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Monthly Archives: August 2015


Crisis Message from Hunbiased: Immigration

which I very much felt to share here urgently by reposting Hunbiased: Immigration which was published on August 29, 2015

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?”



“The node-to-node transition shrinking from two to three years to sometimes 18 months”

This was said by Thomas Wong, director within strategic business operations at Cadence’s IP Group at the 52nd Design Automation Conference in June, 2015. Source: DAC 2015: How Best to Manage Third-Party IP Integration post of August 10, 2015 in The Fuller View blog for the Cadence community. This will—no doubt—strategically change the SoC landscape.

My next thought: Would it strategically change the semiconductor industry landscape? Particularly what has been described previously in China Fabless Semiconductor Panel: Don’t Pack Your Bags Just Yet post of June 18, 2014 in the Industry Insights blog for the Cadence community as:

The Chinese fabless semiconductor market is growing rapidly, there are over 600 fabless companies, and the Chinese government is (reportedly) gearing up for a major investment in semiconductors. However, many of those 600 companies are small and/or unprofitable, there’s a cultural bias against mergers and acquisitions, and only a small portion of the ICs consumed in China are actually manufactured there.

Watching the July 15, 2015 video Advanced Node Leadership (20nm, 16nm/14nm) and Summary from the Cadence Design Systems YouTube channel it seems to be the case. And not only with drastic changes that will happen in China (see the Digitimes Research: China looks at 70% IC self-sufficiency in 2025 report from August 28, 2015) but even more in India where Cadence is putting an equal emphasis on:

This video was starting the “Innovus launch seminar” there (in India).

As the next step one should understand what has been decsribed in my The (now) not so “secret sauce” behind ARM Cortex-A72 post yesterday. For a very good report on Innovus see as well the Cadence’s New Implementation System Promises Better TAT and PPA post of March 11, 2015 from SemiWiki.com.

The very close cooperation between Cadence and ARM on the advanced nodes like the 16nm FinFET has indeed been a major factor in this very new situation within the semiconductor industry. And the progress with other partners has been very significant since that:

INNovus, our next generation digital implementation system, continues to rapidly gain traction with market-shaping customers on their most advanced designs. Qualcomm Technologies, NVIDIA, ST Microelectronics, and Faraday Technology have joined ARM, Freescale, Juniper and others in adopting INNovus for production design at the most advanced nodes, benefitting from excellent quality of results and faster turnaround time.

This was the remark of Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence President and Chief Executive Officer, regarding that and published in CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. Second Quarter 2015 Financial Results Conference Call, July 27, 2015 document. Then in a separate report on the Q&A part published by Yahoo! he continued:

Clearly the customers see the benefit of the massive parallel architecture, faster runtime, five-time is significant and also the scale to 10 million instances, that is significant for them. We highlight some of the key names like Qualcomm Technology, Nvidia, STMicroelectronics, Faraday to join ARM, Freescale and Juniper. They are not just evaluating. Actually they are designadopting our Innovus for production design for the most advanced node, based on the excellent quality of result and faster turnaround, and they are clearly seeing the benefit of the delivery that we mentioned earlier. Right now, we have a good design win, and now we are really focused on proliferating to various product groups, so that they can be comprehensively using us as the platform of choice.

then came a question about the future nodes:

Gus Richard, Northland Securities – Analyst [46]

Thanks. Thank you for that. Secondly when I look at some of the folks working on 10-nanometers, have announced that they will delay implementation, 7 and 5 look even more challenging. There’s been a slow down in the cadence of Moore’s Law. Can you talk a little bit about how that might affect your business in terms of new EDA tools, or will people pivot to other processes like FD-SOI that will give you a new opportunity? Again, how do you think that will affect the growth of the overall business?

Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. – President & CEO [47]

Very good question. Very insightful questions. I think a couple things. One, clearly we work closely with our customers and also our foundry partners, and we want to make sure that our tools are optimized for various process that our customer demand them. Clearly, 10-nanometer, some are slowing down, some are not slowing down. It really depends on some of the key applications they are driving.

Clearly on some of the mobile and some of the graphic and computer mission related areas, advanced node is critical. We will work very close with our customer and foundry on 10 and 7 nanometers. When you move down to 5 nanometers, clearly that patterning may not be enough. Then you’re starting to really look at the EUV.

For 5 nanometer, from my humble experience, it’s critical to have EUV, and I’m very pleased to see that [EFMAO], the EUV are making progress. They can go up to 80 watts now, and they can go up to 500 wafers per day. That is extremely encouraging. Then you starting to look at TSMC, Intel progress on the EUV side and also some of the photo-resist-related development. So we keep a very close eye on this whole road map and process technology, and we also work closely with the equipment, semiconductor equipment company, to make sure they are ready. And in terms of FD-SOI and the various version of the process, we work closely with our foundry partners, and that will be driven by customers. We work closely with the customer, understanding which process node, which foundry they are using. Our tool will be optimized, ready for them. That is our job.

Cadence - ARM and Cadence Projects since 2010 -- June-2015

ARM and Cadence Projects since 2010 — June-2015

With all that it is clear that the ARM partnership will be THE driving force for the smaller/emerging industry players in China and India as well. This is how that has been presented in ARM-Cadence Partnership Benefits to End Customer video recorded on the same “Innovus launch seminar” in India (from the same Cadence Design Systems YouTube channel, and made available there also on July 15, 2015):

According to the March 10, 2015 article Cadence Looks to Improve Position in Digital Design Tools from IHSElectronics360:

Cadence has long had the dominant analog design tool set in the EDA landscape. On the digital side, however, Cadence has lagged its larger rival, Synopsys Inc. The new physical implementation platform, dubbed Innovus, is Cadence’s attempt to bridge that gap.

“Cadence has always been known as an analog company,” said Anirudh Devgan, senior vice president of the Digital and Signoff group at Cadence. “The question on everyone’s mind is, ‘Can Cadence be best-in-class in digital?'”

While Cadence’s Encounter physical implementation system has roughly 40 percent market share, according to Devgan, it has for years trailed Synopsys’ IC Compiler product—especially among top 10 semiconductor vendors.

“We have very good market share, but we want to have much better share among the top 10,” Devgan said. “That’s where they are spending a lot of money.”

Devgan, who calls the Innovus launch the most significant for Cadence in the past five to 10 years, said the tool was built-in house by a team of engineers that has been augmented by between 90 and 100 people in recent months.

“Over the past two years, we have hired a lot of very smart people,” Devgan said. “This [launch of Innovus] is the result of that.”

And according to the July 14, 2015 article Lip-Bu Tan talks about the challenges and opportunities facing the EDA sector from New Electronics

The transition from a laggard to a leader in six years coincides with the tenure of Lip-Bu Tan, who was appointed the company’s president and CEO in 2009.

Over the last six years, Cadence has worked hard to reposition itself to meet the needs of a changing global market. Starting with the concept of EDA360, Cadence now offers what it describes as System Design Enablement.

