Fingerprint 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.
As we’re soon going to be swamped by even more smartphones, tablets, wearable devices and notebooks there’s an urgent need for better battery technologies real soon now.
That’s according to ABI Research which said that by 2019 there will be eight billion devices on the planet – a billion more than there are people right now.
If you’ve got a smartphone, you probably realise that the smarter they get the more electricity they take and that trend is going nowhere but upwards over the next few years.
ABI Research points out that the holy grail doesn’t lie with lithium and graphite batteries, nor with micro USB chargers. But it claims that silicon anode batteries from the likes of Leyden Energy and Amprius, as well as germanium based devices may hold out hope for the charging nightmare we even now face, in 2014.
“The opportunity is enormous,” said Nick Spencer, a senior director at ABI Research. “The average advanced market home has over 10 untethered devices with rechargeable batteries today.” Spencer reckons that if wearables take off, along with electric cars and the internet of things, the demand will be even greater.
But, thinks TechEye, we’ve been promised better battery technology for years and thus far no-one has picked up that particular baton. So let’s see how it all pans out.
Major supermarket chain Tesco said it will release its second generation Hudl tablet on the 9th of October.
It comes in eight different colours, has a larger 8.3-inch HD screen at 1920 x 1200 pixels, and uses an Intel Atom 1.84GHz quad core chip. It comes with 16GB of memory – that can be expanded to 48GB.
The unit will cost £129 although Clubcard customers may be able to buy it for as little as £65.
The unit runs the Android Kitkat 4.4.2 operating system. The Hudl 2 can also be customised with various accessories.
The device has a five megapixel rear facing camera and a front facing 1.2 megapixel camera. It claims eight hours of video batter life for the unit.
The unit comes with a built in parental filter.
Apple and Samsung are going to have to fight hard to keep their place as leaders of the tablet pack.
Because, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, other vendors including Asus, Lenovo and Amazon are fighting hard for third place and creeping up on the leaders.
These emerging vendors are set to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8 percent between 2014 and 2019. Lenovo, for example will ship 21 million tablets by 2019.
Samsung saw a 35 percent decline in growth between Q1 2014 and the second quarter, while Apple saw a 19 percent decline.
In the first quarter, Apple and Samsung had a hefty 72 percent of the marketplace but their combined market share dropped to 66 percent and that’s the way things are headed.
In fact, ABI Research thinks that advanced and mature markets are experiencing a stall in growth, partly because tablets don’t need replacing every few years like notebook PCs.
A report from ABI Research said that sales of branded tabets such as those from Samsung and Apple only grew by 2.5 percent in the first half of this year.
The report said that sales of Apple iPads fell by 13 percent while sales of Samsung tablets grew by 26 percent year on year.
Jeff Orr, an analyst at ABI Research, said: “The roller coaster ride from the leading two tablet vendors has market watchers looking to other vendors to create sustainable growth. All eyes are on Lenovo as it is one of the few to demonstrate consistent growth over the past year.”
But there is some good news for Intel. It is showing progress towards the goal it set itself of 40 million devices using its microprocessor in 2013. Orr described 2014 as the “tipping point” for Intel’s mobile stategy.
”Forty million units is only a minor dent in ARM’s domination of tablets, though Intel is quickly becoming a formidable applications processor architecture competitor,” Orr said.
Using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices at the same time could be changing the structure of our brains and not in a good way.
University of Sussex research reveals that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower grey-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally.
This supports the view that high media-multitasking activity and poor attention in the face of distractions, along with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.
Neuroscientists Kep Kee Loh and Dr Ryota Kanai point out that their study reveals a link rather than causality and that a long-term study needs to be carried out before anyone can be certain.
The researchers at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the brain structures of 75 adults, who had all answered a questionnaire regarding their use and consumption of media devices, including mobile phones and computers, as well as television and print media.
People who used a higher number of media devices concurrently also had smaller grey matter density in the part of the brain known as the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the region notably responsible for cognitive and emotional control functions.
Kep Kee Loh said his study was the first to reveal links between media multitasking and brain structure.
Scientists have previously demonstrated that brain structure can be altered upon prolonged exposure to novel environments and experience. The neural pathways and synapses can change based on our behaviours, environment, emotions, and can happen at the cellular level (in the case of learning and memory) or cortical re-mapping, which is how specific functions of a damaged brain region could be re-mapped to a remaining intact region.
Kep Kee Loh said that the mechanisms of these changes are still unclear. It is conceivable that individuals with small ACC are more susceptible to multitasking situations due to weaker ability in cognitive control or socio-emotional regulation, it is equally plausible that higher levels of exposure to multitasking situations leads to structural changes in the ACC.
A report by Monetate said data showed that mobile commerce continues to grow at a fair old pace.
Figures for the second quarter of 2014 available today showed that mobile commerce traffic rose by 120 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013 on smartphones. Tablet traffic grew by 35 percent and desktop traffic flatlined.
Even though mobile devices now generate 16 percent of all ecommerce traffic, revenue is less than four percent. And mobile customers are more fickle with a 50 percent higher bounce rate, and a 30 percent lower “add to cart” rate.
Further, people using smartphones are 10 percent more likely to abandon a transaction.
“Mobile commercial traffic is increasing dramatically as consumers become more comfortable shopping via mobile [phones],” said Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO of Monetate. “But the low conversion rates imply that brands need to create more relevant persnalised mobile experiences to take advantage of the opportunities.”
IBM, which contributed to the survey, said companies need to rethink their mobile strategies. Jay Henderson, strategy director at IBM ExperienceOne said: “It’s a fairly complex process that involves reworking sites, using data to improve nagivation and deepen connections.”
The survey analyses a random sample of over seven billion online episodes.
