Preliminary reading: Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [Jan 9-11, 2012]
With today’s news that Nokia reportedly to release 2.5G, 2.75G chip orders to Taiwan firms [Feb 14, 2012] (see below among the SoC-related set of information) we have all the details of Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion”. Below you can find all of that according to the title of this collection post.
Update Nokia makes internet access faster and easier with new browser for Series 40 devices [Nokia press release, April 23, 2012]
– Nokia Browser 2.0 delivers enhanced speeds and a new user interface for a faster, better way to explore the web
– Powered by cloud-based servers, it delivers accelerated browsing and reduces data consumption by up to 90%, without compromising the internet experience
– Web apps from the expanding catalog are easier than ever to explore and install right in the browser
Espoo, Finland – Nokia has today announced the availability of Nokia Browser 2.0, a major update dedicated to Nokia Series 40 devices. The new version reduces data consumption by up to 90%, meaning that consumers can enjoy faster and cheaper internet access. Web sites load up to three times faster in comparison to devices without cloud-accelerated browsing and consumers will also benefit from a number of other enhanced capabilities.
From the first look, consumers are easily able to discover new web content and enjoy one-click access to top, local sites via the Nokia Browser’s inviting and intuitive start page. We have optimized the browser to enable users to easily stay connected with friends and family at the touch of a button as well as to share files and links across social networks. The new and improved Download Manager helps consumers to manage external content easily, saving music, video or pictures on a memory card, while surfing the internet.
The browser includes a revamped, modern user experience that makes it simple to find, install and use interesting web apps that offer a richer, more desktop-like internet experience. Launched in mid-2011, the Nokia Browser is the first browser of its kind to support web apps, and now boasts a catalogue of more than 10,000 of the latest apps. Several publishers have experienced over a million downloads in a matter of months, demonstrating strong consumer demand.
With this update, developers will find new monetization capabilities, more extensive user interface options for their web apps and productivity improvements for Nokia Web Tools so they can continue delivering engaging, connected experiences to the ‘Next Billion’ consumers.
The update supports all forms of Series 40: Touch, QWERTY and Non-Touch, including the Nokia Asha range, as well as popular devices such as the Nokia C3-00, Nokia C2-03 and Nokia X3-02. The update will be pre-loaded on some current and all future Nokia Series 40 devices, while for existing users the update arrives as a free, optional over-the-air download. New users can download it from the Nokia Store. The browser is available in 87 languages in over 200 countries and territories.
Nokia Browser 2.0 makes use of cloud-based servers which adapt standard web pages so that they perform better on Nokia Series 40 devices. Since web pages are compressed and cached in the cloud, end users can access web sites in a manner which is faster and requires significantly less data to be sent over their mobile network. For pay-per-use contracts this will result in more cost-effective browsing, while users on an operator data plan will be able to do more web surfing without exceeding their monthly usage limits.
“With our new version, we’ve created a newer, faster, better browsing experience. As many consumers around the world will experience the internet for the first time through a mobile phone, this is a great step towards our goal to connect the ‘Next Billion’,” explains Dieter May, senior vice president of mobile phones services, Nokia.
New in the Nokia Browser 2.0
1. Faster browsing with speed improvements throughout the experience.
2. Easier access to new and popular Web apps to enable a richer and more engaging internet experience.
3. New, intuitive user interface offers one click access to search, most popular content and most valuable features.
4. Media handling enhancements provide an easier way to enjoy video, audio and images. Users can download in background mode while continuing to browse the web or queue downloads for later when performance or rates are better. Downloads can be saved to memory cards or phone memory for later offline viewing or listening.
5. One-click share on Social Networks by remembering Facebook and/or Twitter login to easily share any page URL and comments from your browser.
Developers can find out more about how the updated browser will enable them to build rich standards-based web apps at: http://www.developer.nokia.com/Develop/Series_40/Series_40_web_apps/.
Consumers can download the Nokia Browser 2.0 at: http://store.nokia.com/content/51924
Update from Nokia’s CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, April 19, 2012]
… In the area of Mobile Phones, we continue to renew our Series 40 portfolio. For example, we recognized the need for dual SIM and delivered 8 dual SIM devices over the past year. We delivered consumers more aspirational designs and experiences through 7 new Asha products. The Net Promoter Scores for some Asha devices are the highest we’ve had for Mobile Phones products.
We acquired Smarterphone, a Norwegian company that brings new user interface technology and expertise to Nokia. We’ve increased download rates from feature phones to more than 4 million a day by improving store access and payment schemes and adding new apps like Whatsapp, Foursquare and EA.
We released a new version of Nokia Life, which delivers education, health, agriculture and entertainment services via SMS. And we delivered a new proxy browser, and we’re now bringing the browser and web apps down to super low-end devices. However, as we highlighted last week, there are still areas where our future phone portfolio is at a competitive disadvantage. We plan to address some of these issues in Q2.