“EDA360 was just that – a concept – but the disruption we identified then is with us today. It’s a reality. System providers have very big challenges to contend with and have different needs from the customers we traditionally worked with.

“Today, we offer hardware/software co-design and co-verification tools, as well as design and verification suites for high level abstractions as part of our integrated tool set,” Tan explains. “We are more application driven and need to be able to help companies look at the wider system, whether that is the IP, the power envelope, signal integrity or the PCB.”

Lip-Bu Tan

Lip-Bu Tan has served as President and CEO of Cadence Design Systems since January 2009 and has been a member of the Cadence Board of Directors since February 2004. He also serves as chairman of Walden International, a venture capital firm he founded in 1987. Prior to founding Walden, Tan was Vice President at Chappell & Co. and held management positions at EDS Nuclear and ECHO Energy.

And regarding India you can find his thoughts here: In conversation with Lip Bu Tan, Chairman of Walden International [ETTech YouTube channel, Aug 19, 2015] Lip-Bu Tan, Chairman & founder of Walden international, talks about the firm’s plans for India and why he is bullish about the Indian semiconductor and hardware space.

The (now) not so “secret sauce” behind ARM Cortex-A72

From CADENCE DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC. First Quarter 2015 Financial Results Conference Call, April 27, 2015

In early March, we launched Innovus, which is our new internally developed product for digital implementation.

  • Innovus delivers 10 to 20 percent improvement in performance power, and area; and uses massively parallel computing, to provide up to 10X reduction in turn-around-time.
  • Innovus joins Tempus, Voltus and Quantus QRC to provide our customers with a next-generation suite of digital implementation and signoff tools for advanced design. We expect these products to drive strong growth in digital, which is the largest segment in EDA.
  • Several customers have already shared their positive experiences using Innovus, including ARM, Freescale, Juniper, MaxLinear, Renesas and Spreadtrum. In fact, ARM used Innovus during the development of the new Cortex-A72 processor, achieving 2.6 gigahertz performance.

From CDN Live: Cadence User Conference 2015, Bengaluru, India—August 18-19

“3GHz And Beyond” – Jumping to the New Performance Spectrum with Cortex-A72 ARM
Devyani Patra – ARM

The need for speed keeps increasing as we hop over technology nodes and architectural upgrades on ARM MPCore processors. High-end mobile and server applications raise the performance bar higher year on year. We look at a multitude of these implementations at TSMC 16nm FINFET Node aided by the plethora of options provided by EDI. These have been optimized to define a new performance spectrum which starts at 3GHz and goes beyond it. In this paper, I will present several implementation aspects that hold the key for achieving 3GHz through POP IP.

July 29, 2015: Tackling 16nm Challenges for ARM Cortex-A72 Processor on Cadence Design Systems YouTube channel

ARM’s Brent McKanna, a senior principal design engineer, leads the company’s CPU implementation video. In this 2-minute video, McKanna talks about how ARM and Cadence worked together to address the challenges of developing the ARM Cortex-A72 processor at 16nm. From changing process rules and IP to tool readiness and routability concerns, the teams overcame the challenges, using Cadence® Encounter® and Innovus™ technologies to develop a higher performing, lower power processor. Now, the companies are ready to tackle the challenges of 10nm. After watching the video, you can learn more about the Innovus Implementation System here: http://bit.ly/1DbfkRb

Feb 4, 2015: Cadence announces complete SoC development environment for new ARM mobile IP suite by Brian Fuller, Editor in Chief at Cadence (since June 2015 at ARM)

When we look back on today, we might say it was the dawn of server-in-your-pocket technology.

That’s because ARM announced a new premium mobile IP suite (New Announcements: ARM Sets New Standard for the Premium Mobile Experience) that includes the ARM Cortex-A72 64-bit processor core, ARM Mali-T860 and T880 GPUs and a new, faster CoreLink interconnect.

In tandem, Cadence announced a reference flow for the suite that supports advanced manufacturing processes including TSMC 16-nanometer FinFET Plus. Also available with the Cadence flow is ARM Artisan physical IP and ARM POP IP for the ARM Cortex-A72 processor and ARM Mali-T860 and T880 GPUs, enabling designers to meet aggressive processor performance and power goals.


Dr. Chi-Ping Hsu, Cadence senior vice president and chief strategy officer for EDA, said the two companies worked together to ensure that the Cadence flow allows customers to integrate the ARM Mali-T880 GPU and ARM CoreLink CCI-500 to achieve optimal results at advanced process nodes.

ARM used the Cadence digital and system-to-silicon verification tools and IP during the ARM Cortex-A72 processor development to ensure that the flow met complex mobile design requirements, Hsu added.

So why a server in your pocket? The processing power that comes with this innovation is the equivalent of a server or more to your pocket in mobile devices.

What’s more it won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The Cortex-A72 is 3.5x faster than 2014’s 32-bit Cortex-A15 and consumes 75 percent less power, according to ARM.

The Register reported that the A72 has twice the performance and half the power of ARM’s 64-bit flagship the A57. That processor has been targeted at servers, among other applications. So server in your pocket? Indeed.

Related stories:
– Cadence System Design and Verification
– Cadence Functional Verification
– Optimizing ARM Cortex-M7 with Cadence

March 10, 2015: Cadence Introduces Innovus Implementation System, Delivering Best-in-Class Results with Up to 10X Reduction in Turnaround Time company press release

  • Provides typical 10 to 20 percent production-proven advantage in power, performance and area
  • First massively parallel implementation solution in the industry, enabling unprecedented speed and capacity
  • Supports advanced 16/14/10nm FinFET and established process nodes
  • Next-generation platform eases usability and boosts engineering productivity

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDNS) today unveiled Cadence® Innovus™ Implementation System, its next-generation physical implementation solution that enables system-on-chip (SoC) developers to deliver designs with best-in-class power, performance and area (PPA) while accelerating time to market. Driven by a massively parallel architecture with breakthrough optimization technologies, the Innovus Implementation System provides typically 10 to 20 percent better PPA and up to 10X full-flow speedup and capacity gain at advanced 16/14/10nm FinFET processes and established process nodes.

For more information on the Innovus Implementation System, please visit www.cadence.com/news/innovus.

