Home » “smart” feature phones

Category Archives: “smart” feature phones

The Nokia phone business is to be relaunched via a $500M private startup with Android smartphones and tablets in addition to the feature phones for which manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired from Microsoft by a subsidiary of Foxconn

May 18, 2016: Microsoft selling feature phone business to FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy

REDMOND, Wash. — May 18, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced it reached an agreement to sell the company’s entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and HMD Global, Oy for $350 million. As part of the deal, FIH Mobile Ltd. will also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnamthe company’s Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility. Upon close of this deal, approximately 4,500 employees will transfer to, or have the opportunity to join, FIH Mobile Ltd. or HMD Global, Oy, subject to compliance with local law.

Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will transfer substantially all of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements, subject to compliance with local law. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For FY16 Q3:

  • Surface revenue increased 61% [to $1.111] in constant currency driven by Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book
  • Phone revenue declined 46% in constant currency

Now under Nokia Technologies (TECH) the relaunched Nokia phone and tablet business will also exploit such TECH innovations as the recent Nokia OZO: a better way to capture VR

May 18, 2016: Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets

Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global license [1] to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years. Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.

HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.

Nokia-branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today, and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets. HMD’s new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

As also announced today by FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group), the remainder of Microsoft’s feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired by FIH. HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH’s world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components.

Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD.  Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation.

HMD would be led, once the Microsoft transaction closes, by Arto Nummela as CEO, who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business. HMD’s president on closing would be Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.

Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said:
“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name. Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets. Working with HMD and FIH will let us participate in one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world while staying true to our licensing business model.”

Arto Nummela, CEO-designate of HMD, said:
“We will be completely focused on creating a unified range of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, which we know will resonate with consumers. Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, which is why our business model is centered on the unique asset of the Nokia brand and our extensive experience in sales and marketing. We will work with world class providers in manufacturing and distribution to move quickly and deliver what customers want.”

Vincent Tong, Chairman of FIH, added:
“We are looking forward to fostering a strong and long-term collaboration with HMD global and Nokia. We are impressed by the experience and expertise of the HMD management team and are committed to supporting them with our manufacturing, technology and supply chain capabilities, to capture market opportunities together in the future.”

1 Excluding Japan

About Nokia Technologies
Nokia Technologies (TECH) is Nokia’s advanced technology and licensing business. Formed in 2014, TECH builds upon Nokia’s solid foundation of industry-leading licensing and technology R&D capabilities. By focusing on Digital Health, Digital Media, Brand Licensing, and Patent Licensing, TECH is expanding the human possibilities of the ever-evolving world of technology. In 2015, Nokia Technologies launched OZO, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) camera designed for professionals.

About Nokia
Nokia is a global leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Powered by the innovation of Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies, the company is at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.

With state-of-the-art software, hardware and services for any type of network, Nokia is uniquely positioned to help communication service providers, governments, and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.http://nokia.com

About HMD global
Registered and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, HMD is a new private venture founded to create a new generation of Nokia-branded mobile devices. HMD is run by a group of experienced industry leaders, including CEO Arto Nummela, previously of Nokia and currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business, and President Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.
www.hmdglobal.com

The answer to the question you’ve all been asking, Nokia

We are proud to announce that the Nokia brand will be returning to the worldwide mobile phone and tablet market.

Every day our fans continue to ask for Nokia smartphones. In fact, in a recent survey, we found that Nokia smartphones are amongst the top five considered brands for purchase by smartphone buyers – and they aren’t even available yet.

So, under a new agreement, Nokia Technologies has granted HMD, a new company led by some of the world’s top mobile specialists, an exclusive global license to create a full range of Nokia-branded smartphones, tablets, and feature phones for the next decade.

The new smartphones and tablets will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands, Nokia, with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

There is still much work for HMD to do, so you’ll need to wait a bit longer to see what the next wave of Nokia phones and tablets look like. One thing we can assure you is that they will exemplify what you have come to expect from all Nokia devices, including quality, design, and innovation.

A big thanks to you and all of the Nokia supporters around the world. You continue to remind us of the difference our devices have made in your lives. We can’t wait for you to meet the next generation.

HMD Global Team:

arto-nummela[1]Arto Nummela is currently the Vice President of Mobile Devices Business of Microsoft in Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa region.

Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Arto will become CEO of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.

As an experienced figure in the telecoms industry, Arto has a proven track record in commercial success, building long-term partnerships to enable global business innovation and growth. An intrinsic part of this process – is establishing and motivating strong teams around him – as well as being committed to continued personal growth.

Arto has deep roots in Finland, but has a genuinely global perspective built through experience. His insights into consumer business have been deepened by leading diverse teams from Europe, the Americas, India, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, China and Japan.

Having been an intrinsic part of the original Nokia team, Arto’s list of accomplishments include; open-distribution model development, strategic alliances, joint ventures and partnerships, market-based pricing strategies, global R&D management – specifically for high end smartphone devices, ramping up new global phone architecture work, as well as ramping up product portfolio for new cellular technology generation, alongside a very strong focus on employee loyalty and retention. Arto has led teams in strategic and tactical global product planning, developing and launching new products, as well as brand development and broader market expansion. From 2011 to 2013, Arto also served as a member of the board of directors for CommNexus, a California-based tech incubator, built for start-ups.

Since 2015, Arto has been driving the Microsoft Devices business in Greater Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with global leadership of the Feature Phones business. He joined Nokia in 1994, leading through Microsoft’s 2014 acquisition of the company.

florian-seiche[1]Florian Seiche is a recognised name in the telecoms industry, having been one of the key figures behind the launch and subsequent growth of the HTC brand. He has since gone on to develop and drive the mobile divisions at Nokia and most recently at Microsoft, in the role of VP of Sales across Europe.

Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Florian will become President of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.

Well known for his lynchpin role as President of HTC EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), Florian not only established HTC’s EMEA operations in 2005, he went on to oversee the growth of HTC’s business and brand to become one of the most critically acclaimed phone names in the world.

His big brand global experience is far reaching. Prior to joining HTC, Florian was the Global Director of Devices for the Orange Group in London (2003-2005). Under his leadership, Orange successfully rolled out its ‘signature device’ program, which contributed considerably to increased phone usage and ARPU, while at the same time increasing customer loyalty by delivering a compelling user experience.

Florian began his career at Siemens, where he worked for more than ten years. Between January 2000 and February 2003, Florian served as Vice President and General Manager of Siemens Mobile Phones USA in San Diego, leading Siemens’ mobile phone entry into North America.

Having worked extensively across both sales and marketing, Florian boasts an intimate understanding of both consumer trends and demands, as well as the requirements of the key stakeholders in the telecoms supply chain.

Florian holds both Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Economics from the University of Cologne, Germany. He lives in Windsor, UK with his wife Michele and son Jan-Philipp.

Upcoming FireFox OS powered $25 smartphones with Spreadtrum SC6821 EDGE SoC having 128MB on chip RAM used via zRAM swap by the OS

Hands on with the $25 Smartphone running Firefox OS at MWC 2014 [TrustedReviews YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

We got hands on with the proposed $25 Smartphone which sees Firefox partner with Chinese chip designer Spreadtrum Communications.

[0:15] “This is the newest … set that is running on ultra low-end memory which is 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM. So that’s why we call it the lowest [price] smartphone you probably can get on the market” [0:30]

From With Firefox OS, Mozilla begins the $25 smartphone push [CNET, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla doubled down on its bet that low-end smartphones will give Firefox OS a place in the crowded mobile market, announcing partnerships Sunday that will bring $25 smartphones to the large number of people who can’t afford high-end models like Apple’s iPhone 5S and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 that cost hundreds of dollars.

At the Mobile World Congress here, Mozilla announced a deal with Chinese chip designer Spreadtrum Communications that will mean Firefox OS smartphones will arrive in extremely cost-sensitive markets like India and Indonesia where people often buy phones from a bin in a store.

We’re working with them to break through the $50 $25 barrier [should be corrected, obviously], which is hard,” Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich told CNET. “This is going to be for a set of [sales] channels in Asia that do not involve operators,” the carriers that in other parts of the world dominate distribution.

One company that plans to make and promote the phones is Indonesia-based Polytron. And Indonesian carriers Telkomsel and Indosat plan to sell the devices. Hands-on testing shows the cheap Firefox OS phones to be workable. “This is a price point currently out of the reach of Google and even the lowest-cost Android handset vendors. It pushes Firefox OS into feature-phone territory, potentially signaling the beginning of the end for the category,” said Ovum analyst Nick Dillon in a statement.

Mozilla has found a small niche in the mobile OS market by pursuing its low-end strategy, with the first phones debuting in countries such as Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, and Greece. Mozilla, a non-profit organization, hopes to use the browser-based operating system to lower the barriers that today keep people locked into ecosystems linking hardware, OS, app store, services, content, and apps.

Firefox OS takes on challenges
Today, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android dominate the market for smartphones and tablets. Challengers like Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Ubuntu Touch, WebOS, BlackBerry OS, and Samsung’s Tizen have struggled to push these aside: it’s hard to compete against an incumbent that’s got millions of users, hundreds of thousands of apps, and few signs of the complacency that can open a door for challengers.

Firefox OS won’t have an easy time of it. There’s not as much money to be squeezed from low-end markets, so developers aren’t as likely to pursue it as avidly. The Spreadtrum chipset will support only 2.5G Edge mobile networks that, while common in poorer parts of the world, are too slow for a lot of modern apps. And Google is pushing toward lower-end phones, with Android 4.4 memory-saving techniques [“zRAM swap can increase the amount of memory available in the system by compressing memory pages and putting them in a dynamically allocated swap area of memory.”] that fit KitKat into phones with 512MB of RAM.

At the same time, though, Firefox is pushing, too. It uses the same ZRAM memory compression technique to halve its memory requirement to 128MB of memory, Eich said.

Getting down to $25 phones means Firefox OS will provide an alternative for people who’d otherwise buy a feature phone — a model with a few built-in apps but not much more.

So Firefox has a chance there. But in the long run, to succeed, Firefox OS will need to push up-market, and it’s not clear how Mozilla will succeed there with much stronger competition.

Think Big at #MWC14: Mozilla leadership discuss innovation and digital literacy [ThinkBigEurope YouTube channel, Feb 25, 2014]

During the world’s largest mobile exhibition, Think Big roaming reporters from across Europe cover the smart phone that will give access to the web for millions and the need for increased digital literacy.

Note: Think Big is a Telefonica initiative targeting young people in six European countries: Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia (countries where Telefonica operates in Europe)

How good is the $25 smartphone from Mozilla – BBC News [BBC News YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Mozilla Corp has unveiled a prototype model of what it hopes will become a $25 smartphone. The BBC’s LJ Rich tried it out. #MWC14

Mozilla plans ‘$25 smartphone’ for emerging markets [BBC News, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla has shown off a prototype for a $25 (£15) smartphone that is aimed at the developing world.

The company, which is famed mostly for its Firefox browser, has partnered with Chinese low-cost chip maker Spreadtrum.

While not as powerful as more expensive models, the device will run apps and make use of mobile internet.

It would appeal to the sorts of people who currently buy cheap “feature” phones, analysts said.

Feature phones are highly popular in the developing world as a halfway point between “dumb” phones – just voice calls and other basic functions – and fully-fledged smartphones.

Mozilla hopes that it will capture an early lead in a market that is now being targeted by mobile device manufacturers who see the developing world as the remaining area for massive growth.

It will face stern competition from bigger, more established brands, however – with more announcements of this kind expected over the course of the next couple of days at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“These solutions expand the global accessibility of open web smartphones to first-time and entry-level smartphone buyers by reducing the time and cost required for handset makers to bring these devices to market,” said Spreadtrum in a press statement.

Mozilla said the phone “redefines” the entry-level phone market.

The concept of a cheap smartphone may seem likely to appeal to consumers in developed countries, particularly those who locked into long contracts in order to subsidise the cost of the likes of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy range.

But analyst Carolina Milanesi, from Kantar Worldpanel, said it should not be seen as a competitor.

You’re not really talking about smartphone experience.

You’re talking about a clumsy smartphone that’s a little bit better than a feature phone – still primarily for voice and text.”

The phone runs Mozilla’s own mobile operating system – something that could cause problems as competition in the cheap smartphone market steps up, Ms Milanesi added.

Mozilla also announced new high-end smartphones

image

In addition to the $25 smartphone, Mozilla also launched several high-end models, including devices from Huawei and ZTE.

Mozilla press conference about Firefox OS at MWC 2014 [firefoxchannel YouTube channel, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla demonstrated the breadth and growth of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem at a press event on the eve of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, February 23, 2014. To learn more about Firefox OS please visit: http://mzl.la/1dPqt71.

The $25 smartphone announcement comes at [15:30] with the following slides (note the 1Gb, i.e. 128MB LPDDR1 Embedded in the SoC!!):

image

image

From Firefox OS Unleashes the Future of Mobile [Mozilla Press Center, Feb 23, 2014]

Spreadtrum has announced WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference designs for Firefox OS as well as the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones, the SC6821, that redefines the entry level for smartphones in key growth markets. These solutions are already creating a stir, with global operators such as Telenor, Telkomsel and Indosat, and ecosystem partners such as Polytron, T2Mobile and Thundersoft expressing interest.

$25 Firefox Smartphone (MWC 2014) [ARMflix YouTube channel, Feb 25, 2014]

Mozilla introduced their $25 Firefox smartphone based on 1 GHz Single Core Spreadtrum ARM processor. http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/os/

[0:33] “The key thing about this device is that this is only powered by 128MB of RAM. So this is only one half or one quarter of the existing entry level devices that we are seeing on the market.” [0:47]

Warning: This article does not take into account the SC6821 characteristics, especially its 128MB on chip RAM used via zRAM swap by the OS, as well as its EDGE only networking!
Is a US$25 smartphone possible? [DIGITIMES, Feb 25, 2014]

Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicked off with a bang, with Mozilla announcing a US$25 smartphone built around a turnkey solution that features silicon from China-based Spreadtrum and software from Firefox.

According to a Mozilla press release, Spreadtrum and Mozilla have now completed the integration of Firefox OS with several of Spreadtrum’s WCDMA and EDGE smartphone chipsets, including the SC6821, unveiled by Spreadtrum as the industry’s first chipset for a US$25 smartphone.

So the key to the solution is the SC6821, which Spreadtrum stated is “designed with a unique low memory configuration and high level of integration that dramatically reduces the total bill of materials required to develop low-end smartphones.” Mozilla added that with this chipset, handset makers will be able to bring to market smartphones with 3.5-inch HVGA [eg. 480×320] touchscreens, integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and camera functions, the advanced phone and browser features of Firefox OS, and access to an ecosystem of web and HTML5 applications.

With a clearer picture of the specs Mozilla envisions for a US$25 smartphone, I approached Digitimes Research Analyst Luke Lin to ask if he thought it was possible to deliver such a product to the market at this time. According to Lin, the simple answer is that it would be “impossible” to see a US$25 Firefox phone hit the shelves this year, unless operators are willing to provide subsidies.

Lin explained that currently, the absolute lowest smartphone BOM in China is estimated to be around US$22 (and most are significantly more than that) and that manufacturing costs are highly unlikely to go below US$20 this year, which would be the cost needed to deliver a US$25 smartphone to end users. The cost would need to get to US$15-20 FOB in order to get a selling price of US$25, Lin said.

In terms of Spreadtrum‘s claims it has produced a level of integration and memory requirements that can reduce the BOM cost significantly, Digitimes Research Analyst Anthony Chen commented that Spreadtrum’s solution is no more integrated than any other integrated solution on the market so there is no clear advantage there. And as for memory, the cheapest and smallest memory modules (ROM and mobile DRAM) for smartphones in China run about US$5 for a configuration of 256MB ROM and 256MB of mobile DRAM, and Chen highly doubts the Mozilla solution could run with a lesser configuration than that.

