This video is speaking for itself (and for the title): Why I Love my Microsoft Surface 2 : Tips and Tricks [Sean Ong YouTube channel, Nov 3, 2013]
That is how Sean Ong, a senior consultant at Navigant (focussing there on “technical, economic, and policy analysis of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems”) and himself an energy analysis engineer, was able to present the above, truly incredible customer value from current and especially future point of view for Windows 8.1 in geneneral and Surface 2 (ARM based) in particular. It is even more remarkable as nobody, I REPEAT NOBODY, from Microsoft worldwide could do that. I know even a highly professional, true world class Windows 8/Windows 8.1 expert who was not only fascinated himself by the above video, but acknowledged honestly that he was unaware of the speech recognition progress in Windows 8.1. And we are talking about an internal expert who has already been involved in the internal expert network of similar, most devoted Microsoft specialists in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 for years.
For me this video is incredibly important because:
on one hand with Unique Nokia assets (from factories to global device distribution & sales, and the Asha sub $100 smartphone platform etc.) will now empower the One Microsoft devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3, 2013], Microsoft partners empowered with ‘cloud first’, high-value and next-gen experiences for big data, enterprise social, and mobility on wide variety of Windows devices and Windows Server + Windows Azure + Visual Studio as the platform [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 10, 2013], Windows Azure becoming an unbeatable offering on the cloud computing market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 28, 2013], Windows 8.1: Mind boggling opportunities, finally some appreciation by the media [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 27, 2013] and Microsoft: With cloud services investments starting to pay off Windows 8 and Windows Blue will bring more competitive devices particularly in new smaller form factors targeting the tablet market I’ve found quite a number of positive signs (for the future)
while there are—on the other hand—quite a number of extremely worrisome negative signs (for the future) with Microsoft could be acquired in years to come by Amazon? The joke of the day, or a certain possibility (among other ones)? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 16, 2013], The question mark over Wintel’s future will hang in the air for two more years [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 15, 2013], An ARM-focussed Microsoft spin-off could be the only solution to save Microsoft in the crucial next 3-years period [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 24, 2013], Windows [inc. Phone] 8.x chances of becoming the alternative platform to iOS and Android: VERY SLIM as it is even more difficult for Microsoft now than any time before [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 20, 2013], Android to overtake the overall PC market? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 24, 2013], and With Android and forked Android smartphones as the industry standard Nokia relegated to a niche market status while Apple should radically alter its previous premium strategy for long term [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 17, 2013]
NOT ONLY FOR THE FUTURE OF MICROSOFT BUT FOR THE WHOLE STATE OF COMPUTING
AS THE MISSING COMMUNICATIONS FROM MICROSOFT, EVEN THE TOTAL INABILITY OF MICROSOFT TO COMMUNICATE THE INHERENT WINDOWS 8.1/SURFACE 2 VALUES, WERE CLEARLY POINTING TO TOTAL LACK OF MARKETING COMPETENCY FOR ITS GAME-CHANGING, MICROSOFT-ONLY, POST PC AREA INNOVATIONS INHERENT IN WINDOWS 8.1/SURFACE 2
Although these signs (both the positive and negative ones) were coupled with a number of competitive positive changes for Microsoft, such as:
Xamarin: C# developers of native “business” and “mobile workforce” applications now can easily work cross-platform, for Android and iOS clients as well [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 15, 2013]
Multi-tasking and multi-window view used together for high performance productivity scenarios in the state-of-the-art UX environment of Microsoft Windows 8.1 – the ultimate solution not available with Apple and Android devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 26, 2013] together with 2nd generation Microsoft Surface family of productivity tablets priced upto $2420 (when for an All-in-One configuration) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 24, 2013]
The long awaited Windows 8.1 breakthrough opportunity with the new Intel “Bay Trail-T”, “Bay Trail-M” and “Bay Trail-D” SoCs? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 14, 2013]
Microsoft betting on boosting Windows RT demand with top level ARM SoCs from its SoC partners, Windows 8.1 enhancements, Outlook addition to the Office 2013 RT and very deep tactical discounts to its OEM partners for tablet offerings of more value and capability [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 6, 2013]
Deep technical evangelism and development team inside the DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) unit of Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2013]
But a number of competitive negative changes for Microsoft became even more worrisome (than any time before) lately, such as:
Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]
Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013]
The first multimode Android tablets and laptops from Lenovo [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 8, 2013]
Leading PC vendors of the past: Go enterprise or die! [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 7, 2013]
Why Intel is pressed to go as far down as to $99 with its Android tablet prices (but not with Windows 8.1)? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Dell’s all Intel tablets and laptops targeting the evolving mobile workforce even with their most consumer specific Android tablets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 3, 2013]
Amazon’s move into overall leadership: Kindle Fire HDX with Snapdragon 800, “revolutionary on-device tech support” (Mayday), enterprise and productivity capable Fire OS 3.0 forked from Android 4.2.2 etc. PLUS a significantly enhanced, new Kindle Fire HD for a much lower, $139 price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 27, 2013]
Sinofsky’s ‘continuous productivity’ idea to be realised first in Box Notes [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013]
Xiaomi announcements: from Mi3 to Xiaomi TV [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 5, 2013]
Jingdong (former 360buy) e-commerce value proposition and ongoing global expansion [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 2, 2013]
The value of Taobao.com and TMall.com in China, as well as outside [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 2, 2013]
Opinion Leaders and Lead Opinions: Reflections on Steven Sinofsky’s “Era of Continuous Productivity” vision [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 1, 2013]
Assesment of the Xiaomi phenomenon before the global storm is starting on Sept 5 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 30, 2013]
Mark Zuckerberg’s personality is hyped (again) with a quite worthwhile initiative (otherwise) but with substantial global financial interests behind it as well [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 24, 2013]
Google Play catchup with iOS App Store and its way of assuring compatibility across Android 1.6 to 4.3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 13, 2013]
The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 13, 2013]
China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 5, 2013]
Superphones turning point: segment satured with Tier 1 globals while the Chinese locals are at less than 40% of the Samsung price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 3, 2013]
Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 1, 2013]
GiONEE (金立), the emerging global competitor on the smartphone market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22, 2013]
20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 2, 2013]
Fortunately we already know:
from the announcement issued back in August that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months [Microsoft press release, Aug 23, 2013]
Board of directors initiates succession process; Ballmer remains CEO until successor is named.
Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
The Board of Directors has appointed a special committee to direct the process. This committee is chaired by John Thompson, the board’s lead independent director, and includes Chairman of the Board Bill Gates, Chairman of the Audit Committee Chuck Noski and Chairman of the Compensation Committee Steve Luczo. The special committee is working with Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., a leading executive recruiting firm, and will consider both external and internal candidates.
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,” Thompson said. “As this work continues, we are focused on selecting a new CEO to work with the company’s senior leadership team to chart the company’s course and execute on it in a highly competitive industry.”
“As a member of the succession planning committee, I’ll work closely with the other members of the board to identify a great new CEO,” said Gates. “We’re fortunate to have Steve in his role until the new CEO assumes these duties.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
- Ballmer thanks Microsoft Employees in farewell address [The Verge, YouTube channel, Sept 28, 2013]
- and finally when, what was and is going behind from Ballmer on Ballmer: His Exit From Microsoft [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 15-17, 2013]
Steve Ballmer paced his corner office on a foggy January morning here, listening through loudspeakers to his directors’ voices on a call that would set in motion the end of his 13-year reign as Microsoft Corp.’s MSFT -0.47% chief executive.
Microsoft lagged behind Apple Inc. AAPL -0.60% and Google Inc. GOOG -0.16% in important consumer markets, despite its formidable software revenue. Mr. Ballmer tried to spell out his plan to remake Microsoft, but a director cut him off, telling him he was moving too slowly.
“Hey, dude, let’s get on with it,” lead director John Thompson says he told him. “We’re in suspended animation.” Mr. Ballmer says he replied that he could move faster.
But the contentious call put him on a difficult journey toward his August decision to retire, sending Microsoft into further tumult as it began seeking a successor to a man who has been at its heart for 33 years.
“Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,” the 57-year-old Mr. Ballmer says, pausing as his eyes well up. “As much as I love everything about what I’m doing,” he says, “the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.”
Mr. Ballmer, in a series of exclusive interviews tinged with his characteristic bluster and wistfulness, tells of how he came to believe that he couldn’t lead Microsoft forward—that, in fact, Microsoft would not be led by him because of the very corporate culture he had helped instill.
Mr. Ballmer and his board have been in agreement: Microsoft, while maintaining its strong software business, must shake up its management structure and refocus on mobile devices and online services if it is to find future profit growth and reduce its dependence on the fading PC market.
The board’s beef was speed. The directors “didn’t push Steve to step down,” says Mr. Thompson, a longtime technology executive who heads the board’s CEO-search committee, “but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster.”
Investors, too, were pushing for transformation. “At this critical juncture, Wall Street wants new blood to bring fundamental change,” says Brent Thill, a longtime Microsoft analyst at UBS AG. “Steve was a phenomenal leader who racked up profits and market share in the commercial business, but the new CEO must innovate in areas Steve missed—phone, tablet, Internet services, even wearables.”
The Microsoft board’s list of possible successors includes, among others, former Nokia Corp. NOK1V.HE +0.25% CEO Stephen Elop, Microsoft enterprise-software chief Satya Nadella and Ford Motor Co. F -0.12% CEO Alan Mulally, say people familiar with the search. In conjunction with Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting Nov. 19, the board plans to meet and will discuss succession, says a person familiar with the schedule.
Representatives for Mr. Elop and Mr. Nadella say the men have no comment on the search. A Ford spokesman says “nothing has changed” since November 2012, when Ford said Mr. Mulally would remain CEO through at least 2014, adding: “Alan remains absolutely focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan. We do not engage in speculation.”
Microsoft’s next chief will be only the third in its history. Mr. Ballmer joined in 1980 at the suggestion of his Harvard University pal, co-founder Bill Gates, and is its second-largest individual shareholder and a billionaire.
After growing up in Detroit, where his father was a Ford manager, Mr. Ballmer roomed down the hall from Mr. Gates at Harvard. He dropped his Stanford M.B.A. studies to become Microsoft’s first business manager.
He was Mr. Gates’s right-hand man, helping turn Microsoft into a force that redefined how the world used computers. He took the reins in 2000, further solidifying Microsoft’s position in software markets and keeping the profit engine humming. Revenue tripled during his tenure to almost $78 billion in the year ended this June, and profit grew 132% to nearly $22 billion.
But while profit rolled in from Microsoft’s traditional markets, it missed epic changes, including Web-search advertising and the consumer shift to mobile devices and social media.
Last year, Mr. Ballmer sought to reboot. In an October shareholder letter, he declared Microsoft would become a provider of “devices and services” for businesses and individuals.
He told the board he wanted to lead the charge and remain until his youngest son graduated from high school in four years. He began his own succession planning by meeting potential candidates in what he calls “cloak-and-dagger” meetings.
Mr. Ballmer’s reboot plan required a corporate overhaul. For guidance, he called his longtime friend, Ford’s Mr. Mulally, once a top Boeing Co. BA +0.73% executive. They met Christmas Eve at a Starbucks on Mercer Island near Seattle.
Mr. Ballmer brought a messenger bag, pulling out onto a table an array of phones and tablets from Microsoft and competitors. He asked Mr. Mulally how he turned around Ford. For four hours, he says, Mr. Mulally detailed how teamwork and simplifying the Ford brand helped him reposition it.
The Ford spokesman says: “Ford and Microsoft have a long-standing business partnership, and many of our leaders discuss business together frequently.”
It was a wake-up call for Mr. Ballmer, who had run the software giant with bravado and concedes that “I’m big, I’m bald and I’m loud.”
Microsoft’s culture included corporate silos where colleagues were often pitted against one another—a competitive milieu that spurred innovation during Microsoft’s heyday but now sometimes leaves groups focused on their own legacies and bottom lines rather than on the big technology picture and Microsoft as a whole.
He recalls thinking: “I’ll remake my whole playbook. I’ll remake my whole brand.”
The board liked his new plan. But as Mr. Ballmer prepared to implement it, his directors on the January conference call demanded he expedite it.
Pushing hardest, say participants, were Mr. Thompson, who had held top jobs at International Business Machines Corp. IBM +0.54% and Symantec Corp. SYMC +0.38%, and Stephen Luczo, CEO of Seagate Technology STX -2.33% PLC. Mr. Luczo declines to comment.
