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Microsoft and partners to capitalize on Continuum for Phones instead of the exited Microsoft phone business
With 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 published on this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud’ blog on May 20, 2016 I now dare to publish this follow-up post to the original message which was already available on October 13, 2015 under the title “Windows 10 enhancements for tablets and phones to achieve a powerful PC experience” (that original content see in the final part of this post) and with a statement for the start:
These are significant capabilities with which (although not only with these but with quite a number of other innovations) Microsoft—first time in its history—was able to beat Apple in its own game. You couldn’t believe it?
Unfortunately I’d felt a growing uncertainty about the future of the Microsoft Device business and therefore decided to wait till the picture gets clear. With the following Terry Myerson video appearing on the HP Business YouTube channel I’ve now felt certain to make the original information available in this curent post:
June 2, 2016: HP Elite x3 and Windows 10: Terry Myerson
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 –Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President at Microsoft, talks about the collaboration between HP and Microsoft that brings to life the new HP Elite x3 with Windows 10 for business, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category.
My certainty was also supported by the Microsoft decision to exit the phone business as it had been acquired from Nokia:
Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.
“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”
Microsoft anticipates this will result in the reduction of up to 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, as well as up to 500 additional jobs globally. Employees working for Microsoft Oy, a separate Microsoft sales subsidiary based in Espoo, are not in scope for the planned reductions.
As a result of the action, Microsoft will record a charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 for the impairment of assets in its More Personal Computing segment, related to these phone decisions.
The actions associated with today’s announcement are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year and fully completed by July 2017, the end of the company’s next fiscal year.
More information about these charges will be provided in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement on July 19, 2016, and in the company’s 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In addition to the following sentence in the previous Microsoft selling feature phone business to FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy press release on May 18, 2016:
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.
That last statement was not enough for me at that time, just 3 weeks ago as I had a truly shocking experience with upgrading my wife’s Lumia 640 XL to the Windows 10 Mobile version which had been released for that type of earlier Lumia phones last March. The software was so much buggy that I had’seen in my life any time before. I’d got so much angry that immediately bought an Android based Samsung Galaxy J5 for her. However, I became again confident in the future of Window 10 Mobile based phones after her bad experience with that Android software in terms of functionality (e.g. too many steps needed for some vital functions vs. that needed on Lumia) and the success of restoring the earlier 8.5 release on the 640 XL.
Several other videos which appeared on the same HP Business YouTube channel a little earlier gave me the final assurance:
May 27, 2016: HP Elite x3 turned heads at Mobile World Congress 2016
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -HP Elite x3 made a powerful first impression at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona, winning 24 awards and positive reviews from industry experts. Meet the new HP Elite x3 the one device that’s every device.
June 2, 2016: Reinventing mobility: Dion Weisler
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -Dion Weisler President and Chief Executive Officer for HP Inc. introduces to the revolution of mobility. Meet the new HP Elite x3 pioneer in the 3-in-1 category; the next generation of computing, designed specifically for business.
June 2, 2016: The new HP Elite x3: Michael Park
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 –Michael Park, Vice President for Commercial Mobility & Software division at HP Inc., introduces the new HP Elite x3, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category that will transform business mobility.
June 2, 2016: HP Elite x3 and Qualcomm: Steve Mollenkopf
http://www.hp.com/go/elitex3 -Steve Mollenkopf, Chief Executive Officer of Qualcomm Incorporated, presents the power of Snapdragon 820 processor in HP Elite x3, as part of the recent collaboration with HP. Meet the new HP Elite x3, pioneer in the 3-in-1 category; the next generation of computing, designed specifically for business.
Now a brief retrospective for the start:
From the full text of Q&A part of the Transcript of Microsoft Nokia Transaction Conference Call: Steve Ballmer, Stephen Elop, Brad Smith, Terry Myerson, Amy Hood; September 3, 2013 [Microsoft, Sept 3, 2013]
OPERATOR: Walter Pritchard, Citigroup, your line is open.
WALTER PRITCHARD: Great. Thanks for taking the question. Steve Ballmer, on the tablet side, obviously, we could say many of the same things as you’ve put into this slide deck as rationale for doing an acquisition on the phone side as we could say about the tablet side including picking up more gross margin.
I’m wondering how this transaction impacts the strategy going forward in tablets and whether or not you need to, in a sense, double down further on first-party hardware in the tablet market. And then just have one follow up.
STEVE BALLMER: Okay. Terry, do you want to talk a little bit about that? That would be great.
TERRY MYERSON: Well, phones and tablets are definitely a continuum. You know, we see the phone products growing up, the screen sizes and the user experience we have on the phones. We’ve now made that available in our Windows tablets, our application platform spans from phone to tablet. And I think it’s fair to say that our customers are expecting us to offer great tablets that look and feel and act in every way like our phones. We’ll be pursuing a strategy along those lines.
More information: Microsoft answers to the questions about Nokia devices and services acquisition: tablets, Windows downscaling, reorg effects, Windows Phone OEMs, cost rationalization, ‘One Microsoft’ empowerment, and supporting developers for an aggressive growth in market share ‘Experiencing the Cloud’, September 4, 2013
From the Microsoft Q4 2015 Earning Call Transcript by CEO Satya Nadella on July 21, 2015:
I am thrilled we are just days away from the start of Windows 10. It’s the first step towards our goal of 1 billion Windows 10 active devices in the fiscal year 2018. Our aspiration with Windows 10 is to move people from meeting to choosing to loving Windows. Based on feedback from more than 5 million people who have been using Windows 10, we believe people will love the familiarity of Windows 10 and the innovation. It’s safe, secure, and always up to date. Windows 10 is more personal and more productive with Cortana, Office, universal apps, and Continuum. And Windows 10 will deliver innovative new experiences like Inking on Microsoft Edge and gaming across Xbox and PCs, and also opens up entirely new device categories such as Hololens.
From Windows 10 available in 190 countries as a free upgrade Microsoft news release on July 28, 2015:
Windows 10 is more personal and productive, with voice, pen and gesture inputs for natural interaction with PCs. It’s designed to work with Office and Skype and allows you to switch between apps and stay organized with Snap and Task View. Windows 10 offers many innovative experiences and devices, including the following:
- Cortana, the personal digital assistant, makes it easy to find the right information at the right time.
- New Microsoft Edge browser lets people quickly browse, read, and mark up and share the Web.
- The integrated Xbox app delivers the Xbox experience to Windows 10, bringing together friends, games and accomplishments across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
- Continuum optimizes apps and experiences beautifully across touch and desktop modes.
- Built-in apps including Photos; Maps; Microsoft’s new music app, Groove; and Movies & TV offer entertainment and productivity options. With OneDrive, files can be easily shared and kept up-to-date across all devices.
- A Microsoft Phone Companion app enables iPhones, Android or Windows phones to work seamlessly with Windows 10 devices.
- The all new Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 tablets are available today in the Windows Store.4 Built for work on-the-go, the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps offer a consistent, touch-first experience for small tablets. For digital note-taking needs, the full-featured OneNote app comes pre-installed with Windows 10. The upcoming release of the Office desktop apps (Office 2016) will offer the richest feature set for professional content creation. Designed for the precision of a keyboard and mouse, these apps will be optimized for large-screen PCs, laptops and 2-in-1 devices such as the Surface Pro.
More information around the above 2 excerpts:
Windows 10 is here to help regain Microsoft’s leading position in ICT ‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 31, 2015
From 2015 Annual Report>The ambitions that drive us on July 31, 2015:
Create more personal computing
Windows 10 is the cornerstone of our ambition to usher in an era of more personal computing. We see the launch of Windows 10 in July 2015 as a critical, transformative moment for the Company because we will move from an operating system that runs on a PC to a service that can power the full spectrum of devices in our customers’ lives. We developed Windows 10 not only to be familiar to our users, but more safe and secure, and always up-to-date. We believe Windows 10 is more personal and productive, working seamlessly with functionality such as Cortana, Office, Continuum, and universal applications. We designed Windows 10 to foster innovation – from us, our partners and developers – through experiences such as our new browser Microsoft Edge, across the range of existing devices, and into entirely new device categories.
Our future opportunity
There are several distinct areas of technology that we aim to drive forward. Our goal is to lead the industry in these areas over the long-term, which we expect will translate to sustained growth. We are investing significant resources in:
- Delivering new productivity, entertainment, and business processes to improve how people communicate, collaborate, learn, work, play, and interact with one another.
- Establishing the Windows platform across the PC, tablet, phone, server, other devices, and the cloud to drive a thriving ecosystem of developers,unify the cross-device user experience, and increase agility when bringing new advances to market.
- Building and running cloud-based services in ways that unleash new experiences and opportunities for businesses and individuals.
- Developing new devices that have increasingly natural ways to interact with them, including speech, pen, gesture, and augmented reality holograms.
- Applying machine learning to make technology more intuitive and able to act on our behalf, instead of at our command.
January 14, 2016: Continuum for Phones: Making the Phone Work Like a PC by Keri Moran / Principal Program Manager Lead
Imagine having a phone that works like a PC. Continuum for Phones makes this a reality, enabling Windows customers to get things done like never before.
Check out the ways this capability comes alive. You’ll be able to travel and leave your laptop at home, knowing you’re still equipped to complete your most common tasks. Walk into a meeting with just your smartphone – you’re fully equipped for seamlessly projecting PowerPoint presentations to a larger screen. Or take a seat in a business center where you plug your phone into a monitor and keyboard – you’ve instantly gained PC-like productivity using Office apps and the Microsoft Edge browser.
How it all started
The road to Continuum began three years ago with a simple observation: we take our phones everywhere, we depend on them, and we feel lost without them. Yet, when the time comes to do “real work,” we reach for a laptop or desktop PC. So we end up carrying our phones plus our laptops, or we wait until we are at our desks to do the heavy lifting.
The thing is, today’s phones have more than enough processing power to handle our most common tasks and activities. We knew this was especially true in emerging markets where people rely only on their mobile phones to get online. So — with these thoughts top of mind — we set out on our mission to help people get real work done with just their phone.
Who are we? We are the small team of people who built Continuum for Phones with a passion to change the future of personal productivity.
What people want
We started by talking to customers to understand what they needed. We spoke to people around the globe – from Chicago to Shanghai – and found that most people wanted the same thing: a phone that did more. Here are the main insights from the research:
- “My most important device”: people universally describe their smartphone as the center of their connected life.
- Connect to a bigger screen: people rely on their laptops and desktops because their phone lacks a large screen, keyboard and mouse. They want to easily connect to larger screens for both work and entertainment.
- Tech-savvy people expect more: as the processing power of phones has risen, so has the expectations of the tech-savvy.
- Many people around the world don’t have PCs: because they can’t afford a PC, people have a TV and a phone and that’s it. So any computing work gets done on their phone.
We realized that people embraced the idea of having a phone that could work like a PC.
Getting it done
So we started building Continuum, and we soon realized that we faced many technical and design challenges.
For example, there were two paradigms for connecting to a second screen: (1) mirroring your phone’s screen to a larger screen or (2) connecting your PC to multiple monitors. We needed to create a new design paradigm with two independent experiences – one on the phone and a separate one on the second screen. This was important because customers wanted to continue to use their phone as a phone, even while having a PC-like experience on the second screen. We spent months iterating with paper and software prototypes to arrive at an experience that was easy to understand and use.
The technical hurdles were just as big. For example, we had to build support for keyboard and mouse into Windows 10 Mobile. And many substantial architecture changes were needed in Windows to make Continuum work.
At the //Build conference in April 2015, we did our first live demo, and at the Windows 10 launch in July, we showed the full power of a phone running Office* apps on a second screen. The response – which exceeded our expectations — motivated us to keep going, working relentlessly with hundreds of colleagues around the world to deliver an integrated solution that required major changes to Windows, new capabilities in the phones, and creation of docks such as the Microsoft Display Dock.
So, with the debut of Continuum for Phones, you really can have something new in your pocket: a smartphone that has the power and ability to work like a PC. In the words of our CEO Satya Nadella: “This is the beginning of how we are going to change what the form and function of a phone is.”
Right now, this means that you can carry a smartphone – like the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL – and use a small dock or wireless dongle to connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor for a familiar PC-like experience. Run Office* apps, browse the Web, edit photos, write email, and much more.
While you’re working on the larger screen, you won’t lose your phone’s unique abilities. Continuum multi-tasks flawlessly so you can keep using your phone as a phone for calls, emails, texts, or Candy Crush. Or if you don’t have a mouse, you can use your phone as the trackpad for the apps on the larger screen.
If you share my enthusiasm for Continuum for Phones, please check out all the details, including multiple usage scenarios, at windows.com.
* App experience may vary. Office 365 subscription required for some Office features.