One other argument being offered as to why Spreadtrum could offer lower pricing than competitors is that the China government has a stake in the company. The logic is that an edge in pricing could help Spreadtrum better compete with Taiwan-based MediaTek and US-based Qualcomm.

Chen responded to the suggestion by pointing out that such a statement is not really an argument. It’s merely speculation. Moreover, Chen noted that Spreadtrum’s cheapest products currently sell in the US$3-4 range, and he doesn’t see much chance for the price to be reduced significantly, with subsidies or without.

While it is true that BOM costs are always falling, Lin and Chen agreed that component makers are much more likely to be squeezed in the higher-end segments, where they have margins. At the bottom of the market, the component makers are not really making any money. As a long term strategy for the low-end of the market, they would much prefer to provide improved specs at the same price rather than cut prices, Lin explained, while adding that it is unlikely that the BOM would drop much further at the bottom end of the market, as it is already close to US$20. Therefore, while prices may drop a little, Digitimes Research does not expect prices to drop all that much in the near future.

Another perspective was offered by Digitimes Research Analyst Jason Yang, who stated that if there is any component that could influence the low-end smartphone BOM at this point, it was the touch panel, not the application processor. Yang indicated that currently the touch panel module, with LCD display, accounts for the largest portion of the BOM, at around US$7-8 for the cheapest modules. Yang did state that he believes the price may drop this year, but not enough to bring the overall BOM cost of the cheapest phones to below US$20.

So, if ultimately the announcement was all about Mozilla driving the launch of a US$25 smartphone, Lin doubts that this will happen this year or anytime soon. Based on the current cost structure, Lin believes Firefox models priced in the US$60-80 are more likely to appear in 2014. Of course, users may be able to find spectacular deals and price cuts, but such a situation would more likely be inventory clearance or something similar, not a mainstream price point.

However, if this announcement is not about Mozilla driving the market to low-cost smartphones and is more about a trend where emerging markets will become flooded with cheap smartphones, then it should be noted that this is a process that is already underway.

Currently in China, entry-level smartphones – mostly white-box but even some brands – are already selling in the US$50 range. And these smartphones are not just being shipped to the domestic market. China vendors exported about 30% of their smartphones in 2013 and that proportion is forecast to rise in 2014. According to Digitimes Research data tracking smartphone shipments by vendor and the related market breakdown, the non top-10 segment (which is dominated by Greater China vendors and white-box players) accounted for 12% of global smartphone shipments in 2012, 21% of the global market in 2013, and Digitimes Research forecasts the share will rise to 25.6% in 2014.

So the flow of cheap smartphones from China going to emerging markets has already started and the shipments are steadily increasing, it’s just that the devices cost a bit more than US$25 and almost all of them feature Android as the OS.

Spreadtrum and Mozilla Take Aim at Global Smartphone Accessibility with Turnkey Solution for US$25 Smartphones [press release, BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 23, 2014]

– Integration of Spreadtrum’s entry-level smartphone chipsets with turnkey reference designs for Firefox OS aims to bring Open Web Devices to an underserved audience of entry-level smartphone buyers around the world

– Spreadtrum unveils the SC6821, the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones (retail), on Firefox OS

Today at Mobile World Congress, Spreadtrum Communications, Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, and Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, announced that they have teamed up to deliver turnkey Firefox OS reference designs with Spreadtrum’s entry-level smartphone chipsets. These solutions expand the global accessibility of open Web smartphones to first-time and entry-level smartphone buyers by reducing the time and cost required for handset makers to bring these devices to market. Spreadtrum and Mozilla have now completed the integration of Firefox OS with several of Spreadtrum’s WCDMA and EDGE smartphone chipsets, including the SC6821, unveiled today by Spreadtrum as the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones. These smartphones are available for demos at Mozilla’s booth (3C30) at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

“The combination of Firefox OS with Spreadtrum’s entry-level smartphone platforms has the potential to dramatically extend the reach of smartphones and the Web globally,” said Dr. Li Gong, Mozilla Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices and President of Asia Operations. “Firefox OS delivers a customized, fun and intuitive experience for first-time smartphone buyers and our collaboration with Spreadtrum enables the industry to offer customers an extremely affordable way to get a smartphone and connect with Web apps.”

At Mobile World Congress, Spreadtrum unveiled the SC6821, its new smartphone chipset that redefines the entry level of the global smartphone market. The chipset is designed with a unique low memory configuration and high level of integration that dramatically reduces the total bill of materials required to develop low-end smartphones. With this chipset, handset makers will be able to bring to market smartphones with 3.5″ HVGA [e.g. 480×320] touchscreens, integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, FM and camera functions, the advanced phone and browser features of Firefox OS, and access to a rich ecosystem of web and HTML5 applications, at prices similar to much more minimally featured budget feature phones.

Spreadtrum’s turnkey reference design brings together this highly cost-effective chipset platform with the intuitive, easy-to-use experience and Web/HTML5 application ecosystem of Firefox OS. “Turnkey solutions benefit the vast majority of small handset makers by reducing the time and cost involved in bringing new devices to market,” said Stuart Robinson, analyst at Strategy Analytics. “This joint effort between Spreadtrum and Mozilla will help make Firefox OS more readily available to handset makers that focus on the needs of entry level smartphone buyers in emerging markets.”

Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies to deliver the performance, personalization and price users want in a smartphone with a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use experience that is unmatched by other phones. Firefox OS has all the things users need from a smartphone as well as the things they want like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities, much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser, the Firefox Marketplace for apps and more. Firefox OS features a brand new concept for smartphones – an adaptive app search that literally transforms the phone to meet a user’s needs and interests at any moment.
Firefox OS offers Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs that unlock the power of the Web and enable developers to build fun and rich app experiences that were previously only available to proprietary native apps, which are fragmented by platform and not portable.

Xiaomao Xiao, Spreadtrum’s vice president of software development added, “By integrating Firefox OS support with our smartphone platforms, we are providing our customers with flexibility and choice in how they develop and design their smartphones as well as access to the increasingly rich base of HTML5 applications that are available on this platform. We are pleased to work with Mozilla to expand Firefox OS support to all of our smartphone platforms to provide the benefits of open web technologies to consumers around the world.”

Spreadtrum and Mozilla have completed the integration of Firefox OS with Spreadtrum’s SC6821 and SC7710 WCDMA smartphone chipsets, and expect to complete a turnkey reference design for the SC7715, Spreadtrum’s single-core WCDMA smartphone chipset with integrated connectivity, next month. Spreadtrum and Mozilla’s collaboration will extend across Spreadtrum’s full chipset portfolio.

About Spreadtrum Communications, Inc.
Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company that develops mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones and other consumer electronics products, supporting 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards. Spreadtrum’s solutions combine its highly integrated, power-efficient chipsets with customizable software and reference designs in a complete turnkey platform, enabling customers to achieve faster design cycles with a lower development cost. Spreadtrum’s customers include global and China-based manufacturers developing mobile products for consumers in China and emerging markets around the world. Spreadtrum is a privately held company headquartered in Shanghai and an affiliate of Tsinghua Unigroup, Ltd. For more information, visit www.spreadtrum.com.

About Mozilla
Mozilla has been a pioneer and advocate for the Web for more than 15 years. We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all. Today, half a billion people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to discover, experience and connect to the Web on computers, tablets and mobile phones. For more information please visit https://www.mozilla.org/.

Firefox OS Expands to Higher-Performance Devices and Pushes the Boundaries of Entry-Level Smartphones [Mozilla Press Center, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, today previewed the future of Firefox OS to show how the flexibility, scalability and powerful customization will empower users, developers and industry partners to create the exact mobile experience they want with relevant and innovative features, localized services and more.

Expanding Ecosystem
imageToday, device partners ALCATEL ONETOUCH, Huawei, LG and ZTE are all using Firefox OS on a broad range of smartphones that are tailored for different types of consumers. The Firefox OS devices unveiled today showcase dual-core processors for better performance, higher screen resolution and more. The newest Firefox OS devices to join the family include the ZTE Open C and Open II, Alcatel ONETOUCH Fire C, Fire E, Fire S and Fire 7 tablet, all using Snapdragon™ processors from Qualcomm Technologies Inc., a leader in mobile communications.

In the few months since initial launch, Firefox OS smartphones are now available in 15 markets, with new operators and new markets around the globe announced today. Mozilla is working to create a level playing field with the openness of the Web. The ecosystem is catching fire and resulting in development of new form factors beyond the smartphone. For example, Panasonic announced they will make SmartTVs powered by Firefox OS, Foxconn and Via are making Firefox OS tablets, and Mozilla is working with suppliers to enable devices for all target user groups.

Significant growth is also happening with apps and content on Firefox OS, proving the Web has the potential to be the world’s largest marketplace. Firefox OS offers two ways to discover and utilize apps and content – the Firefox Marketplace and an adaptive app search that enables discovery and access to apps that users can instantly use once or download to keep. This innovative approach helps maximize data and storage usage.

The Firefox Marketplace has seen thousands of developers submitting apps and millions of downloads of popular global and relevant local apps. Top global apps include Cut the Rope, Disney’s Where’s My Water?, Facebook, EverNav, HERE, Line, Pinterest, SoundCloud, The Weather Channel, TimeOut, Twitter, Yelp and YouTube.

image

The ZTE Open C will offer the latest version of Firefox OS
in Venezuela and Uruguay in Q2 of 2014

The Firefox Marketplace makes it possible to create local and niche apps with relevant regional content by allowing developers to build on basic Web technologies, without gatekeepers. The top new local apps in the Firefox Marketplace include Despegar.com travel booking, Capp World Cup highlights, Captain Rogers game, Manana reading app, Napster, SurfTime and more.

Future of Firefox OS
At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla is showing off a preview of what to expect from Firefox OS in the coming year and what’s possible when the Web is the platform.

Firefox OS is made to change with each individual and adapt to his or her interests and needs with features like adaptive app search, offline use and cost control. New content can be enjoyed instantly with a simple search, making downloads virtually a thing of the past. Firefox OS offers deep levels of customization that are unmatched by any platform or device. This is possible because Firefox OS is built on the flexible technologies of the Web and the user interface is made of a modular architecture of building blocks that make it easy for anyone to customize.

Upcoming versions of Firefox OS will offer users fun and innovative new features and services including new and intuitive navigation, a powerful universal search feature, support for LTE networks and dual SIM cards, easy ways to share content, ability to create custom ringtones, replaceable home screens and Firefox Accounts.

New versions of Firefox OS have many performance improvements that dramatically improve the user experience including speedier launch times, smoother scrolling and improved keyboard accuracy.

Here are highlights on a few of the features coming next for Firefox OS:

  • Deep customization options for operators and manufacturers, developers and users. This includes the ability to create custom ringtones and replaceable home screens, which were direct requests from Firefox OS users.
  • A new universal search that will revolutionize how users discover content on their phones. The feature is available on any screen – simply swipe down from the top to find new apps, content or navigate to anything on the phone or the Web.
  • New navigation features to make multitasking intuitive, fluid and smart, much like how users interact with the Web. Users can easily swipe from the left and right edges to seamlessly move between pages, content and apps in a fun way that saves time.
  • Easy and direct sharing of content (and even software updates) in a secure way with NFC support, without the need for data or Wifi.
  • LTE support to make the mobile experience even faster.
  • Firefox OS will introduce Firefox Accounts and services. Firefox Accounts is a safe and easy way for users to create an account that enables them to sign in and take Firefox everywhere. With Firefox Accounts, Mozilla can better integrate services including Firefox Marketplace, Firefox Sync, backup, storage, or even a service to help locate, message or wipe a phone if it were lost or stolen.

As the platform evolves, Firefox OS will enable new technologies for the mobile industry. Mozilla is already leading the way in areas like gaming, privacy and security, WebRTC and other services. Firefox OS is a great platform for which partners can build additional services that meet the needs of their customers regionally and individually.

Early examples:

  • Telefonica offers a very helpful cost control app for customers to manage their usage and top off their account.
  • Deutsche Telekom just announced they are utilizing the deep levels of customization Firefox OS offers to develop new privacy features for the Future of Mobile Privacy project, a joint effort with Mozilla to create effective, user-driven privacy functionality for mobile devices.
  • WebRTC is an open, standards-based technology that enables operators to offer services like real time chat, image and file sharing. With WebRTC, operators can let users make calls to any desktop or mobile device, regardless of platform or service provider.

“We’re pleased to see the Firefox OS ecosystem grow so quickly as users, developers and partners come together to experience and build the future of mobile experiences,” said Andreas Gal, Mozilla Vice President of Mobile. “Firefox OS will continue to evolve and add more features to offer choice and customization that is unmatched by any other smartphone. We’re excited to see what other features and services will result from an open platform being contributed to by developers, partners and community around the world.”

About Mozilla
Mozilla has been a pioneer and advocate for the Web for more than 15 years. We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all. Today, half a billion people worldwide use Mozilla Firefox to experience the Web on computers, tablets and mobile devices. With Firefox OS and
Firefox Marketplace, Mozilla is driving a mobile ecosystem built entirely on open Web standards, freeing mobile providers, manufacturers, developers and consumers from the limitations and restrictions imposed by proprietary platforms. For more information, visit http://www.mozilla.org.

For More information: https://blog.mozilla.org/press/kits/firefox-os/

New Developer Hardware and Tools Show Firefox OS Ecosystem Momentum [Mozilla Press Center, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, today announced new developer reference hardware and tools that will continue to accelerate momentum around the Firefox OS ecosystem, making it cheaper, faster and easier for developers, operators and OEMs to deploy innovative Web apps and create personalized Firefox OS experiences.

Mozilla announced a 4.5” dual-core reference phone, enabling developers to test new Firefox OS features and apps against different memory configurations. It also expanded the Mozilla tablet program that helps developers test their apps and build out Firefox OS for tablets.

New Firefox OS developer tools and hardware demonstrate ecosystem momentum

New Firefox OS PhoneGap integration was also announced, allowing hundreds of thousands of PhoneGap developers to port their existing apps to Firefox OS in a matter of hours, while new WebAPIs will continue to narrow the gap between native and Web apps. At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla also launched developer tools that will allow OEMs and operators to easily customize Firefox OS for a variety of customer segments.

Developers have always been the key to driving innovation around the Web, and continue to enable it as a platform for app development and distribution. With these new reference devices, tools, and WebAPIs, Mozilla is catalyzing the growth of Web apps and continuing to break down the barriers and restrictions inflicted by other app ecosystems. The Web not only simplifies app development and reduces fragmentation, but allows developers to own the direct customer relationship with the option to host their own apps and or sell them through the Firefox Marketplace.

Vision Mobile recently published a report showing that developer interest for Firefox OS continues to grow, capturing 7% of developer mindshare in just six months. The report also highlighted that during Q1 2014, 52% of developers were already using HTML5 for mobile websites or Web apps with an additional 16% indicating their intention to join them.

A recent survey by Strategy Analytics found that the number of mobile app developers building for Firefox OS is expected to triple this year, showing the biggest rise in developer interest of any mobile platform.

This industry momentum is fueled by the fact that there are already millions of Web developers programming in HTML5 who are eager to target mobile without having to learn a new programming language, or pay engineers to target specific mobile platforms.

