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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.
Qualcomm’s alignment with latest developments in China via downsizing, Allwinner and Microsoft collaboration
July 22, 2015: Qualcomm to cooperate with Microsoft, Allwinner for entry-level mobile device market by Digitimes Research
Qualcomm aims to ramp up its penetration in the entry-level mobile device market by cooperating with Microsoft to launch low-cost Windows Mobile 10 products, while also cooperating with Allwinner Technology to launch 3G/4G solutions for connected tablets, according to Digitimes Research.
Qualcomm accounted for about 80% of China’s 4G LTE solution market in 2014, but has seen its share decline significantly since the beginning of 2015 due to the roll-outs of competitive models from MediaTek and Spreadtrum Communications, and also due to Qualcomm’s own mishap in the deployment of mid-range and high-end solutions, Digitimes Research indicated.
To maintain its market share, Qualcomm’s cooperation with Microsoft aims to roll out Windows Mobile 10-based smartphones priced at about US$80 in the end-market, with the first wave of such models to be available in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The low-cost Windows Mobile 10-based models will utilize Qualcomm’s MSM8909 [Snapdragon 210] CPU, running on Windows Mobile platform but without the need of paying licensing fees to Microsoft, therefore, the overall cost of Windows Mobile10 smartphones will be comparable to entry-level Android phones.
Meanwhile, Allwinner will develop and offer total system solutions to support the development of cost-effective 4G LTE-enabled connected tablets based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family CPU products. Allwinner’s 4G solutions are for production of high-end tablets for mature market in the US and Europe, while the 3G solutions are for tablets targeting emerging markets.
July 23, 2015: a quote from Qualcomm Announces Record Third Quarter Fiscal 2014 Results Revenues $6.8 billion GAAP EPS $1.31, Non-GAAP EPS $1.44 press release by the company
China continues to present significant opportunities for us, particularly with the rollout of 4G LTE, but also presents significant challenges, as our business practices continue to be the subject of an investigation by the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Please refer to our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the third quarter ended June 29, 2014 filed with the SEC for our most recent disclosures regarding the NDRC investigation.
We also believe that certain licensees in China currently are not fully complying with their contractual obligations to report their sales of licensed products to us (which includes certain licensees underreporting a portion of their 3G/4G device sales and a dispute with a licensee) and that unlicensed companies may seek to delay execution of new licenses while the NDRC investigation is ongoing. We expect calendar year 2014 3G/4G device shipments to be approximately 1.3 billion globally. However, our estimate of calendar year 2014 3G/4G device shipments that we currently expect to be reported to us is approximately 1.04 billion to 1.13 billion, which is adjusted for units that we believe may not be reported to us, are in dispute or are currently unlicensed. We are taking steps to address these issues, although the timing of any resolution is uncertain.
June 29, 2015: quote from Quarterly Report filed to SEC on Form 10-Q
Despite the resolution of the NDRC investigation, China continues to present significant challenges for us. We continue to believe that certain licensees in China are not fully complying with their contractual obligations to report their sales of licensed products to us (which includes 3G/4G units that we believe are not being reported by certain licensees). We continue to make progress, with licensees executing agreements based on the new China terms, and with several other licensees informing us that they intend to retain the terms of their existing agreements. Negotiations with certain other licensees are ongoing, and we expect it will take some time to conclude these negotiations. We believe that the conclusion of new agreements with these licensees will result in improved reporting by these licensees, including with respect to sales of three-mode devices (i.e., devices that implement GSM, TD-SCDMA, and LTE) sold in China. However, litigation and/or other actions may be necessary to compel licensees to report and pay the required royalties for sales they have not previously reported and to compel unlicensed companies to execute new licenses.
July 23, 2015: Allwinner chosen to gain government support by DIGITIMES
China-based tablet SoC specialist Allwinner Technology has reportedly been selected as one of the target companies able to gain financial support from the central government, which has set up a national industry investment fund [the Rmb120 billion ($19.6 billion) National Integrated Circuit Industry Ivestment Found Ltd. 国家集成电路产业投资基金 set up on Oct 14, 2014 by the Chinese government and solely managed by Sino IC Capital] focusing on investing in the construction of advanced process capacity, semiconductor firm reorganization, and mergers.
Allwinner will use investment funds from the government to make itself more competitive, and contribute effectively to growth of the local IC industry and the self-sufficiency rate of ICs in China, said the sources.
With government support, Allwinner will also make strategic acquisitions locally and internationally, the sources indicated. Allwinner is likely to first merge with fellow company Rockchip Electronics to form a new, state-owned entity, which will gear up to tackle the market for IoT and wearable devices, the sources said.
Spreadtrum Communications was the first investment target chosen by the China government in the IC design industry. Spreadtrum is about to merge with RDA Microelectronics to establish a leading China-based SoC provider for smartphones as well as TVs, the sources noted.
