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Tech investment banking expertise to strengthen the unique value focus of growing the HTC brand and to achieve high growth again

Updates #2:

–  HTC sees revenues down sharply on-year in July [DIGITIMES, Aug 7, 2012]

HTC saw its revenues dip 16.7% on month and 44.5% on year to a five-month low of NT$25 billion (US$834.45 million) in July. For the first seven months of 2012, revenues amounted to NT$183.9 billion, decreasing 32.8% from a year earlier, according to company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE).

… With HTC estimating its revenues to reach only NT$70-80 billion in the third quarter [US$2.3-2.7 billion], it is unlikely to see HTC’s revenues rebound to NT$30 billion in August and September, the Chinese-language Commercial Times said on August 7 report.

HTC sees fall in 3Q12 sales with lower margin [DIGITIMES, Aug 3, 2012] [US$3.5 billion]

HTC reported second-quarter consolidated revenues of NT$91.04 billion (US$3.04 billion), in line with its targeted NT$91 billion, which had been cut from its original target of NT$105 billion [US$3.5 billion]. Gross margin and operating margin for the second quarter came to 27.01% and 9%, respectively.

Second-quarter sales represented a 34.3% increase, but were 26.8% lower than those posted in the second quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, gross margin and operating margin showed improvement from the prior quarter, but decreases compared to the same period of 2011.

HTC generated net profits of NT$7.4 billion, or NT$8.90 a share, in the second quarter of 2012. Profits declined more than 50% from a year earlier, but rose over 60% on quarter.

HTC adjusts workforce [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2012]

HTC has been adjusting human resources in its production, R&D, and sales teams. Industry sources believe corporate restructuring is necessary as HTC’s sales have been declining.

Sales of the HTC One series have not been picking up due to tough competition in Europe and North America. HTC has been adjusting its global workforce by shutting down the R&D team in North Carolina, US, and offices in Brazil. Some members of the R&D team have been laid-off and there will be no renewals of contracts for 600 workers. The adjustments have impacted close to 1,000 staff.

Nokia, RIM and HTC to see smartphone shipments continue sliding in 2H12, say sources [DIGITIMES, July 9, 2012]

Nokia, RIM and HTC are expected to see their smartphone shipments, as well as market share, continue declining in the third and fourth quarters of 2012 due to a lag in migration to new platforms and weakening competitiveness of their products, according to industry sources.

Despite efforts initiated by Nokia, RIM and HTC to fend off competition from Apple and Samsung Electronics, RIM and HTC have reported lower than expected shipments for the second quarter of 2012, while Nokia is expected to see its second-quarter smartphone shipments drop below 10 million units, said the sources.

Although HTC managed to post a sequential gain in shipments in the second quarter, its second-quarter smartphone shipments barely reached nine million units, pointed out the sources.

HTC is expected to see its shipments stay flat or drop to eight million units in the third quarter and slip further to seven million in the fourth quarter, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.

End of updates #2

Preliminary reading: HTC: the most promising ICT brand in Taiwan [Oct 18, 2010 – July 5, 2011; then with major updates on Feb 7, 2012

imageSource: HTC, Investor Relations

Updates #1: The MWC introduced HTC One series unveiled (for the first time) a proprietary HTC ImageChip image signal processor (thus not relying on ISPs coming with the Tegra 3 and Qualcomm S4 SoCs) in order to be able to take a shot “in just 0.7 seconds” and to have “a new superfast 0.2-seconds autofocus, continue to take nearly unlimited continuous shots“, as well as “capture a photo and shoot video at the same time” and be “also able to capture a photo frame from a previously recorded video.” (See also a detailed description of that inside of the so called HTC ImageSense feature set.) Such a hardware based differentiation approach will even be greater with HTC’s upcoming products according to the following news:

HTC plans to develop customized processors [DIGITIMES, April 24, 2012]

In order to have significant product differentiation, HTC plans to cooperate with Qualcomm, Nvidia and ST-Ericsson to develop and produce customized processors with specific functions for its smartphones, according to Taiwan-based handset chip designers.

HTC may develop specific functions for its smartphones and secure supply of customized processors, but it may run the risk of inventories because such processors are unlikely to be adopted by other vendors, the sources commented.

HTC plans to develop its own processor [China Times, April 23, 2012] with Google translation of the original in Chinese , or the same with Bing translation.The essential content of that was first reported by Unwired as: HTC is developing its own CPU for lower end smartphones with ST-Ericsson

HTC is following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung, and is now working on its own dedicated applications processor. According to China Times, the Taiwanese smartphone maker has already signed memorandum of cooperation with ST-Ericsson to co-develop the chip.

Contrary to high performance Samsung and Apple CPUs which power their flagships, the new HTC processor will run the lower end smartphones. The devices with new chip will start shipping in volume sometime in 2013.

It seems that HTC is getting increasingly unhappy with Qualcomm, which powered most of HTC devices until this year. They have signaled their unhappiness in early February, and may even consider Qualcomm one of the reasons for the sales problems of the last few months.  HTC has already added NVIDIA to its application processor supplier list –quad core Tegra 3 is powering non U.S. version of the new One X flagship. But it has yet to diversify on the lower end.

Turning to ST-Ericsson and co-developing its own, cheaper CPU, may also be a way for HTC to start moving down market with lower priced devices. Up until now – HTC was mostly focused on a premium high-end smartphones, pretty much ignoring the low-end of the market. But as component prices get cheaper, and ever better quality Android devices are released at ever lower price points by Samsung, ZTE and Huawei – Taiwanese vendor has to find a way to respond.

And this move may be one of the responses.

 HTC, Facebook jointly developing smartphone, say sources [DIGITIMES, April 25, 2012]

Given that Google is expected to continue to cooperate with Samsung Electronics for the development of the next-generation Nexus smartphone, HTC reportedly has decided to move forward in its own way and is currently developing a customized smartphone in cooperation with Facebook slated to be launched in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, according to industry sources.

HTC had previously joined forces with Google to launch Google’s first own-brand smartphone, the Nexus One. However, Google then shifted to cooperating with Samsung as its primary production partner for the launch of its second and third own-brand smartphones.

Since Samsung has become the top vendor of Android smartphones, Google will continue to have Samsung develop its next-generation Nexus models, leveraging Samsung’s innovation ability with regard to the Android platform, and its ability to control the supply of key components, said sources.

The new Android smartphone being developed by HTC will have a platform exclusive to Facebook to enable and integrate all functions available on the social networking site, the sources indicated. Previously, HTC launched two Facebook-enabled smartphones, the Salsa and Chacha.

Facebook is expected to further expand its investments and sources of income after becoming a public company, and the launch of own-brand smartphones will be part of its development strategy, the sources commented.

End of updates #1

HTC personnel change indicates new value focus: Goldman Sachs [Focus Taiwan, Taiwan’s national news agency, April 17, 2012]

… The 45-year-old Chang, an investment banker and partner at Goldman Sachs before joining HTC, will be responsible for corporate finance and accounting, strategic acquisitions and investment, and investor relations.

“We believe the change in CFO may indicate HTC’s more aggressive attitude toward its finance department in terms of creating value other than just accounting integrity,” Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Yen wrote in a research note.

For example, he said, added value could mean enhancing “the uniqueness and competitiveness of HTC’s smartphone products and services.”

Given HTC’s many acquisitions and strategic investments in content and mobile services in the past and its decent cash position, it could be creating a different value by choosing a CFO with industry and banking background, Yen said. …

imageHTC Desire V for China Unicom (WCDMA)

Comparison [PDAdb.net]: HTC Desire VC T328d vs. HTC Desire V T328w vs. HTC Desire VT T328t [3]

Note: According to the detailed specifications given above these phones all have SLCD screens (see: Super LCD, Explained [DisplayBlog, Nov 24, 2011]), as on quite a number of higher end HTC smartphones in the last 2 years (since HTC Desire A8181 / HTC Bravo). Otherwise they have been using “transflective TFT LCD” mostly and in very few cases Super AMOLED.

HTC eyes cheaper smartphone market in China [Focus Taiwan, Taiwan’s national news agency, April 17, 2012]

Taiwan’s HTC Corp. launched several smartphones in China priced as low as 1,999 Chinese yuan (US$317) Tuesday in a bid to tap into the emerging mobile market.

The HTC launch in Beijing includes three smartphones in its customized New Desire series, which will go on sale from mid-April through three major Chinese telecom operators, according to a company statement.

The New Desire V, running on China Unicom’s 3G WCDMA network, will start from 1,999 Chinese yuan before subsidies, while the New Desire VC will support China Telecom’s CDMA 2000 frequency, for the same price tag.

Pricing for the New Desire VT, which will run on the country’s home-grown TD-SCDMA network provided by China Mobile, was not disclosed.

“The China market has always been a critical part of HTC’s global strategy. In addition to the HTC One series, we are introducing the New Desire series targeting Chinese consumers,” said Ray Yam, president of HTC’s China division.

“We believe HTC’s future is closely connected with China and that HTC will continue to bring the best experience and the most innovative smartphones to the country as soon as possible,” he added.

All the models in the New Desire series are equipped with a 4-inch display, a 1 GHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera, according to the company.

Separately, HTC said its new “One” family will also hit store shelves in China this month, with price tags ranging from 2,688 to 5,688 yuan.

The Taoyuan-based manufacturer is hoping that the streamlined models and an increased retail presence will help it boost its market share in China, which stood at only about 2 percent last year, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.


HTC Desire VC for China Telecom (CDMA2000)

China market: HTC launches One, new Desire lineups [DIGITIMES, April 18, 2012]

… HTC currently accounts for a 10% share of smartphones sold with a price tag over CNY2,000 in China, but has not entered the mainstream sub-CNY1,000 segment, indicated the sources. …

HTC Prepares to Launch Lower-end “Kewang” Smartphones for China [IDG News, April 17, 2012]

… The HTC Kewang V, or Desire in English, will launch on April 23 through mobile operator China Unicom. … HTC’s goal with the Kewang series is to provide smartphones at a low price, but also with high-performance and strong features, said Ethan Qian, an HTC spokesman. The Kewang line is being released only in China, he added. …

HTC Desire VT for China Mobile (TD-SCDMA)

Dual card dual standby for only 1999 yuan HTC desire V officially released [China Tech News, April 17, 2012]

On the afternoon of April 16, China Unicom and HTC jointly held “China Unicom fertile 3G HTC new Desire V listed” conference, officially released the HTC new Desire V. It is customized by China Unicom, has 9.3mm ultra-thin body, support dual card dual standby, using clocked at 1GHz Qualcomm MSM 7227A processor [with Cortex-A5 single core, having 1.57 DMIPS/MHz performance, while Cortex-A8 has 2.0 DMIPS/MHz], 4 inches [Super LCD] screen with a resolution of 480×800 (WVGA). The phone will be powered by the Android 4.0 system, using the HTC Sense 4.0 UI, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, [512MB RAM] 4GB ROM, integrated Beats audio audio technology, the battery capacity of 1650 mA. Bare metal price of 1999 yuan is also a bright spot.

Super LCD vs Super AMOLED displays (HD) [TheTechTonicdotCom YouTube channel, Dec 11, 2011]

OK it’s time to get ultra geeky. This is a video comparison of the respective qualities of Super LCD and Super AMOLED displays. Famous for their true blacks and high contrast, how does a SAMOLED display fare against the warmer tones of SLCD? SLCD screen provided by the HTC Radar, at 480 x 800 resolution and 3.8 inches. SAMOLED screen provided by the Samsung Omnia 7 at the same resolution but at 4inches. More mobile tech content at http://www.thetechtonic.com Follow us on Twitter @the_tech_tonic
Note: Nokia has a superior technology for better brightness, contrast and outdoor visibility with a significant enhancement of both In-Plane Switching (IPS) type TFT and AMOLED display panels typically used. See: The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011 – Feb 2, 2012], especially for comparison with Super LCD of HTC Mozart (as well as with the Super AMOLED of Samsung Galaxy S II).

Commentary: HTC appoints new CFO, but challenges remain [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

HTC has reshuffled its management team again by appointing former Goldman Sachs Group partner Chia-Lin Chang as its chief financial officer, which is part of the company’s strategy for global deployment.

The new appointment, which took effect on April 16, came after HTC announced earlier a 70% on-year decline in net profits for the first-quarter of 2012.

Perhaps, the new CFO could help the Taiwan-based smartphone vendor secure more acquisitions to strengthen its global deployment, but it remains to be seen whether HTC is able to regain its growth momentum in 2012 as it faces more challenges in integration of its corporate culture as well as increasing competition.

HTC has created or added a number of high-level positions since the second half of 2010, including the appointments of Ron Loukes as chief strategy officer and Kouji Kodera as chief product officer in July 2010, and Matthew Costello as COO in December 2010. HTC also appointed Jason Mackenzie as its president of global sales and marketing in July 2011.

HTC has also brought in Scott Croyle of One & Company and Shashi Fernando of Saffron Digital responsible for design and content, respectively, through acquisitions of the two companies.

It is also the second time in less than two years HTC has changed its CFO. The newly appointed CFO Chia-Lin Chang replaced Winston Yung, who took the post in January 2011.

If the latest management team is unable to bring back the growth momentum in 2012 that HTC enjoyed during the period from 2010-2011, HTC will no longer be able to compete with Samsung Electronics, Apple and even Huawei Device in terms of economies of scale in production.

While the hiring of talent with management and marketing expertise from abroad, and the acquisition of certain companies overseas are indeed necessary for HTC in its thrust to become a global brand, the impact resulting from the integration of corporate culture on HTC is expected to intensify along with such processes.

Given that nearly all top-rank positions with the exception of the CFO post at HTC have been filled with foreign executives, the promotion of local talent will likely become a major issue of concern in the future.

The Quietly Brilliant Story of HTC [HTC YouTube channel, Nov 23, 2011]

A short film about how the smartphone evolved – from some of the early pioneering handhelds to today’s most innovative smartphones.

HTC replaces CFO after just one year [15 1/2 months] on the job (update) [The Verge, April 17, 2012]

HTC has issued a statement on the transition:

On Monday, HTC announced the appointment of Chia-Lin Chang as Chief Financial Officer with Winston Yung, his predecessor, transitioning to a corporate development role.

“Media speculation that ties this announcement to HTC’s partnership and investment in Beats By Dre is categorically inaccurate,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “HTC and Beats have made impressive progress in innovation and brand awareness and the integration of the Beats brand and technology in the new HTC One series is a clear indication of our commitment to this partnership.”

Amazing camera, authentic sound, iconic design. HTC One has them all. [HTC YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2012]

Highlights of launch event in Barcelona on February 26, 2012 with Peter Chou, CEO and Scott Croyle, Vice President of Design.

HTC One series unveiled [from the 2012 HTC press releases or directly on the Canadian site]:

BARCELONA, SPAIN – Mobile World Congress – February 26, 2012 – HTC, a global designer of smartphones, today unveiled its new HTC One series of smartphones that represent its most premium mobile experience with a new level of iconic design and amazing camera and authentic sound experience. …

With HTC’s most premium experience, the HTC One series integrates Android 4.0 (ICS) with HTC Sense™ 4, the new version of HTC’s branded user experience that is introducing HTC ImageSense™, a new suite of camera and imaging features that set HTC One apart from other phones. HTC Sense 4 also includes broad enhancements to audio quality and simplifies how people listen to music on their phone.