The Innovus Implementation System was designed with several key capabilities to help physical design engineers achieve best-in-class performance while designing for a set power/area budget or realize maximum power/area savings while optimizing for a set target frequency. The key Innovus capabilities to achieve this include:

  • New GigaPlace solver-based placement technology that is slack-driven and topology-/pin access-/color-aware, enabling optimal pipeline placement, wirelength, utilization and PPA, and providing the best starting point for optimization
  • Advanced timing- and power-driven optimization that is multi-threaded and layer aware, reducing dynamic and leakage power with optimal performance
  • Unique concurrent clock and datapath optimization that includes automated hybrid H-tree generation, enhancing cross-corner variability and driving maximum performance with reduced power
  • Next-generation slack-driven routing with track-aware timing optimization that tackles signal integrity early on and improves post-route correlation
  • Full-flow multi-objective technology enables concurrent electrical and physical optimization to avoid local optima, resulting in the most globally optimal PPA

The Innovus Implementation System also offers multiple capabilities that boost turnaround time for each place-and-route iteration. Its core algorithms have been enhanced with multi-threading throughout the full flow, providing significant speedup on industry-standard hardware with 8 to 16 CPUs. Additionally, the Innovus Implementation System features the industry’s first massively distributed parallel solution that enables the implementation of design blocks with 10 million instances or larger. Multi-scenario acceleration throughout the flow improves turnaround time even with an increasing number of multi-mode, multi-corner scenarios.

In addition to providing best-in-class PPA and optimized turnaround time, the Innovus Implementation System offers a common user interface (UI) across synthesis, implementation and signoff tools, and data-model and API integration with the Tempus™ Timing Signoff solution and Quantus™ QRC Extraction solution. Together these solutions enable fast, accurate, 10nm-ready signoff closure that facilitates ease of adoption and an end-to-end customizable flow. Customers can also benefit from robust visualization and reporting that enables enhanced debugging, root-cause analysis and metrics-driven design flow management.

At ARM, we push the limits of silicon and EDA tool technology to deliver products on tight schedules required for consumer markets, said Noel Hurley, general manager, CPU group, ARM. “We partnered closely with Cadence to utilize the Innovus Implementation System during the development of our ARM® Cortex®-A72 processor. This demonstrated a 5X runtime improvement over previous projects and will deliver more than 2.6GHz performance within our area target. Based on our results, we are confident that the new physical implementation solution can help our mutual customers deliver complex, advanced-node SoCs on time.”

“Customers have already started to employ the Innovus Implementation System to help achieve higher performance, lower power and minimized area to deliver designs to the market before the competition can,” said Dr. Anirudh Devgan, senior vice president of the Digital and Signoff Group at Cadence. “The early customers who have deployed the solution on production designs are reporting significantly better PPA and a substantial turnaround time reduction versus competing solutions.”

About Cadence
Cadence enables global electronic design innovation and plays an essential role in the creation of today’s integrated circuits and electronics. Customers use Cadence software, hardware, IP and services to design and verify advanced semiconductors, consumer electronics, networking and telecommunications equipment, and computer systems. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with sales offices, design centers and research facilities around the world to serve the global electronics industry. More information about the company, its products and its services is available at www.cadence.com.

March 17, 2015: Cadence’s New Digital Implementation System: An Inside Look  by Brian Fuller, Editor in Chief at Cadence (since June 2015 at ARM)

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—The launch of Cadence’s new Innovus Implementation System heralds “a new era” in physical implementation technology, breaking longstanding electronic system-design bottlenecks, according to Rahul Deokar, product management director with Cadence.

Deokar gave a technical overview of the new technology at CDNLive Silicon Valley, just hours after it was unveiled during a keynote address at the annual event (March 10). “Older implementation tools had forced you guys as designers to do smaller design blocks,” he told a standing room-only audience at the Santa Clara Convention Center here. “You can now handle 5-10 million instance design blocks…and you can take weeks or even months off your SoC design schedules.”


Leapfrog Effect

Against the backdrop of SoC Implementation, the new technology represents a fundamental overhaul of the Encounter system that “leapfrogs” the industry and delivers a far more compelling digital implementation solution than the industry has experienced, Deokar said.

Previously, optimizing for power, performance and area (PPA) and improving turn-around time (TAT) was an either-or choice, he said.

“These were two conflicting objectives in a lot of ways. Traditional tools have effectively tackled just one or the other, however what good is it if the tool runs super-fast but ends up with sub-optimal PPA,” Deokar said. “Innovus gets you the best of both worlds on TAT and PPA.”

By delivering performance that is up to10x faster, design blocks that took 7-10 days can now be run in 1-2 days. The 10-20 percent PPA improvement is equivalent to a half-node or even a full-node transition, without actually moving to the new node, he added.

Furthermore, because the technology is integrated with Cadence signoff solutions, significant additional productivity gains can be achieved along the flow, he added.

And Innovus is not targeted at just bleeding-edge nodes such as 16/14/10nm; it has vast utility for established process nodes as well, Deokar said.

Driving improved TAT

A massively parallel architecture is key to improved turn-around time, Deokar said. The core algorithms have been improved such that “even if you’re not running on 16 or 32 or 64 CPUs, the core algorithms of placement, optimization and routing have been sped up. Even on 2- and 4-CPU machines, you should be able to see TAT advantages,” he said. “Now, add multithreading, distributed network processing and MMMC (multi-mode/multi-corner) scenario acceleration, and you get the complete massively parallel system.”

That means really large chips that forced teams to divide the SoC into many blocks to manage the placement and routing complexities can now work with fewer blocks, which cuts design time and saves money, Deokar said.

He cited as one example a 28nm 2.8 million-cell networking IP running on 8 CPUs (pictured) that saw implementation time cut from 336 hours to 48 hours—a 7x improvement.


Pushing PPA

The other key Innovus benefit for PPA represents a big step forward, he said.

Traditionally, placement ran on heuristic-based algorithms, but GigaPlace in Innovus is solver- or equation-based.

“That means you can model in the equation a lot of different design variables – timing, slack, power, wire length, congestion, layer awareness,” Deokar said. “GigaPlace concurrently solves both the electrical and physical objectives. As a result you get better PPA.”

Another feature is that Innovus is now power aware throughout the optimization process, Deokar said.

“All the transforms that were timing and area aware, now power is a part of that same cost function,” he told his audience.

A third key component is that the concurrent clock and datapath optimization technology from Azuro, which Cadence acquired in 2011, is now fully integrated.

“A lot high-performance designers have unique clocking methodologies — H-trees, clock meshes, multipoint CTS,” he said. “You guys invest a lot of manual effort building these, but since these are customized, they’re not flexible when process and technology changes occur.”

The CCOopt FlexH feature integrated into Innovus is a combination of regular clock tree and H-tree, he said, “You get the best of both worlds in automation and in cross-corner variation, as well as in high-performance and a power-efficient clock network.”

Deokar also highlighted the track-aware optimization features of NanoRoute.

“Before you go into your detailed route step, right after track assignment to the different metals layers, we do timing-aware optimization,” Deokar said. “This pro-actively prevents signal integrity issues from occurring downstream in the flow, and dramatically reduces the timing jump between pre route and post route optimization.”

Finally Deokar noted productivity gains from the integration of Innovus with existing Cadence signoff technologies such as Tempus, Voltus and Quantus, a common user interface and reporting and visualization enhancements.

More information about Innovus can be found by navigating to the technology’s landing page.