“But, I didn’t want to shift gears until I shipped Windows,” Mr. Ballmer says he told the directors on the call, explaining that he hadn’t moved faster in late 2012 because he was focused on releasing in October the next generation of Windows, Microsoft’s longtime cash cow.
Mr. Ballmer swung into gear, drafting a management-reorganization plan to discuss during a March retreat at a Washington mountain resort. He invited Mr. Thompson and another director, to get board perspective on his plan.
Instead, he got more pressure. Mr. Thompson says he told Mr. Ballmer and his executives: “Either get on the bus or get off.”
Mr. Ballmer says he took that as an endorsement of his plan. That evening, some of them played poker, drank Scotch and gathered around the lodge’s fireplace.
The next month, hedge fund ValueAct Capital disclosed a $2 billion Microsoft stake. ValueAct’s CEO Jeffrey Ubben at a conference said Microsoft’s stock was undervalued. Other shareholders were urging it to increase its dividend and shed noncore businesses. A ValueAct spokesman declines further comment. In September, Microsoft increased its dividend but hasn’t sold off businesses investors have urged it to, such as the Bing search engine.
Mr. Ballmer hewed to Mr. Mulally’s recommendations. For years, he had consulted with Microsoft’s unit chiefs individually, often dispensing marching orders. Now, he began inviting them to sit together in a circle in his office to foster camaraderie.
It was a lurching corporate-culture change. “It’s not the way we operated at all in Steve’s 30-plus years of leadership of the company,” says Mr. Nadella, an executive vice president.
Mr. Ballmer says his senior team struggled with the New Steve. Some resisted on matters large—combining engineering teams—and small, such as weekly status reports.
Qi Lu, an executive vice president, submitted a 56-page report on applications and services. Mr. Ballmer sent it back, insisting on just three pages—part of a new mandate to encourage the simplicity needed for collaboration. Mr. Lu says he retorted: “But you always want the data and detail!”
Mr. Ballmer says he started to realize he had trained managers to see the trees, not the forest, and that many weren’t going to take his new mandates to heart.
In May, he began wondering whether he could meet the pace the board demanded. “No matter how fast I want to change, there will be some hesitation from all constituents—employees, directors, investors, partners, vendors, customers, you name it—to believe I’m serious about it, maybe even myself,” he says.
His personal turning point came on a London street. Winding down from a run one morning during a May trip, he had a few minutes to stroll, some rare spare time for recent months. For the first time, he began thinking Microsoft might change faster without him.
“At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern,” he says. “Face it: I’m a pattern.”
Mr. Ballmer says he secretly began drafting retirement letters—ultimately some 40 of them, ranging from maudlin to radical.
On a plane from Europe in late May, he told Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith that it “might be the time for me to go.” The next day, Mr. Ballmer called Mr. Thompson, with the same message.
Mr. Thompson called two other directors, Mr. Luczo and Charles Noski, former Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.84% vice chairman, and says he told them: “If Steve’s ready to go, let’s see if we can get on with this.”
At the board’s June meeting in Bellevue, Wash., Mr. Ballmer says he told the directors: “While I would like to stay here a few more years, it doesn’t make sense for me to start the transformation and for someone else to come in during the middle.”
The board wasn’t “surprised or shocked,” says Mr. Noski, given directors’ conversations with Mr. Ballmer. Mr. Thompson says he and others indicated that “fresh eyes and ears might accelerate what we’re trying to do here.”
Mr. Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, told Mr. Ballmer that he understood from experience how hard it was to leave when Microsoft was your “life,” says someone familiar with Mr. Gates’s thinking. Mr. Gates told the board he supported Mr. Ballmer’s departure if it ensured Microsoft “remains successful,” this person says.
That night, after Mr. Ballmer watched his son sing at his high-school baccalaureate ceremony—a Coldplay song with the lyrics: “It’s such a shame for us to part; nobody said it was easy; no one ever said it would be this hard”—he says he told his wife and three sons he was probably leaving Microsoft. They all cried.
On Aug. 21, the board held a conference call to accept Mr. Ballmer’s retirement. Mr. Gates and Mr. Thompson sat with Mr. Ballmer in his office. It was over in less than an hour.
Mr. Ballmer vows not to be a lame duck.
“Charge! Charge! Charge!” he bellows, jumping up from an interview and lunging forward while pumping his fist forward like a battering ram. “I’m not going to wimp away from anything!”
He has remained active, shepherding a $7.5 billion deal to buy Nokia’s mobile businesses and fine-tuning holiday-marketing strategies for Microsoft’s Surface tablets and new Xbox game console. In October, Microsoft reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.
At his final annual employee meeting this September, Mr. Ballmer gave high-fives and ran off the stage to the song: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
Last month, walking along Lake Washington, Mr. Ballmer bumped into Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who was fired from earlier jobs and now is thriving. Mr. Carroll says he told his neighbor he went through “something like this” and predicted it is “going to be great.”
Mr. Ballmer says he is weighing casual offers as varied as university teaching and coaching his youngest son’s high-school basketball team. He plans no big decisions for at least six months—except that he won’t run another big company. He says he’s open to remaining a Microsoft director.
At a recent executive meeting, he perched on a stool to review developments. His third slide was labeled “New CEO.”
“Not a soul in this room doesn’t think we need to go through this transition,” he said. As he stood up, his voice started to crack: “As much as I wish I could stay your CEO, I still own a big chunk of Microsoft, and I’m going to keep it.”
He walked back toward the stool, then turned around and said in a near-whisper: “Please take good care of Microsoft.”
You could read also Reporter’s Notebook: Two Days With Steve Ballmer [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 15, 2013] ending this way:
… This summer when he was deciding whether to step down, Mr. Ballmer quietly met with big institutional investors in Boston and San Francisco. The head of one big institution told him, “Microsoft would be better served with you gone.” Mr. Ballmer, who’s the second largest individual shareholder, knew the investor might get his wish. Yet, he argued, “Who cares more about Microsoft than I do? I own a lot. It’s my life.”
And that showed how his emotions alternate between bluster and wistfulness. The deed is done, the decision has been made, a new CEO is imminent. But Mr. Ballmer is struggling because Microsoft has been so much more than a job … as he said, “my life.”
My closing remarks:
- The next CEO problem to be solved is definitely the #1 issue for the future of the Microsoft
- The #2 issue is how successfully the Unique Nokia assets (from factories to global device distribution & sales, and the Asha sub $100 smartphone platform etc.) will now empower the One Microsoft devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3, 2013] for which the Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 4, 2013] is providing an interim answer, i.e. till the arrival of the new CEO
- The #3 isssue is How the device play will unfold in the new Microsoft organization? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]. If Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, and a previous senior executive of Microsoft, will become the next CEO then Minutes of a high-octane but also expert evangelist CEO: Stephen Elop, Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 13, 2013] could provide some clue for changes to be expected as a strategic evolution of the current one described in the already mentioned [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 14, 2013]. Even in case when he will not be selected by the Microsoft board as the next CEO he will have very strong influence on the device play for the initial first year integration of the acquired Nokia businesses into Microsoft, for very simple reason, that nobody could do this, and a successfull integration is a higher priority, #2 issue.
- Strategically, however, the most important issue is the
Everything else which might be a crucial issue during this process is highly controversial, without any official clues from Microsoft or any other stakeholder sources. The most controversial among all of them is the issue of non-profitable and/or not necessarily integral to Microsoft businesses. These are the Bing and the Xbox businesses. The range of external opinions is extremely large with investment circles firmly believing that neither Bing nor Xbox are inherently integral to Microsoft, and most of the external development community with an exacly opposite belief of those businesses being inherently internal.
My personal opinion is that with spin-off both extremes could be served sufficiently well, and even open completely new business development opportunities for both Bing and Xbox to grow substantially faster and bigger than otherwise. I would be especially enthusiastic for an Xbox spin-off as that business is already (with upcoming Oct 22 introduction of Xbox One) not a gaming console, but an entertainment ecosystem type of business. As such it would get enormous growth opportunities with its spin-off from the tightly integrated Microsoft mother ship.
The ultimate issue for me, however, is how the currently quite crippled and/or bureaucratic marketing machinery of Microsoft could be completely overhauled as part of Nokia integration, and how fast that could be achieved, if any? I mean a new marketing machinery which is thriving on the huge number of opportunities provided by already delivered game-changing products and technologies, instead of not understanding them at all. I mean not simply an ability to produce videos like the one in the beginning of this post, but a competency to produce whole storyboards for production of such videos and other communication materials. One might call it “high-octane marketing” for simplicity. Even more I envisage such integration of the marketing activities into the whole supply chain management (SCM) as is done in Samsung. See my Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post for that, from which I will copy the following illustration here as well:
Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2013]
Xamarin: C# developers of native “business” and “mobile workforce” applications now can easily work cross-platform, for Android and iOS clients as well
… while other cross-platform applications, i.e. “applications for consumers only” are prohibited for C# developers by the still high price of Xamarin, which essentially applies to indie and start-up developers only
The mobile application development technology behind this, from the cloud to the clients, was extensively covered in Windows Phone 8: getting much closer to a unified development platform with Windows 8 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 8, 2012] post of mine (including the cross-platform possibilities with Xamarin already), and then continued in Windows Azure becoming an unbeatable offering on the cloud computing market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 28, 2013] and Microsoft partners empowered with ‘cloud first’, high-value and next-gen experiences for big data, enterprise social, and mobility on wide variety of Windows devices and Windows Server + Windows Azure + Visual Studio as the platform [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 10, 2013] posts for the cloud part.
Note: Decide for yourself how that “consumers only applications by indie and start-up developers” type of exclusion will effect the cross platform development needs, after you take a look at the current state of the evolution of smartphone and tablet markets:
For one of the problems solved now by Microsoft see my Obstacles for .NET on other platforms [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 15, 2013] post.
To understand what is the situation now I will start with:
- Phil Haack working at GitHub “doing crazy”:
In: Cross Platform .NET Just A Lot Got Better [Haacked blog, Nov 13, 2013]
Not long ago I wrote a blog post about how platform restrictions harm .NET. This led to a lot of discussion online and on Twitter. At some point David Kean suggested a more productive approach would be to create a UserVoice issue. So I did and it quickly gathered a lot of votes.
Phil Haack – Customer Feedback for Microsoft http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/users/40986152-phil-haack:
Remove the platform restriction on Microsoft NuGet packages 4,929 votes
Phil Haack shared this idea and gave it 3 votes · Sep 26, 2013
COMPLETED · Visual Studio team (Product Team, Microsoft) responded
Thanks a lot for this suggestion and all the votes.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve removed the Windows-only restriction from our license. We’ve applied this new license to most of our packages and will continue to use this license moving forward.
Here is our announcement:
For reference, the license for stable packages can be found here:
Program Manager, .NET Framework Team
Phil Haack commented · Nov 13, 2013
Amazing! Thanks! This is great!
Serious Kudos to the .NET team for this. It looks like most of the interesting PCL packages are now licensed without platform restrictions. As an example of how this small change sends out ripples of goodness, we can now make Octokit.net depend on portable HttpClient and make Octokit.net itself more cross platform and portable without a huge amount of work.
I’m also excited about the partnership between Microsoft and Xamarin this represents. I do believe C# is a great language for cross-platform development and it’s good to see Microsoft jumping back on board with this. This is a marked change from the situation I wrote about in 2012.
- then will go to S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division at Microsoft:
In: Visual Studio 2013 Launch: Announcing Visual Studio Online [Somasegar’s blog, Nov 13, 2013]
… Microsoft and Xamarin are collaborating to help .NET developers broaden the reach of their applications to additional devices, including iOS and Android …
With today’s launch of Visual Studio 2013, we have 123 products from 74 partners available already as Visual Studio 2013 extensions. As part of an ecosystem of developer tools experiences, Visual Studio continues to be a platform for delivering a great breadth of developer experiences.
Today, I am excited to announce a broad collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin. Xamarin’s solution enables developers to leverage Visual Studio, Windows Azure and .NET to further extend the reach of their business applications across multiple devices, including iOS and Android.