June 4, 2016 snapshot: New features coming soon to Windows 10 Anniversary Update
This year’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update will have great new innovative features including:1
The pen just got even mightier.
Turn thoughts into action with Windows Ink – using the pen, your fingertip, or both at once.2 Pair it with Office apps to effortlessly edit documents. With Windows Ink, you’ll be able to access features like Sticky Notes with a simple click of the pen.3 When you start drawing a figure like a chart or graph, it’ll turn into the real thing right before your eyes. And because Windows Ink stays active when your device is locked, you’ll be able to jot down notes even when you don’t have time to enter a password.
Cortana’s got you covered.
No time to enter your password but need some quick help? No problem — just ask. Cortana4 will now be at your service, even before you login. Whether you want to make a note, play music or set a reminder, Cortana will have you covered.
The secret password is: you.
With Windows Hello, unlocking your PC and devices is as quick as looking or touching.5 But the new Windows Hello will also let you unlock your PC simply by tapping your Windows Hello enabled phone.6 Beyond the hardware, Windows Hello will also give you instant access to paired apps and protected websites on Microsoft Edge – all while maintaining enterprise-level security. Windows Hello lets you say goodbye to cumbersome passwords.
Got game? We’ll deliver.
Windows 10 will deliver incredible DirectX 12 games and Xbox Live features that will transform what you expect from PC gaming. Now you can play and connect with gamers across Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. From the best casual games to the next generation of PC releases, you’ll have more ways to play new games optimized for Windows.7
And that’s not all: Microsoft Studios is bringing a full portfolio of new games to Windows 10, including the forthcoming Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, which will be freefor Windows 10 users.
Ongoing progress reports (only two latest ones are summarised here):
June 1, 2016: Announcing Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 14356
- Cortana Improvements:
– Get notifications from your phone to your PC
– Send a photo from your phone to PC
– New listening animation
May 26, 2016: Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14352
- Cortana Improvements:
– Cortana, Your Personal DJ
– Set a timer
- Windows Ink:
– Updated Sticky Notes
– Compass on the ruler
– General improvements to the Windows Ink experience
- Other items of note:
– Windows Game bar improved with full-screen support
– Feedback Hub will now show Microsoft responses
– Updated File Explorer icon
– Deploying Windows Enterprise edition gets easier
– Limited Period Scanning
– Introducing Hyper-V Containers (ADDED 5/31)
For more information see: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/tag/windows-insider-program/
Particularly relevant recent information from A change in leadership for the Windows Insider Program on June 1, 2016 by Gabe Aul / Corporate Vice President, Engineering Systems Team:
Since we first started the Windows Insider Program back in September 2014, Windows Insiders have helped us ship Windows 10 to over 300 million devices. We have released 35 PC builds and 22 Mobile builds to Insiders to date. This is a huge change from Windows 7 and Windows 8 which only had 2 and 3 public pre-release builds respectively. Windows Insiders have been more directly plugged in to our engineering processes for Windows than ever before, including participating in our first ever public Bug Bash this year. Windows Insiders contribute problem reports and suggestions which help us shape the platform, and are currently helping us get ready to ship the next major update to Windows 10 this summer – the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This is just the beginning of the journey we’re on though. We really appreciate having such an amazing connection with our customers, and want Windows Insiders to continue to help shape Windows releases for years to come. With that in mind, I want to talk about a change to the Windows Insider Program going forward.
When I was introduced as leader of the Windows Insider Program over 18 months ago, I was responsible for the team that built our feedback and flighting systems for Windows. It made sense for me to be on the front lines talking with customers of the systems that my team was building to get Insider Preview Builds out and hear the feedback rolling in. In August of last year, I changed jobs to work on the Engineering Systems Team in WDG. In this role, I am responsible for the tools our engineers use to build Windows, including our planning and work management systems, source code management, build infrastructure, and test automation systems. …
Meet Dona Sarkar
I have worked with Dona for many years and think she is the perfect person to guide the Windows Insider Program forward. Her technical expertise, passion for customers, and commitment to listening to feedback is unmatched. …
You can follow Dona here on Twitter. Please welcome her as the new leader of the Windows Insider Program!
Get to know more about Dona here from Microsoft Stories!
Finally more as well as historic information on this subject which I’d originally put together on October 13, 2015 and intended to publish under the title:
Windows 10 enhancements for tablets and phones to achieve a powerful PC experience
These are significant capabilities with which (although not only with these but with quite a number of other innovations) Microsoft—first time in its history—was able to beat Apple in its own game. You couldn’t believe it?
First watch these two very short videos from CNNMoney presenting Microsoft’s “ultimate laptop” in terms of its device innovations:
Hands-on with Microsoft Surface Book
Then follow with the below information which is presenting one the most important Windows 10 software innovations, called Continuum (Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices) which makes that “ultimate laptop” an “ultimate tablet” as well.
Then get acquainted with a similar Windows 10 software innovation, called Continuum for Phones (it is rather for Mobile devices) which is allowing an entry level tablet or a premium phone to become a true PC with an extension to an external large size display after docking to it.
Note that while the “ultimate laptop/ultimate tablet” hybrid is for the premium client market, the second one is targeted at the entry level emerging markets as well. In that scenario Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on the availability of extremely low-cost tablets which could be enhanced to a PC-like experience with Continuum for Phones. When coupled with a similarly low-priced Windows 10 phone the emerging market user will have 2 devices for around $200 and a consistent Windows 10 experience easily dockable to a large size display, and with that easily achieving a true PC experience.
Suggested other information:
– July 30, 2015: Docking – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
– March 28, 2015: Display – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
– March 28, 2015: Graphics – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
Continuum tablet mode for touch-capable devices
The Continuum feature of Windows 10 desktop edition adapts between tablet and PC modes when docking/undocking. More generally: “Continuum is available on all Windows 10 desktop editions by manually turning “tablet mode” on and off through the Action Center. Tablets and 2-in-1s with GPIO indicators or those that have a laptop and slate indicator will be able to be configured to enter ‘tablet mode’ automatically.” Source: Windows 10 Specifications, Microsoft, June 1, 2015
June 12, 2015: Continuum Overview – Windows 10 hardware dev, Microsoft Hardware Dev Center
Continuum is a new, adaptive user experience offered in Windows 10 that optimizes the look and behavior of apps and the Windows shell for the physical form factor and customer’s usage preferences. This document describes how to implement Continuum on 2-in-1 devices and tablets, specifically how to switch in and out of “tablet mode.”
Tablet Mode is a feature that switches your device experience from tablet mode to desktop mode and back. The primary way for a user to enter and exit “tablet mode” is manually through the Action Center. In addition, OEMs can report hardware transitions (for example, transformation of 2-in-1 device from clamshell to tablet and vice versa), enabling automatic switching between the two modes. However, a key promise of Continuum is that the user remains in control of their experience at all times, so these hardware transitions are surfaced through a toast prompt that must be confirmed by the user. The users also has the option to set the default response.
Tablets Detachables Convertibles Pure tablets and devices that can dock to external monitor + keyboard + mouse. Tablet-like devices with custom designed detachable keyboards. Laptop-like devices with keyboards that fold or swivel away.
When the device switches to tablet mode, the following occur:
- Start resizes across the entire screen, providing an immersive experience.
- The title bars of Store apps auto-hide to remove unnecessary chrome and let content shine through.
- Store apps and Win32 apps can optimize their layout to be touch-first when in Tablet Mode.
- The user can close apps, even Win32 apps, by swiping down from the top edge.
- The user can snap up to two apps side-by-side, including Win32 apps, and easily resize them simultaneously with their finger.
- The taskbar transforms into a navigation and status bar that’s more appropriate for tablets.
- The touch keyboard can be auto-invoked.
Of course, even in “tablet mode”, users can enjoy Windows 10 features such as Snap Assist, Task View and Action Center. On touch-enabled devices, customers have access to touch-friendly invocations for those features: they can swipe in from the left edge to bring up Task View, or swipe in from the right edge to bring up Action Center.
With “tablet mode”, Continuum gives customers the flexibility to use their device in a way that is most comfortable for them. For example, a customer might want to use their 8” tablet in “tablet mode” exclusively until they dock it to an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard. At that point the customer will exit “tablet mode” and use all their apps as traditional windows on the desktop—the same way they have in previous versions of Windows. Similarly, a user of a convertible 2-in-1 device might want enter and exit “tablet mode” as they use their device throughout the day (for example, commuting on a bus, sitting at a desk in their office), using signals from the hardware to suggest appropriate transition moments.
Imagine the overall smoothness of that combined laptop and tablet experience on the brand new Microsoft Surface Book announced just on October 6, 2015. Out of a plethora of videos reporting on that new device with quite an entusiasm I’ve selected the one which—in my view—just right with its judgement and very concise at the same time.
Surface Book hands-on: Microsoft’s first laptop is simply amazing by Mark Hachman, senior editor of the PCWorld: “No one expected the Surface Book, and what they got was a true flagship for the Windows ecosystem.“
And if you don’t need the leading edge ultrabook performance provided by the clever, “more power (GPU, longer batery life …) is in the detachable keyboard part” design of the Surface Book, then the 4th generation Surface Pro 4 may be more than sufficient for you to provide a state-of-the-art productivity work capability, including the best of the pen computing available on the market (which is also on the Surface Book, you could notice the same pen in the previous video), in addition to a new type cover for the tablet part. Here again the same source has been the best to present all that.
Surface Pro 4: Hands on with Microsoft’s category-creating productivity tablet by Mark Hachman, senior editor of the PCWorld
Continuum for phones
With Continuum for phones in Windows 10 Mobile edition, connecting a phone enables a screen to become like a PC. Additionally: “Continuum for phones limited to select premium phones at launch. External monitor must support HDMI input. Continuum-compatible accessories sold separately. App availability and experience varies by device and market. Office 365 subscription required for some features.” Source: Windows 10 Specifications, Microsoft, June 1, 2015
April 29, 2015: As part of the Universal Windows Platform Microsoft shared at Build 2015 how apps can scale using Continuum for phones, enabling people to use their phones like PCs for productivity or entertainment. With that your phone app can start using a full-sized monitor, mouse, and keyboard, giving you even more mileage from your universal app’s shared code and UI.
April 29, 2015: Windows Continuum for Phones See how new Windows Continuum functionality for mobile phones tailors the app experience across devices to transform a phone into a full-powered PC, TV or a Smart TV
[Sept 17, 2015]
[March 29, 2015]
Continuum for Phones
Continuum for Phones
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 Mobile
Supported entry SoC
Supported premium SoC
1-2GB/8-32GB eMMC w/SD card
2-4GB / 32-64GB with SD slot
7” 480×800 or 1280×720 w/touch
4.5-5.5”+ / FHD-WQHD
<9mm & <.36kg
<7.5mm & <160g
2500+ mAh ( 1 day active use)
802.11ac+, 1 micro USB 2.0, mini HDMI, BT, LTE option
LTE/Cat 4+ /802.11b/g/n/ac 2×2, USB, 3.5mm jack, BT LE, NFC
Front camera, speakers, headphones
20MP with OIS/Flash; 5MP FFC
Oct 6, 2015: Windows 10 Continuum for Phones demo on Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL by Bryan Roper, Microsoft marketing manager, at Microsoft Windows 10 Devices Event 2015
September update: Qualcomm’s smartphone AP revenues declined 17% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015, Strategy Analytics estimated. Qualcomm maintained its smartphone AP market share leadership with 45% revenue share, followed by Apple with 19% revenue share and MediaTek with 18% revenue share. For the rest 18%: After a difficult 2014, Samsung LSI continued to recover and more than doubled its smartphone AP shipments in the second quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year. Samsung LSI capitalised on its Galaxy S6 design-win in Q2 2015. In addition the company featured in multiple mid-range smartphones from Samsung Mobile. Full report: Smartphone Apps Processor Market Share Q2 2015: Samsung LSI Maintains Momentum
… The global tablet AP market declined 28% year-over-year to reach US$679 million in the second quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics. Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung LSI captured the top-five revenue share rankings in the market during the quarter. Apple led the tablet AP market with 27% revenue share, followed by Intel with 18% revenue share. Qualcomm ranked number three, narrowly behind Intel. Full report: Tablet Apps Processor Market Share Q2 2015: Apple and Intel Maintain Top Two Spots
Digitimes Research saw global tablet shipments fall to 45.76 million units in second-quarter 2015, showing a 10% decrease on quarter and representing more than a 15% decrease on year. Full report: Global tablet market – 2Q 2015 End of September update
Investors.com comments on tablet and smartphone market trends — Q2’2015:1. Apple, Samsung lose ground in tablet market — LG and Huawei gain
2. Apple, Huawei [and Xiaomi] buck slowing smartphone sales trend
As the commenting articles by Investors.com are based on press releases of 2 market research companies I will give the web reference here for those press releases themselves, as well as 3 other press releases not commented on by Investors.com (if there are trend indications in the press releases themselves I will copy them alongside the web reference):
- July 29, 2015: Worldwide Tablet Market Continues to Decline; Vendor Landscape is Evolving, According to IDC“Longer life cycles, increased competition from other categories such as larger smartphones, combined with the fact that end users can install the latest operating systems on their older tablets has stifled the initial enthusiasm for these devices in the consumer market,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “But with newer form factors like 2-in-1s, and added productivity-enabling features like those highlighted in iOS9, vendors should be able to bring new vitality to a market that has lost its momentum.”