Smartphone market outlook and the MediaTek Helio X10 based Xiaomi Redmi Note 2/Prime launched for $125, $140 and $156

Let’s start with an extremely good presentation video by Mrwhosetheboss:

And an actual experience video from Chinese sources (finished by comparing to iPhone 6):

Aug 16, 2015, Xiaomi Today: Xiaomi sold 800,000 Redmi Note 2 phones in 12 hours

Note that Xiaomi has already been the top Chinese company tracked here:
Dec 12, 2012UPDATE Aug’13: Xiaomi $130 Hongmi superphone END MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery
Aug 1, 2013Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation
Aug 30, 2013Assesment of the Xiaomi phenomenon before the global storm is starting on Sept 5
Sept 5, 2013Xiaomi announcements: from Mi3 to Xiaomi TV
June 12, 2014Xiaomi’s global offensive with Hugo Barra in charge is threatening Apple—with 10.4 million smartphones sold in China it had already outsold Apple in Q1’14, having “just” 9 million iPhones sold there from which we must at least understand the market situation in China upto  Q1 2014 as the reference for the Xiaomi’s progress presented here:

With the Q3 2015 Redmi Note 2/Prime advancement Xiaomi will kill the much hoped (by some stock market analysts) incremental opportunities for the $199 Apple iPhone 6 and $299 iPhone 6 Plus in China and throughout the world. And recall that those were announced 11 months ago as “The Biggest Advancements in iPhone History

China smartphone market Q2 2015 by IHS Technology -- 23-July-2015

This report is similar to later Canalys findings: Xiaomi 15.9%, Huawei 15.7%, and Apple #3. But for the rest: #4 Samsung, #5 vivo. Globally Xiaomi became the #2 Chinese smartphone brand in Q2 2015 according to TrendForce with 5.9% market share, the #1 Huawei having 7.6%, but first time surpassing Lenovo, as well as continuing to distance itself from TCL (Alcatel) and OPPO. Similar to data from Counterpoint Research. See Chinese OEMs Rule. Considering Huawei’s aggressive push since 2011, when Xiaomi devices started in China, Xiaomi’s global achievement is a very remarkable feat.  

Why? Because being in the smartphone device business for just 4 years Xiaomi has already been on or around the top in China for the last 12 months, as well as has launched an impressive global march.

That global sales campaign has been going on in Asia, Russia and Turkey so far, but it is now expanding to Latin America with new model launching in Brazil [CCTV America YouTube channel, July 14, 2015]: “The world’s third largest smartphone maker is taking a different approach in its plans for global domination. Instead of looking to expand in the obvious markets like the U.S. and Europe, Xiaomi is looking to South America. CCTV’s Paulo Cabral filed this report from Sao Paulo.”

And it is not difficult to foresee a huge global success for the company as in India Xiaomi became “the 5th biggest seller of phones in the country, a feat accomplished in only 8 months“: Smartphone company Xiaomi expanding to India and beyond [CCTV America YouTube channel, March 20, 2015]
And now 
China’s Xiaomi Begins Making Smartphones in India [Voice of America, Aug 14, 2015]: “Xiaomi’s Redmi2 Prime smartphone [NOT the Note 2 one], priced at about $110, began rolling out from a factory in Sri City in southern Andhra Pradesh state this week. … entered the Indian market just a year ago, but since then price conscious consumers have snapped up 3 million phones.

Also this all happened after “The Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi, held a second flash sale of its new 4.7″ Redmi 1S [at $110/699 RMB almost of the same price level as this year’s $125/799 RMB Redmi Note 2on Tuesday [Sept 9, 2014], after selling out in just four seconds a week ago.“: Chinese smartphone Xiaomi competes with Apple [CCTV America YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

from which I will include the following Q2 CY2014 market share slide for China here:
Xiaomi - Q2 CY2014 smartphone market share for China by Canalys -- 9-Sept-2014
as this position of being “on the top or around it” has been kept by Xiaomi ever since. 

Then we should not forget what only 8 months ago was introduced as Xiaomi launches MiNote, a new iPhone competitor [CCTV America YouTube channel, Jan 15, 2015]: “The tech world is abuzz about Chinese tech company Xiaomi’s bid to compete with Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveiled the MiNote and MiNote Pro [at $313/1999 RMB and $391/2499 RMB a kind of twice as expensive predecessors to the new Redmi Note 2/Prime] on Thursday, both are cheaper than similar iPhone models. CCTV’s Xia Cheng reported this story from Beijing.

Finally we should look at the new specification comparisons by GSMinsider: Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015

With that Xiaomi will kill Samsung high-end opportunities as well.

Let’s look first at the quite drastic decline of the Samsung smartphone business for the last year and a half (data from Strategy Analytics as it’s been represented in the Apple and Huawei move on Samsung article of July 30, 2015 from Telecom.com, with the vendor rankings in the table according to the latest quarter, i.e. Q2 2015): Strategy Analytics - Global Smartphone Share -- Q1 2014 - Q2 2015
Note that Coolpad (Yulong) and ZTE are also globally represented Chinese brands, not mentioned so far in this article.

Which unit-wise looks like as follows (in millions):Strategy Analytics - Global Smartphone Shipments -- Q1 2014 - Q2 2015

Then I can again refer to Samsung-related high-end specification comparisons produced by GSMinsider: Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015
And don’t be fooled with the Qualcomm Snadragon 805 and 801 SoCs used by Samsung in these 2014 vintage devices as Samsung itself abandoned Qualcomm as an SoC supplier for its 2015 devices:Xiaomi - Redmi Note 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Specs Comparison -- 14-Aug-2015

CINNO Research - Q1 2015 China Smartphone Rear Camera Pixel Share -- 12-April-2015Note: Such Samsung move of abandoning the Qualcomm Snadragon 805 and 801 SoCs in its latest high-end products is not an accident but a hard-pressed necessity. The octa-core Qualcomm Snadragon 810 replacing the 805/801 had serious thermal throttling problems, and the Chinese brands were starting to use other octa-cores, among them the quite competitive MediaTek Helio X10. See the following Q1 2015 technology landscape presentation composed of the graphical views from the April 12 and April 24 reports by CINNO Research (in addition to the camera related view on the right):CINNO Research - Q1 2015 China Smartphone Display and CPU Technologies -- 12-24-April-2015

And software-wise Xaomi is already 5 years in the smartphone business with a lot of quite enthusiastic supporters for its Android based Mi User Interface throughout the world. The MIUI 5th Anniversary: Greetings From MIUI Fans From All Over The World testimonial video from the MIUI ROM YouTube channel dated August 12, 2015 is stating that: “MIUI is one of the most popular Android ROMs in the world. It is based on Android, featuring a rich user experience and user customizable themes. MIUI is updated every Friday based on feedback from its users. Now with over 100 million users and 34 MIUI fan sites worldwide, MIUI is the choice of many Android users globally.

What kind of “much hoped incremental opportunities (by some stock market analysts) for Apple” I was talking about?