The collaboration between Xamarin and Microsoft brings several benefits for developers today. First, as an initial step in a technical partnership, Xamarin’s next release that is being announced today will support Portable Class Libraries, enabling developers to share libraries and components across a breadth of Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms. Second, Professional, Premium and Ultimate MSDN subscribers will have access to exclusive benefits for getting started with Xamarin, including new training resources, extended evaluation access to Xamarin’s Visual Studio integration and special pricing on Xamarin products.
followed by the Microsoft and Xamarin Partner Globally to Enable Microsoft Developers to Develop Native iOS and Android Apps With C# and Visual Studio [Xamarin press release, Nov 13, 2013]
Xamarin, the company that empowers developers to build fully native apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac from a single shared code base, today announced a global collaboration with Microsoft that makes it easy for mobile developers to build native mobile apps for all major platforms in Visual Studio. Xamarin is the only solution that unifies native iOS, Android and Windows app development in Visual Studio—bridging one of the largest developer bases in the world to the most successful mobile device platforms.
A highly competitive app marketplace and the consumerization of IT have put tremendous pressure on developers to deliver high quality mobile user experiences for both consumers and employees. A small bug or crash can lead to permanent app abandonment or poor reviews. Device fragmentation, with hundreds of devices on the market for iOS and Android alone, multiplies testing efforts resulting in a time-consuming and costly development process. This is further complicated by faster release cycles for mobile, necessitating more stringent and efficient regression testing.
The collaboration spans three areas:
- A technical collaboration to better integrate Xamarin technology with Microsoft developer tools and services.
Aligned with this goal, Xamarin is a SimShip partner for Visual Studio 2013, releasing same-day support for Microsoft’s latest Visual Studio release that launched today. In addition, Xamarin has released today full integration for Microsoft’s Portable Library projects in iOS and Android apps, making it easier than ever for developers to share code across devices.
- Xamarin’s recently launched Xamarin University is now free to MSDN subscribers. The training course helps developers become successful with native iOS and Android development over the course of 30 days. Classes for the $1,995 program kick off in January 2014, with a limited number of seats available at no cost for MSDN subscribers.
- MSDN subscribers have exclusive trial and pricing options to Xamarin subscriptions for individuals and teams.
Get a 90-day trial to Xamarin, sign up for Xamarin University for free (normally $1,995), and save 30-50% on Xamarin with special MSDN pricing.
All the productivity you love in Visual Studio and C#,
on iOS and Android.
The broad collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin which we announced today is targeted at supporting developers interested in extending their applications across multiple devices,said S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation.With Xamarin, developers combine all of the productivity benefits of C#, Visual Studio 2013 and Windows Azure with the flexibility to quickly build for multiple device targets.
According to Gartner, by 2016, 70 percent of the mobile workforce will have a smartphone, half of which will be purchased by the employee, and 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more platforms to support. Faced with high expectations for mobile user experiences and the pressures of BYOD, companies and developers alike are looking for scalable ways to migrate business practices and customer interactions to high-performance, native apps on multiple platforms.
To meet this need to support heterogeneous mobile environments, Microsoft and Xamarin are making it easy for developers to mobilize their existing skills and code. By standardizing mobile app development with Xamarin and C#, developers are able to share on average 75 percent of their source code across device platforms, while still delivering fully native apps. Xamarin supports 100 percent of both iOS and Android APIs—anything that can be done in Objective-C or Java can be done in C# with Xamarin.
In just two years, Xamarin has amassed a community of over 440,000 developers in 70 countries, more than 20,000 paying accounts and a network of over 120 consulting partners globally.
We live in a multi-platform world, and by embracing Xamarin, Microsoft is enabling its developer community to thrive as mobile developers,said Nat Friedman, CEO and cofounder, Xamarin.Our collaboration with Microsoft will accelerate enterprise mobility for millions of developers.
The groundbreaking partnership was announced as part of the Visual Studio Live 2013 launch event in New York City. In addition, Xamarin and Microsoft have teamed up with the popular podcast, .NET Rocks!, for a 20-city nationwide road show featuring live demos on how to use Visual Studio 2013, Xamarin and Windows Azure to build and scale mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows. For a full list of cities and to sign up for an event, please visit: xamarin.com/modern-apps-roadshow
Xamarin is the new standard for enterprise mobile development. No other platform enables businesses to reach all major devices—iOS, Android, Mac and Windows—with 100 percent fully native apps from a single code base. With Xamarin, businesses standardize mobile app development in C#, share on average 75 percent source code across platforms, and leverage their existing skills, teams, tools and code to rapidly deliver great apps with broad reach. Xamarin is used by over 430,000 developers from more than 100 Fortune 500 companies and over 20,000 paying customers including Clear Channel, Bosch, McKesson, Halliburton, Cognizant, GitHub, Rdio and WebMD, to accelerate the creation of mission-critical consumer and enterprise apps. For more information, please visit: xamarin.com, read our blog, and follow us on Twitter @xamarinhq.
- as well as the PCL and .NET NuGet Libraries are now enabled for Xamarin [.NET Framework Blog, Nov 13, 2013] post
Earlier today, Soma announced a collaboration between Microsoft and Xamarin. As you probably know, Xamarin’s Visual Studio extension enables developers to use VS and .NET to extend the reach of their apps across multiple devices, including iOS and Android. As part of that collaboration, today, we are announcing two releases around the .NET portable class libraries (PCLs) that support this collaboration:
- We are making portable Microsoft .NET NuGet libraries available under a new license that enables use on all platforms. This includes HttpClient, Immutable Collections, SignalR, ODataLib and several others. Beyond that, we intend to use this license going forward.
- We are also making the RTM version of the portable reference assemblies available for use on all platforms. This announcement builds on the announcement we made a month ago around the RC release of these reference assemblies.
Microsoft .NET NuGet Libraries Released
Today we released the following portable libraries with our new license, on NuGet.org:
- Async for .NET Framework 4, Silverlight 4 and 5, and Windows Phone 7.5 and 8
- Microsoft ASP.NET SignalR .NET Client
- Microsoft BCL Build Components
- Microsoft BCL Portability Pack
- Microsoft Composition
- Microsoft Compression
- Microsoft HTTP Client Libraries
- Microsoft Immutable Collections
You can now start using these libraries with Xamarin tools, either directly or as the dependencies of portable libraries that you reference.
We also took the opportunity to apply the same license to Microsoft .NET NuGet libraries, which aren’t fully portable today, like Entity Framework and all of the Microsoft AspNet packages. These libraries target the full .NET Framework, so they’re not intended to be used with Xamarin’s iOS and Android tools (just like they don’t target Windows Phone or Windows Store).
These releases will enable significantly more use of these common libraries across Windows and non-Windows platforms, including in open source projects.
Cross-platform app developers can now use PCL
Portable class libraries are a great option for app developers building for Microsoft platforms in Visual Studio, to share key business functionality across Microsoft platforms. Many developers use the PCL technology today, for example, to share app logic across Windows Store and Windows Phone. Today’s announcement enables developers using Xamarin’s tools to share these libraries as well.
In Visual Studio, you’ll continue to use Portable Class Library projects but will be able to reference them from within Xamarin’s tools for VS. That means that you can write rich cross-platform libraries and take advantage of them from all of your .NET apps.
The following image demonstrates an example set of .NET NuGet library references that you can use within one of your portable libraries. The .NET NuGet libraries will enable new scenarios and great new libraries built on top of them.
You can build cross-platform libraries with .NET
This announcement also benefits .NET developers writing reusable and open source libraries. You’ve probably used some of these libraries, for example Json.NET. These developers have been very vocal about wanting this change. This announcement greatly benefits those library developers, enabling them to leverage our portable libraries in their libraries.
Getting started with portable libraries and Xamarin
You can start by building portable libraries in Visual Studio, as you can see in the screenshot above. You can take advantage of the portable libraries that we released today. Write code!
You’ll need an updated NuGet client, to take advantage of this new scenario. Make sure that you are using NuGet 2.7.2 or higher, or just download the latest NuGet for your VS version from the Installing NuGet page.
We are working closely with Xamarin to ensure that our NuGet libraries work well with Xamarin tools, as well as PCL generally. Please tell us if you find any issues. We’ll get them resolved and post them to our known issues page.
Thank you for the feedback on UserVoice. With today’s announcement, we can mark the request to Remove the platform restriction on Microsoft NuGet packages as complete. Thanks to Phil Haack for filing the issue. Coupled with our collaboration with Xamarin, .NET developers have some compelling tools, especially for targeting mobile devices.
Both Microsoft and Xamarin want to see this scenario succeed. We’d love your feedback. Please tell us how the new features are working for you.
This post was written by Rich Lander, a Program Manager on the .NET Team.
Immo Landwerth [MSFT] 13 Nov 2013 1:24 PM
Thanks a lot for the kind words!
@Curt: We absolutely understand that PCL support in Visual Studio express editions is super important to many of our developers. That’s why it’s on our list. However, I can’t promise that we actually end up delivering it in the VS 2013 time frame. As you’ve seen today, there is a lot of great stuff going on and resources are always more scarce than one would hope.
Gz 14 Nov 2013 4:19 AM
Xamarin is great but their pricing is insane! even with the MSDN discount. We’re a tiny start-up development house that has benefited from the MS BizSpark programme and we simply cannot stretch to paying out a thousand bucks per platform, per year, per developer – mobile isn’t even a revenue generator for us – it would merely be extending some functionality from our main apps to mobile and we’d give it to customers for free. I know they have a free & an indie edition blah blah blah but we wanna work in VS. The good news is that Xamarin will soon have a competitor in this space that could potentially blow them out of the water with full VS support and direct access to native APIs on each platform (iOS, Android & Mac) and their pricing will be less than 1/3rd of Xamarin’s. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about it but expect to have a cost-effective Xamarin alternative before the end of the year. (No I don’t work for the company, just got some info about it recently).
Stilgar 14 Nov 2013 8:30 AM
I second the need for PCLs in Express editions. Otherwise your company’s constant claims that the tooling for Windows 8 and Windows Phone development is free is pure hypocrisy.
- and end finally with New and improved EULA! [WCF Data Services Blog, Nov 13, 2013] post:
TL;DR: You can now (legally) use our .NET OData client and ODataLib on Android and iOS.
For a while now we have been working with our legal team to improve the terms you agree to when you use one of our libraries (WCF Data Services, our OData client, or ODataLib). A year and a half ago, we announced that our EULA would include a redistribution clause. With the release of WCF Data Services 5.6.0, we introduced portable libraries for two primary reasons:
Portable libraries reduce the amount of duplicate code and #ifdefs in our code base.
Portable libraries increase our reach through third-party tooling like Xamarin (more on that later).
It took some work to get there, and we had to make some sacrifices along the way, but we are now focused exclusively on portable libraries for client-side code. Unfortunately, our EULA still contained a clause that prevented the redistributable code from being legally used on a platform other than Windows.
OData and Xamarin: Extending developer reach to many platforms
We are really excited about Microsoft’s new collaboration with Xamarin. As Soma says, this collaboration will allow .NET developers to broaden the reach of their applications and skills. This has long been the mantra of OData – a standardized ecosystem of services and consumers that enables consumers on any platform to easily consume services developed on any platform. This collaboration will make it much easier to write a shared code base that allows consumption of OData on Windows, Android or iOS.
To fully enable this scenario, we needed to update our EULA. We, along with several other teams at Microsoft, are rolling out a new EULA today that has relaxed the distribution requirements. Most importantly, we removed the clause that prevented redistributable code from being used on Android and iOS.
The new EULA is effective immediately for all of our NuGet packages. This means that (even though we already released 5.6.0) you can create a Xamarin project today, take a new dependency on our OData client, and legally run that application on any platform you wish.
As always, we really appreciate your feedback. It frequently takes us some time to react, but the credit for this change is due entirely to customer feedback. We hear you. Keep it coming.
The OData Team
Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones
Details about Samsung’s strengths you can find inside the Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post of mine.
My findings supporting the above title:
- 205 million Android smartphones were delivered in Q3’13, representing 15.2% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 67.3% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- Meanwhile the number of Apple iPhones shipped increased only to 33.8 million, growing by 8.3% sequentially (Q/Q), but still representing a 25.65% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- The shipment of “proper” smartphones from Nokia (S60/Symbian and Lumia/Windows Phone) increased to 8.8 million units, representing 18.9% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 39.7% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y)
- Meanwhile the shipment of “de facto” smartphones from Nokia (S60/Symbian, Lumia/Windows Phone and Asha Full Touch in S40 Series) increased to 14.7 million units, representing 25.6% growth sequentially (Q/Q) and 14.8% growth relative to the same period of last year (Y/Y). It is also important that the decline of Asha Full Touch after its peak of 9.3 million units sold in Q4’12 has been reversed with 5.9 million units shipped, representing a sizable 37.2% growth sequentially (Q/Q).
