analysts believe that not only has the market reached maturity, but it’s hard to persuade people to upgrade. Others think that tablets are being squeezed on the one hand by larger screen size smartphones and others by low cost notebook PCs.
Over 375.2 million
smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter of 2014 – that’s up by 28.2 percent compared to the same period the year before.
Apple had been the number two vendor in 11 previous quarters before Q4 2014, but, according to IDC, it was close to a tie with Samsung, the market leader.
IDC now predicts that Samsung could well outstrip Samsung during 2015.
It’s not just Apple that is challenging Samsung – as we’ve reported before, is under challenge from small Android OEMs selling products at much lower margins.
Growth in 2013 represented 40.5 percent but according to IDC, “the market clearly still has legs”. It estimates growth will fall to a mid teen figure during 2015.
The top five vendors for the fourth quarter were Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi. The last showed growth of 178.6 percent during Q4 2014, compared to Q4 2013.
While there were shortages
of monitor panels last year that caused only 133.6 million units to ship, some vendors have done better than expected.
Those are vendors that bundle monitors with desktops, according to research outfit WitsView.
And Dell is one those that does just that. Replacements for Windows XP had a knock off effect that put Dell on top with a market share of 15.8 percent worldwide.
Another PC manufacturer, Lenovo, also had a boost from the enterprise market and had 9.7 percent market share.
The top 10 vendors are Dell, Philips, Samsung, HP, LGE, Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Viewsonic and Benq,
Philips had a particularly good year in China.
Samsung, which was top vendor for four clear years, only managed to make it to number three with 11.9 percent market share.
HP had 10.7 percent commercial monitor market share, so it’s breathing down Samsung’s neck.
Massive South Korean
combine Samsung said its earnings fell for the first time in three years.
And it’s blaming the decline on mobile phone sales, which fell by 21 percent in its financial year.
The company’s net profit fell to $21.3 billion for the year, down by 27 percent compared to its previous financial year.
Many are agreed that competition from homegrown Chinese manufacturers have nibbled into Samsung sales in the country.
It also missed a trick in the second half of last year by not having anything to compete with Apple introductions.
Samsung is predicting an increasing decline for smartphones in the first calendar quarter of this year.
suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.
Foxconn will slash jobs because of falling demand for Apple gear.
That’s according to Reuters, which has spoken to a company representative who confirmed the cuts will come.
The representative who works to the chairman of the board, said labour costs had doubled since 2010.
Foxconn currently hires 1.3 million people and came under fire in 2010 after a number of its workers killed themselves.
The Reuters report said
revenue growth for Foxconn fell to 1.3 percent in 2013.
Analysts are predicting that the massive growth in sales of smartphones and tablets is bound to decline as saturation levels increase.
Both Apple and Samsung now face intense competition from own brand Chinese smartphone vendors offering units at rock bottom prices and with rock bottom margins.