- July 30, 2015: Huawei Becomes World’s 3rd Largest Mobile Phone Vendor in Q2 2015 [says Strategy Analytics]
- Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “… Smartphones accounted for 8 in 10 of total mobile phone shipments during the quarter. The 2 percent growth rate of the overall mobile phone market is the industry’s weakest performance for two years, due to slowing demand for handsets in China, Europe and the US.”
- Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “… Samsung has stabilized volumes in the high-end, but its lower-tier mobile phones continue to face intense competition from rivals such as Huawei in Asia. … Apple outperformed as consumers in China and elsewhere upgraded to bigger-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models.”
- Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “… Huawei is rising fast in all regions of the world, particularly China where its 4G models, such as the Mate7, are proving wildly popular. Huawei has finally overtaken Microsoft to become the world’s third largest mobile phone vendor for the first time ever.”
- Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “Microsoft shipped 27.8 million mobile phones and captured 6 percent marketshare worldwide in the second quarter of 2015. Microsoft’s 6 percent global mobile phone marketshare is sitting near an all-time low. Microsoft continues to lose ground in feature phones, while its Lumia smartphone portfolio is in a holding pattern awaiting the launch of new Windows 10 models later this year. Xiaomi shipped 19.8 million mobile phones and captured 5 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2015. Xiaomi remains a major player in the China mobile phone market, but its local and international growth is slowing and Xiaomi is facing intense competition from Huawei, Meizu and others. As a result, Xiaomi may struggle to hold on to its top-five global mobile phone ranking in the coming quarters.”
- June 17, 2015: Business smartphones shipments in Q1 up 26% from last year, now 27% of total smartphone market [says Strategy Analytics]
Android was the most dominant OS in terms of business smartphone shipments in Q1, accounting for nearly 60% of all business smartphones (corporate- and personal-liable). It was also the dominant BYOD device; 68% of personal-liable shipments in Q1 were Android. Apple iOS accounted for only 27% of BYOD shipments in Q1, but was the dominant platform in terms of corporate-liable smartphones, with 48% of Q1 CL shipments. The difference in Android/iOS shipments between the CL and IL categories reflects the continuing corporate perception that iPhones are “safer” than Android-based devices.
- Shipments of personal-liable smartphones (i.e. “bring your own device,” or BYOD, phones) drove market growth in Q1
- Strategy analytics defines personal-liable devices as devices purchased by the end-user and expensed back to the company or organization, or devices purchased outright by individual users but used primarily for business purposes linking to corporate applications and backend systems.
- While personal liable devices dominate worldwide business smartphone shipments, some regions are more resistant to the BYOD trend than others. Such regions include Western Europe and Central Europe, where corporate-liable devices are the dominant types of business smartphones. In Western Europe in Q1, 61% of the 10 million business smart phones were corporate-liable. Central and Eastern Europe had a slightly higher rate of BYOD devices shipped in Q1 — 41% — but the majority of smartphones shipped in this regions was also corporate-liable. This a sharp contrast to North America, where three-quarters of business smartphone shipments are personal-liable. The trend in Western and Eastern Europe reflects the more corporate-centric approach businesses take to mobility in these regions.
- July 29, 2015: Mobile Broadband Tablet Subscriptions to Double to 200 Million by 2021, says Strategy Analytics
- Strategy Analytics forecasts global mobile data subscriptions on tablets will more than double from 2015 to 2021, reaching over 200 million
- Around the globe, over 100 million wireless connections on cellular enabled tablets will be added through 2021. By 2021 tablets will only account for 2 percent of total mobile subscriptions, a 2.7 percent population penetration rate.
- July 29, 2015: Intel Maintains Top Spot in Non-Apple Tablet Apps Processors in Q1 2015 says Strategy Analytics
⇒The global tablet applications processor (AP) market declined -6 percent year-over-year to reach $733 million in Q1 2015
- According to Sravan Kundojjala, Associate Director, “Intel maintained its top spot in the non-Apple tablet AP market in unit terms in Q1 2015. Strategy Analytics estimate Android-based tablets accounted for over 70 percent of Intel’s total tablet AP shipments in Q1 2015. We expect Intel’s Atom X3 cellular tablet chip product line to help Intel maintain its momentum in the tablet AP market.”
- Stuart Robinson, Executive Director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies (HCT) service added, “Strategy Analytics estimates that baseband-integrated tablet AP shipments accounted for over one-fourth of total tablet AP shipments in Q1 2015, helped by a strong push from Qualcomm, MediaTek and Spreadtrum. We expect continued momentum for integrated APs as Intel, Rockchip and others join the bandwagon.”
- July 30, 2015: Windows Tablet Shipments Nearly Double in Q2’15, says Strategy Analytics
⇒Global Tablet Shipments and Market Share in Q2 2015 (preliminary)
- Windows-branded Tablets comprised 9 percent of shipments in Q2 2015, up 4 points from Q2 2014
- Android-branded Tablet shipment market share was flat at 70 percent in Q2 2015
- Apple continued its slide in market share down to an all-time low of 21 percent in Q2 2015, 4 points lower than Q2 2014
- Vendors with strong 3G and LTE connected Tablet strategies such as Huawei, LG, and TCL-Alcatel gained market share as leaders like Apple, Samsung, and the White Box community lost ground
Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Senior Analyst Eric Smith added, “Windows share continues to improve as more models become available from traditional PC vendors, White Label vendors, and Microsoft itself though a healthy Surface lineup and distribution expansion. The key going forward will be if the coming wave of 2-in-1 Detachable Tablets is a hit with consumers or if they go the way of the Netbook—we remain cautiously optimistic on this point.”
Tablet & Touchscreen Strategies Service Director Peter King said, “Apple’s fortunes will turn around soon as it will launch the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as well as an iPad mini 4 in Q4 2015. New features in iOS 9, which are exclusive to iPad such as multi-tasking and a more convenient soft keyboard, will also help compel upgrades by owners of older iPad models. Meanwhile, Huawei and LG have posted fantastic growth primarily due to well-executed 3G and LTE connected Tablet strategies.”
Then I will add 2 additional information pieces from Strategy Analytics:
Having experienced negative growth since 2012, global PC sales are expected to rise 5 percent in 2015 driven by replacement of an ageing installed base according to Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices (CHD) service report, “Computers in the Post-PC Era: Growth Opportunities and Strategies.”
Click here for the report:
- PC sales will fall by 4 percent in 2014 before returning to modest growth in 2015 and beyond to support replacement demand.
- Strategy Analytics’ consumer research of computing device usage in developed markets indicates that PCs remain essential computing devices despite healthy Tablet sales.
- Frequent Tablet usage has grown by 22 percentage points from 2011 to Q4 2013 up to 32 percent of all households while frequent Mobile PC (excluding Tablets) usage has stayed steady through this period, as 63 percent of all households indicated they frequently used Mobile PCs.
- Frequent usage of all PCs (including Mobile and Desktop PCs and excluding Tablets) remained above the 90 percent mark of all households, falling only 3 percentage points during this period.
Eric Smith, Analyst of Connected Home Devices, said: “Multiple PC ownership is falling as Tablet sales supplant replacement demand for secondary PCs mainly used for casual tasks. Still, PCs will remain essential devices as households eventually replace their primary PCs used for productivity tasks such as spreadsheet and video editing or personal banking.”
David Watkins, Service Director, Connected Home Devices, added: “The modern Tablet user experience is quickly arriving on the PC thanks to more affordable 2-in-1 Convertible PCs and new operating systems which blend traditional PC and Tablet user experiences. We see development of these forces aligning perfectly with an older PC installed base ripe for replacement in 2015.”
May 1, 2015: Children Change Disney’s Digital Strategy: “App TV” Now Central To Content Planning by David Mercer
Multiscreen TV behaviour is at the centre of television’s stormy transformation – viewing of broadcast, linear TV on the TV screen is apparently in decline while consumption on smartphones and tablets is increasing. Making sense of the big picture is increasingly challenging, and legacy players like broadcasters and the major content owners are inevitably somewhat resistant to the idea that their traditional businesses are under serious threat.
We have monitored the early stages of this transformation for the past decade and see its results in our own research, and we continue to predict further industry disruption in our forecasts. But sometimes it is only when you hear the evidence given in person by a senior executive at a leading global player that the scale of the challenge and opportunity are finally brought home.
This happened at last week’s AppsWorld event in Berlin, where I chaired the TV and Multiscreen conference. The speaker was Andreas Peters, Head of Digital for the Walt Disney Company Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Andreas presented some of the most compelling evidence I have yet heard that television is truly a multiscreen medium for the next generation of viewers.
Disney’s challenge in Germany was to launch a television show called Violetta aimed at 8-12 year old girls. It had been introduced successfully in Argentina but had failed in the UK. As it often does, Disney had invested considerable amounts in merchandising and retailers were eagerly anticipating sales of the new product lines. The show was first broadcast on German free TV on May 1st 2014 but it achieved only very low ratings.
The question for Disney managers was whether traditional TV had stopped working. A crisis meeting was held with a view to writing off the investment. Disney had previously not made its shows available online in Germany but the Violetta situation was so serious they were persuaded to experiment. Two episodes were made available on Youtube with a link to Disney’s own website. Viewing of the content on Youtube very quickly went viral until Disney had achieved a reach of 50% of 8-12 year old girls and eight million views. Violetta went on to become a success in German-speaking markets.
The evidence was clear: for some shows at least, younger children cannot now be reached using the traditional broadcast TV/big screen model. Peters explained that the Violetta experience was transformative for the Disney organisation and led to the inclusion of online and digital media as a key element in the business case for many products. In fact it also led to the development and launch of Disney’s own Watch App, which includes live streaming and seven-day catch-up programmes from the broadcast Disney Channel.
Even after the Violetta experience Disney was sceptical that an app was needed – there was a feeling that the website would be sufficient. Nevertheless the app was launched and Disney had planned for 20,000 downloads. Instead it has passed one million downloads in its first six months. Peters noted: “This was a real shock for us. We completely underestimated the demand.” Around 500,000 viewers are now using the Disney Watch app for linear television viewing, in addition to millions of shows being downloaded for catch-up viewing. Peak app viewing hours are between 6am and 8am and then between 1pm and 9pm on school days, with a different pattern at weekends. Peters made it clear that children did not want lots of features built in to the app – just like TV, they just want to hit “play” and watch.
“Our TV colleagues of course don’t want to believe this,” said Peters. “But the world has changed and it will continue to change.” Disney has also seen a knock-on effect from its app launch with an increase in free-to-air broadcast TV viewing. But the firm is now clear that mobile is not just an add-on to TV or a promotional tool; it must be an integral part of the entire process.
There are many implications for content strategy. TV and Digital have to “understand each other”, which is a challenge when the KPIs in each world are very different. As we have often heard, the video industry is crying out for a set of common metrics which can apply and support advertisers in both TV and online worlds. Video consumption patterns vary and different content may be relevant to different platforms.
But the overall lesson is clear: “TV” is not just the big screen in the corner of the living room. It must embrace multiscreen distribution strategies in order to reach its maximum potential. TV companies are betraying their audiences and their investors if they don’t target the 6.4bn addressable screens available to them.
Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A
Crisis Message of Aug 29, 2015 from Hunbiased: Immigration which I very much felt to share here before anything else of my own: “ Immigration is *the* topic in the news in Hungary. It’s what all newscasts lead with and it’s the issue that dominates the front pages. How bad is the situation? I take a look at some basic figures to see whether or not the current EU policies regarding immigration are fair and answer the question, “if Hungary is expected to absorb 140,000 people without batting an eyelid, how many people should Germany and the UK take?” ”
Samsung has unbeatable supply chain management, it is incredibly good in everything which is consumer hardware, but vulnerability remains in software and M&A
This is what people with software engineering background cannot understand at all and therefore significantly overestimate Microsoft’s chances to succeed in the consumer device space.
Previously I discussed on the ‘Experiencing the Cloud’:
- 20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [July 2-26, 2013]
- Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event [Sept 12, 2013]
- The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices [Sept 12, 2013]
- Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [Sept 12, 2013]
which clearly indicated quite a number of exceptional corporate qualities of Samsung.