The following expanded reference hardware, tools, and WebAPIs, will continue to drive growth of the Firefox OS ecosystem and help prove why the Web is a powerful platform for app development and distribution:

New Reference Phone

At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla is showcasing its new developer reference phone, the Firefox OS Flame, enabling developers to test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer, NFC and camera. Like the commercially available Firefox OS phones, the Flame developer reference phone is powered by a Qualcomm processor, in this instance a high powered 1.2GH dual core processor, so developers can test their more processor-intensive games and apps with ease. Developers looking to target their apps for specific Firefox OS phones with lower memory footprints also have the option to alter the RAM capacity of the Flame, from 1GB to 256MB, to see how their apps would perform on lower specked phones. The Flame also provides developers and early adopters with access to the latest Firefox OS builds to test nightly releases and contribute to the overall development platform.
Firefox OS Flame Specs (Reference device):

  • Qualcomm MSM8210 Snapdragon, 1.2GHZ Dual core [Cortex-A7 with Qualcomm Adreno 302 GPU] processor
  • 4.5” screen (FWVGA 854×480 pixels)
  • Cameras: Rear: 5MP / Front: 2MP
  • 3G UMTS quad-band (850/900/1900/2100)
  • 8GB memory
  • 256MB -1GB RAM (adjustable by developer)
  • A-GPS, NFC
  • Dual SIM support
  • Battery capacity: 1,800 mAh
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Micro USB

Hundreds of Thousands of PhoneGap Users Can Now Target Firefox OS

Firefox OS will be supported in the next release of PhoneGap, the leading developer tool for building apps across platforms. This builds on the recently announced Firefox OS integration with Cordova, a popular Apache Foundation open source project that allows HTML5 applications to be packaged as native apps.

PhoneGap is a mobile application development framework used by hundreds of thousands of developers. It is based upon the open source Apache Cordova project and allows developers to write an app with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and then deploy it to a wide range of mobile devices with the same capabilities as native apps. With the Firefox OS integration, developers can now port their existing PhoneGap apps to Firefox OS in a matter of hours, with minimal work. For more information, please see this Hacks post.

App Manager Simplifies App Development with Live Prototyping and Debugging

App Manager brings the Firefox Web developer tools to mobile app developers. It shows how the power of the Web helps developers test, deploy and debug Web apps on Firefox OS phones directly from their desktop. The Firefox Web developer tools are already used by millions of Web developers for creating Web pages, and now the App Manager extends these capabilities to mobile app creation, with the same familiar workflow. There is no SDK to download, developers simply use the App Manager as part of the integrated developer tools in the Firefox browser.

Because the App Manager and Firefox OS both use open Web technologies, debugging, live editing and prototyping is straightforward. For example, an operator or OEM may want to prototype different branded homescreen themes for different audiences. Using the App Manager, they can code this on their desktop and in real-time see the changes appear on their connected Firefox OS phone, eliminating lengthy build times. To see how this is done, please see this MDN article.

New WebAPIs and Industry Adoption

There are now more than 30 Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs with at least eight new APIs introduced in the last year, including WebNFC and Data Store API. These new APIs build more functionality and features into the Web for app development. There is increasing industry adoption as these APIs move towards standardization. Samsung added the Vibration API and Battery Status API to WebKit, while tools like Apache Cordova and Adobe’s PhoneGap now integrate six of the most popular WebAPIs into their products.

Foxconn and VIA Join Tablet Contribution Program

Mozilla recently introduced a tablet contribution program aimed at accelerating the build of Firefox OS for tablets and its supporting ecosystem, with Foxconn as the first hardware partner.

As part of the Firefox OS tablet contribution program, VIA is offering a 7” Vixen reference tablet for developers around the world to help the Mozilla community complete the build of Firefox OS for tablets. Developers can now apply to be a part of this program from this Mozilla Hacks post.

Developer Reference Tablet Specifications:

VIA Vixen:

  • 7’’ 1024×600 HD LCD screen
  • 1.2 GHz Dual Core Cortex-A9 processor
  • ARM Mali-400 Dual-Processor GPU
  • 8GB storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • Cameras: Front 0.3 MP, Back 2.0 MP
  • Wifi: 802.11 b/g/n

Foxconn InFocus:

  • 10” screen (1280 x 800 pixels, 24-bit color)
  • [Allwinner] A31 (ARM Cortex A7) Quad-Core 1.0GHz w/ PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • 16GB storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • Cameras: Rear 5MP/ Front 2MP
  • A-GPS
  • Battery capacity: 7,000 mAh
  • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Micro USB

“It’s clear that more and more developers are choosing the Web as their preferred development platform for mobile apps, as the technical gap between native and Web apps narrows,” said Brendan Eich, Mozilla CTO and SVP Engineering. “We listen to what developers are asking for to make the Web their primary development platform and think Mozilla and its partners have made significant progress with these new hardware, tools, and WebAPIs. It’ll be exciting to see what new mobile innovations come in 2014.”

Firefox OS Unleashes the Future of Mobile [Mozilla Press Center, Feb 23, 2014]

Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, demonstrated the breadth and growth of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem at a press event on the eve of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The event introduced seven new commercial Firefox OS devices and highlighted advancements and partnerships that will enable the platform to scale up in 2014.

In the year since MWC 2013, Firefox OS devices have gone on sale in 15 markets with four global operators and handsets from three manufacturers. Firefox OS will be expanding into important new markets in 2014. Telefónica will build on the list of countries where it’s selling Firefox OS phones, with eight more launching this year: Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. Deutsche Telekom will also add four new markets: Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Operator support for Firefox OS also continues to expand, as Telkomsel and Indosat have joined the list of 21 key operators across the globe that support the open Web device initiative. That list also includes partners announced last year: América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom.

A new smartphone entry level
Spreadtrum has announced WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference designs for Firefox OS as well as the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones, the SC6821, that redefines the entry level for smartphones in key growth markets. These solutions are already creating a stir, with global operators such as Telenor, Telkomsel and Indosat, and ecosystem partners such as Polytron, T2Mobile and Thundersoft expressing interest.

In six short months, Firefox OS has more than established itself in the very markets it aimed to address,” said John Jackson, VP of Mobility Research, IDC. “Today’s announcements underscore the platform’s rapid maturation and growing ecosystem benefits. New products, tools, categories, partners, features, and extraordinarily compelling price points will reinforce Firefox OS’s momentum into 2014. IDC expects year-on-year Firefox OS volumes will grow by a factor of six times in the smartphone category alone.”

Flexibility and customization
Firefox OS devices are the first devices built entirely to open Web standards, with every feature developed as an HTML5 application. Mozilla previewed the future of Firefox OS at its press event, demonstrating how its flexibility, scalability and powerful customization empower users, developers and industry partners to create the exact mobile experience they want. Carriers can easily and deeply customize the interface and develop localized services that match the unique needs of their customer base.

Deutsche Telekom is utilizing this customization to develop new Firefox OS features for the Future of Mobile Privacy project, a joint effort with Mozilla to bring data privacy closer to customers. The organizations’ privacy offices have been collaborating over the past year to conceptualize and develop new privacy features that are currently being tested for consideration in future Firefox OS releases.

Firefox OS is also expanding to additional form factors, as partners and contributors work to optimize the software for TVs, tablets and other devices. In January, Panasonic announced a partnership with Mozilla to release next-generation smart TVs powered by Firefox OS.

“Firefox OS is off to an amazing start. We launched our first smartphones in July, and have since expanded into fifteen markets,” said Jay Sullivan, chief operating officer of Mozilla. “People in Latin America and Eastern Europe have eagerly upgraded from their feature phones to Firefox OS smartphones and now have rich access to the Web and apps. Sales have far exceeded our targets. But 2013 was just the beginning. In 2014, we are differentiating our user experience and our partners are growing the portfolio of devices. We are also enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $25, that will bring even more people around the world online.”

Streamlining the support process
Mozilla has received significant interest from mobile manufacturers looking to differentiate themselves by producing Firefox OS phones and tablets. To help service this demand and facilitate the next wave of device growth, Mozilla launched a new self service partner portal to fast track manufacturers and streamline bringing devices to market. Manufacturers get all the resources and branding required to launch a Firefox OS device in one place.

In order to promote the success of this ecosystem, the Open Web Device Compliance Review Board (CRB) was formed by Mozilla and major global partners in late 2013. The CRB’s aim is to define and evolve the process of encouraging API compatibility and competitive performance for open Web devices.

Partner quotes
Marieta Rivero, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Telefónica, said: “We started marketing Firefox OS less than eight months ago, commencing with Spain and expanding to several Latin American countries. In a number of these countries, Firefox OS has been a market leader in smartphone sales from the very start. We’re transforming the market, and will continue focusing our efforts on open environments that give clients more freedom, and prices that are better suited to their possibilities. 2014 will undoubtedly be a key year for all of this.”

“The continuing rollout across our European markets is tangible proof of our drive to push Firefox OS, together with Mozilla and bring an open operating system to all of our customers,” said Thomas Kiessling, Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Deutsche Telekom. “The introduction of an even more affordable handset on the one hand and a higher-end model on the other also show we are reaching more market segments.”

“Telenor and our operating businesses have seen great consumer satisfaction and a continued appetite in the market for quality, low-cost products based on Firefox OS,” said Holger Hussmann, VP Device and OS at Telenor. “We are supportive and welcoming of the efforts of enabling vendors and device partners focused on serving this great, underserved market opportunity.”

Alistair Johnston, Director of Marketing for Telkomsel, said: “Telkomsel will support Mozilla with its Spreadtrum turnkey solution and device partner as an attempt to bring the smartphone to the palm of every Indonesian and to perform Telkomsel strategy to speed up and enrich the DNA (Device – Network – Application) ecosystem in Indonesia.”

President Director & CEO of Indosat, Alexander Rusli, said: “Indosat as the leading communications provider in Indonesia is ready for Firefox OS smartphones based on the Spreadtrum solution. This is in line with our strategy in 2014 to provide the best experience to our customers and become the customer’s preferred choice for smartphones and smart device users.”

“Polytron is announcing the intention of supporting the manufacturing, distribution, and promotion of Firefox OS smartphones based on Spreadtrum’s latest solution,” said Mr. Hariono, CEO of Polytron, Indonesia’s leading mobile device brand. “T2Mobile specializes in offering our customers the ability to rapidly address the needs of its customers in every segment of the wireless ecosystem,” said Aaron Zhang, CEO, T2Mobile, a leading ODM specializing in Firefox OS-based mobile solutions. “The creation of new Firefox OS and open Web devices will be further accelerated by these solutions and we are pleased to support these new offerings.”

“We are excited by the new and highly affordable possibilities enabled by Firefox OS,” said Hongfei Zhao, CEO, Thundersoft, a leading global technology and solutions provider that helps OEMs’ accelerate high quality product development and achieve fast time to market. “We have expanded our services in new areas including support for Firefox OS, enabling new and unique offerings in the mobile Internet device industry and ecosystem.”

More information
Opening remarks by Mitchell Baker, Executive Chair and Jay Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer

Please visit Mozilla and experience Firefox OS at stand 3C30 in Hall 3, at the Fira Gran Via, Barcelona from February 24-27, 2014.

For additional resources, such as high-resolution Firefox OS images and b-roll video, visit: https://blog.mozilla.org/press.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

“Mobile first”: the origins and the current meaning

With Satya Nadella, the newly appointed CEO of Microsoft now emphasizing “mobile first” together with the already emphasized “cloud first” one is becoming curious about the origins of the concept as well as the meanings attached to it since then:

Mobile First: What Does It Mean? [By Riley Graham for UXmatters, March 5, 2012]

Mobile first has become a popular trend within the UX design and development communities. But, what does mobile first mean, exactly? I first encountered this concept at TechWeek, in Chicago, in the summer of 2011, when I attended a talk on mobile UX design by John Buda, who taught the audience how to write responsive behavior. I was stunned. By implementing responsive JavaScript, it’s possible to tell Web sites to adapt to whatever device a person is using to view a Web site. I had seen Web sites behave in this manner, but until that moment, I hadn’t understood that mobile first is both a strategy and a new way of writing code. I left the conference with some questions, including: What is mobile first? What is a mobile-first strategy? And, why is mobile first becoming increasingly popular? I’ve since come up with some answers to these questions that I’ll share with you in this article.

Mobile First: A Paradigm Shift

Many companies caught on to the mobile-first trend awhile back. Google surfaced their mobile-first strategy in 2010. As you’ve probably guessed from the name of this approach to site design, mobile first means designing an online experience for mobile before designing it for the desktop Web—or any other device. In the past, when users’ focus was on the desktop Web, mobile design was an afterthought. But today, more people are using their mobile devices for online shopping and social networking than ever before, and most companies are designing for mobile. Mobile first requires a new approach to planning, UX design, and development that puts handheld devices at the forefront of both strategy and implementation. The digital landscape has changed, and companies have realized that consumers are now accessing more content on their mobile devices than anywhere else.

Mobile first shifts the paradigm of a Web-site user experience. Instead of users’ viewing desktop versions of Web sites on their mobile device with some adjustments, users are now viewing sites that have been created specifically for their mobile device. This begs the question: how will stationary, desktop computer users view these Web sites? They’ll still view versions of Web sites that were developed for the desktop Web—but designed with mobile in mind. This means designers should tailor site user experiences to the needs of users who are on the go and in multiple contexts. Text must be easier to read and navigate. Photos and maps should be easily accessible, and all content should adjust to display properly on the device on which a user is viewing it.

Digital Strategy

Defining a digital strategy is an essential part of developing a successful product or brand. A desktop-Web user experience strategy differs from a mobile user experience strategy. A traditional desktop-Web user experience is designed for keyboard and mouse interactions, and a strategy for such a user experience should take into consideration the context, the behavior, the audience, the targeted behavior, and the technology channel. The typical assumption is that users are stationary and viewing a browser on a large screen. It’s essential to design desktop-Web user experiences for all users who might access a site—from children to the elderly. On a stationary desktop computer, users can read and understand in-depth content and can type lengthy responses. For games on the Web, users manipulate controls using the keyboard or the mouse.

A strategy for a mobile user experience considers all of the same factors: the behavior, the audience, the targeted behavior, and the technology channel, but the relative importance of these factors shifts depending on the user’s context. Mobile design employs less screen real estate, but introduces greater breadth to a user experience, according with the context of the overall experience. The needs of users change because their context continually changes. Users have a harder time reading in-depth content on a small screen. Without a keyboard, their ability to type is hindered. Mobile devices introduce new modes of interaction such as touch and gestures. It’s possible to play games in a number of different ways, by activating touch targets across an entire screen.

Let’s consider an insurance company’s site as an example, highlighting the differences between a desktop-Web user experience strategy and a mobile user experience strategy. An insurance company wants to build an online experience. The home page of a desktop-Web experience might provide the means for users to call an agent and get a quote as its primary call to action. However, if the insurance company wanted to build a mobile experience, the focus might instead be on users’ context. Users might use the insurance company’s site on the go—to make a claim or get roadside assistance. Therefore, for a site that is optimized for mobile, it would be necessary to reorganize the desktop-Web content.

Why Now?

Currently, many Web sites are embracing a mobile-first strategy, but it’s taken awhile. Why is mobile first finally becoming a popular strategy? Mobile devices are now the primary means by which users are accessing Web sites, and the number of people using sites on mobile devices is projected to triple within the next year. Today, smartphone sales have actually surpassed personal computer sales.

In addition to the consumption of content on mobile devices, another reason is the arrival of HTML5 and CSS3, which together offer new features that support responsive JavaScript calls. Developers can now tell Web sites to adjust their size and, as necessary, optimize their page layouts for particular devices. The mobile environment allows developers to create rich, context-aware applications. The way people access sites on their mobile devices is yet another reason mobile first has become so popular. The limited screen real estate of mobile devices encourages designers and developers to focus on the most important pieces of content. Thus, mobile devices provide users with a better overall experience for shopping, playing games, and making purchases.

