Tag: samsung

Chinese phone company revenues soar

android-china-communistXiaomi Technology, which is beginning to challenge smartphone players including Samsung and Apple, turned over close to $12 billion in 2014, according to its CEO.
Lei Jun, the CEO of the company, said the revenues rose 135 percent compared to 2013, in a blog on the company’s website.
The company isn’t public but that hasn’t stopped it denting sales of the global giants as well as having an impact on another Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, Huawei.
Lei claimed that Xiaomi shipped over 60 million phones in 2014, an increase of 227 percent compared to 2013.
But while Xiaomi might well be making waves and causing its competitors some alarm, it’s doing so using a model which doesn’t yield big profits. Estimates are that its margins are in the low single digits.
Although Xiaomi remains a private firm, it is receiving investment from a number of big names in Asia and Reuters claimed the market value of the company is as much as $45 billion.

 

Nvidia takes the licensing route

nvidia-gangnam-style-330pxIn a bid to generate more revenues, graphics firm Nvidia is to start licensing its GPU designs to other companies.
Nvidia has already started licensing its “Kepler” graphics processor and, according to Digitimes Research, it will do the same for its future processor Maxwell.
The move is not entirely unexpected – Nvidia is following in the footsteps of British chip company ARM.  ARM’s business is essentially rooted in licensing – its engineers design cores which are then fabricated by its customers.
The research house claims that although Nvidia has, in principle, been ready to license its intellectual property since June 2013, the big leap forward will come with the release of its Maxwell processor.
It believes Maxwell will show a performance boost of as much as 160 percent and that will be a revenue generator for the company.
Nvidia has a collection of something over 7,000 patents and has recently been increasingly litigious, filing lawsuits against giants Samsung and Qualcomm for allegedly infringing its patents.  It may find that these two companies will not necessarily become customers unless courts find in Nvidia’s favour.

Samsung confirms Tizen TV move

tv58Samsung has confirmed that it is moving all its new smart television products launched in 2015 to its operating system which is named after a particularly loud sneeze.

Tizen will give smart tellies additional software and connectivity functions, such as video streaming and web browsing capabilities.

Kim Hyun-suk, Samsung’s president of visual display business said that while Samsung is focusing on Tizen, the hope was that other TV makers will follow suit and help build an ecosystem that will help the platform grow.

Televisions are only part of Samsung’s Tizen plans. The idea is that a few smartwatches and cameras will also use it.

Samsung has been keen to move to Tizen to break it free from Google’s iron grip with its Android platform. Some pundits think that it will not take off until Samsung builds a successful smartphone with it.

This will encourage developers to write software for Tizen.  Certainly TVs will increase the platform’s user base, even if it is not the normal sort of market developers write for.

 

Smartphone brands cleared by Taiwan’s watchdog

White Puppy-02Tawian’s watchdogs have cleared China’s Xiaomi and other smartphone brands of breaching data protection laws after national security concerns triggered a government probe.

The National Communications Commission said all the 12 brands it had tested, which also included handsets sold by Apple, Samsung, LG and Sony , did not violate the laws.

James Lou, an NCC official who was involved in the testing, said the commission, however, would request mobile phone makers make information transmission more secure.

The probe was started over concerns that the Chinese handset makers Huawei and ZTE were being used as snooping tools by the Chinese.

Taiwan is a bit sensitive to security matters involving China, which is its largest trading partner, but has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a renegade province.

Xiaomi, whose budget smartphones are popular throughout Asia, was previously accused of breaching data privacy. In August, the company said sorry and changed a default feature after a Finnish security company said Xiaomi collected address book data without users’ permission.

Taiwan’s government began performing independent tests on Xiaomi phones after media reports said that some models automatically send user data back to the firm’s servers in mainland China.

The probe was then widened to include local and foreign handsets. The NCC report said handsets made by HTC Corp, Asustek, Far EasTone, Taiwan Mobile and InFocus Corp, whose handsets are made by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry were also cleared of breaching the data protection laws.

Apple ruled Christmas

two-applesA report from Flurry indicated that Apple seriously outdid its competitors over the Christmas period.