From India Will Overtake US to Become World’s Second Largest Smartphone Market by 2017 [July 1, 2015] by Strategy Analytics the following chart has been produced for Dazeinfo’s Global Smartphone Sales 2015 – 2017: India Will Surpass The US [July 1, 2015] report: Strategy Analytics - Dazinfo - Global Smartphone Sales Forecast 2015 - 2017 -- 1-July-2015That chart has been used by  in his Why Apple’s Growth-Related Fears Are Overblown [Aug 12, 2015] article on Seeking Alpha for its final argument that:

the market sees China as imperative to Apple’s future growth outlook and while true at the moment, there’s a catalyst forming that should lessen the company’s reliance on China and lead to many millions of new iPhone sales.

China is not that “forming catalyst” that I mentioned earlier. Instead, Apple has a prime opportunity to grow in India over the next year or two, a market that’s growing rapidly with middle class consumers and is the world’s second largest economy by population behind only China.

… with India’s help, which includes the growth in middle class consumers through 2020, India might very well one day become just as important as China to Apple.

Before coming to such final argument Nichols is talking about the current market situation in China via a chart from Above Avalon’s China Mobile Is a Game Changer for Apple [April 29, 2015] research note and with the following comments around that:

Above Avalon - Total Customers for Largest Chinese and U.S. Mobile Carriers -- 28-April-2015

I expect Apple to find additional growth in China next year, regardless of what has transpired from a macro perspective over the last few months. The reason is simple: Improved network coverage. Fact of the matter is that most Chinese consumers are still using 2G or 3G networks, which are hardly compatible with the iPhone 6. At the end of the first quarter, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) had 153 million 4G customers, up from 90 million in December of 2014 and just 1.3 million in February of 2014. However, China Mobile had 815 million total customers. So that means the majority of its subscribers are still on 2G or 3G networks. Given the rate at which China Mobile has added 4G customers during the last 16 months, investors can rest assured that its network and 4G customers will be far larger by this time next year. Notably, most of those 4G customers will need smartphones, and Apple has quickly become the most popular choice in China.

As for China’s second and third largest wireless carriers, China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA), they have nearly 500 million customers collectively. And believe it or not, China Unicom and China Telecom’s 4G network is even more underdeveloped than China Mobile’s network. However, both China Unicom and China Telecom are working just as fast to build their respective 4G networks. Once more, this increases Apple’s market opportunity in China, and is the key reason why I think Apple’s growth in China will continue through next year, probably at a very high double-digit rate.

So these are the speculations which IMHO do not take into account the new product waves from major Apple and Samsung competitors, especially Xiaomi.

Xiaomi’s new 5.5″  Redmi Note 2 launched in China just this week for $125/799 RMB (16GB version supporting TDD-LTE for a China specific 4G version of LTE as well as TD-SCDMA, the China specific 3.5G — targeted at China Mobile subscribers) and $140/899 RMB (16GB version supporting both TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE, i.e. both 4G versions — for the subscribers of any mobile operators, and especially of China Unicom and China Telecom) is the actual case in this regard. Watch the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 Prime first look miui 7 pre-order video direct from the launch (the QR code at the start and the end has been positioned out of my embedded view): 

Announced: August 13 2015
Network Technology:
Expected release:
August 16, 2015
Body Dimensions:
152 x 76 x 8.3 mm
Weight: 160 g
Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size: 5.5 inches (~72.2% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch: Yes
MIUI 7.0
Platform OS: Android OS, v5.0 (Lollipop)
Chipset: Mediatek MT6795
– Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
– Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: PowerVR G6200
Memory Card slot: No
Internal Memory:
– 16 GB, 2 GB RAM – 2 GHz model
– 32 GB, 2 GB RAM – 2.2 GHz model
Primary: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR, panorama
Video: 1080p@30fps
Secondary: 5 MP, 720p
Sound Alert Types:
Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker: Yes
3.5mm jack: Yes
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: v4.0, A2DP, LE
GPS: Yes,
with A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Infrared port: Yes
Radio: FM radio
USB: microUSB v2.0
Features Sensors:
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Browser: HTML5
Java: No
– Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
Battery: Li-Po 3060 mAh battery
Stand-by: Up to 144 h (3G)
Talk time: Up to 11 h 30 min (3G)
Music play: Up to 46 h
Misc Colors:
White, blue, yellow, pink, mint green

The 2.2 GHz Redmi Note 2 Prime version with 32GB storage and support of  TDD-LTE + FDD-LTE will sell at $156 (999 RMB).

More information:
Aug 13, 2015All About Redmi Note 2/Prime: Specifications, Price, Hands-on Pictures! review by Xiaomi MIUI Official Forum
– Aug 13, 2015Xiaomi New Product Launch: MIUI 7(China), Redmi Note 2(Prime), Mi Wi-Fi nano full launch information (not only the Redmi Note 2/Prime)  by Xiaomi MIUI Official Forum, from which the major Redmi Note 2 and 2 Pro Android competition (Huawei P8 and P8max with Hisilicon Kirin 930 and 935 SoCs, and Meizu MX5 (with the same MediaTek Helio X10 @2.2 GHz) on the Chinese market is described as:
Redmi Note 2 and 2 Pro Android competition on the Chinese market -- 13-Aug-2015
Note: regarding the benchmarked performance of each SoC I will recommend the results made available in the Exynos 7420 vs Snapdragon 810 vs MediaTek Helio X10 Turbo MT6795T vs Hisilicon Kirin 935: Benchmark Scores [July 3, 2015] GSMinsider article
For a much broader competitive comparison I will recommend the Redmi Note 2’s comparisons by GSMinsider  which currently contains comparisons (spec-wise):

vs Asus Zenfone 2 vs Asus Zenfone Zoom
vs HTC One M9 vs HTC One M9+
vs Huawei Honor 7 vs Huawei Honor 6 Plus
vs Huawei Ascend Mate 7 vs Huawei Honor 6 Plus
vs Huawei P8 vs Huawei P8 Max
vs iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus
vs Lenovo Vibe Shot vs Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
vs Lenovo ZUK Z1
vs LG G Flex 2
vs LG G4 vs LG G3
vs Meizu M2 Note vs Meizu M1 Note
vs Meizu MX5 vs Meizu MX4 Pro
vs Motorola Moto X Style vs Moto X Play
vs Nexus 6 vs Motorola Moto Maxx
vs OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus One
vs Oppo Find 7 vs Oppo Find 7A
vs Oppo N3
vs Redmi Note
vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S5
vs Samsung Galaxy S6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
vs Vivo X5 Pro vs Vivo X5 Max
vs Xiaomi Mi Note vs Xiaomi Mi Note Pro
vs Xiaomi Mi4
vs ZTE Axon Pro vs ZTE Axon Lux
vs ZTE Nubia Z9 Max vs Nubia Z9 Mini
vs ZTE Nubia Z9

Aug 13, 2015Additional videos from XiaomiHK YouTube channel:

Xiaomi – MIUI Introduction (with English subtitles)

Xiaomi – MIUI V7 Endurance

i.e. MIU 7 on [Xiaomi’s] Mi 4, Huawei Honor 6, Meizu MX4 and Samsung Galaxy S5

Xiaomi – MIUI V7 Performance

Xiaomi – RedmiNote2″>Xiaomi – RedmiNote2

Xiaomi – RedmiNote2 Camera

Important videos available on the Bloomberg Business website only, with 3 most important videos added to them from the CCTV America YouTube channel:

June 5, 2014: Here’s Why Hugo Barra Left Google to Be Xiaomi VP: Xiaomi Early Investor Robin Chan discusses Xiaomi’s hiring of Google’s Hugo Barra on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” Former Xiaomi Board Member Hans Tung also speaks.

