Tag: samsung

War between Nvidia and Samsung gets ugly

Newspaper Seller, 1939The war between Samsung and Nvidia has escalated and handbags are being distributed to the troops.

Samsung says that Nvidia has infringed several of its semiconductor-related patents and for making false claims about its products. This is a counter-suit following Nvidia’s lawsuit against the Korean company in September.

Samsung, which filed its lawsuit on Monday, is seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents, including a few that govern the way semiconductors buffer and use data.

Samsung said that Nvidia is guilty of false advertising when it says its “Shield” tablet sports the world’s fastest mobile processor, the Tegra. Samsung cites benchmarking studies performed by researchers at Primate Labs as proving that claim false.

Nvidia said it would review and respond to these new claims against it, and looked forward to presenting its case on how Nvidia GPU patents are being used without a licence.

Nvidia also pointed to a benchmarking study that supported its claim that the Tegra was the fastest mobile processor on the market.

Everyone knows that industry claims that “our chip is faster because we use x benchmark” always goes nowhere. It will be interesting to see what a court will make of them.

Why Apple’s corporate plans are doomed

Map09_oh_noes_two_elementalsKing of consumer toys, Apple is attempting its biggest push into the consumer market, according to Reuters.

Reuters claims that Apple is hiring a dedicated sales force just to talk with potential clients like Citigroup.

This is on top of its partnership with IBM to develop apps for corporate clients and sell them on devices, the iPhone maker plans to challenge sector leaders HP, Dell, Oracle and SAP.

Of course no one is saying much in the way of details, Reuters seems to think that the deal with Big Blue will mean that Apple will be welcomed into the corporate world and give HP and Dell a kicking.  This will result in the collapse of Microsoft, Samsung and Google’s own efforts in mobile work applications.

Apparently Job’s Mob is working closely with a group of startups, including ServiceMax and PlanGrid, that already specialise in selling apps to corporate America. Apple is already in talks with other mobile enterprise developers to bring them into a more formal partnership.

For example, PlanGrid is a mobile app for construction workers to share and view blueprints. ServiceMax is a mobile app that makes it easy for companies to manage fleets of field service technicians by ensuring they have access to the right information.

ServiceMax, whose existing customers include Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and DuPont, has co-hosted eight dinners with Apple over the past year in locations across the United States. About 25 or 30 chief information officers and “chief service officers” typically show up at these joint marketing and sales events.

But there are huge problems with Reuter’s desire to see Apple in charge of the world. The most obvious is that Apple makes toys it does not make corporate devices. Corporates are obsessed with security, Apple’s iCloud can’t even protect b list celebs from having their naked pictures being hacked.

Tablets were an Apple inspired Fad and any belief that corporates will rush to buy them never really happened. If they are ever adopted by corporates, they will be a low-level function which will require something a lot cheaper than Jobs’ Mob wants to support. Apple really needed BYOD to take off, which it didn’t.

Apple’s success has been due to its cult following, but religion does not work very well when it comes to business. Apple lacks functionality with business systems, corporates also take a dim view of the sort of things that Apple user agreements desire from their followers. Apple is also slow to confirm security flaws, and even slower to fix them. Its insistence on its own security, rather than that of the client also does not sit well with big business.

In short, to get business customers, Apple needs to change its mentality – something historically it has been unable to do. It not only has to deal with the experts in business, such as Microsoft, HP, Dell and SAP, its traditional rivals, such as Samsung are also harbour similar ambitions.

Samsung has confirmed that it is stepping up its efforts to sell devices to large enterprise clients and hired former chief information officer Robin Bienfait to spearhead that effort. It might hit the same experience problems that Apple has, and there is no reason to suspect it will be any more successful.

Apple’s IBM partnership might not be that key to the corporations either. It relies on IBM’s sales team selling Apple projects. IBM has as much experience selling consumer products as Apple has selling into business. Jobs’ Mob also has no clue about business software, which is the key to getting into the business market — for decades its networking technology has been the weak point of the few Apple installations in corporates.

Apple appears to hope that if it can hook the client on the software and content, they will keep them coming back for the hardware. However, that simply does not work in the corporates. Hell, Microsoft was unable to get corporates to upgrade to Windows 7 because they could not see a need.  What chance does Apple’s business model have against that attitude?

Tablet demand slows to standstill

Raphael painting: Moses receiving the tablets, Wikimedia CommonsA report said that during the third quarter of 2014, shipments of tablets worldwide amounted to 63.4 million unit only one percent up from the same quarter last year.

And the impetus for Apple iPads flatlined during the third quarter, largely affected by delays in shipments, according to Digitimes Research.

White box tablets only amounted to 26.2 million during the third quarter and that’s even after Intel subsidies in an attempt to boost market share.