Amazing Camera
With ImageSense HTC One rivals traditional digital cameras with improvements to every part of the camera, including the lens, the sensor, the software, and even integrating a new custom HTC ImageChip. These enhancements combine to deliver our fastest image capture, best image quality under adverse conditions and easiest interface that enables quick access to capturing stills and videos with side-by-side photo and video capture buttons.

  • Superfast Capture – HTC One dramatically reduces the time it takes to capture those key moments. In just 0.7 seconds you’re able to take a shot, and with a new superfast 0.2-seconds autofocus, continue to take nearly unlimited continuous shots simply by holding the shutter button.
  • Good photos in adverse conditions – HTC One delivers dramatic enhancements in image capture quality even in adverse conditions such as low light, no light or with bright backlighting. The f/2.0 lens on the HTC One X and HTC One S offers best-in-class performance, capturing 40 percent more light than the f/2.4 lenses available on other high-end phones. HTC One also includes HDR, a market-leading technology, for taking great photos even when there are varying levels of brightness.
  • Video Pic (Concurrent Video/Still Capture) – With Video Pic you capture a photo and shoot video at the same time. Now, while you’re shooting HD video, all you have to do is tap the shutter button and it snaps a high-resolution still photo while the video continues to shoot. You are also able to capture a photo frame from a previously recorded video.

Authentic Sound
With HTC One, Beats By Dr. Dre Audio™ integration is enabled for the first time across the entire experience for richer, more authentic sound whether you’re listening to your favorite music, watching a YouTube™ video or playing a game. … All this makes HTC One the one place to enjoy all your music, wherever you are, with the power of Beats By Dr. Dre Audio and HTC Car.

HTC One X
… HTC One X is blazing fast with the new NVIDIA® Tegra 3 Mobile Processor for clear graphics, faster applications and longer battery life. It includes a 1.5GHz Super 4-PLUS-1™ quad-core with an integrated fifth Battery Saver Core and a high-performance 12-Core NVIDIA® GPU. The HTC One X also has an amazing 4.7-inch, 720p HD screen crafted from contoured Corning™ Gorilla Glass. HTC One X will also be available in select 4G LTE markets with a LTE-enabled Qualcomm Snapdragon S4™ processor with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s.

HTC One S
The HTC One S is for people who want a high-end smartphone in a more compact size. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s. It also includes a 4.3-inch screen crafted from contoured Corning™ Gorilla Glass. …

HTC One V
Utilizing the classic, award-winning design of the HTC Legend, the HTC One V brings top-end design to a smartphone with broad appeal and a premium experience that delivers an amazing camera and authentic sound. It features a simple, iconic aluminum unibody design that exudes craftsmanship and quality.

Global Availability
With unprecedented excitement, the HTC One series will begin shipping in April with broad global availability available beginning in April through more than 140 mobile operators and distributors globally. For more information and to pre-register for HTC One visit www.htc.com.

HTC Rezound™, the only phone with the Beats Audio™ built in [HTC YouTube channel, Nov 3, 2011]

Experience your sound like never before.

HTC And Beats By Dr. Dre Set To  Introduce New Era In Mobile Audio [from the 2011 HTC press releases]:

Strategic HTC investment to result in Beats integrated HTC phones this Fall.

Taoyuan, Taiwan & Santa Monica, CA – August 11, 2011– HTC Corporation, a global designer of mobile devices, today announced a strategic partnership and investment with Beats™ Electronics LLC, the company redefining the audio market with its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre™ audio experience. The two fast-growing brands will focus on bringing high performance sound to HTC phones. …

… “Beats has found a unique way to harness popular culture in a manner that is unlike any other brand today,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “It’s an exciting brand that has been built around providing something very special, and we believe our strategic partnership will provide customers with unbeatable sound on HTC phones. We obsess over every detail of a consumer’s mobile experience and audio is a critical part of that experience.”

… Established in 2006, Beats Electronics is the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, who set out to develop a new type of headphone with the capability to reproduce the full spectrum of sound that musical artists and producers hear in professional recording studios. For more information, please visithttp://beatsbydre.com.

The history of last HTC CFOs:

HTC Appoints Hui-Ming Cheng as CFO [HTC press release, Aug 23, 2006]

… he has served as CFO and Spokesperson for the Fubon Financial Holding Co. in Taipei. From October 2003 to February 2006, Mr. Cheng was VP and CFO of Taiwan Mobile and received the honor of being named as Taiwan’s best CFO by Institutional Investor Magazine in 2003. Prior to his appointment with Taiwan Mobile, Mr. Cheng held various senior-level positions with the Finance Center, Winbond Electronics Corp., China Development Industrial Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, and the Asia Partner Fund.

Mr. Cheng received a BS in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University and an MBA from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.

HTC Announces Winston K. S. Yung as Chief Financial Officer [HTC press release, Dec 23, 2010]

… Prior to joining HTC, Yung was the Chief Financial Officer for Shin Kong Financial Holding in Taiwan where he played a key role in the company’s success, and also held key positions at McKinsey & Co in Hong Kong. Yung received a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with an economics major from University of Hong Kong and a MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.

HM Cheng, HTC’s current chief financial officer will retire from the company and move into an advisory role to HTC’s board of directors. Cheng joined HTC in September 2006 and successfully established a complete financial system and was a key contributor to HTC’s corporate governance system and HTC’s overall financial success

HTC names Chia-Lin Chang Chief Financial Officer [from the Latest HTC press releases]

Taoyuan, Taiwan – April 16, 2012 – HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced the appointment of Chia-Lin Chang as Chief Financial Officer and spokesperson effective April 16, 2012.

Chia-Lin Chang’s predecessor, Winston Yung, joined HTC in January 2011. Winston will focus on corporate development, helping HTC maintain its competitive edge by strengthening the organization and corporate talent.

Chia-Lin, previously an investment banker and partner at Goldman Sachs, will be responsible for corporate finance and accounting, strategic acquisition and investment, and investor relations.  Chang earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.  After receiving his Ph.D. degree, Chang served as an engineer at Motorola in the US.

GOLDMAN SACHS ANNOUNCES NEW MANAGING DIRECTORS [Goldmann Sachs press release, Oct 24, 2007] “… it has invited 299 individuals to become Managing Directors as of December 1, 2007, the start of the firm’s fiscal year. … Chia-Lin Chang …

From: Latest HTC press releases:

HTC releases unaudited results for 1Q 2012

Taoyuan, Taiwan – April  6, 2012 –HTC corporation (TWSE: 2498), a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announces unaudited consolidated results for 1Q 2012. For the first quarter of 2012, total revenues reached NT$67,790 million, a decrease of 34.92% year-on-year. Unaudited operating income was NT$5,099 million, net income before tax was NT$5,551 million, net income after tax was NT$4,464 million, and unaudited earnings per share after tax were NT$5.35 based on 834,256 thousand weighted average number of shares.

2012 First Quarter Unaudited Consolidated Financial Results

(Unit: NT$ million, Except Earnings Per Share)

*Calculation of the after-tax EPS for first quarter 2011 was based on 807,867 thousand weighted average number of shares.

HTC Reports Fourth-quarter And Annual 2011 Results

Taoyuan, Taiwan, February 6, 2012– HTC Corporation (“HTC”, or the “Company”, TWSE: 2498), a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced consolidated results of the Company and its subsidiaries for the fourth quarter of 2011 and for the year.

4Q Highlights
• After-tax profit was NT$10.94bn, EPS was NT$13.06
• Total revenues were NT$101.42bn
• Gross profit margin and operating margin were 27.12% and 12.71%, respectively
2011 Highlights
• After-tax profit was NT$61.98bn, up 56.77% year-on-year; EPS was NT$73.32
• Total revenue was NT$465.79bn, up 67.09% year-on-year
• Gross profit margin and operating margin was 28.30% and 14.77%, respectively
• ROE was 70.37% compared to 56.33% in 2010

“In 2011 we saw growth in the global strength of our brand, as well as earnings and revenue growth,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC. “While short term performance may not meet the results as expected, we have gained further experience and advancement in the areas of brand management and product innovation. These fundamental strengths and the groundwork we have laid will take us into 2012 with a renewed focus and determination.”

4Q 2011 Results
HTC’s fourth quarter revenue came in-line at NT$101.42bn, resulting in after-tax earnings of NT$10.94bn and EPS of NT$13.06. Gross profit and operating margins came in at 27.12% and 12.71%, respectively. The decline in gross profit margin was mainly a result of product transition.

2011 Results
2011 annual revenue was NT$465.79bn, a 67.09% increase over 2010 annual revenues (NT$278.76bn), resulting in after-tax earnings of NT$61.98bn. Overall gross profits and operating margins were 28.30% and 14.77%, respectively.

In 2011, in addition to solid growth in revenues and profits, HTC’s brand gained significant momentum in the global landscape, being named one of Interbrand’s 100 Best Global Brands.

2012 Outlook
In 2012, HTC will focus on: growing the Company’s brand value; continuing to create competitive advantages through innovation; enhancing the efficiency of marketing campaigns; and further driving down operating costs.

To expand its brand preference and value, HTC will work at a global level to build emotional connections with consumers, putting more of its marketing resources behind fewer products and driving value in those product brands. By building a globalized marketing campaign, HTC aims to optimize its go-to-market strategy with operators, retail distributors, and end-users, and improve the efficiency of its marketing spend. In emerging markets, such as China, HTC will continue to extend its reach to customers by expanding distribution channels.

Despite temporary weakness resulting from product cycle transition, HTC believes it has the ability to create a new wave of momentum through the upcoming product cycle. It will also continue its attention on mass market consumers by driving product differentiation through design and innovation.

1Q Outlook
The Company’s outlook for the first quarter of 2012 is as follows:

• 1Q revenue expected to be around NT$65-70bn
• Gross margin expected to be around 25%
• Operating margin expected to be around 7.5%

These margins are a temporary phenomenon and will normalized when product cycle transition is over.

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The future of consumer legacy of immersive technologies

Why is such a subject on the “Experiencing the Cloud” blog? One reason is the news relayed in Lockheed’s “retail” flight-sim software causes buzz in industry [Orlando Sentinel, April 10, 2012] article. Please read!

The other, and an even more important reason is that the future of immersive technologies is already getting to be known. Last week I’ve investigated one of the leadership initiatives under way, The Where Platform from Nokia: a company move to taking data as a raw material to build products [April 7, 2012]. Its current state-of-the-art from immersion point of view could best be assessed from  the following video:

Nokia Maps 3D: The World As You See It [nokia YouTube channel, Dec 7, 2011]

With Nokia Maps 3D http://nokia.ly/sdCsrO you can now search for local attractions, restaurants, and shops, and get directions in the world’s most famous cities in photorealistic 3D views. And there’s even more! Luca, our Nokia Maps 3D product manager is going to explain you the latest. Read more on Nokia Conversations: http://nokia.ly/uKb9eO

And here is the approach used in the creation of such a mirror world: Nokia Maps 3D: Making Of [nokia YouTube channel, Oct 24, 2011]

With Nokia Maps 3D (http://nokia.ly/snhwAs) it’s almost like being there. You might be wondering how we manged to get such a high level of detail. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s easy to explain.

While such mirror world creation is “just” laying the foundation for the application of a much wider and broader set of immersive technologies, the people engaged in the legacy immersive technologies have almost no idea of what is going on in terms of superseding their own stuff with these new, indeed revolutionary offerings.

The most advanced and the most mature community for consumer legacy of immersive technologies is the one of the flight simulation by enthusiasts. The technologies from there are even used in high-value commercial set-ups as well demonstrated by such current news that IDSI demonstrates high-resolution Immersive Desktop at I/ITSEC conference [IDSI press release, April 9, 2012]: “Software content included a PC version of Battlefield Bad Company 2 as well as Lockheed Martin’s PREPAR3D flight simulator [based on the earlier Microsoft Flight Simulator product we should add].

Watch these two videos in order to get a little experience of the current state-of-the-art for flight simulation by enthusiasts:

PAKT Ketchikan International Airport (ORBX) – FSX HD [TheAviatorFSX YouTube channel, Feb 8, 2012]

Description: A challenging landing awaits the adventurous pilot of both commercial airliners and bush planes, with infamous crosswinds up to 90 knots which have been known to blow approaching planes out across Tongass Narrows in certain conditions. This airport is no exception, with a unique multi-level runway and taxiways sloping down to the aprons. The entire airport precinct is built using a single 3DS Max model and of course Russ has included unique tech such as animated ground staff, seaplanes, and hundreds of details too numerious to mention here. Destined to be a classic! A big Thank you to John Venema and Russell White for the wonderful scenery. Music: Thomas Newman – American Dream Flight – One Six Right OST

FSX: Orbx 1S2 Darrington Muni!!! [HD] [B767rules YouTube channel, Jan 8, 2012]

A video about the beautiful 1S2 Darrington Muni scenery by Orbx. It is in a spectacular location, with super FPS, better than any other Orbx airport that I have. There are lots of HD custom buildings at the airport and throughout the town, the water masking for the river is great and the coverage area is huge, comparable to that of one of their AU airports. The 1S2 scenery includes- -Ground imagery at 30/60cm per pixel -Beautifully modeled airport and town -FSX gmax poly runway and aprons with fx -Spectacular mountain setting -Includes a large coverage of photoreal area -Accurate watermasks for the rivers -Photos taken by Orbx staff for all buildings -Includes custom GA AI Traffic movements -Seamlessly blends into FTX NA PNW -Expertly seasonally color matched -Orbx TextureFlow optimised models For more info visit- http://fullterrain.com/product_us1S2.html

Next read the following wikipedia articles about the technology used by flight simulation enthusiasts:

  1. Immersive technology: “refers to technology that blurs the line between the physical world and digital or simulated world, thereby creating a sense of immersion.” (It has already been referenced before the above videos.)
  2. Amateur flight simulation: A general overview article. (It has already been referenced as “flight simulation by enthusiasts” because the “amateur” attribute is rather incorrect – as we will see below – as well as misleading).
  3. Microsoft Flight Simulator (FS or MSFS, the last version FSX): Microsoft released the first version (for IBM PC) in 1982 which was licensed from an already available product base from Bruce Artwick /subLOGIC Corporatiom and reached commercial maturity with version 3.1 coming from The Bruce Artwick Organization. …
  4. X-Plane (simulator): The first version was released in 1993 for the Macintosh. Its author, Austin Meyer had been a long time MSFS user but had become frustrated with the Microsoft product and decided to build his own one. Later it become multiplatform as the one man effort became the Laminar Research company. … Only the latest X-Plane v10 version, released just in December 2011 has real chances to overcome the overwhelming dominance of MSFS (more precisely the latest FSX).
  5. Lockheed Martin Prepar3D: Microsoft ceased the further development of MSFS in the beginning of 2009 but an earlier, “software technology platform” version of it, the so called ESP was licensed in November 2009 to Lockheed Martin which released it later under the name of  Prepar3D®. The latest 1.3 version was released on March 23, 2012 as well as a much more widely accessible and affordable ($49.95) academic licensing for it on March 26. At the same time the price for the Professional License version (released in September 2011) was decreased to an affordable $199. The Academic License means “Undergraduate and K12 student instruction”, “K-12 after school programs”, and “Individual student use, K-12 and undergraduate” eligibility but it “is not to be used, offered, sold or distributed through markets or channels for use as a personal/consumer entertainment product”. The latter restriction also applies to the Professional License with having eligibility in “Civil or law enforcement training”, “Private pilot use”, “Military training”, “Flight school instruction”, “Professional instruction”, “Air traffic control instruction”, and “Graduate student instruction”.  With such restrictions Prepar3D is a legally constrained albeit technologically fully compatible follow-up to the MSFS. (Note that a Developers version had been available for quite a while with a subscription fee of $9.95 per month, see the Prepar3D® License Comparison).
  6. Microsoft Flight (Update: In July 2012, Microsoft ceased development of the game permanently to re-align its “long-term goals and development plans.” The game is still available for download and play. See on Kotaku or much below.):
    Prepar3D license restricitions are definitely coming from legal agreements between Microsoft and Lockheed Martin (although none of the companies are speaking about that). The writing – however – is on the wall since February 29, 2012 when Microsoft released an absolutely new product for “personal/consumer entertainment” use, called “Microsoft Flight”. Moreover, unlike the enthusiast-centric MSFS, the new product focuses much more on the universal appeal of flight and aims to engage a much wider audience. Below I will include further comparison details between MSFS and Flight.
  7. Precision Manuals Development Group (PMDG): It is a commercial add-on aircraft developer for the MSFS series and a leading representative of the thriving ecosystem existing around MSFS. It was founded as early as 1997 and it isa global business with employees and contractors working in Canada, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Russia, South Africa and the United States” and “currently has employees and contractors located in the following US States: Utah, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Washington.” Unfortunately in dealing with Microsoft PMDG “was surprised and disappointed to see that the developers of FLIGHT elected to bring in a bunch of people to see FLIGHT, while very noticeably keeping out many of the same folks who have supported MS and the genre for years. The message was made loudly and clearly that our input was not desired and that the strategic objectives of FLIGHT do not involve the community that companies like PMDG, Aerosoft and the like represent.” – as described in Some thoughts on Flight… [Jan 6, 2012].
    This made PMDG think about where could they go from there? Here is the statement from their founder/owner Captain Robert S. Randazzo:
    1. Well-first- I’m not overly concerned. As hardware advances- FSX is really just coming into its own on the average consumer’s hardware– so we intend to continue FSX development for the foreseeable future! There are a number of directions in which we can go- and PMDG has already been taking steps to sort out what platform our future products will feature.
    2. There has been some loose talk about PMDG and Xplane10– but I must tell you that while we are evaluating that product, and while we do have someone on staff helping to map out the process by which our products wind up in Xplane10- we are still some way out on that project line… From a developers standpoint Xplane10 certainly seems to be a good solid platform that will help our products to shine- but, like FSX it has some weaknesses and we need to evaluate whether it makes sense to allow XPlan10 at this time.”
  8. Next to the PDMG we should mention the fast expanding (globally), and (unsually) headquartered in Germany, Aerosoft (company information as not in wikipedia) as an even bigger force forming the future of MSFS legacy as being 20 years in the business of add-ons for that. Mathijs Kok who is responsible for the project portfolio there made the following statement recently: “For 2012 all our efforts are on FS2004, FSX and X-Plane 10. Next year could be different.” [Aerosoft Forums, March 1, 2012].
    In an earlier interview he said: “2012 is very much a transition year. We got loads of new simulators, X-Plane 10, MS FLIGHT, AeroflyFS and we are seriously looking at all of them.  We have also just completed a re-organization of Aerosoft so we can handle the changing market better. Note this is not a bad sign, in fact it means hiring more staff!  We are now more a ‘content’ producer. All we make should be usable in as many projects as possible.
    Soon you will see the first products that will have FS2004/FSX/Prepar3D/X-Plane installers. One thing that’s important this year is that many or our big projects are being overhauled and moved to X-Plane. Many Mega Airports will get new version as the airports have changed (new runways etc).  At the same time we will spend more time on the trains and bus simulators, As long as they are ‘serious’ we know they will sell very well.
    ” [airdailyX, Jan 15, 2012]
    Note: In addition to Flight Simulation, Aerosoft has train simulation offerings (from some others as well), a whole range of other simulations (mostly from others), and a department called AVIATECH for High-End graphic solutions for the professional simulaton. No wonder that on “Who works where” page of airdailyX not less than 38 people are listed as working for them (while only 10 for PMDG).
    See also Life after FS2004 for the serious simmer [Aerosoft Sim News, March 28, 2012] as a very good evaluation of the possibilities choices available – FS9, FSX, XPX, Flight or P3D.
  9. OrBX (company information as not in wikipedia) is the biggest of such ecosystem companies as on the same list not less than 51 people are listed for them. The company roots are just going back to 2005, and was only formally incorporated in 2007. Their success could be attibuted to a unique, FTX terrain regions technology “which combines the use of aerial photography to create custom landclass textures implemented using some key differentiators from the default FSX terrain system”. They have also “new ‘Flow’ technologies that add even more realism” (VehicleFlow, NatureFlow, ObjectFlow, PeopleFlow, TextureFlow, Audio, Aero, SnowFlow and StaticFlow). They are also the most focused one strategically as “Orbx continues to extend the capabilities of FSX and Prepar3D with technologies that add realism and immersion”.

Fall City Airport with Nature Flow (ORBX 1WA6) – FSX HD / i7 2600 @ 3.47ghz with GTX 580 [TheAviatorFSX YouTube channel, Sept 1, 2011]

Watch the grass move, trees sway and leaves fall at Fall City! Description: Nature Flow has been introduced for the first time in Flight Simulator X… You can see leaves falling from the trees …. When a strong wind blows by you can see the trees swaying… During the fall, you can see beautiful trees….. I enjoyed making this video so much…. OrBX was always the best but now has moved onto a greater step…. The developers have put in some great dynamic details in the scenery… Do check it out… Thanks to ORBX for such a beautiful scenery…. To check the product: http://fullterrain.com/product_us1WA6.html

FSX – ORBX PEOPLE FLOW – AS REAL AS IT GETS! [FLIGHTANIMATION YouTube channel, Oct 2, 2011]

This video features the amazing quality of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, As well as the amazing ORBX/FTX People flow, included in the ORBX YSCH Coffs Harbour scenery. People flow includes moving characters within FSX and strangely enough, did not affect my FPS at all. If you would like to check out people flow aswell as ORBX’s many other scenery products, including FREEWARE! check out the following link.

Fall City with Vehicle Flow (ORBX 1WA6) – FSX HD [TheAviatorFSX YouTube channel, Nov 23, 2011]

Hey guys, this is my second video on ORBX Fall City. ORBX recently upgraded the scenery from Version 1.0 to Version 1.1 and 1.2 which adds many more features like Vehicle Flow. It makes Fall City even more realistic and fun to fly. I made this video to show the Vehicle Flow added to Fall City. I hope you enjoy it. Special thanks to Sir John, the entire team of ORBX and the developer Jorge Amengol who developed the Vehicle Flow for the scenery. Please watch the video in 1080p (Recommended)

Then here is the some information about the most visited domains by the community of flight simulation enthusiasts. It is obvious from that:

  1. The community is at least 1/2 million people strong and steady.
  2. They are hobbyists and/or private pilots and/or semi- or retired aviation professionals.

The Most Visited Domains COMPOUND AFFINITIES in Recreational Aviation - Business-Defense Aviation - Simulation Games - Personal Aircraft -- 11-April-2012

The Most Visited Domains in Recreational Aviation - Business-Defense Aviation - Simulation Games - Personal Aircraft -- 11-April-2012

The Most Visited Domains DETAILED AFFINITIES in Recreational Aviation - Business-Defense Aviation - Simulation Games - Personal Aircraft -- 11-April-2012

DETAILED INFORMATION FOUND IN MY INVESTIGATION

Prepar3D Trailer [LockheedMartinVideos YouTube channel, Sept 21, 2011]

Training meets reality with Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® simulation software. Private pilots, commercial organizations, militaries and academia rely on Prepar3D for quickly tailorable training. Visit http://www.prepar3d.com for more details.

Lockheed Martin Launches Academic Prepar3D® Simulation Software as a Learning Tool for Students [Lockheed Martin press release, March 26, 2012]

ORLANDO, Fla., March 26, 2012 – Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] released academic licensing of its Prepar3D® simulation software to immerse students in learning and problem solving. The special pricing of $49.95 makes simulation accessible to the academic community for engaging the next generations in science, math and social studies curricula.

Currently used for professional training, Prepar3D harnesses gaming technology for experiential learning. The software presents a realistic virtual world to support educational scenarios anywhere from underwater to suborbital space.

“Simulation makes learning tangible,” said Chester Kennedy, vice president of engineering in Lockheed Martin’s Global Training and Logistics business. “It is ideal for concepts that have complex relationships or to reinforce rote learning. Simulation immerses the learner in an experience to make the lesson more memorable and reduce the time it takes to master a new skill.”

In Prepar3D, students can see the effects of their decisions and experiment with challenges at different levels. It also allows students from around the world to collaborate to solve real-life problems. With a free software development kit that accompanies the program, instructors can create customized academic lessons incorporating features such as people, wildlife, buildings, vehicles and weather.

Prepar3D is now used by the Experimental Aircraft Association and National Flight Academy to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Lockheed Martin donated copies of Prepar3D to these organizations in 2011 to integrate learning objectives with inspirational stories of flight to interest youth in technological careers.

The new academic software can be purchased for educational efforts at or below the undergraduate level at www.prepar3d.com.

Prepar3d test with 30cm ground textures (4096×4096) Part 1 [ALeclercqCreations YouTube Channel, Nov 14, 2011]

Free 30cm ground textures test on Prepar3d. (Forests and Rocks) Is not a photorealistic scenery. For more info, see this webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/aimecreations/30cm-project NB: Original video haven’t sttuter. Prepar3d is smoth with these heavy textures even in the bends where the computer is very sought. Bloom effects: ENBserie. FPS_Limiter. Video made with Fraps and Avidemux.

Prepar3d test with 30cm ground textures (4096×4096) part 2 [ALeclercqCreations YouTube Channel, Nov 15, 2011]

Test with a plane diagrammatically more complex. One can notice some sttuter especially in the bends, but nothing dramatic. Free 30cm ground textures test on Prepar3d. (Forests and Rocks) Is not a photorealistic scenery. For more info, see this webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/aimecreations/30cm-project Bloom effects: ENBserie. FPS_Limiter. Video made with Fraps and Avidemux.

Lockheed Martin Receives Industry Innovation Award From Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission [Lockheed Martin press release, Sept 16, 2011]

ORLANDO, Fla., September 16, 2011 —

Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] Central Florida operations have been named among the 2011 recipients of the William C. Schwartz Industry Innovation Award by the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.

The award honors companies for creating, developing and successfully implementing products, ideas and processes. The award cited two Lockheed Martin programs that are meeting urgent customer needs through affordability and innovation initiatives: Prepar3D simulation software and the HULC hydraulic-powered exoskeleton.

Out of the Screen – Prepar3D [LockheedMartinVideos YouTube channel, Sept 19, 2011]

Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® simulation software transports you to an immersive environment that takes training to the next level. In Prepar3D, you can quickly create your own training scenarios anywhere in the virtual world, from under water to sub orbital space. Visit http://www.prepar3d.com for more details.

Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® Software to Soar at National Flight Academy [Lockheed Martin press release, June 13, 2011]

ORLANDO, Fla., 06/13/2011 —

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) will provide its Prepar3D ® visual simulation software to power the National Flight Academy’s (NFA) immersiveaviation experience as part of the academy’s hands-on approach to teaching the principles of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to students.

“We believe in the mission of the National Flight Academy, which couples STEM curriculum with aviation to inspire youth about technological careers,” said Dale Bennett, president of Lockheed Martin’s Global Training and Logistics business. “With the call from our nation’s leadership – and that of our own corporation– to reinvigorate America’s innovative spirit, we feel it is a great opportunity to support an organization with such a vital cause.”

The NFA is designed to address the concerns of declining STEM skills and standards in our country by providing immersivehigh-tech adventures that combine classroom math and science fundamentals with hands-on aviation experiences. Prepar3D ® is visual simulation software that brings immersive game-based technology to training, experiential learning and decision and performance support for non-government, government and commercial organizations.

For NFA, Lockheed Martin will donate copies of Prepar3D ®, upgradable as new product versions are launched. In addition to providing immersivesoftware to facilitate the students’ learning, Lockheed Martin has donated more than $2 million to the NFA.

“The National Flight Academy’s mission is to educate youth on the fundamentals of STEM, and to do that it is critical we provide valuable learning experiences,” said Vice Admiral Gerald Hoewing, president of the National Flight Academy. “This project can’t happen without companies like Lockheed Martin.”

Prepar3D ® is based on the Microsoft ESP ™ Flight Simulator product line and is compatible with add-on software created for ESP ™. On the web site, http://www.prepar3d.com, users can get the software as well as download a software development kit to create add-ons such as aircraft, instruments, boats, buildings and other environmental features.

Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D™ Launches Nov. 1 [Lockheed Martin press release, Oct 20, 2010]

ORLANDO, Fla., 10/20/2010 —

Prepar3D ™, Lockheed Martin’s professional training and simulation software, will be available for purchase starting Nov. 1 on www.prepar3D.com for $499per licensed copy.

Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] created Prepar3D ™ (pronounced “prepared”), based on Microsoft® ESP™ technology, as a training application for military, educational, civil and aviation professionals. The Prepar3D ™ software lets individuals and organizations conduct realistic training by engaging users in immersiveenvironments. It can also be used for evaluating and preparing people for real world assignments and tasks.

“We believe this enhanced training capability will be a great asset not only for aviation professionals, but also for emergency responders, maritime forces and others,” said Chester Kennedy, vice president of engineering at Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics. “Delivering Prepar3D™ direct to users over the Web provides a real-time, low-cost response between identifying a mission need and implementing a solution.”

At www.prepar3D.com, users can buy the software and download a software development kit to create add-ons such as aircraft, instruments, boats, buildings and other environmental features. Additionally, Lockheed Martin is launching a Prepar3D™ Development Networkto which software and hardware developers can subscribe for a monthly fee. The developer subscription includes two development license copies of Prepar3D™, software tools, add-ons and support forum access to grow Prepar3D ™ capabilities.

Lockheed Martin began furthering development of the Microsoft® ESP™ COTS program in late 2009 and since then has added features including the Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS) protocol, sensors, global underwater capabilities, multi-channel support for dome displays, and a rapid cockpit design capability. Future plans call for expanding training capabilities for military and civil applications for ground forces, seaport load crews and heavy equipment operators.

Visitors to the Interservice, Industry, Training, Education and Simulation Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando this November can see Prepar3D ™ on display in the Lockheed Martin booth.