July 22, 2015: Quotes from QUALCOMM (QCOM) Steven M. Mollenkopf on Q3 2015 Results – Earnings Call Transcript
- Full-time head count in QCT [Qualcomm CDMA Technologies] will be reduced by approximately 15%, which is in alignment with the overall company reductions. Our company resources are being realigned to our highest return businesses, and we’ll also make significant reductions in our temporary work force. Our team and organization will be streamlined. We will have fewer office locations overall, and we’ll shift some of our resources to lower-cost regions.
- We continue to see significant opportunities for growth in new areas outside of QTL [Qualcomm Technology Licensing] and QCT. While we are sharply focused on managing costs, we are not sacrificing the future for the present. We are taking a highly disciplined approach to our investments. We will invest in areas where we can apply our existing technology, such as small cells, or areas that are natural extensions of our capabilities, such as data centers.
- We have recently concluded the NDRC[China’s National Development and Reform Commission] investigation and announced several investments in China that position us well to grow our businesses in China going forward.
- With respect to the carrier aggregation question in China, China Telecom has already launched. It’s starting to work its way through the design cycle and through the ecosystem. China Mobile is expected to launch at the end of this calendar year. And we think this will be a good dynamic and has been anticipated in our roadmap, as you may know. The other dynamic that’s happening in China is just also is just the desire for the Chinese OEMs to be exporters, and that’s also been a good trend for us. But we’re looking forward to this carrier aggregation launch happening in China.
- We have identified networking, mobile computing, IoT, and automotive as the highest return areas and will focus our investments there. In fact, we continue to expand our investment in these growth areas. These areas have an addressable opportunity of more than $10 billion today. Based on a mix of third-party estimates and our own forecasts, the serviceable addressable opportunity for these four areas is expected to double by 2020 to more than $20 billion.
- The current industry environment has seen OEM share shift in the highly profitable premium tier, where the top player continues to take share and where, according to IDC, the top two manufacturers together now have more than 85% share of premium tier shipments. The current product cycle also has seen certain OEMs pursue vertically integrated strategies at increased levels compared to the past. These developments along with other product cycle issues are currently impacting our business.
- We are guiding to a 45 million unit sequential decline in MSM shipments. This decline is explained by two factors. First, our previous guidance expected MSMs to be down sequentially by 10 million to 15 million units in the fourth quarter. And the addition of 5 million units into the third fiscal quarter brings the anticipated impact closer to 20 million units. Second, the remaining approximately 25 million unit reduction is largely explained by the premium tier developments I explained a few minutes ago.
July 22, 2015: excerpt from the Third Quarter Fiscal 2015 Earnings Executive presentation
June 2, 2015: Qualcomm and Leading Tablet Solutions Provider Allwinner Technology to Collaborate in Growth of 4G LTE Tablets Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors news release by the company
—Allwinner to offer entry-level 4G LTE-enabled tablet system solutions based on Snapdragon 410 and 210 processors—
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Allwinner Technology, Co. Ltd, today announced that they will be collaborating to further extend QTI’s Snapdragon processors into the connected tablet segment which is experiencing strong growth. QTI will be expanding its ability to serve the Chinese tablet design and manufacturing ecosystem by working with Allwinner, which will be offering system solution services for those OEMs and ODMs creating 4G LTE-enabled tablets powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 and 210 processors of QTI.
Allwinner, a China-based fabless semiconductor company and a leading provider of total system solutions for the Android tablet ecosystem, will support the quick and cost-effective development of 4G LTE-enabled tablets based on the aforementioned Snapdragon processors for domestic sales and export worldwide. Through the use of its established channel of support and services for the Chinese ecosystem of independent design houses, Allwinner will help expedite commercial deployment of high-quality, cost-effective 4G LTE-enabled tablets featuring QTI’s Snapdragon 410 and 210 processors.
Shared highlights of the Snapdragon 410 and 210 processors:
- 4G LTE Global Mode, with 7 mode support (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, GSM/EDGE)
- LTE-Broadcast and Dual SIM technology
- Superior camera capabilities and leading enhanced computational camera functionalities, including Zero Shutter Lag, high dynamic range (HDR), autofocus, auto white balance and auto exposure.
- Support for the Android™ Lollipop mobile operating system
- Support for QTI’s Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 2.0 technology, which is designed to support up to 75% faster battery charging than devices without fast-charging technology.
The Snapdragon 410 processor is designed additionally to support features such as:
- A quad-core ARM® Cortex™ A53 running up to 1.4 GHz per core and a Qualcomm® Adreno™ 306 GPU by QTI
- Cat 4 speeds of up to 150 Mbps
- Up to 13 Megapixel Camera
- 1080p Full HD video playback at 1280×800 resolutions
The Snapdragon 210 [MSM8909] processor is designed to additionally support features such as:
- [up to 1.1 GHz quad-core ARM® Cortex™ A7 CPUs]
- Integrated X5 modem, 4G LTE-Advanced Cat 4 Carrier Aggregation, LTE Broadcast and LTE Dual SIM/Dual Standby — all firsts in this category of products
- Enhanced performance and power efficiency in the entry-level tier with quad CPUs and Qualcomm Adreno 304 graphics
- Up to 8 Megapixel Camera
- 720p HD playback and H.265 (hardware HEVC)
“Qualcomm Technologies’ industry leading Snapdragon processors, combined with Allwinner’s China tablet ecosystem relationships, represents a strong collaboration of proven industry leaders,” said Oliver Tang, executive vice president of Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. “We’re pleased to be working with Qualcomm Technologies to help drive further growth in connected tablets, and we expect to see a wave of high-volume, diversely designed, compellingly priced and high-quality 4G LTE-enabled tablets powered by Snapdragon processors in 2015.