These days, the Internet is moving fast. By the end of 2012, it is projected that, in some countries, mobile networks will deliver one gigabyte of data per second through the Internet. This is 200 times faster than the current speed of the Internet in the United States. This increased speed will better support mobile browsing and Internet access, enabling users to complete many more tasks within a small time period when on the go. Cloud computing has also contributed to the popularity of mobile Web site use. When on the go, people can easily and quickly access large amounts of data in the cloud.

All things considered, mobile first is changing the landscape of the Internet. It is a strategy that we cannot ignore. Examine mobile first as a new approach to designing the best user experiences possible. Considering a user’s context and behavior, as well as nature of your audience helps you to determine the best digital strategy for your product or brand. As new devices continually come onto the market, mobile first—an approach to design and development that considers a variety of devices and contexts—will be pivotal to your creating a successful product or brand.

References

IBM’s mobile first plan is really about cloud first. That’s all you need to know [by Stacey Higginbotham from Gigaom, Feb 21, 2013]

IBM’s mobile first strategy is not only about mobile, but about IBM’s attempt to remake the entire IT infrastructure at many companies to use the cloud, data, and real-time nature of social networks to serve customers.

IBM launched its mobile first strategy this morning with several media stories and more fanfare than facts. At the core of the strategy is that IBM (and its customers) have realized that mobile is changing the game in terms of how customers expect to interact with businesses, but also that in putting mobile first they need to change their entire IT to take advantage of it.

As James Governor, an analyst at Redmonk, puts it in his very astute take on IBM’s news:

MobileFirst is a really big deal, because it doesn’t come alone. Mobile first means Cloud First. It also means Social First. It also means Big Data First. API-first. You get the picture. When a customer has a problem they think is a mobile problem, it turns out its a Cloud-hosting problem, and so on. Every mobile engagement IBM does with a client is going to have significant pull through in other areas. In that respect IBM’s mobile commitment is somewhat like its Linux commitment back in the day. IBM won’t make money directly selling a mobile operating system (it will leave that space to the likes of Google), but in associated revenue streams and product lines.

That right there is a point I tried to bring up with Paul Bloom, the Research CTO of IBM Telecom last week when we chatted about the announcement. I was excited about how IBM could pull all of those things together — after all, this is the company that makes billions on middleware — but Bloom was more focused on the telecommunications side of things. And IBM does have an impressive telecom heritage with a history of developing everything from the technologies used on the chips inside some networks to the software pulling the networks together. That doesn’t even count the IBM gear inside telco data centers.

Bloom said that IBM has pulled together roughly 10 acquisitions since 2006 that will help with this effort with a special emphasis on WorkLight, a mobile application development platform, and BigFix, which manages distributed endpoints (like thousands of mobile phones!). Building the underlying infrastructure to support the mobile first world is tough.

Connecting federated apps via APIs and across different platforms is a problem CIOs and developers are just now trying to solve. And making sure those pieces are then delivered in a beautiful and timely fashion to a massive number of different devices with different operating systems and capabilities is like asking a chef to make a meal that will appeal to every human on earth. That IBM is going after this is not unexpected, but it is a tough order.

Mobile enterprise for beginners: What I learned in 2013 [IBM Mobile, Dec 27, 2013]

Throughout 2013 I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with IBM Redbooks Thought Leaders from around the world who are experts in mobile enterprise. They include information architects, application developers and designers, software engineers, IT specialists, education developers and many more. I am an eager learner, so having the opportunity to collaborate with so many mobile leaders has been an honor. Let me share a few of the things I’ve learned this year as a beginner to the world of mobile enterprise.

1. Acronyms are all over the place.

MDM, MAM, MEAP, UX, M2M…the acronyms in mobile enterprise seem limitless. Thankfully our mobile experts have written helpful posts to explain some of the most common terms in mobile.

If you’re new to mobility and confused by all the acronyms, check out Arvind Rengarajan’s “Mobilepedia: The hitchhiker’s guide to acronyms in mobility” and David Judge’s “Learn 10 key mobile terms in five minutes” for quick reference. Both provide an excellent overview of the prevalent keywords and acronyms in mobile, and they can help you to start familiarizing yourself with the significant mobile concepts.

2. BYOD is more than a buzzword.

Speaking of acronyms, bring your own device (BYOD) has been one of the hottest topics in mobile enterprise discussions in 2013. BYOD refers to an IT policy that allows employees to use personal devices to access enterprise data and systems. Essentially it means that you can use your own smartphone or tablet for business purposes, should you so choose.

As Saurabh Pandya points out, BYOD can save companies money and be a huge benefit to workers since it gives them the freedom to choose their preferred devices and comfortably access work email and other resources while on the go.

But of course BYOD raises security concerns too, so it’s essential that enterprises establish mobile device management (MDM) policies that strike a good balance between accessibility for users and security for the organization. Michael Ackerbauer’s post on finding your BYOD sweet spot helped me better understand how crucial this balance is.

Is it time to update your mobile strategy for BYOD? Check out Gregg Smith’s advice in “Modernizing your mobile strategy for BYOD” about assessing your environment, defining your requirements and mapping out a plan.

3. Mobile strategy is a must-have for enterprises today.

By now you probably know that every company needs a mobile strategy, but what should it include, and how are leading companies today utilizing mobile technologies?

Recapping the research findings released this year by the IBM Institute for Business Value, Adrian Warman explains that leaders use mobile:

  • to change the way they do business
  • to drive information engagement
  • to unlock and enable opportunities
  • to secure the enterprise, and
  • to get results.

Adrian emphasizes the importance of four simple themes—transform, engage, build andoptimize—that can help businesses energize their mobile strategy and become mobile leaders.

What specifically should companies think about as they develop a mobile plan for the new year? Another post by David Judge highlights six important considerations for your mobile strategy—everything from MDM to mobile security to analytics. And they are just as relevant for 2014 as they were this past year.

4. Mobile is here to stay, and mobile first is the way to go.

There’s one mobile statistic that I’ve heard more than any other in 2013—that 91 percent of mobile users keep their device within arm’s reach 100 percent of the time. No doubt, mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily lives, and they are now indispensible tools for business. As Anna-Maria Holdenried points out, they are changing the way we work and will present both challenges and opportunities for enterprises as the future unrolls.

Mobile first refers to a design concept that prioritizes mobile online experience, and John Reddin does a great job of explaining the importance and value of mobile-first design. He argues that, given the prevalence of mobile devices today, “mobile design cannot be an afterthought” and “instead it should drive the entire application and web design process.”

But perhaps as we move into 2014 mobile first is becoming more than a design approach—perhaps the concept now encompasses a wider enterprise strategy. I’ve certainly learned a lot this year about the popularity and prevalence of mobile—about how mobile is facilitating business around the world and how preparing for the future of mobile is a crucial element of any enterprise strategy. Welcome to a new year and a new era for mobile!

What did you learn this year, and what are you hoping to discover about mobile enterprise in 2014?

Mobile first at IBM Impact 2013 [IBM Mobile, May 8, 2013]

Mobile first” was a resounding message of IBM Impact 2013. In the general session on day 1, Robert LeBlanc of IBM gave these five key imperatives for businesses to embrace:

  1. Put mobile first.
  2. Reinvent your business design and process.
  3. Adopt a flexible and secure integration model.
  4. Be insight and data driven.
  5. Build on open architectures.

Why put mobile first? LeBlanc says that the next generation of users will expect it, and the numbers are compelling. Take a look at the emerging market in Africa, for example. In Africa, 90 percent of all phones are mobile devices. Eighteen million people use mobile phones as a bank. Mobile money transfers will hit $200 billion by 2015.

LeBlanc said that doing mobile first is not just about exposing the data and interfaces of your enterprise systems to the mobile user. You must look at your enterprise from the mobile perspective in—which will require looking at your processes differently and looking at how users interact with those systems. This is an age where mobility comes second nature. Therefore, the logical next step is to reinvent your business design and process around this new paradigm.

The Internet of Things”

Vijay Sankaran of Ford provided a great illustration of this idea when he presented a new concept car, the Ford Evos, with Robert LeBlanc at the general session. LeBlanc called it a “rolling data center.” It is designed to provide “seamless connectivity” between the user and their “personal cloud.” With this kind of technology, trading stocks at 70 miles per hour can become a reality. Sankaran described how Ford worked with IBM to develop this vision, but he did not talk about the engine or horsepower (that is the old paradigm). The focus was on the user’s interaction with the vehicle. I think that we will see this design approach being taken with a lot of other kinds of “things” moving forward—not just mobile devices but appliances, buildings and our homes.

Other imperatives were reflected in Target’s story. Keith Tanski and Kim Skanson of Target described how important it was for their retail business to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple channels. A shopping session can start on the web, continue in the store and conclude on a mobile device.

image

The challenge to retailers is trying to keep up with these kinds of expectations and the fast-moving mobile endpoint. Skanson used the analogy of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. This Victorian-era mansion was built over a period of 38 years by 147 different builders, without blueprints or a clear end result in mind. It has 160-plus rooms with 950 doors, some of which lead to nowhere. This is not unlike the problem of dealing with traditional systems. You cannot simply tear down old systems while they are still running critical processes. The answer is to adopt a flexible, end-to-end integration model, leveraging reusable components. Target is using a combination of IBM middleware products, such as IBM WebSphere Commerce and IBM Integration Bus, to accomplish this.

That only covers part of what I saw at the general session on day 1 at IBM Impact, and I’m certainly not done talking about putting mobile first. There were other interesting speakers, new product announcements and an interview with Forest Whitaker. You can watch the full replay here.

Designing for mobile first [IBM Mobile, April 17, 2013]

There are now over one billion smartphones in use across the globe. This figure is expected to double by 2015. Tablet sales are also exploding. The software landscape is changing, so shouldn’t our design strategy change too? Modern users expect their services and information to travel with them and in a form that scales appropriately to their platform of choice.

While desktop and web applications excel at offering a high degree of detail and customization, mobile and tablet applications must present a more task-focused design, yet with a consistent and familiar feel. Designing for mobile can bring new design influences back to the desktop, making your overall product better. Stark evidence of this can be seen in the latest wave of web applications and desktop operating systems, which are steadily moving toward a mobile first strategy.

When designing for mobile first, we should follow some emerging rules of thumb.

The design should be context aware and predictive.

If the user reads though two pages of a document, we should assume they will read the third. If it’s evening time and the user has left the office, we can assume they are traveling home.

User interface navigation should be clear and follow a similar pattern across all platforms.

The user should already know how to use the desktop application simply because they’ve already used the tablet version. The reality is that any large-scale product will be comprised of use cases that are more suited to desktop (data entry, file manipulation) and others more suited to mobile (location-aware, audio/video capture, opportunistic). A mobile first design should capitalize on this, enriching the experiences that make the most sense on mobile rather than trying to fit a square into a circle.

There are countless statistics showing that mobile traffic across all sorts of industries is exploding. Those who capitalize on the mobile wave will yield the most success. Designers must forget some of what was previously expected. Fast Internet, an always-on power source and a large screen are no longer guaranteed and cannot be expected. Connectivity from anywhere, anytime, with data about location, proximity, contacts, calendar and a phone can be expected. Rule 101 of design still applies: know your user.

Mobile design cannot be an afterthought; instead it should drive the entire application and web design process. The easiest way to design for mobile first is to craft the experience for tablets and create modifications for desktop and phones. Mobile designers must rethink how mobile users interact with software. The usage patterns are more transient in nature. Think bus stops, sandwich queues, commuter trails, bedtimes—these are when your users will rapidly flick between apps and web pages. Your job is to grab their attention. Polish is key—if an app only does one thing, but does it right, people will use it.

At IBM, we too believe in putting mobile first. Our recently announced portfolio IBM MobileFirst clearly demonstrates this. Our goal is to provide businesses with a true end-to-end set of mobile solutions that combines security, analytics and app development. Coupled with our unique set of business services and deep mobile expertise, we enable everyone to transform their business model and become mobile first.

IBM Placed in Leaders Quadrant by Leading Analyst Firm for IBM MobileFirst [press release, Aug 12, 2013]

Israeli Automotive Company Selects IBM MobileFirst to Transform Customer and Employee Experience

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Gartner has positioned IBM as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms.[i]

image

The new report places IBM in the Leaders Quadrant, as measured by completeness of vision and execution ability of IBM Worklight, IBM’s mobile application development platform. Acquired by IBM in February 2012, IBM Worklight is a member of the IBM MobileFirst family of solutions. In just one year, IBM has advanced from the Niche Quadrant to the Leaders Quadrant.

My insert here: IBM Worklight [EuropeIBMSkills YouTube channel, Feb 5, 2013]

This Webinar will introduce IBM Worklight, architecture and features. Worklight is designed to let you create hybrid Mobile applications using HTML5, Javascript and CSS as it’s business logic coding languages, packaged in a native mobile container to make it possible to run your application in a disconnected mode. Worklight also comes with a feature rich server component to solve business oriented application challenges such as security and authentication, backend service integration, unified push mechanism and much more.

Today’s announcement follows a string of strong showings for IBM MobileFirst services and software capabilities, including IBM Worklight, in Gartner Magic Quadrants this summer. In July, IBM was named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing.[ii] IBM is also named a visionary in Magic Quadrants for Managed Mobility Services[iii] and Mobile Device Management[iv].

According to the report, as this market reaches early mainstream status, Gartner expects Leaders to be profitable, and to present lower risk and consistently high project results as the market begins to consolidate and competition grows. Leaders must not only be good at cross-platform development and deployment, but also have a good vision of the multichannel enterprise, support for standards, a solid understanding of IT requirements, and scalable channels and partnerships to market. Leaders must provide platforms that are easy to purchase, program, deploy and upgrade. Leaders can focus primarily on either business-to-consumer or business-to-enterprise, but vision and execution scores are higher for vendors that can cover both use cases today.

“IBM MobileFirst, which includes IBM Worklight, represents the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of services and software to help clients benefit from the emerging mobile economy,” said Phil Buckellew, vice president, IBM Mobile Enterprise. “Today, with 90 percent of mobile users keeping their device within arm’s reach 100 percent of the time, businesses need assurance that mobile apps can be deployed instantly and across a range of mobile devices including iOS and Android phones and tablets. This is where IBM Worklight and the IBM MobileFirst portfolio excel.”

Colmobil drives greater customer service and improved efficiency with new mobile app

As part of this news, IBM is announcing that Colmobil, a leading automotive company in Israel, sole representative of Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Mitsubishi, is using IBM MobileFirst solutions to boost efficiency and improve customer service. From garages to waiting rooms, Colmobil’s new mobile app unlocks the data stored in its systems and makes it accessible for employees and customers from any mobile device, including smartphones, tablets, display screens and kiosks.

Using the new app, mechanics, team leaders and department managers can easily view progress of every vehicle the company is servicing and make better informed decisions to improve workflow. In addition, customers are provided real-time information regarding status of vehicle treatment from LCD screens in the waiting room or on the go via mobile devices.

image

“By teaming with IBM MobileFirst, we are now able to bring meaningful data to the right people, anytime, anywhere and in an easy to navigate format,” said Gil Katz, vice president of business technology, Colmobil. “With this mobile initiative, we have succeeded in our goal to revamp both the customer and employee experience. Not only have we increased the ratio of vehicles that are ready at the time promised to customers, we’ve also been able to improve mechanics on the workshop floor.”

Using IBM Worklight, Colmobil was able to build a single mobile computing platform that eliminated the complexity of various business processes, devices and operating systems. The mobile solution also provides Colmobil with a highly integrated and secure platform that allows for flexibility in a fast moving technology market.

To download a copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms, click here: http://ibm.co/13TU2Dm

About IBM MobileFirst

As the first new technology platform for business to emerge since the World Wide Web, mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to expand their business. Based on nearly 1,000 customer engagements, more than 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the last four years, a team of thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations, IBM MobileFirst provides the key elements of an application and data platform with the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for the enterprise.