Now I will have a discussion heavily focussed on Samsung’s extraordinary strengths (from SCM to the Samsung Memory business), as well as on the company’s most pressing weaknesses (software and M&A) based on Samsung Analyst Day 2013, Nov 6, 2013, reflecting the below presentations and their reports in the worldwide media:
See as well: As It Happened: Samsung’s Analyst Day [live blog on The Wall Street Journal Asia, Nov 6, 2013] and an analytic reflection of that Across Fonblets and Phablets Samsung Has 63% Share of all Android Mobile Devices [Localystics, Nov 7, 2013].
- Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information
- Historic Samsung SCM information
- Market/Business-specific current and strategic information
- Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung)
- Wearable devices
- New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing
- Samsung System LSI
- Samsung Display
- Samsung Memory Business
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)
1. Samsung Supply Chain Management (SCM) information
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a comprehensive and innovative activity, including process, system, and governance, which optimizes marketing, sales, development, manufacturing, purchasing, logistics, and service over the entire supply chain. We support the successful SCM innovation of your business by offering globally competitive services such as SCM diagnosis, Process Innovation (PI), integration establishment, Cello [Supply Chain Logistics – SCL] solution.
Increase in demand forecast accuracy and supply ability index
Increased Market Response Ability
Improved adherence to deadlines and shortened lead time in setting up plans
Global SCM Establishment and Integration
Setting up and carrying out Global Single Plan in the Governance system
From Samsung SDS leads in ‘shared growth’ [The Korea Times, Oct 30, 2013]
In July this year, it realigned structures into the following six ㅡ smart town, smart manufacturing, smart convergence, smart security, smart logistics and smart ICT outsourcing for customized approaches to existing and future clients, according to the statement.
1/A Historic Samsung SCM information:
- Supply chain management six sigma at Samsung: a management innovation methodology at the Samsung Group [July 24, 2007, a shortened PDF version of the article which originally appeared in Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Volume 12, Number 2, 2007]
The Samsung Group of companies is recognized as a leading global manufacturing, financial, and services conglomerate. It was founded in 1938 and focused its businesses on areas such as textiles, shipbuilding, machinery, and chemicals. Since the 1980s, the group has made enormous efforts and investment in the electronics and semiconductor industry. As a result, the Samsung Group has experienced a dramatic growth in net profits since the 1990s. The flagship unit, Samsung Electronics Company (SEC), was one of only two manufacturing companies worldwide to post profits of more than $10bn in 2004 (Toyota Motors being the other). Many regard these successes as reflecting a continuous and relentless effort at Samsung to improve the way it conducts business. For the last few years, SCM and six sigma have been two pillars of business innovation at Samsung.
The Samsung Group of companies has large, complex, global supply chains in most of the products it manufactures and makes extensive use of SCM solutions and process innovations to support and improve its operations. Most notably, at SEC, advanced planning and scheduling (APS) systems have been adopted since the 1990s and have brought the company many successes in terms of operational excellence. Recently, Samsung Electronics was ranked seventh in a respected analyst’s ranking of the global top 25 companies in supply chain excellence.
Six sigma has been a key enabler for the group’s success. The Chairman of the Group proclaimed the adoption of a business innovation approach called “new management” in 1993. “New management” is the pursuit of quality-oriented management in business operations as well as in manufacturing. Along with the “quality movement” in industry, new management evolved from initial product quality assurance but later shifted its focus to include the quality of the entire business process, which is the rationale behind six sigma. The outcomes were high-quality, innovative product developments, and consequently an increase in customer satisfaction and profits, and are well demonstrated by many of the world’s best technological resources.
Samsung’s SCM Business Team (SBT) researched six sigma approaches at General Electric (GE), DuPont and Honeywell to get perspectives on how other companies have innovatively applied six sigma to similar needs: … Each of the above approaches was analyzed and the following conclusions drawn, which fed into the subsequent development of the Samsung SCM six sigma methodology: …
Today, there are various approaches and systems available for process innovation. Six sigma and supply chain management (SCM) are among those techniques aiming for process and quality improvement, and synchronization of a company’s value chain, from inbound logistics to sales and customer services.
At Samsung, SCM and six sigma have been two important enablers for the group’s management innovation and growth. However, Samsung realize that there is significant room for improvement in its SCM operation. Thus, the effort has been synthesizing SCM and six sigma and developing a unique six-sigma based methodology to improve its SCM operation.
Samsung’s effort and investment has turned out to be fruitful. Their SCM six sigma program has produced highly qualified and talented SCM specialists, who are currently training the methodology to other members in their organizations and leading SCM projects. SCM projects are being prepared and conducted in a more disciplined way and their outcomes are continuously monitored and shared through Samsung’s repository for six sigma. Samsung’s endeavour for global optimum is continuing and SCM six sigma is expected to play an enabling role.
- Business Management Quality Innovation with Market-Based Global SCM System Implementation [Microsoft Case Study, March 17, 2009]
Samsung Electronics, a leading Korean company as well as a symbol of the IT industry, carried out an innovative project to strengthen its global Supply Chain Management (SCM) execution ability, gaining the industry’s interest. Samsung Electronics placed its emphasis on the business management scenario of predicting and preparing for future environmental changes and competitiveness, which is one of the survival strategies of an industry with an unpredictable future. The company is aggressively establishing the foundation for enhancing business management speed and efficiency-oriented business management innovations since early this year. In accordance with this type of scenario, Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) Platform provided life to Samsung Electronics’ SCM system. Samsung Electronics decided to implement an action-oriented BI solution that enables on-demand changes of business management plans and reflects these adjustments. As such, it decided to deploy SQL Server 2008, which can satisfy all three major requirements of BI solution, including ‘performance and reliability’, ‘cube write-back’ and ‘user convenience’, and the company is thoroughly experiencing the benefits of this IT innovation. In the face of enterprise-wide application, it has completed application in only its video display business division, so it is still too early to mention any fixed quantity of benefits. However, with this system implementation, Samsung Electronics expects to increase its forecast accuracy for product demands by more than 20%.
2. Market/Business-specific current and strategic information
- Samsung’s Investment Plan Falls Short for Some [The New York Times, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung executives said the biggest growth in smartphones would come in developing countries, where smartphone penetration remains lower. Worldwide, the company said, there are still three billion more basic “feature phones” in use.
“We believe there is substantial room for smartphone demand to grow,” said J.K. Shin, head of Samsung’s mobile division.
Mr. Shin said the company also intended to increase its market share in tablet computers, where it still trails Apple. Other executives painted a bullish picture even on televisions and home appliances, areas in which sales have been growing slowly or shrinking in recent years.
- Samsung sells over 100 million Galaxy and Note devices in 2013, lines up ultra-premium devices for 2014 [BGR India, Nov 6, 2013]
At a rare analyst day event held in Seoul today, Samsung’s JK Shin announced that the company had sold more than 100 million Galaxy smartphones and Note phablets this year alone. … While the industry is expecting the high-end smartphone segment to slow down, Samsung is anticipating that the premium smartphone segment will outgrow market forecasts and is also gearing up for ultra premium smartphones. The company is rumored to launch a Galaxy F range of ultra-premium smartphones next year. … Overall, Shin believes that Samsung’s smartphone division still has room to grow with upcoming LTE deployments and the company’s innovations around bendable displays and companion devices.
- In a rarity, Samsung hosts analysts [Korea Joongang Daily, Nov 7, 2013]
Samsung’s stock price plunged 15 percent in June after JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley cut their profit outlooks, citing weaker-than-expected demand for its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. However, the company is rebounding, having sold more than 40 million Galaxy S4s as of last month, according to executives. … It sold about 120 million handsets in the third quarter, researcher Strategy Analytics said on Oct. 29.
… “People say the growth of the premium smartphone market will slow, but we don’t think so,” said Shin. “There are lots of opportunities for growth in various areas.” Shin said the market for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) smartphones, the fastest broadband devices, will grow 30 percent on average through 2017. About 680 million smartphones will be shipped in 2017, half of them LTE enabled, he said. [correctly from ZDNet: “The expansion of new LTE services, including LTE Advanced, will be the key growth driver,” said Jong-Kyun Shin, president and CEO of Samsung IT & Mobile Communication at an analyst event in Seoul on Wednesday. “Until 2017, we expect an annual average growth of near 30 percent in the LTE smartphone market, reaching 680 million units.” Shin said that come 2017, half [45%] of all phones sold will be LTE phones.]
- Samsung’s 2014 phones will feature 560 PPI displays – 880 PPI in 2015, foldable in 2016 [ExtremeTech, Nov 6, 2013]
The craziest announcement was that 5.2-inch 560 PPI AMOLED smartphone displays are due in 2014, with 3840×2160 displays following in 2015. Assuming a screen size of around five inches, 3840×2160 (UHD, 4K) works out to be around 880 pixels per inch. By virtue of being based on OLED tech rather than LCD, Samsung says that the next few years will see lots of flexible displays being used in curved and bent devices, with foldable devices arriving around 2016. (Read: 8K UHDTV: How do you send a 48Gbps TV signal over terrestrial airwaves?)
… Is it really beneficial to keep pushing pixel densities as quickly as Moore’s law allows? The higher the pixel count, the more energy a display consumes. Considering our eyes have a tough time seeing the difference between 200 and 300 PPI, let alone 441 (current 5-inch smartphones) and next year’s 560 PPI, it seems a little counterintuitive to intentionally reduce battery life for negligible gain. Yes, Samsung and its users get to wave their huge PPIs in the face of the Apple opposition — but is that really what the smartphone market has come to?
- Samsung tempers expectations for a 64-bit Android answer to Apple’s A7 [Apple Insider, Nov 7, 2013]
JK Shin, Samsung’s president and chief executive of IT & Mobile (the business segment of Samsung Electronics that compares closely with Apple), outlined his outlook for the smartphone and tablet markets, promising that the company would “play a key role in the premium smartphone market.” He stated that from Samsung’s perspective, the premium market will continue to outgrow market forecasts, an apparent reversal of the company’s warnings from the beginning of the year about increasing competition in the plateauing market for premium Android smartphones.
That also seems to contradict Samsung’s sales results throughout the year. The company just stated that in its September quarter, premium smartphone sales “stayed about the same” rather than keeping pace with Apple’s growth, which comes entirely from premium smartphones.
- Samsung says 100 million Galaxy S and Note phones will ship this year, coins terrible word “fonblet” [Tech in Asia, Nov 6, 2013]
2/B Phablets (‘Fonblets’ per Samsung):
- SAMSUNG ANALYST DAY 2013 [Strategy Analytics blog, Nov 7, 2013]
By introducing its Galaxy Note product, Samsung highlighted its status as the creator of‘Fonblet’ market with large display, portability and handwriting technology. We believe that Samsung has a high hope for the big-sized smartphone market with over 5 inch display, which we define as phablet. Also it made us predict that Samsung may be working on a completely new type of ‘Fonblet’ to target both smartphone and tablet segments at the same time in around 2015 or 2016 timeframe.
- Samsung aims to topple Apple as No. 1 in tablets [Associated Press, Nov 6, 2013]
A top executive, Shin Jong-kyun, told analysts on Wednesday that Samsung’s tablet business is growing rapidly and the company will become the biggest maker of tablet computers. He didn’t give a timeframe. Shin said Samsung’s tablet sales will exceed 40 million units this year, more than double sales in 2012. “Samsung tablet shipments started to grow remarkably since the second half of last year,” he said.
Research group IDC estimates that Samsung sold 16.6 million tablets in 2012, lagging far behind Apple Inc. which sold 65.7 million iPads. But Samsung is on the rise, capturing 20 percent market share in the July-September quarter while Apple, which led the commercialization of tablet computing, fell to 30 percent. Apple previously had more than half of the global tablet market but its dominance has eroded as Samsung boosted sales with cheaper Galaxy Tab computers that offer many different screen sizes.
according to which the Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales is 9.7 million, i.e. with H1’13 17.6 million the Q1-Q3’13 Samsung tablet sales are already 27.3 million units.
2/D Wearable devices:
- Look out, Google Glass: Samsung eyeing wearable technology [CNET News, Nov 6, 2013]
Speaking at the company’s Analyst Day, Samsung Vice Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun said Wednesday that his company has been dedicating significant resources to several technologies, including “wearables,” according to the Wall Street Journal, which was in attendance at the event. The slide to accompany his comment showed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and also eyeglasses that might compete with Google Glass.
Rumors have been swirling that Samsung is at work on smart eyewear. Last month, a patent filing surfaced in Korea for Samsung eyewear. That application indicated that the device would be connected directly to a smartphone and feature built-in earphones.
Samsung has not announced any plans to launch a Google Glass competitor, but Kwon’s comments seem to indicate such a device is coming.