July 17, 2015Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra: Studio 1.0 (Full Show 7/16): This week on Studio 1.0: Emily Chang sits down with Hugo Barra, vice president of global operations at Xiaomi. (Source: Bloomberg) 21 minutes from which I will include here the only slide displayed Xiaomi - Global ambition -- 17-July-2015

Plus a lot of other unique information is available in that interview: like the 2015 vintage business model of Xiaomi (investments into non-platform startups to build business partnerships, a whole ecosystem around Xiaomi etc.).

I will add to that the product shown in the Bloomberg interview as an example of such ecosystem generation. This has been documented in Xiaomi launches $13 fitness band [CCTV America YouTube channel, Aug 18, 2014] as: “Chinese Smartphone maker Xiao-mi has started selling an interactive wristband called the Mi Band. The device can measure one’s heart rate and monitor sleep patterns. It’s not the first such device to hit the market, but so far, it’s the cheapest.

I will also add the Xiaomi Buying Spree Gives Apple, Samsung Reason to Worry [Bloomberg Business YouTube channel, Jan 8, 2015] video stating that: “Xiaomi zoomed past Apple Inc. and Samsung in China smartphone sales just three years after releasing its first model. Founder Lei Jun is now on a buying spree to take that momentum beyond handsets. Bloomberg’s Edmond Lococo has more on “On The Move Asia.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Then remember the already known facts mentioned in the second video on the Bloomberg website like: “Xiaomi is not Apple“, “Xiami is an Internet company” (“an Internet platform and services brand” heard in another interview), “services are inherent part of Xiaomi“, “Xiaomi is one of the biggest e-commerce sites in China“, “the Xiaomi platform products are enhanced in functionality on requests from its users by around 50%” etc.

As the latest proof-point of such an Internet platform and service strategy of the company watch the Chinese mobile co. Xiaomi launches wallet app [CCTV America YouTube channel, March 26, 2015] video:

Other videos from Bloomberg Business YouTube channel:

Jan 15, 2015Xiaomi’s Rapid Rise to $45B Valuation Topping Uber: Xiaomi is Apple and Samsung’s rapidly growing threat. Now the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, Xiaomi is releasing its next phone on Thursday at an event in Beijing. Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson looks at how just fast this company is growing. (Source: Bloomberg)

June 5, 2014Meet the Billionaire ‘Steve Jobs of China’ Lei Jun:  Xiaomi co-founder and chief executive officer Lei Jun is known as the Steve Jobs of China, complete with a wardrobe of black shirts and a cult following. But what did he do before starting Xiaomi, and how has his personality helped drive Xiaomi’s success? Bloomberg West’s Emily Chang gives us an overview of this rock star CEO.

Jan 5, 2015Xiaomi Doubles Revenue to $12B as Phone Sales TripleXiaomi, whose investors include billionaire Yuri Milner, more than doubled its revenue in 2014, according to a blog posting by CEO Lei Jun.

Feb 13, 2015Xiaomi’s Barra: U.S. Market Is Important in Many Ways:  Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra discusses the company’s global expansion plans with Bloomberg’s Brad Stone on “Bloomberg West.”

June 4, 2015Xiaomi Grows Wearable Device Market ShareXiaomi is looking to elbow its way into the wearable device market. New figures suggest it took a quarter slice of global sales the first three months of the year. Bloomberg Intelligence’s Jitendra Waral discusses the sales figures on “Trending Business.”

Other videos from the CCTV America YouTube channel:

July 22, 2014Hugo Barra on latest Xiaomi products: Chinese tech firm Xiaomi showed off some of its latest products on Tuesday. The Beijing-based company unveiled its new Mi smartphone and billed it as a challenger to Apple’s iPhone. Analysts say the Mi 4 will be a make or break product for Xiaomi after sales of the older model proved disappointing.The company is also aggressively expanding overseas. Hugo Barra, Xiaomi’s Vice President for overseas business spoke with CCTV’s Xia Cheng.

July 14, 2015Eric Schiffer on Xiaomi’s global strategy: For more on Xiaomi’s global strategy, CCTV’s Michelle Makori spoke to Eric Schiffer, CEO of Patriarch Equity.

Dec 22, 2014
Tech company Xiaomi flourishes in China, India despite patent disputes: China’s Xiaomi tech company is often compared to Apple. Founded in 2010, Xiaomi has quickly surpassed Samsung to become the top smartphone in China and third in the world. Xiaomi phones are currently only sold online and in China and India.

Dec 22, 2014
Ari Zoldan of Quantum Networks discusses Chinese companies, patent troubles: CCTV America’s Sean Callebs interviewed tech industry expert and CEO of Quantum Networks Ari Zoldan about the rise of Xiaomi and it’s legal battles.


16nm / DDR4! MediaTek Helio X30 / X22 Exposure

Recommended background information on this same blog:

  1. MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy for devices, wearables and IoT [March 10, 2015]
  2. MediaTek CorePilot™ 3.0 with Tri-Cluster™ [July 3, 2015]

Aug 3, 201516nm/DDR4!联发科Helio X30/X22曝光- MTK手机网 by MTK mobile phone network (MTK手机网) as has been translated by Google and Bing with my manual edits as appropriate by the meaning

MediaTek has earlier launched a solution, code-named Helio X10, the MT6795 [Aug 1, 2014] kind of high-quality product [see in the background post No.1], but at the end of this year, with a more advanced technology, a higher performance 10 core processor Helio X20 will come [see in the background posts No.2]. Now follow-up products in the Helio high-end product line have been exposed, and with that more violent MediaTek’s solutions will be available.

Weibo user named @Kuro_Ne_Ko released a message a few days ago, in which the Helio X30 was announced and some information was published on Helio X22. According to the released content Helio X30/X22 will be the next push of the MediaTek’s flagship program, i.e. a significant upgrade to the X20.