To learn more about IBM MobileFirst solutions visit the press kit orhttp://www.ibm.com/mobilefirst. Follow @ibmmobile on Twitter, and see IBM MobileFirst onYouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.

IBM Pulse 2013 Keynote: IBM MobileFirst [IBM MobileFirst YouTube channel, March 7, 2013]

IBM General Manager Marie Wieck, and Steve Smith from TBC Corp. talk about the opportunities to use IBM MobileFirst products and services to drive innovation, better customer experience, and increase revenue.

IBM Unveils the Most Comprehensive Mobile Portfolio for Global Businesses: IBM MobileFirst [press release, Feb 21, 2013]

IBM Doubles Investment in Mobile for 2013; Combines Software and Services Expertise to Help Businesses Succeed in Today’s Mobile World

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled IBM MobileFirst, the most comprehensive mobile portfolio that combines security, analytics and app development software, with cloud-based services and deep mobile expertise. Using IBM MobileFirst solutions, businesses can now streamline everything from the management of employee mobile devices, to the creation of a new mobile commerce app that will transform their entire business model.

Today’s move by IBM builds off of its experience helping nearly 1,000 customers become mobile enterprises, and takes advantage of its thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations. Additionally, IBM has made 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years alone.

IBM today is also announcing an expanded relationship with AT&T to provide developers with tools to create faster, richer mobile apps and services for customers. For instance, organizations can now quickly incorporate payment and messages into their apps.

“To date, mobile computing has been dominated by discussions of new smartphones, operating systems, games and apps,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, middleware software, IBM. “But enterprises have yet to tap into the potential of mobile business. Just as the Internet transformed the way we bank, book vacations and manage our healthcare, mobile computing is also transforming industries. As these devices become ingrained in everything that we do, businesses are now in the palms of their customers’ hands. IBM MobileFirst is designed to make the transformation to becoming a mobile enterprise a reality.”

Through IBM MobileFirst, IBM is providing companies with the essential tools to take advantage of new business opportunities being enabled by mobile. To be successful in embracing mobile for driving revenue growth, clients must have an integrated strategy for mobile, cloud, big data, social business and security. Today’s announcements from IBM help clients harness these complex technologies to drive innovation and growth. Daegu Health College and the Dutch City of Eindhoven are prime examples of how IBM is helping clients transform using mobile.

IBM MobileFirst includes:

A Broad Portfolio of Mobile Solutions

IBM’s mobile solutions portfolio provides the key elements of an application and data platform with the management, security and analytics capabilities needed for the enterprise. In addition to meeting mobile-specific requirements, the portfolio provides for rapid integration between social and cloud services as well as back-end technologies that help secure and manage strategic business processes. Key aspects include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Platform – New updates include expanded capabilities of IBM Worklight to simplify deployment. It also features single sign-on capabilities for multiple applications. A new beta of the Rational Test Workbench for mobile helps to improve the quality and reliability of mobile apps.
  • IBM MobileFirst Security – IBM extends its context-based mobile access control solutions and expands mobile application vulnerability testing with support for Apple iOS apps with thelatest release of AppScan.
  • IBM MobileFirst Management – New updates to IBM Endpoint Manager include enhanced support for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and increased security standards that are critical to governments and regulated environments.
  • IBM MobileFirst Analytics – IBM is expanding its Tealeaf CX Mobile solution to give enterprises more visual insight into mobile behaviors so they can better understand where improvements are needed and create exceptional and consistent consumer experiences across mobile devices.

To provide organizations with maximum flexibility and accelerate their adoption of mobile computing, these solutions can also be delivered through cloud and managed services.

A Deep Set of Mobile Services for Clients

Enterprises are embracing the mobile revolution at a rapid pace. IBM has thousands of mobile experts to help clients understand how industries will be transformed in a mobile world, based on client engagements across more than a dozen industries. The IBM MobileFirst portfolio features several services to help clients establish mobile strategies, design and implement mobile projects. These include:

  • IBM MobileFirst Strategy and Design Services – Clients can tap into IBM expertise to map out a mobile strategy for employees and customers, and key experience design skills from IBM Interactive to build compelling mobile experiences. IBM’s new Mobile Maturity Model can assess how a business is progressing towards becoming a mobile enterprise, while new Mobile Workshops help clients develop applications, architect infrastructure and accelerate their mobile progress.
  • IBM MobileFirst Development and Integration Services – IBM offers services that help organizations roll out a mobile infrastructure and manage mobile application portfolios and BYOD environments. Enhanced Network Infrastructure Services for Mobile provide IT network strategy, optimization, integration and management. Mobile Enterprise Services for Managed Mobility help manage and secure smartphones, tablets and devices across a business. Mobile Application Platform Management helps speed deployment of mobile infrastructure to develop mobile applications more easily and quickly.

An Expansive Set of Mobile Resources and Programs for Business Partners, Developers and Academics

According to IBM’s recent Tech Trends Report, only one in 10 organizations has the skills needed to effectively apply advanced technologies such as mobile computing. To help overcome this skills gap, IBM is rolling out a series of resources to help its ecosystem of developers, partners and academics tap into the mobile opportunity and augment existing skills or develop new ones. For instance:

  • Developers – IBM today is announcing a relationship with AT&T that will enable developers to enhance mobile apps by using IBM Worklight to access AT&T’s APIs in the cloud. Now, developers have another tool with AT&T to quickly and easily create apps with rich features such as speech recognition and rapid payment.

    IBM is also rolling out new technical assets on developerWorks and CodeRally, a developer game community.

  • Business Partners – With Ready for IBM MobileFirst, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can also embed mobile technologies into their solutions and Software Value Plus now provides mobile certifications, workshops and incentives for resellers and systems integrators.
  • Academics – To help train the next generation of mobile developers, IBM is offering new faculty grants for curricula development. IBM is also making IBM Worklight available, free of charge, for the classroom and via online training to teach both students and faculty to develop for mobile environments.

IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing arm of IBM, can also help companies affordably transform into mobile enterprises. Credit-qualified clients can take advantage of simple, flexible lease and loan packages for the IBM MobileFirst portfolio –  some starting at as low as 0% for 12 months with no up-front costs –  allowing businesses to acquire essential technology and services while managing cash flow more effectively.

Join IBM’s 30 minute announcement broadcast on February 28 at 12 noon EST, live from Mobile World Congress. Sign up at ibm.com/mobile-enterprise/events.

End of the Nokia “magic” hurting European and Asian consumers while mobile carriers are uncertain about the future under the Microsoft brand

… Microsoft should act significantly faster to clarify the situtation, especially in the critical feature phone replacement market where the only real growth opportunities remain. Otherwise it could loose the mobile market even before starting the battle. Such conclusions are also strengthening my recent Nokia should introduce an Android forked smartphone for the $75-120 range in order to enhance its Asha Software Platform strategy and 2014 will be the last year of making sufficient changes for Microsoft’s smartphone and tablet strategies, and those changes should be radical if the company wants to succeed with its devices and services strategy conclusions posted here on January 17.

In addition, there are extremely worrying signs on the horizon as per Jan 27, 2014:
MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2

Just How Much Brand Damage Is Microsoft Doing To Nokia? [by Tero Kuittinen* on Forbes, Jan 23, 2014]

Analysts were widely expecting Nokia to sell 10 M smartphones in 4Q 2013. The company ended selling 8.2 M units, down from 8.8 M in the previous quarter. It’s a massive miss considering the strong sequential volume growth Nokia had delivered during the spring and autumn periods.

Nokia had real smartphone volume traction in the autumn and it was expected to continue – yet after the September announcement of Microsoft acquisition, device sales actually started to decline. For Europeans, the explanation is obvious: consumer backlash as Microsoft association started tarnishing the Nokia brand. Yet for Microsoft executives, this may come as a complete shock.

From the West Coast perspective, Nokia has been a fading phone brand for twelve years. The deep emotional connection many European and Asian consumers have with the Nokia brand is not obvious for American tech executives. And this is why many transcontinental mergers fail: executives have real trouble gauging brand essence across continents. Nokia used to inspire Apple-like loyalty in consumers as recently as around 2005-2007. A residue of that affection buoyed its Lumia sales drive in first three quarters of 2013.

The scale of that backlash is hard to gauge – but 4Q 2013 seems like a genuinely ominous sign for the future. Nokia was expected to deliver 11-13% sequential smartphone volume growth. It delivered -7% decline – an abrupt reversal that blindsided both Wall Street and industry analysts. Something in the European and Asian attitudes towards the Microsoft purchase of Nokia has eluded American tech experts.

* His description of himself:
I have followed the mobile handset market since late Nineties. I spent eight years doing sell-side equity research on Wall Street, starting out at Alliance Capital. I have expanded from handset industry to mobile app market over the past three years. Now back to mobile telecom industry – mobile diagnostics, mobile trend research, mobile expense management. I regularly talk to handset distribution, OS development and app industry pros in Europe, Asia, Latin America and USA. I pay particular attention to tracking phone and app sales trends in Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, Spain, Italy, Germany and the UK.

Lumia sales slump sabotages Microsoft’s strategy before it starts [Computerworld, Jan 23, 2014] in a rearranged way

But analysts aren’t buying the idea that Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition poisoned consumers’ minds …

… Instead, the experts pinned the blame on Nokia first and foremost, and secondly on the all-too-natural distraction caused by the Microsoft acquisition. …

Carolina Milanesi of Kantar Worldwide Panel:

There may have been some backlash in buying Lumia, but for the most part consumers don’t care about these things.

It’s like Nokia said, ‘It’s not our problem anymore.’  The numbers are the evidence that with the acquisition looming, Nokia essentially washed its hands of the business, and probably reduced its promotional efforts and lowered carrier incentives.

There’s still an opportunity for Microsoft, but it needs to work with the carriers and look for those users who have low-end Android phones, who have not invested in the ecosystem.

Those are the people Microsoft-Nokia should be going after. But they need to get devices on the market.

Tuong Nguyen, principal analyst at Gartner:

The wariness would come more from the vendor [i.e. mobile carriers]partnership side rather than consumers.

The challenge is two parts for Microsoft now.

First, the feature phone business is scaling down as they ramp up the Lumia line, but that’s not ramping up as fast as the feature phone is ramping down. And as the industry as a whole has seen less true innovation, the fourth quarter isn’t a blow-out quarter like it once was. The market’s hitting the point, in developed countries anyway, where it’s a replacement market now.

It is critical that when [Microsoft] lands the deal, they go out and show something and say something. Microsoft cannot take six months to do that. It would kill them.

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy:

Microsoft does have a distribution problem. When only two out of 100 phones are Windows Phone, it’s very hard to drive meaningful share, it’s hard to get developers excited, and creates a vicious circle.

The top of everyone’s mind in the channel and among developers is, ‘What’s next, Microsoft? How are you going to drive volume?’ It needs a very early disclosure of what it wants to be in mobile, and must move as quickly as possible to do that.

I don’t think Build is early enough, but I do think that’s where they’ll give some disclosure.

Microsoft will want to take advantage of the friendly environment at Build, where developers who are arguably pro-Microsoft may be able to influence those who are on the fence.

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)

image

Than for the lead smartphone market, i.e. Mainland China I will include here:

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.

image

While for the worldwide market:

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

Nokia becoming the next Samsung from its new Vietnamese manufacturing base?

Update: Microsoft renames Nokia Vietnam Company [News VietNamNet, Dec 20, 2014]: Nokia (Vietnam) Limited Liability Company was renamed Microsoft Mobile (Vietnam) Limited Liability Company, according to an official decision of Microsoft Vietnam released on December 18.

Microsoft had earlier changed the name of the Nokia Lumia cell phone line to Microsoft Lumia. The first mobile phone line with the Microsoft brand was sold at the end of November. However, Microsoft and its retail stores will continue to sell old phone lines with the Nokia Lumia brand.

Nokia officially inaugurated its factory in the northern province of Bac Ninh in October 2013. Since Microsoft’s takeover in April, Nokia has produced nearly 74 million mobile phones by the end of November.

The factory is considered to be Microsoft’s main global supplier after the American software giant transferred its smartphone production lines from China and Mexico to Viet Nam in August 2014.

Microsoft Mobile Vietnam has exported more than five million Lumia mobile phones to the rest of the world thus far. The factory currently has more than 10,000 employees, which include highly skilled engineers.

Samsung has been the pioneer of exploitation of much cheaper manufacturing opportunity in Vietnam. While its production capacity in 2009 was 1.5 million units per month there (from October), it increased to 6 million per month by the end of 2010. Now it is standing at 20 million per month with total of 240 million this year out of the planned total of 510 million.

Relative to that Nokia’s new plant was launched with 5 million units per month capacity for 2013 which could be raised to 15 million units per month by the end of 2014 as the earliest, or by the end of 2018 as the latest.

After loosing the overall phone marketshare this year to Samsung it is now Nokia’s turn to play the catch-up game in manufacturing efficiency and economy like Samsung was launching a similar game against Nokia in 2010. To understand Nokia’s opportunities in this regard one must understand the circumstances which I will explain via the headlines of collected publications you can read further on in detail:
“Nokia will be merged into another company, 40 per cent probability”[Ilta-Sanomat, June 20, 2013]
First Nokia exports dial in a new manufacturing era [Vietnam Investment Review, June 10, 2013]
Nokia’s Vietnam factory opens in Hanoi City [VMPoweruser, April 17, 2013]
Nokia – Samsung the battle of the two tigers [News VietNamNet, May 18, 2013]
Unboxing the cheapest Nokia phone manufacturered in Vietnam [Vietnam News World Vietbao.vn, June 21, 2013]
Samsung Secures Tax Breaks for Vietnam Handset Factory [cellular-news, June 20, 2013]
Work begins on Samsung’s largest cell phone factory [VietNam News, March 26, 2013]
Samsung aims to sell 510 million phones [The Korea Times, Dec 23, 2012]
Samsung Vietnam SEV-Project [SAMOO Architects & ENGINEERS, 2011]
Samsung Boosting Handset Output in China to Beat Nokia [The Korea Times, March 22, 2010]
Dial Vietnam For Cheap Labor [The Nikkei Asian Review June 12 edition, 2013]
Why Vietnam is the new China for the global electronics giants[whathifi.com, Feb 19, 2013]

Let’s start with the news that “Nokia will be merged into another company, 40 per cent probability” [Ilta-Sanomat, June 20, 2013] as translated by Google and Bing with manual edits

Nokia is combined with another company 40 percent chance in the next two years, estimates research firm Strategy Analytics.
Rumors of Nokia’s sales to another company have been moving for a few years already. According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the probability of combining Nokia with another company in the next two years is 40 per cent.
– Nokia has an impressive distribution network and an extensive patent portfolio, which many companies would benefit from, according to [Strategy Analytics] director Neil Mawston assessment.
Mawston says Samsung, LG, Huawei, Microsoft, Google and Cisco, for example, could afford to buy Nokia, and they also benefit from the sales of the company.
Nokia this week contacted Huawei and Microsoft. On Tuesday, the newspaper Financial Times reported that Huawei would be considering the purchase of Nokia. However, the company denied the allegations later, according to the news agency Reuters.
– I think it is very unlikely that Huawei would be acquiring Nokia at the moment, estimates Director Ben Wood of CCS Insight research company.
According to him, Huawei might be interested in the future in some of Nokia’s operations, if Nokia’s business deteriorate dramatically. In addition, he believes that the Chinese manufacturer would have major legal obstacles if it is going to buy a Nokia.
On Thursday, in turn, the newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported that Nokia and Microsoft negotiated in mid-June, the company store, where Microsoft would buy Nokia’s mobile phone business.
According to the newspaper the sales of the company got bogged down due to the weak market outlook for  Nokia, among other things.