The metrics company said that of all the devices activated in the week up to Christmas Day, Apple ruled the roost with 51 percent of device activations.

Samsung devices took second place with 17.7 percent of activations, Nokia took 5.8 percent, Sony took 1.6 percent and LG managed a measly 1.4 percent.

Microsoft owns Nokia now so it could be said to be third in the pecking order.

Flurry Analytics said the figures indicated that the introduction of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus had a “blockbuster” holiday season, beating the somewhat dismal gizmo trend.

Flurry also said that the largest number of app installs on Christmas Day, with 2.5 times the installs compared to any day in the previous three weeks.

The company also managed to track the type of device, with full size tablets taking 16 percent, small tablets 17 percent, “phablets” three percent, medium phones 58 percent and smalll phones seven percent.

Analysts tip tablet sales

new-ipadDespite evidence that sales of tablets showed signs of decline in 2014, one market intelligence is bucking the trend by predicting healthy sales in 2015.

ABI Research said that although 2014 was “lacklustre”, it predicted that there will be solid growth during the next five years with shipments of tablets close to 290 million units in 2019.

But the growth is not for every vendor – Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Google will show year on year falls in shipments.

On the other hand, Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Samsung are predicted to show higher volumes in 2014.

Senior analyst Jeff Orr doesn’t have good news for Apple.  He said: “Historically, Apple has counted approximately 35 percent of its iPad sales in the last calendar quarter of the year.  Unless Apple can pull off a 32+ million unit quarter, sales for 2014 will be down for the first year since the iPad launched.”

He said that Apple probably shipped 68 million iPads in 2014, but managed to sell 74 million in 2013.

On the operating systems front, Android has 54 percent of branded tablets, Apple iOS has fallen to 41 percent, and Windows 8 has a meagre five percent of shipments.

LG in sabotage probe

lg-ultra-hdProsecutors raided the headquarters of LG as part of a probe into whether the South Korean company had damaged the washing machines of rival Samsung Electronics at retail stores in Germany.

Apparently there is an increasingly bitter rivalry between the two companies which compete in home appliances, TVs and smartphones.

Samsung had asked the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office to investigate LG employees who were seen deliberately destroying several of its premium washing machines on display at two stores in September ahead of the IFA electronics show in Berlin.

Investigators searched the Seoul offices of LG home appliance head, Jo Seong-jin, and others and secured documents and computer hard disks related to the IFA fair, Yonhap News Agency said. They also combed through LG Electronics’ home appliance factory in the southeastern city of Changwon and gave it a rigorous parting.

LG said that it regretted today’s raid.

“Our company – a global company – was raided as a result of a rival’s unilateral and excessive claims, and we are concerned that this would seriously undermine our corporate activities and external credibility,” it said.

It appears that Samsung is a little worried that someone might sabotague its stands at the forthcoming CES show.

Samsung sued LG Electronics employees after the incident in Germany, and LG said the company has counter-sued Samsung employees.

Prosecutors banned LG’s Seong-jin from leaving the country ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held January 6.

 

Qualcomm’s Chinese nightmare to spread

1900-intl-forces-including-us-marines-enter-beijing-to-put-down-boxer-rebellion-which-was-aimed-at-ridding-china-of-foreigners-Making China’s antitrust probe go away is going to cost Qualcom more in the long run.

Word on the street is that other countries are going to have a look at the firm’s highly profitable patent licensing business, and may even call into question its worldwide contracts with smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is close to completing a 13-month investigation into the US chipmaker as soon as possible.  It will almost certainly mean that Qualcomm will have to write a cheque for a record fine and change the way it licenses its technology to handset makers in China.

Qualcomm has tried to paint the situation as being part of the sort of problems western companies have working in China but it seems that the mess will not end behind the bamboo curtain. Anti-trust probes in Europe and by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seem to be connected to China’s investigation, Qualcomm has admitted.

Qualcomm is the top patent holder for mobile phone technology, including many that form industry standards like CDMA and LTE. Charging royalties based on the mobile phone selling prices, even those made with competitors’ chips, provided more than half of its $8 billion net income in 2014.