It is reported that Helio X30 uses a 16nm FinFET technology and a ten core design as the X20, but the architecture is different. Helio X30 uses a more aggressive four clusters processor design. The first group has four [Cortex-]A72 performance cores, clocked at 2.5GHz; the second group of has the same Cortex-A72, their number is 2, and the frequency rate is 2GHz; and the rest is integrating 2 [Cortex-]A53  CPU cores at 1.5GHz, and the 2 other [Cortex-]A53 CPU cores at 1GHz.

This is all for a 10 core, 2xA53+2xA53+2xA72+4xA72 design. On the basis of the Helio X20 Tri-Cluster architecture [see in the background post No.2], the increase of the number of clusters, as well as the number of Cortex-A72 CPU cores will let the Helio X30 work under different loads more efficiently, one can imagine. Helio X30’s performance when going into a full play will undoubtedly be even better than that of the X20.

In addition to the architecture and technology upgrades, other specifications of Helio X30 could also be upgraded, such as memory. Helio X30 finally supports LPDDR4 (dual-channel /1600MHz/4G), in storage [functionality] can support the eMMC5.1 specification, and supports POP [Package on package] packaging. On the other hand Helio X30 will integrate a 800MHz ARM Mali-T880MP4 graphics processor that supports a camera of 40 million pixels (24fps), or 16 million pixels (60fps) as well as 8 million pixels (120fps).

Another Helio X series high-end product has also been exposed, code-named Helio X22. This new product is an upgraded version of Helio X20, the clock frequency will be increased, while other specifications should be close to Helio X20.

This year is the starting year for building the high-end MediaTek brands. The results achieved are also obvious, its current top-end product Helio X10 has been used by HTC, Gionee [金立], VIVO and OPPO, makers of flagship products. Supported by stronger performances, Helio X30/X22 are also expected to be used by a large number of manufacturers. After all it is already apparent that Mediatek products have the advantage of low power consumptionHowever, taking into account that the recent Helio X20 has to wait until December or so to be listed, Helio X22 and X30 should be for a more later date.

The 3 and a half year old flexible printed circuit solution of the Nike FuelBand and the current offerings from Flexible Circuit Technologies, its solution provider

From Nike is giving partial refunds for Fuelband owners after a lawsuit alleged the wearables aren’t accurate of July 27, 2015 by Business Insider

Nike and collaborator Apple deny the allegations in the lawsuit but agreed to settle to avoid a continued legal tussle, according to court documents.

Nike launched the FuelBand in 2012. It’s a wrist band that tracks movement and translates it into what Nike calls “Fuel.” Users can set daily goals for how much movement that they want to achieve. The band can connect wirelessly to a smartphone app and its features include a pedometer and a clock. Nike hasn’t disclosed sales figures. Last year, it laid off some employees who worked on the devices but said it would continue to make them.

Nike FuelBand - The flexible circuit boards which were designed by Flexible Circuit Technologiessource: the below video

August 3, 2015: Wearable Applications for Flexible Circuits: Interview at the IDTechEx Wearable Europe event — Robin Lemson from Flexible Circuit Technologies being interviewed by James Hayward at IDTechEx Wearable Europe. Flexible Circuit Technologies, Inc. (Flexible Circuit) are a supplier of flex circuit design, rigid flex circuits, and flexible circuits and heaters. For more information see http://www.IDTechEx.com

Nike FuelBand - The flexible circuit boards which were designed by Flexible Circuit Technologies with ICs

Nike FuelBand - The flexible circuit boards which were designed by Flexible Circuit Technologies fully mounted on the device

Source: Inside the Nike+ FuelBand…Nike chip inside! by ChipWorks, February 21, 2013

PC Market Trends

A comment from IDC brought ahead: “Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue“. In the notes to the IDC press release it is mentioned as well that “tablets with detachable keyboards [i.e. 2-in-1 devices] running either Windows or Android are not included in the PC category” by IDC. This approach to the PC category is one of the reasons why the decline of the PC market in Q2 2015 is 11.8% according to IDC, while it is 9.5% according to Gartner.

But most importantly: the PC market has continuously been shrinking for the last 3 years as is shown by the chart below:
Infographic: PC Market Plunge Is Picking Up Pace | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista
July 14, 2015: After a brief respite throughout last year, the global PC market returned to its pre-2014 slump in the first half of 2015. According to Gartner’s latest estimates, worldwide PC shipments amounted to 68.4 million in the past three months – down 9.5 percent from last year’s June quarter.

The struggling PC industry had received a boost when Microsoft ended official Windows XP support in April 2014, prompting a replacement cycle that has now apparently faded. Despite the sobering results, analysts remain cautiously optimistic about the industry’s mid-term outlook. They argue that the recent decline is no sign of structural weakness but partly a consequence of last year’s unusually positive results and partly an effect of inventory control ahead of the Windows 10 launch scheduled for later this year.

[Gartner’s latest estimates:]
July 9, 2015: Gartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments Declined 9.5 Percent in Second Quarter of 2015

PC Industry Faces Slowdown as Industry Anticipates the Launch of Windows 10

STAMFORD, Conn., July 9, 2015 — Worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.4 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 9.5 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This was the steepest PC shipment decline since the third quarter of 2013. PC shipments are projected to decline 4.4 percent in 2015.

There were many contributors to the decline of PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015, and Gartner analysts highlighted three of the major reasons for the drop in shipments. Analysts emphasized that these inhibitors are temporary events, and they are not changing the PC market’s structure. Therefore, while the PC industry is going through a decline, the market is expected to go back to slow and steady growth in 2016.

The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the U.S. dollar against local currencies,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “The price hike could hinder PC demand in these regions. Secondly, the worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh. Lastly, the Windows 10 launch scheduled for 3Q15 has created self-regulated inventory control. PC vendors and the channels tried clearing inventory as much as possible before the Windows 10 launch.”

Lenovo maintained the top position in worldwide PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 (see Table 1), but the company suffered a year-on-year shipment decline for the first time since the second quarter of 2013. EMEA, Latin America and Japan were tough regions for Lenovo, as the company experienced double-digit shipment declines. HP also experienced a shipment decline after five consecutive quarters of PC shipment growth. HP showed a steep decline in EMEA, which was potentially due to the currency impact. The company was also impacted by tight inventory controls in the consumer market before the Windows 10 launch.

Table 1
Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)

Gartner - Preliminary Worldwide PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 -9-July-2015Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)

For the second consecutive quarter, Dell experienced a decline in PC shipments. Dell’s decline was relatively moderate in EMEA compared with Lenovo and HP. Analysts said this could be partly attributed to Dell’s lower presence in the consumer market, which created less impact to Dell from the Windows 10 prelaunch inventory control.

In the U.S., PC shipments totaled 15.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 5.8 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014 (see Table 2). The decline was led by a double-digit decline of desk-based shipments, which offset single-digit growth of mobile PCs. Based on preliminary results, the desk-based PC shipment decline was the steepest since 2009 when the market was hit by the economic crisis.