We have to have in our mind the other news that First Nokia exports dial in a new manufacturing era [Vietnam Investment Review, June 10, 2013]

image
Nokia has exported the first volume of made-in-Vietnam mobile phones, as the Finnish company plans to expand its investment and operations in Vietnam.
Ivan Herd, general director of Nokia (Vietnam) LLC, told VIR that the handset maker has started production at its $302 million factory in Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in Bac Ninh province, about 20 kilometres from Hanoi, after one year of construction.
Although some of the factory’s facilities remain at construction process and the factory is expected to be launched sometimes in August or September, Herd said “we hope Nokia Vietnam would become one of the largest factories of Nokia in the world”, implying a possibility to further expand investment in Vietnam. He declined to give further details.
Near the factory, Nokia’s rival – Samsung Electronics – has been aggressively expanding its mobile phone manufacturing, raising total investment from $670 million to $1.5 billion. The South Korean firm is also turning Vietnam into one of its biggest manufacturing hubs in the world, starting construction on another $2 billion manufacturing complex in Thai Nguyen province in March.
The first shipment from Nokia factory marks a milestone as for the first time a Nokia handset made in Vietnam has been exported globally.
“We will start with our Nokia 105, and as our capabilities improve, we will move on to other more difficult products,” said Herd.
“Our factory in Vietnam will be part of the global supply network so the expectation is that a maximum 5 per cent of our products will be exported to domestic market,” he said.
Nokia received investment certificate for this factory in late 2011 and the new factory is expected to attract more electronic component suppliers to Vietnam.
So far, Nokia has recruited over 300 employees for this factory. “By the end this year, our employee number will be thousands,” said Herd.
“Nokia does not focus on one cost element but total supply chain costs, infrastructure, our extended supply chain and customer locations. These are the main reasons we moved to Vietnam,” he said.

image

In the very first news about Nokia’s Vietnam factory opens in Hanoi City [VMPoweruser, April 17, 2013] we had more information as well:

Nokia Vietnam has indicated that their new Hanoi City factory, which broke ground last year, is now up and running, posting pictures of the facility and staff on their Facebook page.

The factory is located in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in Bac Ninh, a province in the north of the country, and may employ up to 10,000 workers by 2014, churning out 45 million handsets per quarter [180 million yearly].

The handsets are predominately expected to be low-end, but hopefully it will increase Nokia’s capacity overall, and help eliminate those annoying supply issues which has dogged Nokia’s popular Windows Phone smartphones recently

Later the Vietnamese were assessing Nokia – Samsung the battle of the two tigers [News VietNamNet, May 18, 2013] as follows:

VietNamNet Bridge – Finnish Nokia still holds the biggest mobile phone market share in Vietnam. However, its Number 1 position has been shaken with the rise of Samsung.
Nokia plans to put the factory in the Vietnam – Singapore Industrial Zone in Bac Ninh province into operation in June 2013, when it would churn out 30 million products. The productivity would increase gradually to 180 million products by 2018.
Of the total investment capital of $302 million, $67 million would be disbursed in 2013, while the figure would be $100 million in 2014 and $102 million in 2015.
In order to attract Nokia to Vietnam, the country has to offer a lot of investment incentives, including the preferential corporate income tax of 10 percent for the first 15 years of the production, and the corporate income tax exemption for the first 4 years and the 50 percent tax reduction in the next 9 years.
With the investment capital of over $300 million in total, Nokia is hoped to generate 10,000 workers.
The fact that Nokia has closed down some of its factories in the world, but sets up a new factory in Vietnam can show the attractiveness of the Vietnamese market. This might also be the reason for Samsung to develop its projects in Vietnam.
According to GFK, a market survey firm, Nokia held 54 percent of the market share in 2011 and 56 percent in 2012. However, if considering the value, the giant has made a step back with the market value decreasing from 52.6 percent in 2011 to 45 percent in 2012.
The decline of Nokia has brought the golden opportunities to other manufacturers, including Samsung, to arise.
In 2011, Samsung only accounted for 15 percent of the total mobile phone products consumed in the market. The figure rose to 23 percent in 2012. However, if considering the value, Samsung’s share market increase is sharper, from 17.8 percent to 30.6 percent.
Especially, in the last months of 2012, Samsung, while accounting for 21 percent of the market share only, had its products’ value accounting for 34 percent of the total market value.
It seems that Samsung has left the popular mobile phone market segment opened, while concentrating on smart phones. The popular mobile market segment is believed to be less profitable than the smart phone segment. The South Korean manufacturer targets the high income earners who like using fashionable products.
Also according to GFK, in terms of quantity, in the popular mobile phone market, Nokia’s market share increased from 55.9 percent in 2011 to 65.5 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, Samsung’s has been hovering around 15.1-15.3 percent.
In the smart phone market segment, Samsung’s market share has been expanding steadily from 22.7 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, Nokia’s decreased sharply from 46.6 percent in 2011 to 24.2 percent in 2012.
The fact that PSD, which was a distributor of Nokia’s products in Vietnam with 45 percent of market share, said goodbye to Nokia and joined hands with Samsung after that, is an evidence showing that it’s very difficult to obtain the market, but it’s even more difficult to retain it.
PSD began distributing Nokia’s products in mid 2007, when there were three other Nokia product distributors already, including FPT.
In 2009, the amount of Nokia phones distributed by PSD and FPT was equal. Both of them distributed the number of products accounting for 95 percent of the total Nokia’s products sold in Vietnam.
As such, the parting of PSD would be the bad news for Nokia when implementing its business plans in the Vietnamese market.
NCDT

And lately we had the first product review in Unboxing the cheapest Nokia phone manufactured in Vietnam [Vietnam News World Vietbao.vn, June 21, 2013] as translated by Google

Cheap phone Nokia 105 were present at the shelves nationwide priced at 450,000 [$21.4]. This is the first phone to be manufactured in the factory of Nokia Vietnam Bac Ninh.
imageBoxes for Nokia 105 – Nokia’s first phone manufactured in Vietnam.
Right on the box of the product, you will easily see the words: “the first Nokia phone made in Vietnam”. We can say that this product line is the first important step of the Nokia factory Vietnam to continue rolling out other products in the future, ensuring good price, suitable for Vietnamese consumers .
Nokia 105 has candybar design with a lightweight of 70 grams, but the machine is quite thick with dimensions of 14.3 mm. The cover of the Nokia 105 good plastic material used to manufacture, ensuring that the machine works well when accidentally falling or collision.
Nokia equip 1.45 inch color display with resolution of 128 x 128 pixels and supports 65,000 colors. Capacity 800 mAh battery provides talk time up to 12 hours and 30 minutes. At the same time, the machine also supports the practical functionality for everyday life, like the popular phones like its previous FM Radio and flashlight.
Currently Nokia 105 to be sold at the price of 450,000 Vietnam dong [$21.4].
imageNokia 105 comes just charger.
image
Front with 1.45 inch color screen and buttons with rubber material.
image
It has a thickness of 14.3 mm.
image
The back break with the Nokia logo.
image
Nokia 105 integrated flashlight as the phone lines of its previous high.
image
Bottom edge is a microphone.
image
SIM slot.
image
Screen interface.
image
Menu interface.
image
Playing games on the Nokia 105.
Vietbao.vn (According Zing News)

At the same time we had the news that Samsung Secures Tax Breaks for Vietnam Handset Factory [cellular-news, June 20, 2013] which is showing quite well how Samsung has about 3 years of advantage in terms of exploiting the Vietnamese manufacturing capability:

Samsung Electronics has secured a range of tax breaks for its new factories being constructed in Northern Vietnam.

The company’s US$2 billion cellphone and tablet assembly plant won’t have to pay tax for the first four years of operation and will get a 50 percent break for the next 12 years.

The company also plans three more factories, including a US$1.2 billion investment in a semiconductor facility and each of those will see their land rent reduced by half.

The four factories are based in the Yen Binh Industrial Zone in Pho Yen District, and the first — the handset factory is due to start production by the end of this year.

Samsung’s exports from Vietnam last year were worth $12.7 billion, more than 11 percent of the country’s total exports — although it also imported around US$11.3 billion of components. The company employs around 24,000 staff in the country.

Vietnam is increasingly seen as an alternative to China, where rising wages along the coastal regions and increased international pressure on workers conditions are making the area less appealing for future investment.

And Work begins on Samsung’s largest cell phone factory [VietNam News, March 26, 2013]

image
THAI NGUYEN (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday applauded Samsung’s decision to expand operations in Viet Nam, adding that it would contribute to the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and South Korea.
He was attending the Samsung Group’s ground-breaking event for the construction of a US$3.2 billion high-tech complex in the northern province of Thai Nguyen.
The complex, which will house Samsung’s largest mobile phone factory, is expected to provide jobs for thousands of local people.
It will also contribute tens of billions of US dollars to the country’s annual export turnover, while boosting the development of the electronics support industry in the northern region of Viet Nam.
Dung spoke highly of South Korean businesses’ operation in Viet Nam and pledged to create favourable conditions for them and other foreign businesses to do business in the country on the basis of friendship, co-operation and equality.
The same day, the Prime Minister held a working session with provincial leaders where he urged Thai Nguyen Province to use its potential and advantages in agro-forestry and industry.
Dung affirmed the Government’s policy of creating the best possible conditions for Thai Nguyen to develop into an economic, political, cultural and educational centre in the northern midland and mountainous region.
On the province’s famous tea trees, the leader said Thai Nguyen should develop industrial-scale processing for the product, which was key for the locality’s poverty reduction.
He also urged Thai Nguyen to improve the investment environment, reforming administrative procedures and attracting high-tech projects.
Last year, the province recorded an economic growth of 7.2 per cent, generated jobs for 22,600 people and reduced the percentage of poor households by 2.93 per cent.
Particularly, tea trees have been a lifeline for poor families in the province with the crop growing on a total area of 18,500 hectares. — VNS

Samsung aims to sell 510 million phones [The Korea Times, Dec 23, 2012]

GUMI, North Gyeongsang Province – Samsung Electronics, one half of the global duopoly on smartphones, claims 2013 will be the year when it separates itself from bitter rival Apple.

The Korean technology giant is the world’s largest maker of mobile phones and aims to ship a record 510 million handsets next year.
That would be a 20 percent increase from the estimated 420 million devices this year, according to sources from the company and its suppliers. It shipped around 288 million handsets through the first nine months of the year and is expecting a global Christmas bump.
”Of the 510 million handsets it plans to sell, 390 million are slated as smartphones and 120 million, feature and budget phones,’’ according to an executive from one of Samsung’s key suppliers.
Aside of its Galaxy smartphones and tablets, which have emerged as the main competitors to Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Samsung is planning to release a lineup of devices powered by Microsoft’s Windows 8 mobile operating system. It will also push products that support TIZEN software, which Samsung jointly developed with semiconductor rival Intel.
”There are some possibilities that smartphone demand will slow in general. But we are seeing new demand for devices using Long Term Evolution (LTE),’’ said Kim Hyun-joon, an executive at Samsung’s telecommunications division.
Another source said that Samsung expects to manufacture 240 million devices at its Vietnamese factory, 170 million in China and 20 million in India to complement the 40 million to be produced in its Korean factory in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.
In order to effectively save costs on manufacturing, logistics and delivery time, Samsung will spend $2.2 billion on its handset factories in the Vietnamese towns of Bac Ninh and Thai Nguyen by 2020 to boost output.
”By offering better pricing to consumers in developing nations, we will find new growth. This will also enable consumers in developed nations like North America and Europe to buy our LTE devices at more affordable prices,’’ said a Samsung official.
The plan contrasts a previous outlook by leading market researcher Gartner, that predicted the Korean firm to sell between 250 million and 300 million smartphones next year. In 2011, Samsung sold 97.4 million smartphones, up from 23.9 million and 0.6 million in 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Analysis from HIS iSuppli, another research firm, noted that Samsung is set to seize the global mobile handset market’s top ranking this year, ending the 14-year reign of Nokia.
The report projects Samsung will account for 29 percent of worldwide mobile shipments, up from 24 percent in 2011, while Nokia’s share will drop to 24 percent, down from 30 percent last year.
”Samsung’s proven ability to quickly produce and replace a wide range of handsets aimed at several different markets contrasts with Nokia’s struggles and Apple’s difficulties that are mainly related to parts sourcing problems,’’ said Hwang Min-seong, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
Hwang expects Samsung’s handset division to raise its profit to 21 trillion won [$18.16B] next year from an expected 19 trillion [$16.43B] won this year.

Samsung Vietnam SEV-Project [SAMOO Architects & ENGINEERS, 2011]

imageLocation
Hanoi, Vietnam
Program
Industrial
Area
80,727㎡
Floors
2 Stories
Year
2011

This was started 3 years ago with the declaration that Samsung Boosting Handset Output in China to Beat Nokia [The Korea Times, March 22, 2010]

Samsung Electronics plans to produce over half of its mobile handsets at its three Chinese facilities this year.

For better logistics and labor costs, the world’s second-biggest manufacturer of mobile phones is giving more responsibility to its Chinese affiliates, while the company is leaning toward high-end and pricy phones for its local line, officials told The Korea Times Monday.
According to Samsung and industry officials, it has been set to make over 210 million units or some 80 percent of the total outside South Korea in 2010.
Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung’s telecommunication division, which is in charge of mobile phones, earlier said the company will sell a maximum 270 million handsets including 18 million smartphones by the end of this year.
Samsung’s factory in Huizhou, China, is expected to produce 72.9 million units (27 percent), while another China-based factory in Tianjin will manufacture 70.2 million (26 percent).
The other Chinese facility in Shenzhen will produce some 7 million handsets, the officials said.
A plant in Vietnam will handle 37.8 million units (14 percent), while 59.4 million (22 percent) will be produced from the local line in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province. Lines in Brazil and India will produce 19 million and 10 million, respectively.
Over the past five years, the proportion of Samsung’s mobile handset output that has been manufactured overseas has risen dramatically.
The consumer electronics giant is seeking to cut costs and use these savings to invest in the development of new technologies such as touch-screens and powerful mobile software used to drive the devices’ operating systems.
It can be used to compete with other international brands such as Nokia, Apple of the United States and Research In Motion (RIM) in Canada.
Samsung’s proportion of overseas mobile phone production is forecast to reach a record 78 percent throughout this year. The proportion has steadily risen from 25 percent in 2005 to over 70 percent in 2009, they said.
“The biggest change was that Samsung has given more production authority to its Huizhou affiliate. Better cost cuts in logistics and labor had been the top considerations,” a high-ranking industry official said.

image

Samsung Goes South
Samsung Electronics has lowered its portion of mobile phone production in Tianjin to 26 percent from last year’s 33.5 percent. In contrast, the company raised the levels in Huizhou and Vietnam, respectively.
“Due to cost factors, Samsung’s key lines in mobile phones are going to the south. Better prices for labor and logistics mean better cost competitiveness, boosting edges in low- and mid-tier phone segments,” a Samsung official said, asking not to be identified.
Huizhou is a city located in central Guangdong Province. The city looks out to the South China Sea to the south, while the city Tianjin is near China’s capital city of Beijing.
Officials say an increased output plan at its factory in Vietnam has also been matching Samsung’s realignment moves in production.
Last October, Samsung opened a $700 million manufacturing plant in the northern province of Bac Ninh, Vietnam. It is its first foreign-owned handset factory and the 7th Samsung plant operating outside South Korea.
The factory’s estimated production capacity in 2009 was 1.5 million units per month, however, that will increase to 6 million per month by 2010, and 9 million by 2011, according to representatives.
“It’s natural to give more authority in production to regions that have competitive edges in costs as Samsung has been expanding its output in the global market,” a company spokesman said.
Its local line is handling high-end and pricey phones such as AM OLED-embedded devices. Samsung is pushing for the so-called AM OLED phones to emerging and some of developed markets.
The company has a plan to ramp up the production of AM OLED-embedded smartphones domestically, though the chief of its phone business Shin Jong-kyun declined to comment.
“By sending most of its production outside South Korea, Samsung is managing to keep costs low enough to appeal to consumers while keeping its profit margins healthy by selling premium devices in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe,” So Hyun-chul, an analyst at Shinhan Financial, said.

imageNokia in its Sights?