Lockheed Martin Launches Prepar3d ™ to Provide Richer Training Experience for Warfighters [Lockheed Martin press release, May 17, 2010]

ORLANDO, Fla., 05/17/2010 —

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has released its new Prepar3D ™ software that enables rapid creation of medium-fidelity simulations for training exercises.

The Prepar3D ™ (pronounced “prepared”) software interface gives organizations the ability to conduct more realistic and robust training exercises by adding platforms such as air and ground vehicles to training systems that run on Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS). DIS is an open standard for conducting real-time platform-level wargaming and is widely used by military organizations.

“The Prepar3D™ interface will enhance the ability of military services to provide realistic and integrated training experiences for warfighters before they deploy, so they can fight exactly as they’ve trained,” said Chester Kennedy, vice president of Engineering at Lockheed Martin’s Simulation, Training & Support business unit. “One example would be an aircraft flying in the Prepar3D ™ environment which can now be joined to a system such as Warfighter’s Simulation, which simulates large-scale training exercises, for a richer training experience. We can quickly create custom training solutions based on a customer’s needs.”

In late 2009, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft entered into an agreement that allows Lockheed Martin to further develop Microsoft® ESP™, which was originally designed for flight applications. Lockheed Martin will also modify Microsoft ESP™ to enable its use for ground environments to better train military forces and civil agency missions such as disaster preparedness. Changes under way include military scenarios and features to create custom training solutions, such as a weapons capability.

Visitors to the Interservice Training & Education Conference (ITEC) in London this week can see Prepar3D ™ on display in the Lockheed Martin booth.

Lockheed Martin-Microsoft Agreement to Bring Better Training to Warfighters [Lockheed Martin press release, Nov 11, 2009]

ORLANDO, Fla, 11/30/2009 —

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Microsoft Corp. entered into an intellectual property licensing agreement that allows Lockheed Martin to further develop the Microsoft® ESP™ PC-based visual simulation software platform to better train warfighters for battle.


Microsoft ESP technology allows users to operate realistic vehicle models that incorporate real-world physics to enhance realism, such as in the interior and instrumentation of a Boeing 747-400 shown here.

The agreement provides Lockheed Martin with access to the ESP technology portfolio, enabling the company to build cost-effective simulation solutions for customized training for its worldwide customers. Lockheed Martin’s software development teams will extend the current capabilities of ESP to enable a whole new suite of innovative ESP-based solutions that will evolve beyond flight training to include ground and civil agency applications.

“The training needs of our military and civil government customers continue to expand,” said Chester Kennedy, vice president of Engineering at Lockheed Martin’s Simulation, Training & Support business unit. “Seeking out and developing new innovative solutions such as this one based on the proven Microsoft ESP technology allows Lockheed Martin to provide our customers with new and tailored training systems more quickly and cost efficiently.”

“Solutions built on Microsoft ESP can engage users in immersive experiences with very realistic environments—making them ideal tools for training, evaluating, and preparing personnel for optimal performance in the real world,” said Chris Cortez, general manager of Strategic Programs at Microsoft, and a retired Marine Corps major general. “ESP models the entire world and will allow Lockheed Martin’s developers to easily add their own content, objects, scenery, simulation functionality, and scenarios to create custom training solutions.”

The Microsoft ESP IP licensing agreement builds on the existing Microsoft/Lockheed Martin Strategic Allianceto bring meaningful information technology services and products to market and continue to fuel innovation. It is also an example of Microsoft’s broader efforts to collaborate with industry through IP licensing.

Microsoft ESP is a visual simulation software development platform that brings immersive games-based technology to training and decision support for commercial, government and education organizations.


A Bell 206B JetRanger police helicopter flying over an urban downtown is one example of how Microsoft ESP enables pilots to navigate through a wide variety of highly-realistic static and animated objects including ground and air vehicles, buildings, and other structures.

Visitors to the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando this week can see Lockheed Martin’s first ESP-based solution on display in booth 2049. The Pilatus PC-12 desktop trainer showcases the affordable, powerful training and mission rehearsal capabilities ESP will bring to Lockheed Martin’s customers.

Lockheed licenses Microsoft ‘visual simulation’ technology [TechFlash, Nov 30, 2009]

To answer the biggest question first, this is not the future of Microsoft’s consumer Flight Simulator product. Flight Sim’s fate remains uncertain following the company’s decision to disband the studio behind the long-running and beloved product.

However, it is an example of the core Flight Sim technology living on. Microsoft has reached a deal to license to Lockheed Martin its Microsoft ESP system, which the Redmond company derived from the Flight Simulator project two years ago with an eye toward offering a “visual simulation” platform — taking the immersive world originally created for Flight Sim and allowing it to be customized for specialized commercial applications.

Microsoft says it will also look to license the ESP technology to other companies to use and offer to their own customers, as Lockheed will be doing. But in deciding to offer the underlying intellectual property for use and development by other companies, Microsoft is signaling that it doesn’t plan to further develop ESP itself.

“This clearly was not going to be a core piece of our growth,” said David Kaefer, Microsoft’s general manager of intellectual property licensing, saying the decision was part of Microsoft’s broader re-evaluation of its business priorities in the midst of the economic downturn. “What we decided was that it was a lot better to take the investment, earn some money back but also enable our partners to take it forward and succeed.”

Under the licensing agreement, Microsoft says Lockheed is expected to further develop ESP to train warfighters in battle. At the same time, Lockheed’s software developers will also extend the technology beyond flight training for use as a general simulation tool by the military and other government agencies.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but in general such licensing agreements provide benefits to Microsoft when the people who license its technologies see success with the resulting products.

Microsoft Confirms Aces Closure [IGN PC, Jan 23, 2009]

Studio responsible for Flight Simulator shut down amidst layoffs.

Microsoft has confirmed the closure of Aces Game Studio, the internal development studio responsible for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Flight Simulator is one of the company’s oldest product lines, stretching back more than 20 years. The closure came amidst the company’s first major layoffs in its history, announced on Thursday. Approximately 5,000 Microsoft employees will be laid off; around 1,400 were cut immediately, with the remainder to but cut over the next 18 months.

In a statement, Kelda Rericha of Edelman, Microsoft’s public relations firm, said that the decision was made within Microsoft’s Internal Entertainment Business “to align our people against our highest priorities.”

The closure of Aces marks the shuttering of another major developer within Microsoft Game Studios. Since September of 2007, the company has shut down FASA Studio (Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, and Shadowrun), announced the closure of Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires), and Carbonated Games (Hexic HD, Uno). In addition, Bungie, the studio responsible for Halo, left Microsoft Games Studios and became an independent studio, though Microsoft does maintain an ownership stake in it.
Does this mean the end of the Flight Simulator franchise? According to Rericha, “We are committed to the Flight Simulator franchise which has proven to be a successful PC based game for the last 27 years. You should expect us to continue to invest in enabling great LIVE experiences on Windows, including flying games, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time.”

Microsoft ESP models all types of terrain using accurate DEM and vector data [from MS, Oct. 29, 2008]

What Microsoft planned before closing Fligh Simulator and the associated ESP:

Microsoft ESP Showcases the Future of Immersive Simulation Experiences [Microsoft press release, Dec 2, 2008]
Government, industry and academic professionals attending Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2008 get an early look at future capabilities and new visual simulation solutions built on Microsoft ESP.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Dec. 2, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled for the first time new capabilities of the next version of the Microsoft ESP visual simulation software development platform at I/ITSEC 2008. Show attendees can preview new ground-vehicle operations capabilities and multi-channel display support that will be available in ESP version 2.0. For a firsthand experience of the current version of Microsoft ESP, a range of innovative simulation solutions designed to help government and military organizations improve operational functionality, enhance mission-critical skills and mitigate risks will be displayed.
Since the debut of Microsoft ESP earlier this year, significant progress has been made working with partners and the academic research community to bring the power of immersive simulation to the desktops of defense and civilian agencies for mission rehearsal, interactive training and decision support. Growing interest in Microsoft ESP can be attributed to the cost advantages and productivity gains realized from creating mission-critical visual simulation solutions on a common software development platform that supports Windows-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software.
“Government and military organizations are looking to augment traditional readiness programs with affordable, powerful and portable simulation solutions,” said David Boker, senior director of business development for ACES Studio at Microsoft. “Microsoft ESP transforms how people learn and organizations plan and prepare by enabling partners to rapidly add scenarios, change out variables and integrate different technologies into their synthetic environments.”
In the next version of Microsoft ESP new capability for ground-vehicle operations will extend the immersive experiences of mission rehearsal and skills training from warfighters in the air to warfighters on the ground. Support for multi-channel displays will expand the view from a single-cockpit screen view to a full panoramic visual environment, making simulations built on Microsoft ESP suited for first-responder training, ground transportation training, route familiarization, mission rehearsal, and rescue and recovery operations. Working closely with partners to define and prioritize feature sets, Microsoft will be disclosing additional capabilities over the course of the software development cycle of ESP version 2.0.
Microsoft ESP makes it easy and cost-effective for government, industry and academic professionals to apply immersive games technologies to learning opportunities, workforce readiness, decision-making and operational excellence. Solutions built with Microsoft ESP’s simulation engine, tools, application programming interface (API) and synthetic world content can be used over and over again to create custom high-fidelity, dynamic, immersive experiences. Partners using ESP can augment existing capabilities, build and deploy new solutions, and integrate them with existing simulations.
“The combination of Northrop Grumman’s mission-critical experience with Microsoft ESP’s innovation is enabling the next generation of simulation solutions to be the most advanced ever seen for planning, rehearsing, training and debriefing military missions,” said Barry Rhine, sector vice president and general manager of the Command and Control Systems Division of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “New simulation solutions that are emerging allow for better execution, which in turn helps create a more effective military and increases warfighter safety.”
Microsoft ESP simulation solutions at I/ITSEC 2008 include the following:
  • The Northrop Grumman simulator demonstrating virtual landing of an F-18 Hornet on the CVN-21 “carrier of the future” incorporating Microsoft ESP, Virtual Earth and Microsoft Surface with Northrop Grumman’s Command and Control Mission Rehearsal (C2MR)
  • A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle simulator showcasing Microsoft ESP version 2.0’s forthcoming ground-vehicle operations capability
  • A helicopter flight simulator revealing Microsoft ESP’s version 2.0 multi-channel display capabilities across three large screens
  • The F-16 cockpit trainer from Flight-Dynamix demonstrating the integration of Microsoft ESP version 1.0 into an existing custom hardware simulation solution
  • A demonstration produced by the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, made using Microsoft ESP and Windows HPC Server 2008, showing a helicopter landing on a moving ship. A white paper, “Real-Time Computational Fluid Dynamics for Flight Simulation,” describing the process used by the scientists has been published by the I/ITSEC conference.
    “It is important to be able to apply a variety of techniques in order to accurately solve challenging problems such as a helicopter interacting with a ship air wake,” said Dr. Kenji Takeda, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering Sciences at the University of Southampton. “Improvements in price/performance of technologies such as Microsoft ESP and Windows HPC Server 2008 are helping to make such breakthroughs possible.”
    In response to partner requests, the Microsoft ESP group has enhanced marketing efforts on a number of fronts, including the January 2009 availability of a single-client license at $899 (U.S.) and a single software development kit (SDK) at $99 (U.S.); the announcement of a worldwide Microsoft ESP Partner Program to provide increased technical and marketing opportunities; and an ESP Developer Center on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) now available athttp://msdn.com/ESP.
    I/ITSEC show attendees can experience Microsoft ESP by visiting Booth 3718.
    More information about Microsoft ESP is available at http://www.microsoft.com/esp. Developers can access specific information from the Microsoft ESP Developer Center Web page athttp://msdn.com/ESP.

Update: Microsoft Reportedly Shuts Down Vancouver-Based Studio [UPDATE: Projects Cancelled]

… Microsoft has informed Kotaku that they have not shut down the studio but it has ended development on flight simulator Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, a Kinect interactive TV project designed for children.

Although Microsoft would not comment on how many people were laid off, they say Microsoft Game Studios in Vancouver has “more projects and development in the pipeline.”

Here’s their official statement:

Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on “Microsoft Flight” and “Project Columbia,” but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For “Microsoft Flight,” we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/.

A tipster contacted Kotaku to share the news, which was reported by a Facebook page dedicated to innovation in Vancouver and confirmed by several former Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver employees on Twitter. According to the folks at Facebook group Can We Do It Here, “the entire studio at Microsoft Games Studios on 840 Cambie has been laid off. 35 people in total.”

Update: SUPPORT REMINDER [FLIGHT NEWS UPDATES, July 27, 2012]

We know there are a number of questions out there in the community about the discontinuation of development for Microsoft Flight. We wanted to make to be sure to clarify a few things. While we will not be continuing active development, we are committed to keeping Flight available for our community to enjoy. All the content you have paid for is still valid, and the content that is available for sale will continue to be available onhttp://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/ If any further information becomes available for us to share, we will do so.  If you do have questions about errors you run into or have gameplay questions;
1. First, check out the following support links; your question may be answered in one of them.
    2. Ask the Flight community. We monitor community channels and try to respond there when possible. Other users may also be able to answer your question as well.
    3. If neither of the above methods helps you find an answer, email us at Tell MS Flight.
    Please note: The support alias offers English-language support only, and forMicrosoft Flight only (for assistance with FSX and earlier entries in the Flight Simulator franchise, please visit http://support.microsoft.com).

    WE HOPE YOU ENJOY MICROSOFT FLIGHT! [news update on Microsoft Flight site, Feb 28, 2012]

    We’re proud to open the hangar doors and present the future of flying on your PC. Whether you’re a complete newcomer to aviation or an experienced PC pilot, we believe you’ll enjoy flying with us.

    The release of Flight represents the culmination of three years of hard work and experimentation as we worked to reimagine the 30-year-old Flight Simulator franchise, push forward the evolution of the PC flying experience, and bring the thrill and wonder of flight to whole new audiences.

    There’s a lot to do in Flight’s version of Hawaii, from basic flight instruction to hunts for hidden Aerocaches, from experimenting with different aircraft to showing off your skills in aerobatics challenges, from ferrying passengers and cargo around the islands to advancing your career as a pilot. We hope you’ll have fun exploring the environment we’ve built.

    We’ve only scratched the surface of how we can deliver on our vision. There are a lot of opportunities on the horizon to continue to evolve the experience, and the team is already hard at work designing ways to fulfill the promise those opportunities represent. We’re excited about continuing to provide new and interesting ways to fly.

    The future is bright. We hope you’ll enjoy what we’ve made so far and can’t wait to show you what we’re working on next.

    See you in the sky!

    Joshua Howard

    Executive Producer, Microsoft Flight

    Microsoft Flight Release Trailer [MSFlightOfficial YouTube channel copy of the Microsoft Flight Announce Trailer of March 5, 2012, Feb 26, 2012]

    In “Microsoft Flight,” players view the world from above in a visually stunning and realistic representation of the earth, complete with region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks. Players can choose to take the helm using highly rendered, accurate cockpits and authentic piloting procedures, or simply use their mouse and keyboard to control the plane in an exterior view. More experienced players can tailor the flight controls to match their skill level, making “Microsoft Flight” easy for beginners while still challenging for the most accomplished PC pilots. DOWNLOAD AND PLAY FREE NOW: microsoftflight.com ! PREMIUM CONTENT (a variety of scenery, aircraft and livery downloads) CAN BE PURCHASED: in-game or on the microsoftflight.com/marketplace/!