Samsung is the second biggest supplier but the research suggests it will take a cautious approach to shipments during 2015.

The other biggest vendors for tablets are Asustek, Lenovo, Acer, Amazon and Dell.

Most analysts say that the tablet market is close to saturation in Western Europe and in North America – and there are few compelling reasons for people to upgrade from their existing models.

Samsung turns to metal in China crisis

Iron_Maiden_2010Samsung has released two premium designed, mid-tier handsets designed to give its low-priced Chinese rivals a good kicking.

The company has been suffering lately and its global market share down on year for the third straight quarter and its profit scraping at a three-year low.

Samsung suffered the most in China which is the world’s biggest smartphone market and it was knocked off its number one slot by Xiaomi.

The Chinese seemed to have a problem that Samsung’s lower-end products were pricey and not different enough compared to Xiaomi and Lenovo.

The Galaxy A3 and A5 are seen by analysts as Samsung’s first counter-attack. Initially launching in China in November, they will be Samsung’s first devices to feature fully metallic bodies and its thinnest smartphones so far.  The A3 and A5 are comparable to those of the top-of-the-line Galaxy S5, but have a lower screen resolution quality.

Samsung classified the new phones as mid-tier, and said they will be launched in other “select markets”, without disclosing the pricing.

However, it still might have problems and much depends on price. In comparison to the A5, Xiaomi’s Mi4 device is thicker but has a  faster processor and better display.

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Nokia deal created anti-trust issues for Microsoft and Samsung

samsung-hqSamsung has told a court that its collaboration with Microsoft on Windows phones raised antitrust problems once Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset business.

The filing comes from Microsoft’s lawsuit accusing Samsung of breaching a business collaboration agreement. It claimed that Samsung still owes $6.9 million in interest on more than $1 billion in patent royalties it delayed paying.

However Samsung said the Nokia acquisition violated its 2011 deal with Microsoft because it effectively required the sharing of secret information with a rival.

Samsung said it agreed in 2011 to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license covering Samsung’s Android phones.

Samsung agreed to develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft as part of that collaboration. Microsoft said it would reduce the royalty payments if Samsung met certain sales goals for Windows devices.

Once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a direct hardware competitor with Samsung, the filing said, and the South Korean company refused to continue sharing some sensitive information because if it had done so it would have breached US antitrust laws.

The agreements, now between competitors, invited charges of collusion,” Samsung said in the filing.

Antitrust regulators in the United States and other countries have approved Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.

Tablet market continues to grow

iPad-miniWhile some say that the phenomenal growth of tablet sales is starting to wane, a report today claims that the situation is quite different.

IDC said that the worldwide tablet market grew by 11.5 percent in the third quarter of 2014 – shipments totalled 53.8 million units.

The market research company said that sales were boosted by the “back to school” season and also an increased appetite for tablets in the US – one of the biggest markets.

Apple is still the leader in tablets, but is continuing to see a decline in its sales.  It shipped 12.3 million units in the third quarter, while Samsung shipped 9.9 million units and despite being second has an 18.3 percent market share. Asus displaced Lenovo from number three.

Next was Asus, followed by Lenovo and in number five position is RCA, which got to its worldwide position by shipping 2.6 million tablets in the USA.

Samsung promises a smartphone refresh

1920s-telephone-advertSamsung has promised to revamp its smartphone line-up to tackle what has been its worst third-quarter results since 2011.

The outfit said that it needed to take on competitors in the rapidly growing mid-to-low range segment, after third-quarter earnings set it on course for its worst year since 2011.

Samsung’s  market share fell like a free-fall team of parachuting elephants which had to forgotten to pack a key ingredient of their act. Samsung was behind Apple in the premium market and was eclipsed by Lenovo and Xiaomi at the bottom end.

Executives said the South Korean giant would overhaul its lower-tier line-up to boost price competitiveness and use higher-quality components to set its devices apart.

Samsung Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-joon said during a conference call with analysts that the mid-to-low end market is growing rapidly, and Samsung planned to respond actively in order to capitalise on that growth.

Samsung said its third quarter operating profit fell by $3.9 billion, matching its guidance issued earlier this month.

While the company expects profits to pick up in the fourth quarter on strong demand for televisions and memory chips, analysts still expect Samsung to record its worst annual operating profit in three years.

Profit for the mobile division fell 73.9 percent which was its worst performance since the second quarter of 2011.

Part of the problem was that Samsung spent most of the quarter without launching a new flagship device, and continued to struggle in the mid-to-low tier markets against cheaper and value-packed offerings like Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S.

Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations, said the firm would launch new mid-tier models in the fourth quarter, although he did not say what features they would have.