- The new (in Q3’13) Asha 501 became the most popular smartphone on the Indian market in the $60-80 price range (as per Flipkart, see above), successfully beating off the best competitive offerings from Samsung and the two leading local brands, Micromax and Karbonn. This is another positive sign of successfull revival of the Asha Touch platform started with Asha 501 (via the Asha Software Platform 1.0) as described in the New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] and New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9 – July 5, 2013] posts of mine. Everything is well represented by comparing the “micro reports” included into the bottom left corner of the overall chart a quarter ago and now:
- As one currently could see this Nokia (the devices part of it soon becoming the part of Microsoft*) could realise its goal of selling “100 million of the new generation Asha smartphones over the coming years, beginning with the Nokia Asha 501”. The Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 introduced in October 22 could already deliver a huge jump in shipments of “de facto smartphones” under Asha brand, helping to defend further and even improve Nokia’s market position against the sub $100 Android smartphones in Q4’13. Note also that Asha 500 was announced for $69 list price (before taxes or subsidies) which means that—depending on “race to the bottom” competition—could easily mean a street price of $60+ on the Indian market.
* See also the previous posts of mine:
– Unique Nokia assets (from factories to global device distribution & sales, and the Asha sub $100 smartphone platform etc.) will now empower the One Microsoft devices and services strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3 – Oct 23, 2013]
– Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 3 – Oct 23, 2013]
– Microsoft Nokia Transaction Conference Call with slides from Microsoft Strategic Rationale inserted-ebook – 3-Sept-2013 edited by Sándor Nacsa from those two sources into an ebook format PDF
– Leading edge Nokia phablets for both entertainment and productivity: Lumia 1320 targeting the masses at $339, and Lumia 1520 the imaging conscious business users and individuals at $749 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 26, 2013]
- The Asha Touch revival was also able to stop the decline of the overall Nokia “mobile phones” category (Nokia S30, S40, Asha and Asha Full Touch phones) exactly at 55.8 million units, the same number as for the Q1’13.
- In addition there are now the Leading edge Nokia phablets for both entertainment and productivity: Lumia 1320 targeting the masses at $339, and Lumia 1520 the imaging conscious business users and individuals at $749 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Oct 26, 2016].
- With that Nokia established a strong niche market position on both the $130+ market (starting with Lumia 520 sold at that price in India, also the most popular one on Flipkart for the the $80-160 price range of devices) and the sub $80 market against the onslaught of Android devices. The rest will depend now only on Microsoft.
Than for the lead smartphone market, i.e. Mainland China I will include here:
- China market: Smartphone sales top 93 million units in 3Q13, says Analysys [Digitimes, Nov 12, 2013]
There were 102.66 million handsets sold in the China market during the third quarter of 2013, growing 13.6% on quarter and 54.5% on year, of which 93.08 million units were smartphones, increasing 20.7% on quarter and 89.3% on year, according to China-based consulting company Analysys International.
While for the worldwide market:
- China-based smartphone vendors set to rise in 2013 rankings, says IC Insights [Digitimes, Nov 13, 2013]
Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad have taken advantage of the surging low-end smartphone market. According to IC Insights, the four major China-based handset companies are forecast to ship 168 million smartphones in 2013 and together hold a 17% share of the worldwide smartphone market.
Lenovo, ZTE, Huawei and Yulong/Coolpad shipped a combined 98 million smartphones in 2012, a more than 300% surge from the 29 million units shipped in 2011, IC Insights disclosed. It should be noted that the China-based suppliers of smartphones are primarily serving the China and Asia-Pacific marketplace, and offer low-end models that typically sell for less than US$200.
Low-end smartphones are expected to represent just under one-third (310 million) of the total 975 million smartphones shipped in 2013. IC Insights forecast that by 2017, low-end smartphone shipments will represent 46% of the total smartphone market with China and the Asia-Pacific region to remain the primary markets for these low-end models.
Samsung Electronics and Apple are set to continue dominating the total smartphone market in 2013. The two vendors are forecast to ship 457 million units and together hold a 47% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights said. In 2012, Samsung and Apple shipped 354 million smartphones and took a combined 50% share of the total smartphone market.
Nokia was third-largest supplier of smartphones behind Samsung and Apple in 2011, but has seen its share of the smartphone market fall. Nokia’s smartphone shipments are forecast to decline by another 4% and grab an only 3% share of the total smartphone market in 2013, IC Insights indicated.
Other smartphone producers that have fallen on hard times include RIM and HTC. While each of these companies had about a 10% share of the smartphone market in 2011, IC Insights estimated they will have only about 2% shares of the 2013 smartphone market.
Gartner Says Smartphone Sales Accounted for 55 Percent of Overall Mobile Phone Sales in Third Quarter of 2013 [press release, Nov 14, 2013]
– Western Europe Grew for the First Time this Year
– Lenovo Became the No. 3 Worldwide Smartphone Vendor for the First Time
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Sales of smartphones accounted for 55 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013, and reached their highest share to date.
Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 250.2 million units, up 45.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012. Asia/Pacific led the growth in both markets – the smartphone segment with 77.3 percent increase and the mobile phone segment with 11.9 percent growth. The other regions to show an increase in the overall mobile phone market were Western Europe, which returned to growth for the first time this year, and the Americas.
“Sales of feature phones continued to decline and the decrease was more pronounced in markets where the average selling price (ASP) for feature phones was much closer to the ASP affordable smartphones,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In markets such as China and Latin America, demand for feature phones fell significantly as users rushed to replace their old models with smartphones.”
Gartner analysts said global mobile phone sales are on pace to reach 1.81 billion units in 2013, a 3.4 percent increase from 2012. “We will see several new tablets enter the market for the holiday season, and we expect consumers in mature markets will favor the purchase of smaller-sized tablets over the replacement of their older smartphones” said Mr. Gupta.
While Samsung’s share was flat in the third quarter of 2013, Samsung increased its lead over Apple in the global smartphone market (see Table 1). The launch of the Samsung Note 3 helped reaffirm Samsung as the clear leader in the large display smartphone market, which it pioneered.
Lenovo’s sales of smartphones grew to 12.9 million units, up 84.5 percent year-on-year. It constantly raised share in the Chinese smartphone market.
Apple’s smartphone sales reached 30.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 23.2 percent from a year ago. “While the arrival of the new iPhones 5s and 5c had a positive impact on overall sales, such impact could have been greater had they not started shipping late in the quarter. While we saw some inventory built up for the iPhone 5c, there was good demand for iPhone 5s with stock out in many markets,” said Mr. Gupta.
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market (see Table 2), Android surpassed 80 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013, which helped extend its leading position. “However, the winner of this quarter is Microsoft which grew 123 percent. Microsoft announced the intent to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business, which we believe will unify effort and help drive appeal of Windows ecosystem,” said Mr. Gupta. Forty-one per cent of all Android sales were in mainland China, compared to 34 percent a year ago. Samsung is the only non-Chinese vendor in the top 10 Android players ranking in China. Whitebox Yulong [Coolpad] is the third largest Android vendor in China with a 9.7 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013. Xiaomi represented 4.3 percent of Android sales in the third quarter of 2013, up from 1.4 percent a year ago.
Mobile Phone Vendor Perspective
Samsung: Samsung extended its lead in the overall mobile phone market, as its market share totaled 25.7 percent in the third quarter of 2013 (see Table 3). “While Samsung has started to address its user experience, better design is another area where Samsung needs to focus,” said Mr. Gupta. “Samsung’s recent joint venture with carbon fiber company SGL Group could bring improvements in this area in future products.”
Nokia: Nokia did better than anticipated in the third quarter of 2013, reaching 63 million mobile phones, thanks to sales of both Lumia and Asha series devices. Increased smartphone sales supported by an expanded Lumia portfolio, helped Nokia move up to the No. 8 spot in the global smartphone market. But regional and Chinese Android device manufacturers continued to beat market demand, taking larger share and creating a tough competitive environment for Lumia devices.
Apple: Gartner believes the price difference between the iPhone 5c and 5s is not enough in mature markets, where prices are skewed by operator subsidies, to drive users away from the top of the line model. In emerging markets, the iPhone 4S will continue to be the volume driver at the low end as the lack of subsidy in most markets leaves the iPhone 5c too highly priced to help drive further penetration.
Lenovo: Lenovo moved to the No. 7 spot in the global mobile phone market, with sales reaching approximately 13 million units in the third quarter of 2013. “Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market, which represents more than 95 per cent of its overall mobile phone sales. This could limit its growth after 2014, when the Chinese market is expected to decelerate,” said Mr. Gupta.
The tablet market in Q1-Q3’13: It was mainly shaped by white-box vendors while Samsung was quite successfully attacking both Apple and the white-box vendors with triple digit growth both worldwide and in Mainland China
Details about Samsung’s strengths you can find inside the Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 11, 2013] post of mine.
Note what was communicated in the 2013 global tablet forecast [Dec 11, 2012]:
My findings behind the title statement:
- White-box vendors from Mainland China delivered 62.6 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 35.4 million a year ago (76.8% growth) per DIGITIMES Research
(the two latest sources used for that are included in the end)
- Apple delivered 48.2 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 42.8 million a year ago (12.6% growth) per IDC
(the IDC sources used are the corresponding quarterly press releases)
- Samsung delivered 27.3 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 8.7 million a year ago (214% growth) per IDC (with a H1’13 correction from Samsung itself)
- IDC’s latest forecast couldn’t take properly into the account the group of white-box vendors (44.6 million in “Others” category vs. 62.6 million), even more than a year ago (25.8 million in “Others” category vs. 35.4 million)
- With such error for Q1-Q3’13 there was a 142.6 million strong worldwide market by IDC vs. 76.4 million a year ago (86.7% growth)
- Together the white-box vendors, Apple and Samsung, as the market changing vendors/vendor group delivered 132.7 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 86.9 million a year ago (52.7% growth)
- Meanwhile the “Others” group (with improper inclusion of white-box vendors) by IDC delivered 49.8 million tablets in Q1-Q3’13 vs. 25.8 million a year ago (93% growth)
- Mainland China had a 4.4 million strong tablet market in Q3’13 vs. the 44.6 million worldwide market as per IDC. Since white-box vendors sold 25 million tablets worldwide (according to DIGITIMES Reasearch) in Q3’13 vs. only 16.8 million sales in the ‘Others’ category by IDC we can safely raise the 49.8 million number by upto 10 million to upto 60 million. This means that in the current quarter Mainland China constituted at least 8.8% of the worldwide tablet market.
- The sequential (Q/Q) growth rate on the Mainland China market per Analysis Int. is:
- Meanwhile the sequential (Q/Q) growth rate on the worldwide market per IDC is:
- This means that Mainland China has much less seasonality than the worldwide market, which is a sign of greater untapped tablet demand than in other markets of the world. Considering the fact that an unusually large group of local tablet vendors are playing the local brand game in China, while the white-box vendor game outside, any global brand tablet vendor should already participate in the Mainland China market in order to succeed worldwide. Lenovo, Samsung and Microsoft have clearly recognised this:
- Samsung has dramatically increased its market penetration efforts in Q3’13 and succeeded quite well. In fact it was able to push back somewhat the growth rate of the group of local brand vendors (from 170% Q/Q growth rate in Q2’13 to 150% in Q3’13) while significantly increased its own growth rate (from 170% to a whopping 220%).
- Therefore, if things stay as it is (see the above chart) Samsung will outgrow local brand vendors on the Mainland China market within a year.
- Otherwise, if the group of local brand vendors will be able to withstand Samsung’s local efforts and significantly improve the value of their own brands, then the outlook may return to a view which could have been forecasted after Q2’13 (see the below chart):
- Meanwhile two local brands, Teclast (台电) and Onda (昂达) each were able to beat two other global brands, Asus and Acer, on the Mainland China market in the last two quarters.
- The group of ‘Others’, i.e. other local brands taken together were able to grow by similar rate in the last two quarters which shows that with an ongoing consolidation of the local brands (details ommitted here) a few local brands may join Teclast and Onda as the strongest local vendors which will have an opportunity to change their white-box vendor status abroad (and grow globally under their own brand as well).