    ICON A5 to Be Feature Aircraft in Microsoft Flight [ICON Aircraft press release, Jan 4, 2012]

    ICON Aircraft announces a new collaboration with Microsoft. Microsoft has chosen the ICON A5 amphibious Light Sport Aircraft to be the featured aircraft in the upcoming launch of the Microsoft Flight PC game. The starter pack will be available to download for free this spring. It features the A5 as the default aircraft and includes the Big Island of Hawaii.

    “ICON and Microsoft Flight share the common goal of making the fun of flying accessible to everyone who has ever dreamed about it. ICON does this by fusing world-class product design with the very best engineering, and Microsoft does it by combining the excitement of a great gaming experience with the authenticity of a top-notch flight simulator,” said ICON Aircraft CEO and founder Kirk Hawkins. “We’re excited to have such a central role in Microsoft’s highly anticipated launch of Flight.”

    Developed by Microsoft Studios, Microsoft Flight emphasizes the thrill and wonder of aviation and requires no past experience or special hardware, making it accessible for beginners. At the same time, realistic flight physics, weather patterns, cockpits, and graphics ensure that Microsoft Flight will also challenge experienced PC pilots.

    “‘Microsoft is excited to work with ICON to provide the opportunity to experience the revolutionary ICON A5 before it’s available anywhere else,” said Joshua Howard, executive producer of Microsoft Flight. “The excitement that the A5 is generating in the aviation community makes the A5 the perfect aircraft to bring the joy of aviation to the masses via Microsoft Flight.”

    Microsoft Flight will be available to play at the Consumer Electronics Show, which starts on January 10. The game is available through closed beta at:
    https://connect.microsoft.com/site1134/InvitationUse.aspx?ProgramID=6087&InvitationID=FLY-BRQXBXTB.

    ABOUT ICON AIRCRAFT:
    ICON Aircraft is a consumer sport plane manufacturer founded in response to the new sport flying category created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2004. ICON’s first plane is the A5, an amphibious sport aircraft that fuses outstanding aeronautical engineering with world-class product design. It has won some of the world’s most prestigious design awards and has inspired a global following. The company has received more than 600 order deposits and is scheduled to start production of the A5 at the end of 2012. ICON Aircraft’s facilities are in Southern California, a hotbed for automotive design and aerospace engineering.

    Microsoft Flight Behind the Scenes [MSFlightOfficial YouTube channel copy of the Microsoft Making Of Microsoft Flight video of Feb 9, 2012, Feb 4, 2012]

    Behind the scenes look at Microsoft Flight, including aircraft and game development.

    INTERVIEW WITH JOSHUA HOWARD [news update on Microsoft Flight site, March 2, 2012]

    What about Flight and the team interested or excited you?
    I was initially skeptical about joining this team, having never been a flight simulator fan. But when the team said, “No, no, no: This is about taking the magic of flight and trying to deliver it to a whole new group of people,” that got me excited. I’m here because we have this amazing experience – what it is to fly – that we can use software to deliver, and I’m an old-school believer in using software to empower people and bring them experiences they could never have elsewhere. I’d spent most of my career building fun for humans — that is, games for people who wouldn’t normally call themselves gamers — and the idea of bringing the magic of flight to millions and millions of more people than ever before was very exciting. …

    What was it like joining a team that includes people who have been making airplanes for Microsoft for decades?
    The subject matter expertise in this team is just astounding. Many of the people on theMicrosoft Flight team have a similar back story – they have had two parts of their lives: their professional lives which have been about software, and their hobby which has been all things aviation. At some point they had the chance to turn their hobby into their day job. This means that for this team, this product is much more than a job. …

    The team has been really quiet about what they’ve been doing during the development process. Why the low profile?
    We set out to do something that’s never been done before. That’s hard.
    We had to wander around a bit, to experiment. And any time you’re experimenting, you’re going to have some false starts, you’re going to have to back up a bit and try a new path. You can’t tell everybody, “We’re just days away, trust me,” because you’re going to wander until the moment that you realize you’re there, and you don’t really know how long it’s going to take. That moment you know you are there is defined by building an experience that captures the vision the team had. And it took us a while to do that.


    FSX vs. MS Flight – The comparison [HD] [TakeoffWithUs YouTube channel, March 14, 2012]

    Download Icon A5 FSX: http://simviation.com/1/download-file?file=IconA5_1_0.zip&fileId=38498 Comment what do you think. Is the MS Flight better or FSX? Or even an other flight simulator? And don’t forget to subscribe.

    • FSX was designed as a simulator, MS Flight is and always will be an arcade game..with payware planes/scenery/textures FSX becomes more realistic. but if you want a true flightsim turn over to X-Plane10. X-Plane is even being used in real-life simulators around the world. FS9/10 is not MSFlight will never and i repeat NEVER!!! be a simulator….. case closed!!spookyrambo 1 week ago
    • yes you are right!!TakeoffWithUs in reply to spookyrambo (Show the comment) 1 week ago

    Notes:
    – The flight simulator X-Plane is from a small software company called Laminar Research and has been evolved since 1993, released first fo Macintosh. Their other popular program is a virtual reality combat simulator Giant Fighting Robots (for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Plam Pre and Android) which “grew out of Laminar’s experience in creating the mobile versions of the X-Plane simulator, but is itself not related to flight simulation at all (though the physics are pretty realistic!)”. There is also X-Planner, “a tool for keeping real-world pilots safe by allowing them to easily perform pre-flight preparations and planning”, as well Jet Skier and Running with the Bulls.
    X-Plane 10 – Flight Simulator Trailer 2012 [oprealgamingOfficial YouTube channel, Jan 17, 2012]

    http://gaming.operationreality.org A beautiful new X-Plane 10 trailer put together by Paul Chepikian and the team over at http://www.x-plane.com to promote the release of the latest version of X-Plane 10 by Laminar Research. A demo of the flight sim is available on their site: http://www.x-plane.com/downloads/x-plane_10_demo. Twitter: http://twitter.com/opreal Facebook: http://facebook.com/oprealgaming.official G+: https://plus.google.com/116170063143225363454

    Microsoft Flight vs. MSFX vs. X-Plane 10 Comparison Video: Microsoft Flight till [0:50] – FSX till [1:47] – X-Plane 10 after that

    Microsoft Flight till [0:50] – FSX till [1:47] – X-Plane 10 after that. From: http://www.x-plane.com/news/(so MIGHT BE a somewhat biased comparison): Want to compare X-Plane 10 to the competition? The YouTube video below shows a flight over Hawaii in Microsoft Flight, followed by Microsoft Flight Simulator X, followed by X-Plane 10. All three simulators are using comparable graphics settings, with no add-ons.

    X-Plane 10 : State of the Union [Xplane10’s Blog, March 6, 2012]
    Interview Ben Supnik, Graphics Developer X-Plane 10 [Aerosoft Sim News, March 21, 2012]
    Good Questions [Ben Supnik, March 14, 2012]: “… The conference was attended by a number of MSFS third party developers, a few X-Plane third party developers, as well as Austin, myself, and Aerosoft management. So the audience was mostly technical people (developers) and mostly MSFS, not X-Plane developers. The sessions covered two basic areas: Boot-camp … New features … For me, the most useful aspect of the sessions was the interactive aspect. … The experience also has changed my view on the scenery tools. … For the upcoming US developer’s conference (in Columbia in April) the sign-ups so far look like a more mixed group, with some very experienced X-Plane people and some totally new developers coming over from the MSFS world. …
    BTS: Interview with Austin Meyer at Aerosoft Dev meeting (1/2) [mcphatstudios YouTube channel, Mar 18, 2012]

    Austin Meyer (Laminar Research), one of the creators of X-Plane talks about flying in the United States, building his own aircraft, the Lancair Evolution, being a Microsoft Flight Simulator user (back in the days) and why X-Plane is so different from other Flight Simulators.

    BTS: Interview with Austin Meyer at Aerosoft Dev meeting (2/2) [mcphatstudios on Mar 31, 2012]

    In part II he talks about the future of X-Plane 10, what is planned (“I never plan ahead for more than 2 months”), the ultimate goal, MS Flight, the diminish of the FS franchise, how that affects X-Plane, but also about the importance of 3rd party developers and how he has been looking forward to ‘this meeting’ for TWENTY years.

    XP Reviews : Don’t mention the war! [flightime56 on Xplane 10’s [User] Blog, March 26, 2012]

    1.
    There is a war going on, a subtle war but a fight to death one at that, and it is who can win the “Lost Generation” of Ex-MSFS Simmers
    Now most MSFS Simmers would say “we don’t care, we like what we have anyway and don’t need you”, but the it is not their hearts that is the aim of all this but their wallets.
    And this whole saga is twisting and turning like a cornered snake in the fact that what was written in stone only months ago could now be “well we will even now chip a little off the block here and here”.
    Flight said, and still do “we do our own thing here now and don’t need the large universe of MSFS developers to develop for Flight”, Fine in that and that is loud and clear, “Steve Balimar Ballmer has no doubt screamed (and sweated) at the flight development team “Why are we giving all the profits away to them!”
    Problem is Mr Balimar Ballmer is that “Them” built MSFS into the huge product machine it is today.
    2.
    The MSFS developers where were initially attracted to Prepar3d as it was the perfect fit as Lockheed’s product can be easily adjusted for MSFS aircraft and scenery, the only person looking in another area was Mathijs Kok of Aerosoft, he still has a foot in the door with Prepar3d but also looked at the up-coming X-Plane10 product from Laminar Research and bravely decided to support it. It was first and foremost a business decision, but a big call to change to a completely different platform – and since then he has supported the simulator 100%.
    The issue with Prepar3d was its entrance cost, At nearly $500 compared to X-Plane’s Eur69.95 so when Flight declared that it was not going to move on the developer issue then other developers including the MSFS bright star PMDG also decided to develop X-Plane products.
    3.
    This is of course all mostly early in the year old news, but then Aerosoft ran the now called “Mallorca Conference” in which the MSFS developers got together with Laminar to see the future of the X-Plane10 product and have a say on what they thought of X-Plane and what they liked and what they didn’t.

    I noted that the conference was probably the most important in Laminar Research’s career, the results were however even more astounding than you could have ever imagined.
    The reason was that Laminar went to Spain to was do one thing and came back and did another. It went to sell X-Plane10 to the MSFS community. It came back home with a list of “yes we are interested but if you want us then we will need this or this”.
    More astounding is that Laminar said “okay we will see what we can do”, and then the list slowly filtered out.
    4.
    We knew that the crucial items that was the priority was to get the plausible scenery “city elements” out into the simulator and that was known before Mallorca, the interesting part wasthat the MSFS developers wanted better tools to accelerate the process of add-on elements and to help in the quicker creation of custom scenery – including airports and their infrastructure.
    This really would not be a surprise as Laminar need as much product out there as soon as possible to make the simulator a viable product and for the MSFS developers to start the business of making money out of the platform.
    5.
    In this area you have to understand that X-Plane is not like other simulators, the fundamental underlying structure is not like anything else, not MSFS or Flight or even a “shoot them up” game – and it is this feature that gives X-Plane a bigger advantage over any other simulator. If you look carefully a the Flight-MSFX_XP comparison video it will show you how different X-Plane10 really is from the others.

    On both the MSFS products they both clearly show the photographic base with buildings on top view, fine higher up but with squashed cars and everything else from any other angle. Flight is the worst at this level and MSFS is still very good with buildings and with trees well situated.
    X-Plane looks and feels very different, but it does look 3d and very animated, those empty green spaces are just waiting to be filled in and at this point it only has the small selection of default buildings to fill out the view.
    However take the add-on MSFS scenery and the huge range of coming default scenery and you will have something bordering on the spectacular. That is X-Plane10′s promise and depth and to a developer that green real estate it is worth money.
    6.
    The other items that trickled out of Mallorca all point towards the same direction and issues. 64bit was a surprise and that came out from nowhere, X-Plane devotees expected that one coming in a few years time, now it is suddenly coming in a beta form in only a few months (or even weeks).
    The other item now coming is seasonal textures, only as an add-on and only in a local environment right now and not as a Global Default, don’t ask when but it is a big job to convert all those tiles, but regional seasons will be possible soon – That was another item that was constantly put on the Laminar “We will get around to that” list.
    Texture size limit bumped up to 4096 x 4096 max as well to help the boat along, so with all this suddenly dropping into your lap – then as a scenery designer he must be wondering now what simulator he is really working on.
    Overall Laminar Research are wanting to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible and were probably more surprised than us by what was presented to them at Mallorca.
    7.
    Then another bombshell….
    “Prepar3D for professional use is now offered at $199.00,  for students with hands-on educational experiences at $49.95″…
    Feeling the heat – Of course, only a few months ago the official word was “No, as Prepar3D is for professional use, we have no reasons to go into a consumer market” was Lockheed’s mantra…well take two.
    The next date to put in the event calender is for the Orbx major announcement for April, no doubt it will want to put forward Prepar3D as THE platform of choice….that heat must have been getting very hot.
    So if you were an MSFS developer then what would you do now, drop tools and just go back to the MSFS community and carry on the as in the past in the better FSX/Prepar3D platform and note that X-Plane is too hard to re-engineer – that would clearly make the most sense.
    But would it?
    Remember money is business, and to make money you have to sell product, lots of it.
    If you go back to Prepar3D then all the product you have is already sold and so you just move it from one folder through a Prepar3D installer to the next…no money in that….Aircraft too.
    $199.00 is still a very high price to pay for a hobby, If you’re a student then it is bargain – so how many 50 -60 year old’s will now go back to school!
    8.
    No doubt the area X-Plane can-not compete on one level and that is cities, the default scenery is fine but the cities are simply non-existent, fly to London and it is not there, New York…nothing, Sydney is a joke really.
    And this is the current achilles-heel for the platformbecause simply there has been no past professional add-on support to create the scenery system, but that does not mean that developers should not discount X-Plane and why they won’t.
    Money and features – The big carrot is that the new underlying OSM world gives developers a smorgisboard of  ideas to create great product and animated product. If they use the OSM network to their benefit then X-Plane10 cities will be a work of art – the other benefit is HDR.
    HDR is a feature that is yet really stillborn but holds the greatest promise for X-Plane10, It hasn’t had much refining yet (If any at all) and it is still very frame rate hungry, but when it works it is gobsmackingly beautiful in its execution, any scenery created correctly in HDR will be overwhelmingly good.
    All this scenery with HDR/OSM 3d cities will suddenly leave any other simulator in the dust for quality, it won’t happen overnight but it will come quicker that you realise.
    Aircraft…and non yet there either, because most new aircraft have to be created or converted for X-Plane10′s use and that takes time -and so we are all sitting in that strange twilight zone of nothing at the moment.
    but once they do start flowing it will be a trickle turning into a full flow of products, same with airports as all are being created but still not on your desktop yet.
    9.
    Another carrot is you, the X-Plane user – as most MSFS product is already sold and you are a market waiting to be developed and if you get it right then you can not have just only the MSFS market but you can add the X-Plane users to your customer base as well, in fact you are worth far more than the MSFS market as you are ripe for the plucking for products that can be repackaged and resold.
    We see ourselves as a minority group but there is over 140.000 users in X-Plane with a core of 25.000 and that is growing by 20% every year, in anyone’s guess that is a lot of money to be made.
    The odd thing is that it is very hard to estimate the total users of MSFS as they are not as centralized as X-Plane users are, you usually find there is 20,000 here but it is mostly 4,000 there.
    10.
    Other overall issues are that X-Plane is also multi-platform, 10 years ago the Windows box ruled every domain, but today Apple are selling to the converted, they will never out-sell a windows computer but the numbers still add up and PrePar3D is Windows only.
    Another plus for developers is Laminar Research itself. If you want a feature then it will be pushed through in an update, Laminar for the first time is hungry and wanting to please the developers as it knows its future depends on their involvement – If the two can work together then X-Plane10′s future will be assured and the developments and products will create a simulated world like no other, the promise is there and the money is too, but right now it really could go either way.
    11.
    If you were a developer with a business to run what would you do?
    • The biggest reason is that “Yes it is difficult to convert to X-Plane”, but it has the most new features (and exciting current ones) for a long term business model and is constantly innovative with new ideas.
    • X-Plane isn’t going to go and do a “Flight”, and Lockheed could turnoff the tap in a few years if the low income business model isn’t living up to corporate costs.
    • You can work more closely with Laminar to build X-Plane into a genuinely large platform and the underlying flight model is certainly more realistic.
    • If the platform grows and performs there will be more money to be made out of X-Plane by creating a larger merged community.
    • X-Plane’s current situation is that the developers created (mostly scenery) product for MSFS and not for X-Plane, in every other area X-Plane is as good or even better than most simulators, it is just missing that vital component.
    • X-Plane10 was created to fix most of the scenery issues and will mostly succeed, but it still can’t beat the shear numbers of people creating products and add-ons for a platform….so to winning the developers hearts is the key to future success for Laminar Research and Mallorca was ground zero for that, win them and you win, win.
    In the end we will all settle down in our own little simulated worlds just like it was a few years ago after all this swapping around of chairs for chairs, If anything X-Plane10 was certainly timely in its release…and maybe Austin will have the last laugh after all.