That being said, the structural shift from feature phones towards low-priced smartphones is a challenge. Our increased investments in Mobile Phones R&D are intended to address these challenges. …
From Q&A part of that:
… we’ve been taking some very deliberate steps to not only pick up the pace, but to make it easier to accelerate the pace around the development in Series 40. I mentioned as one example, the acquisition of Smarterphone in this space to give us more flexibility and speed as it relates to the user interface elements, for example, of that platform. So this is — it’s a good example of something where, from a code and engineering perspective, we’re paying off a bit of a debt and having to catch up and accelerate. But you’re seeing the progress being made. But still in the near term, it causes us some problems, which is what gives me some confidence that we can continue to catch up and address those challenges. It’s just that the competition is ahead of us in a couple of spots, and we’ve got to nail that. …
Update: Relevant excerpts from the Nokia 2011 fiscal year report [March 8, 2012]
With respect to conventional mobile devices, it is still commonplace for the market to be characterized in terms of feature phones – also sometimes called mobile phones – and smartphones. The distinction between these two classes of mobile products is typically rooted in their differing capabilities in terms of software and hardware, the opportunities they provide for third-party application development, the richness of the experience they offer and the volume of data they process. Historically, feature phones have been primarily used for calling and text messaging, while smartphones – with the aid of their more capable operating systems and greater computing power – have provided opportunities to access the Internet, navigate, record high-definition video, take high-resolution photographs, share media, play video games and more. Today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Increasingly, basic feature phone models, supported by innovations in both hardware and software, are also providing people with the opportunity to access the Internet and applications and, on the whole, offering them a more smartphone-like experience.
Whether smartphones or feature phones, mobile devices geared for Internet access and their accompanying Internet data plans are also becoming increasingly affordable and, consequently, they are becoming attractive to a broader range of consumer groups and geographic markets. A notable recent development has been the increased affordability of devices based on the Android platform, which has enabled some vendors to offer smartphones for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been dominated by more basic feature phone offerings. While developed and controlled by Google, Android is made available to others free of charge and a significant part of the source code is available as open source software, which has made entry and expansion in the smartphone market easier for a number of hardware manufacturers which have chosen to join Android’s ecosystem. Users of Android-based devices can access and download applications from the Android Market application store run by Google, so many companies deploying Android have focused their software development efforts around a few elements of the user interface they have the ability to shape as well as focused on exploring new hardware form factors, such as tablets, as they seek to differentiate their offering from that of their competitors also using Android, as well as that of competitors using alternative operating systems, including Nokia. However, in general, we believe product differentiation for Android-based products is challenging, leading to increased commoditization of those devices. We also believe that there is increasing fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, meaning that increasing custom versions of the software could weaken interoperability of applications within that ecosystem.
In the feature phone market, other ecosystems have emerged, including that based around Nokia’s own Series 40 feature phone operating system. A growing number of developers are writing Java-based applications for Series 40 which, together with applications and content for Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo devices, are available through Nokia Store. Another ecosystem is that based around mobile solutions chipsets from low-cost reference design chipset manufacturers which have enabled the very rapid and low-cost production of feature phones by numerous manufacturers in China and India, which are gaining significant market share in emerging markets, as well as bringing some locally relevant innovations to market.
In Mobile Phones, we have renewed our strategy to focus on capturing volume and value growth by leveraging our innovation and strength in growth markets to provide people with an affordable Internet experience on their mobile device – in many cases, their first ever Internet experience with any computing device. Almost 90% of the world’s population lives within range of a mobile signal, yet there are around three billion people who do not own a mobile device. Of those who do own a mobile device, fewer than half use it to access the Internet for a number of reasons ranging from personal choice and affordability to the lack of an available Internet connection. We recognize that there is a significant opportunity to bring people everywhere affordable mobile products which enable simple and efficient web browsing, as well as give access to maps and other applications and innovations.
While the broader mobile devices market has often been characterized in terms of smartphones and feature phones, today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Supported by technological and design innovations, Nokia’s portfolio of feature phones has over time become smarter to the extent that today’s feature phone models are increasingly smartphone-like in the functionality and experiences they provide. In the fourth quarter of 2011, we launched the Asha range of Nokia feature phones, which offers access to the Internet, integrated social networking, messaging and access to applications from Nokia Store.
Mobile Phones has dedicated research and development teams addressing our short to medium-term needs in product and services development. During 2011, we made changes to our research and development operations for feature phones to reflect and support our new strategy, including ensuring that each research and development site has a clear focus and that there is greater co-location of our teams. The major Mobile Phones research and development sites for our feature phones are in Beijing in China, Oulu in Finland, and Ulm in Germany.
… some competitors’ offerings based on Android are available for purchase by consumers for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been traditionally dominated by feature phone offerings, including those offered by Nokia. Accordingly, lower-priced smartphones are increasingly reducing the addressable market and lowering the price points for feature phone
In general, we believe product differentiation with Android is more challenging, leading to increased commoditization of these devices and the resulting downward pressure on pricing. …
We also face intense competition in feature phones where a different type of ecosystem from that of smartphones is emerging involving very low-cost components and manufacturing processes, with speed to market and attractive pricing being critical success factors. In particular, the availability of complete mobile solutions chipsets from low-cost reference design chipset manufacturers has lowered the barriers of market entry and enabled the very rapid and low-cost production of feature phones by numerous manufacturers in China and India, which are gaining significant market share in emerging markets, as well as bringing some locally relevant innovations to market. Such manufacturers have also demonstrated that they have significantly lower gross margin expectations than we do.
