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Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad

Update: 3” display with 240 x 320 pixels, not AMOLED screen, 3.2 MP camera. More information:
New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information
New Nokia Asha platform for developers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant development platform information End of update

There was a question why I was so affirmative with the headline of Temporary Nokia setback in India [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 28, 2013]. The quite remarkable cross-platform development story for Nokia Asha current and future devices is the major part of my affirmative approach. Take a look and convince yourself as well!

Nokia’s cross-platform strategy is aimed at the following value proposition to developers (see in the “Nokia’s own Asha cross-platform efforts for developers (so far)” section):

Consider Co-Development, instead of classic “porting”

As the Category:Silverlight [Nokia Developer Wiki, April 22, 2013] is stating:

Deprecated Category. Please move any articles across to Category:XAML.

the below rumor about the upcoming on May 9th Asha 501, that its design will be like the Nokia Lumias, would mean that programatically the same XAML interface would be delivered by Nokia for a further enhanced Nokia Asha Touch S40 operating system. It is even more likely as the J2ME platform of the Nokia Asha Touch S40 operating system was a few days ago enhanced by the Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT) in Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java™, and this is supported by the full cross-platform Codename One development kit from the same name 3d party company, who is also preparing a XAML based 1.1 version of this toolkit for Windows Phone 8/7 (and presumably for Windows 8 as well), thus allowing the same standard Java programming by providing (see in the “Codename One cross-platform offerings for Java developers” section):

1 Java API which is the same for J2ME, Android, iOS, RIM and Win8.

It could also be quite probable that Nokia’s own Asha cross-platform offerings will extended by C#/XAML oriented cross-platform toolkit[s] on May 9th. Then we will have a complete cross-platform story for Nokia’s non-Windows offerings. We’ll see.

Nokia launching Asha 501 on 9th May? [mobile indian, May 1, 2013]

Nokia has sent out press invites for an event on May 9, which could possibly be about Asha 501 launch, and we have strong reasons to believe so.

Nokia may probably launch new phone(s) in the Asha series lineup on May 9th, on which day Nokia has organized an event and has sent out invites to various media organisations. And while the invitation does not specify the subject of the launch, we are pretty sure about it being an Asha series phone as it has been sent by a team that looks after Asha lineup.

Probably, Nokia would launch the Asha 501 which has been in the news off late.

According to rumors, Nokia Asha 501 is to come with design like the Nokia Lumia phones.

Further the Asha 501 is said to come with a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and a slightly larger display than Asha 311 which has a 3 inch touchscreen. Most likely this handset will have at least a 1 GHz processor.


Nokia is reemphasizing on its Asha series of phones to strengthen its market hold. Recently Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive officer, had also emphasized that saying, “We have to make sure the product portfolio is as competitive as possible. We are due for a significant refresh.”

#Breaking “Nokia 501” & “Nokia 210” Passed Testing Process by Directorate Post & Telecommunication Indonesia [nokianesia blog, April 9, 2013]

Today, April 09, 2013 Directorate Post & Telecommunication Indonesia publish 2 New Nokia devices which are already passed the testing process to get certification.
There are Nokia 501 RM-902 that should be (Maybe) The next generation of Nokia Asha and Nokia 210 RM 924 that Should be Nokia Asha 210.

Right know, we still don’t have any information about specification and information. We will post if there are any information about Nokia 501 and Nokia Asha 210.


Source postel.go.id

Compare Nokia Asha 501 vs Micromax A51 Bolt [91mobiles, March 16, 2013]

Nokia Asha 501
– 3.5”, AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
– 320 x 480 pixels
– 1 GHz Processor
– 512 MB RAM
– 5MP rear camera with LED Flash
– front camera
– video recording
– video playback
– GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA/HSUPA, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, USB
– Nokia Asha Touch OS
Micromax A51 Bolt [$79+]
– 3.5” , TFT LCD capacitive Touchscreen, 262K Colors
– 320 x 480 pixels
– 832 MHz, BCM21552 [ARM11]
– 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
– 2MP rear camera with Flash
– 0.2MP front camera
– video recording: VGA @30fps
– video playback: 720×486
– 3G/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/USB

– Android V2.3.7 (Gingerbread)

Sections of this post:
– Codename One cross-platform offerings for Java developers
– Nokia’s own Asha cross-platform efforts for developers (so far)

Codename One cross-platform offerings for Java developers

Developers Guide [Version 1.0.1, Jan 24, 2013]


Codename One is a set of tools for mobile application development that derive a great deal of its architecture from Java. It stands both as the name of the startup that created the set of tools and as a prefix to the distinct tools that make up the Codename One product.

The goal of the Codename One project is to take the complex and fragmented task of mobile device programming and unify it under a single set of tools, APIs and services to create a more manageable approach to mobile application development without sacrificing development power/control.

Codename One was started by Chen Fishbein & Shai Almog who authored the Open Source LWUIT project at Sun Microsystems starting at 2007. The LWUIT project aimed at solving the fragmentation within J2ME/Blackberry devices by targeting a higher standard of user interface than the common baseline at the time. LWUIT received critical acclaim and traction within multiple industries but was limited by the declining feature phone market. image

In 2012 the Codename One project has taken many of the basic concepts developed within the LWUIT project and adapted them to the smartphone world which is experiencing similar issues to the device fragmentation of the old J2ME phones.

How Does It Work

Codename One has 4 major parts: API, Designer, Simulator, Build/Cloud server.
    • API – abstracts platform specific functionality
    • Designer – allows developers/designers to design the GUI/theme and package various resources required by the application
    • Simulator – allows previewing and debugging applications within the IDE
    • Build/Cloud server – the server performs the build of the native application, removing the need to install additional software stacks.
    Limitations & Capabilities
    J2ME & RIM are very limited platforms to achieve partial Java 5 compatibility Codename One automatically strips the Java 5 language requirements from bytecode and injects its own implementation of Java 5 classes. Not everything is supported so consult the Codename One JavaDoc when you get a compiler error to see what is available.
    Due to the implementation of the NetBeans IDE it is very difficult to properly replace and annotate the supported Java API’s so the completion and error marking might not represent correctly what is actually working and implemented on the devices. However, the compilation phase will not succeed if you used classes that are unsupported.
    Lightweight UI
    The biggest differentiation for Codename One is the lightweight architecture which allows for a great deal of the capabilities within Codename One. A Lightweight component is a component which is written entirely in Java, it draws its own interface and handles its own events/states.
    This has huge portability advantages since the same code executes on all platforms, but it carries many additional advantages.
    The components are infinitely customizable just by using standard inheritance and overriding paint/event handling. Theming and the GUI builder allow for live preview and accurate reproduction across platforms since the same code executes everywhere.

    Codename One Benchmarked With Amazing Results [Codename One – Reinventing the Mobile Development blog, Dec 7, 2012]

    imageSteve Hannah who ported Codename One to Avian has just completed a set of benchmarks on Codename One’s iOS performance putting Codename One’s at 33% slower performance than native C and faster performance than Objective-C!

    I won’t spoil his research results so please read his full post here.
    A small disclaimer is that the Objective-C benchmark is a bit heavy on the method/message calls which biases the benchmark in our favor. Method invocations in Codename One are naturally much faster than the equivalent Objective-C code due to the semantics of that language.

    With 100,000 SDK Downloads, Mobile Development Platform Codename One Comes Out of Beta With 1.0 Launch [Codename One – Reinventing the Mobile Development blog, Jan 29, 2013]

    Tel Aviv, Israel – Mobile development platform Codename One is announcing the launch of its 1.0 version on Tuesday, January 29. After releasing in beta last June, Codename One – the first software development kit that allows Java developers to create true high performance native mobile applications across multiple mobile operating systems using a single code base – has garnered over 100,000 downloads and emerged as one of the fastest toolkits of its kind, on par with native OS toolkits.
    The platform to date has been used to build over 1,000 native mobile applications and has been touted by mobile developers and enthusiasts as the best write-once-run-everywhere solution for building native mobile apps.
    “I have been developing with Codename One for a couple of months now. When you line up all of the other options for development, whether native SDKs, Appcelerator, ADF or others, Codename One wins on almost every front,” said software developer Steve Hannah.
    Codename One has received widespread, viral acclaim in technology and business media including InfoWorld, Slashdot, Hacker News, VentureBeat, Business Insider, The Next Web, Dr. Dobbs and Forbes, which named the company one of the 10 greatest industry disrupting startups of 2012.
    “We have been thrilled with the success of our beta launch and are very excited to release the much-awaited 1.0 version,” said co-founder and CEO Shai Almog.
    Almog, along with co-founder Chen Fishbein, decided to launch the venture after noticing a growing inefficiency within mobile application development. By enabling developers to significantly cut time and costs in developing native applications for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7 Phone and other devices, Almog and Fishbein hope to make mobile application development increasingly feasible.
    The Java-based platform is open-source and utilizes lightweight technology, allowing it to produce unique native interfaces highly differentiated from competitive cross-platform mobile development toolkits, which typically use HTML5 or heavyweight technology.
    By drawing all components from scratch rather than utilizing native widgets, Codename One enables developers to avoid fragmentation – a major hindrance found in the majority of competitors – and additionally allows accurate desktop simulation of mobile apps.
    The startup’s founders are recognized for engineering Sun Microsystems’s famous Lightweight User Interface Toolkit, a mobile platform used by leading mobile carriers and industry leaders to this date.
    Codename One is available for download free of charge.
    About Codename One
    Codename One, named by Forbes as “one of the 10 greatest industry disrupting startups of 2012,” is an Israel-based technology company that has created a powerful cross-platform software development kit for mobile applications. The technology enables developers to create native applications across multiple operating systems using a single code base. Codename One was founded by renowned software engineers Shai Almog and Chen Fishbein in 2012.

    Windows Phone 8 And The State Of 7 [Codename One – Reinventing the Mobile Development blog, April 2, 2013]

    Codename One’s windows phone port is close to a public release.

    A preliminary Windows Phone 8 build has been available on our servers for the past couple of days. We differentiate between a Windows Phone 7 and 8 version by a build argument that indicates the version (win.ver=8) this will be exposed by the GUI in the next update of the plugin. But now I would like to discuss the architecture and logic behind this port which will help you understand how to optimize the port and maybe even help us with the actual port.

    The Windows Phone 7 and 8 ports are both based on the XMLVM translation to C# code, we picked this approach because all other automated approaches proved to be duds. iKVM which seems like the most promising option, isn’t supported on mobile so that only left the XMLVM option.

    The Windows Phone 7 port was based on XNA (3d C# based API) which has its share of problems but was more appropriate to our needs in Codename One. Unfortunately Microsoft chose to kill off XNA for Windows Phone 8 which put us in a bit of a bind when trying to build the Windows Phone 8 port.

    While externally Windows Phone 8 and 7 look very similar, their underlying architecture is completely different and very incompatible. You cannot compile a universal binary that will work on all of Microsoft’s platforms, so just to make order within this mess:

    • Windows Phone 7 – based on the old Windows CE kernel. Allows only managed runtimes (e.g. C# not C++), graphics can be done using XAML or XNA (more on that later.
    • Windows Phone 8 – based on an ARM port of Windows 8 kernel. Allows unmanaged apps (C# or C++) graphics can be done in XAML or Direct3D when using C++ (but not silverlight).
    • Windows RT/Desktop – the full windows 8 kernel either for ARM or for PC. They are partially compatible to one another so I’m putting them together. This is actually pretty similar to the Windows Phone 8 port, but incompatible so a different build is needed and slightly different API usage.

    As you understand we can’t use XNA since it isn’t supported by the new platforms, we toyed a bit with the idea of using Direct3D but integrating it with text input, fonts etc. seemed like a nightmare. Furthermore, doing another C++ port would mean a HUGE amount of work!

    So Codename One is based on the XAML API. Most people would think of XAML as an XML based API, but you can use it from C# and just ignore most of the XML aspects of it which is what we need since our UI is constructed dynamically. However, this is more complicated than it seems.

    To understand the complexity you need to understand the idea of a Scene Graph. If you used Codename One you are using a more immediate mode graphics API, where the paint method is invoked and just paints the component whenever its needed. This is the simplest most portable way of doing graphics and is pretty common, its used natively by Android, OpenGL, Direct3D etc. and is very familiar to developers.

    In recent years many Scene Graph API’s sprung up, XAML is one of them and so is JavaFX, Flash, SVG and many others. In a Scene Graph world you construct a graphics hierarchy and then let it be rendered, the whole paint() sequence is hidden from the developer. The best way to explain it is that our components in Codename One are really a scene graph, only at a higher abstraction level. Windows/Flash placed the scene graph on the graphics as well, so to draw a rectangle you would just add it to the tree (and remove it when you no longer need it).

    This is actually pretty powerful, you can do animations just by changing component values in trees and performance can be pretty spectacular since the paint loop can be GPU optimized.

    However, the reality of this is that most developers find these API’s harder to work with (since they need to keep track of a rather complex unintuitive tree), the API’s aren’t portable at all since the hierarchies are so different. Performance is also very hard to tune since so much is hidden by the underlying hidden paint logic.