- Samsung Teases a Wearable Tech Game Changer [The Motley Fool, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung surprised attendees at its analyst day by announcing it will be bringing fully foldable screens to the market “sometime in 2015” and even teased the product with a chintzy promo video. Although the video’s focus was on phone and tablet combinations, the real opportunity here is in wearable tech—Apple and Google should be on notice. Samsung could have a game changer with its foldable screen.
As the market for smartphones and tablets continues to become more contested, tech companies are increasingly looking at new growth opportunities. They may have found it in wearable tech: According to Juniper Research, worldwide spending on wearable tech will hit $1.4 billion this year and increase to $19 billion by 2018. Of these companies, Samsung has the most recent commercial product launch of these new generation of wearable tech products with its Galaxy Gear smart watch. So far, the product has witnessed tepid demand and modest reviews—mostly due to the fact it must be tethered to other Galaxy products for full functionality.
2/E New [mobile/device] Market: The Next Big Thing
- As It Happened: Samsung’s Analyst Day [live blog on The Wall Street Journal Asia, Nov 6, 2013]
Interesting to note here that, in tandem with talk of shareholder-friendly dividend increases, Samsung is also talking up growth, growth, growth. Mr. Shin just ticked off wearable devices, flexible devices, big data, the Internet of things [, and convergence]– “and much more” — as growth opportunities for the mobile division. “Therefore, we expect another huge growth in the mobile market in the near future,” Mr. Shin says.
Mr. Shin touches on big data, saying that the company will encorporate big data technology in providing software features for its devices. He says the company aims for a “fully integrated” user experience across all Samsung devices.
2/F Samsung System LSI:
- Making its own 64-bit core for ARM as a follow up to the widely available 64-bit core from ARM made available ASAP
- Samsung tempers expectations for a 64-bit Android answer to Apple’s A7 [Apple Insider, Nov 7, 2013]
Alluding to Apple’s custom 64-bit A7 Application Processor (which Samsung is manufacturing), [Dr. Namsung Stephen] Woo[, president of Samsung’s System LSI] said “many people were thinking ‘why do we need 64-bit for mobile devices?’ People were asking that question until three months ago, and now I think nobody is asking that question. Now people are asking ‘when can we have that? And will software run correctly on time?'”
Woo told his audience, “let me just tell you, we are… we have planned for it, we are marching on schedule. We will offer the first 64-bit AP based on ARM’s own core [reference design]. “For the second product after that we will offer even more optimized 64-bit based on our own optimization. So we are marching ahead with the 64-bit offering, and even though it’s a little too early, I think we are at the leader group in terms of 64-bit offerings.” … Woo … offered no comment on how Samsung planned to support existing software on its planned 64-bit offerings, nor even whether such a chip would get custom Android support or use Samsung’s own Tizen or some other operating system.
2/G Samsung Display:
- AMOLED panels having a pixel per inch rating of 560 in 2014
- 4K displays for smartphones in 2015
- Samsung to Roll Out AMOLED Display Tablets in 2014 [Softpedia, Nov 6, 2013]
According to ZDNet Korea, it looks like Samsung is going to focus on a particular type of tablets, AMOLED ones. So far, the tech giant has released only a handful of AMOLED display devices, so it will be pretty interesting to see what else gets produced.
- Samsung Shows Investors Foldable Mobile Prototypes [The Wall Street Journal, Nov 7, 2013]
A patent of a foldable mobile device filed with authorities in South Korea last month gave some clues as to the future of Samsung mobile devices.
But at an analyst day on Wednesday, some investors saw prototypes of a range of foldable mobile devices that Samsung is testing, giving more details on what they would actually do and look like. Reporters were banned from the conference and were not given access to see the prototypes, while the attendees were not permitted to take any photos inside the venue.
“The first one they showed us was the size of a [Galaxy] S3 smartphone which can be folded in half from top to bottom. So like a compact powder used by women,” said Jae H. Lee, an analyst with Daiwa Securities who attended the event.
“There was also one in the size of a lengthy wallet which can be unfolded on both sides into the size of a tablet computer,” Mr. Lee said, adding that both devices looked pretty good.
Other analysts also seemed to be impressed.
Such devices “would further expand Samsung’s competitive advantage in premium smartphones,” Sundeep Bajikar, an analyst with Jefferies LLC who flew in to attend the event, wrote in a research note.
A spokesman for Samsung Display Co., which makes screens for Galaxy smartphones, said that designs displayed yesterday were “concept versions,” that do not have all the components needed to make a working smartphone.
The products are likely years away from commercialization; Samsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun, said that “foldable displays” would be presented in 2015.
2/H Samsung Memory Business:
- Samsung vows to widen gap with chipmaking rivals [The Korea Herald, Mov 7, 2013]
Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, vowed to take a solid lead in the global memory market with its advanced vertical NAND flash memory technology, based on plans to unveil 36-layer V-NAND flash memory chips next year.
“Samsung will definitely, if we can, enjoy an 80 percent market share,” said Robert Myung Yi, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics’ investor relations team, on Wednesday at Samsung Analyst Day 2013, where the company laid out its mid- and long-term strategies to investors and analysts.
A top executive from Samsung told The Korea Herald that “3-D NAND flash memory stacking 36 layers of memory cells will be mass produced by the latter half of next year.”
Samsung is currently the sole producer of V-NAND flash memory chips with 24 layers of cells.
This level of stacking is deemed sufficient to make the product profitable, according to Samsung.
In terms of V-NAND market share, Yi said the firm would not just pursue higher market share, but also make efforts to secure a high profit margin as well as balance supply between the planar NAND flash memory and V-NAND flash memory. V-NAND chips’ 3-D structure gives them a higher density and capacity than their 2-D rivals.
The Korean electronics giant expects the 3-D NAND market to grow 105 percent every year until 2017, and its market size to exceed that for planar NAND flash chips next year.
Stacking memory cells is a core technological issue for chipmakers, including Samsung’s local rival SK Hynix and U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology.
Despite their technology for the V-NAND, other chipmakers have yet to start mass producing 3-D memory chips due in part to underachievement in cell stacking.
SK Hynix CEO Park Sung-wook said in October that his firm, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, would be able to stack as many as 24 layers next year, adding, “We can do as well as Samsung.”
In an earnings conference call later in the month, the firm announced that it would be able to start producing 3-D NAND flash memory either in the second half of next year or in 2015.
Global competitors have also announced they would jump into the race for V-NAND production.
Micron CEO Mark Durcan told tech news outlet CNET in August that his company would start providing samples of 3-D NAND to customers in the first quarter of 2014.
Producers are competing to scale down planar NAND flash memory, still the top product in the chip market.
After the technology proceeded to the 10 nanometer-class chip and beyond, the chipmakers faced more cell-to-cell interference, which risks the reliability of NAND flash memories.
The 3-D NAND could be used for a wide range of equipment and devices including enterprise servers and solid-state drives.
Samsung launched a V-NAND-based enterprise solid-state drive in August.
- Samsung admits its software needs improving, commits half of R&D workforce [The Verge, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung today admitted it needs to work on software, an area it’s “not as good” at as hardware. Samsung vice chairman & CEO Kwon Oh-hyun compares the company’s software efforts to the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox’s pitching performance. Kwon notes the Red Sox led the pack in batting this year, but were only an average pitching team. His conclusion? “Even though we’re doing the software business, we’re not as good as we are in hardware.” The Red Sox still won the World Series, though, with the implication being that Samsung is “winning” at technology right now.
It’s true that software imperfections have yet to hamper Samsung’s march to global dominance. 2013 has seen the Korean company post consecutive profit records and improve its marketshare in key areas, including strengthening its grip on the number-one spot in the smartphone market. That said, Samsung isn’t taking any chances; Kwon says that half of his Research and Development (R&D) workforce is focused on software, and the efforts to improve software are likely to grow moving forward. Given the company is currently spending over $3 billion per quarter on R&D, that represents a colossal investment in software.
Company president Lee Sang-hoon reaffirms Samsung’s focus on getting software right. “Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software.” Lee says the company’s recent efforts to acquire fresh talent from startups— including the establishment of overseas R&D centers — are an effort to “address region-specific needs.”
- Samsung admits its software needs work [The Guardian, Nov 7, 2013]
… Samsung Electronics says that around 40,000 of its 326,000 employees worldwide are software developers – roughly half of them based in South Korea.
Samsung customises the user experience on its Android-based phones and tablets like the Galaxy Note 3 with software called TouchWiz, which is often heavily criticised for being cluttered, confusing and detracting from the standard Android experience.
Additional features in its handsets such as “air gesture” (to move pages without touching the screen), “air view” (to enlarge previews without touching the screen) and “smart scroll” (to scroll through pages using eye movement) have been dismissed as gimmicks by some reviewers, who don’t see them bringing any value to users.
“Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software,” said Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung’s president and chief financial officer.
In response Samsung will aim to “reinforce our competitiveness in software platform, design and IT” through hiring more software experts, and through the use of overseas research and development centres “to address region-specific needs,” Lee said.
- Samsung Plays Catch-Up on Software [The Wall Street Journal, Oct 7, 2013]
South Korean Giant Weighs Software Deals to Better Compete With Apple, Google
Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -1.88% is stepping up its hunt for acquisitions and building out its presence in Silicon Valley to try and overcome its key weakness: software.
The South Korea-based company became the world’s largest maker of smartphones by manufacturing attractive devices that hit the market quickly and cheaply.
But to thrive in a mobile-device market increasingly dominated by software specialists likeApple Inc., AAPL +1.57% Google Inc. GOOG +0.80% and Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.75%, which acquired Nokia Corp.’s NOK1V.HE -1.22% phone business last month, Samsung is aiming to become a software power in its own right.
Earlier this year, Samsung was among the bidders for Israeli mobile-mapping service Waze Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter. Google eventually bought Waze for about $1.1 billion in July, a deal that is under review by the Federal Trade Commission. According to one person, Samsung had approached Waze in hopes of making a large investment and forming a partnership, before acquisition talks kicked off.
Samsung has plenty of other Silicon Valley software startups in its sights, particularly in games, mobile search, social media and mapping-related services, according to employees and an internal document reviewed by the Journal.
The document, a mergers and acquisitions presentation prepared in February by Samsung’s Media Solution Center, the arm that works on software initiatives, lays out the company’s rationale for bulking up in each category and lists potential acquisition and investment targets.
According to the document, Samsung has evaluated startups such as Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based developer of gaming platforms, and Green Throttle Games Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions. It has also considered gaming pioneer Atari Inc., which Samsung could have used to offer classic games like Asteroids and Pong exclusively on its mobile phones. Atari auctioned off some of its properties this year as part of a bankruptcy filing after rejecting preliminary bids from several companies for its portfolio of games.
Samsung has also looked closely at Glympse, a Seattle-based company that allows users to share their location with their friends—a service that Samsung says could be integrated into their phones’ native calendar and contacts functions, differentiating it from competitors.
Samsung first reached out to Glympse in early 2012, and has raised the prospect of an equity investment, though discussions remain ongoing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last month, Glympse unveiled an app for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
Elsewhere in the document, Samsung named Tel Aviv-based mobile search engine Everything.me as a possible target. It has also looked at video-chat app Rounds, another Israeli startup, that would help Samsung compete with Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Hangouts.
Samsung declined to comment on its acquisition plans—but it has made no secret of what it calls its “embracing the culture of Silicon Valley.”
In recent months, the Suwon, South Korea-based company has broken ground on a major research facility near Apple’s offices and launched a software startup accelerator with locations in Palo Alto, Calif., and Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. It will make early-stage investments in startups, especially developers of software for Samsung devices.
Samsung, which has $1.1 billion set aside for early-stage startup and venture capital investments in the U.S., is also poaching software engineers from its U.S. rivals and, at a hotel in San Francisco later this month, will host its first ever developers’ conference, an important step toward creating an “ecosystem” of applications unique to its devices.
“The kind of things that happen in the Valley are really exciting to Samsung,” said David Eun, the head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center, which operates the software-startup accelerator.
The aggressive move into its rivals’ backyard is unusual for Samsung, a company that has historically kept its operations heavily centralized and shied away from outside deals. The emphasis on self-reliance runs so deep that Samsung manufactures some 90% of its products within its own factories.
Privately, company executives portray the recent shift not as a repudiation of its long-term strategy, but rather as a complement to its own research and development efforts, which remain substantial.
The company spent $10.8 billion on R&D last year, with 67,000 employees devoted to helping Samsung maintain its edge in the global television, semiconductor and home-appliance markets.
So far, though, its attempts at developing a proprietary-software hit for its mobile phones—which account for two-thirds of Samsung’s operating profits—have fallen flat.
Among Samsung’s recent efforts are an abandoned mobile operating system, a mobile chat service that has struggled to gain traction and coolly received technologies that anticipate hand gestures and eye movements.