The Q3’13 and Q2’13 Analysys International sources:
– Nov 8, 2013: http://www.enfodesk.com/SMinisite/maininfo/articledetail-id-389539.html
– Aug 28, 2013: http://www.enfodesk.com/SMinisite/maininfo/articledetail-id-376953.html
The Q3’13 and Q2’13 DIGITIMES Research sources:
- Digitimes Research: White-box tablet shipments to reach 25 million in 3Q13 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 11, 2013]
China white-box tablet shipments reached about 25 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 56.3% sequentially and 40.4% on year thanks to strong overseas shipments, which accounted for 80% of the total volume. Among white-box tablet shipments, 7-inch models accounted for the largest share, while 8-inch models, which were originally expected to become new star products, were unable to do so because of high costs from the bezel design and limited supply of 8-inch panels.
Although white-box tablets are expected to see extraordinary growth in 2013, they are also expected to face more obstacles and challenges in the future. First, they will see strong price competition from large brand vendors, which will offer Android-based products at price levels similar to those of white-box models. Second, the tablet market will gradually reach saturation and should no longer see demand as strong as before.
Third, white-box tablet costs have already hit the bottom margin, causing related assembly service providers and component suppliers to see limited profits. Several unhealthy players were already been eliminated from the market at the end of the second quarter, while the remaining players will need to rely on pumping up their shipments to support their profitability. However, such a strategy is unlikely to sustain for long, Digitimes Research noted.
Digitimes Research also found that white-box tablets in Europe or North America are mostly used as gifts in product promotions or bundling deals and therefore specifications are not as high as those of regular tablets. As for emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, most consumers are buying white-box tablets with a single-core processor, because of limited purchasing power.
As for application processors (APs), 70% of white-box tablets with phone functions adopted solutions from MediaTek in the third quarter, replacing the solutions from China-based Allwinner, the original favorite. Digitimes Research estimates that the proportion of white-box Wi-Fi-only tablets using MediaTek’s solution will also increase dramatically starting the fourth quarter, further impacting China-based Allwinner and Rockchip’s AP shipments. In addition to low prices, China-based AP suppliers will also need to consider how to create additional value for their APs to survive the competition.
- Digitimes Research: White-box tablet shipments suffer over 25% drop in 2Q13 [DIGITIMES Research, Sept 2, 2013]
White-box tablet shipments reached only 15.9 million units in the second quarter of 2013, down 26.3% sequentially due to weakening tablet demand in May and June. Many smaller white-box players were also forced to quit the market, according to Digitimes Research’s latest figures.
Although white-box tablet shipments peaked in April 2013, increasing component costs and the fact that consumers are becoming more sensitive over tablet pricing, are impacting white-box players’ profitability.
For component supply, China-based chipmakers’ competition is gradually becoming fierce for both single-core and dual-core processors. In August 2013, some single-core processor prices were as low as US$5. By the end of 2013, dual-core processor will become the basic specification for entry-level white-box tablets, while mid-range models will turn to quad-core processor completely, Digitimes Research noted.
DRAM and NAND Flash remained at high price points in the second quarter of 2013, but as related players are increasing their supplies in the third quarter, prices are dropping.
As for panels, an entry-level 7-inch TN panel was priced at about US$10-11 at the beginning of the third quarter, and the price has been rising. Although the industry is seeing tight panel supply, the issue is expected to be eased as more panel players will open up new production lines to manufacture small-to-medium size panels in the first half of 2014.
White-box vendors’ over-optimism about demand in the first half created high tablet inventories for the vendors. Weak demand in Europe and North America has affected sales of both first-tier brand vendors and white-box players.
As for China, local first-tier brand vendors’ increasing sales have impacted white-box models’ demand in the country. Emerging markets such as India, Russia, countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia, are only providing limited contributions to white-box tablet players because shipments to these countries have just recently started.
Currently, strengthening their inventory management and expanding into overseas emerging markets will be important tasks for white-box tablet players to survive in the tablet market.
Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A
Crisis Message of Aug 29, 2015 from Hunbiased: Immigration which I very much felt to share here before anything else of my own: “ Immigration is *the* topic in the news in Hungary. It’s what all newscasts lead with and it’s the issue that dominates the front pages. How bad is the situation? I take a look at some basic figures to see whether or not the current EU policies regarding immigration are fair and answer the question, “if Hungary is expected to absorb 140,000 people without batting an eyelid, how many people should Germany and the UK take?” ”
Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A
This is what people with software engineering background cannot understand at all and therefore significantly overestimate Microsoft’s chances to succeed in the consumer device space.
Previously I discussed on the ‘Experiencing the Cloud’:
- 20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [July 2-26, 2013]
- Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event [Sept 12, 2013]
- The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [Sept 12, 2013]
- Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [Sept 12, 2013]
which clearly indicated quite a number of exceptional corporate qualities of Samsung.
Now I will have a discussion heavily focussed on Samsung’s extraordinary strengths (from SCM to the Samsung Memory business), as well as on the company’s most pressing weaknesses (software and M&A) based on Samsung Analyst Day 2013, Nov 6, 2013, reflecting the below presentations and their reports in the worldwide media:
See as well: As It Happened: Samsung’s Analyst Day [live blog on The Wall Street Journal Asia, Nov 6, 2013] and an analytic reflection of that Across Fonblets and Phablets Samsung Has 63% Share of all Android Mobile Devices [Localystics, Nov 7, 2013].
- Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information
- Historic Samsung SCM information
- Market/Business-specific current and strategic information
- Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung)
- Wearable devices
- New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing
- Samsung System LSI
- Samsung Display
- Samsung Memory Business
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)
1. Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a comprehensive and innovative activity, including process, system, and governance, which optimizes marketing, sales, development, manufacturing, purchasing, logistics, and service over the entire supply chain. We support the successful SCM innovation of your business by offering globally competitive services such as SCM diagnosis, Process Innovation (PI), integration establishment, Cello [Supply Chain Logistics – SCL] solution.
Increase in demand forecast accuracy and supply ability index
Increased Market Response Ability
Improved adherence to deadlines and shortened lead time in setting up plans
Global SCM Establishment and Integration
Setting up and carrying out Global Single Plan in the Governance system
From Samsung SDS leads in ‘shared growth’ [The Korea Times, Oct 30, 2013]
In July this year, it realigned structures into the following six ㅡ smart town, smart manufacturing, smart convergence, smart security, smart logistics and smart ICT outsourcing for customized approaches to existing and future clients, according to the statement.
1/A Historic Samsung SCM information:
- Supply chain management six sigma at Samsung: a management innovation methodology at the Samsung Group [July 24, 2007, a shortened PDF version of the article which originally appeared in Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Volume 12, Number 2, 2007]
The Samsung Group of companies is recognized as a leading global manufacturing, financial, and services conglomerate. It was founded in 1938 and focused its businesses on areas such as textiles, shipbuilding, machinery, and chemicals. Since the 1980s, the group has made enormous efforts and investment in the electronics and semiconductor industry. As a result, the Samsung Group has experienced a dramatic growth in net profits since the 1990s. The flagship unit, Samsung Electronics Company (SEC), was one of only two manufacturing companies worldwide to post profits of more than $10bn in 2004 (Toyota Motors being the other). Many regard these successes as reflecting a continuous and relentless effort at Samsung to improve the way it conducts business. For the last few years, SCM and six sigma have been two pillars of business innovation at Samsung.
The Samsung Group of companies has large, complex, global supply chains in most of the products it manufactures and makes extensive use of SCM solutions and process innovations to support and improve its operations. Most notably, at SEC, advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems have been adopted since the 1990s and have brought the company many successes in terms of operational excellence. Recently, Samsung Electronics was ranked seventh in a respected analyst’s ranking of the global top 25 companies in supply chain excellence.
Six sigma has been a key enabler for the group’s success. The Chairman of the Group proclaimed the adoption of a business innovation approach called “new management” in 1993. “New management” is the pursuit of quality-oriented management in business operations as well as in manufacturing. Along with the “quality movement” in industry, new management evolved from initial product quality assurance but later shifted its focus to include the quality of the entire business process, which is the rationale behind six sigma. The outcomes were high-quality, innovative product developments, and consequently an increase in customer satisfaction and profits, and are well demonstrated by many of the world’s best technological resources.
Samsung’s SCM Business Team (SBT) researched six sigma approaches at General Electric (GE), DuPont and Honeywell to get perspectives on how other companies have innovatively applied six sigma to similar needs: … Each of the above approaches was analyzed and the following conclusions drawn, which fed into the subsequent development of the Samsung SCM six sigma methodology: …
Today, there are various approaches and systems available for process innovation. Six sigma and supply chain management (SCM) are among those techniques aiming for process and quality improvement, and synchronization of a company’s value chain, from inbound logistics to sales and customer services.
At Samsung, SCM and six sigma have been two important enablers for the group’s management innovation and growth. However, Samsung realize that there is significant room for improvement in its SCM operation. Thus, the effort has been synthesizing SCM and six sigma and developing a unique six-sigma based methodology to improve its SCM operation.
Samsung’s effort and investment has turned out to be fruitful. Their SCM six sigma program has produced highly qualified and talented SCM specialists, who are currently training the methodology to other members in their organizations and leading SCM projects. SCM projects are being prepared and conducted in a more disciplined way and their outcomes are continuously monitored and shared through Samsung’s repository for six sigma. Samsung’s endeavour for global optimum is continuing and SCM six sigma is expected to play an enabling role.
- Business Management Quality Innovation with Market-Based Global SCM System Implementation [Microsoft Case Study, March 17, 2009]
Samsung Electronics, a leading Korean company as well as a symbol of the IT industry, carried out an innovative project to strengthen its global Supply Chain Management (SCM) execution ability, gaining the industry’s interest. Samsung Electronics placed its emphasis on the business management scenario of predicting and preparing for future environmental changes and competitiveness, which is one of the survival strategies of an industry with an unpredictable future. The company is aggressively establishing the foundation for enhancing business management speed and efficiency-oriented business management innovations since early this year. In accordance with this type of scenario, Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) Platform provided life to Samsung Electronics’ SCM system. Samsung Electronics decided to implement an action-oriented BI solution that enables on-demand changes of business management plans and reflects these adjustments. As such, it decided to deploy SQL Server 2008, which can satisfy all three major requirements of BI solution, including ‘performance and reliability’, ‘cube write-back’ and ‘user convenience’, and the company is thoroughly experiencing the benefits of this IT innovation. In the face of enterprise-wide application, it has completed application in only its video display business division, so it is still too early to mention any fixed quantity of benefits. However, with this system implementation, Samsung Electronics expects to increase its forecast accuracy for product demands by more than 20%.
2. Market/Business-specific current and strategic information
- Samsung’s Investment Plan Falls Short for Some [The New York Times, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung executives said the biggest growth in smartphones would come in developing countries, where smartphone penetration remains lower. Worldwide, the company said, there are still three billion more basic “feature phones” in use.
“We believe there is substantial room for smartphone demand to grow,” said J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division.
Mr. Shin said the company also intended to increase its market share in tablet computers, where it still trails Apple. Other executives painted a bullish picture even on televisions and home appliances, areas in which sales have been growing slowly or shrinking in recent years.
- Samsung sells over 100 million Galaxy and Note devices in 2013, lines up ultra-premium devices for 2014 [BGR India, Nov 6, 2013]
At a rare analyst day event held in Seoul today, Samsung’s JK Shin announced that the company had sold more than 100 million Galaxy smartphones and Note phablets this year alone. … While the industry is expecting the high-end smartphone segment to slow down, Samsung is anticipating that the premium smartphone segment will outgrow market forecasts and is also gearing up for ultra premium smartphones. The company is rumored to launch a Galaxy F range of ultra-premium smartphones next year. … Overall, Shin believes that Samsung’s smartphone division still has room to grow with upcoming LTE deployments and the company’s innovations around bendable displays and companion devices.
- In a rarity, Samsung hosts analysts [Korea Joongang Daily, Nov 7, 2013]
Samsung’s stock price plunged 15 percent in June after JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley cut their profit outlooks, citing weaker-than-expected demand for its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. However, the company is rebounding, having sold more than 40 million Galaxy S4s as of last month, according to executives. … It sold about 120 million handsets in the third quarter, researcher Strategy Analytics said on Oct. 29.
… “People say the growth of the premium smartphone market will slow, but we don’t think so,” said Shin. “There are lots of opportunities for growth in various areas.” Shin said the market for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones, the fastest broadband devices, will grow 30 percent on average through 2017. About 680 million smartphones will be shipped in 2017, half of them LTE enabled, he said. [correctly from ZDNet: “The expansion of new LTE services, including LTE Advanced, will be the key growth driver,” said Jong-Kyun Shin, president and CEO of Samsung IT & Mobile Communication at an analyst event in Seoul on Wednesday. “Until 2017, we expect an annual average growth of near 30 percent in the LTE smartphone market, reaching 680 million units.” Shin said that come 2017, half [45%] of all phones sold will be LTE phones.]