Samsung expects average selling prices for handsets will rise in the fourth quarter due to an increase in premium smartphone sales, namely of the Galaxy Note 4, and as demand picks up in the holiday shopping season.

 

LG is back in the phone race

logo lgSouth Korea’s LG, which was getting a good kicking from its rivals, is now back in the black and is making a killing.

LG said its July-September operating profit more than doubled from a year earlier as earnings from its mobile business surged to a five-year high.

Profits for its TV business grew 5.2 percent from a year earlier, while smartphone shipments broke all sorts of records.

“LG’s earnings reflected strong performance from its mobile business,” the company said in a statement.

LG reported an operating profit of $440.21 million which was much better than what had been predicted by the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

LG’s mobile division turned a $0.1 billion operating profit, its highest since the third quarter of 2009 and compared with loss a year ago, thanks in part to strong shipments for the flagship G3 smartphone. It is likely that LG likely shipped a little over 3 million G3s during the period. LG said it shipped 16.8 million smartphones during the third quarter.

The pickup contrasts with domestic rival Samsung, which is expected to report its weakest quarterly operating profit in more than three years later this week.

LG’s TV division did well thanks to sales of high-end products like ultra high-definition TVs.

 

Chromebooks put pressure on Microsoft

winbookThe success of Chromebooks has forced Microsoft to drop its licensing fees on Windows 8.1 notebooks, in a move that is forcing down prices on the products and is good news for buyers.

According to financial analysts at Seeking Alpha, Samsung has decided to use an X86 processor for its Chromebook 2 – a win for Intel in the X86 stakes.

HP and Acer are already selling Windows 8.1 notebooks for less than $200 and that is likely to create something of a frenzy in the run up to the holiday period.

Seeking Alpha points out that Intel’s mobile chip unit posted an $1.04 billion operating loss for its financial third quarter, despite selling chips for 15 million tablets during that quarter.

Intel is attempting to make “significant reductions in contra revenues next year”, but the financial analysts say X86 mobile chips will carry on losing money.

Samsung has dropped using ARM based processors for its Chromebook in favour of Intel, but the bad news is that most market research shows that sales of tablets are slowing, particularly in mature markets.

Seeking Alpha said: “Intel is losing big money in its quest to sell 40 million tablet chips this year.”

Chromebooks start to shine brightly

google-ICNotebooks using the conventional Wintel model seem to be past history, but Chromebooks are selling like there’s no tomorrow.

That’s the conclusion of research by ABI Research, which said that shipments of Chromebooks soared by 67 percent in a quarter.

Acer is the top dog in the sector, followed by Samsung and HP – those three accounted for 74 percent of shipment share during the first half of this year.  That isn’t going to change in the second half of this year, said ABI.

So-called vertical markets like schools are a driving force, and Chromebooks also sell well in emerging markets. But ABI said that North America will account for 78 percent of the Chromebook market and other regions such as Asia Pacific and Western Europe are set to grow shipment market share over the next five years.

Stephanie Van Vactor, an analyst at ABI, said that while Chromebooks might be a temporary fad like the netbook, but the price and design mean that it’s attractive to the world+dog.

“People are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provide the versatility and functionality of a laptop,” she said.

Semi spending set to soar

Samsung rules the roostSemiconductor capital spending will be worth $64.5 billion this year, up 11.4 percent from 2013.  And capital equipment spending will increase 17.1 percent in 2014.

So says market research firm Gartner in a report that indicates that the increases are driven by strong memory average selling prices (ASPs) as well as higher consumer demand for gizmos and gadgets.

The report said that there’s undersupply on  DRAM and that will continue next year, but then we’ll see one of the characteristics of semiconductor swings and roundabouts.  Companies build extra capacity in times of drought only to find they’ve built too much.  Gartner said we’ll see oversupply in 2016.

Samsung, and SK Hynix are both ready to ramp up DRAM manufacturing in order to meet the pent up demand.

Memory capital spending will increase by 4.5 percent this year, but in the long time demand will be flat, said Gartner.

Samsung commercialises 60GHz Wi-Fi

samsung-hqSamsung is developing 60GHz Wi-Fi technology that it says can manage  data transmission speeds of up to 4.6Gbps, or 575MB per second.

This is a five-fold increase from 866Mbps, or 108MB per second which is the maximum speed possible with existing consumer electronics devices.

If it does what it says on the tin, it would take a 1GB movie  less than three seconds to transfer between devices, while uncompressed high definition videos can easily be streamed from mobile devices to TVs in real-time without any delay.

Kim Chang Yong, Head of DMC R&D Center of Samsung Electronics said that Samsung has successfully overcome the barriers to the commercialization of 60GHz millimeter-wave band Wi-Fi technology, and will commercialise the technology.

“New and innovative changes await Samsung’s next-generation devices, while new possibilities have been opened up for the future development of Wi-Fi technology, ” Kim said.