    For Codename One this is a huge problem, we need our API to act as if its painting in immediate mode while constructing/updating a scene! When we initially built this the performance was indeed as bad as you might imagine. While we are not in the clear yet, the performance is much improved…

    How did we solve this?

    There are several different issues involved, the first is the number of elements on the screen. We noticed that if we have more than 200 elements on the screen performance quickly degraded. This was a HUGE problem since we have thousands of paint operations happening just in the process of transitioning into a new form. To solve this we associate every graphics component with a component and when the component is repainted we remove all operations related to it, we also try to reuse graphics resources such as images from the previous paint operation.

    When painting a component in Codename One we normally traverse up the component tree and paint the first opaque component forward (known as painters algorithm) however, since the scene already has the parent component painting it again would result in many copies of the image being within the scene graph. E.g. I have a background image on a form, when painting a translucent label I have to paint the background image within a clipping region matching the label…. In the Windows Phone port we have a special hook that just disables this functionality, this hook alone pushed us over the top to reasonable graphics performance!

    We are working on getting additional performance oriented features into place and fixing some issues related to this approach, its not a simple task since the API wasn’t designed with this in mind but it is doable. We would appreciate you taking the time to review the port

    Build Java Application for Mobile Devices [Shai Almog YouTube channel, Jan 10, 2013]

    Build native applications using Java and Netbeans for all mobile devices.

    Codename One Executive Overview [Shai Almog YouTube channel, Jan 6, 2013]

    Introduction to the ideas behind Codename One without getting too technical. For more information on Codename One check outhttp://www.codenameone.com/

    Developer Introduction To Codename One [Shai Almog YouTube channel, Jan 6, 2013]

    An introduction to Codename One to developers who don’t necessarily have prior experience in Swing or Android.

    Series 40 Webinar: LWUIT for Nokia Asha app development [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, April 16, 2013]

    his webinar introduces the Lightweight User Interface Toolkit (LWUIT) as optimised for Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java™, which is designed for Series 40 app development. LWUIT makes it very easy to create compelling UIs for Series 40 phones, using a programming paradigm similar to Swing. If you don’t know what Swing means, don’t worry; it’s cover in the presentation. Java expert Michael Samarin from Futurice walks you through LWUIT features such as transitions, animations, comprehensive UI components, layout management, and support for Series 40 themes. In coding sessions, he demonstrates the LWUIT Resource Editor and show you the development tasks associated with making LWUIT-based Java ME applications. You can download the slides from this session at:http://www.slideshare.net/nokia-devel… More information about LWUIT for Series 40 can be found in the following resources: * LWUIT for Series 40 Project Home: https://projects.developer.nokia.com/LWUIT_for_Series_40 * LWUIT Developer Library and UX Guide: http://www.developer.nokia.com/Resources/Library/LWUIT/#!index.html * Short demonstration video: http://youtu.be/xu0UNJJPdYU

    More information:
    Swing into Mobile – Use the Lightweight UI Toolkit on Nokia Series 40 phones [pp. 81–84 of Java Magazine, January/February 2013]
    LWUIT for Series 40 out of beta [Nokia Developer News, Feb 26, 2013]

    Great news for those of you wanting to deliver superior UIs in your Series 40 apps— Lightweight UI Toolkit (LWUIT) for Series 40 has graduated from beta to a full initial release.
    LWUIT is an open source Java ME toolkit that supports a comprehensive range of visual UI components, and other user interface elements such as theming, transitions, and animation among others. It helps you create applications with appealing UIs that closely follow the native Series 40 UIs. It also helps speed up development by significantly reducing the need to create custom UI components, which might be needed when creating an app’s UI using LCDUI. LWUIT for Series 40 can be used in combination with selected Nokia UI APIs and all the JSR APIs available on the platform.
    Since the last LWUIT for Series 40 release made available in the Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java, development of the toolkit has been continuing at a rapid pace. A number of new APIs have been introduced, including PopUpChoiceGroup, ContextMenu, NokiaListCellRenderer, theme selection, and full-screen mode. There have also been significant improvements in performance, particularly in lists, themes loading, and HTMLComponent. Compatibility with the native full-touch UI has been fine-tuned and many bugs fixed, particularly in command handling and text input.
    The toolkit also includes all the new examples created since the last release. These include code examples that provide demonstrations of the Category bar, gestures, and lists. There are also new application examples for birthdays, showing use of the calendar component and PIM API; a slide puzzle; tourist attractions, showing the use of HERE maps and in-app purchasing APIs; and a Reddit client showing the use of a custom theme and JSON. In addition, updated version of two of the original LWUIT examples applications, LWUITDemo and LWUITBrowser, are also included.
    The final component in the full release of LWUIT for Series 40 is the inclusion of comprehensive documentation in the toolkit. This is based on the LWUIT Developer’s Library, a library consisting of:
    • Developer’s Guide, which is based on the original LWUIT Developer Guide and provides technical information about using the LWUIT components
    • LWUIT UX overview, which is a new section providing a guide to designing app UIs with LWUIT for Series 40 components
    If you have the Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java installed, you will receive an automatic notification of the availability of LWUIT for Series 40 1.0. You can then simply follow the instructions to install the update. If you are using LWUIT with the Nokia SDK 1.1 for Java, you can download the update from LWUIT for Series 40 project.

    J2ME, Feature Phones & Nokia Devices [Codename One – Reinventing the Mobile Development blog, April 24, 2013]

    imageIs J2ME dead or dying?

    How many times have we heard this for the past 3 years or so? Sadly the answer is: Yes!

    Unfortunately there is no active owner for the J2ME standard and thus no new innovation around J2ME for quite some time (MIDP 2.0 came out in 2004, 3.0 never really materialized). Android is/was the biggest innovation since and became the unofficial successor to J2ME.

    Well, if J2ME is dead what about Feature Phones? Should we care about them?

    The answer is: Yes! very much so!
    Features Phones are still selling in millions and still beats Android sales in the developing world. Recently Nokia shipped the Asha series devices which are quite powerful and capable pieces of hardware, they are very impressive. Nokia’s revenue is driven mainly by the Feature Phone market.
    There is a real battle in the developing countries between Feature Phones and Android devices, Feature Phones are still cheaper and more efficient where Android has more/better content (apps & games).
    How long will it take Android to catch up? we will see…
    In the meantime there is money on the table and a real opportunity for developers to make some money (and gain loyal users who will migrate to Android or other platform at some point)
    To win over the competition or at least to maintain its dominate player position Nokia must bring new quality content to the devices, it’s not enough to ship cool new feature phones, the new phone needs to connect to facebook, twitter, gmail, whatsapp and have all the new cool games/apps Android has and more.
    So how should you write your apps for the cool new Nokia Feature Phone if J2ME is dead? Luckily there is an option Codename One ;-).

    In Codename One You have 1 Java API which is the same for J2ME, Android, iOS, RIM and Win8.

    Below are some of the J2ME highlights:
      1. Facebook Connect – did you noticed there aren’t many social apps on OVI?
        There is a reason Facebook uses oauth2 which is a huge pain without a browser API, this is solved and working in Codename One.
      2. Java 5 features – You can use generics and other Java 5 features in your app and it will work on your J2ME/RIM devices. You don’t have to limit yourself to CLDC.
      3. Rich UI – If you know or knew LWUIT (Swing like API), well Codename One UI is effectively LWUIT 2.0.

      4. Built in Asha skins and themes

        The most important thing is the fact that your skills are not wasted on an old/dying J2ME API, by joining our growing community and writing the next amazing app your skills can target the emerging platforms of the present/future.

        Codename One JavaOne Session Screencast [Shai Almog YouTube channel, Oct 25, 2012]

        Screen capture of the Codename One Java One session. Codename One is an open source platform allowing Java developers to write applications that work on all mobile devices (iPhone/iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone etc.)

        Nokia’s own Asha cross-platform efforts for developers (so far)

        Series 40 Webinar: How to develop cool apps for Nokia Asha smartphones [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, April 5, 2013]

        This webinar takes you through the features of the Series 40 platform for Asha smartphones, which enable the coolest apps to be developed. To start, the features of the UI based on either LCDUI or LWUIT for Java are reviewed. Then there is a discussion on how you port apps from Android — looking at the key issues you need to consider. The presentation then concludes by reviewing the options for 2D and 3D graphics, in particular how they help develop outstanding games. Numerous demonstrations are included, along with links (see the slides) to the source code and installation files, so you can try the apps yourself and use the code in your own apps. You can download the slides from this session at: http://www.slideshare.net/nokia-developer/developing-cool-asha-apps

        [25:01] Porting Resources at Nokia Developer
        – Porting and Guide for Android Developers:
        >>> http://www.developer.nokia.com/Develop/Porting/ [27:46]

        Related to the porting vis-à-vis Android & cross-platform slides:
        [27:46 > 28:50 > 29:40 > 30:20 > 30:50 > 31:15 > 31:40 > 32:25 > 33:20 Demo: Android porting Frozen Bubble: see https://projects.developer.nokia.com/frozenbubble and the video coming below > 34:24]


        image image




        image image

        Tantalum Mobile [January 1, 2013] Summary

        Tantalum is mobile Java tools for high performance and development speed on Android and J2ME. The focus is on practical use cases which can be included in a project to solve frequent needs in an elegant manner.

        Life is many asynchronous tasks chained together and running concurrently on background threads with UI callbacks. The result may look like black magic or star wars, but as you become one with the source, the patterns emerge as ecstatic moments of clarity.
        Tantalum Cross Platform Library
        Tantalum 5 is nearing beta release
        As the Tantalum team works hard on the new Tantalum 5 release and increasing support to the Android community, you can track that and possibly help at ​https://github.com/TantalumMobile/ More on that and the great support Nokia is giving to this open source effort as we release- happy changes and momentum.
        * NEW 4.0 RELEASE January 1, 2013 *
        New release 4.0 including cross-platform Android and J2ME app development support, simple fork-join concurrency, simple 3 layer caching and Android AsyncTask and more is now available!
        Quick Start Guide and JAVADOC: ​Tanalum4_doc.zip
        Source code and examples: ​Tantalum4.zip
        Cross platform Series40-Android example using Tantalum4: ​Picasa_Viewer
        JavaOne San Francisco talk and demos of Tantalum4: ​JavaOne_Extreme_Mobile_Java_Performance.mp4
        Tantalum is a light-weight metal used used to keep mobile phone electronics compact and powerful. Tantalum4 is the 4th major release of a very light and elegant back end utility library for mobile java. With mobile applications, less is more.
        This is _not_ a framework. It is a clean and light tool set which at 8-40kB it will _not_ bloat your application. Obfuscation of your release build automatically removes those features you do not use. We do just a few things really well:
          • The exact same JAR library runs on J2ME and Android– save time and money by reusing your code and add a native UI for each platform
          • Clean, fast utility model threading with Java7 fork-join-cancel and Android Java5 AsyncTask patterns
          • Unique async task chaining to feed the output of one Task to the input of the next is easier than overriding existing classes
          • WeakReference heap and persistent flash memory caching to easily make online-offlne apps which start fast and run reliably in real world mobile networks
          • Async HTTP GET and POST with automatic retry
          • Simplified async XML parsing directly into model objects
          • Simplified async JSON parsing directly into model objects
          • Logging convenience classes including J2ME USB debug and app profile from phone
            The above capabilities work cleanly together to simplify your development. There is no UI assumption in Tantalum4– pick what works best for you on each platform. The bundled example applications are an RSS reader for
              • Forms
              • Nokia Series40 Asha touch devices
              • LWUIT 1.5
                Download the sample apps and give a try. We hope you are amazed at the results and speed with which you can achieve them.
                Apache 2 license. Please return your fixes and suggestions to the community here.
                * NEW 3.0 RELEASE June 18, 2012 *
                WHAT IS NEW
                  • Many, many stability improvements, especially to caching and flash memory usage
                  • Shutdown work tasks and low-priority work tasks are now supported
                  • Support for Nokia LWUIT in the example applications
                  • Support for Nokia full touch phones in the example applications.
                  • Speed. Tantalum3 is wired and optimized even more than before to run well also on slower devices.
                  • You can find a series of nice, short training videos covering Tantalum3 at​https://projects.developer.nokia.com/videotraining
                    CONTENTS OF THE ARCHIVE (Download link on right side of this page)
                    Pre-built example applications, run to test on various devices. Testing is mostly on Nokia SDK 1.1 and 2.0 with profiling of the S40 example tested in Oracle SDK.
                    Pre-built libraries you can include in your application if you don’t want to mess with the source code. There are three flavors: debug including unit tests and verbose errors, usb-debug, and release optimized. To use the usb-debug variant, connect your phone by USB and open a terminal emulator such as puttytel to the serial port you find in Window Device Manager. Use max baud rate and hardware flow control RTS/CTS.
                    Everything you need to build the libraries and examples yourself
                    Javadoc for Tantalum3 library
                    Javadoc for the optional JSON suppliment
                    * NEW 2.2 RELEASE February 7 2012 *
                    Example updates with minor bug fix, reorganization of the source into 3 projects make release builds easier, added unit tests.
                    * NEW 2.1 RELEASE January 24 2012 *

                    Latest announcements

                    Related videos:
                    Series 40 Webinar: Porting Android apps to the Series 40 platform [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Dec 17, 2012]