We also face competition from vendors of unlicensed and counterfeit products with manufacturing facilities primarily centered around certain locations in Asia and other emerging markets which produce inexpensive devices with sometimes low quality and limited after-sales services that take advantage of commercially-available free software and other free or low-cost components, software and content. In addition, we compete with non-branded feature phone manufacturers, including mobile network operators, which offer mobile devices under their own brand, as well as providers of specific hardware and software layers within products and services at the level of those layers rather than solely at the level of complete products and services and their combinations. In the future, we may face competition from established Internet companies seeking to offer smartphones under their own brand.
Principal Factors & Trends Affecting our Results of Operations
Devices & Service
Increased Pervasiveness of Smartphones and Smartphone-like Experiences Across the Price Spectrum
During the past year, we saw the increasing availability of more affordable smartphones, particularly Android-based smartphones, connected devices and related services which were able to reach lower price points contributing to a decline in the average selling prices of smartphones in our industry.
This trend affects us in two ways. First, it puts pressure on the price of our smartphones and potentially our profitability, as we need to price our smartphones competitively. We currently partially address this with our Symbian device offering in specific regions and distribution channels, and we plan to introduce and bring to markets new and more affordable Nokia products with Windows Phone in 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 announced in February 2012. Second, lower-priced smartphones put pressure on our higher-end feature phone offering from our Mobile Phones unit. We are addressing this with our planned introductions in 2012 of smarter, competitively priced feature phones with more modern user experiences, including software, services and application experiences. In support of our Mobile Phones business, we also plan to drive third party innovation through working with our partners to engage in building strong, local ecosystems.
There’s something about Mary… [Conversations by Nokia, Jan 3, 2012]
Mary McDowell has what might be quaintly called Midwestern values. That’s usually a mixture of what people like most about Americans, including friendliness, honesty, hard work – and not getting too big for your britches.
As Nokia’s Executive Vice President in charge of Mobile Phones she’s been responsible for transforming a core division of the company into a remarkable success story, and leading her team through some tough discussions and decisions:
“One of the tests of a leader is whether you can give enough space to give smart people to be creative and to drive things – and not have it be all about yourself.
I like to have diverse teams with different mindsets, and I like to have robust and challenging conversations because that’s how you get to the heart of issues.”
Last year, while media attention focused on the launch of the new Nokia Lumia phones, McDowell was laying the groundwork for the expansion of Nokia’s next billion strategy.
A major part of McDowell’s strategy has been moving away from the idea that Series 40 devices were a “low-end business cash cow” towards smarter, aspirational, phones for everyone:
“We’ve planted the seeds for Series 40. These are not the dumb phones…they are as smart as possible. In reality, the distinction between a smart phone and a feature phone is fairly technical, and when a consumer thinks about a smart phone they think about accessing the internet, downloading apps, a nice display… and these are all things we can, and do, deliver with Series 40,” says McDowell.
If Nokia was somewhat slow to appreciate the demands for Dual SIM, McDowell rectified this – and boosted market share – by introducing a wide range of Dual SIM phones with added features like Easy Swap that means people can swap SIM cards without turning off their handset.
Understanding the importance of Dual SIM came about, partly, by going out into the field and listening to consumers. She understands that, “it’s all very well making decisions in headquarters, but when you’re really talking with someone it sticks with you.”
Last year, McDowell visited all five continents and took all her managers to India. In the first three months of 2012 she is due to visit China, Russia and Vietnam. These trips, and in-depth research, have had a profound impact on Nokia’s mobile phone unit:
“Look at the Asha 200, McDowell says. “Those came about because we spent time in Jakarta – and they were telling us ‘This region is mad for qwerty – everyone texts and IMs’. So they said, ‘What can you do that makes something colourful and compelling that responds to this need?’ These phones were really designed with those guys in mind….”
Research in India led to the development of loud speakers for better music performance, while meeting a beautician in Nairobi confirmed McDowell’s belief in in the importance of social networking and internet access for everyone:
“She told me she had 1,000 friends on Facebook. I thought, oh ok – I only have about 200. But it’s such an important part of how they live their lives, it’s how they connect – they have no access to computers, phones are their life line.”
Providing those services in an affordable and accessible way for people in growing markets is a key part of what makes Nokia different, and gives added value beyond the phones themselves:
“We’re ramping up the Nokia Browser, which provides great data compression. We’re hoping to do even more with that capabilitybecause the cost saving and access it can bring to consumers is huge.”
Nokia Browser compresses and downloads information from the internet by up to 90%, making it a highly cost-effective option for people in developing markets.
“We’re also ramping up Life Tools, and what started as focused on rural markets is now going to be focused on urban markets as well.”
Nokia Browser, Life Tools and Maps for Series 40 have become hugely popular, with Nokia Browser becoming the fastest growing Nokia service ever and Series 40 products accounting for a third of downloads from the Nokia Store (up from 13% in January 2011)
“One of the things were looking at is how do we embed ourselves more with partners, how do we support local internet services – and is there more we could do to tap into local tastes and preferences. We’ve been doing a lot of work to make applications supported better on Series 40.”