Samsung’s 802.11ad standard 60GHz Wi-Fi technology maintains maximum speed by eliminating co-channel interference, regardless of the number of devices using the same network.

In other words, it closes the gap between theoretical and actual speeds, and exhibits actual speed that is more than 10 times faster than that of 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi technologies.

Commercially adopting 60GHz Wi-Fi technology has been difficult because it uses millimeter waves that travel by line-of-sight which have weak penetration properties.

Using millimeter-wave circuit design, high performance modem technologies and by developing wide-coverage beam-forming antenna, Samsung was able to successfully achieve the highest quality, commercially viable 60GHz Wi-Fi technology, Kim said.

Samsung also improved the overall signal quality by developing a micro beam-forming control technology that optimises the communications module in less than 1/3,000 seconds, if the environment changes. The company also developed the world’s first method that allows multiple devices to connect simultaneously to a network.

60GHz is an unlicensed band spectrum across the world, and commercialisation is expected as early as next year. Samsung plans to apply this new technology to a wide range of products, including audio visual and medical devices, as well as telecommunications equipment. The technology will also be useful for the Samsung Smart Home and other  Internet of Things projects.

Chip price war unlikely

Normans_BayeuxSamsung does not expect a price war to break out in the semiconductor industry next year even though it is ramping up capacity.

CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said that he will have to “wait and see how things will go next year, but there definitely will not be any game of chicken”,

Memory chip makers have reported strong profits this year thanks to better-than-expected demand for PCs and servers.  Most analysts believe industry conditions will remain favourable in 2015.

But Samsung’s plan to invest $14.67 billion in a new South Korea chip plant stoked concerns about the industry’s profit outlook. Some investors worry that the firm could ramp up supply and undercut prices to squeeze Hynix and Micron’s bottom line.

Cooler heads have pointed out that Samsung’s plant will not begin production  until 2017. They say margins in the memory business are important to Samsung, given the mobile division’s falling smartphone profits.

 

 

Apple, Samsung want your dabs

fingerprintFingerprint sensing technology has been with us for some time. But it seems that smartphone and tablet giants Samsung and Apple want to promote it a little bit more.

Research outfit IHS said the fingerprint sensor market will grow to be worth $1.7 billion by 2020.

The number of handsets and tablets using fingerprint sensors will total 1.4 billion units – four times the number of the 317 million units that will ship by the end of this year.

While Apple has been at the forefront of fingerprint sensing to date, other vendors are going to pick up the baton, said IHS. Samsung hasn’t yet got to the starting gate but is expectedto do so as soon as it finds a smaller rectangular sensor.

But while fingerprint sensors will have their vogue, swipe sensors will continue to exist, particularly in lower end smartphones.

One important element that will push adoption of fingerprint sensors are financial companies – companies like Mastercard, Visa and Paypal think they will be ideal for mobile payments.

Fingerprint sensing was first pioneered by Japanese banks but saw the sunset when there were several incidents of gangsters chopping off the fingers of victims to access accounts at ATMs.

Samsung, Microsoft argue over the best city in the world

Times_Square,_New_York_City_(HDR)Microsoft and Samsung cannot agree on the best city in the world to hatch out peace. Samsung thinks that Hong Kong is the best while Microsoft believes that it should be New York.

Samsung has started an arbitration proceeding in Hong Kong against Microsoft as the Seattle behemoth attempts to give it a Chinese burn over smartphone patent royalties.

The arbitration was disclosed in a court filing as part of a federal lawsuit Microsoft filed in August in New York accusing Samsung of refusing to make royalty payments to Microsoft after the software company announced its intention to acquire Nokia’s handset business.

Samsung specifically wanted the Hong Kong office of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. It is not clear why Hong Kong was chosen – perhaps it was the good shopping, better access to Dim Sung, pork in a bun and the students revolting.

The arbitration was started under the terms of a business collaboration agreement “to resolve a dispute concerning the calculation of success credits under that agreement,” Samsung said.

Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, said the companies’ contract provided that the “appropriate venue to interpret the business collaboration agreement is New York”. After all, if they could make an arbitration there, they could make it anywhere and they could go all through the night because the city never sleeps.

The arbitration came just days after Microsoft filed an amended complaint in its New York lawsuit asking the court to rule that it did not breach a business collaboration agreement with Samsung.

Microsoft in the complaint also wants Samsung to pay $6.9 million interest on more than $1 billion in royalty payments which it delayed in protest of the Nokia deal.

Microsoft claims Google Android mobile system uses some of its technology, and most hardware makers, including Samsung, have agreed to pay patent royalties on Android handsets.

Motorola Google  said no and has been in litigation against Microsoft since 2010.