- Samsung’s 2014 phones will feature 560 PPI displays – 880 PPI in 2015, foldable in 2016 [ExtremeTech, Nov 6, 2013]
The craziest announcement was that 5.2-inch 560 PPI AMOLED smartphone displays are due in 2014, with 3840×2160 displays following in 2015. Assuming a screen size of around five inches, 3840×2160 (UHD, 4K) works out to be around 880 pixels per inch. By virtue of being based on OLED tech rather than LCD, Samsung says that the next few years will see lots of flexible displays being used in curved and bent devices, with foldable devices arriving around 2016. (Read: 8K UHDTV: How do you send a 48Gbps TV signal over terrestrial airwaves?)
… Is it really beneficial to keep pushing pixel densities as quickly as Moore’s law allows? The higher the pixel count, the more energy a display consumes. Considering our eyes have a tough time seeing the difference between 200 and 300 PPI, let alone 441 (current 5-inch smartphones) and next year’s 560 PPI, it seems a little counterintuitive to intentionally reduce battery life for negligible gain. Yes, Samsung and its users get to wave their huge PPIs in the face of the Apple opposition — but is that really what the smartphone market has come to?
- Samsung tempers expectations for a 64-bit Android answer to Apple’s A7 [Apple Insider, Nov 7, 2013]
JK Shin, Samsung’s president and chief executive of IT & Mobile (the business segment of Samsung Electronics that compares closely with Apple), outlined his outlook for the smartphone and tablet markets, promising that the company would “play a key role in the premium smartphone market.” He stated that from Samsung’s perspective, the premium market will continue to outgrow market forecasts, an apparent reversal of the company’s warnings from the beginning of the year about increasing competition in the plateauing market for premium Android smartphones.
That also seems to contradict Samsung’s sales results throughout the year. The company just stated that in its September quarter, premium smartphone sales “stayed about the same” rather than keeping pace with Apple’s growth, which comes entirely from premium smartphones.
- Samsung says 100 million Galaxy S and Note phones will ship this year, coins terrible word “fonblet” [Tech in Asia, Nov 6, 2013]
2/B Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung):
- SAMSUNG ANALYST DAY 2013 [Strategy Analytics blog, Nov 7, 2013]
By introducing its Galaxy Note product, Samsung highlighted its status as the creator of‘Fonblet’ market with large display, portability and handwriting technology. We believe that Samsung has a high hope for the big-sized smartphone market with over 5 inch display, which we define as phablet. Also it made us predict that Samsung may be working on a completely new type of ‘Fonblet’ to target both smartphone and tablet segments at the same time in around 2015 or 2016 timeframe.
- Samsung aims to topple Apple as No. 1 in tablets [Associated Press, Nov 6, 2013]
A top executive, Shin Jong-kyun, told analysts on Wednesday that Samsung’s tablet business is growing rapidly and the company will become the biggest maker of tablet computers. He didn’t give a timeframe. Shin said Samsung’s tablet sales will exceed 40 million units this year, more than double sales in 2012. “Samsung tablet shipments started to grow remarkably since the second half of last year,” he said.
Research group IDC estimates that Samsung sold 16.6 million tablets in 2012, lagging far behind Apple Inc. which sold 65.7 million iPads. But Samsung is on the rise, capturing 20 percent market share in the July-September quarter while Apple, which led the commercialization of tablet computing, fell to 30 percent. Apple previously had more than half of the global tablet market but its dominance has eroded as Samsung boosted sales with cheaper Galaxy Tab computers that offer many different screen sizes.
according to which the Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales is 9.7 million, i.e. with H1’13 17.6 million the Q1-Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales are already 27.3 million units.
2/D Wearable devices:
- Look out, Google Glass: Samsung eyeing wearable technology [CNET News, Nov 6, 2013]
Speaking at the company’s Analyst Day, Samsung Vice Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said Wednesday that his company has been dedicating significant resources to several technologies, including “wearables,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which was in attendance at the event. The slide to accompany his comment showed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and also eyeglasses that might compete with Google Glass.
Rumors have been swirling that Samsung is at work on smart eyewear. Last month, a patent filing surfaced in Korea for Samsung eyewear. That application indicated that the device would be connected directly to a smartphone and feature built-in earphones.
Samsung has not announced any plans to launch a Google Glass competitor, but Kwon’s comments seem to indicate such a device is coming.
- Samsung Teases a Wearable Tech Game Changer [The Motley Fool, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung surprised attendees at its analyst day by announcing it will be bringing fully foldable screens to the market “sometime in 2015” and even teased the product with a chintzy promo video. Although the video’s focus was on phone and tablet combinations, the real opportunity here is in wearable tech—Apple and Google should be on notice. Samsung could have a game changer with its foldable screen.
As the market for smartphones and tablets continues to become more contested, tech companies are increasingly looking at new growth opportunities. They may have found it in wearable tech: According to Juniper Research, worldwide spending on wearable tech will hit $1.4 billion this year and increase to $19 billion by 2018. Of these companies, Samsung has the most recent commercial product launch of these new generation of wearable tech products with its Galaxy Gear smart watch. So far, the product has witnessed tepid demand and modest reviews—mostly due to the fact it must be tethered to other Galaxy products for full functionality.
2/E New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing
- As It Happened: Samsung’s Analyst Day [live blog on The Wall Street Journal Asia, Nov 6, 2013]
Interesting to note here that, in tandem with talk of shareholder-friendly dividend increases, Samsung is also talking up growth, growth, growth. Mr. Shin just ticked off wearable devices, flexible devices, big data, the Internet of things [, and convergence]– “and much more” — as growth opportunities for the mobile division. “Therefore, we expect another huge growth in the mobile market in the near future,” Mr. Shin says.
Mr. Shin touches on big data, saying that the company will encorporate big data technology in providing software features for its devices. He says the company aims for a “fully integrated” user experience across all Samsung devices.
2/F Samsung System LSI:
- Making its own 64-bit core for ARM as a follow up to the widely available 64-bit core from ARM made available ASAP
- Samsung tempers expectations for a 64-bit Android answer to Apple’s A7 [Apple Insider, Nov 7, 2013]
Alluding to Apple’s custom 64-bit A7 Application Processor (which Samsung is manufacturing), [Dr. Namsung Stephen] Woo[, president of Samsung’s System LSI] said “many people were thinking ‘why do we need 64-bit for mobile devices?’ People were asking that question until three months ago, and now I think nobody is asking that question. Now people are asking ‘when can we have that? And will software run correctly on time?'”
Woo told his audience, “let me just tell you, we are… we have planned for it, we are marching on schedule. We will offer the first 64-bit AP based on ARM’s own core [reference design]. “For the second product after that we will offer even more optimized 64-bit based on our own optimization. So we are marching ahead with the 64-bit offering, and even though it’s a little too early, I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings.” … Woo … offered no comment on how Samsung planned to support existing software on its planned 64-bit offerings, nor even whether such a chip would get custom Android support or use Samsung’s own Tizen or some other operating system.
2/G Samsung Display:
- AMOLED panels having a pixel per inch rating of 560 in 2014
- 4K displays for smartphones in 2015
- Samsung to Roll Out AMOLED Display Tablets in 2014 [Softpedia, Nov 6, 2013]
According to ZDNet Korea, it looks like Samsung is going to focus on a particular type of tablets, AMOLED ones. So far, the tech giant has released only a handful of AMOLED display devices, so it will be pretty interesting to see what else gets produced.
- Samsung Shows Investors Foldable Mobile Prototypes [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 7, 2013]
A patent of a foldable mobile device filed with authorities in South Korea last month gave some clues as to the future of Samsung mobile devices.
But at an analyst day on Wednesday, some investors saw prototypes of a range of foldable mobile devices that Samsung is testing, giving more details on what they would actually do and look like. Reporters were banned from the conference and were not given access to see the prototypes, while the attendees were not permitted to take any photos inside the venue.
“The first one they showed us was the size of a [Galaxy] S3 smartphone which can be folded in half from top to bottom. So like a compact powder used by women,” said Jae H. Lee, an analyst with Daiwa Securities who attended the event.
“There was also one in the size of a lengthy wallet which can be unfolded on both sides into the size of a tablet computer,” Mr. Lee said, adding that both devices looked pretty good.
Other analysts also seemed to be impressed.
Such devices “would further expand Samsung’s competitive advantage in premium smartphones,” Sundeep Bajikar, an analyst with Jefferies LLC who flew in to attend the event, wrote in a research note.
A spokesman for Samsung Display Co., which makes screens for Galaxy smartphones, said that designs displayed yesterday were “concept versions,” that do not have all the components needed to make a working smartphone.
The products are likely years away from commercialization; Samsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun, said that “foldable displays” would be presented in 2015.
2/H Samsung Memory Business:
- Samsung vows to widen gap with chipmaking rivals [The Korea Herald, Mov 7, 2013]
Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, vowed to take a solid lead in the global memory market with its advanced vertical NAND flash memory technology, based on plans to unveil 36-layer V-NAND flash memory chips next year.
“Samsung will definitely, if we can, enjoy an 80 percent market share,” said Robert Myung Yi, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics’ investor relations team, on Wednesday at Samsung Analyst Day 2013, where the company laid out its mid- and long-term strategies to investors and analysts.
A top executive from Samsung told The Korea Herald that “3-D NAND flash memory stacking 36 layers of memory cells will be mass produced by the latter half of next year.”
Samsung is currently the sole producer of V-NAND flash memory chips with 24 layers of cells.
This level of stacking is deemed sufficient to make the product profitable, according to Samsung.
In terms of V-NAND market share, Yi said the firm would not just pursue higher market share, but also make efforts to secure a high profit margin as well as balance supply between the planar NAND flash memory and V-NAND flash memory. V-NAND chips’ 3-D structure gives them a higher density and capacity than their 2-D rivals.
The Korean electronics giant expects the 3-D NAND market to grow 105 percent every year until 2017, and its market size to exceed that for planar NAND flash chips next year.
Stacking memory cells is a core technological issue for chipmakers, including Samsung’s local rival SK Hynix and U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology.
Despite their technology for the V-NAND, other chipmakers have yet to start mass producing 3-D memory chips due in part to underachievement in cell stacking.
SK Hynix CEO Park Sung-wook said in October that his firm, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, would be able to stack as many as 24 layers next year, adding, “We can do as well as Samsung.”
In an earnings conference call later in the month, the firm announced that it would be able to start producing 3-D NAND flash memory either in the second half of next year or in 2015.
Global competitors have also announced they would jump into the race for V-NAND production.
Micron CEO Mark Durcan told tech news outlet CNET in August that his company would start providing samples of 3-D NAND to customers in the first quarter of 2014.
Producers are competing to scale down planar NAND flash memory, still the top product in the chip market.
After the technology proceeded to the 10 nanometer-class chip and beyond, the chipmakers faced more cell-to-cell interference, which risks the reliability of NAND flash memories.
The 3-D NAND could be used for a wide range of equipment and devices including enterprise servers and solid-state drives.
Samsung launched a V-NAND-based enterprise solid-state drive in August.
- Samsung admits its software needs improving, commits half of R&D workforce [The Verge, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung today admitted it needs to work on software, an area it’s “not as good” at as hardware. Samsung vice chairman & CEO Kwon Oh-hyun compares the company’s software efforts to the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox’s pitching performance. Kwon notes the Red Sox led the pack in batting this year, but were only an average pitching team. His conclusion? “Even though we’re doing the software business, we’re not as good as we are in hardware.” The Red Sox still won the World Series, though, with the implication being that Samsung is “winning” at technology right now.
It’s true that software imperfections have yet to hamper Samsung’s march to global dominance. 2013 has seen the Korean company post consecutive profit records and improve its marketshare in key areas, including strengthening its grip on the number-one spot in the smartphone market. That said, Samsung isn’t taking any chances; Kwon says that half of his Research and Development (R&D) workforce is focused on software, and the efforts to improve software are likely to grow moving forward. Given the company is currently spending over $3 billion per quarter on R&D, that represents a colossal investment in software.