“By working with Allwinner, we will be helping manufacturers to further utilize our industry leading processing and connectivity technologies to deliver high-quality consumer devices at great value,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and co-president, QCT. “Our relationship with Allwinner will continue to help expedite the development and deployment of Snapdragon-enabled 4G LTE connected devices.”
February 9, 2015: Qoutes from Qualcomm and China’s National Development and Reform Commission Reach Resolution press release by the company
– NDRC Accepts Qualcomm’s Rectification Plan –
- For licenses of Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents for branded devices sold for use in China, Qualcomm will charge royalties of 5% for 3G devices (including multimode 3G/4G devices) and 3.5% for 4G devices (including 3-mode LTE-TDD devices) that do not implement CDMA or WCDMA, in each case using a royalty base of 65% of the net selling price of the device.
- Qualcomm will give its existing licensees an opportunity to elect to take the new terms for sales of branded devices for use in China as of January 1, 2015.
In addition, the NDRC imposed a fine on the Company of 6.088 billion Chinese Yuan Renminbi (approximately $975 million at current exchange rates), which Qualcomm will not contest. Qualcomm will pay the fine on a timely basis as required by the NDRC.
- Expanding Qualcomm’s longstanding relationship with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), one of China’s largest and most advanced semiconductor foundries, which has led to SMIC’s major milestone of producing high-performance, low-power mobile processors using cutting-edge advanced 28nm technology.
- Creating a China-specific investment fund of $150 million to further the development of mobile and semiconductor technologies, including initial investments from the fund in five innovative Chinese companies.
February 25, 2015: Government-led investment funds to drive China IC design growth by Digitimes Research
China’s government policies for supporting the local IC design industry have put less emphasis on intervention measures such as offering tax breaks, providing direct financial support, and making purchases of domestic products, while shifting their focus to the establishment of investment funds, according to a recent Digitimes Research Special Report.
The report, titled 2015 China IC design market forecast, notes that investment funds will be set up by not only China’s central government, but also local governments, aiming to foster the development of the local IC design industry. The government-led funds will play an important role in driving the industry growth during the nation’s 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), Digitimes Research said.
The No. 18 Document of China’s State Council already gave strong support to IC companies with tax incentives, direct financial assistance and government purchases of domestic products, Digitimes Research suggested. Between 2001 and 2010, the number of China-based IC foundries grew to nine companies from four, while the number of IC design firms increased rapidly to 479 companies from 98.
The No. 4 Document announced by China’s State Council in 2011 showed that tax incentives awarded to the local IC companies have been narrowed significantly. The move indicates a change in government policies for supporting the local IC industry.
Oct 9, 2014 (reports on several Chinese websites about the launch): [First MT8752 octa-core Tablet!] 首款MT8752八核平板！[999 Yuan Cool Rubik’s Cube T7] 999元酷比魔方T7发布
Oct 11, 2014 on JD.com (Jingdong Mall): [Cool Rubik’s Cube] 酷比魔方（CUBE）T7 7[inch tablet computer]英寸平板电脑（MT8752[octa-core]八核 JDI[Retina [1920*1200] screen]视网膜屏64[bit]位[China Unicom]联通/[mobile dual]移动双4G 2.0GHz 2G/16G ￥999.00 [$163]
Oct 11, 2014 in ProductShow on [site home of] 网站首页 – [Cool Rubik’s Cube] 酷比魔方(CUBE)[brand website]品牌网站: T7 – 酷比魔方(CUBE)品牌网站
8″ and 9″ tablets (T8 and T9) to come later, as well as the ones with the quad-core SoC variety MT8732.Their lead partner for that is Shenzhen Alldo Cube Technology and Science Co., Ltd. releasing its products under the [Cool Rubik’s Cube] 酷比魔方（CUBE）brand. More information on this blog: MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC [March 4-13, 2014]
This is MediaTek’s very first response to the 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Processor (ARM TechCon 2014, Oct 1-3): “our latest and greatest”. Regarding the MediaTek competitive edge over Qualcomm before that you can read on this blog:
– Qualcomm’s SoC business future is questioned first time [May 1, 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 [July 20, 2013 – March 15, 2014]
– MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2 [Dec 22, 2013 – Jan 27, 2014]
– ARM Cortex-A17, MediaTek MT6595 (devices: H2’CY14), 50 billion ARM powered chips [Feb 18 – March 13, 2014]
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.”