Analysts and Samsung officials say the transitional efforts will help the handset powerhouse narrow the market gap with the Finland-based Nokia.
Last year, Nokia sold 431.8 million handsets worldwide, taking up 38.2 percent of the market share.
But this was a decrease of 1.6 percent from the previous year, according to research firms.
Samsung, however, saw a 3.3 percent increase to 20.1 percent during the same period.
“Samsung is injecting more resources for its smartphone-related sectors. But at the same time, it is concentrating on shipping more feature phones for bigger shares,” the company official added.
It lagged with its fewer smartphone offerings, but has vowed to attack the market aggressively in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Samsung is hoping to pick up smartphone market shares from faltering Motorola, but the U.S. company itself has been waging a comeback of sorts with its new Android handsets.
Unfortunately, it only has a 3 percent of share in the smartphone market, according to recent reports.
From 2005 to 2009, Samsung’s overall mobile phone shipments grew by 101 percent from 103.8 million units in 2005, according to BMI research.
The company expects to raise its global market share from 21 percent to around 23-24 percent. Meanwhile, Nokia’s market share is predicted to remain between 37 percent and 38 percent level in 2010.
Lee Seung-hyuck, an analyst at Woori Investment, expects Samsung will take up a record 21.5 percent of global shares in the first quarter of this year by shipping 63 million handsets during the January-March period.

Which was reviewed recently by eager Japanese as well in their Dial Vietnam For Cheap Labor [The Nikkei Asian Review June 12 edition, 2013] article:

HANOI, SEOUL, TOKYO — About 30 minutes from an international airport, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics makers has created a town in what is, despite its proximity to the airport, rural Vietnam. It is complete with restaurants, cafes and apartment buildings. And let us not forget the big production plant where the town’s 30,000 or so residents work.
While the Mekong River basin is becoming increasingly linked, Vietnam is also advancing on its own, taking advantage of its strategic location and Asia’s changing business conditions. The growth of manufacturing in Vietnam is illustrative of how labor costs in China, the world’s factory, are becoming too expensive for some global goliaths.
Powerhouse
The company town in the Yen Phong Industrial Zone is about half an hour from Noi Bai International Airport, and perhaps a bit closer to Hanoi, the country’s capital. On a map, the three places look like the points of a triangle. The town was built by Samsung Electronics Vietnam, a unit of South Korean powerhouse Samsung Electronics Co.
This new facility in Bac Ninh Province produces many of the company’s handheld devices, such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II, around the clock. Its output came to 120 million units last year, accounting for 30% of Samsung’s worldwide handheld shipments. This year, the number is expected to climb to 240 million units, with smartphones making up much of the increase.
Heart of the action
The global smartphone market will expand to 918 million units this year, according to estimates from U.S. research firm IDC. Samsung’s Vietnamese production base will likely supply more than 20% of this volume.
This puts the Southeast Asian nation hot on the heels of the giant economy to the north, which has been responsible for roughly half the world’s smartphone output. And Vietnam is not just where the final product is being assembled; it is also becoming a hub for electronic parts makers, mostly to feed Samsung’s smartphone production.
Samsung decided to set up shop in northern Vietnam to take advantage of the region’s low labor costs as well as its proximity to South Korea, Taiwan and China, where most key smartphone and mobile phone parts are still made.
imageAccording to Ryo Ikebe, an assistant professor who studies economic collaboration between Vietnam and China’s south at Fukui Prefectural University, the trade of integrated circuits and other electronic components between the two countries has been surging since last year.

Samsung also flies in DRAM memory chips, organic electroluminescent panels and other core components from South Korea.

A facility has been set up in the town for the sole purpose of handling Samsung’s cargo. Customs procedures, X-ray inspections and other clearance steps normally carried out at airports are done right beside the factory.
It is estimated that nearly 3,000 metric tons of Samsung products are exported from Noi Bai airport every month, accounting for 40% of all cargo leaving the airport.
To handle all the Samsung shipments, Korean Air Lines Co. lands six large cargo planes a week at the airport. Asiana Airlines Inc., another South Korean carrier, comes by three times a week. A lot of the shipments stop in South Korea on their way to Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Ikebe believes that because Greater Hanoi is only 1,000km or so from China’s Guangdong Province, the entire region has the potential to develop into a single economic bloc, with specialized manufacturers operating symbiotically on both sides of the border.
Vietnam exported $12.7 billion worth of handsets and parts in 2012. That is double the previous year’s total and 11% of the country’s overall exports. Thanks to the surge, Vietnam recorded its first trade surplus in 19 years.
More coming
The country is about to become an even bigger smartphone production base. Nokia Corp. has decided to build its own plant in Bac Ninh. The world’s No. 2 cellphone maker could begin production there this summer.
For Japan’s electronic parts makers, Samsung has become a major client on par with Apple Inc. Inspired by the Korean giant’s big footprint in Vietnam, some Japanese companies are rushing to expand their own production in the country.
Meiko Electronics Co., a maker of printed-circuit boards, is expanding the capacity of its Hanoi factory. It will double the facility’s production capacity by bringing in equipment from China. And from fiscal 2014 onward, it will go on a Y4-5 billion ($39.6-49.5 million) per-year investment binge, all the money going into production equipment.
Toko Inc. is a midsize company that makes high-performance coils used in smartphone power circuits. It has been supplying Samsung and other companies from its factory in Da Nang, a port city in central Vietnam. Current production is 130 million units per month, up 10% from the end of last year.
Foster Electric Co., which makes the earphones that come with smartphones, is mechanizing the manufacturing of diaphragms at its factory in Vietnam.
And Panasonic Corp. last year set up a factory for multilayer printed-circuit boards in Vietnam. It sees potential in supplying the key part to Samsung.
Samsung has suppliers within the Samsung group for the components that go inside its smartphones. But the company is expected to buy even more parts from outside suppliers now that its smartphone sales are going ballistic.
Given that so many of today’s smartphone parts are feather light, Samsung can still make a tidy profit even if it flies in parts from makers based in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan.
That said, if the number of smartphones produced in Vietnam continues to increase, it will be cheaper to mass-produce the parts locally. Toward that end, Vietnam’s government is already busy showing foreign parts makers around the Yen Phong Industrial Zone.
— Translated from an article by Nikkei staff writers Manabu Ito, Kentaro Ogura and Yoshio Takatsuki

The trend is obvious, but Why Vietnam is the new China for the global electronics giants [whathifi.com, Feb 19, 2013]

There’s a problem with China.
It’s not the oft-rehearsed arguments about British jobs being exported there, products bearing ‘once-great’ British names being made in Chinese factories or even whole British companies falling into Chinese hands.
No, the problem with China is that it’s getting a bit too expensive for its own good, thanks to rising standards of living, the demand for production capacity there, and the growing aspirations of Chinese workers – they’re now not just making the products we all buy, but thinking of being able to buy them, too.
And that’s leading ever more companies to look for new countries in which to manufacture, with serious investments being made in the likes of Brazil – where one company is planning five new plants – and Vietnam, the target of substantial further investment from South Korea’s two consumer electronics big-hitters, LG and Samsung.
It’s one of the clichés of the modern age: products once made by proud British craftsmen in brown shop-coats and flat caps, the stub of a pencil behind one ear and a roll-up behind the other, now being put together by slave-labour Chinese teenagers working night and day for a pittance.
The truth – as in this IAG factory where Audiolab, Quad and more are made – is often far from that myth, but the fact remains that yes, Chinese wages are still much lower than in Europe or the US, for example.
20% annual wage rises
However, they have been rising, and fast – by up to 20% a year for the past half-decade.
For example Foxconn, the Taiwan-based company that’s both one of the biggest employers in China, with a million-plus-strong workforce in its 13 factories there, and one of the best-known – due to the fact it makes iPods, iPhones and iPads alongside Kindles, Wiis and PlayStations and much more – , hiked its workers’ wages by 16-25% last year.
That was just the most recent of several wage increases on a similar scale, and such rises have led some economic forecasters to suggest that China is in great danger of pricing itself out of the market, predicting that the cost of manufacturing there could double, or even treble, by the end of this decade.
Cheaper in America?
Indeed, some commentators even suggest that if the costs of shipping, and Chinese workers’ wages, continue to rise as they have, within a few years it’s going to just as cost-effective to make products in North America as in China.
Certainly the companies once looking to China for cost-effective – oh, OK then, cheap – manufacturing are casting their net wider.
Foxconn has announced that, although it’s planning more factories in China, it’s investing almost $500m in five new plants in Brazil, creating 10,000 jobs, and three more in Malaysia, to add to other operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Mexico – not to mention the joint-venture Sharp LCD plants in Japan, which it now more or less runs, and which it is expected to acquire completely at some point.
And for both LG and Samsung, Vietnam seems to be the new frontier: both companies already have plants there; both are planning significant investment and expansion in the country.
LG is already manufacturing all four of its major product lines – TVs, fridges, washing machines and air conditioners – at factories in Vietnam, but is now set to invest $300m in a new plant in Haiphong, the country’s third city.
The new facility, set to be up and running by 2020, will enable LG to integrate its existing operations in the port city, east of Hanoi, and surrounding areas, enabling it to meet growing local demand as well as having capacity for exports.
It’s also considering the manufacture of mobile phones at the facility.
The plan will see production being shifted from China to the new plants, LG citing lower labour costs and the availability of skilled workers, and the company hopes it will be sweetened by Vietnamese government incentives including reduced prices for land leases and extended exemptions from corporation tax.
Not to be outdone, Samsung already has in place plans to build at least one more plant to assemble mobile phones and other hi-tech electronics in Thai Nguyen province, north of Hanoi, and possibly a third.
It already has a factory employing 24,000 and making 11m products a month in Vietnam, and expected to export goods worth $10bn this year.
Since opening that first plant (above) in 2009, it has just about doubled output each year, although some Vietnamese commentators question whether this is giving the country a mobile phone industry, or just an assembly one for foreign investors.
One expert on the country’s mobile phone industry last year bemoaned the fact that only the plastic casework for mobile phones was actually manufactured locally, and accounted for just one percent of the value of the finished product.
Samsung’s new plant in Thai Nguyen, the land lease for which was signed a couple of weeks ago, is the subject of a $700m investment, with Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee, seen above visiting Samsung’s existing production plant in Vietnam, saying that there are plenty of further opportunities for investment in the country.
He’s probably right – after all, economic analysts are already describing Vietnam as having the potential to become the ‘new industrial factory of the world’.
The process by which recent industrialisation started in Japan, moved to South Korea, Taiwan and the like, then on to Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and has settled for now in China. will, it seems, just keep on rolling.
Writing this piece, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a press trip to the Far East many years ago, when a number of journalists were helicoptered into a factory in Thailand – one of three we visited that day owned by a Japanese company making speaker drive units.
One of our number commented on the large number of young Thai women working on the production lines, and our host, the factory boss, explained to us that they were brought in from agricultural areas all over the country.
They’d never left their rural homes before, had taken some time to adapt to the conveniences of modern living – especially the ‘conveniences’, our Japanese host stressed – and had been specially chosen for their small nimble fingers, especially suited to handling the tiny precision components used on the lines.
‘Not to mention being very, very cheap,’ muttered one of my fellow travellers…
Written by Andrew Everard
Follow whathifi.com on Twitter
Join us on Facebook

New Nokia Asha platform for developers

This is a very throroughly designed platform with carefully defined Nokia Asha Design Guidelines providing all the details as well as a comprehensive set of tools supporting that. From Series 40 to Nokia Asha is giving advice about migrating earlier S40 and Asha apllications to the Asha platform. It is also worth to have a look at that as by doing so you can compare the new Nokia Asha with earlier Asha Full Touch and Asha Touch and Type.

Preliminary reading:
The New Asha Range [global Nokia microsite, May 9, 2013] with separate Fastlane, Design and Browsing pages
The Asha Apps Revolution [Nokia Conversations post, May 9, 2013]
New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information
Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 2, 2013] my composite post analyzing the technologies which are provided now with the new Asha platform

Nokia Asha — Platform overview [May 9, 2013]

The key features of the platform are:

    • Platformised in software and hardware — complementing the Nokia Asha software platform is an increased focus on platformising the phone hardware, developers will now have greater certainty that a hardware feature they want to exploit in an app will be available across the new Nokia Asha family.
    • Firmware updating — smartphone users expect regular firmware update to bring new features and functions to their phones, the Nokia Asha platform has been built with this demand in mind and updates are already in development.
    • User experience — a engaging, sophisticated UI, optimised for 3″ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) displays. The UI employs a swiping style for navigation between apps and the home screen, and within the home screen. It also enables apps to use the whole screen by hiding the status and menu bars until they are swiped into view.
    • More advanced, fully featured apps are easier with Java. Harness features such as 2D and 3D graphic, accelerometers, and location information among others giving you more options to deliver the quality of apps consumers expect on a smartphone.
    • With web apps online, content is delivered using up to 90% less data, while offering users an interactive, engaging UI because, unlike other proxy browser system, Nokia Asha web apps can update their UI locally on the phone.

    Java highlights

    • All new Oracle VM.
    • JAR files up to 5Mb and up to 3Mb heap memory (recommended).
    • New Asha UI for intuitive, fast interaction.
    • Mobile Internationalization API (JSR-238) and new Nokia specific APIs for features such as image scaling and network state.
    • Earn from you apps with paid downloads, advertising, and in-app payments.
    • Updated tools, with updated emulator and WiFi based on-device debugger.
    • Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.

    Web app highlights

    • Powered by the latest Gecko rendering engine.
    • Rich UIs with dynamic list and fixed and scrollable regions.
    • API to build hardware back-button navigation into your app.
    • Ability to capture photos and videos.
    • Discovery through the Nokia Store.
    • Earn from you apps with paid downloads and advertising.
    • Updated tools with new simulator and code examples.
    • Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.

    UX Overview – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [April 17, 2013]

    Nokia Asha is built around the concept of stacked layers that can be directly manipulated by the user.

    image

    Base layout – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha UI combines the use of the swipe gesture and back hardware key for navigation, and therefore apps have no mandatory control areas on screen. Each app view can be easily designed for its main purpose, maximising the amount of relevant content on the UI. The base layout in Nokia Asha has two main areas: status bar and content area.

    image

    In addition to using the content area for app content, apps can add optional controls, Category bar (with tabs or actions) and Header bar. When the view offers few, rarely used options only, placing them under the Options menu is possible. The Options menu is accessed by swiping from the bottom of the screen. When the Options menu is available, the screen shows an Options menu indicator at the bottom.

    NOTE: When using LCDUI List, TextBox, Alert, or Form, the Header bar will be automatically added to the top of the view. When drawing on Canvas, the Header bar can be left out.


    Developing applications with Java – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines
    [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha provides a few alternatives for developing Java applications. The following information can be used to select the best approach for designing and developing your application.