Company president Lee Sang-hoon reaffirms Samsung’s focus on getting software right. “Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software.” Lee says the company’s recent efforts to acquire fresh talent from startups— including the establishment of overseas R&D centers — are an effort to “address region-specific needs.”
- Samsung admits its software needs work [The Guardian, Nov 7, 2013]
… Samsung Electronics says that around 40,000 of its 326,000 employees worldwide are software developers – roughly half of them based in South Korea.
Samsung customises the user experience on its Android-based phones and tablets like the Galaxy Note 3 with software called TouchWiz, which is often heavily criticised for being cluttered, confusing and detracting from the standard Android experience.
Additional features in its handsets such as “air gesture” (to move pages without touching the screen), “air view” (to enlarge previews without touching the screen) and “smart scroll” (to scroll through pages using eye movement) have been dismissed as gimmicks by some reviewers, who don’t see them bringing any value to users.
“Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software,” said Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung’s president and chief financial officer.
In response Samsung will aim to “reinforce our competitiveness in software platform, design and IT” through hiring more software experts, and through the use of overseas research and development centres “to address region-specific needs,” Lee said.
- Samsung Plays Catch-Up on Software [The Wall Street Journal, Oct 7, 2013]
South Korean Giant Weighs Software Deals to Better Compete With Apple, Google
Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -1.88% is stepping up its hunt for acquisitions and building out its presence in Silicon Valley to try and overcome its key weakness: software.
The South Korea-based company became the world’s largest maker of smartphones by manufacturing attractive devices that hit the market quickly and cheaply.
But to thrive in a mobile-device market increasingly dominated by software specialists likeApple Inc., AAPL +1.57% Google Inc. GOOG +0.80% and Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.75%, which acquired Nokia Corp.’s NOK1V.HE -1.22% phone business last month, Samsung is aiming to become a software power in its own right.
Earlier this year, Samsung was among the bidders for Israeli mobile-mapping service Waze Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter. Google eventually bought Waze for about $1.1 billion in July, a deal that is under review by the Federal Trade Commission. According to one person, Samsung had approached Waze in hopes of making a large investment and forming a partnership, before acquisition talks kicked off.
Samsung has plenty of other Silicon Valley software startups in its sights, particularly in games, mobile search, social media and mapping-related services, according to employees and an internal document reviewed by the Journal.
The document, a mergers and acquisitions presentation prepared in February by Samsung’s Media Solution Center, the arm that works on software initiatives, lays out the company’s rationale for bulking up in each category and lists potential acquisition and investment targets.
According to the document, Samsung has evaluated startups such as Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based developer of gaming platforms, and Green Throttle Games Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions. It has also considered gaming pioneer Atari Inc., which Samsung could have used to offer classic games like Asteroids and Pong exclusively on its mobile phones. Atari auctioned off some of its properties this year as part of a bankruptcy filing after rejecting preliminary bids from several companies for its portfolio of games.
Samsung has also looked closely at Glympse, a Seattle-based company that allows users to share their location with their friends—a service that Samsung says could be integrated into their phones’ native calendar and contacts functions, differentiating it from competitors.
Samsung first reached out to Glympse in early 2012, and has raised the prospect of an equity investment, though discussions remain ongoing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last month, Glympse unveiled an app for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Elsewhere in the document, Samsung named Tel Aviv-based mobile search engine Everything.me as a possible target. It has also looked at video-chat app Rounds, another Israeli startup, that would help Samsung compete with Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts.
Samsung declined to comment on its acquisition plans—but it has made no secret of what it calls its “embracing the culture of Silicon Valley.”
In recent months, the Suwon, South Korea-based company has broken ground on a major research facility near Apple’s offices and launched a software startup accelerator with locations in Palo Alto, Calif., and Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It will make early-stage investments in startups, especially developers of software for Samsung devices.
Samsung, which has $1.1 billion set aside for early-stage startup and venture capital investments in the U.S., is also poaching software engineers from its U.S. rivals and, at a hotel in San Francisco later this month, will host its first ever developers’ conference, an important step toward creating an “ecosystem” of applications unique to its devices.
“The kind of things that happen in the Valley are really exciting to Samsung,” said David Eun, the head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center, which operates the software-startup accelerator.
The aggressive move into its rivals’ backyard is unusual for Samsung, a company that has historically kept its operations heavily centralized and shied away from outside deals. The emphasis on self-reliance runs so deep that Samsung manufactures some 90% of its products within its own factories.
Privately, company executives portray the recent shift not as a repudiation of its long-term strategy, but rather as a complement to its own research and development efforts, which remain substantial.
The company spent $10.8 billion on R&D last year, with 67,000 employees devoted to helping Samsung maintain its edge in the global television, semiconductor and home-appliance markets.
So far, though, its attempts at developing a proprietary-software hit for its mobile phones—which account for two-thirds of Samsung’s operating profits—have fallen flat.
Among Samsung’s recent efforts are an abandoned mobile operating system, a mobile chat service that has struggled to gain traction and coolly received technologies that anticipate hand gestures and eye movements.
In November 2009, Samsung launched Bada, an open-source mobile operating system that it hoped could challenge Google’s Android platform. But Bada’s unfriendly user interface and poor syncing with other devices proved unpopular with consumers.
Earlier this year, Samsung pulled the plug on Bada, rolling those efforts into a new operating system known as Tizen. There too, Silicon Valley plays a key role: Samsung is codeveloping Tizen with Intel Corp. The company has yet to release a Tizen-powered smartphone.
If Samsung’s new operating system catches on, it could relieve the company’s reliance on Android, which powers the vast majority of Samsung’s mobile devices, including its new smartwatch.
Breaking through with a proprietary “must-have” software application could also bolster Samsung’s position at a time when the company is vulnerable to competition from Chinese hardware makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Inc. In the most recent quarter, Samsung’s mobile business saw its operating profit margin fall to 17.7%, from 19.8% in the previous quarter amid pricing pressure from rivals and increased spending on advertising.
Meanwhile, Google’s tie-up with Motorola Mobility in 2011, and Microsoft’s move to acquire Nokia’s mobile-phone business last month, mean that Samsung will face heightened competition from companies that, like Apple, can compete in both hardware and software.
Samsung’s software success is far from assured. Unlike Apple, Google and Microsoft, the Korean electronics giant doesn’t have a history of software achievements. Instead, Samsung cut its teeth in the world of hardware, where efficiency, flexibility and supply-chain management are paramount.
Acquiring its way to software dominance is no easier than building up its software capabilities organically. While Samsung has about $50 billion in cash on hand, the company has struggled in the past with deal-making. Even today, some in Silicon Valley say, Samsung has developed a reputation for kicking the tires on a range of potential deals, only rarely pulling the trigger.
One reason for such caution is Samsung’s purchase of AST Research Inc. in the mid-1990s, an experience that still weighs heavily on company executives.
The two-part, $840 million acquisition of Irvine, Calif.-based AST, once the world’s fifth-largest computer maker, was conceived as an attempt to break into the U.S. personal-computer market.
Samsung sustained heavy losses in AST before ultimately giving up on the deal, which remains Samsung’s largest overseas acquisition to date. Even now, upper management remains wary of big acquisitions, in large part because of AST, employees say.
Samsung’s recent acquisitions have been small, and focused on software developers that can help distinguish Samsung’s phones from others built on the Android platform.
Last May, Samsung—seeking to create a credible rival to Apple’s iTunes platform—snapped up mSpot Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile-software developer with hopes of creating a one-stop media platform that would allow users to stream and download music on their Samsung devices.
In the process, Samsung hoped to rival not only iTunes, but also online music-streaming services such as those offered by Sweden’s Spotify AB and Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora Media Inc.
Earlier this year, Samsung moved mSpot into a new office with plans to double its staff by the end of 2013. Since then, however, the company’s attempts to develop the product, initially called Samsung Music Hub, have foundered.
2/J Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As):
- Analyst Day good start for Samsung [The Korea Times, Nov 8, 2013]
Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that it needs to work on software, where it is currently heavily investing to transform itself into a solutions provider from a manufacturing firm.
Sources say Samsung prefers “Google style” expansion centered on small-sized mergers and acquisitions (M&As). It is interested in buying patents, marketing and human resources in target companies. “Samsung was passive in pursuing M&A deals. But we will become aggressive. Therefore, I don’t think our current cash-holdings are too high,” said the CFO Lee.
Vice Chairman Kwon insisted that its edge in “vertical alignment” between components and parts will enable it create over $400 billion in annual sales in 2020. … But what’s equally interesting is that Samsung is also eager to develop components. Sharpening components-related technologies is something that really matters to it because of its plan to share confidential data with software giants such as Google and others to develop innovative products and secure advanced chips and flat-screens.
- Samsung to push for more M&As for growth–Tech giant sets sights on health care, smart cars [The Korea Herald, Nov 7, 2013]
Samsung Electronics will push for more mergers and acquisitions and increase its presence in health care and smart car industries for future growth, top executives said on Wednesday. … “Convergence (among technologies in different industries) is occurring right now, but not enough. We can create new industries, for example, health care and smart cars,” said Kwon Oh-hyun, vice chairman and CEO of the electronics firm.
“(By converging Samsung’s information technology with cars) there are a lot (of opportunities) for us to supply to our customers.” Samsung SDI, a battery maker and an affiliate of Samsung Group, has invested in electric car batteries since 2008. It has successfully developed the products and is supplying them to BMW and Chrysler’s Fiat.
… The vice chairman noted, “Even though our health care business is small, within the coming decade we want to be a strong player in the area,” hinting that the electronics firm will roll out more advanced, small and easy-to-handle equipment such as high-resolution CT and MRI scanners.
- With regards to M&A, Samsung stated that it has been acquiring several healthcare companies for the past three years, hinting that it would be willing to acquire the promising companies in mobile area.
- Samsung ‘hungry’ for acquisitions, R&D for new growth [ZDNet, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung Electronics wants to invest more money for new growth technologies, and part of that will come from being more aggressive in mergers and acquisitions as well as R&D.
M&A will aim to reinforce current businesses, secure talent and find new opportunities, said Lee Sang-hoon, president and CFO of Samsung Electronics. The company has already spent about US$1 billion investing in 14 companies since 2010, which has been “somewhat conservative”.
Samsung currently has a cash pile of around US$50 billion, which is about 20 percent of its market capitalization and has attracted complaints from investors of being at a level too high at their expense. According to Lee, the war chest will now being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions.
“We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return,” Lee said.
- Samsung to invest in new technology, M&As, marketing to topple Apple [The Economic Times [of India], Nov 7, 2013]
Lee said the $50 billion war chest was being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions, suggesting the company could loosen its purse strings as it chases the next big thing in mobile technology.
The change of tack is aimed at responding to an innovation shift in the information technology business to software from hardware, Samsung’s traditional speciality. “I know we have been somewhat conservative in M&A but it may be different in the future. Based on this, I don’t believe the current level of net cash balance is excessive,” he said. We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return.”
the company launched its highly anticipated, multi-mode Yoga Tablet, with up to 18 hours of battery life, as well as its new dual-mode consumer laptop, IdeaPad A10 with the ability to flip the screen 300 degrees into a stand mode for a more natural, comfortable touch experience. These innovative offerings for the Android market are the latest steps in Lenovo’s ongoing consumer brand building effort. For the Yoga Tablet Lenovo is even partnering with Ashton Kutcher – the well known actor and technology investor with 15 million Twitter followers – to showcase this cutting edge technology and innovation.
Consolidated sales of Lenovo’s Mobile Internet Digital Home (MIDH) consumer products, including smartphones and tablets already increased 106 percent year-over-year during the second fiscal quarter to US$1.5 billion, representing 15 percent of the Company’s total revenue during the quarter. In China, Lenovo’s smartphone shipments increased by 64 percent year-over-year, helping the company maintain its strong position as the second largest smartphone supplier in that market. With the latest Android based offerings Lenovo could further its consumer market position in a differentiated way both in China and worldwide.
LENOVO® YOGA TABLET
The Yoga Tablet’s innovation lies in the unique handle design of its cylindrical battery, enabling three different usage modes – hold, stand and tilt, each offering a unique and beneficial way for users to interact with their tablet. The battery lasts up to an incredible 18 hours, taking the tablet experience to the next level. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet is available with both 8- and 10-inch screen sizes along with built-in multimedia features for entertainment on the go.
Innovative Multimode Design.