    A Whole New World for Technology in Education [Lockheed Martin feature article, March 26, 2012]

    Lockheed Martin launches Prepar3D® simulation software as an immersive educational tool for students at the undergraduate level and below.

    Offering a virtual world simulation that spans from deep underwater all the way to suborbital space, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D® software is now available as a hands-on learning tool for students. The software harnesses the power of gaming technology for an educational purpose.

    “Our Prepar3D software presents a virtual world for experiential learning, transporting students to realistic settings where they can see the effects of their decisions,” says Martile Allen, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D program manager.

    “Imagine students applying geometry to figure out the shortest flight plans, or learning about marine life at the Great Barrier Reef. These types of lessons can come to life through virtual worlds,” adds Allen.

    In addition to offering a platform to teach science, technology, engineering and math, Prepar3D allows students to work together to solve challenges and build their communication and teamwork skills.

    Currently, the National Flight Academy uses Prepar3D as part of its hands-on programs to link learning standards and aviation games in the classroom, at community venues and in an in-residence program aboard the NFA Ambition, a new land-based simulated training aircraft carrier.

    “Our nation is facing a shortage of skilled STEM professionals,” says David Shikada, the National Flight Academy’s chief marketing officer. “Consider that the U.S. is ranked 35th in math education and 29th in science education worldwide. Stats also show that the U.S. has made no significant performance gains in the last four years in science.”

    “To reinvigorate the American spirit of innovation and build a better future for next generations, we must inspire young people to choose STEM disciplines so we can build a workforce that can bring new ideas and new products to the global marketplace,” Shikada says.

    Since 2009, the National Flight Academy has brought Aviation Classroom Experience (ACE) labs to five schools in Florida. The program uses virtual game play and simulation to teach students aerodynamics, propulsion, navigation, communications, flight physiology and meteorology.

    A typical ACE installation consists of a series of individual computer workstations, three Prepar3D flight simulators and an air traffic control station.

    “It’s amazing seeing these kids’ faces light up when they work with their peers on a challenge. What’s even better is seeing the light bulbs go on when they understand a math or science topic that they were having difficulty mastering,” says Shikada.

    Lockheed Martin Prepar3D can be used for educational curricula, after school programs, summer camps and at home. The software will be showcased during the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., April 28 and 29.

    In 2010, Lockheed Martin launched Prepar3D for immersive mission rehearsal and procedures training by professionals and military personnel. The new academic version is now available at www.prepar3d.com for student instruction at and below the undergraduate level.

    Lockheed Martin Experience [Lockheed Martin feature article, March 23, 2012]

    Lockheed Martin is returning to the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival as the presenting host and a major exhibitor. The timing is auspicious as we celebrate our 100th anniversary this year, marking a century since our pioneering founders – Glenn L. Martin and Malcolm and Allan Loughead – first incorporated their aircraft companies. Lockheed Martin’s exhibits will explore the corporation’s legacy of innovation, collaboration, and the evolution of advanced technology and exploration through interactive and hands-on experiences. Examples of the interactive presentations from Lockheed Martin that will be at the 2012 Festival include the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, Flight Simulators, and the Robot Raceway. These, and others which will be on display at the Festival, are designed to inspire the future engineers and technologists who may someday develop solutions that make a profound difference in our world.


    [Note that the simulators are in the normal font sizes within the list given below !]


    Science Festival Demostration
    Exhibit Description
    F-22 Cockpit The F-22 Cockpit Demonstrator is an immersive fighter jet simulator. Attendees can fly the airplane and land safely at an airport to experience the feeling of being a fighter jet pilot inside a full-working cockpit. Engineers will discuss the opportunities for future pilots, as well as the engineering aspects behing the simulation.
    HIL
    This exhibit will fully immerse visitors with the F-35 fighter jet in a virtual environment. The participants will wear a head-mounted display and will interact as virtual maintainer inside the F-35 weapon bay.
    T-50 Trainer The T-50 Cockpit Demonstrator is an immersive fighter jet simulator. It contains a full-working cockpit for each individual to experience the feeling of training like a fighter jet pilot. The simulation allows the individual to perform an afterburner take-off, fly the airplane, and land safely at an airport. Engineers will discuss the opportunities for future pilots, as well as the engineering aspects behing the simulation.
    Environmental Booth
    This exhibit will highlight several different models, displays, and Lockheed Martin technologies related to monitoring and understanding the environment, particularly as they relate to energy efforts. Highlights include:
    · The WindTracer model from Lockheed Martin’s Energy Solutions Center, along with simple wind turbine models.
    · The Multitouch Executive Dashboard – Energy (MED-E), which can visualize many different types of grid data — from power transmission lines to generation sources and the natural gas infrastructure of the US and European Union. It will be used as a centerpiece to discuss how real-time monitoring is important to alternative energy technologies.
    · A tornado display model built by a Lockheed Martin engineer, and a display which details how tornados work.
    Mondo Spider vs. Titanoboa
    From the same team that brought us the Mondo Spider at the Festival in 2010, Titanoboa is a 50 ft mechanical snake powered by solar panels. Look for these two exhibits outside the convention center.
    Antarctica 2041 – Renewable Energy in Extreme Environments
    An exhibition of renewable energy equipment that was tested in Antarctica, as well as video footage from the icy frontier.
    Solar Decathlon
    Hampton University will display its efforts to produce a sustainable living and universal design house for the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
    OmniGlobe
    The OmniGlobe is an eye-catching and enlightening display that projects a wide range of geographic imagery, from flood zones and oceanic currents to CO2 levels.
    Nanotechnology Exhibit
    The Nanotechnology Tube (nanotube) canopy will allow Festival-goers to explore a range of applications for nanotechnology.
    BioBus
    The BioBus pulls in electricity from the solar panels on the roof and the wind turbine mounted on the bumper, runs its engine on waste veggie oil collected from restaurant fryer grease, and provides heat with pellets made from compressed sawdust. It powers a mobile microscope research lab where more than 10,000 students every year explore bugs, bark, cells, particles, and more at up to 30,000 X magnification.
    Electromagnetic Devices
    Three radioactive and magnetic devices will be on display: an electrophorus, an electroscope, and a kelvin generator. The devices provide a clear way to communicate the fundamentals of physics.
    Fun Exhibits LLC
    This interactive public artwork exhibit requires people to work together through shared-control interfaces. This fosters a sense of community as strangers engage each other in cooperative play. These exhibits stimulate enthusiasm for science by activating the most powerful motivator for learning: natural human curiosity. This booth includes: a ferrofluid magnetoscope, an exhibition on interactive electrolysis and the hydrogen economy, and a pedal-powered bubble dance party.
    Museum of Interesting Things
    The Museum of Interesting Things is a traveling interactive demonstration/exhibition of antiques and inventions inspiring innovation and creativity – learning from the past to create an inventive future. They will bring the following exhibitions…
    · Eureka! The Invention Show: Explores the industrial revolution and mechanical era as it relates to green energy and alternative power, with interactive demonstrations of such items as the steam engine, Thomas Edison cylinder phonograph, windup toys and mechanical inventions.
    · Can you hear me now? The Communications Show: Traces the evolution of inventions involving communication, including telegraphs, box wooden telephones, teletypes, wire recorders, crystal radios, pigeon post, cell phones and computers.
    FIRST Robotics
    FIRST Robotics Competition robots will take to the court, free throwing basketballs in a scaled-down Rebound Rumble challenge while FIRST Lego® League teams will compete in the Food Factor Challenge. Interact with the Lockheed Martin sponsored teams that engineered the robots and find out what it takes to build a functioning robot from scratch, and check out the simulcast of the FIRST Championships live from St. Louis.
    Spirit of Innovation Award Winners: Electric Very Light Car team from West Philadelphia High School
    The West Philly EVX Team from West Philadelphia High School Auto Academy, West Philadelphia, Penn., will display its Electric Very Light Car (EVLC). The EVLC is being prepared for commercial market and will set the standard for efficiency with electric vehicles.
    Spirit of Innovation Award Winners: UTRApod team from Thomas Jefferson High School, Alexandria, Va.
    This student team from Alexandria, Va., will demonstrate its ULTRApod, an underwater unit that uses turbines to harness hydrokinetic energy from a flowing river. Electricity generated by the turbines is then used to power an ultraviolet chamber that disinfects and purifies dirty river water.
    NCIS:LA
    Lockheed Martin brings engineering and Hollywood together in DC! Come and meet actors from the hit TV show NCIS as they pose for photos, sign autographs, and describe how the show incorporates real Lockheed Martin technologies.
    Future Cities
    The Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Two student teams will present their projects in the Lockheed Martin exhibit space.
    Science Olympiad
    Science Olympiad student teams from the DC Metro area will demonstrate a variety of devices built for the Science Olympiad competition, including structures, vehicles, musical instruments and catapults. Science Olympiad team coaches will be on hand to share information with teachers and students.
    MBSD
    You’ve read about futuristic printing technologies. This booth will include an iPad game that allows students to construct 3D models of LM products and print them out to a 2Dprinter. The booth will include a 3D printer with continuous output to show how engineers can use them to rapidly prototype 3D electronic models.
    Becoming Sustainable by Design
    The mobile and interactive In the Zone display conveys how Lockheed Martin employees are committed to sustaining people, places and products to ensure the long-term viability of the Corporation. The four different zones, which include Sustainability, Environmental Remediation, Energy & Environment and Safety & Health (EESH), demonstrate how EESH considerations can be applied to everyday actions and business practices.
    The display consists of a pop-up wall and four kiosks, which run interactive presentations and games. The F-35 Carbon Check Demo challenges participants to get the lowest carbon emissions when ordering parts for an F-35. At the conclusion of the game, Festival-goers can ask about how to make more sustainable decisions to reduce carbon emissions as well as costs.
    Robot Raceway
    Grab hold of your creative and competitive instincts as you design and program your own robotic race car and compete against your fellow students to see who can race past the finish line and capture the checkered flag first.
    Mission Capabilities Powered by Cloud Computing
    This demonstration features multiple critical missions that are powered by cloud computing, such as biometric-enabled identity management and emergency response and incident reporting. The identity management demonstration shows how Lockheed Martin can use biometrics to identify and authenticate people to special events, air ports, secure facilities and financial services, securely without compromising user privacy.
    The emergency response and incident reporting demonstration shows how Lockheed Martin uses geospatial data to support crises management and humanitarian incidents. Festival-goers can see firsthand how cloud computing can reduce time to respond to crises on a global basis and provide real time situational awareness to first responders. Both demonstrations are engaging for a wide age range.
    Cyber Security Exhibit: Cyber Security & You!
    Festival-goers can participate in interactive sessions such as Email Flag Identification, Cyber Jeopardy, and other hands-on age appropriate activities.
    Additionally, students will learn how Lockheed Martin delivers technology to customers while also learning about potential career paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
    Helicopter Simulator Soar through the skies of Washington, DC. This Lockheed Martin demonstration puts you at the hands of a helicopter. Pilot your way up, down, left, right, and spin your way through an aerial tour of our nation’s capital.
    Meet the Astronauts
    Do you dream about becoming an astronaut? Come and meet our astronauts. Hear stories that will help you turn your dreams into reality. This special appearance will include: a speaker Q&A panel and an autograph signing.
    Orion Capsule
    Come and see the next generation of space transportation, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. See the full size test capsule and how it was flown to test the emergency escape system that will ensure the safety of future astronauts.
    Orion service module model and associated materials Alongside the capsule you will see a scale model of the Orion and service module like it will appear in space and see the progress Lockheed Martin is making toward Orion’s first flight. You might even get a chance to fly the Orion Simulator and dock with the International Space Station.
    Hubble Telescope Model
    Have you seen those incredible images from space, taken by the amazing Hubble Space Telescope? Now is your chance to see a scale model of the Hubble and learn how it works.
    Solar Display
    Lockheed Martin-built spacecraft and instruments are giving scientists new insights into how the sun, the center of our solar system, works. See these exciting images and learn a little more about Earth’s brightest neighbor.