In November 2009, Samsung launched Bada, an open-source mobile operating system that it hoped could challenge Google’s Android platform. But Bada’s unfriendly user interface and poor syncing with other devices proved unpopular with consumers.
Earlier this year, Samsung pulled the plug on Bada, rolling those efforts into a new operating system known as Tizen. There too, Silicon Valley plays a key role: Samsung is codeveloping Tizen with Intel Corp. The company has yet to release a Tizen-powered smartphone.
If Samsung’s new operating system catches on, it could relieve the company’s reliance on Android, which powers the vast majority of Samsung’s mobile devices, including its new smartwatch.
Breaking through with a proprietary “must-have” software application could also bolster Samsung’s position at a time when the company is vulnerable to competition from Chinese hardware makers, including Lenovo Group Ltd., Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Inc. In the most recent quarter, Samsung’s mobile business saw its operating profit margin fall to 17.7%, from 19.8% in the previous quarter amid pricing pressure from rivals and increased spending on advertising.
Meanwhile, Google’s tie-up with Motorola Mobility in 2011, and Microsoft’s move to acquire Nokia’s mobile-phone business last month, mean that Samsung will face heightened competition from companies that, like Apple, can compete in both hardware and software.
Samsung’s software success is far from assured. Unlike Apple, Google and Microsoft, the Korean electronics giant doesn’t have a history of software achievements. Instead, Samsung cut its teeth in the world of hardware, where efficiency, flexibility and supply-chain management are paramount.
Acquiring its way to software dominance is no easier than building up its software capabilities organically. While Samsung has about $50 billion in cash on hand, the company has struggled in the past with deal-making. Even today, some in Silicon Valley say, Samsung has developed a reputation for kicking the tires on a range of potential deals, only rarely pulling the trigger.
One reason for such caution is Samsung’s purchase of AST Research Inc. in the mid-1990s, an experience that still weighs heavily on company executives.
The two-part, $840 million acquisition of Irvine, Calif.-based AST, once the world’s fifth-largest computer maker, was conceived as an attempt to break into the U.S. personal-computer market.
Samsung sustained heavy losses in AST before ultimately giving up on the deal, which remains Samsung’s largest overseas acquisition to date. Even now, upper management remains wary of big acquisitions, in large part because of AST, employees say.
Samsung’s recent acquisitions have been small, and focused on software developers that can help distinguish Samsung’s phones from others built on the Android platform.
Last May, Samsung—seeking to create a credible rival to Apple’s iTunes platform—snapped up mSpot Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile-software developer with hopes of creating a one-stop media platform that would allow users to stream and download music on their Samsung devices.
In the process, Samsung hoped to rival not only iTunes, but also online music-streaming services such as those offered by Sweden’s Spotify AB and Oakland, Calif.-based Pandora Media Inc.
Earlier this year, Samsung moved mSpot into a new office with plans to double its staff by the end of 2013. Since then, however, the company’s attempts to develop the product, initially called Samsung Music Hub, have foundered.
2/J Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As):
- Analyst Day good start for Samsung [The Korea Times, Nov 8, 2013]
Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that it needs to work on software, where it is currently heavily investing to transform itself into a solutions provider from a manufacturing firm.
Sources say Samsung prefers “Google style” expansion centered on small-sized mergers and acquisitions (M&As). It is interested in buying patents, marketing and human resources in target companies. “Samsung was passive in pursuing M&A deals. But we will become aggressive. Therefore, I don’t think our current cash-holdings are too high,” said the CFO Lee.
Vice Chairman Kwon insisted that its edge in “vertical alignment” between components and parts will enable it create over $400 billion in annual sales in 2020. … But what’s equally interesting is that Samsung is also eager to develop components. Sharpening components-related technologies is something that really matters to it because of its plan to share confidential data with software giants such as Google and others to develop innovative products and secure advanced chips and flat-screens.
- Samsung to push for more M&As for growth–Tech giant sets sights on health care, smart cars [The Korea Herald, Nov 7, 2013]
Samsung Electronics will push for more mergers and acquisitions and increase its presence in health care and smart car industries for future growth, top executives said on Wednesday. … “Convergence (among technologies in different industries) is occurring right now, but not enough. We can create new industries, for example, health care and smart cars,” said Kwon Oh-hyun, vice chairman and CEO of the electronics firm.
“(By converging Samsung’s information technology with cars) there are a lot (of opportunities) for us to supply to our customers.” Samsung SDI, a battery maker and an affiliate of Samsung Group, has invested in electric car batteries since 2008. It has successfully developed the products and is supplying them to BMW and Chrysler’s Fiat.
… The vice chairman noted, “Even though our health care business is small, within the coming decade we want to be a strong player in the area,” hinting that the electronics firm will roll out more advanced, small and easy-to-handle equipment such as high-resolution CT and MRI scanners.
- With regards to M&A, Samsung stated that it has been acquiring several healthcare companies for the past three years, hinting that it would be willing to acquire the promising companies in mobile area.
- Samsung ‘hungry’ for acquisitions, R&D for new growth [ZDNet, Nov 6, 2013]
Samsung Electronics wants to invest more money for new growth technologies, and part of that will come from being more aggressive in mergers and acquisitions as well as R&D.
M&A will aim to reinforce current businesses, secure talent and find new opportunities, said Lee Sang-hoon, president and CFO of Samsung Electronics. The company has already spent about US$1 billion investing in 14 companies since 2010, which has been “somewhat conservative”.
Samsung currently has a cash pile of around US$50 billion, which is about 20 percent of its market capitalization and has attracted complaints from investors of being at a level too high at their expense. According to Lee, the war chest will now being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions.
“We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return,” Lee said.
- Samsung to invest in new technology, M&As, marketing to topple Apple [The Economic Times [of India], Nov 7, 2013]
Lee said the $50 billion war chest was being prepared for “significant investment” in strategic technologies, mergers or acquisitions, suggesting the company could loosen its purse strings as it chases the next big thing in mobile technology.
The change of tack is aimed at responding to an innovation shift in the information technology business to software from hardware, Samsung’s traditional speciality. “I know we have been somewhat conservative in M&A but it may be different in the future. Based on this, I don’t believe the current level of net cash balance is excessive,” he said. We plan to allocate a significant portion of our annual cash flow into capex and R&D to secure future growth and shareholder return.”
Intel is ready to push big in smartphones next year with its winning multimode voice and data, multiband LTE modem technology capable of global LTE roaming via a single SKU
To play it safe the chip is still produced by TSMC (as with Infineon bought in 2011 by Intel) and could continue so in the foreseeable future.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
- Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.
IDF 2013: Intel CEO shows 22 nanometer-based, LTE smartphone [ITworld YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
From: Intel’s CEO Discusses Q3 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Oct 15, 2013]
In the Wireless business, I was pleased with our progress on LTE. Our multimode data modem is now available in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. By the end of the year, we expect to have voice-over-LTE versions available for customers and our second generation of voice-over-LTE product with carrier aggregation will be available in the first half of next year.
See also: Intel® XMM™ 7160 Slim Modem [ARK | Your Source for Intel® Product Information, June 23, 2012]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Scale & Integration- Addressing the Global Market for LTE [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Intel’s Approach to Wireless Innovation [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Background information: Ask the Experts: Intel’s Aicha Evans Talks Wireless and Answers Your Questions [AnandTech, Aug 15, 2013]
Intel proves that it has what it takes when it comes to LTE [By Michael Thelander on Spirent blogs, March 19, 2013]
Signals Research Group (SRG) recently completed its eighth collaborative effort with Spirent Communications and its sixteenth “Chips and Salsa” report on cellular chipsets. In the most recent collaboration, we brought together LTE baseband chipsets from eight different suppliers (Altair Semiconductor, GCT, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung, and Sequans) to determine who has the best performing chipset, based on a series of 32 test scenarios that we derived from industry accepted 3GPP test specifications. SRG facilitated the benchmark study and was responsible for reviewing and analyzing the results. Spirent provided engineering support, and most importantly, the use of its 8100 test system to conduct the automated and highly repeatable tests on each chipset.
The most recent study marked our second benchmark study of LTE chipsets. Previous studies with Spirent have included HSPA+, HSDPA, UMTS call reliability and A-GNSS. To date, we are still recognized as the only independent provider of baseband chipset performance benchmark studies in the industry. And as a testament to our long-standing relationship, the companies that participated in the most recent round are already clamoring for the next round to take place. The companies that came out on top want to prove that they are not a one trick pony and the companies that came out toward the bottom want redemption. The few companies that were not ready to participate in the last study are also ready to enter the competition. There was a reason that we titled the report, “Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked” since some of these companies have been noticeably absent from prior studies due to the uncertain viability of their chipsets.
The results from the most recent round are interesting, to say the least. First, Spirent and SRG were able to bring together numerous pre-commercial and commercial chipsets. I imagine that most people were surprised that Intel actually had a working LTE chipset, let alone find out that it was the best performing chipset (more on this facet in a bit). Additionally, the list included pre-commercial solutions from Sequans, Renesas Mobile and NVIDIA. It would be virtually impossible for any organization to assemble such a line-up!
As I hinted in the title, Intel came out on top – beating the likes of perennial favorite and San Diego native, Qualcomm. To be fair, the results were incredibly close with only a few percentage points separating the two companies, but Intel’s results were better and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We could add another activity to the list, but this blog is intended to be family friendly. And if you are assuming that Qualcomm came in second place then you might want to rethink your assumption – nothing we wrote in this blog suggests that they did.
In hindsight, Intel’s results should not be all that surprising since it highly leverages the Infineon 3G platform and stellar RF performance that has since evolved to support LTE under the Intel moniker. Infineon, I note, was always a strong performer in our HSPA+/HSDPA chipset studies and it was in the original 3G iPhone until Qualcomm won the slot, in part due to its ability to support the requirements of a certain North American operator whose name rhymes with Horizon Direless. Intel may have lost the ARM war, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Separate from the overall results, I once again saw some pretty big performance differences among all of the chipsets, in particular for the more challenging fading scenarios. As a side note, in addition to the more basic static channel conditions, our 32 test scenarios included various simulated fading channels (EVA5, EPA5, ETU70, and ETU300), SNR values, and MIMO correlation factors to create a range of challenging, albeit realistic, scenarios. In many cases the variance between the top-performing and bottom-performing LTE baseband chipset exceeded twenty percentage points. Even for the top-performing LTE baseband chipsets, it was clearly evident in the results that some chipsets did better in some scenarios than in other scenarios.
Now that we’ve set the bar for how chipsets should perform, I expect to witness material improvements in our next round, which we have planned for later this year. Just to keep everyone honest, I plan to change the test scenarios for the next round. In the interim, Spirent and SRG are investigating some additional benchmark studies that we can do together. These studies could include the industry’s first independent over-the-air (OTA) testing of leading platforms in commercial devices (imagine Samsung S III versus Apple iPhone 5) as well as our second round of A-GNSS testing.
If you are interested in the published report, please feel free to visit our website at www.signalsresearch.com where you can download a report preview.
Click here for more information on testing LTE chipset and mobile device performance.
Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform
Multimode LTE & DC-HSPA
Based on Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 digital and analog baseband with integrated Power Management Unit and Intel® SMARTi™ transceiver for 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is the most compact solution for LTE and DC-HSPA smartphones for worldwide deployment.
View the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform brief > [June 23, 2012]
- LTE capabilities of 150Mbps and 50Mbps (Cat 4)
- HSDPA and HSUPA capabilities of 42Mbps and 11.5Mbps with EDGE multislot class 33
- Multi-band LTE, penta-band 3G, quad-band EDGE for worldwide connectivity
- Excellent power consumption and extremely small PCB footprint
- Hardware and software interfaces to applications processors or to a PC as a wireless modem
From the announcement in February 2012 via product launch in Q1’13 to first commercial delivery in October 2013:
From: Intel Expands Smartphone Portfolio: New Customers, Products, Software and Services [press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2000.
The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the Intel® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.
Building on these 32nm announcements, Otellini discussed how the Atom™ processor will outpace Moore’s Law and announced that Intel will ship 22nm SoCs for carrier certification next year, and is already in development on 14nm SoC technology.
In 2011, Intel shipped in more than 400 million cellular platforms. Building on this market segment position, Intel announced the XMM 7160, an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G platform with support for 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink, and support for HSPA+ 42Mbps. Intel will sample the product in the second quarter with customer designs scheduled to launch by the end of 2012.
Intel also announced that it is sampling the XMM 6360 platform, a new slim modem 3G HSPA+ solution supporting 42Mbps downlink and 11.5Mbps uplink for small form factors.
From: Intel Accelerates Mobile Computing Push [press release, Feb 24, 2013]
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver a leading low-power, global modem solution that works across multiple bands, modes, regions and devices.
The Intel® XMM™ 7160 is one of the world’s smallest2 and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions (LTE / DC-HSPA+ / EDGE), supporting multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabook™ systems. The 7160 global modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, more than any other in-market solution. It also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life, and global roaming in a single SKU.
“The 7160 is a well-timed and highly competitive 4G LTE solution that we expect will meet the growing needs of the emerging global 4G market,” [Hermann] Eul[, Intel vice president and co-general manager of the Mobile and Communications Group] said. “Independent analysts have shown our solution to be world class and I’m confident that our offerings will lead Intel into new multi-comm solutions. With LTE connections projected to double over the next 12 months to more than 120 million connections, we believe our solution will give developers and service providers a single competitive offering while delivering to consumers the best global 4G experience. Building on this, Intel will also accelerate the delivery of new advanced features to be timed with future advanced 4G network deployments.”
Intel is currently shipping its single mode 4G LTE data solution and will begin multimode shipments later in the first half of this year. The company is also optimizing its LTE solutions concurrently with its SoC roadmap to ensure the delivery of leading-edge low-power combined solutions to the marketplace.
From: Signals Ahead: Chips And Salsa XVI – Sweet 16 And Never Been Benchmarked [Feb 25, 2013]
In December 2011 we published the industry’s first performance benchmark study of LTE baseband modem chipsets. In that study we tested five commercially-procured chipsets from four chipset suppliers. We tested two different Qualcomm chipsets. Fast forward fourteen months and we are finally out with the results from our most recent study in which three companies vie for top honors. Intel’s pre-commercial solution was the top-performing solution that we tested.
This report is our sixteenth Chips and Salsa report since 2004, with the overwhelming majority of these reports focused specifically on performance benchmarking. Over the years, we’ve benchmarked UMTS (call reliability) HSDPA, HSPA+, Mobile WiMAX, A-GNSS and LTE chipsets, with the results always providing the industry with a fully independent and objective assessment of how the chipsets compare with each other for the given set of evaluation criteria. For the eighth time, we have collaborated with Spirent Communications to get access to their 8100 test system and engineering support in order to obtain highly objective results.
The significant advantage of conducting lab-based tests is that we can easily replicate and repeat each test scenario in an automated fashion, thus ensuring a common and consistent set of test scenarios for each device/chipset that we tested. And with the Spirent 8100 test system that we used for the tests, we know that we went with a test platform that is widely recognized and being used in several early LTE deployments. SRG takes full responsibility for the analysis and conclusions associated with this benchmarking exercise.
In the most recent round of chipset testing, we tested a seemingly staggering number of solutions – we tested solutions from eight different chipset suppliers (reference Table 1). We attempted to test a solution from HiSilicon, but through no fault of their own we ran into some difficulties and faced time constraints with MWC just around the corner. We reserve the right to publish their results in the near future and provide updated rankings. Many of these solutions were pre-commercial chipsets and/or the chipsets that came directly from the chipset suppliers. This approach ensured that the results that we are providing in this report are very forward looking and highly differentiated. It would be virtually impossible for any single organization to get access to all of these chipsets and replicate this study.
Worth noting, we personally invited all companies with LTE chipset aspirations to participate in this study, and given our history in doing these tests, companies recognize the importance of supporting our efforts. Needless to say, if we didn’t include a company’s LTE chipset in this study then they probably don’t have a solution that is ready to be benchmarked against their peers. It is one thing to issue a press release, demonstrate a working PHY Layer without any upper protocol layers, or show a chipset operating under ideal conditions. It is another situation all together to put your proverbial money where your mouth is and allow a third party to benchmark your solution and publish the results for all to read. Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked!
As previously alluded to in this report, we used throughput as the primary criteria for evaluating the chipsets. We recognize that device manufacturers and operators use other objective and subjective criteria to select their chipset partners. The criteria includes support for multiple RF bands and legacy technologies, power consumption, time to market, price, engineering support, and the inclusion of peripherals (e.g., application processor, connectivity solutions, etc.). However, no one can dispute the importance of throughput and the ability of the chipset to make the most efficient use of available network resources.
We subjected the chipsets to 32 different test scenarios that combined a mix of fading profiles (Static Channel, EPA5, EVA5, ETU70 and ETU300) and transmission modes (Transmit Diversity, Open Loop MIMO and Closed Loop MIMO). All of the chipsets that we tested performed quite well with the less challenging test scenarios but we observed a fairly large separation of results with the more challenging test scenarios. In many cases the performance difference was in excess of 20% between the top- and bottom-performing solutions.
Based on our highly objective evaluation criteria, Intel had the top-performing solution by a very slight margin. This result may surprise some readers, but we point out that the Infineon 3G solution was always a strong contender in our previous benchmark studies. That scenario is in stark contrast to its application processor which has continuously struggled to be competitive and to attract market share. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. All this and more in this issue of Signals Ahead.
From: Innovation, Reinvention on Intel® Architecture Fuel Wave of 2-in-1 Devices, New Mobile Computing Experiences [press release, Jun 3, 2013]
Accelerating Fast: Tablets, Smartphones and LTE
Intel’s 22nm low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture is enabling the company to accelerate and significantly enhance its tablet and smartphone offerings.
For tablets on shelves for holiday 2013, Intel’s next-generation, 22nm quad-core Atom SoC (“Bay Trail-T”) will deliver superior graphics and more than two times the CPU performance of the current generation. It will also enable sleek designs with 8 or more hours3 of battery life and weeks of standby, as well as support Android* and Windows 8.1*.
For the first time, [Executive Vice President Tom] Kilroy demonstrated Intel’s 4G LTE multimode solution in conjunction with the next-generation 22nm quad-core Atom SoC for tablets. The Intel® XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest4and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions and will support global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
With a number of phones with Intel silicon inside having shipped across more than 30 countries, Kilroy previewed what’s coming. He showed for the first time a smartphone reference design platform based on “Merrifield,” Intel’s next-generation 22nm Intel Atom SoC for smartphones that will deliver increased performance and battery life. The platform includes an integrated sensor hub for personalized services, as well as capabilities for data, device and privacy protection.
From: Intel Readies ‘Bay Trail’ for Holiday 2013 Tablets and 2-in-1 Devices [press release, Jun 4, 2013]
At an industry event in Taipei today, Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, unveiled new details about the company’s forthcoming Intel® Atom™ processor-based SoC for tablets (“Bay Trail-T”) due in market for holiday this year.
Eul also spoke to recent momentum and announcements around the smartphone business and demonstrated the Intel® XMM 7160 multimode 4G LTE solution, now in final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers across North America, Europe and Asia.
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver leading low-power, global modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.
Intel’s XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Eul demonstrated the solution by showcasing a Bay Trail-based tablet over an LTE network connection, and said that Intel will begin shipments of multimode data 4G LTE in the coming weeks following final IOT with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Intel announced that the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2560 (“Clover Trail+”). Additionally, the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch tablet will come equipped with Intel’s XMM 6262 3G modem solution or Intel’s XMM 7160 4G LTE solution.
From: New Intel CEO, President Outline Product Plans, Future of Computing Vision to ‘Mobilize’ Intel and Developers [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
In high-speed 4G wireless data communications, [Intel CEO Brian] Krzanich said Intel’s new LTE solution provides a compelling alternative for multimode, multiband 4G connectivity, removing a critical barrier to Intel’s progress in the smartphone market segment. Intel is now shipping a multimode chip, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 modem, which is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband solutions for global LTE roaming.
As an example of the accelerating development pace under Intel’s new management team, Krzanich said that the company’s next-generation LTE product, the Intel® XMM™ 7260 modem, is now under development. Expected to ship in 2014, the Intel XMM 7260 modem will deliver LTE-Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, timed with future advanced 4G network deployments. Krzanich showed the carrier aggregation feature of the Intel XMM 7260 modem successfully doubling throughput speeds during his keynote presentation.
He also demonstrated a smartphone platform featuring both the Intel XMM 7160 LTE solution and Intel’s next-generation Intel® Atom™ SoC for 2014 smartphones and tablets codenamed “Merrifield.” Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, “Merrifield” will deliver increased performance, power-efficiency and battery life over Intel’s current-generation offering.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
- Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.
Intel Corporation today announced the commercial availability of its multimode, multiband 4G LTE solution. The Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is featured in the LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1)*, now available in Asia and Europe.
Intel has also expanded its portfolio of 4G LTE connectivity solutions, introducing PCIe (PCI Express) M.2 modules for 4G connected tablets, Ultrabooks™ and 2 in 1 devices as well as an integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver module, the Intel® SMARTi™ m4G. These new products make it simple, efficient and cost effective for device manufacturers to add high performance wireless connectivity to their product designs.
“As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops,” said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. “Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem.”
The commercial availability of the Intel XMM 7160 solution follows successful interoperability testing with major infrastructure vendors and tier-one operators across Asia, Europe and North America. The Intel XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode, multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets. The solution provides seamless connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks,supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and is voice-over LTE (VoLTE) capable. It features a highly configurable RF architecture, running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Intel offers a broad portfolio of mobile platform solutions including SoCs, cost-optimized integrated circuits, reference designs and feature-rich software stacks supporting 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. Building on the Intel XMM 7160 platform, Intel today announced two multimode LTE solutions that pave the way for 4G connected devices in a variety of form factors.
New Intel PCIe M.2 LTE Modules and Intel SMARTi m4G Solution
Intel introduced Intel PCIe M.2 LTE modules, which are small, cost-effective, embedded modules in a standardized form factor for adding multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) data connectivity across a variety of device types. The Intel M.2 module supports peak downlink speeds of 100Mbps over LTE. The modules support up to 15 LTE frequency bands for global roaming. In addition, those modules also feature support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based on the Intel CG1960 GNSS solution.
For manufacturers, the M.2 module makes it simple to add 4G connectivity to their designs while reducing integration and certification expenses, and improving time-to-market. The M.2 module is currently undergoing interoperability testing with tier-one global service providers. Intel M.2-based modules will soon be available from Huawei*, Sierra Wireless* and Telit*. These modules are expected to ship globally in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook designs from leading manufacturers.
In addition to the new M.2 LTE module, Intel also offers the new Intel SMARTi m4G – a highly integrated radio transceiver module. The Intel SMARTi m4G was developed in cooperation with Murata* and integrates the Intel SMARTi 4G transceiver with most front-end components in one LTCC (low temperature co-fired ceramic) package. When paired with the Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 baseband, manufacturers can meet the certification requirements of service providers with minimal design cycles in an easy-to-place, low-profile solution. With the Intel SMARTi m4G, the overall component count can be reduced by more than 40 components and the required PCB area is reduced up to 20 percent.
Intel plans to deliver next-generation LTE solutions, including the Intel® XMM™ 7260 in 2014. The Intel XMM 7260 adds LTE Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. More information about Intel’s mobile communications solutions is available at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/wireless-products/mobile-communications.html.
See also: Intel Talks about Multimode LTE Modems – XMM7160 and Beyond [AnandTech, Aug 20, 2013] from which I will include here:
XMM7160 is still built on TSMC’s 40nm CMOS process, and its SMARTi 4G transceiver is built on 65nm at TSMC, but Intel still claims it has a 20–30% power advantage for modem and RF compared to a competitor smartphone platform, though it wouldn’t say which. … The transition of modem to Intel Architecture (away from two different DSP architectures) also remains to be seen, and I’m told it will be two to three years before Intel’s modems are ready to intercept the Intel fabrication roadmap and get built on Intel silicon instead of at TSMC. …
From: Mobile Wireless M2M Value Proposition Product Portfolio and Roadmap for M2M 2G-4G [Intel presentation, Nov 26, 2012]
With Android and forked Android smartphones as the industry standard Nokia relegated to a niche market status while Apple should radically alter its previous premium strategy for long term
Here is the chart reflecting the performance of the market-leading mobile phones upto Q2’13:
From this the most visible things are:
- Android and Android-forked (Xiaomi etc.) smartphones are the undisputed industry standards to dominate the market in years to come
- Both the Symbian to Windows Phone and S40 to Asha Full Touch smartphone platform transition strategies from Nokia could survive the continued Android onslaught but only in a niche market status
- There is no room for Apple’s further growth, and both the platform and the company could face a gradual decline in the smartphone market
My other observations about the state of the smartphone market after Q2’13 were already presented in the following posts:
- Superphones turning point: segment satured with Tier 1 globals while the Chinese locals are at less than 40% of the Samsung price [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 3, 2013] OR Samsung is leapfrogging Apple while the Chinese local brands are coming close to Samsung but at less than 40% price. Meanwhile the superphone segment of the market becomes saturated.