Yoga Tablet’s pioneering design incorporates a battery cylinder and kickstand on the side of the device, shifting the center of gravity and opening up multiple usage modes: Hold, Tilt, and Stand. In hold mode, the weight of the device falls into your palm rather than your fingers, making it more comfortable for reading and browsing. Lay it down for Tilt mode and you have a perfect viewing angle for typing or gaming. Flick the kickstand and rest it upright in Stand mode to comfortably watch videos, listen to music, or video-chat.
Turn your Yoga Tablet 10 into a productivity machine with the optional Accutype keyboard, a stylish Bluetooth accessory that also serves as a cover for your device.
Yoga Tablet 8: MT8125 (WiFi)/8389 (3G in select countries, not US) Quad Core 1.2GHz
Yoga Tablet 10: MT8125(WiFi)/8389 (3G in select countries, not US) Quad Core 1.2GHz
AndroidTM 4. 2 Jelly Bean
8-inch or 10-inch HD display (1280×800) with multitouch & 178o wide viewing angle
RAM: 1GB LP-DDR2 memory
Internal Storage: 16GB/32GB eMMC
External storage: 64 GB micro-SD card storage support
Dual front-facing speakers with Dolby® Digital Plus DS1
Microphone with noise reduction
Micro USB, up to 32G micro SD card, 3.5 millimeter audio jack, micro SIM (3G in select countries, not US)
802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi , 3G (in select countries, not US): WCDMA (900/2100 MHz)*, GSM/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)*, integrated Bluetooth® 4.0**
5MP rear camera, 1.6M HD front camera
Extended battery life with up to 18 hours on a single charge
Yoga Tablet 8: .88-.89 pounds (401-404 grams)
Yoga Tablet 10: 1.33-1.34 pounds (605-610 grams)
Yoga Tablet 8: 8.39 x 5.67 x (.12 – .29) inches (213 x 144 x (3.0-7.3) millimeters)
Yoga Tablet 10: 10.28 x 7.09 x (.12 – .32) inches (261 x 180 x (3.0-8.1) millimeters)
* Phone call functionality only available in select countries: India, China, ASEAN Indonesia, Thailand
** Android 4.2 OS supports the PXP profile of Bluetooth 4.0
*** Actual battery life may vary based on many factors including screen brightness, active applications, features, power management settings, battery age and conditioning, and other customer preferences. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: two hours of video playback plus two hours of MP3 audio playback in Stand-by Mode plus two hours of Internet browsing using WiFi in Tilt Mode plus twelve hours of reading in Hold Mode.
**** Wi-Fi/3G weight allowance: ± 2g
Lenovo Unveils Its First Multimode Yoga Tablet [press release, Oct 29, 2013]
Multimode computing leader Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today debuted its first multimode Yoga Tablet at a livestream launch event with Ashton Kutcher, the company’s newest product engineer. Known for pioneering innovative multimode devices like the Yoga convertible laptop, Lenovo now brings people a new way to get the most out of their tablet experience.
The game-changing Yoga Tablet features three unique modes, giving consumers a better way to use a tablet. Withhold, tilt and stand modes, the tablet adapts to the way people use it instead of forcing people to adapt to the technology. Additionally the Yoga Tablet has an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life1 to truly fit users’ ultra mobile lifestyles.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet Product Tour [Lenovo YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
Meet the Yoga Tablet, Lenovo’s multimode tablet. Enjoy a better tablet experience with three awesome modes: hold, stand and tilt modes and get an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life. Featured song is “Keep Together” by Hunter Hunted. Learn More:http://lnv.gy/yogatablet
“Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content,” said Liu Jun, senior vice president and president, Lenovo Business Group, Lenovo. “As consumers’ continue to demand innovative multimode designs we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience.”
Yoga Tablet: Three Modes And Longer Battery Life Give Tablets A Better Way
One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to tablets. Lenovo designers and engineers identified three challenges tablet users face: fatigue when holding and using the tablet; no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface; and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. These scenarios inspired Lenovo to break the mold on the “sea of sameness” design and to create Yoga Tablet’s unique modes.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet: Better by Design [Lenovo YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
Why did Lenovo design the Yoga Tablet with three modes, a unique hinge, and 18-hour battery life? Lenovo product managers, designers and engineers discuss the user research they conducted that directly contributed to the design of this innovative multimode tablet. Learn More: http://lnv.gy/yogatablet
With its exclusive cylindrical handle, hold mode is designed to fit an individual’s hand, so the Yoga Tablet is easier to hold and offers more control over the device whereas other tablets require two hands. Hold mode makes reading, checking social media and browsing the web easy and parallels how people hold magazines when reading.
To convert the Yoga Tablet into stand mode, simply rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. Stand mode makes it easy for users to comfortably watch movies, place video calls and interact with the ten-finger touchscreen without having to rely on add-on accessories.
Users can lay the Yoga Tablet down in tilt mode to type directly on the tablet, play games and just surf the Internet with a better viewing angle. To further enhance the rich content and multimode tablet experience, users can enable the tablet’s auto-detection software that automatically brings up frequently used apps in hold and stand modes.
The Yoga Tablet’s multimode design not only provides a better usability experience, it offers dramatically longer battery life of up to 18 hours1, which is significantly more than the amount of typical tablets. Its cylindrical handle packs in powerful, dual batteries and unlike most tablets, it uses batteries typically found in laptops. The Yoga Tablet can even charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB on-the-go2. The 10 inch and 8 inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity and feature Android 4.2. Also equipped with Dolby® audio, Yoga Tablet’s front-facing speakers create a powerful surround sound experience through the device speakers and with headphones.
Extremely mobile, both models are featherweights weighing in at 1.35 lbs for the 10-in model and 0.88 lbs for the 8-in model. They feature high definition 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot, allowing up to 64 GB of total storage, WiFi and optional 3G in select countries and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for rich audio. Lenovo offers an optional Bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover and even wakes up the tablet when it’s removed and puts the tablet to sleep when it’s attached. Users can also opt for a WD100 dongle in select countries to stream video content from the tablet wirelessly to a TV. Lenovo also offers a portfolio of services solutions for the Yoga Tablet including warranty extensions, upgrades and premium technical support.
Pricing and Availability3
MSRP is $249 and $299, for the 8-in and 10-in, respectively. Starting on Oct. 30, the 8-in model will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores and www.lenovo.com while the 10-in model will be available via major retailers including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Fry’s, Newegg.com andwww.lenovo.com. The Lenovo Yoga 10 Bluetooth Keyboard Cover is $69 and will be available beginning Oct. 30 via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.
For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow news about the Yoga Tablet at #betterway. The press kit is available at: http://news.lenovo.com/betterway.
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$34 billion personal technology company – the largest PC maker worldwide and an emerging PC Plus leader – serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the Company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo, a global Fortune 500 company, has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com.
1Actual battery life may vary based on many factors including screen brightness, active applications, features, power management settings, battery age and conditioning, and other customer preferences. Testing consisted of full battery discharge while performing each of the following tasks: two hours of video playback plus two hours of MP3 audio playback in Stand-by Mode plus two hours of Internet browsing using WiFi in Tilt Mode plus twelve hours of reading in Hold Mode.
2Additional cable required to use this feature.
3Prices do not include tax or shipping and are subject to change without notice. Reseller prices may vary. Price does not include all advertised features. All offers subject to availability. Lenovo reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.
LENOVO® IDEAPAD A10 LAPTOP
Want to enjoy apps on the go on an ultraportable Android notebook without busting your budget? The Lenovo A10 is an innovative, thin and light, dual-mode laptop that flips 300 degrees from laptop to stand mode, a perfect way to enjoy movies on the go or make the most of touchscreen applications.
Note: Pricing and availability information will come later. According to a Chinese source the starting price of IdeaPad A10 will be around 1,500 RMB, i.e. US$ 246. The official price of the 10-inch Yoga Tablet in China is 2,299 RMB, i.e. US$ 377. Considering that the price of the Yoga Tablet in U.S. is $299 this could mean an IdeaPad A10 starting price for the external markets as low as $199. In Germany the laptop is priced at €249, corresponding to which $249 is the more likely price.
Multimode Notebook — Switch Between Laptop and Stand Modes
When you’re relying heavily on the keyboard — writing emails or blogging, for example — keep your A10 in the classic laptop mode for maximum productivity. But when you’re focusing on touch applications, web chatting, or enjoying a film or video, flip the screen 300 degrees to enter stand mode. The A10’s unique design means it adapts to whatever you choose to Do.
Rockchip RK3188 Cortex-A9 Quad Core 1.6GHz
1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC2-8500)
Integrated Graphics, ARM Mali-400 MP4 533 MHz
10.1″ HD (1366 x 768) with multitouch
DDR3L (Max Memory 1GB or 2GB)
eMMC 16GB, 32GB
Combo headphone jack, Combo build in Microphone jack, USB 2.0 × 2, Micro USB × 1, TF card (Micro-SD)
Combo audio jack × 1, Speaker × 2, Built-in microphone
HDMI port × 1
only support BT&WIFI combo module
New Key Board
One piece touchpad
0.3 mega pixels
2 cells/22.6Wh Polymer, supports up to nine hours of continuous video playback
5V Universal AC Adapter, 100-240V/50-60Hz, 10W with 5V DC output
less than 1kg
just 17.3mm at its thickest point
Lenovo A10 Debuts as First Lenovo Laptop Powered by Android [press release, Oct 18, 2013]
Multimode computing leader Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today announced the Lenovo A10, an affordable, ultra-portable, dual-mode laptop and the company’s first to run on Android 4.2 OS. Weighing less than 1kg and measuring just 17.3mm at its thickest point, the Lenovo A10 is an ideal companion for users on the go, providing easy access to a wide range of apps on a unique, dual-mode platform, which enhances the user experience for entertainment and Web browsing as well as productivity.
Lenovo IdeaPad A10 – ARM TechCon ’13 [ARMflix YouTube channel, Oct 29, 2013]
Andy Frame, Senior Marketing Manager, Processor Division of ARM showcases the Lenovo IdeaPad A10, a dual mode Android notebook. It is based on quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 & quad-core Mali-400 GPUs.
“In laptop mode,” users can take advantage of the A10’s unique, Lenovo-customized user interface, which provides an app launcher, task bar and status bar for quick, intuitive access to the app library and desktop, as well as convenient multitasking and app switching. File manager software, also included with the Lenovo customized OS, makes it easy to locate and manage a library of documents, videos and music. In laptop mode, the device offers a full-size ergonomic, AccuType keyboard for safe, comfortable use.
With the A10’s 10.1-inch HD (1366 x 768) resolution screen flipped around 300 degrees in “stand mode,” the Lenovo A10 shines as a device optimized for touch-enabled apps and entertainment. The stable hinge and “fold-back” design keeps the device steady and prevents shaking and bouncing while using the 10-point multi-touch screen. Stereo speakers and an integrated 0.3M webcam help users stay connected with family and friends while enjoying an immersive “sight and sound” experience with multimedia apps, games and video.
The Lenovo A10 is powered by an [Rockchip] RK3188, quad-core Cortex-A9 processor, running at a maximum frequency of 1.6GHz, the highest frequency for all quad-core ARM-based CPUs currently available. The Cortex-A9 processor delivers solid performance for gaming and entertainment purposes, as well as enhances users’ ability to multitask and be productive. In addition, the A10’s battery supports up to nine hours of continuous video playback, ensuring that it is ready to perform, both on the road and at the desk.
“With the recent explosive growth in Android-based, smart connected devices, customers are relying more on Android apps for both work and play. Why should they be required to switch and duplicate to use their laptop? Lenovo’s A10 brings ultra-portability and dual-mode benefits to Android users at a reasonable price,” said Bai Peng, vice president and general manager, notebook business unit, Lenovo Business Group. “Thin and light, with multiple modes and user-inspired innovations for an outstanding user experience … the A10 is uniquely Lenovo.”
Pricing and availability varies per region. The A10 will not be available in North America. Please contact your local PR representative for details.
For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook.
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$34 billion personal technology company – the largest PC maker in the world and an emerging PC Plus leader – serving customers in more than 160 countries. Dedicated to exceptionally engineered PCs and mobile internet devices, Lenovo’s business is built on product innovation, a highly-efficient global supply chain and strong strategic execution. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the Company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services. Its product lines include legendary Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile internet devices, including tablets and smart phones. Lenovo, a global Fortune 500 company, has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com.
*Prices do not include tax or shipping and are subject to change without notice and is tied to specific terms and conditions. Reseller prices may vary. Price does not include all advertised features. All offers subject to availability. Lenovo reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice.