Tag: smartphones

Smartphone shoppers smarter than average shopper

Amazon logoResearch from IDC suggests that your average smartphone shopper is smarter than your average bear.

And smartphones are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare for your average high street shop.

IDC analysed app and mobile of over 10,000 smartphone users during the holiday season.

One in three of the people IDC surveyed said they bought more online than from bricks and mortar outfits in the season, compared to the same period the year before.

Amazon did particularly well out of the trend.

Of those that were surveyed, 69 percent believed that smartphones were critical tools when you’re out shopping.  And 70 percent said they’d use their smartphones more in the future.

Five out of 10 people check reviews from their smartphones and shoppers tend to trust social networks for views.

IDC’s results were born out by Dan Wagner, founder and CEO of Powa Technologies. He said: “The traditional stores really need to up their game to compete in the new shopping paradigm that we are entering. Customer engagement is the key to survival in 2014, at present customers who walk through the doors of high street shops are unknown to them.

“This needs to change fast, customer engagement holds the critical path to growth in fierce market conditions. It is vital for retailers to know the buying behaviour of the person who has walked through the door: are they a loyal customer? What are they interested in? Online retailers have all this information and utilise it to engage their customers very effectively as the sales figures have born out.”

Apple will beat up Android

smartphones-genericA report claims that despite the surge in sales of devices using the Google Android operating system, it will be hard for it to triumph over Apple and it’s IOS in the long term.

Foolproof claims that smartphone penetration will hit 75 percent of the UK population this year and demographics don’t count any more. But surely cost must be a factor.

Philip Morton, a principal consultant at the company said: “Ultimately what Apple does, it does better than Android.”

He claims that people are beginning to realise that they have a computer in their pocket rather than a phone. Morton claims the iPhone is the best smartphone.

It surveyed 450 people in September last year. It came up with this highly coloured graphic that underlines its notions.Foolproof

Android to hit one billion users

pc-sales-slumpA report from market research company Gartner said gadgets including PCs, tablets, ultramobile and phones will grow by 7.6 percent this year.

And the Android OS is set to exceed a billion users during the course of the year. By 2017, Gartner said, 75 percent of Android volumes will come from emerging market.

It’s not good for companies tied to the traditional PC market however. Ranjit Atwal, a research director of Gartner, said users were moving away from traditional PCs such as desktops and  notebooks and the better flexibility of hybrids, tablets and light notebooks are seen as better by many.

Gartner says 1.9 billion mobile phones will ship this yer, and smaller tablets will edge larger tablets out and compete with hybrids, said Atwal.

The report shows an inexorable move away from PCs – both notebooks and desktops from 341,273 thousands of units in 2012 to 268,491 thousand in 2015.

The tablet market will grow by 47 percent this year with lower average selling prices.  The PC market will be flat this year, but will get a boost from Windows ultramobiles.

Ryman gets net boost

Theo Paphitis, RymanStationery outfit Ryman saw its business grow by only 1.7 percent over Christmas, compared to the same period a year ago.

But subsidiary Robery Dyas, which Ryman bought in 2012, did somewhat better, clocking an increase of 5.2 percent, season on season.

The third string to the Theo Paphitis bow, Boux Avenue, saw its business grew by 20.2 percent. It has 21 stores here in the UK, and four abroad. Robert Dyas has 96 shops in the UK, while Ryman has 237 across the nation.

The periods cover from the 1st of November to Christmas Eve, 2013.

Paphitis said he was delighted with the performance of these three businesses – which came via footfall and mouse click or swipe.

He said that the businesses saw “significant increases” online and it managed to make more sales and better margins without having to discount stuff.

Intel thinks wearables will save its bacon

Brian KrzanichThe CEO of ailing chip company Intel has expressed the view that now the PC is at the end of the road, if it brings wearable technology out of its capacious hat it will be saved.

Brian Krzanich, the newly fledged CEO of Intel, told Recode.net that it would show off some technology at next week’s CES show in Lost Wages that would have people spinning in the aisles.

As well as showing off some wearable stuff, Intel will also tell the world about more Quark chips which are likely to wheedle their way into wearable gadgets, and, who knows, even end up in intelligent toothbrushes or condoms.

Krzanich acknowledged in the interview that Intel was identified as the PC company over the last 20 years and said the battle was worth fighting and winning. “But the market moved.”

What he means, of course, is that the market moved but Intel forgot to move so got overtaken by a heap of tablets and smartphones far divorced from X86 technology.

Krzanich doesn’t recognise that it has lost the smartphone and tablet market and claims Intel chips will be in 40 million tablets sold in 2014.

The chips won’t even be made in Intel fabs, he told Remote.net.

Notebook sales down

framedwindowsIt is hardly a surprise given that one in two UK households now have a swipy style tablet, but independent research shows top X86 models aren’t exactly the flavour of the month.

According to Digitimes Research, both branded notebook vendors and top original design manufacturers (ODMs), recorded month on month drops of 12 percent and 11 percent in December.

Dell and Toshiba did better than the other bunch of brand names, with the former, in particular, showing a bit of a surge because Microsoft will deck long in the tooth but reliable Windows XP this spring.

The ODMs were hit because HP was hit – Quanta and Inventec supply Hewlett Packard with most of its notebook boxes.

While the X86 mob hope that enterprises are still likely to plump for Windows based boxes, there is evidence that large corporations are seriously contemplating the bring your own device route, which will further erode Intel market share.

John Lewis up. Debenhams down

tablet-POS-cash-registerHigh street stores showed mixed results in their bids to win the hearts, souls and wallets of people over the Yuletide season.

Debenhams didn’t do at all well and that caused its chief beancounter, Simon Herrick, to fall on his sword this morning.

The John Lewis Partnership, which is a sort of cooperative, said its sales for the period were up 6.9 percent from the same Christmas period the year before. But it did particularly well on the interwibble front – in the five weeks to the 28th of December last its sales rose by over 22 percent.

Debenhams is in the slough of despond, however. It issued a profits warning for the next six months.

Obliquely, the John Lewis news is bad news for chip giant Intel too. Many people are using smartphones and tablets to buy online rather than wait for their X86 based machines to boot up.

AMOLED market set to take off

tv58The global market for materials to construct active matrix organic light emitting (AMOLED) panels next year will grow by 27 percent.

That’s according to a report from IHS, which predicts the market will be worth an estimated $445 million in 2014.

The leader of the AMOLED pack is Samsung which has pioneered the technique over the last five years by making three inch to five inch smartphone panels, according to Doo Kim, a principal analyst at IHS.

However, Kim says other manufacturers will “cash in” on growing demand for smartphones, telephones and other gizmos.

This LG Display introduced a TV panel and a flexible AMOLED panel, but Taiwanese firm AU Optronics have also entered the game.  Increased production of panels means the market will be more diverse with Samsung facing competitive challenges.

Intel refuses to give up on tablets

Intel-logoNever one to give up even when the battle’s already lost, chip behemoth Intel is apparently preparing a big notebook push.

According to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, which claims to have information frm the supply chain, Intel will unveil a plethora of chips that support entry level and high end tablets.

And, in bitter news for its long time “friend” Microsoft, Intel will introduce CPUs that support Android operating systems at the end of this year.

Bay Trail Android CPUs aimed at seven inch tablets will cost between $99 and $129 while it will also introduce other chips in the first quarter of next year costing between $149 to $199.

Bay Trail and Cherry Trail CPUs will look to target eight to 10 inch tablets and cost a staggering $199 to $249.

And in September next year, Cherry Trail will emerge from the factories using 14 nanometre “Airmont” manufactures – Another Trail blazer wll be Willow Trail at the same time, using 14 nanometre Goldmont, according to Digitimes.

And it seems Chipzilla hasn’t given up the ghost on smartphones and will intro 22 nanometre chips.

It’s hard to see how Intel can possibly catch up this late in the game, but it sure looks like it’s going to give it a stab.

Dell offers voluntary redundancies

Dell logoA number of staff at Dell were offered voluntary redundancy, it has emerged.

The Wall Street Journal said it had got hold of an internal memorandum giving people the chance to take voluntary redundancy with the cut off date being the 20th of December.

The Journal chatted to a spinner at the company who would not say how many people Dell wanted to lay off. He also refused to say whether the tin giant would introduce compulsory redundancies if not enough people offered to fall on the sword of their own account.

He did say that Dell wanted to improve its cost structure.

Like other PC manufacturers worldwide, Dell has faced declining sales as people dash to swipe tablets and smartphones rather than face the wonders of Windows 8.1 and Intel microprocessors.

Stan Shih returns in Acer reshuffle

Acer's Stan ShihThe founder of Acer – Stan Shih – has returned to the company he founded as chairman and interim president.

That follows CEO and chairman JT Wang stepping down, along with president Jim Wong.

Acer has been particularly hard hit by the slump in PC sales over several quarters and we guess the return of Shih is seen by the board as giving the company’s fortunes a blip.

Shih saw Acer’s fortunes rise during the 1990s as he turned the company from yet another PC manufacturer to become a global player competing with the likes of Dell, HP and Lenovo.

He retired some years ago and observers see little respite in PC performance as people move away from notebooks to tablets and smartphones.

Android leaps ahead in smartphone sales

Keep taking the tabletsA report from analyst company Gartner shows that while the Android OS has lept ahead in the third quarter of 2013, Apple’s iOS has lost share.