You’ll be able to get Facebook and other global services, she says, but in addition, “There are things that are peculiar to local markets, and were looking at how that to give that to people.”
As a member of the Nokia Board since 2004, McDowell is passionate about this emphasis on product.
“It’s been quite a journey,” she admits, “but I think it’s been very healthy in terms of distilling things down to the business essence. Nokia got so consumed with process and detail that we lost sight of products, and the process became the product and so if you ticked all the boxes that was a job well done, even if it wasn’t that great.
“Now what matters is what we create, and I think that’s really the right focus.”
Nokia’s next billion: Antti Vasara looks to the future for Series 40 [Conversations by Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]
GLOBAL – Nokia is celebrating selling 1.5 billion phonesby looking to the future.
“It’s a fun number,” said Antti Vasara, Nokia’s Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices, “and when you start thinking about the impact of 1.5 billion it’s a pretty awesome achievement.”
After the toasts were finished, however, Vasara went back to work on how Series 40 could connect another billion people to mobile technology and the internet:
“What we are trying to do is a radical thing. We sometimes forget that half the world’s population does not have a phone. So, celebrating 1.5 billion is great, but it’s backward looking. What we want to say is – we are only half way to where we are going.”
A dozen Series 40 and Series 30 phones are sold every second around the world, and 3.5 million apps are downloaded every day.
“For a lot of people Series 40 is the first time they’ve ever had access to the internet or a computer. And the story of connecting those people is a huge story, because it will change the world.”
Series 40 began in the late 1990s in flagship devices [first was the Nokia 7110, developed in 1999], sold at fairly high prices to western customers, Vasara said. That has now been transformed into a range that is now selling in huge numbers in high growth economies, at a fraction of the cost.
“The people who buy these phones – and who will be buying these phones – are ambitious, and very aware of technology. They’re young, urban and what we call ‘hyper-social’. In other words, they know what the best of the best is – and we have to deliver a product that is state of the art and affordable.”
The Nokia Browser exemplifies Nokia’s drive to build smarter phones for everyone, in Vasara’s opinion.
“In Europe and the US we download data without thinking very much about the cost, but in growing economies it is a huge issue. With the Nokia Browser you can get a full internet experience, with very clever cloud compression technology to make that experience affordable.”
Vasara, and his team, have also been concentrating on making Series 40 feel like “phones that are speaking your language.”
The future of Series 40 will be more about the services that you want in your “neighbourhood” – in your own language, delivering information that “feels very local.” Part of that will be working with developers to develop more Series 40 apps.
Even though selling 1.5 billion Series 40 phones is a wonderful milestone, it is the development of the platform and the product that gives Antti Vasara a sense of achievement:
“My proudest moment was actually producing the first Dual SIM device,” he says. “We were getting a lot of heat about it, and it was a huge priority – but the timing was so tight and we had many moments when we thought we couldn’t make it. But we did – on time and with great quality. Now that was a milestone for Series 40.”
I don’t know why Nokia is touting the the words phones for “Next Billion” people for using internet when this all phones are not able to play videos from internet compared to same old devices which are doing far better job.
I just want know the genuine answers from Antti Vasara that is Nokia is making superior products compared to older generation devices?
Good points! You are listing some of the things that we indeed plan on fixing.
Making affordable phones that give smartphone-LIKE experiences involves making sometimes even painful trade-offs between different features and cost. We can do anything but not everything at the same time – that’s the essence of product making.
What we offer in the current Nokia Asha products is a nice combo of applications, Internet experience and contemporary services. Through our Store, people all over the world are downloading more than 3.5 million apps per day. We have put lot of emphasis on providing locally relevant apps so that you can find what is meaningful in your part of the world.
However, we also have some of the global phenomenons like Angry Birds available on Asha as well. On the Internet experience side we are very proud of the Nokia Browser. It gives people access to the full web yet doing that in a cost-effective way. The browser can compress data traffic by upto 90% ensuring that your phone bill doesn’t explode. And the specific services we offer like Facebook, Twitter, QQ, Foursquare, Maps, email, etc. give people the tools that most of us are using on a regular basis.
We hear you loud and clear on your request for more. Rest assured that we are working very hard to bring many new experiences and cool stuff to Asha throughout this year!
Nokia reportedly has begun design-in with Taiwan-based MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor for chipset solutions used in 2.5G and 2.75G handsets, with one or both of them expected to land orders for the vendor’s new models scheduled for launch in the second half of 2012, according to industry sources.
In response, MediaTek and MStar both said they are constantly contacted by contract makers of the international vendor, without elaborating further.
Nokia is actively seeking chip partners who can help significantly lower its production costs, the sources pointed out. Both MediaTek and MStar, which specialize in the design and development of low-cost handset solutions, and have expertise in making end products differentiated from others, are pinpointed as Nokia’s new potential partners.
MediaTek and MStar had been approached by Nokia since 2010, but failed to work out ways to cooperate due to the low ROI considered by both IC firms, the sources indicated. Nokia had previously requested the two chip firms to develop software and firmware solutions for its operating system, while requiring very low quotes from them.
The sources identify MediaTek as the most likely supplier for Nokia’s upcoming models. MediaTek has thus far shipped more than one billion chip solutions for 2.5G and 2.75G devices, and can better utilize its existing well-built distribution channels in China and other emerging markets as well as sufficient R&D resources, the sources said.
Demand for 2.5G and 2.75G handset solutions is falling in China due to growth in the penetration rates for 3G and smartphones in the region, according to sources at white-box handset companies. Thanks to subsidies offered by local telecom carriers, sales of 3G models in China have grown substantially, the sources said.
Sources at Taiwan-based IC designers which mostly target China’s white-box handset suppliers have also indicated that many customers decide to promote 3G phones by discontinuing development projects for 2.5G/2.75G models ahead of schedule. Reducing orders for feature phones are likely to affect their sales performance during the first quarter of 2012.
Companies that might see impact from the fall in 2.5G/2.75G handset demand include MediaTek, MStar Semiconductor, Sitronix Technology, ILI Technology and Novatek Microelectronics, industry sources in Taiwan said. The firms’ revenues are expected to register sequential decreases of 5-15% in the first quarter of 2012, according to the sources.
Despite the shrinking feature phone market in China, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and South America have been identified as the major markets for 2.5G/2.75G handsets in 2012, the sources pointed out.
MediaTek posts over 30% sales drop in January [Feb 6, 2012]
Fabless IC firm MediaTek has announced consolidated revenues of NT$5.16 billion (US$174 million) for January 2012, down 30.9% on month and 31.5% on year. The figure also hit the lowest monthly level since February 2011.
MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang said at the company’s recent investors meeting that first-quarter sales would be affected by slow demand for feature phonesas well as fewer working days and seasonality. However, Hsieh expressed optimism about the company’s smartphone-chip shipments during the first quarter.
MediaTek has guided consolidated sales would be between NT$19.2 billion and NT$20.4 billion in the first quarter, down 10-15% on quarter.
MediaTek sees 10-15% sequential drop in 1Q12 sales [Feb 4, 2012]
IC design house MediaTek expects its consolidated revenues to decrease 10-15% sequentially in the first quarter of 2012 with gross margin slipping to 42-44% from 44.2% in the fourth quarter. A continued slowdown in feature phone demand as well as fewer working days and seasonality will cause the sales drop during the quarter, according to company president Hsieh Ching-chiang.
MediaTek’s consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 slid 3.2% on quarter to NT$22.63 billion (US$768.5 million), slightly below its targeted NT$22.9-24.5 billion. The company attributed the sequential drop to low seasonal demand. Net profits for the quarter declined 28.3% sequentially to NT$2.92 billion, or NT$2.64 a share compared to NT$3.69 in the prior quarter.
Demand for 2.5G handset chips and other solutions used in TV, optical storage, and DVD and Blu-ray disc products will be slow during the off-season, MediaTek pointed out. In the fourth quarter, sales of handset chips accounted for 60-65% of company revenues while those of other non-handset use product lines made up the remainder.
However, sales of MediaTek’s smartphone 3G chips will climb to 8-10 million units in the first quarter, up more than 10% from the six million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company projects its total smartphone-chip shipments will top 50 million units in 2012, compared to about 10 million units in 2011.
Meanwhile, MediaTek expects its 2.5G chip shipments to stay similar to the level of about 550 million units in 2011.
MStar breaks into Nokia supply chain, says report [Feb 8, 2012]
IC design house MStar Semiconductor reportedly has entered the supply chain of Nokia with its 2G baseband chips, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report. Shipments are expected to kick off as early as mid-2012, said the report, without citing its sources.
Nokia demands about 100 million 2G handset solutions per year, the report indicated. Orders from the handset vendor will significantly boost MStar’s sales generated from its handset-chip business, which currently accounts for less than 10% of company revenues, the report said.
MStar shares rose 3.4% to close at NT$197 (US$6.68) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on February 7. The price continued its rally to US$203 during the morning session of February 8.
MStar sees 8-13% sales drop in 1Q12 [Feb 10, 2012]
MStar Semiconductor expects its consolidated revenues to decrease 8-13% sequentially in the first quarter of 2012, citing low seasonal demand. But sales for all of the year should see another positive growth driven by brisk shipments to the TV and wireless sectors, according to company chairman Wayne Liang.
MStar generated consolidated revenues of NT$9.8 billion (US$325 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 5.1% on month and 20.6% from a year ago. Net profits for the quarter grew 2.8% sequentially and 6% on year to NT$1.66 billion. EPS for the quarter came to NT$3.14.
MStar’s consolidated sales for all of 2011grew 6.2%, while fellow company MediaTek posted a sales drop of 23.5% on year. MStar saw its net profits slip 4.8% from a year earlier while net profits at MediaTek registered a larger 56% decline from 2010 levels.