    The Where Platform from Nokia: a company move to taking data as a raw material to build products

    This week news regarding the subject in the title are summarized in the following Nokia blog posts and videos embedded in those posts:
    From Where 2.0 To Just Where; With Meh 2.0 Somewhere In The Middle [blog of Gary Gale from Nokia, April 6, 2012] in which you can find his Platform, APIs & Apps: Building the Where Ecosystem presentation at Where 2012 with detailed speaker notes as well
    Nokia Location Platform: The Leading Where Platform [Nokia microsite since Oct 26, 2011]

    Nokia Maps at Where 2012 round-up [Nokia Conversations, April 6, 2012]
    Nokia at Where 2012 [Nokia Conversations, April 3, 2012]
    The location business – Nokia’s Where Platform [Nokia Conversations, April 3, 2012]
    – Nokia Location & Commerce – Christof Hellmis, VP, Map Platform, Nokia [nokianederland YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]

    Nokia Maps Suite 2.0 graduated! [to a commercial offering] [Nokia Beta Labs blog, April 4, 2012]
    New features on maps.nokia.com and Nokia Maps Suite for Symbian [Nokia Conversations, April 4, 2012], see also the Nokia Maps set the 3D world on fire, with heat maps [Nokia Conversations, July 27, 2011], Nokia Maps for Web update [Nokia Conversations, Oct 25, 2011] and Nokia Maps 3D now with navigation [Nokia Conversations, Dec 7, 2011], as well as the associated Nokia launches photorealistic 3D models of metropolitan areas for Ovi Maps [Nokia press release, April 19, 2011] from last year all related to that
    – Nokia Lumia 900 – Drive and Maps [nokia YouTube channel, April 3, 2012]

    Experience the amazing everyday and see just why the Nokia Lumia 900http://nokia.ly/HYUsNk is beautifully different. Want to feel like a local anywhere? Nokia Drive and Nokia Maps give you comprehensive mobile navigation and the insider knowledge to make it happen. With support across 95 countries, you’ll get accurate turn-by-turn directions to the destination of your choice, as well as information on all the cool places to visit when you get there. Drive and Maps is one in a series of 5 quick introduction demos to the wonderful world of Nokia Lumia. Each video highlights different hubs and features, letting you dive deeper into the world of Nokia with Windows Phone.

    New Maps, Drive and Transport in depth [Nokia Conversations, March 1, 2012]
    Expert Advice: Location Context, Relevance for Revenue [by Christopher Peralta from Nokia in GPS World, Jan 31, 2012]
    NAVTEQ® Map Selected By Galigeo To Power Geospatial Business Intelligence [Nokia Location & Commerce press release, March 29, 2012]: “Pioneering specialist integrates the ‘Where’ factor into business analysis
    Peugeot, Dacia, Audi, Scania, Nikon, and Yandex becoming NAVTEQ® Map – just the new additions in Q1 2012 [from Nokia Location & Commerce press releases]

    From the all above a reference is particularly relevant to the subject of The Where Platform: Gary Gale’s (Director of Places, Nokia Location&Commerce) session on Tuesday, April 3rd at 1:40pm in Yerba Buena Salon 10-11. There is already a downloadable version of his Platform, APIs & Apps: Building the Where Ecosystem presentation (with speaker notes here) which by itself providing a lot of background information worth to study.

    To spare you a lot of time and information search, I am providing below a complete overview of the whole effort:
    with The Where Platform they are trying to get to smart data: i.e. combining sets of behavioral and contextual data about the real world
    – such a direction is coming from the observation of the following trend by Nokia:

    Nokia -- The 'Where Aware' Sensor Evolution -- March- 2012

    which has lead to the discovery of the following strategic foundation for their redefined Location & Commerce business, i.e. The (so called) Where Platform:

    Nokia -- The Where Platform for derived data to power on-line services

    For developers there is an evolving set of platform APIs:

    image

    which were described by Gary Gale’s this week as: [was actually announced on the event]

    We already have a set of modular, configurable, highly performant APIs that are easy to use and to integrate, with an active developer community who appreciate our simple and fair terms of use. For the web, we have JavaScript APIs for Maps and for Places as well as a new Places web service API [which was actually announced on the event], more of which in a few moments. We’re going to be unifying the JavaScript APIs for Maps and for Places into single API under the Nokia Maps for JavaScript APIbanner.

    There’s also our Map Image web service API and our upcoming Maps API for HTML5, which I’ll talk more about in a few slide’s time.

    And for native mobile use, there’s out Maps API for Qt and our Places API for JavaME and coming later this year our Maps API for Windows Phone.

    APIs are of course utterly critical to the Where platform and the Where ecosystem but we also to ensure that we cover all the screens that act as touch-point between the digital and real words for people throughout their day. As I move from my computer at work, to my laptop, to my in-car nav system, to my tablet, our goal is to have an offering for virtually any of these screens.

    We’re also announcing a closed beta of our Nokia Maps HTML5 API, which is the first of many huge milestones we hope to achieve to expand our APIs and presence across screens as quickly as possible.

    Note: Go to the Nokia Maps API microsite as an easy to comprehend directory for these APIs. The JavaScript APIs are under the “Web” banner in that directory (including Positioning, Directions and Traffic as well) while the web service APIs under the “REST[ful]” banner.

    The very basis for all that is certainly the advanced mapping capability which came to Nokia in 2008 with the acquisition of NAVTEQ company. The state of that mapping was quite well presented a year ago in the following video recorded presentation:

    Where 2.0 2011 (April 19-21, 2011), Michael Halbherr, “Holistic and Virtuous Map Community Platform“, introducing you to a concept … a truly global location platform, one that is built on the world’s most accurate mapping and navigation assets.

    Then in the end of October 2011 (Nokia World 2011, Oct 26-27, 2011) came the announcement of The Where Platform as the enabler for The (so called) Third Phase of Mobility:

    Nokia -- The 3d Phase of Mobility -- Oct-2011

    where content of different kind is made available to different kind of smart devices via The Where Platform of smart data services (Mapping, Directions/Guidance, Places/Search etc.). Thanks to the built-in learning capabilities of that platform we will have a continuously improving digital and also predictive model of the physical world on hands which is going to empower our everyday life in a tremendous way. Our life as both individuals and as active members of a collaborative society.

    Nokia is going with that as far as drawing the following parallel:

    Nokia -- the parallel with Google -- Oct-2011 Watch the following recorded presentation [on slideshare] about that:

    Dr Michael Halbherr at Nokia World 2011 (Oct 26-27, 2011): http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/speaking about “Location-aware technology could turn us back into location-aware people – Exploring the third phase of mobility” Nokia World is an annual conference and exhibition devoted to all things Nokia, that took place this year on the 26th and 27th October in London. The two days were packed with captivating talks, inspiring discussions, exciting surprises, fruitful networking. The event offered visitors to experience all new mobile products, services and innovations from Nokia and partners. Michael heads the Location and Commerce unit in Nokia, including NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of mapping assets.

    This presentation is describing the framework envisaged by Nokia for the:

    Creating the Third Phase

    1 Real-World Computable

    image image
    01 Index

    An Index of the things in the real world
    02 Platform

    Making the real world computable

    CREATING A COMPUTABLE MODEL OF THE REAL WORLD

    2 Sensed Behaviour

    image image
    01 Sensors

    [see above under the “sensor evolution”]
    02 Experiences

    Drive, Traffic, Transit, Live View, Nearby, Maps, Tracks, Pulse

    GATHERING DATA IN THE REAL WORLD

    3 Learning Platform

    Real-World Computable
    image
    Sensed Behaviour
    image

    Smart Data, Real World Answers

    KNOWLEDGE FOR THE REAL WORLD

    As such we arrive to: Nokia’s Smart Data Analytics – Understanding You and the World [nokia YouTube channel, Nov 9, 2011]

    The world lives and breathes and has a central nervous system: You. Where you go and what you do when you get there, leaving digital traces that are subtly captured around us. Data that makes it possible to paint a digital picture of the world and the people in it, every second. Data collected from everywhere that connects to everywhere. Infinite data points that only make sense, when they’re transformed into intelligence. Built on smart data principles, and the digital footprints of hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. The Nokia Platform understands: Who, what, where, when, why, and how. To help answer, what next? Smart data gets smarter over time. Smart data makes it possible to personalize services that speak to who we are, and help us make the most of the moment. The world lives, breathes and changes constantly. Smart data, to make sense of that change, changes everything. Follow us on Twitter here – http://nokia.ly/j7zixs Or connect with us on Facebook here – http://nokia.ly/hWCnbn

    Here I would also recommend a presentation [on slideshare] [July 14, 2011] on Nokia’s Big Data and Data Analytics present and future, from which I will include here only the following two illustrations as they are providing a very usefull further explanation for all of the above:

    NEW! Location & Commerce To Spearhead Nokia’s Revised Services Mission

    Location & Commerce combine Nokia’s and NAVTEQ’s leading positions in social location services and location data
    It is a testimonial of our success and a natural next step in our journey

    Together we will deliver a complete and differentiated offering to consumers, business customers and advertisers
    Our intent is to become the leading platform in the world

    Success comes from combining unique reference data sets with high consumer engagement

    Combining Different Types Of Data to Create Smart Data – Our Unique Opportunity

    Derived data – data with intelligent meaning is required to feed online services to what server the user at what time. As relevancy is the differentiator in between useful information and spam, derived data is of extreme value.

    image image
    image

    Data that is fixed and based on hard facts such as Places (OPR), Geography (Navteq) and Public Transport Timetables.

    image

    image

    Data gathered by sensors and interactions of the users with his environment such as Payments, CheckIns into social networks, GPS probes when navigating. Photos and NFC.

    image

    image

    The interpretation of activity at a certain location lead to an Intelligent conclusion. It creates data that is smart which then can be understood by humans.

    Going deeper into Big Data and Data Analytics is possible via the following recorded discussions and presentations:

    Amy O’Connor & Gary Gale at Nokia World 2011 (Oct 26-27, 2011): http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/ speaking about: “Indexing the real world, in real time, takes apps to new places
    Amy leads Nokia’s Analytics team and is committed to helping Nokia become a ‘smart data’ company that delivers the best experience for consumers. Prior to joining Nokia, Amy was vice president of services marketing for Sun Microsystems, and previously held engineering and business strategy leadership roles in the information technology industry. She has an MBA from Northeastern University and dual bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
    Self professed “geek with a life”, geo-blogger, geo-talker and geo-tweeter, Gary works in London and Berlin as Director of the Places Registry for Nokia, bringing his extensive geo experience and his fascination with technology to the Location and Commerce unit. In addition to his role at Nokia, Gary co-founded WhereCamp EU, is the chair of w3gconf and sits on the W3C POI Working Group and the UK Location User Group. A contributor to the Mapstraction mapping API, Gary speaks and presents at a wide range of conferences and events including Where 2.0, State of the Map, AGI GeoCommunity, Geo-Loco, Social-Loco, GeoMob, the BCS GeoSpatial SG and LocBiz.
    Nokia Senior Director of Analytics Amy O’Connor discusses the challenges of managing and analyzing Big Data. Speaking live inside theCUBE at Hadoop World 2011 (November 8-9, 2011), O’Connor said between Nokia’s mobile phone business and location-based business, the company is awash in data.
    Nokia’s Amy O’Connor lends her take to the Hadoop v. data warehousing debate, live inside theCUBE from Hadoop World 2011 (November 8-9, 2011), in New York City with Wikibon’s Dave Vellante and SiliconANGLE’s John Furrier.

    Amy O’Connor in theCube: Nokia Looks to Hadoop for Transforming Data Solutions and Consumer Apps [SiliconANGLE blog, Nov 9, 2011]

    The troubles facing smartphone manufacturer Nokia have been front and center a lot latelyso seeing them at Hadoop World 2011 shines a light on their future intent. Nokia Senior Director of Analytics, Amy O’Connor, came into theCube for an interview with John Furrier and Dave Vellante about how Nokia is using Hadoop and unstructured data to provide data services for their customers. The discussion ran from the gathering of information from customers, some about privacy and anonymization, and most importantly how the cellphone maker intends to use big data solutions such as Hadoop to build and guide their infrastructure decisions.

    O’Connor says that Nokia really has two businesses coming together: the mobile phone business and their location-based business. Much of the location-based setups for Yelp, Yahoo!, others happen to be based on Nokia’s maps. The first phase was to allow phones to go mobile, the second phase was making computers go mobile, and the third phase has been to congeal data and physical presence: straight-up augmented reality.

    The phones that Nokia produces collect a great deal of data from sensors in the phone, from customer relationships, from how they’re used, and how they interact with the network and one another. As a result, Nokia might be a company who manufactures phones; but they produce a lot of data as exhaust. That means that the smartphone maker has a huge amount of product that they need to then manage.

    The data challenges that Nokia faces with respect to data happen to be myriad, but the biggest one has always been privacy. “We’ve traditionally been a company who have leaned towards the side of anonymized data and privacy,” O’Connor told John Furrier. “And we’re a global company…that means it’s the biggest, biggest concern that we have.”

    While the Nokia Senior Director wanted everyone to know that privacy is a huge concern and direction for the phone maker, John wanted to know more about how they used Hadoop to perform solutions for all the data they’re gathering.

    Nokia is currently running a Hadoop system. Since each division faced a great deal of data challenges people started to begin pulling from the open source community and decided to centralize a bunch of Hadoop solutions. They decided to make one-big-shift and centralize their data analysis division; but they intended to do it with a hub and spokes. The beating heart of analysis at Nokia happens to be a Hadoop system, but it feeds satellite projects and analysiswho can take the data and transform it from that point.

    Many of the cellphone maker’s products happen to be consumer apps. These apps are enabled via data, they consume, transform, and manufacture data and all of that needs to move through the infrastructure. As a result, Nokia felt that the centralized aspect of using Hadoop at the center as a command and control and data warehouse center would give them the most agile setup for scaling and bringing data to their customers.

    “Technology keeps changing, and I’ve been in the industry a long time, and it keeps changing and if we don’t get in front of that, we’ll fall behind and someone else will take over,” O’Connor said. “We have a 120 terabyte warehouse in Teradata…” Instead of pushing further data into that Teradata warehouse that just won’t fit or would overwhelm the data scientists—or worse runs on unstructured data—Nokia has sought to put it through Hadoop so that it could be transformed and brought back in again.

    Hadoop World 2011: Changing Company Culture with Hadoop [Cloudera video with presentation [on slideshare], Nov 9, 2011]

    We are living in a time of tremendous convergence, convergence of mobile, cloud and social… This convergence is forcing companies to change. At Nokia, we are changing the way we make decisions, from a manufacturing model to a data driven one. Yet making cultural changes is one of the hardest things to accomplish. In this talk, Amy O’Connor will highlight the journey Nokia is taking to evolve its culture – from building a platform for cultural evolution on top of Hadoop, to the administration of Nokia’s data, to how the company conducts the analysis that is enabling Nokia to compete with data.

    See also:
    big data analytics [SearchBusinessAnalytics.com definition article, January 2012]
    Hadoop [SearchCloudComputing.com definition article, June 2008]
    Big data [wikipedia article], Analytics [wikipedia article], Apache Hadoop [wikipedia article]
    Hadoop Players Question Forrester’s Take On Leaders [InformationWeek, Feb 6, 2012]: “Forrester’s first-ever Hadoop market assessment draws mixed reactions, both for its leader rankings and for the players who were left out.
    The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Hadoop Solutions, Q1 2012 [Forrester Research, Inc. report, Feb 2, 2012]

    Amazon Web Services, IBM, EMC Greenplum, MapR, Cloudera, And Hortonworks Lead This Emerging Market, With Seven Others Serving Key Niches Close Behind

    In Forrester’s 15-criteria evaluation of enterprise Hadoop solution providers, we found that in the Leaders category, Amazon Web Services led the pack due to its proven, feature-rich Elastic MapReduce subscription service; IBM and EMC Greenplum offer Hadoop solutions within strong EDW portfolios; MapR and Cloudera impress with best-of-breed enterprise-grade distributions; and Hortonworks offers an impressive Hadoop professional services portfolio. Strong Performer Pentaho provides an impressive Hadoop data integration tool. Of the Contenders, DataStax provides a Hadoop platform for real-time, distributed, transactional deployments; Datameer has a user-friendly Hadoop/MapReduce modeling tool; Platform Computing and Zettaset offer best-of-breed Hadoop cluster management tools; and Outerthought has optimized its Hadoop platform for high-volume search and indexing. HStreaming is a Risky Bet with a solution that is strong in real-time Hadoop.

    The Cube – Strata Conference 2012 (Feb 28–March 1, 2012) – Amy O’Connor, Nokia, with John Furrier and Dave Vellante

    Nokia: Using Big Data to Bridge the Virtual & Physical Worlds [Cloudera channel on vimeo, April 5, 2012]

    Nokia’s goal is to bring the world to the third phase of mobility: leveraging data to make it easier to navigate the physical world. Nokia relies on a technology ecosystem with Cloudera’s Distribution including Hadoop at its core to achieve this goal.

    Sara Rossio at Nokia World 2011 (Oct 26-27, 2011): http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/speaking aboutCapturing activity to show how life is, not was
    As a Director of Product Management, Sara partners to bring smart data to everyday life. She believes that location enabled solutions can make a difference in consumers’ daily lives, providing them with the tools to navigate and interact with an ever changing world. Based in Chicago, Sara enjoys working across the Location & Commerce unit to make personalized location data available in real time for everyone.
    Alex Osaki & Thom Brenner at Nokia World 2011 (Oct 26-27, 2011): http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/ speaking about: “Enriching real-world experiences through location app
    As the VP Applications, Thom brings his interest in building solutions that apply scientific knowledge to practical problems to Nokia’s Location and Commerce unit. He is focused on developing applications that use real-time location data to ease every day uncertainties. Alex believes that science fiction writers got it wrong: the future of technology isn’t about people living in a virtual world; the future of technology is letting people experience the real world in a richer, more dynamic way.
    As a Proposition Manager in Nokia’s location apps, Alex helps to give voice to the potential and unique power of location on mobile devices and the web. He was drawn to Nokia because they speak the same language: mobile technology’s promise goes beyond the screen. It shouldn’t be a distraction — it should be an amazing tool to help us discover new places, experience new things, make new friends, and connect with people in new ways.

    Regarding the new Location & Commerce business see also:
    Nokia renews mission for mobile and location based services; appoints Michael Halbherr Executive Vice President [Nokia press release, June 22, 2011]
    Biography of Michael Halbherr [Nokia Leadership Team]
    Nokia under transition (as reported by the company) [this blog, March 11, 2012] from which I will copy here the following strategic statements:

    As of October 1, 2011, the Group formed a Location & Commerce business which combines NAVTEQ and Nokia’s social location services operations from Devices & Services. Location & Commerce business is an operating and reportable segment.

    Location & Commerce develops a range of location-based products and services for consumers, as well as platform services and local commerce services for the Group’s feature phones and smartphones ([96] in support of our strategic goals) as well as ([96] a portfolio of products for the broader Internet ecosystem, including products for our direct competitors) for other device manufacturers, application developers, Internet service providers, merchants, and advertisers. Location & Commerce also continues to serve NAVTEQ’s existing customers both in terms of provision of content and as a business-to-business provider of map data ([56] providing comprehensive digital map information and related location-based content and services for mobile navigation devices, automotive navigation systems, Internet-based mapping applications and government and business solutions). Location & Commerce has profit and loss responsibility and end-to-end accountability for the full consumer experience.

    Location & Commerce:

    [97] Our Location & Commerce business aims to positively differentiate its digital map data and location-based offerings from those of our competitors and create competitive business models for our customers.

    In the fourth quarter 2011, we conducted our annual impairment testing to assess if events or changes in circumstances indicated that the carrying amount of our goodwill may not be recoverable. As a result, we recorded a charge to operating profit of EUR 1.1 billion for the impairment of goodwill in our Location & Commerce business. The impairment charge was the result of an evaluation of the projected financial performance of our Location & Commerce business. This took into consideration the market dynamics in digital map data and related location-based content markets, including our estimate of the market moving long-term from fee-based towards advertising-based models especially in some more mature markets. It also reflected recently announced results and related competitive factors in the local search and advertising market resulting in lower estimated growth prospects from our location-based assets integrated with different advertising platforms. After consideration of all relevant factors, we reduced the net sales projections for Location & Commercewhich, in turn, reduced projected profitability and cash flows.

    Location & Commerce’s resources are primarily focused on the development of:

    (i) content, which involves the mapping of the physical world and places such as roads and points of interest, as well as the collection of activity data generated and authorized for use by our users;

    (ii) the platform, which adds functionality on top of the content and includes the development tools for us and others to create on top of it; and

    (iii) applications built on the content and platform.

    Our Devices & Services business is a key customer of Location & Commerce. Devices & Services purchases map and application licenses from Location & Commerce for its Nokia Maps service sold in combination with GPS enabled smartphones.

    Competition:

    [61] With respect to digital map data and related location-based content, several global and local companies, as well as governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, are making more map data with improving coverage and content, and high quality, available free of charge or at lower prices. For example, our Location & Commerce business competes with Googlewhich uses an advertising-based model allowing consumers to use its map data and related services in their products free of charge. Google has continued to leverage Google Maps as a differentiator for Android, bringing certain new features and functionality to that platform. Apple has also sought to strengthen its location assets and capabilities through targeted acquisitions and organic growth.

    Location & Commerce also competes with companies such as TomTom, which licenses its map data and where competition is focused on the quality of the map data and pricing, and Open Street Map, which is a community-generated open source map available to users free of charge. Aerial, satellite and other location-based imagery is also becoming increasingly availableand competitors are offering location-based products and services with the map data to both business customers and consumers in order to differentiate their offerings.

    Strategy for the trend: Location-Based Products and Services Proliferation

    [97] A substantial majority of Location & Commerce net sales in 2011 came from the licensing of digital map data and related location-based content and services for use in mobile devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, Internet applications, geographical information system applications and other location-based products and services. Location & Commerce’s success depends upon the rate at which consumers and businesses use location-based products and services. In recent years, there has been a strong increase in the availability of such products and services, particularly in mobile devices and online application stores for such devices. Furthermore, as the use of the Internet through mobile devices has been growing rapidly, the anchor of the Internet is moving from the desktops to mobiles. This shift is making location-based content a key element of most Internet experiences. We expect this trend to continue, but we also expect that the level of qualityrequired for these products and services and the ability to charge license fees for the use of map data incorporated into such products and services may vary significantly. By combining our NAVTEQ business with our Devices & Services social location services operations, we believe our Location & Commerce business will be better positioned to capture emerging business opportunities with a broader offering which is no longer limited to digital map data.

    Strategy for the trend: Increasing Importance of Creating an Ecosystem around Location-Based Services Offering

    [97] Creating a winning ecosystem around our Location & Commerce’s services offering will be critical for the success of this business. The longer-term success of the Location & Commerce business will be determined by ourability to attract strategic partners and developers to support our ecosystem. Location & Commerce is aiming to support its ecosystem by enabling strategic partners and independent developers to foster innovation on top of their location platform. We believe that making it possible for other vendors to innovate on top of Location & Commerce’s high quality location-based assets will further strengthen the overall experience and make our offering stronger and more attractive.

    Strategy for the trend: Emergence of the Intelligent Sensor Network

    [98] Mobile Internet devices are increasingly being enabled with a rich set ofsensors such as a GPS, a camera and an accelerometer which enable interaction with the real world. This interaction also enables the collection of large volumes of rich data which, when combined with analytics, enable the development of increasingly sophisticated, contextually-aware devices and services. We believe the combination of NAVTEQ with our Devices & Services social location services operations will enable Location & Commerce toparticipate in this industry development and seize new opportunities todeliver new experiences that bridge the virtual with the real world.

    Strategy for the trend: Price Pressure for Navigable Map Data Increasing

    [98] Location & Commerce’s net sales are also affected by the highly competitive pricing environment. Google is offering turn-by-turn navigation in many countries to its business customers and consumers on certain mobile handsets at no charge to the consumer. While we expect these offerings will increase the adoption of location-based services in the mobile handset industry, we also expect they may lead to additional price pressure from Location & Commerce’s business customers, including handset manufacturers, navigation application developers, wireless carriers andpersonal navigation device (“PND”) manufacturers, which are seeking ways to offer lower-cost or free turn-by-turn navigation to consumers. Turn-by-turn navigation solutions that are free to consumers on mobile devices may alsoput pressure on automotive OEMs and automotive navigation system manufacturers to have lower cost navigation alternatives. This price pressure is expected to result in an increased focus on advertising revenueas a way to supplement or replace license fees for map data.

    In response to the pricing pressure, Location & Commerce focuses on offering a digital map database with superior quality, detail and coverage; providingvalue-added services to its customers such as distribution and technical services; enhancing and extending its product offering by adding additional content to its map database, such as 3D landmarks; and providing business customers with alternative business models that are less onerous to the business customer than those provided by competitors. Location & Commerce’s future results will also depend on Location & Commerce’s abilityto adapt its business models to generate increasing amounts of advertising revenuesfrom its map and other location-based content.

    We believe that Location & Commerce’s PND customers will continue to face competitive pressure from smartphones and other mobile devices that now offer navigation, but that PNDs continue to offer a viable option for consumers based on the functionality, user interface, quality and overall ease of use.

    Strategy for the trend: Quality and Richness of Location-Based Content and Services Will Continue to Increase

    [98] Location & Commerce’s profitability is also driven by Location & Commerce’s expenses related to the development of its database and expansion. Location & Commerce’s development costs are comprised primarily of the purchase and licensing of source maps, employee compensation and thirdparty feesrelated to the construction, maintenance and delivery of its database.

    In order to remain competitive and notwithstanding the price pressure discussed above, Location & Commerce will need to continue to expand the geographic scope of its map data, maintain the quality of its existing map data and add an increasing amount of new location-based content and services, as well as using innovative ways like crowd sourcing to collect data. The trends for such location-based content and services include real-time updates to location information, more dynamic information, such as traffic, weather, events and parking availability, and imagery consistent with the real world. We expect that these requirements will cause Location & Commerce’s map development expenses to continue to grow, although a number of productivity initiatives are underway designed to improve the efficiency of our database collection processing and delivery. In addition, we will need to continue making investments in this fast paced and innovative location-based content and services industry, for instance through research and development, licensing arrangements, acquiring businesses and technologies, recruiting specialized expertise and partnering with third parties.

    Restructuring in accordance with all that:

    [F-64] In September 2011, Nokia announced a plan to concentrate the development efforts of the Location & Commerce business in Berlin, Germany and Boston and Chicago in the U.S., and other supporting sites and plans toclose its operations in Bonn, Germany and Malvern, U.S. As a result, Location & Commerce recognized a restructuring provision of EUR 25 million.

    The 41 MP Nokia 808 PureView meeting the vanishing world challenge

    D&I_Photography_2

    imageWhile world renown photographer Dennis Manarchy was building his huge ‘The Eye of America’ camera Nokia have succeeded with their ongoing camera phone inventions to match the requirements of Manarchy and to accompany him on his year long journey of “Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait” project.

    Watch the below video presentation of this unusual still classic camera first (for 12-metre-high portraits):

    An epic camera that will travel around the United States as part of the Vanishing Cultures project to capture the faces and stories of our amazing people. Its dimensions are 35 feet long, 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide and it produces one-of-a-kind negatives that are two-metre-tall for as big as 12-metre-high portraits.

    Then proceed with the following presentation videos of the the truely revolutionary, Nokia 808 PureView camera phone:

    Nokia 808 PureView http://nokia.ly/ygwe7d It’s not about the size of the pixels, it’s what you do with them. PureView packs the goodness of 6 pixels into 1 for sharp, clear 5 megapixel photos that are ready to share. Discover the next breakthrough in photography http://nokia.com/Nokia808PureView

    More videos on the unique capabilities of Nokia 808 PureView:
    Zoom, zoom and zoom again: Take a picture, then zoom into the image up to three times with no loss of detail. Shoot in Full HD 1080p video and zoom into the action four times, or choose Full HD 360p mode and zoom in 12 times.
    Get the professional touch: Give your photos a sharper perspective or special effect with the PureView’s creative controls. Quickly shoot at optimum settings for close-ups, landscapes or night shots, or play with the creative modes to make your images really stand out.
    Don’t be afraid of the dark: Never miss the real story. The Carl Zeiss lens and 41 megapixel image sensor on a Nokia 808 PureView make the most of the available light so you don’t have to give it a moment’s thought.
    Nokia Rich Recording: Records best in class stereo audio with every detail. Whilst most high end smartphones can only record without distortion to around 110db, the Nokia 808 can comfortably continue to around 140-145 db, which is 4 times louder than the conventional mics can record. Apart from that Nokia Rich Recording can also record very low frequencies also without any distortion. The combination of all of these elements means the Nokia 808 records audio with almost CD like quality. It has to be heard to be believed.
    Technology breakthroughs and benefits explained by Damian Dinning (Head of Imaging Experiences, Nokia Smart Devices): In-house developed sensor, high-performance optics developed in collaboration with Carl-Zeiss for this sensor, and handling one billion pixels per second by software for video. These breakthrougs producing two significant benefits which you have not been able to do in the past. First is incredible image quality: 5 MP images which are only 1 MB in file size, which have significantly more detail than any other camera smartphone you can find on the market. … It is incredible how much detail is in there. The second thing is zoom. … Wanted to change the way the industry thinks about pixels. … Then you realize the true benefits: high-performance images, high-performance video. Even in HD video have four times lossless zoom. … Others: watch the video itself!

    Finally see what is the essence of the Vanishing Cultures: An American Portrait project and how Nokia 808 PureView fits into that, through the eyes of the photographer, Dennis Manarchy himself:

    Dennis Manarchy talks about creating the world’s biggest camera and its huge, detailed images — and casts an expert eye over the Nokia 808 PureView http://nokia.ly/HaDWLD – the world’s first 41MP smartphone camera.

    More information on that:
    Nokia 808 PureView: The next breakthrough in photography [Nokia microsite, March 27, 2012]
    Why the big number? [Nokia background microsite, Feb 27, 2012]
    Dennis Manarchy: A man on a mission with the world’s largest camera [Nokia Connects, March 28, 2012]
    The photography edition of the Nokia Connects Live podcast [Nokia Connects, March 26, 2012]: “Photography Week” podcast with Damian Dinning (Head of Imaging Experiences, Nokia Smart Devices), John Suler (Professor of Psychology at Rider University) and Dennis Manarchy
    Vanishing Cultures [project site, Jan 17, 2012] and the project brochure
    The devil in the detail [Nokia’s Dennis Manarchy related branding page, March 31, 2012]
    Nokia 808 PureView [Nokia Europe product page, Feb 27, 2012]