- Xiaomi, OPPO and Meizu–top Chinese brands of smartphone innovation [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 1, 2013]
- GiONEE (金立), the emerging global competitor on the smartphone market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 22, 2013]
- Eight-core MT6592 for superphones and big.LITTLE MT8135 for tablets implemented in 28nm HKMG are coming from MediaTek to further disrupt the operations of Qualcomm and Samsung [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 20-29, 2013]
- China: Entry-level dual core IPS WVGA (480×800) smartphones $65+ now, quad-core $70+ in June [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 29, 2013]
In essence we came to a point when the superphone market came down in price to as low as $110 and up, while the entry-level segment of good quality came down to a $65+ price level. Also the smartphone market became saturated in all segments which brings an end to Samsung’s ability to base its premium profitability ambitions on smartphones alone (almost), as it was reflected in 20 years of Samsung “New Management” as manifested by the latest, June 20th GALAXY & ATIV innovations [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 2-26, 2013]:
… innovations in the broadest sense of the world: technology, hardware and software engineering and design, marketing in general and branding in particular etc.
Updates: Q2 record-high operating profit + smartphone worries deepen + overall business situation + nonproportionally high capex of the semiconductor business + the #2 capex beneficiary, the Display Panel Segment
These observations also led to much greater conclusions about the upcoming changes:
- China is the epicenter of the mobile Internet world, so of the next-gen HTML5 web [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 5, 2013]
- The Upcoming Mobile Internet Superpower [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Aug 13, 2013]
Below I will assess the ‘Nokia Q2’13 market situation and changes’ as well as include ‘Gartner’s own assessment of the Q2’13 overall market situation and the changes’ to complete the picture.
Nokia Q2’13 market situation and changes:
Looking at the progress of Nokia Symbian to Windows Phone transformation Q2’13 was a straight continuation of the trends noted for Q1’13 in Nokia: Continued moderate progress with Lumia, urgent Asha Touch refresh and new innovations to come against the onslaught of unbranded Android and forked Android players in China and India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 18, 2013] as you could also well observe from the chart included here as well:
Nokia was extensively discussing its Windows Phone transition in Nokia Corporation Interim Report for Q2 2013 and January-June 2013 [press release, July 18, 2013]:
Lumia Q2 volumes increased 32% quarter-on-quarter to 7.4 million units, reflecting strong demand from customers for a broadened Lumia product range.
Commenting on the second quarter results, Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, said: “ … In our Smart Devices business unit, we continue to focus on delivering meaningful differentiation to consumers around the world. We are very proud of the recent creations by our Lumia team, from the Lumia 520 – our most affordable Windows Phone 8 product which has enjoyed a strong start in markets like China, France, India, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam – to the Lumia 1020, our star imaging product which we unveiled to the world last week. Overall, Lumia volumes grew to 7.4 million in the second quarter, the highest for any quarter so far and showing increasing momentum for the ecosystem. During the third quarter, we expect that our new Lumia products will drive a significant part of our Smart Devices revenue.”
In the third quarter 2013, supported by the wider availability of recently announced Lumia products as well as recently announced Mobile Phones products, Nokia expects higher Devices & Services net sales, compared to the second quarter 2013.
The year-on-year decline in our Smart Devices volumes in the second quarter 2013 continued to be driven by the strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms and our portfolio transition from Symbian products to Lumia products. The decline was primarily due to lower Symbian volumes, partially offset by higher Lumia volumes. Our Symbian volumes decreased from 6 million units in the second quarter 2012 to approximately zero in the second quarter 2013. Our Lumia volumes increased from 4.0 million in the second quarter 2012 to 7.4 million in the second quarter 2013.
On a sequential basis, the increase in our Smart Devices volumes in the second quarter 2013 was due to higher Lumia volumes, as we started shipping the Lumia 520 and 720 in significant volumes. In the second quarter 2013, the vast majority of Smart Devices volumes were from Windows Phone 8-based Lumia products.
The year-on-year increase in our Smart Devices ASP in the second quarter 2013 was primarily due to a positive mix shift towards sales of our Lumia products which carry a higher ASP than our Symbian products, partially offset by our pricing actions. Sequentially, the decrease in our Smart Devices ASP in the second quarter 2013 was primarily due to a negative mix shift towards sales of our lower priced Windows Phone 8-based Lumia products as well as our pricing actions.
Nokia announced and started shipments in select markets of the Nokia Lumia 925, a new interpretation of its award-winning flagship, the Nokia Lumia 920. The Nokia Lumia 925 introduces metal for the first time to the Nokia Lumia range and includes the most advanced lens technology and next-generation imaging software to capture clearer and sharper pictures and video even in low light conditions. The Nokia Lumia 925 offers a variety of exclusive services such as Nokia Music for unlimited streaming of free playlists, integrated HERE services, and the option to add wireless charging with a snap-on wireless charging cover.
Nokia announced the Nokia Lumia 928 smartphone, exclusive to Verizon Wireless. With a 8.7MP camera and Nokia’s PureView imaging innovation, the Nokia Lumia 928 delivers superior imaging and video performance that enables people to capture bright, blur free photos and videos, even in low light conditions. The sleek and stylish smartphone comes with the latest high-end Nokia Lumia experiences, including Nokia Music, HERE services, and built-in wireless charging.
Nokia started shipping in volumes the Nokia Lumia 520, its most affordable Windows Phone 8 smartphone, delivering experiences normally found only in high-end smartphones, such as the same digital camera lenses found on the Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Music for free music out of the box and even offline, and HERE services.
Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphones continued to attract businesses, including Miele & Cie. KG, a global leader in domestic appliances and commercial machinery, which has chosen the Nokia Lumia range as the smartphone of choice for its global employees.
The Windows Phone Store continued to strengthen in terms of the quantity and quality of applications. The Windows Phone Store today offers more than 165 000 applications and games.
The Q2’13-related improvements mentioned above and influencing the below chart were even more extensively discussed in my earlier posts:
High-volume Nokia Lumia superphones with Windows Phone 8 extended on the top for China, and on the entry level needed for Asia and Middle-East as well UPDATE: at even lower price by 27% [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Dec 5, 2012 – March 21, 2013] Note that the Lumia 520 W-CDMA mentioned there for ¥ 1299.00 [$209] is now (Aug 17) ¥ 899.00 [$147] while in India it is even lower priced at Rs 7,667+ [$124+]
Nokia’s expanded, new risks and uncertainties for its Windows Phone strategy for 2013 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 17, 2013]
while the Q3’13-related actions of improvements in these posts:
Nokia Lumia 1020: an excellent case of Nokia’s contribution to Microsoft as a key innovation partner [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 12, 2013]
Minutes of a high-octane but also expert evangelist CEO: Stephen Elop, Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 12, 2013]
Now look again at the performance chart for the reflections:
From the further decline of Asha Full Touch you could see that the Temporary Nokia setback in India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 28, 2013] continued into the Q2’13 as well as the result of entry-level local brand Android smartphones being in heavy price competition with Nokia Asha Full Touch during Q2 while having superior hardware specifications. Even Samsung’s REX 70 competed in price with Asha Full Touch.
Nokia was talking in his Nokia Corporation Interim Report for Q2 2013 and January-June 2013 [press release, July 18, 2013] only about the following future-oriented actions that were introduced in Q2 in order to remedy this situation:
In Devices & Services, our Mobile Phones business unit started to demonstrate some signs of recovery in the latter part of the second quarter following a difficult start to the year. Also, towards the end of the second quarter, we started to ship the Asha 501, which brings a new design and user experience to the highly competitive sub-100 USD market. While we are very encouraged by the consumer response to our innovations in this price category, our Mobile Phones business unit is planning to take actions to focus its product offering and improve product competitiveness.
On a year-on-year basis, our Mobile Phones volumes in the second quarter 2013 were negatively affected by competitive industry dynamics, including intense smartphone competition at increasingly lower price points and intense competition at the low end of our product portfolio. Compared to the second quarter 2012, our Mobile Phones volumes declined across our portfolio, most notably for our non-full-touch devices that we sell to our customers for above EUR 30, partially offset by higher sales volumes of Asha full-touch smartphones.
Nokia started production at its new manufacturing facility in Hanoi, Vietnam. The new site has been established to produce our most affordable Asha smartphones and feature phones.
Nokia announced and started shipments of the Nokia Asha 501, the first of a new generation of smartphones to run on the new Asha platform. Retailing at a suggested price of USD 99, the Nokia Asha 501 offers users affordable smartphone design with bold color, a high-quality build and an innovative user interface. The new Asha platform also allows developers who write applications for the Nokia Asha 501 to reach all smartphones based on the new Asha platform without having to re-write code.
These things were already extensively discussed in my earlier posts:
- Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 2, 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
- New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant development platform information
- Nokia becoming the next Samsung from its new Vietnamese manufacturing base? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 24, 2013]
And here is how Gartner was assessing the Q2’13 overall market situation and the changes:
- Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Grew 3.6 Percent in Second Quarter of 2013
- Microsoft Has Become the No. 3 Smartphone OS Overtaking BlackBerry
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users totaled 435 million units in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 3.6 percent from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc. Worldwide smartphone sales to end users reached 225 million units, up 46.5 percent from the second quarter of 2012. Sales of feature phones to end users totaled 210 million units and declined 21 percent year-over-year.
“Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions.
Samsung maintained the No. 1 position in the global smartphone market, as its share of smartphone sales reached 31.7 percent, up from 29.7 percent in the second quarter of 2012 (see Table 1). Apple’s smartphone sales reached 32 million units in the second quarter of 2013, up 10.2 percent from a year ago.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
In the smartphone operating system (OS) market (see Table 2), Microsoft took over BlackBerry for the first time, taking the No. 3 spot with 3.3 percent market share in the second quarter of 2013. “While Microsoft has managed to increase share and volume in the quarter, Microsoft should continue to focus on growing interest from app developers to help grow its appeal among users,” said Mr. Gupta. Android continued to increase its lead, garnering 79 percent of the market in the second quarter.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
Mobile Phone Vendor Perspective
Samsung: Samsung remained in the No. 1 position in the overall mobile phone market, with sales to end users growing 19 percent in the second quarter of 2013 (see Table 3). “We see demand in the premium smartphone market come mainly from the lower end of this segment in the $400-and-below ASP mark. It will be critical for Samsung to step up its game in the mid-tier and also be more aggressive in emerging markets. Innovation cannot be limited to the high end,” said Mr. Gupta.
Nokia: Slowing demand of feature phone sales across many markets worldwide, and fierce competition in the smartphone segment, affected Nokia’s mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013. Nokia’s mobile phone sales totaled 61 million units, down from 83 million units a year ago. Nokia’s Lumia sales grew 112.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013 thanks to its expanded Lumia portfolio, which now include Lumia 520 and Lumia 720. “With the recent announcement of the Lumia 1020, Nokia has built a wide portfolio of devices at multiple price points, which should boost Lumia sales in the second half of 2013,” said Mr. Gupta. “However, Nokia is facing tough competition from Android devices, especially from regional and Chinese manufacturers which are more aggressive in terms of price points.”
Apple: While sales continued to grow, the company faced a significant drop in the ASP of its smartphones. Despite the iPhone 5 being the most popular model, its ASP declined to the lowest figure registered by Apple since the iPhone’s launch in 2007. The ASP reduction is due to strong sales of the iPhone 4, which is sold at a strongly discounted price. “While Apple’s ASP demonstrates the need for a new flagship model, it is risky for Apple to introduce a new lower-priced model too,” said Mr. Gupta. “Although the possible new lower-priced device may be priced similarly to the iPhone 4 at $300 to $400, the potential for cannibalization will be much greater than what is seen today with the iPhone 4. Despite being seen as the less expensive sibling of the flagship product, it would represent a new device with the hype of the marketing associated with it.”
Lenovo: Lenovo’s mobile phone sales grew 60.6 percent to reach 11 million units in the second quarter of 2013. Lenovo’s quarter performance was bolstered by smartphone sales. Its smartphone sales grew 144 percent year-over-year and helped it rise to the No. 4 spot in the worldwide smartphone market for the first time. Lenovo continues to rely heavily on its home market in China, which represents more than 95 percent of its sales. It remains challenging for Lenovo to expand outside China as it has to strengthen its direct channel as well as its relationships with communications service providers.
Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2Q13 (Thousands of Units)
2Q13 Market Share (%)
2Q12 Market Share (%)
TCL Communi-cation [Alcatel]
Sony Mobile Communications
Source: Gartner (August 2013)
“With second quarter of 2013 sales broadly on track, we see little need to adjust our expectations for worldwide mobile phone sales forecast to total 1.82 billion units this year. Flagship devices brought to market in time for the holidays, and the continued price reduction of smartphones will drive consumer adoption in the second half of the year,” said Mr. Gupta.
Additional information is in the Gartner report “Market Share Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2Q13.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2573119.
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]
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.
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.
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.
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].
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]
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
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]
- 2 Stories
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
According 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.
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