The NDRC, one of China’s anti-trust regulators, has said it suspects Qualcomm of overcharging and abusing its market position in wireless communication standards.

Qualcomm is expected by industry sources to agree to changes in how it charges royalties on mobiles flogged in China, which will hurt its bottom line.

It could affect its contractual relationships not just with local manufacturers such as Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE and Xiaomi, but also with bigger global players that make and sell phones in China, such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics.

Samsung begins production of 8Gb LPDDR4 memory

samsung-hqSamsung has begun volume production of its 8Gb LPDDR4 memory chips, with expected commercial shipments in 2015.

Moving to a new memory standard should significantly reduce the memory subsystem’s power consumption and will provide significant boosts to clock-speed.

Samsung claiming that its LPDDR4 can hit 3.2GHz, if the wind is behind it and it is going downhill. Meanwhile the mobile bus widths are significantly smaller than the 64-bit channels used by desktops and the higher clock speed per chip will help close the gap between the two.

Vendors are claiming that LPDDR4 clock speeds will outpace DDR4 thanks to its higher amount of total bandwidth potentially delivered to tablets and smartphones. Meanwhile, the power savings are expected to be substantial.

While there is no serious risk of a desktop or laptop DDR4 system being outperformed by a tablet or smartphone there is some indication that the gap might be closing a little.

So far no manufacturers have announced plans to adopt LPDDR4 in specific products, but once Samsung is shipping in volume it is going to happen quickly. Hot Hardware is predicting that the Galaxy S6 would be a good first candidate.

Chip market starts to boom

nand-chipsRevenue from worldwide sales of semiconductors will rise by nearly 10 percent this year, its strongest performance since 2010.

Figures released by IHS Technology show that global revenues will be worth $353.2 billion this year, a rise from $322.8 billion in 2013.

Dale Ford, chief analyst at IHS, said the growth is broad based – a nearly all semiconductor suppliers have benefited.

IHS segments the semiconductor market in 28 ways, and Ford said that 22 of those have grown this year, compared to 12 showing growth in 2013.

DRAM and flash memory were the movers and shakers in the market, and while revenues for those sectors have risen by around 20 percent, other segments are also showing healthy growth.

DRAM and light emitting diodes (LEDs) have shown growth, and microprocessor markets are also showing strong growth.

Mediatek and Avago are showing strong growth in the semi league table.

The top five players, as the following table shows, are Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Micron, SK Hynix and Texas Instruments.
leagueofchips

Samsung and Apple back together

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn which claims that Apple is now back in love with Samsung and the pair have produced a new monstrous off-spring called the A9 chip.

According to the Korean IT News  Samsung Electronics has begun production of ‘A9,’ the application processor for Apple’s next-generation smartphone. It applies the 14nm FinFET microprocess for system semiconductors, for the first time.

Samsung began production of Apple’s A9 in the Austin plant in the US using the 14nm FinFET technology. Samsung has production lines capable of FinFET process production in Austin, US and Giheung, Korea, but began to produce A9 only in Austin as it is in the initial stage.

The outfit said that it would start production of the 14nm FinFET chip at the end of this year, but did not disclose whether the company received an order from Apple for the production of A9 chips or whether the production line is actually running.

Samsung is happy with the yield of the 14nm FinFET process, and supplied samples as good as finished products early enough.

The Austin plant began official production first at Apple’s request, and industry insiders said it is a move to produce the chip in the US, not Korea. They guessed that the Austin plant was chosen because of the next-generation chip’s problems with performance security and supply.

The initiation of the A9 chip production enabled Samsung to recover the foundry quantities from Apple, which have been discontinued for some time, and get the upper hand in the 14nm FinFET technology competition with TSMC, killing two birds with one stone.

However, this is clearly a burying of the hatchet between the two companies. Apple and Samsung stopped AP production as they were embroiled in patent litigation back in 2012. It appears that Apple has been lured back to Samsung with its winsome 14nm FinFET ways.

Relationship counsellors are quick to warn that it is early days yet.  Apple has been seeing other people during the break. Taiwan’s TSMC began the risk production of the 16nm FinFET plus (16FF+) process, and began to produce chips in July earlier than originally anticipated Q3.