MStar is looking to grab a larger share of the global TV chip market in 2012, said Liang, adding that it held a 55-56% share in 2011 with shipments reaching 128 million units. Though the worldwide flat-panel TV market for 2012 will enjoy a slower growth of less than 10%, the number of TV chip suppliers is expected to reduce allowing MStar to further maintain its leading position, Liang stated.
MStar disclosed that sales of TV chips accounted for 65-70% of company revenues in 2011, followed by handset products with 10-15%.
Handset chips played as the fast-growing product line for MStar in 2011, Liang noted. The company shipped a total of 50 million handset solutions in 2011, which should have boosted its 2G market share to 15%, according to Liang.
MStar is gearing up for mass production of its 3G solutions for smartphones in the second half of 2012, Liang said. With the China market set to enter its transition to 3G in 2012, MStar’s handset chip business will continue to expand, Liang added.
In addition, MStar expects to receive increasing orders for set-top box (STB) chips in 2012, thanks to growing demand in emerging markets, according to Liang.
The web software
Nokia sharpens focus to connect next billion to the Internet [Nokia press release, Sept 15, 2010]
Ovi Browser in Beta
Through its recent acquisition of Novarra, Nokia brings new browser technology and the power of cloud services to Series 40, enabling more Internet users in emerging markets to get more out of what the Web has to offer. Ovi Browser is now in beta release and makes Series 40 browsing faster, more affordable, easier to use, and more personalized.
Ovi Store on Series 40
Nokia completes acquisition of Novarra [Nokia press release, April 9, 2010]
Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Novarra, Inc., initially announced on March 26, 2010.
Novarra’s mobile browser and services platform will be used by Nokia to deliver enhanced Internet experiences on Nokia Series 40 mobile phones.
Nokia acquires Novarra [Nokia press release, March 26, 2010]
Browser service technology will provide improved mobile web experience on mainstream mobile phones
Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Novarra, Inc., a privately-held company based in Chicago, IL. Novarra is a provider of a mobile browser and service platform and has more than 100 employees. Novarra’s mobile browser and services platform will be used by Nokia to deliver enhanced Internet experiences on Nokia mobile devices. Novarra has deployed their solution with leading mobile operator and internet services customers globally.
“Connecting the next billion consumers to the Internet will happen primarily on mobile devices,” said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Services, Nokia, “and delivering an optimized internet experience on our devices is core to our mission. By driving innovation in all segments of our portfolio, we are building one of the largest consumer audiences for web services and content. Novarra’s Internet services technology delivered on the world’s most widely-used mobile platform, Nokia’s Series 40, will help us achieve this.”
Nokia expects a new service offering utilizing the Novarra technology platform to be available later this year. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010, and is subject to the customary closing conditions, including regulatory reviews. Following the acquisition, Novarra will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia.
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.2 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia’s NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.
Novarra, the Internet Mobility company, provides high performance mobile internet browsers and platforms for operators, handset manufacturers and internet brands to create new services and revenue streams for smartphones, features phones and mobile broadband devices. The solutions deliver a high quality mobile user experience for services including full rich web browsing, search, widgets, apps, video and advertising. Global, commercial deployments over eight years have proven consumer satisfaction, uptake and increased data service revenues. http://www.novarra.com/
Novarra Inc. [Wikipedia article, exerpted on Feb 14, 2012]
Novarra is a mobile internet software company founded in 2000 and based in Itasca, IL, USA.
Mobile internet access services based upon the Novarra Vision mobile internet and multimedia platform have been deployed in the US, Europe and Asia by service providers including Yahoo, Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, Turkcell, Hutchison 3G, Sprint Nextel, US Cellular and others on mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs from Nokia, LG Group, Samsung Mobile, Motorola Mobile Devices, Palm (PDA), Research In Motion, ZTE Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera Wireless, and other manufacturers.
How Nokia Turbocharges Web Browsing on Its Phones [PC Magazine, Oct 26, 2011]
LONDON—Amazon Silk? Opera Mini? Pshaw, says Nokia’s Randy Cavaiani. We’ve been doing that for years.
“Amazon Silk is effectively the technology we’ve had for a couple of years now,” said Cavaiani, the director of market solutions for Nokia Browser Services. “And we can more closely couple the experience to hardware.”
Cavaiani is talking about technology Nokia bought from his former firm, Novarra, and is now using in the browsers of the company’s four new Series 40 (S40) Asha phones. The new S40 browser, like Silk and Opera Mini, is a proxy browser: it uses servers around the world to download content and compress it before the content gets sent to your phone.
That results in up to a 90 percent reduction in data usage and much faster page loads, especially over slow networks, Cavaiani said. What’s more, Nokia could bring the technology to its Windows Phones, too—though Cavaiani made sure to note that the company isn’t currently working on doing so. That could make Nokia Windows Phones faster at Web browsing on slow networks, like Sprint’s currently struggling 3G network.
“It’s technically possible, because our server can assist any native browser,” he said.
How Nokia’s Browser Works
Nokia’s approach is a bit different from both Opera’s and Amazon’s. Opera’s servers ingest entire Web pages and send them to phones as static documents in Opera’s own markup language, OBML.v
From what we know of Amazon Silk, the browser on Amazon’s as-yet-unreleased Kindle Fire tablet, it combines a full browser on the Fire with algorithms that pre-fetch pages on Amazon’s cloud servers, and also compresses images and stores them at Amazon.