Internet giant Amazon announced the Fire HD6 tablet, at a price of £79 for the base model. It also introduced the Fire HDX8.9 at £329, and two Kindles.
The cheap and cheerful Fire HD6 comes in two configurations, an 8GB and a 16GB version – the latter costs £99.
The device comes in a range of five colours, uses a 1.5GHz quad core processor, a six inch HD display, and front and rear cameras.
It also includes unlimited cloud storage for photos taken with all of its Fire devices. It gives access to Android apps and is compatible with most of the digital content on the interweb.
The device weighs 290 grams and has a claimed battery life of eight hours. Full charge via a micro USB port – supplied in the box – takes six hours.
It also has a Slimport USB 2.0 microB connector that lets you plug it into HDTV or VGA monitors or to PCs and Macs.
The Fire HD6 has a limited guarantee of a year.
The Kindle comes with touch now and costs £59, while the Kindle Voyage costs from £169.
Sales of tablets are set to slow down next year because the market is saturated with devices.
So says Taiwanese market research company Market Intelligence and Consulting (MIC). MIC is a Taiwanese government quango and is in a position to know because most tablets are made in Taiwan and mainland China. Many are so-called “white box” units – often sold at rock bottom prices and unbranded.
And it also forecasts that the global PC market will shrink next year because enterprises are slowing down buying the gear, according to a report in English language newspaper the Taipei Times.
MIC said global shipments will be 293 million units next year, which represents a 9.2 increase from sales this year. But the rate of increase is in decline.
One of the reasons is that smartphones are getting bigger.
Meanwhile, MIC said worldwide shipments of PCs will be 295 million units, that’s down from shipments this year. Sales this year got a boost because Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP.
Phablets are smartphones with screen sizes between 5.5 inches and seven inches. And, according to market research company IDC, 175 million of them will ship this year, beating the 170 million portable PCs expected to ship this year.
It’s a horrible word, phablet.
But next year the devices will ship 318 million units, more than the 233 million tablets IDC predicts will ship in 2015.
Melissa Chau, research manager at IDC, said Apple is expected to announce it’s entering the fray in the next couple of the weeks. And by 2018, she said, phablets will grow market share from 14 percent now to 32.2 percent then.
Average selling prices for phablets and smartphones are set to drop and will dominate the portable sector in 2018, with 75.6 percent of the market.
Market research firm IDC said it has lowered its forecast for tablet sales in 2014 almost halving its estimate of how many will ship.
The reason for that, according to the company, is that buyers in mature markets are contributing to flatness. The estimate now is that 233.1 million units will ship – its previous estimate was a year on year 12.1 percent growth rate. It’s lowered that rate to 6.5 percent now.
But while the “mature markets” are showing a slowdown, IDC said that other regional markets will hit a 12 percent growth rate.
More use of tablets in emerging markets will sustain that 12 percent figure.
IDC estimates that average selling prices will level out at $373 in mature markets but fall in other regions to $302.
Jitesh Urbani, senior research analyst at IDC said that the world outside Western Europe and North America will account for the majority of shipments this year. “But in terms of dollars spent, medium to large sized devices in North America and Western Europe will still produce significant revenues,” he said.
Market research company IDC said there’s light at the end of the tunnel for PC sales in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).
The second quarter of 2014 grw by 3.2 percent, ending seven consecutive quarters of decline.
But overall PC shipments were down 8.3 percent for the first quarter of this year, according to the IDC figures.
The decline in the market is largely because people and organisations are moving towards tablets and smartphones, according to Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a research manager at the firm.
But PC vendors are pushing aggressive pricing, new form factors and so the decline is softer in Q2 2014 than in the seven quarters before.
More political stability is helping the trend to spend, and the fact that people are moving from the now defunct Windows XP.
There will be a 30.9 percent rise on tablets shipped in the second quarter of 2014 compared to Q2 2013 – that’s 61.42 million units.
Digitimes Research said that Apple will continue to rule the roost as the biggest vendor but its share is falling.
Of the 61.42 million units shipped, 13.5 million will be iPads, 24.62 million non Apple tabs, and 23.3 million will be white box jobbies.
The research outfit said Apple will have 22 percent of shipments, closely followed by Samsung with 20 percent. Other vendors lag behind.
Android devices will account for 58.9 percent of shipments, Apple’s iOS 35.4 percent and Windows way back with only 5.7 percent.
Chinese makers of tablets are adding top notch features to their offerings threatening a price war in the European and US markets.
That’s according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, which said that the vendors will offer LTE, ultrathin bezels and 13 megapix cameras.
And the vendors will aim to flood the European and US markets with the products, making it increasingly difficult for bog standard players to make much margin on the products, the wire adds.
The vendors are cranking up their volumes and aiming at large outlets to sell their cut price high end devices. That means that companies like Intel are unlikely to make much of a dent in these markets, despite its efforts to penetrate an already competitive market.
* In other news, Intel has finally managed to trademark the letter “i”, according to our sister publication, TechEye.
While Western Europe and the USA are showing signs of saturation for tablet sales, it looks like some regions are continuing to boom.
A report from IDC said that PC tablets grew 111 percent year on year in the last quarter of 2013 in the Middle East and African (MEA) markets.
Shipments amounted to 3.45 million units and both the home segment and the corporate segment showed steady growth. The educational market also saw growth.
Huawei won a deal to supply around 90,000 units in South Africa in the education sector.
Android wins the game – 2.8 million units shipped up 16 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012. iOS fell and Windows OS lost share in Q4 2013.
Top vendor was Samsung, followed by Apple, Lenovo, Asus and Huawei.
The PC market will fall further in 2014, while tablets will grow significantly, IDC said.