Apple is effectively two timing the rivals. Shuttling between Samsung and TSMC, if TSMC’s production line is stabilised in the future, there is no knowing how SEC will respond.

Samsung’s foundry business was hit hard when Apple orders stopped. Although the entire semiconductor business is booming, securities companies predict that the system LSI business, including the foundry business, will suffer a loss to the tune of KRW800 billion this year. SEC is expected to recover sales loss to a certain extent with the production of Apple A9.

 

Sales of smartphones soar

android-china-communistEmerging markets worldwide have accounted for the growth of smartphones in the third quarter of this year, growing by 20 percent.

Gartner said Samsung lost market share, but Chinese manufacturers are showing positive growth.

Altogether, sales of smartphones accounted for 301 million units shipping in the third quarter.

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said in the third quarter smartphones represented 66 percent of the total mobile phone market.  She thinks that by 2018 nine out of 10 phones will be smartphones.

Western Europe saw a decline in growth of 5.2 percent, but the USA saw high growth of 18.9 percent, fuelled by the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

In terms of market share, Samsung holds 24.4 percent of the market, Apple holds 12.7, Huawei holds 5.3 percent, Xiaomi has 5.2 percent of the market and Lenovo five percent.

As far as operating systems are concerned, Android ruled the roost in the third quarter (83.1%), Apple was next with 12.7 percent, Windows only held three percent and Blackberry 0.8 percent.

Cozza said: “The smartphone market is more than ever in flux as more players step up their game in this space.  With the ability to undercut cost and offer top specs, Chinese brands are well positioned to expand in the premium phone market too.”

5G planning starts

oldfoneWhile most people haven’t even moved to 4G phone networks yet, manufacturers are already talking about standards for the next faster generation of 5G phones.

Major vendors are engaging with the formal standards process, according to ABI Research.  Those include Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, mobile operators and academic bodies.

Research director Philip Solis sad: “These companies are all waving their 5G flags, although 5G definitions and visions remain very vague.  But this is not merely marketing. These companies are most certainly putting a stake in the ground that will leverage their, work, competitive strengths, and, most crucially, patents.”

He said that Qualcomm in particular is keeping its head low, but other vendors such as Apple and Google are getting actively involved.

Solis said that efforts by vendors to use their patents will be fiercer than for 4G.

But despite the competitive edge, Solis said that companies are working together “so the standardisation process can hit the ground running”.

HP pushes notebook sales

HPStrong orders from both the enterprise and from the retail market meant growth in notebook sales during the month of November, largely due to HP’s position in the market.

That’s according to data from Digitimes Research which claims the top five multinational vendor and Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) showed shipments growing by 10 percent in the month, following a decline in shipments in October.

All the vendors are attempting to stem the growth of tablets and smartphones and the research outfit claimed HP ordered four million notebooks from its ODM partners in the month – with Quanta, Compal, and Investec benefiting from the push by the US giant.

The researchers claim that shipments of global tablets will be in stasis for 2014, when all the figures are added up.  And it also predicts sales will decline in 2015.

Digitimes Research estimates that combined shipments of notebooks and tablets will be over 350 million units in 2015 but the major vendors incuding Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Asustek, Dell and Acer will take steps to secure their positions in the marketplace.

Samsung mobile suits get the axe

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picThe head of Samsung’s beleaguered mobile division has hung on to his job – as we reported earlier this week.

But there will be blood on the carpet, according to sources who told Reuters that JK Shin’s three chief underlings will get their marching orders soon.

Samsung is the biggest smartphone manufacturing company in the world and leverages its vertical business, which includes memory modules, LCD screens and other components.

DJ Lee, who heads up Samsung’s mobile marketing worldwide, is one of those to feel the pain, according to the report.

Samsung is facing increased competition from Chinese manufacturers and continues to be under pressure at the high end from Apple with its iPhone products.

Reuters reports that the local press will cull around 25 percent of its executive in the mobile segment.

Financial analysts believe that Samsung will record poor revenues for 2014.