The browser is able to handle dynamic pages that only reload part of the page at a time when the user presses a button. The browser also has deep access to the phone’s hardware, which is different from Opera Mini.
“We can also inject services into the browser. The latest browser introduces a geo-location API, so now that’s open to developers to create geo-location apps,” he said.
The browser even supports widgets, dynamic overlays that can perform actions on Web pages like sharing them on Twitter or translating them into a different language.
Brilliant browsing on the new Nokia Asha [Conversations by Nokia, Nov 21, 2011]
Nokia Browser for Series 40 is the engine behind an improved internet experience on Nokia’s new Asha 200, 201, 300 and 303 mobile phones announced October 2011. The Browser uses cloud technology to speed page loads, reduce data transfer while providing access to more and richer web pages and web apps. Consumers in emerging markets can stay connected using Nokia Browser on Asha phones, sharing on social networks and enjoying videos and other media. Learn more at http://browser.nokia.com/Series40
GLOBAL – Good news for anyone planning to surf the Web using the brand new Nokia Asha phones for Series 40 – they’ve been designed to give you a better all-round internet experience with more of what you want, faster and cheaper.
Nokia have designed the new Asha family specifically for people in emerging markets where expensive and time consuming downloading has been limiting everyone’s internet use for years. For many, the phones will provide their owners with their only access to the Internet.
We know people want to get online fast, whether you’re looking for a shoe store in Caracas, meeting a friend in Mumbai or checking out your friend’s baby pictures from Taiwan.
The Nokia Browser uses cloud-based servers with high speed internet connections to collect the data and then transform it to the best version for a mobile phone, compressing the data by up to 90%.
But what you really need to know is that it will take seconds, not minutes, to check out what your friends are doing on social networking, and start sharing links, photos and videos. While you’re online the browser will show you how much data is being used, so there shouldn’t be any nasty shocks when your bill arrives. Then you can save your money for the things you’d really like to spend it on (like the shoes).
Getting online is important, but so is what you see when you get there. No one wants to look at an anonymous landing page or – even worse – a homepage from a country you’ve never been to.
The new Nokia Browser comes in 87 different languagesand, wherever you are in the world, you’ll see the news and content that’s relevant to you.
These Asha phones are “smart”.Web sites and web apps that might not otherwise be accessible are easy and enjoyable to use on Asha. And for many web content providers, web apps provide an even more elegant experience using swipe touch gestures for fluid page transitions and enhanced with location, SMS or social sharing functionality made possible by the browser’s cloud architecture.
Using the new full-screen mode you won’t be squinting at it on a tiny screen, either. You can get rid of background information, like the browser button control bar, and add some extra mm to your screen size – and on a mobile phone that’s going to make being online feel a whole lot better.
The Nokia Browser is available on the Asha phones, and up to 40 of the Series 40 phones. You can find out which ones on the product pages.
Now everyone can have a fuller, faster – and more affordable – internet experience.
Nokia Maps on Series 40 [Conversations by Nokia, Nov 8, 2011]
GLOBAL – Do you want to go shopping in Warsaw, meet a friend in Jakarta or find the nearest basketball court in Beijing? Or do you just want to show your friends your route home? Nokia Maps on the Series 40, including the new Nokia Asha 303, brings together all of the experiences you need for your life – and it’s preloaded and free.
Millions of us are out and about around the world – and we want more than a simple route, we want a full experience.
Nokia Maps on the Series 40 has a global range, aimed at local needs – and that’s why it brings free maps covering more than 180 countries, and free turn-by-turn visual routing in more than 100 countries.
Using the maps on the new Asha 303 you can find more than 3 million offline points of interest including tourist information centres, sights and museums, restaurants, hotels and shopping.
There’s no GPS: The service is specifically designed to use network-based positioning, and offers a lot of features offline to save on data costs and downloading. You can look at a map, or plan your route, offline as the map data is stored on the device itself.
Even if you want to go online, we’ve chosen the lowest cost options: The average cost of using the positioning service is the equivalent of sending a standard SMS in India.
Maps of your country and region come already loaded, so there’s no need to spend time installing. If you’re planning to go abroad you can add extra maps of the world through Nokia Suite – it’s free, and easy.
That’s one of the best things about Nokia Maps: It’s not just about finding out where you are, it’s about giving millions more people the opportunity to discover the world, and share locations with friends and family.
We’ve covered 31 million km of roads, and 73 million points of interest – giving Series 40 users exactly the same level of coverage as smartphone users.
Let’s just say, we don’t think you’re going to miss much.
NOKIA Developer > Develop > Highlights > Web experiences for Series 40 are now even better [Nov 2, 2011]
Nokia Browser for Series 40 has been updated, with several new features that will enable you to offer even richer experiences to users of Series 40 phones, on even the lowest bandwidth connections.
Your web apps can now determine the location [HTML5 Geolocation] of their user’s phone and you can offer users the ability to send SMS messages directly from your apps. Performance is improved too: images within your web app are cached on the user’s phone making for faster loading and refreshing of content.
To complement these new web apps features Nokia Web Tools has been updated too. Now you can simulate location while testing web apps on a computer and resolve code issues faster using the newly enabled debugging features of the integrated Web Inspector.
Once you’ve created a web app that differentiates your web content and offers great user engagement, it can be distributed through Nokia Store, exposing it to millions of Series 40 Nokia Store users.
Find out more about Series 40 web apps ›
With the latest version of the Series 40 browser, Series 40 web apps can now go even further by offering users location aware web apps and the ability to send SMS messages. Location features leverage the network-based location capabilities of Series 40 phones for accurate and timely location information. In addition, performance has been enhanced further with images embedded in a web app now cached on the user’s phone for faster page loads and refreshes. ”
Discover the new features in Nokia Web Tools ›
Find out more about distributing through Nokia Store ›
Find out more about Nokia Browser for Series 40 ›
Discover the world of apps
Web apps are small games and applications that you can purchase, or download for free using Ovi Store on your mobile phone. With web apps you can access content from well-known global brands, or the local brands you know and love. Once downloaded, apps are permanently saved within Nokia Browser, so they’re always easy to find and super fast to load. And because web apps are specially optimised for your phone, they provide a beautifully clear and simple way to access your favourite content.
Works great on any device
Nokia Browser has been designed to work brilliantly on both touchscreen and traditional keypad mobile phones. Browse with ease using the large, responsive touch screen controls, and enjoy intuitive, lightening fast navigation and scrolling on keypad devices.
Fast and easy to use
Search for content or enter Web addresses right from the start page. As you type, the predictive input technologywill provide a list of recently input keywords and URLs, enabling you to type less, and load your content even faster.
If your favourite site isn’t optimised for mobile, Nokia Browser’s smart rendering technology will create a thumbnail overview of each page, enabling you to quickly scan pages on even the most complex web sites. To zoom in, simple tap the content you want to read.
Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices. Today, we are at the forefront of the mobile internet revolution, fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them.
- Want to have an immediate impact on a billion people?
- Interested in creating software for the most widely used mobile phone platform in the world?
- Widgets, Apps, Social Networking, E-mail, Maps, Video, Browsing on Mobile Phones – we make it possible!
This team at Nokia has enabled millions of mobile phone users worldwide to perform their favorite activities on the web. As part of our plan to reach the next billion consumers, we need to expand our service offerings.
As a proven leader in providing high performance, next generation mobile internet solutions, this team within Nokia is seeking a Software Engineer with Java / C++ experience . You’ll work with highly motivated team members who possess a passion for excellence, developing innovative, creative solutions in a fast-paced environment. Our solutions need to exceed consumer expectations in order to provide the best-in-class possible internet experience in the market.
- Work in the Nokia Browser [Novarra] team creating the browsing experience for millions of Nokia S40 devices
- Be on a team chartered with enabling and growing a mobile app ecosystemfor millions of worldwide users and developers
- Research, design, and implement complex software solutions
- Be on the leading edge of integrating internet technologies, cell phones, and wireless networks
- Be a part of the team creating the next generation user experiencefor cell phones
- Work with Nokia development teams around the world to extend mobile phone services
- Utilize location based services and cloud services in your solutions
- Java or C++ development experience
- Ability to be deep and thorough with product code to optimize performance
- Proven experience writing software for large scale deployments
- Possess excellent verbal and written English communication skills
- Minimum 2 years work development experience
- BS / MS in Computer Science or Computer Engineering
- Mobile device development background a plus
- Agile methodology experience a plus
- Experience creating Web Apps
- Experience with IDEs and SDKs
- Interest in pushing the limits on mobile device software
- Experience working through tradeoffs and constraints during Design and Planning phases
Research & Development
Intern Position at Nokia (Itasca, IL) [Careers at Nokia, Feb 8, 2012] [Novarra]
Nokia is seeking software engineering interns to work on a web platform for the Nokia Browser Services [Novarra] organization impacting future Nokia products. You will perform design, development and implementation of our web browser environments for Nokia mobile devices. Your work will be central to Nokia’s objective to connect the next billion to the web via handsets worldwide.
You will work with a team focused on innovation team to design, implement, and test novel solutions to complex problems in the rapidly evolving mobile industry. This role will require understanding an existing code base and leverage external web services from other Nokia divisions as well as 3rd party services. Creative thinking, technical flexibility and a passion for cutting edge web technologies are a must.
– Working in a prototype creation project with design, implementation and integration responsibilities
– Collaborating with software developers and design engineers to quickly deliver prototypes
– Work with internal and external APIs
– Must be enrolled in current accredited graduate or undergraduate program within Computer Science or related field
– Experience developing a web service with one or more of the following: Apache, Tomcat, PHP, JSP, Ruby on Rails, or a similar equivalent.
– Working knowledge of Unix operating systems
– Experience with mobile phone environments and application development a plus
– Academic experience with Java and other object oriented design languages
– Proven ability to work within and extend current technology
– Strong team player as well as ability to work independently
Good graphical skills, Adobe Photoshop experience a plus
Research & Development