“The weakness of desk-based PC shipments in the second quarter of 2015 is partly due to relatively large shipments in the second quarter last year when the market was driven by the end of XP support,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Despite inventory controls for the Windows 10 launch, mobile PC shipments grew in the quarter, which resulted in five consecutive quarters of mobile PC growth in the U.S. Affordable thin/light notebooks are attracting more business buyers.”

HP maintained the top position for PC shipments in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2015 despite a 10.1 percent decline (see Table 2). Dell narrowed the gap with HP compared with a year ago. Lenovo was the only vendor showing year-over-year PC shipment growth among the top five vendors in the U.S.

Table 2
Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 (Thousands of Units)

Gartner - Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q15 -- 9-July-2015Notes: Data includes desk-based PCs, notebook PCs and ultramobile premium (see “Market Definitions and Methodology: Consumer Devices”). All data is estimated based on a preliminary study. Final estimates will be subject to change. The statistics are based on shipments selling into channels.
Numbers may not add up to totals shown because of rounding.
Source: Gartner (July 2015)
[The Ultramobile (Premium) category includes devices such as Microsoft’s Windows 8 Intel x86 products and Apple’s MacBook Air. Source]

PC shipments in EMEA totaled 18.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 15.7 percent decline from the second quarter of 2014. In Europe, vendors spent most of the quarter trying to manage already high inventory levels. They tried clearing that inventory with promotions, having to absorb this with lower margins. In the third quarter of 2015, vendors should see better “sell-in” into the channel with new Windows 10-based devices.

Asia/Pacific PC shipments reached 24.2 million units in the second quarter of 2015, a 2.9 percent decline from the same period last year. Both desk-based and mobile PC shipments declined from the second quarter of 2014. PC shipments in China are estimated to have declined 4 percent in the quarter as demand for consumer PCs remained weak.

These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe.

See also
July 16, 2015, Forbes: Why Are IDC And Gartner’s PC Market Stats Different, And Does It Even Matter? by Scott McCutcheon

July 9, 2015PC Market Continues to Decline Ahead of Windows 10 Release, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide PC shipments totaled 66.1 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This represented a year-on-year decline of -11.8%, about one percent below projections for the quarter.

The slow PC shipments were largely anticipated as a result of stronger year-ago shipments relating to end of support for windows XP as well as channels reducing inventory ahead of the release of Windows 10. In addition, weaker or changing exchange rates for foreign currencies have effectively increased PC prices in many markets, thereby reducing purchasing power and also complicating investment planning.

“Although the second quarter decline in PC shipments was significant, and slightly more than expected, the overall trend fits with expectations,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers & Forecasting. “We continue to expect low to mid-single digit declines in volume during the second half of the year with volume stabilizing in future years. We’re expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC. Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue, but the economic environment has had a larger impact lately, and that should stabilize or improve going forward.”

“The U.S. market was in line with forecasts, declining -3.3% from a year ago, after avoiding the global market declines over the past five quarters. Soft retail demand, short term weakness from inventory reductions, some cannibalization from competing devices, and low demand for large commercial refreshes are among the factors that reduced PC shipments,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst,Personal Computers. “Nevertheless, moving forward, we expect a healthy second half as inventory and purchase decisions pick up following the launch of Windows 10. Emerging product categories will remain a bright spot as attention shifts to convertibles and Chromebooks in the commercial as well as consumer segments.”

Regional Highlights

United States – With shipments totaling nearly 16.4 million PCs in 2Q15, the U.S. market shrank -3.3% from the same quarter a year ago. Although most vendors saw volume decline, gains from Apple and Lenovo helped limit the overall decline. A tough year-on-year comparison contributed to a decline in desktop shipments, while portable PCs shipments continued to grow.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – In EMEA, weakening demand and high inventory levels inhibited sell-in, driving results below expectations. Vendors continued to clean stock ahead of the back-to-school season and Windows 10 launch. Moreover, unfavorable exchange rates led to increasing prices and continued to affect demand both in the business and consumer spaces. The commercial market also faced a difficult year-on-year comparison with 2Q14, when the end of support for Windows XP boosted sales.

Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – China was impacted by excess commercial notebook inventory from earlier quarters as the anti-corruption campaign continues to suppress commercial spending. Currency fluctuation also remained a key factor in many countries in the region, contributing to lower demand. Nevertheless, volume was close to expectations, reflecting a slight decline in growth from prior quarters.

Japan – continued to see low growth as the weak Yen contributed to a difficult market. The Japanese PC market faced a particularly difficult comparison to year ago shipments that were boosted by the end of support for Windows XP and also changes to Japan’s tax code. As the market responds to these shifts and managing inventory, Yamada Denki (one of Japan’s major electronics stores) announced the closure of unprofitable stores in both urban and rural markets.

Vendor Highlights

Lenovo held onto the top position with shipments of 13.4 million units. Volume was up 1% from the prior quarter, but down -7.5% from the prior year. The vendor continued to aggressively court expansion outside of Asia/Pacific, leading to share gains in the U.S. and EMEA.

HP remained the number 2 vendor, but saw shipments decline -10.4% from a year ago. Slowing business demand and inventory control of entry notebooks contributed to the dip. While most of the slowdown was from outside of the U.S., the vendor also saw its U.S. volume contract nearly -7%.

Dell came in at number 3, shipping more than 9.5 million units and registering a year-over-year decline of -8.7%. Strong results in 2Q14 contributed to a poor year-over-year comparison. Stronger performance in Asia/Pacific and EMEA were offset by slower growth in the U.S.

Apple continued to outperform other vendors, with growth of 16.1% globally. The vendor has largely avoided the price competition affecting other players and may be benefitting from some of the uncertainty around the launch of Windows 10, along with refreshed products like the 12-inch MacBook and a relative concentration of shipments in the U.S.

Acer continued to see growth in Chromebooks with more models introduced. However, the vendor also struggled with the larger pullback in the market, particularly in EMEA where it had seen a rebound in mid-2014. The vendor ended 2Q14 with a volume of 4.33 million, a significant decline from the prior quarter and year ago volumes.

ASUS was statistically tied* with Acer for the number 5 position. ASUS has also been affected by currency factors and inventory management, but strong growth in the U.S. boosted overall results.

IDC - Top 5 Vendors, Worldwide PC Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth for the Second Quarter of 2015 -- 9-July-2015Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, July 9, 2015
* Note: IDC declares a statistical tie in the worldwide PC market when there is less than one tenth of one percent difference in the revenue share of two or more vendors.

In addition to the table above, an interactive graphic showing worldwide PC market share for the top 5 vendors over the previous five quarters is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

IDC - Top 5 Vendors, United States PC Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, Second Quarter of 2015 -- 9-July-2015Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, July 9, 2015

Table Notes:

  • Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.
  • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.
  • PCs include Desktops, Portables, Ultraslim Notebooks, Chromebooks, and Workstations and do not include handhelds, x86 Servers and Tablets (i.e. iPad, or Tablets with detachable keyboards running either Windows or Android). Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.