According to Gartner figures, Android has 81.9 percent share, iOS 12.1 percent, and Microsoft 3.6 percent.  In the same quarter last year, the figures were 72.6 percent, 14.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

Gartner attributes growth of Microsoft sales to decline in the shares of other OSes – particularly Blackberry, which had 1.8 percent in Q3 2013 compared to 5.2 percent in the same period last year.

On the smartphone device front, Samsung has 32.1 percent, Apple 12.1 percent, Lenovo 5.1 percent, and LG 4.8 percent for the third quarter.

The figures for smartphones shipped for the whole year is expected to reach 1.81 billion units, up 3.4 percent from 2012. Gartner thinks that in mature markets, people will buy smaller sized tablet over replacing older smartphones.

Smartphone subscriptions to hit 5.9bn by 2019

smartphones-generic

The findings of the latest Ericsson Mobility Report indicate that the smartphone craze has not peaked just yet. The report found that the number of mobile subscriptions will reach 9.3 billion by 2019 and more than 60 percent of all subscriptions will be for smartphones.

An estimated 90 percent of the world’s population will be covered by current generation WCDMA/HSPA networks, while 65 percent of the population will have LTE coverage. Smartphone data traffic is expected to increase tenfold over the next six years.

“The rapid pace of smartphone uptake has been phenomenal and is set to continue. It took more than five years to reach the first billion smartphone subscriptions, but it will take less than two to hit the 2 billion mark,” said Douglas Gilstrap, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategy at Ericsson.

“Between now and 2019, smartphone subscriptions will triple. Interestingly, this trend will be driven by uptake in China and other emerging markets as lower-priced smartphone models become available.”

At the moment, smartphones account for about 25 to 30 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions, but they are already outpacing feature phones in terms of new sales.

White box tablets make the grade

ipad3A report said that shipments of unbranded tablets amounted to 25 million in the third quarter of this year.

Digitimes Research said that figure is up by 56.3 percent sequentially and up 40.4 percent year on year.

Most of the shipments went abroad and seven inch screens accounted for most of the growth.

Yet the research outfit believes it won’t be all plain sailing for the white box suppliers because big brands will, and are, offering Android units at prices that compete with the white box units.

Mediatek continues to make progress in the sector, with its chips accounting for 70 percent of application processors.

Sales in Europe and the US of white box units often accompany other bundling deals, but the Chinese manufacturers of the tablets can expect to make headway in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, according to the research.

Intel seems to have lost its way

Sean MaloneyThe news that Intel’s Galileo is on its way just underlines to me how the chip giant has lost its way.

The “open source” computer costs $70, and uses its Quark microprocessor. Intel clearly thinks it will compete against the highly successful Raspberry Pi but clearly it hasn’t got a chance to play catch up.

The launch mirrors Intel’s late attempt to climb on the tablet bandwagon by cutting the price of its Atom microprocessor to compete with ARM and Nvidia based chips.  But it hasn’t got an earthly here, either.  Manufacturers are very chary about using anything with the Intel name associated with the tin. Again, that’s underlined by vendors’ reluctance to be associated with Intel.

Cheap is everything in the tablet market now and even though Intel’s chips might be, er, cheap as chips, the economics of this don’t really make a lot of sense to anyone. Sure, Intel has heaps of capacity but that in itself is part of the problem. State of the art fabs are really expensive these days and the volume game just doesn’t fit Intel’s business model.

In reality, the chip giant really has very little new to say. The new broom in the shape of CEO  Brian Kzanic appears to be attempting the Herculean task of cleaning the Augean Stables not just of the dung but also of a heap of very good people who have let their legs do the walking.

Datacentre business no doubt is still healthy for Chipzilla, but on the other hand independent market research shows that the notebook market is on the wane.  Sure, enterprises will refresh their notebooks but with the arrival of BYOD, there’s a level of ambiguity which must leave Intel more than a little bemused.

In truth, Intel has had zilch to say in the last three years as smartphones and tablets transformed the “traditional” Wintel model.

As part of the antitrust agreement following the demise of DEC, Intel found itself with StrongARM devices. At the time, we asked top executives from the firm why it didn’t just cut the Gordian Knot and produce a highly portable ARM based device?  The answer, of course, was that Intel was on the Centrino notebook gravy train. Sean Maloney, now a non-executive director at Chinese foundry SMIC, realised that the Atom chip might well cannibalise the notebook market but nobody at Intel appeared to have looked further than the next three quarters and see its dominance becoming more and more eroded.

Of course, Intel has oodles of cash in the bank but oodles don’t last forever.  Re-engineering its business model is, for Intel, a far from trivial task. As an Intel watcher for the last 30 years, I will be most interested to see what happens in the next 12 to 18 months.