    CHOOSING YOUR APPROACH

    Custom UI on Canvas

    Using LCDUI high-level components

    Using LWUIT components

    image

    image

    image

    Full screen apps or apps with chrome (Status bar and Header).
    Everything drawn on Canvas pixel by pixel.
    Good approach for game development.
    LCDUI high-level components and Nokia UI API’s are in use.
    Components are styled with Asha look & feel.
    Custom components can be created with CustomItem.
    Offers a more comprehensive component set with many customisation options.
    Components are styled with Asha look and feel, but also custom theming is easy for branded look and feel.
    Custom UI on Canvas
    Canvas class is the main template for customised MIDlet functions. Using Canvas, the MIDlet can use any drawing primitives provided by the LCDUI Graphics interface and can receive key events. The drawback is that the MIDlet will not be as portable as ones created using only high-level APIs.
    A common example of a MIDlet that uses Canvas is a mobile game that requires pixel-accurate drawing and access to low-level keypad events. Read more information about Canvas from the Java Developer’s Library.
    Using LCDUI high-level components
    Limited Connected Device User Interface (LCDUI) is the base of any Graphical User Interface (GUI) created in Java™ ME (Java Platform, Micro Edition). It has a similar role to the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and Swing APIs, which are used in Java SE (Java Platform, Standard Edition) and Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition), but offers a more restricted and resource-efficient approach to UI development.
    LCDUI has a simple screen-based approach, where a single Displayable is always active in the display area of the application user interface. This Displayable can contain predefined screen elements, or be manipulated in more specific ways.
    On a logical level, the MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) UI is divided into two levels: high and low. In general, the choice is made between the easy, quick and portable high-level APIs and the more customisable low-level APIs.
    image
    Figure 1. LCDUI overview
    Read more about the LCDUI from the Java Developer’s library.
    Using LWUIT components
    LWUIT (LightWeight UI Toolkit) is an open source alternative that provides a comprehensive selection of customisable UI components, layouts, and effects. Use of the ready-made Nokia Asha theme for the components is recommended, but developers can also easily create their own custom themes for branded look and feel. LWUIT is highly portable, as it scales to different screen resolutions and orientations, and has built-in support for touch and non-touch UI.
    LWUIT applications are created on top of LCDUI Canvas. Though LWUIT has been optimised for Nokia Asha phones, LCDUI is a better option for performance critical applications, especially on phones with cost-optimised hardware. Also, when a compact application binary size is crucial, LCDUI should be considered instead, because the LWUIT library is added to every LWUIT application and it increases the application size by 200-800 kB (depending on the application features).
    image
    Figure 2. LWUIT overview

    Nokia Asha — Java — Tools [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta)

    Create apps for the Nokia Asha family on Nokia Asha software platform using the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta). Then test your apps in an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501. The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) offers:

    Nokia Asha UI emulation
    The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 contains an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501, providing mouse based emulation of the phone’s touch features making testing easy.
    LWUIT for richer Uis
    A Nokia Asha platform optimised implementation of the LWUIT is included as a plug-in. Delivering rich UIs has never been easier.
    Integrated HERE Maps API
    It’s now even easier to add rich maps to your location based apps, as the HERE Maps API for Java ME is integrated into the SDK.
    Enhanced location features
    The emulator delivers updated location details from the integrated Route Editor to your Java apps, enabling richer testing of your location based apps.
    Multiple-touch simulation
    The Pinch-to-zoom simulator enables multipoint-touch gestures to be recorded and sent to the emulator.
    Sensor emulation
    You can simulate fully the orientation of a Nokia Asha phone in the emulator, enabling the testing of apps and games using the Mobile Sensor API (JSR-256).
    Enhanced media playback
    The emulator offers accurate media playback enabling complete testing of media delivered through your apps.
    Keyboard input
    Enter text directly from your PC keyboard into fields in the emulator, to speed up testing.
    Emulator tools
    Simplify and speed up your testing with the diagnostic window, MIDP speed simulator, configurable MIDP monitoring, and events generator among other tools.
    Java API emulation
    The emulator provides full support for MIDP and CDLC, along with the APIs provided in the Nokia Asha platform.
    Real phone emulation
    As the emulator is based on the Nokia Asha 501, it provides you with a realistic implementation of UI, user apps, messaging, and network communication features. Now you can accurately and conveniently test your apps on a PC.
    Selecting your SDK made easy
    The exclusive Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target earlier Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.


    Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta)

    While the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) is designed to work with the NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs, for the easiest and most straightforward development experience, the SDK includes the Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta). Building on the power of the Eclipse platform for Java development, the Nokia IDE for Java ME delivers exclusive features for your Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 Java apps.

    Welcome to your new IDE
    A comprehensive welcome screen provides details on developing Java apps for the Nokia Asha platform and Series 40, available APIs, links to key Nokia Developer resources, and more.
    Selecting your SDK made easy
    The integrated Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.
    Nokia specific JAD editor
    A customised JAD attributes editor makes it easy to add the information you need to effectively target your apps’ build to the Nokia Asha and Series 40 platforms.
    In-app purchase and location templates
    Get started quickly with your apps that take advantage of in-app advertising or location with new templates that includes everything you need.
    Access to examples
    Load any of over 40 example apps straight into your workspace. Covering many aspects of the Java APIs on the Nokia Asha platform, these examples can kick-start your development.
    Nokia Hub
    Quickly find more information on publishing apps, remote access to phones for testing, Nokia Developer news, and code examples though the Nokia Hub menu.


    Remote Device Access

    Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones

    With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Install your app then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.

    Learn more ›

    And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.


    Nokia Asha — Web apps
    [May 9, 2013]

    The Nokia Asha software platform provides a powerful, data efficient web apps environment. Targeting this environment, you leverage your web development skills to create connected apps that deliver web content with an engaging, interactive UX that’ll appeal to consumers globally or can be targeted at specific local markets.

    • New user experience — the Nokia Asha UI builds on the popular Series 40 UI. Delivered through a 3.0’’ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA capacitive touch screen (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]), it supports two touch points for pinch-to-zoom and similar gestures. The UI swipe paradigm has been extended to include the Options Menu and fast access to the Home screen. A hardware back-button enables consumers to easily navigate an app’s hierarchy.
    • New APIs — so you to make most of the Nokia Asha UI, web apps include an API to listen for the hardware back-button. In addition, enhanced HTML tag support also means you can add image and video capture to your web apps.
    • New tools — the Nokia Asha web app tools deliver a Nokia Asha software platform option to the simulator and fresh examples that show you how to use the latest APIs.

    Start with the Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0

    image

    See how to create, test, package, and deploy to a phone your first Nokia Asha web app.
    Follow the step-by-step guide ›

    Start with Xpress Web App Builder

    Xpress Web App Builder offers a no-code approach to creating Nokia Asha web apps and delivering them directly to your Nokia Publish account.
    Watch the video ›

    When Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 graduates beta you will be able to use it to target all the phones that support Xpress Browser. During the beta phase the ability to capture images and video will only be available on the Nokia Asha 501. You can target all other features at Series 40 phones with Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 or download Nokia Web Tools 2.3.

    Nokia Asha web apps UI [May 4, 2013]

    Nokia Asha web apps UIs benefit from the features of the Nokia Asha UI, such as its swipe interaction to reveal the Options Menu, which enable web apps to focus the entire phone screen on content. When designing a web app UI, you have the freedom offered by web technologies coupled with the dynamic UI features offered by the Nokia Asha web apps runtime, such as the ability to dynamically update lists or set fixed and scrollable areas within your apps. Web apps can also make use of the hardware back-button to offer users safe and simple navigation of an app’s hierarchy.

    A great UX is about more than simply implementing a UI style; whether you are new to design or a seasoned pro, access a range of resources to help you create the best and most engaging experience in your apps and games. To get started check out the Nokia Asha web app design library before discovering other useful resources, such as design guidelines, UI stencils, and icon templates in the Design and User Experience Library.

    What’s new in web app UX design [May 4, 2013]

    The Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 offers a significantly updated UI compared to its predecessor, the full-touch UI on Series 40. This section describes the key UX changes that effect web apps:

    • screen size – the New Nokia Asha UI on the Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 supports 240 x 320 pixel screens. For more information, see the Displays topic.
    • multiple page support – the Nokia Xpress Browser 3.0 supports up to four active browser windows, enabling up to four web app to be run at once.
    • touch gestures – the New Nokia Asha UI extends the platform wide mechanism for accessing key features using a swipe from the edge of the screen. As this mechanism overrides application behaviour, care needs to be taken in the design of web apps to ensure gestures within the web app aren’t confused with the system wide gestures. Ffor more information, see the Touch Gestures topic.
    • back button behaviour – the New Nokia Asha UI employs a physical back button, this back button implements back-stepping in platform and Java apps. For web apps a new Mobile Web Library method addBackNavListener() enables the key to be captured so that web apps can implement the same back-stepping behaviour. For more information, see the Navigation Controls topic.
    • Options menu – the Options menu is opened with a swipe gesture from the bottom of the screen in the New Nokia Asha UI. The menu by default contains the Data counter item, but no longer includes an exit item. For more information, see the Options Menu topic.
    • launching web apps – from within the Nokia Xpress browser web apps will be launched from the Featured Apps option. For more information, see the Launching web apps topic.
    • file upload and download – the Nokia Xpress Browser Download Manager is available from within web apps. For more information, see File uploads and downloads topic.
    • passwords – web app passwords can now be cleared from the phone’s Settings feature. For more information see Passwords topic.
    • Data Usage option – web apps can now access a report on their data use. For more information see the Data Usage topic.

    Nokia Asha — Web apps — Tools [May 9, 2013]

    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta)

    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta) delivers a suite of applications that assist in the development, testing, packaging, and deployment of Nokia Asha web apps, including preparing them for distribution through Nokia Store. The key components of Nokia Asha web app tools are Web Developer Environment (WDE) and Web App Simulator (WAS).

    Download Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta)

    During the beta release the features to provide the capture of images and video from within web apps won’t be available on earlier Series 40 platform phones supporting Xpress Browser.

    Web Developer Environment [WDE]

    Built on the Eclipse platform, Web Developer Environment delivers the code creation tools needed to efficiently create and package web apps.

    Extensive templates for new projects
    Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 offers wider variety of templates for common web apps styles, which you can use to quick-start the development of your web apps. Import existing projects to take advantage of enhanced editing features.
    UI Designer
    With the UI Designer you can build web app interfaces by dragging and dropping UI component snippets and laying them out visually, enabling you to create web apps UIs faster.
    Powerful code editing
    With code completion and full validation, your coding will be quicker and more accurate, enabling you to build Nokia Asha web apps faster.
    Comprehensive range of examples
    The range of web app examples has been further expanded in Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0, to illustrate use of the hard back-key and media capture. You can now easily access more examples of how to code common web app APIs and features.
    Targeted HTML/CSS validation
    Validation of HTML and CSS includes specific Nokia Asha web apps rules. You get better feedback to ensure your web app will work optimally on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones.
    Partial web app upload
    When uploading a web app to the preview server, the Web Developer Environment only uploads changed content. This makes starting a cloud preview fast, minimising the time needed to test your web apps.
    Packaging
    Your web apps are automatically packed by the tool and delivered in the format required for distribution through Nokia Store.
    Published web apps’ JAR
    Once your web app has been published to Nokia Store you can request a copy of the deployment JAR. This enables you to distribute your web app on websites and through other app stores.
    Deploy for phone testing
    Completed Nokia Asha web apps can be deployed directly from the Web Developer Environment over a USB connection for testing on a Nokia Asha platform or Series 40 phone, while for Series 40 phones deployment over Bluetooth is also available.
     

    Web App Simulator

    Run your Nokia Asha web apps on a computer during development using the Web App Simulator. It simplifies functional testing and final design validation.

    Phone simulation
    Preview your Nokia Asha web apps to see how they’ll look and behave on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones, and interact with the web.
    Control phone features
    Take control of your simulation and test your web apps against all the UI variations available on the phones that support Nokia Asha web apps.
    Automatic reloading
    Local preview are automatically reloaded as code edits are made — speeding up testing by ensuring Web App Simulator always show the latest changes.
    Location simulation built-in
    Web App Simulator enables you to define location information to your simulated Nokia Asha web app, making testing of location-aware apps a breeze.
    Debugging made easy
    Web App Simulator includes a custom version of Web Inspector for the easy debugging and performance analysis of your Nokia Asha web apps.
     


    Xpress Web App Builder

    Xpress Web App Builder is an online tool that guides you through the process of creating rich web apps, with no coding required. Select from a variety of templates, customise your theme, and then add clipped web content, RSS feeds, and social media information. The key features of the tool are:

    • layout templates to present content, including single pane, tabbed view, and accordion view, as well as focused templates for news, pictures, and video content.
    • a wide range of content widgets for clipped web content; RSS feeds; video from YouTube; pictures from Flickr, Picasa, and other photo sharing sites; and blogs from Tumblr and WordPress.
    • the ability to add SMS and call capabilities, static HERE Maps, and in-app advertising from Nokia Ad Exchange.
    • the option to customise your app’s colour scheme, including header and font colours.
    • static and dynamic previews of your app, for all supported screen resolutions.

    When you’ve completed your web app, the tool provides a short URL for testing the app on your phone, and lets you submit the app to Nokia Publish to start the process of publication in Nokia store. However, if you want to customise your web app further, you can download the source code and import it into Nokia Asha web app tools.

    Launch Xpress Web App Builder


    Remote Device Access

    Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones

    With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Use your web app’s short URL to launch it in the Xpress Browser then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.
    Learn more ›
    And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Nokai Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.


    … Nokia In-App Payment
    [May 9, 2013]

    We have also introduced the new Nokia In-App Payment tool, designed to make it easier for you to sell content from within your apps. It provides a simple and secure purchase experience for consumers and transparent payments for developers. Nokia In-App Payment will also be available for existing Asha and Series 40 phones*(from 6th edition platform and above, except C1-01 and C1-02. Nokia will release a public beta of Nokia In-App Payment in the coming weeks, and you can sign up for the beta here.

    Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program [May 9, 2013]

    In-App Payment is one of the dominant monetization models in the mobile app industry. This model also referred to as ‘Freemium’ model, helps you build apps with higher and recurring revenue opportunity.

    The model enables you to attract a larger user base with a free baseline experience and then extend this experience by offering digital content for sale. Nokia In-App Payment marks Nokia’s renewed approach to In-App Payment. The solution has been designed afresh with several new features and it enables you to sell digital content to Asha consumers from within your application.

    • The best payout in the industry
    • Easy to integrate and maintain
    • Single click payment
    • Nokia brand adds credibility to the transaction
    • Unparalleled coverage of devices

    Sign up to invite beta          
    Frequently Asked Questions

    This translates to more consumers, more purchases after download and higher payout per purchase – all leading to more recurring revenue for you!

    We are pleased to announce the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. With a beta invitation, you will get to:

    • Try the Nokia In-App Payment Beta library
    • Publish apps with Nokia In-App Payment
    • Share your feedback

    Please sign up to be eligible to join the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. We will start sending out invitations starting May 10th 2013.

    Integration of Nokia In-App Payment in your app is easy!

    • Download and install Java Development Environment for Asha and Nokia In-App Payment library
    • Implement in-app payment feature in your application using the test product IDs
    • Test your app in the emulator or on device with the test purchase flow
    • Register in-app purchase products, declare price points with Nokia Publish
    • Update your application using the product IDs
    • Test your app using the in-app purchase flow
    • Submit your final app to Nokia Publish and be ready to generate revenue!

    The Nokia In-App Payment includes several improvements

    • Access to a larger consumer base through Series 40 backward compatibility**
    • Simpler consumer purchase experience through single click payment
    • Support for faster development and testing.

    The introduction of Nokia In-App Payment means that the current in-app purchasing solution will be deprecated. In the near term, the intake of new apps using the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will be closed on June 10th 2013. However, published apps that use the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will continue to be available on Nokia Store until 2016. Please refer to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for more information.

    ** For more detailed device coverage during the invitation-only beta, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.