                    This webinar offers an overview to the process of porting various types of Android applications to the Series 40 platform. Michael Samarin of Futurice walks you through the basic porting tasks involved and shows you how to map Android APIs to corresponding Series 40 APIs. He also pays special attention to UI portability and creating a consistent user experience on Series 40 phones. You can download the slides from this session at: http://www.slideshare.net/nokia-developer/porting-android-applications-to-nokia-series-40 Find out more about porting apps to Series 40 at:http://www.developer.nokia.com/porting Find out more about developing for Series 40 at:http://www.developer.nokia.com/Series40 Discover more Nokia Developer webinars at:http://www.developer.nokia.com/webinars

                    Porting Android and Blackberry apps to Series 40 [Nokia Developer News, Nov 30, 2012]

                    If you’ve got an application for Android or BlackBerry (up to BlackBerry OS 7.1), your existing Java code puts you in a great position to take advantage of the growing demand for apps from Series 40 phone owners.
                    To help you take advantage of this opportunity, we’ve started to gather a collection of resources to guide you through the porting process in the Porting to Series 40 library section.
                    If you are starting with an Android app, the wiki provides basic information on the tools and technology needed, platform comparisons, porting considerations, code snippets, and example porting cases along with the all-important guidelines you need for an efficient port.
                    For your future apps, you can even consider creating a Series 40 and Android version at the same time, our Picasa Viewer example application will show you how.
                    If a little hands-on guidance could help even more, why not check out the Android porting webinar sessions we have on 4 December at 8 a.m. San Francisco; 10 a.m. Mexico City; 4 p.m. London and 13 December, 8 a.m. London; 1:30 p.m. New Delhi; 4 p.m. Singapore.
                    Life could be even easier if you have a BlackBerry app. Most generic Java ME MIDlets can be deployed to both BlackBerry and Series 40 with little more than platform-specific repackaging. However, you might want to adapt the user interface and the look & feel of the app to fit to Series 40 screen-size and UI style. Again, the wiki gives you a pointer to the porting article with code samples that will be enhanced for the later updates of the library.
                    You can also get practical guidance from an expert, check out our BlackBerry porting webinar on 18 December, 8 a.m. London; 1:30 p.m. New Delhi; 4 p.m. Singapore or view a recording of one of the earlier sessions on our webinars page.
                    Using our latest Nokia SDK 2.0 for Java, and its integrated Nokia IDE for Java ME, combined with the guidance of the updated porting library, we think you’ll find porting your app easier than you ever imagined.
                    We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the family of developers who have found success on the Series 40 platform.

                    Designing & Optimising Graphics for your Series 40 app [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Nov 8, 2012] https://projects.developer.nokia.com/frozenbubble

                    Are you wondering what to consider when designing and optimising graphics for your Series 40 application? Mikko Kaipio, Senior UX Designer, provides you with tips and best practices for handling graphics in your Series 40 applications. He also explains the key items to take into account when porting your Android application graphics to the successful Nokia Asha family of Series 40 phones. More information about Series 40 UX resources can be found here:http://bit.ly/Qx757l Explore the app examples used in this video: FrozenBubble:https://projects.developer.nokia.com/frozenbubble WeatherApp:https://projects.developer.nokia.com/JMEWeatherApp aMaze:https://projects.developer.nokia.com/amaze Explonoid:https://projects.developer.nokia.com/JMEExplonoid SudokuMaster:https://projects.developer.nokia.com/JMESudokumaster

                    UI Clinic – Series 40 full touch, April 2013 [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, April 24, 2013]

                    Our UI expert Jan Krebber reviews two apps submitted by Nokia Developer members: Know your phone by Mustafa Mansour Hassanien and Package Tracker by Shai Ifrach of Futuresoft. Jan shares the app reviews and provides details on how the UX of these applications might be improved, as well as providing general guidance that will help with the design of any app. In addition, Jan takes a quick look into where to place ads in an app, based on a request from last month’s UI Clinic. You can download the slides from this session at: http://www.slideshare.net/nokia-developer/ui-clinic-series-40-full-touch-april-2013

                    Introduction to the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, April 19, 2013]

                    The Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha helps developers succeed with Nokia Asha phones, Nokia’s most affordable smartphones. The programme provides developers who qualify with high-value support and tools that optimise and enhance their development efforts and that improve the discoverability of their quality apps. In this webinar, we show you what benefits the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha delivers beyond those that come with standard Nokia Developer registration. We describe the productivity tools that come with programme membership, including a free Nokia Asha 310 phone, expanded remote device access when you’re ready to test, and free tech support tickets when you need help. We also explain the app-promotion opportunities, including promotion in Nokia Store or $500 in Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) credits. Best of all, membership is absolutely free. You can download the slides from this session at: http://www.slideshare.net/nokia-developer/introduction-to-the-nokia-premium-developer-program-for-asha Find out more about the Premium Developer Program for Asha at: http://www.developer.nokia.com/Developer_Programs/Asha_developer_program.xhtml

                    Asha Premium Developer Program introduced [Nokia Developer News, March 26, 2013]

                    We’ve been having a lot of fun lately—we launched the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Lumia back in October, and it proved to be our most successful developer program ever. Our rewards program, DVLUP, has also proven extremely popular with developers, and we recently expanded it to include developers in the UK.
                    So we decided it was time to bring some “Premium goodness” to Asha development. Today we are excited to introduce the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha.
                    The Asha Opportunity
                    The Asha ecosystem has a growing installed base of superior but affordable smartphones (such as the Nokia Asha 308, 310, and 311), and with these great devices comes an increased demand for apps. The Asha Premium Developer Program is designed to provide you with tools and services to make developing for Asha faster and easier, increase the discoverability of your apps, and bring you closer to the millions of Nokia Asha users around the world.
                    By providing you with high-value support and tools beyond what’s provided by your standard registration with Nokia Developer, the Asha Premium Developer Program will help you fast-track your success.


                    The Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha comprises two levels: enhanced productivity tools and app promotion opportunities. We know that it’s easier not only to be inspired but also to develop and test when you have a great device in hand, so the productivity tools start with a free Nokia Asha 310 smartphone. To help you with testing, we’re also offering expanded Remote Device Access with more Nokia Asha devices available to you. Finally, you’ll get two free tech tickets for Asha development support, a value of $198 (USD).
                    Program members who submit a new, high quality full touch Asha app to Nokia Store can apply for app promotional opportunities: greater visibility on Nokia Store, or a $500 (USD) credit to run paid ad campaigns on Nokia Ad Exchange.
                    Best of all membership in the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha is free, although you’ll need to meet certain criteria.
                    Explore the Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha, and apply for membership today.

                    Boosting both the commodity and premium brand markets in 2013 with much more smartphones and tablets while the Windows notebook shipments will shrink by 2%

                    This is my conclusion after reviewing

                    • The ongoing trends in the commodity and premium brand ecosystems of Android devices:
                      – Smartphones
                      – Tablets


                    • The emerging new trends in the premium ecosystem of the Windows devices:
                      – Notebooks
                      – Smartphones

                    as reported by the most knowledgeable sources.

                    Updates: – ODMs see weaker profits from tablet business [DIGITIMES, March 26, 2013]

                    As Google and Amazon reportedly will release their next-generation 7-inch entry-level tablets in the near future, sources from the upstream supply chain have estimated that related ODMs’ profits from these tablets will be about 20% less than those from notebooks.
                    Since tablets have a simpler design than notebooks, the ODMs are only able to earn about US$9-10 for each tablet made, lower than US$13-20 for notebooks.
                    In addition, fewer components needed means that ODMs will have difficulties using their purchasing advantages to earn profits, and tablet brand vendors’ demand for specific components will also impact the makers’ profits, the sources noted.
                    Seeing weak growth in the notebook industry, most ODMs have turned to place their focuses on the tablet market and are competing aggressively for orders through price cuts, the sources said.

                    Wintel camp mulls measures to rekindle weakening notebook industry [DIGITIMES, Feb 21, 2013]

                    Suppliers within the Wintel camp are mulling to launch a series of measures, including price cuts for their products, in the second quarter of 2013 to rekindle the stymied notebook industry caused by growing popularity of tablets, according to industry sources.
                    The launch of Windows 8 has failed to ignite replacement demand for notebooks in the end markets, resulting in a prolonged inventory adjustment process at the supply chain that has been going on since the third quarter of 2012, the sources noted.
                    With market reports indicating that global tablet shipments are likely to reach 200-300 million units in 2013, including 150 million units in China and other emerging markets, notebook vendors will see their market share continue to be eroded by tablets, commented the sources.
                    While agreeing to the consensus that price-cutting will be the only way to stimulate notebook demand, related PC chip suppliers are urging the major players in the Wintel camp, mainly Intel and Microsoft, to take the lead in action so that the entire supply chain can follow.
                    The Wintel camp has always chosen to start cutting their product prices in the third quarter each year, noted the sources, but it would be too late to safeguard the notebook industry as well as its supply chain if Intel and Microsoft do not take actions till the third quarter this year.
                    Since Intel usually will cut significantly its CPU prices prior to the launch of new models, the planned launch of Haswell platform in June may persuade the chip giant to lower the quotes for its Ivy Bridge family CPUs earlier, the sources revealed.
                    But it remains to be seen if price cuts by Intel alone could stir up notebook replacement demand amid the squeezing-out effect triggered by the rise of tablets, mobile phones and other mobile Internet devices, commented the sources.

                    End of updates

                    Before reading the sections of this post corresponding to the above, do not forget to read my own analytical posts which are based on the new product directions and supporting SoC trends (and as such predicting the year 2013 market even better than the external analyses quoted here which are mainly based on supply chain trends and market changes observed already in 2012):
                    $48 Mogu M0 “peoplephone”, i.e. an Android smartphone for everybody to hit the Chinese market on November 15 [Nov 9, 2012]
                    Lowest H2’12 device cost SoCs from Spreadtrum will redefine the entry level smartphone and feature phone markets [July 26 – Nov 9, 2012]
                    The low priced, Android based smartphones of China will change the global market [Sept 10-26, 2012]
                    Unique differentiators of Nokia Lumia 920/820 innovated for high-volume superphone markets of North America, Europe and elsewhere [Sept 6 – Nov 13, 2012]
                    With Asha Touch starting at $83 and Lumia at $186 Nokia targeting the entry-level and low-end smartphone markets [Nov 1, 2012]
                    Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement  – UPDATED with MT6588/83 coming early 2013 in Q42012 and 8-core MT6599 in 2013 [June 27, July 27, Sept 11-13, Sept 26, Oct 2, 2012]
                    MT6577-based JiaYu G3 with IPS Gorilla glass 2 sreen of 4.5” etc. for $154 (factory direct) in China and $183 [Sept 13, 2012]
                    China’s HW engineering lead: The Rockchip RK292 series (RK2928 and RK2926) example [Oct 27, 2012]
                    Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control [June 28, 2012]
                    Giving up the total OEM reliance strategy: the Microsoft Surface tablet [June 19 – July 30, 2012]
                    ASUS: We are the real transformers, not Microsoft [Oct 17, 2012]
                    Microsoft Surface: its premium quality/price vs. even iPad3 [Oct 26, 2012]
                    BUILD 2012: Notes on Day 1 and 2 Keynotes [Oct 31, 2012]
                    Acer Iconia W510: Windows 8 Clover Trail (Intel Z2760) hybrid tablets from OEMs [Oct 28, 2012]
                    Microsoft Surface with some questions about the performance and smoothness of the experience [Nov 12, 2012]

                    Update: The sections of this post are somewhat taking into the account the most dramatic disruption in the whole history of ICT, what I am calling the ‘ALLWINNER PHENOMENON’ (all ‘Allwinner et al phenomenon’ sometimes when including Allwinner’s internal mainland China competitors such as Rockchip into account as well). EVERYBODY SHOULD BE AWARE of the fact, however, that even in the latest forecasts by bigname ICT market researchers the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ is not taken into account at all. The two very recent updates from IDC given below should therefore be read with that in mind as the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ will add hundreds of millions to those forecasts starting as early as in 2013. Especially the numbers for the tablets will be affected. To understand more about that please read my special posts given in a newly created blog about the ‘Allwinner phenonmenon’:
                    Allwinner A31 SoC is here with products and the A20 SoC is coming [Dec 10, 2012]
                    Is low-cost enough for global success? [Dec 5, 2012]
                    The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs [Dec 4, 2012]
                    $40 entry-level Allwinner tablets–now for the 220 million students Aakash project in India [Dec 4, 2012] from this alone 220 million additional tablets would have been delivered from 2013 to 2016
                    USD 99 Allwinner [Nov 30, 2012]
                    It’s a Strategic Inflection Point [Dec 1, 2012]

                    Update: HTC 1Q13 smartphone shipments to grow slower than expected, say sources [DIGITIMES, Dec 18, 2012]

                    Affected by the launch of iPhone 5 and rapidly declining smartphone prices in China, HTC reportedly has revamped its product roadmap for 2013 and is expected to see its smartphone shipments rise 10-15% sequentially in the first quarter of the year compared to a 20-30% growth projected previously, according to industry sources.

                    HTC has suspended development of a number of new models for 2013, reducing the visibility of its orders for handset components, the sources revealed.

                    HTC declined to comment on market speculation.

                    However, the industry watchers believe that HTC is heading for a bumpy road ahead, since shipments of its Windows Phone 8-based smartphones have not been as strong as expected, while Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy III have continued to enjoy brisk sales.

                    In China, HTC is facing cut-throat competition from local white-box smartphone vendors and has been forced to enter the sub-CNY2,000 (US$321) segment, which runs counter to its established policy focusing mainly on the high-end sector, said the sources.

                    Update: Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market, Led by Samsung and Apple, Grew 27.1% in the Third Quarter, According to IDC [IDC press release, Dec 10, 2012]


                    The worldwide smart connected device market – a collective view of PCs, tablets, and smartphones – grew 27.1% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12) reaching a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion dollars. Expectations for the holiday season quarter are that shipments will continue to reach record levels rising 19.2% over 3Q12 and 26.5% over the same quarter a year ago. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, 4Q12 shipments are expected to reach 362.0 million units with a market value of $169.2 billion dollars. Holiday season growth will be driven by tablets and smartphones, which are expected to grow 55.8% and 39.5% year-over-year respectfully, while PCs are expected to decline slightly from this quarter a year ago.

                    From a vendor perspective, Samsung maintained the top position in 3Q12 with 21.8% market share based on shipments. Apple, which ranked second overall in shipments, led all vendors in value with a total of $34.1 billion in 3Q12 and an average selling price (ASP) of $744 across all device categories. Following Samsung’s 21.8% share and Apple’s 15.1% share were Lenovo (7.0%), HP (4.6%), and Sony (3.6%). While Samsung, Apple, and Lenovo have all grown share over the past year, HP, which is virtually non-existent in the mobile space, has dropped its share from 7.4% in 3Q11 to 4.6% in 3Q12 with shipments declining -20.5% during that time.

                    “The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple’s ASP is $310 higher than Samsung’s with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells.”

                    Looking forward, IDC expects the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge well past the strong holiday quarter and predicts shipments to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide. IDC’s research clearly shows this to be a multi-device era, although market dynamics are shifting in terms of product category. In 2011, PC’s – a combination of desktop and portable PCs – accounted for 39.1% of the smart connected device market. By 2016 it is expected to drop to 19.9%. Smartphones will be the preferred product category with share growing from 53.1% in 2011 to 66.7% in 2016. Tablets will also grow significantly with share growing from 7.7% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2016. The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the collective market ASP from $534 in 2011 to $378 in 2016.

                    “Both consumers and business workers are finding the need for multiple ‘smart’ devices and we expect that trend to grow for several years, especially in more developed regions,” said Bob O’Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays. “The advent of cloud-based services is enabling people to seamlessly move from device to device, which encourages the purchase and usage of different devices for different situations.”

                    Top 5 Smart Connected Device Vendors, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (shipments in millions)


                    3Q12 Unit Shipments

                    3Q12 Market Share

                    3Q11 Unit Shipments

                    3Q11 Market Share

                    3Q12/3Q11 Growth











































                    Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, December 10, 2012.

                    Smart Connected Device Market by Product Category, Shipments, Market Share, 2012-1016 (shipments in millions) 

                    Product Category

                    2016 Unit Shipments

                    2016 Market Share

                    2012 Unit Shipments

                    2012 Market Share

                    2016/2012 Growth

                    Desktop PC






                    Portable PC
























                    Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, December 10, 2012.

                    Update: IDC Raises Tablet Forecast for 2012 and Beyond As iOS Picks Up Steam, Android Gains Traction, and Windows Finally Enters the Market [IDC press release, Dec 5, 2012]


                    A strong competitive landscape—including surging Android tablet shipments and robust demand for Apple’s new iPad mini—has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to increase its 2012 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 122.3 million, up from its previous forecast of 117.1 million units. In the latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, IDC also raised its 2013 forecast number to 172.4 million units, up from 165.9 million units. And by 2016 worldwide shipments should reach 282.7 million units, up from a previous forecast of 261.4 million units.

                    “Tablets continue to captivate consumers, and as the market shifts toward smaller, more mobile screen sizes and lower prices points, we expect demand to accelerate in the fourth quarter and beyond,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC. “Android tablets are gaining traction in the market thanks to solid products from Google, Amazon, Samsung, and others. And Apple’s November iPad mini launch, along with its surprise refresh of the full-sized iPad, positions the company well for a strong holiday season.”

                    In addition to increasing the unit totals for 2013, IDC also updated its operating system splits for the year to reflect Android’s growing strength in the tablet market. IDC now expects Android’s worldwide tablet share to increase from 39.8% in 2011 to 42.7% for the full year of 2012. During that same time Apple’s share will slip from 56.3% in 2011 to 53.8% in 2012. Long term, IDC predicts Windows-based tablets (including Windows 8 and Windows RT) will grab share from both iOS and Android, growing from 1% of the market in 2011 to 2.9% in 2012, on its way to 10.3% in 2016.

                    “The breadth and depth of Android has taken full effect on the tablet market as it has for the smartphone space,” said Ryan Reith, program manager for IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers. “Android tablet shipments will certainly act as the catalyst for growth in the low-cost segment in emerging markets given the platform’s low barrier to entry on manufacturing. At the same time, top-tier companies like Samsung, Lenovo, and ASUS are all launching Android tablets with comparable specs, but offered at much lower price points.”

                    Once again, IDC’s increase in tablet shipments comes at the expense of eReaders. IDC lowered its forecast for eReaders for 2012 and beyond. While the front-lit eReader offerings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble have captured the interest of a subset of consumers who prefer a dedicated eReader, most buyers are gravitating toward multi-use tablet products and finding a ‘good enough’ reading experience on these traditional back-lit tablets. IDC now expects 2012 eReader shipments to top out at 19.9 million units, down from the 27.7 million units that shipped in 2011.

                    Tablet Operating Systems, Market Share Forecast and CAGR 2012-2016

                    Tablet OS

                    2012 Market Share

                    2016 Market Share

                    CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)

















                    Grand Total




                    Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, December 5, 2012

                    Table Notes:

                    • Windows shipments include Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows 7 tablets.
                    • Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.

                    The ongoing trends in the commodity
                    and premium brand ecosystems of Android devices


                    Motorola likely to bid farewell to Taiwan handset ODMs after Google sells plants to Flextronics [DIGITIMES, Dec 17, 2012]

                    The partnerships between Motorola Mobility and Taiwan-based handset ODMs such as Foxconn International Holdings (FIH) will begin to fade away, as Google, the parent company of Motorola, has signed an agreement to hand over Motorola’s manufacturing operations in Tianjin, China, and Jaguariuna, Brazil to Flextronics International, according to industry sources.

                    After the deal between Google and Flextronics is completed in the first half of 2013, Motorola will completely withdraw from the handset manufacturing industry, and instead will transform to a brand operator targeting mainly the mid-range to high-end smartphone segment, the sources indicated.

                    While the streamlining of Motorola’s operations comes as no surprise to Taiwan handset ODMs, Google’s decision to sell Motorola’s plants to Flextronics, instead of its long-tern partner FIH, has raised concerns among the industry.

                    Flextronics is purchasing the plants in exchange for orders from Motorola since the Singapore-based EMS giant has made little progress in gaining handset orders from Apple or major players in the Android or Windows Phone camps, the sources commented.

                    It is also no longer necessary for FIH to buy plants in exchange for orders, as the company has transferred from handset EMS operations to focus on smartphone ODM business, indicated the sources, adding that FIH has also managed to establish partnerships with a number of major players in the smartphone sector.

                    However, a deepened cooperation between Motorola and Flextronics may affect the handset component supply chain in Taiwan, the sources warned.

                    Digitimes Research: Android phones to account for 70% of global smartphone market in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 6, 2012]

                    Android will further solidify its market leadership in the smartphone operating system race in 2013, thanks to a broad support from smartphone vendors and the rollout of a wide range of low-priced models for sale in emerging markets. Shipments of Android phones are expected to top 600 million units or over 70% of global smartphone shipments in 2013, Digitimes Research estimates.

                    iOS will trail Android to take the number two position in the OS ratings with a 20% share, while other smartphone platforms will share the remaining 10%.

                    Shipments of Windows Phones, including 7.x and 8.x models, will grow 150% on year to 52.5 million units in 2013 for a 6.1% share, followed by RIM’s BlackBerry devices with a 3.7% share, Digitimes Research estimates. Other platforms, including Tizen and Firefox, will take up a portion lower than 1%.

                    Digitimes Research: Global smartphone shipments to grow 30% in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012]

                    Global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 30% to 865 million units in 2013, accounting for 43.9% of total handset shipments in the year, Digitimes Research has estimated.

                    Factors including relationships between platform providers and hardware makers, support from telecom carriers for new models, and key developments or decisions by some vendors will affect smartphone sales in 2013, Digitimes Research believes.

                    Google is expected to further strengthen its control over the Android ecosystem and its production partners, which may limit the development of other platforms or variant Android models.

                    Microsoft’s launch of own-brand smartphones may result in a reduction in support for the Window Phone platform by hardware vendors, which should otherwise serve as a key factor to push for the growth of the Window Phone to become a third major platform in the segment.

                    While Amazon is likely to enter the smartphone market, 2013 may be crucial a year for Nokia and RIM (Research in Motion) to make vital decisions concerning their smartphone businesses.

                    Demand for high-end smartphone models in Western Europe will be affected seriously by reduced government budgets and weak consumption in the region because of the prolonged financial crisis.

                    However, smartphones’ growing penetration in China, Russia, India, Indonesia, South America and other emerging markets will serve as a growth driver for global smartphone shipments in 2013, Digitimes Research believes.

                    Google, Amazon and other vendors in China to lead pricing in low-cost smartphone segment, say sources [DIGITIMES , Nov 5, 2012]

                    While sales of low-cost smartphones are expected to continue growing in the next few years, Google, Amazon and other Internet service companies in China may lead price competition in the segment, according to industry sources.

                    Shipments of low-cost smartphones, defined as models with a selling price of less than US$150, are forecast to double every year from 2010 to 2016, increasing from 4.5 to 311 million units, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

                    Most of the demand (60%) is from the Asia Pacific region, where a large majority of component suppliers and manufacturing factories are located – providing both time and cost savings, said DisplaySearch.

                    In China, the trend for telecom carriers to continue cooperating with chipset suppliers, handset design houses and handset vendors for the launch low-priced smatphone models will continue for a while, the sources noted.

                    Vendors including Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad have emerged as the leading group of the smartphone suppliers in China through the offerings of low-cost models, but most of vendors has suffered losses or seen the profits of their handset business decline due to fierce price competition in the segment, the sources revealed.

                    Lenovo’s handset business unit is still operating in red, and Huawei and Coolpad have seen their profits decline, while ZTE and TCL have seen their handset businesses swing from profitability to loss, the sources indicated.

                    In order to stemming losses, or improving profitability, most branded smartphone vendors in China have been trying to expand their share in the mid- and high-end segment, while pushing their sales through local retain channels or export sales.

                    But other China-based smartphone vendors such as Xiaomi Technology, Internet service companies including Baidu and Shada Interactive Entertainment, as well as online retail giant 360buy, are likely to continue to adopt aggressive price strategies to pushing sales of their own models, said the sources.

                    In the global market, the cooperation between Google and LG Electronics for the launch of Nexus 4 at prices ranging from US$299-349 is also expected to lead to the proliferation of more low-priced Android smartphone models, the sources indicated.

                    Amazon, which has been aggressive in the tablet segment, is expected to release its first smartphone model in 2013 with the same price tactics, which is likely to further drive down the prices of smartphones, commented the sources.

                    Digitimes Research: Nexus 4 to be popular in prepaid SIM card and telecom retail channels [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 7, 2012]

                    Google’s Nexus 4, which comes with a 4.7-inch 720p HD display and Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, is expected to become a popular model in the prepaid SIM card segment as well as in telecom retail channels for unlocked subscribers, according to Digitimes Research.

                    With its high hardware specifications and pricing of US$299 for the 8GB version and US$349 for the 16GB version, the Nexus 4 will cause price pressure on other comparable models rolled by rival brands.

                    Sales of Windows phones are expected to grow 250% in 2013 due in part to support from telecom carriers which are seeking a third platform other than Android or iOS. However, Android will continue to lead the market with a wide margin, Digitimes Research said.

                    Google aggressive pricing for Nexus 4 smartphone to affect sales of other brands [DIGITIMES, Oct 30, 2012]

                    Google’s pricing of US$299-349 for its newly released 4.7-inch, quad-core Nexus 4 smartphone is lower than market expectations, and thus could affect the sales of Android-based smartphones launched by other branded vendors, according to industry sources.

                    Prior to the release of the Nexus 4 in cooperation with LG Electronics, Google had cooperated with HTC and Samsung Electronics, respectively, for the launch of three generations of Nexus smartphones with prices ranging from US$500-700.

                    The Nexus 4 will enjoy the advantage in pricing even compared to the latest quad-core Android models rolled out by other vendors, indicated the sources, noting that Asustek Computer’s 4.7-inch Padfone 2 is available for US$600, while China-based Xiaomi Technology’s second-generation Xiaomi phone is priced at CNY1,999 (US$320).

                    Other Android-based smartphone vendors, including HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, Huawei Device, ZTE and even Motorola Mobility, all are likely to adjust their price strategies, since chances are high that the Nexus 4 will make a strong impact on the smartphone market, commented the sources.

                    China market: Nexus 4 pricing to affect sales, prices of other brands, says report [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

                    The aggressive pricing strategy adopted by Google for its Nexus 4 may affect sales of Xiaomi smartphones in China and may also force other brands including Samsung Electronics, Motorola and HTC to lower the prices of their offerings in China, according to a China-based 21st Century Business Herald report.

                    The price of US$299 (CNY1,890) for the 8G version of the Nexus 4 is more competitive than Xiaomi’s next-generation quad-core smartphone which is available at CNY1,999, the paper noted.

                    Xiaomi is selling its first quad-core model below its BOM of CNY2,350 and will limit initial sales of the model to 50,000 units only, said the paper, which added that Xiaomi aims to ramp up volumes to 250,000 units to bring down the BOM when it begins to offer the second round of sales in mid-November.

                    Although the Nexus is not yet available in China, consumers may hesitate to pick up the quad-core Xiaomi smartphones because they have to wait for several months before Xiaomi will begin delivering the devices, said the paper.

                    China market: Coolpad hopes to regain mid-range, high-end smartphone share [DIGITIMES , Nov 7, 2012]

                    China-based handset maker Coolpad hopes to re-enter the mid-range and high-end smartphone market in China by introducing smartphone products with China Mobile that will be priced above CNY5,000/unit (US$800/unit).

                    In the recent years, Coolpad has been focusing on smartphones at the price range of CNY1,000/unit by cooperating with China’s three telecom service providers. Entry-level and mid-range models have accounted for 85% of Coolpad’s total shipments. The firm recently introduced a new model, Coolpad 9960 (Da Guan HD), with a 4.7-inch screen, Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel front camera. The model will be priced above CNY5,000/unit.

                    Currently, China’s mid-range and high-end smartphone markets have been dominated by international brands such as Apple, HTC, Motorola, and Sony. Coolpad has been the only local brand that has a relatively strong market share.

                    According to industry sources, in 2012, Coolpad increased investment in R&D of high-end products by 20% on year and formed an R&D team of 800 staff to strengthen its high-end product line.

                    Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE faced with challenges to reach quarterly shipments of 10 million smartphones, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES , Nov 5, 2012]

                    A total of 60 million smartphones were shipped to the China market in the third quarter of 2012, and Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE shipped nine million units, 8.5 million units and 7.5 million units, respectively, with a combined market share of 41.7%, according to DRAMeXchange under consulting company TrendForce.

                    Except for Apple and Samsung Electronics, other international vendors including HTC, Sony Mobile Communications, LG Electronics, Nokia have not been able to attain quarterly shipments of 10 million smartphones, the sources indicated. Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE stand a chance to ship 10 million smartphones a quarter if they can strengthen their branding operations, marketing and product lines of mid-range and high-end models in overseas markets, the sources pointed out.

                    Lenovo has focused on entry-level smartphones priced below CNY1,500 (US$240) and relied too much on the domestic market, the sources indicated. In comparison with Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE have the advantage of cooperation with mobile telecom carriers in many countries, but their brand image is not strong enough for marketing mid-range and high-end smartphones, the sources pointed out.

                    PC vendors recommended to target niche smartphone market to avoid direct competition [DIGITIMES , Oct 3, 2012]

                    Branded PC vendors including Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Asustek Computer, which plan to reignite their smartphone businesses, are recommended to offer models with strong application platforms, sleek product design and integrated cloud computing capabilities targeting niche markets, while avoiding direct competition with smartphone vendors, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain.

                    Among the leading brands, HP, Dell and Asustek have not launched new handsets for some time, while Acer has made little progress in the sector although it has continued rolling out new phones, indicated the sources.

                    Lenovo’s performance has been exceptional, taking the second-ranked title in China’s smartphone market by optimizing an array of entry-level models priced at around CNY1,000 (US$158).

                    The reason major branded PC vendors are considering a comeback to the smartphone market hinges on emerging business opportunities that are anticipated to come along with the launch of Windows 8. They are hoping that sales of Windows 8-based PCs will help promote the sale of Windows Phone 8 smartphones as well.

                    Even so, prospects are still slim for PC brands to make a strong presence in the smartphone market, given that Apple and Samsung Electronics are currently the top-2 vendors dominating the segment, while other smartphone brands including Nokia, RIM, Sony Mobile Communications, Motorola Mobility are lagging behind with heavy losses, the sources commented.

                    Worldwide Mobile Phone Growth Expected to Drop to 1.4% in 2012 Despite Continued Growth Of Smartphones, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

                    The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 1.4% year over year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite a projected record number of smartphone shipments in the high-volume holiday season. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship more than 1.7 billion mobile phones this year. In 2016, IDC forecasts 2.2 billion mobile phones will be shipped to the channel.

                    Global smartphone volume in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) is expected to reach 224.5 million units, representing 39.5% year-over-year growth due primarily to strong consumer demand. For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units. Strong smartphone growth is a result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets where carriers resell the majority of smartphones, as well as a growing array of sub-US$250 smartphones in emerging markets.

                    “Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

                    Smartphone Operating Systems

                    “Underpinning the worldwide smartphone market is a constantly shifting mobile operating system landscape,” added Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Android is expected to stay in front, but we also expect it to be the biggest target for competing operating systems to grab market share. At the same time, Windows Phone stands to gain the most market share as its smartphone and carrier partners have gained valuable experience in selling the differentiated experience Windows Phone has to offer. What bears close observation is how BlackBerry’s new platform, BlackBerry 10, and multiple versions of Linux will affect the market once the devices running these systems are available.”

                    IDC forecasts Android to be the clear leader in the smartphone mobile operating system race, thanks in large part to a broad selection of devices from a wide range of partners. Samsung is the leading Android smartphone seller though resurgent smartphone vendors LG Electronics and Sony, both of which cracked the top five smartphone vendors during 3Q12, are not to be overlooked. IDC believes the net result of this will be continued double-digit growth throughout the forecast period.

                    iOS will maintain its position as the clear number two platform behind Android at the end of 2012 and throughout the forecast. The popularity of the iPhone across multiple markets will drive steady replacements and additional carrier partners will help Apple grow iOS volume. However, the high price point of the iPhone relative to other smartphones will make it cost prohibitive for some users within many emerging markets. In order to maintain current growth rates, Apple will need to examine the possibility of offering less expensive models, similar to its iPod line. Until that happens, IDC forecasts iOS to ship lower volumes than Android.

                    The BlackBerry OS will grow slowly but largely maintain share over the coming years following the BlackBerry 10 launch next year. The new operating system and devices will be valued by some longtime BlackBerry fans, particularly those who have waited for the new OS as Research In Motion delayed its release. This will allow the company to maintain pockets of strength in higher-growth emerging markets such as Indonesia and various Latin American countries. But, as with many other new platforms, the success of BB 10 will be partly dependent upon channel advocacy, like sales associates who can effectively tell the BlackBerry story.

                    Windows Phone will battle with BlackBerry for the number three spot in 2013, but will gain further clarity in the years that follow. Windows Phone will build on the progress it made in 2012, with Nokia establishing its presence and HTC solidly jumping back into the race. Moreover, contributions by Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei will help grow its footprint. With more vendors releasing more devices aimed at multiple segments, sales associates will be better positioned to tell a compelling Windows Phone story and to explain the value of Windows Phone’s differentiated experience compared to market leaders Android and iOS.

                    Linux will trail the market leaders throughout our forecast though it is expected to be the dark horse of the forecast. K-Touch has quietly built its Linux volumes this year while Haier recently released its first Linux smartphones. In addition, multiple platforms are expected to announce and launch their Linux-based smartphones in 2013, including Samsung’s Tizen and Jolla’s SailFish. Benefiting these platforms are their ties to previous platforms from the LiMo Foundation and Nokia’s MeeGo, which could lead to greater developer interest.

                    Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2012–2016

                    Smartphone OS

                    2012 Market Share

                    2016 Market Share

                    CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)









                    BlackBerry OS




                    Windows Phone
















                    Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, December 3, 2012


                    Android Marks Fourth Anniversary Since Launch with 75.0% Market Share in Third Quarter, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

                    The Android smartphone operating system was found on three out of every four smartphones shipped during the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, total Android smartphone shipments worldwide reached 136.0 million units, accounting for 75.0% of the 181.1 million smartphones shipped in 3Q12. The 91.5% year-over-year growth was nearly double the overall market growth rate of 46.4%.

                    “Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager, Mobile Phones at IDC. “In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition. In addition, the combination of smartphone vendors, mobile operators, and end-users who have embraced Android has driven shipment volumes higher. Even today, more vendors are introducing their first Android-powered smartphones to market.”

                    “The share decline of smartphone operating systems not named iOS since Android’s introduction isn’t a coincidence,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The smartphone operating system isn’t an isolated product, it’s a crucial part of a larger technology ecosystem. Google has a thriving, multi-faceted product portfolio. Many of its competitors, with weaker tie-ins to the mobile OS, do not. This factor and others have led to loss of share for competitors with few exceptions.”

                    Mobile Operating System Highlights

                    Android, having topped the 100 million unit mark last quarter, reached a new record level in a single quarter. By comparison, Android’s total volumes for the quarter were greater than the total number of smartphones shipped in 2007, the year that Android was officially announced. Samsung once again led all vendors in this space, but saw its market share decline as numerous smaller vendors increased their production.

                    iOS was a distant second place to Android, but was the only other mobile operating system to amass double-digit market share for the quarter. The late quarter launch of the iPhone 5 and lower prices on older models prevented total shipment volumes from slipping to 3Q11 levels. But without a splashy new OS-driven feature like Siri in 2011 and FaceTime in 2010, the iPhone 5 relied on its larger, but not wider, screen and LTE connectivity to drive growth.

                    BlackBerry‘s market share continued to sink, falling to just over 4% by the end of the quarter. With the launch of BlackBerry 10 yet to come in 2013, BlackBerry will continue to rely on its aging BlackBerry 7 platform, and equally aging device line-up. Still, demand for BlackBerry and its wildly popular BBM service is strong within multiple key markets worldwide, and the number of subscribers continues to increase.

                    Symbian posted the largest year-on-year decline of the leading operating systems. Nokia remains the largest vendor still supporting Symbian, along with Japanese vendors Fujitsu, Sharp, and Sony. Each of these vendors is in the midst of transitioning to other operating systems and IDC believes that they will cease shipping Symbian-powered smartphones in 2013. At the same time, the installed base of Symbian users will continue well after the last Symbian smartphone ships.

                    Windows Phone marked its second anniversary with a total of just 3.6 million units shipped worldwide, fewer than the total number of Symbian units shipped. Even with the backing of multiple smartphone market leaders, Windows Phone has yet to make a significant dent into Android’s and iOS’s collective market share. That could change in 4Q12, when multiple Windows Phone 8 smartphones will reach the market.

                    Linux volume declined for the third straight quarter as did its year-over-year growth. Samsung accounted for the majority of shipments once again, but like most other vendors competing with Linux-powered smartphones, most of its attention went towards Android instead. Still, that has not deterred other vendors from experimenting, or at least considering the open-source operating system, as multiple reports of Firefox, Sailfish, and Tizen plan to release new Linux-based experiences in the future.

                    Top Six Smartphone Mobile Operating Systems, Shipments, and Market Share, Q3 2012 (Preliminary) (Units in Millions)

                    Operating System

                    3Q12 Shipment Volumes

                    3Q12 Market Share

                    3Q11 Shipment Volumes

                    3Q11 Market Share

                    Year-Over-Year Change

























                    Windows Phone 7/ Windows Mobile

























                    Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012
                    Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

                    Android Smartphone Shipments and Market Share, 2008 – 2012 YTD (Units in Millions)






                    2012 YTD

                    Android Total Unit Shipments






                    Android Market Share






                    Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, November 1, 2012
                    Note: Data are preliminary and subject to change. Vendor shipments are branded shipments and exclude OEM sales for all vendors.

                    Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 3 Percent in Third Quarter of 2012; Smartphone Sales Increased 47 Percent [Gartner press release, Nov 14, 2012]

                    Samsung Extended Its Lead in the Smartphone Market Widening the Gap with Apple

                    Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached almost 428 million units in the third quarter of 2012, a 3.1 percent decline from the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales accounted for 39.6 percent of total mobile phone sales, as smartphone sales increased 46.9 percent from the third quarter of 2011. 

                    While the mobile phone market declined year-on-year, Gartner analysts said there were positive signs for the industry during the third quarter. 

                    “After two consecutive quarter of decline in mobile phone sales, demand has improved in both mature and emerging markets as sales increased sequentially,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “In China, sales of mobile phones grew driven by sales of smartphones, while demand of feature phones remained weak. In mature markets, we finally saw replacement sales pick up with the launch of new devices in the quarter.” 

                    Smartphones continued to fuel sales of mobile phones worldwide with sales rising to 169.2 million units in the third quarter of 2012. The smartphone market was dominated by Apple and Samsung. “Both vendors together controlled 46.5 percent of smartphone market leaving a handful of vendors fighting over a distant third spot,” said Mr. Gupta. 

                    Nokia slipped from No. 3 in the second quarter of 2012 to No. 7 in smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012. RIM moved to the No. 3 spot with HTC not far behind, at No. 4. “Both HTC and RIM have seen their sales declining in past few quarters, and the challenges might prevent them from holding on to their current rankings in coming quarters,” added Mr. Gupta. 

                    While seasonality in the fourth quarter of 2012 will help end-of-year mobile phone sales to end users, Gartner analysts said that there will be a lower-than-usual boost from the holiday season. Consumers are either cautious with their spending or finding new gadgets like tablets, as more attractive presents. 

                    Samsung’s mobile phones sales continued to accelerate, totaling almost 98 million units in the third quarter of 2012 (see Table 1), up 18.6 percent year-on-year. Samsung saw strong demand for Galaxy smartphones across different price points, and it further widened the gap with Apple in the smartphone market, selling 55 million smartphones in the third quarter of 2012. It commanded 32.5 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2012. 

                    Table 1
                    Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 3Q12 (Thousands of Units)




                    3Q12 Market Share (%)



                    3Q11 Market Share (%)





















                    LG Electronics





                    Huawei Device





                    TCL Communication





                    Research in Motion

























                    Source: Gartner (November 2012)

                    Nokia’s mobile phone sales declined 21.9 percent in the third quarter of 2012, but overall sales at 82.3 million were better than Gartner’s early estimate, largely driven by increased sales of the Asha full touch range. Nokia had a particularly bad quarter with smartphone sales, and it tumbled to the No. 7 worldwide position with 7.2 million smartphones sold in the third quarter. The arrival of the new Lumia devices on Windows 8 should help to halt the decline in share in the fourth quarter of 2012, although it won’t be until 2013 to see a significant improvement in Nokia’s position

                    Apple’s sales to end users totaled 23.6 million units in the third quarter of 2012, up 36.2 percent year-on-year. “We saw inventory built up into the channel as Apple prepared for the coming holiday season, global expansions and the launch into China in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Mr. Gupta. With iPhone 5 launching in more territories in the fourth quarter of 2012, including China, and the upcoming holiday season Gartner analysts expect Apple will have its traditionally strongest quarter. 

                    In the smartphone market, Android continued to increase its market share, up 19.9 percentage points in the third quarter of 2012. Although RIM lost market share, it climbed to the No. 3 position as Symbian is nearing the end of its lifecycle. There was also channel destocking in preparation of new device launches for RIM, which resulted into 8.9 million sales to end users in the third quarter of 2012. With the launch of iPhone 5, Gartner analysts expect iOS share will grow strongly in the fourth quarter of 2012 because users held on to their replacements in many markets ahead of the iPhone 5 wider roll out. Windows Phone’s share weakened quarter-on-quarter as the Windows Phone 8 launch dampened demand of Windows Phone 7 devices. 

                    Table 2
                    Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Operating System in 3Q12 (Thousands of Units)

                    Operating System



                    3Q12 Market Share (%)



                    3Q11 Market Share (%)











                    Research In Motion






























                    Source: Gartner (November 2012) 

                    Additional information can be found in the Gartner report “Market Share: Mobile Phones by Region and Country, 3Q12.” The report is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2236115.



                    Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments to surpass that of notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012] 

                    Digitimes Research expects global tablet shipments to reach 210 million units in 2013, up 38.3% on year and surpass those of notebook for the first time, with branded tablet shipments to account for 140 million units, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.
                    [Compare this to the notebook shipment forecast by Digitimes Research of 192 million units in 2012 expected to drop to 189 million units in 2013. See additional details of this forecast below in Digitimes Research: Windows 8 expected to have minimal impact on touch screen notebooks in 2013.]

                    In 2013, Google is expected to maintain its momentum from the Nexus series products and become the second largest tablet brand vendor worldwide with shipments of 19 million units. Apple will remain the largest tablet vendor worldwide, but its share in the global branded tablet shipments will drop to only 55.6% [i.e. 78 million units], down from more than 60% in 2012, and 37.4% in total tablet shipments (including white-box models).

                    With surging shipment growth for white-box tablets, Android is expected to become the largest platform in the tablet market, surpassing iOS. In 2013, Digitimes Research expects Android-based tablet shipments including white-box and branded models, to reach 121 million units, up 40.2% on year. [With the global 210 millions and branded 140 millions the white-box tablet shipments are expected to grow to 70 million units in 2013 vs. 50 millions this year. Therefore the branded Android based-tablets to become 51 millions, and as the Nexus tablets are said here to become 19 millions there will be 32 millions other branded Android tablets sold in 2013 .]

                    Digitimes Research also expects global tablet shipments will reach 320 million units in 2015 with branded tablets to account for 220 million units and white-box models to account for 100 million units.

                    Digitimes Research: Global Tablet Market to Enjoy Strong Shipment Growth in 4Q12 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 13, 2012]

                    Global tablet shipments from major brands worldwide are expected to reach 40.93 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, up 72.7% sequentially and 89.7% on year, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

                    As for the tablet vendor rankings in the quarter, Apple will remain as the largest vendor worldwide, while Amazon is expected to return as the second-largest and Google will rank third with assistance from its Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Microsoft will rank fourth, Samsung Electronics fifth, and Barnes & Noble sixth. Asustek, Lenovo and Acer will rank seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, Wang noted.

                    As for the tablet processor supplier rankings, Texas Instruments (TI) will return as the second-largest with Nvidia at third. Intel will also be ranked for the first time due to Windows 8.

                    Taiwan makers are expected to ship 36.6 million tablets combined in the fourth quarter, up 82.3% sequentially and 86.7% on year, with the volume accounting for 89% of global tablet shipments. Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) will be the largest tablet maker, followed by Quanta Computer, Pegatron Technology, Wistron and Compal Electronics.

                    Digitimes Research estimates that global branded tablet shipments will reach 104 million units in 2012, up 64% on year, with iPad accounting for 63% of the volume, down 2pp on year, while both Android and Windows will see their proportions increase.

                    In comparison the white-box tablet shipments are up by whopping 317% in 2012 at least (50 million units shipped as a minimum vs. 12 million units in 2011) according to sources given below: 

                    Digitimes Research: White-box tablet shipments to surpass 50 million units in 2012 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 8, 2012]

                    White-box tablets are expected to see a surge in shipment growth in 2012 with volumes surpassing 50 million units, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

                    There are three major drivers that will help white-box tablets achieve strong growth in the year: a large number of potential consumers brought in by Android handsets, mature development of China-based processors, and decreasing costs o white-box tablets. With the addition of white-box tablet shipments, Android is expected to surpass iOS and become the largest mobile operating system in 2012, while 7-inch displays will also become the mainstream specification for tablets.

                    As the branded tablet PC market is seeing fierce competition in terms of technology, capacity, yield rates, patents and prices, the rise of white-box tablets has already made these players a new force in the tablet market, with some white-box players even seeing higher shipment volumes than first-tier vendors.

                    Digitimes Research believes that brand vendors should be aware of white-box tablet players’ developments in the future, since even platform designers such as Google and Microsoft have used their resources to increase price competition in the tablet market, and the situation may gradually turn to favor China-based players with expertise in lowering costs.

                    Source: Digitimes Research, November 2012
                    or from the Chinese version of the same [Nov 9, 2012]:

                    China Fabless: Rockchip rattled by Android tablet wars [by Junko Yoshida on EE Times, Sept 25, 2012]

                    How many tablets does China make, how big is the Chinese market?
                    80 percent of media tablets made in China are exported

                    Unit: Million of units
                    Source: Chinese industry estimates

                    For more information see also: Yoshida in China: ‘Shanzhai’ clouds tablet data [EE Times, Nov 8, 2012]

                    In retrospect: just 4 months ago the forecast was increased from 30 million to 40 million
                    Global shipments of white-box tablet PCs to reach 40 million units in 2012, say chip designers [DIGITIMES, July 25, 2012]

                    Forecast global shipments of white-box tablet PCs in 2012 have been upward adjusted from 30 million units originally to 40 million units due to growing demand in emerging markets including China, India, Thailand and Latin America, according to Taiwan-based design houses of ICs used in tablet PCs.

                    An estimated 10 million white-box tablet PCs were shipped globally in 2011, and shipments increased to 18 million units in the first half of 2012, the sources indicated.

                    Vendors/makers of white-box tablet PCs currently cluster in Shenzhen and Dongguan, southern China, the sources noted. A large portion originally made netbooks and have stepped into tablet PCs as chips and the Android operating systems have matured, the sources said.

                    White-box tablet PCs are primarily competitive in price with models launched by own-brand vendors, with retail prices standing at US$59 for 7-inch models and US$149 for 10.1-inch models, the sources indicated.

                    China market: Domestic chipset vendors ramping up shipments to white-box tablet PC makers [DIGITIMES, July 20, 2012]

                    China-based chipset solution vendors including Rockchip Electronics and Allwinner Technology have been ramping up their shipments to white-box tablet PC vendors in China, cutting out market share from Taiwan-based VIA Technologies, according to industry sources.

                    Shipments of white-box tablet PCs in China totaled eight million units in the first half of 2012 and are expected to reach 16-17 million units for the year, compared to 20 million projected previously, the sources indicated.

                    Rockchip shipped at least 1.6 million tablet chipset solutions in the first half, accounting for 20% of the white-box tablet PC segment. Rockchip’s latest ARM-based dual-core solution, the SoC RK3066, is being built using a 40nm process at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), said the sources.

                    Allwinner has been delivering more of its A10 solutions, which are also manufactured by TSMC utilizing a 55nm process, added the sources.

                    then came the news that: Demand for white-box tablets keeps growing despite keen competition [DIGITIMES, Oct 15, 2012]

                    Demand for white-box tablets rolled out by China-based makers remains strong currently despite the launch of US$199 models by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google, and the dominance of Apple’s iPads, according to industry sources.

                    Some white-box makers in Shenzhen are shipping 200,000-300,000 tablets a month, and a number of large-scale operators are even shipping one million units a month, buoyed by their tactics of optimizing hardware specifications, while keeping device prices low, noted the sources.

                    Most 9.7- or 10.1-inch white-box tablets powered by a dual-core CPU are currently quoted below US$200, while those comparable models with a single-core processor are priced at US$70-120, revealed the sources.

                    Some 7-inch models built with China-based Allwinner’s A10 solutions can be available for US$50, the sources added.

                    Additionally, the FOB prices of US$150-250 for 9.7-inch white-box tablets with dual-core CPUs, high resolution displays and 3G modules are also competitive in emerging markets, the sources commented.

                    Some tablet exhibitors at the ongoing HKEF 2012 (Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Autumn Edition) estimate that China-based white-box makers as a whole are shipping four million tablets a month currently.

                    Allen Wu, president, ARM China, predicts that shipments of Android-based tablets by China makers are likely to reach 50 million units in 2012 and increase to 100 million units in 2013.

                    Over 5.0 million Nexus 7s to be shipped in 2012, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 19, 2012]

                    At the end of the second quarter, Google expected shipments of 2.5 million Nexus 7s in 2012 but since then it has continually placed additional orders in view of booming sales, with the cumulative shipment volume in 2012 will reach 5.0 million units based on orders released, according to Taiwan-based players in the supply chain.

                    While international vendors usually place orders for shipments to peak in October and November to meet year-end peak demand beginning in late November, Nexus 7 shipments are expected to remain at a high level of 700,000-1,000,000 units in both November and December, the sources pointed out.

                    After the launch of the 16Gb Nexus 7 for sale at US$199 and a 32GB version at US$249, Google on November 13 launched a 32GB 3G-enabled Nexus 7 for sale at US$299 and Google Play and Google’s partner AT&T have sold out available stock, the sources indicated.

                    While the iPad mini is thought of as a major competitor for the Nexus 7, Taiwan-based iPad mini supply chain makers indicated that Apply has not adjusted order volumes since the tablet was launched and monthly shipments remain at nearly 4.0 million units currently.

                    Digitimes Research: Google will become more influential in tablet market [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 2, 2012]

                    Senior analyst James Wang of Digitimes Research believes that Google’s recently announced Nexus 10, developed in cooperation from Samsung Electronics, and upgraded storage for the Nexus 7, are aimed at starting competition with players such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and China-based white-box tablet vendors.

                    Since Google has prepared a full-range of tablet products, Wang believes the company’s entry-level Nexus tablet, that has not yet been announced, will have the strongest influence on its competitors.

                    Google’s Nexus 7 shipments performed better than expected, and are forecast to reach 4.3 million units in 2012, accounting for about 20% of non-Apple tablet shipments (excluding white-box models), while the volume in the fourth quarter is also expected to enjoy sequential growth despite the weak global economy, Wang pointed out.

                    Digitimes Research estimates that Google’s Nexus series tablets will see total shipments of 19 million units in 2013 accounting for 50% of non-Apple tablet shipments. [In a later estimate Wang raised the shiments of other branded Android tablets to 32 millions, see also here in the beginning, so Google’s Nexus marketshare now is only 37% in its own category.]

                    But note: Nexus 7 not yet allowed to enter China market [DIGITIMES Research, Sept 11, 2012]

                    While the Nexus 7, the tablet co-developed by Google and Taiwan-based vendor Asustek Computer, has been witnessing booming sales in major markets around the world, it is difficult for the model to be available for sale in the China market because the China government has not yet approved its import, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

                    The China government’s negative attitude is interpreted as a response to Google’s announcement of withdrawing from the China market in March 2010, the sources pointed out. It is difficult for the Nexus 7 to enter the China market, even through sale of Asustek’s marketing network there, the sources indicated.

                    Without the Nexus 7 in the market, China-based white-box vendors of tablets are under much less competitive pressure, the sources indicated. This is because the Nexus 7 has the advantage of Google’s and Asustek’s brand image with commensurate product quality and is expected to be strongly competitive with 8GB Android 4.0 tablet models in the 7- to 9-inch range launched by China-based white-box vendors, including Ainol, Onda, Teclast and Cube, at US$149, the sources pointed out. In addition, the Nexus 7 will bring competitive pressure on tablet PC models of equal specifications offered by Samsung Electronics and China-based vendors Lenovo and Hasee Computer in the China market, the sources indicated.

                    Without the China market, the cumulative global sales volume of Nexus 7 will reach an estimated 3.5 million units at the end of 2012, the sources noted.

                    Google attitude against modified Android may lead to split in Android, say Taiwan handset makers [DIGITIMES Research, Sept 18, 2012]

                    Google’s opposition to Taiwan-based vendor Acer’s launch of the A800, a smartphone based on the Alibaba-developed operating system Aliyun, reflects Google’s attempt to check development of modified Android platforms, but if Google cracks down on this, developers of modified Android platforms may be forced to offer own-brand smartphones or tablets and give up on Android, resulting in an increased split in the adoption of Android, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers.

                    Google explained that Aliyun is incompatible with the Google ecosystem and therefore unable to ensure a consistent user experience among developers, makers and consumers, the sources noted. In response, Alibaba emphasized that Aliyun, while based on open-source Linux as Google is, is not part of the Google ecosystem and therefore is not necessarily compatible with the ecosystem, the sources indicated.

                    Developers of modified Android platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba are not members of the Open Handset Alliance and are Google’s competitors, they need not care about Google’s attitude, the sources pointed out. However, smartphone vendors need to cooperate with Google to offer Android models and therefore have to be concerned about Google’s attitude against modified Android platforms, the sources indicated.

                    If Google cracks down by prohibiting smartphone vendors from adopting modified Android platforms, developers of modified Android platforms, such as Amazon, may skip vendors to directly partner with ODMs to offer their own-brand devices, with such platforms to set up their own ecosystems and thereby become more competitive with Android, the sources pointed out. For some China-based smartphone vendors which have adopted many locally developed applications, because losses arising from forgoing Android may be small, they may shift to a modified Android platforms.

                    Among China-based smartphone vendors, only Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Lenovo, Haier, Oppo and a few others joined the Open Handset Alliance, the sources noted. As China is the largest smartphone market around the world, Google had better pay attention to response from web service operators, smartphone vendors and consumers, the sources pointed out.

                    Commentary: Is it a blessing for Asustek to have Google backing? [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

                    Asustek Computer has seen its brand image improve in the US and Japan recently thanks to the launch of dual-branded Nexus 7 in cooperation with Google. Asustek is proud of its product design with regard to the Nexus 7, and also aims to capture the top-vendor ranking in the Android tablet segment. But it remains to be seen whether Asustek will be able to continue to expand its brand image based on the charm of the Nexus 7, since Google has announced its Nexus 10 in conjunction with Samsung Electronics.

                    Google has been backing Asustek in the development of the Nexus 7, offering the Taiwan-based hardware vendor the priority to design-in its latest Android OS and to penetrate into the US tablet market jointly.

                    Due to aggressive pricing set for the Nexus 7, industry watchers have wondered whether the Google-Asustek cooperation would generate profits for Asustek before the production of the 7-inch tablet reaches economies of scale. But for Asustek, the dual-brand marketing was not aiming at generating profits initially but rather improving its brand image, particularly in North America.

                    Optimizing Asustek’s design capability and Quanta Computer’s manufacturing muscle, the Google-Asustek team is able to set the price of the Nexus 7 lower. The low-priced tactics is working as sales of the Nexus 7 have been better than expected, while Asustek’s notebook sales in the US are also improving.

                    Some industry watchers now estimate that total shipments of the Nexus 7 are likely to reach 4-4.2 million units by year-end 2012, while Asustek will also be able to sell more of its own brand notebooks in the US.

                    But the skepticism about the merits of the Google-Asustek tie-up still remains, since Google has showed its intention to control the development of the Android market, optimizing the production of the 7-inch Nexus 7 at Asustek and the 10-inch model at Samsung. Furthermore, the latest market rumors also indicate that Google may also team up with Lenovo for penetrating into the China market.

                    Does Google treat Asustek as a brand partner or an OEM supplier? John Lagerling, director of business development for Android, seems to have an answer to the question.

                    When approached by the New York Times during a recent interview seeking a confirmation of Asustek’s remarks that current shipments of the Nexus 7 have reached as many as one million units a month, Lagerling replied, “We haven’t announced numbers. We typically don’t allow our partners to announce numbers.”

                    The message clearly indicates that Google treats Asustek as an OEM partner, but not a dual-brand partner.

                    In the worst-case scenario, Google may tie up with other vendors such as HTC and Lenovo to develop its next-generation Nexus tablets, which will place Asustek under fire from rivals vying for the Android tablet market.

                    Asustek has estimated its tablet shipments to reach 6.3 million units in 2012, of which the Nexus 7 will account for over four million. In other words, shipments of Asustek’s own brand Transformer and Padfone tablets are limited.

                    Asustek’s competitive advantage will wane further if it fails to win the design-in priority for the next-generation Nexus tablets.

                    The emerging new trends
                    in the premium ecosystem of the Windows devices

                    [Windows] Notebooks

                    Third-generation ultrabooks may be able to achieve 40% of notebook shipments, say players [DIGITIMES, Dec 11, 2012]

                    As Intel failed to achieve its goal of having ultrabooks account for 40% of total notebook shipments with its Ivy Bridge platform, and the proportion only reached about 10%, sources from notebook players believe the goal may be achievable with the upcoming Haswell platform, which is set to launch at the end of second-quarter, 2013.

                    The sources pointed out that compared to Ivy Bridge, Haswell’s stronger performance and cheaper price, plus the expectation that Windows 8 should become more standardized by then, should mean ultrabooks have a chance to account for 40% of total notebook shipments by the end of 2013.

                    Although vendors have released ultra-like notebooks with prices around US$699-899 as alternatives, since these devices lack attractiveness in terms of design and weight, while ultrabook models with specifications similar to the MacBook Air have prices a lot higher than the MacBook Air, most consumers have turned to purchase Apple’s product instead, the sources noted.

                    Digitimes Research: Surface tablet to mainly devour notebook demand in the short term [DIGITIMES Research, Oct 30, 2012]

                    Microsoft’s recently launched own-brand Surface tablets have raised the question of whether Surface will devour consumer demand for tablets or notebooks, or maybe even both. In terms of hardware, Surface is capable of satisfying consumer demand for notebooks, but to replace other tablets, it still requires a more complete app software ecosystem, according to Digitimes Research senior analyst James Wang.

                    Currently, the major difficulty Surface faces in gaining a competitive edge in the tablet market is the lack of a complete app software ecosystem, which means that if Surface can achieve growth in the short term, it will mainly be at the expense of demand for notebook products.

                    To let Surface to become a tablet killer instead of a notebook killer, Microsoft must expand shipments of Windows RT devices to attract application designers to join and establish an ecosystem. However, due to Android’s existence in the market, most notebook vendors are hesitant about joining the Windows RT market.

                    Although IBM, Microsoft and Intel were able to defeat Apple previously with an open platform strategy, due to Android’s existence, Microsoft will be unable to compete against Google in terms of business model and will be forced to head to the same business direction as Apple of having a closed platform with integrated software and hardware, making it even more difficult for Microsoft to build a complimentary ecosystem built on the Windows RT platform.

                    The most popular strategy for platform competition is to offer a free or low-price product or service to attract users and establish an ecosystem to strengthen consumer loyalty, and then seek methods to gain profit. Apple, Google and Amazon’s strategies are all similar – by abandoning profit from some segments including hardware, operating system, software, digital content or advertising, they are able to increase their profits from the remaining segments; however, for Microsoft, since all the above segments belong to different business units, internal struggles and external industry fluctuations will all affect Microsoft’s performance in the future.

                    Digitimes Research: Windows 8 expected to have minimal impact on touch screen notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 13, 2012]

                    Shipment growth for touch screens used in notebooks throughout the fourth quarter of 2012 and most of 2013 will at large not be affected by the release of Windows 8, according to Digitimes Research.

                    Research indicates that consumers are more likely to purchase tablets throughout the time period because of the wide variety of tablet products available, and because of the difference in pricing between tablets and notebooks.

                    The notebook shipment forecast is expected to drop by 192 million units in 2012 to 189 million units in 2013 as a result, as well as due to a lack of recovery in the global economy.

                    However, Digitimes Research pointed out that the expected drop in notebook shipments will also be due to notebook makers increasing the mainstream sizes of their products to 14- and 15-inch, which will thus decrease the amount of panels available for producing notebook products.

                    Despite the shipment drop, the usage rate for touch panels used in notebooks is expected to increase to 10% in 2013, added Digitimes Research.

                    Digitimes Research: Asustek to compete with Acer for top-3 worldwide notebook vendor spot in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Nov 15, 2012]

                    Weak Global notebook demand is expected to reshuffle the top-10 notebook brand rankings in 2013, with Lenovo expected to successfully take over Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) leading position. Meanwhile, Asustek Computer, which will rank as the fourth-largest brand vendor worldwide in 2012, will compete against Acer to become the third-largest vendor in 2013.

                    Toshiba, the sixth-largest notebook brand worldwide in 2012 is expected to be surpassed by Apple in 2013.

                    With top brand vendors starting to lose their edge, the four new stars in the notebook brand market – Lenovo, Asustek, Apple and Samsung – are expected to see their combined market share rise from 40.9% in 2012, to 43.2% in 2013.

                    As for upstream ODMs, their contributions to global notebook shipments is expected to grow from around 70% in 2011 to 75% in 2013, while electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers will step out of the design business and turn to focus mainly on manufacturing.

                    In 2013, Pegatron Technology and Wistron are expected to have the best performance among the top-five makers as the former will benefit from increased orders from Lenovo and Fujitsu, while the later will benefit from its enlarged cooperation with Asustek.

                    Source: Digitimes Research, November 2012

                    HP, Lenovo aim to ship 40 million notebooks each in 2013, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

                    Despite a stagnant global notebook market in 2012, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo aim to ship 40 million notebooks each in 2013, respectively increasing by 25% and 33.3-37.9% from 2012, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.

                    As there have been no signals to indicate an economic rebound in the US and Europe, and demand for Windows 8 notebooks will not take off in the near future because consumers will take time to get accustomed to the new operating system, HP and Lenovo may be too optimistic about their notebooks sales in 2013, the sources analyzed.

                    Among other vendors, Samsung Electronics aims to ship 17 million notebooks and 40 million tablets in 2013, hiking from 2012 by 21.4% and 300% respectively, while Toshiba and Acer have set respective goals of shipping 20 million units, growing from 2012 by 25%, and 28 million units which will rise by 7.7%, the sources noted.

                    Lenovo 3Q12 global PC market share rises to 15.6% [DIGITIMES, Nov 9, 2012]

                    Lenovo saw its total global sales volume of notebooks, desktops and tablets during the third quarter of 2012 increase by 10.3% on year, with corresponding global market share rising to 15.6%, according to the company’s fiscal second-quarter 2012 (July-September) report released on November 8.

                    Lenovo posted sales revenues of US$8.7 billion, gross margin of 12.1%, net operating profit of US$206 million, pre-tax profit of US$204 million, and net profit of US$162 million for the third quarter of 2012.

                    Lenovo reached the largest PC market shares in China, Japan, India, Russia and Germany in the third quarter, and is likely to do so soon in Brazil, the company pointed out.

                    Lenovo shipped 8.5 million handsets in the third quarter, of which seven million were smartphones, the company indicated.

                    Notebook vendors headhunt R&D talent from ODM partners [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

                    As notebook brand vendors grow more interested in-house R&D and manufacturing to promote their brand image, sources from the upstream supply chain have seen some notebook vendors starting to headhunt talent from their ODM partners.

                    Sources from notebook ODMs also pointed out that vendors have changed their outsourcing strategies and will check with their chassis and hinge suppliers for component materials and prices, and have their in-house R&D teams complete industrial design before handing the work to ODMs.

                    The sources pointed out that the new strategy is expected to expand in the notebook industry in 2013 and should benefit notebook brand vendors in terms of gaining more control over component costs as well as keeping their product designs confidential.

                    Acer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have already started adopting the strategy.

                    Acer recently pointed out that the company will increase its R&D investment by 20% each year for the next three years. The company currently has about 1,000 R&D engineers. Lenovo will also continue strengthening its R&D and manufacturing abilities and is set to achieve an in-house production rate of 20% in 2013. Samsung’s in-house production rate is expected to maintain at 85-90% in 2013.

                    Notebook ODMs offer extra services to attract tablet orders [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

                    With notebook shipments estimated to only have a single-digit percentage growth on year in 2013, notebook ODMs including Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron, are aggressively trying to land tablet orders by offering extra services, according to sources in the upstream supply chain.

                    In addition to offering preferences over price, product specifications and shipment conditions, Compal and Wistron also offer their exclusive touchscreen solutions from related subsidiaries to attract downstream brand vendors to place orders.

                    Meanwhile, Quanta is offering services through its cloud computing expertise and the company reportedly has assisted brand vendors such as Amazon, to build data centers and successfully acquired their tablet orders.

                    In 2013, Compal estimates it will ship 6-8 million tablets, up from two million units in 2012, while Wistron expects its tablet shipments to reach six million units, up from 2.5 million units in 2012, and Quanta with shipments of 14-15 million units, up from 10 million units in 2012.

                    11.6-inch becomes niche-market size for notebooks, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, Nov 15, 2012]

                    As global sales of netbooks have been decreasing due to competition from tablets, 11.6-inch has become niche-market size, according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.

                    Among notebook screen sizes, 11.6- and 13.3-inch have accounted for a relatively small proportion of total shipments, the sources indicated. However, as Samsung Electronics and Acer have launched inexpensive 11.6-inch Chromebooks and Asustek Computer has launched a 11.6-inch VivoBook touch-control notebook, an increasing number of 11.6-inch notebooks are available for sale, the sources commented.

                    Despite shrinking sales, demand for netbooks still exists, especially in emerging markets, the sources indicated. As most netbooks are have screen sizes of 10-inch, and 10.1-inch is so far the upper limit for typical tablet screen sizes, 11.6-inch notebooks are likely to see considerable demand in the global market, the sources pointed out.

                    Windows 8 may not start a PC replacement trend for enterprises until after 2014 [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

                    Demand for Microsoft’s Windows 8 is unlikely to start emerging until 2013 for the consumer market, while for the enterprise market, demand is expected to come at an even later time and may not appear until 2014, according to sources from the PC industry.

                    Although Microsoft is trying to present its latest innovations in Windows 8 to response to consumers’ fluctuating demand, it turns out that consumers need more time to understand the new advantages that the product provides and relatively delay acceptance for the new operating system.

                    Although notebook brand vendors have a high expectation for the year-end holidays this year, their order placement to the upstream supply chain still shows they are cautious about the shipment performance during the traditional peak season.

                    To prompt enterprises to adopt Windows 8, Microsoft has recently noted that the company will stop providing support to Windows XP in April, 2014 with most of the enterprises expected to turn to Windows 7 and some to Windows 8 as stability and necessity are the major considerations for enterprises to make a purchase.

                    Component makers concerned Windows 8 demand may not emerge until 1Q13 [DIGITIMES, Nov 19, 2012]

                    Some upstream component makers have recently started to be concerned that the PC replacement trend expected to be brought on by Windows 8 may not occur in the fourth quarter of 2012 as originally estimated, but will take off in the first quarter of 2013, according to sources from upstream supply chain.

                    Since an operating system usually needs to have serious debugging after launch, the sources believe consumers may hold back their new PC purchases until some time later and their actions would impact demand for Windows 8-based systems in the fourth quarter.

                    However, the component makers are still placing high hopes on the new operating system to bring growth.

                    Notebook ODMs facing uncertainty as brand vendors take over R&D [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

                    Acer plans to release a new notebook that is designed and developed in-house, creating an alert among notebook ODMs that brand vendors are trying to become more involved in R&D and the component purchasing of their notebook products which could impact ODMs’ profitability, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

                    The sources pointed out that Acer’s in-house developed notebook features Windows 8 and a touchscreen display and will be showcased at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2013, at the earliest. Related R&D has already been completed and Acer is currently seeking a partner to conduct assembly.

                    So far, the device is the only in-house developed project that Acer plans to release in the short term and shipments will be limited, indicating that the project is a test for Acer to try out its R&D capabilities, the sources noted.

                    With Lenovo also planning to expand its in-house production by establishing its own plants, if Acer also decides to conduct R&D in house, it could seriously impact the values of ODMs for their clients.

                    However, some ODMs pointed out that they are not concerned about the moves and believe the possibility of the new business model emerging is low since the brand vendors have already outsourced their R&D to ODMs for a long time, and rebooting their R&D capabilities will require a long period of learning.

                    Since Wintel is no longer dominating the PC market, brand vendors will also need to spend R&D resources on ARM and Android, which would seriously increase their burden.

                    At its Windows 8 product launch conference, Acer also revealed that the company will focus more on product R&D and will increase its R&D resources by at least 20% every year.

                    Commentary: Notebook ODMs face uncertainties in tablet market [DIGITIMES, Nov 7, 2012]

                    The rise of tablets and smartphones, plus the economic downturn in the US and Europe, have been causing PC brands such as HP, Dell and Acer to report unsatisfactory sales results. This has been affecting the performance of notebook ODM firms such as Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Wistron.
                    ODM firms have been hoping that Windows 8 can stimulate a new wave of demand as consumers switch to new PC models with the Microsoft operating system in 2013. Also, ODM firms have been aggressively fighting over tablet orders as demand in 2013 is likely to reach 200 million units.
                    Quanta Computers targets revenues from non-notebook business to increase to 30% of total revenues in 2012. Compal is looking to ship 6-8 million tablets in 2013, while Wistron aims to achieve its tablet shipment target of 6 million units in 2013.
                    Compal’s and Wistron’s targets of shipping 6-8 million tablets to a market whose total shipments are expected to reach 200 million in 2013 show how difficult it has been for notebook ODMs to obtain tablet orders.
                    One of the reasons is that most of the market has been dominated by Apple while other tablet vendors such as Amazon and Google have yet to see strong sales. Manufacturing orders have been over-concentrated, causing tough competition among firms. As a result, both Quanta and Compal have trimmed their tablet divisions.
                    The ODM firms have been facing uncertainties regarding tablet orders, such as multiple platforms, unstable orders, and different device sizes.
                    Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms continue to dominate the market while Microsoft’s Windows comes in third. Samsung is planning to develop its own platform and HP’s webOS may also become one of the major players. The multiple platforms mean firms need to bet on the right one to maintain orders.
                    As for orders, clients may place large volumes expecting strong sales in the end market. But when sales turn out worse than expected, inventory will build up and orders will be cut. That is the case with Amazon’s Kindle Fire earlier this year. For the tablet segment, manufacturing partners are under much higher pressure from inventory management.
                    Another uncertainty comes from the size of the devices. There are currently products that are 7-, 8.9-, 9.7-, 10.1-, and 11.6-inch. A small difference in size can mean significant differences in revenues.
                    In addition, profits have been unstable. Some tablet brands want to increase market share by resorting to low price and sacrificing their gross margin. This directly affects the profit margin of ODM firms.

                    Taiwan component makers worried about Lenovo plans to hike in-house notebook production [DIGITIMES, Oct 8, 2012]

                    As China-based vendor Lenovo plans to increase in-house production of own-brand notebooks and will therefore procure components instead of letting ODMs release orders, as a result Taiwan-based component makers have felt pressure of losing orders, according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.

                    In-house production currently accounts for 20-30% of Lenovo’s shipments of notebooks, desktops and other types of PCs, the sources indicated.

                    Lenovo will have LCFC (Hofei) Electronics Technology, its joint venture with Taiwan-based ODM Compal Electronics in Hofei, northern China, start volume production at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013, to increase in-house production of notebooks, the sources pointed out. In addition, Lenovo is setting up PC production lines in the US and will do so in Brazil in 2013, with volume production to begin in 2013, the sources noted.

                    In addition to increasing in-house production, Lenovo may set up a supply chain consisting of China-based component makers, the sources pointed out.

                    Compal/Lenovo joint venture expected to output 3-5 million notebooks in 2013 [DIGITIMES, Sept 4, 2012]

                    The notebook manufacturing joint venture of Compal Electronics and Lenovo in Hefei, China was reported by local media to enjoy more than 10 million units of notebook production volume in 2013, but sources from notebook players estimate that the plants may only be able to output around 3-5 million units next year as their yield rates still need improvement, while the related process of shifting orders from other ODMs to the joint venture may also affect the total output volume from the joint venture.

                    The sources pointed out that Compal and Lenovo’s cooperation will create benefits for both firms as Lenovo will be able to directly control the quality of its products, understand the ODM manufacturing process and reduce its cost, while Compal will be able to tighten its relationship with Lenovo and benefit from Lenovo’s orders.

                    The joint venture will start pilot production in October and start mass production in the fourth quarter of 2012 with monthly capacity at around 300,000 units. Initially, the plants will focus on notebook production, but will later add production for all-in-one PC. The local media has reported that the plants will manufacture about one million notebooks in 2012, 13 million units in 2013 and 20 million units in 2014.

                    Currently, Lenovo has 51% stakes in the joint venture with Compal holding the remaining 49% and some market watchers are concerned that Lenovo may shift all its Compal orders to the joint venture, affecting Compal’s own orders and profitability since Compal will need to share its profit with Lenovo for any order received by the joint venture.

                    Commenting on the concerns, Compal president Ray Chen has noted that the two firms have already signed a contract to avoid from this type of situation, but he refused to reveal further details of the contract.

                    In 2013, sources from the supply chain pointed out that Lenovo will still maintain about 30% of notebook shipments being in-house manufactured and will outsource the remaining 70% with the orders to the joint venture considered as outsourcing.

                    Compal Electronics lays off tablet R&D, testing personnel [DIGITIMES, Oct 23, 2012]

                    Taiwan-based notebook and tablet ODM Compal Electronics has laid off more than 100 employees responsible for tablet R&D and testing.

                    Compal confirmed the layoffs, explaining that the company recruited staff members to meet growing orders for tablets in 2011 but orders received have been far short of expectations and therefore it is necessary to adjust manpower. Although Compal stressed that only one wave of layoffs is planned, internal sources indicated that there may be more.

                    Compal’s staff cuts signal that tablet vendors have encountered difficulties and notebook supply chains are under pressure, industry sources pointed out. For tablet vendors, the iPad has dominated the high-end segment while competition in among entry-level models, which includes the Amazon Kindle Fire series and Google Nexus 7, is already intensive, the sources analyzed. In addition, tablet vendors originally rested their hopes on Windows 8 models, but Microsoft’s launch of the Windows RT Surface at US$499, and Apple’s planned launch of the iPad mini will cut into their competitive advantages, the sources said.

                    Compal’s tablet clients are mainly Acer and Lenovo, the sources indicated.

                    In September 2011, Quanta Computer laid off over 1,000 production line workers due to a large decrease in orders for tablets from RIM, and in October 2011 Inventec laid off 432 employees because Hewlett-Packard reduced its tablet orders.

                    Lenovo to launch a table-shaped all-in-one PC [DIGITIMES, Nov 5, 2012]

                    Lenovo plans to launch a Windows 8-based all-in-one PC that features a similar industrial design as Microsoft’s Surface [on June 18, 2012, a Microsoft tablet of the same name was unveiled, the original Microsoft Surface was rebranded as Microsoft PixelSense, see the About Microsoft PixelSense [Microsoft PixelSense press page, June 18, 2012]], a table-shaped PC. The machine features four legs and when the display is laid flat, it becomes like a table and can be used by multiple users simultaneously, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

                    The all-in-one PC features a 27-inch display with initial shipments of 20,000 units.

                    In addition to Lenovo, Acer, Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard (HP) all plan to launch new all-in-one PCs with some models will appear as soon as the end of 2012.

                    At Computex 2012, Asustek chairman Jonney Shih demonstrated an all-in-one PC product under its Transformer series and the all-in-one PC can be detached and become an 18.4-inch tablet, supporting both Windows 8 and Android; however, the product, so far, still has not yet been mass produced.

                    Meanwhile, Acer has also launched two Windows 8-based all-in-one PCs with special designed hinge and Lenovo also displayed its IdeaCentre A720 with a function to lay out flat.

                    In 2012, all-in-one PC shipments are expected to reach 16.4 million units, up 20% from 13.7 million units in 2011, according to figures from IHS iSuppli, while IDC also forecast that the all-in-one PC shipments will reach 17 million units in 2013.

                    [Windows] Smartphones

                    FIH reportedly lands handset orders from Microsoft and Amazon [DIGITIMES, Nov 26, 2012]

                    Foxconn International Holding (FIH) has reportedly landed handset orders from Microsoft and Amazon and is set to launch the devices in mid-2013, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. However, both the parent company Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) and FIH declined to comment about clients or orders.

                    Foxconn is the major manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone products, while its subsidiary FIH has clients including Nokia, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.

                    Microsoft’s own-brand handset will adopt its Windows Phone 8 operating system, the sources noted.

                    The sources pointed out that Microsoft and Amazon’s own-brand handsets will only have a limited shipment volume initially and may become a new business model for the manufacturers in the future.

                    In addition to provide manufacturing services to first-tier brand vendors, FIH also supplies white-box handsets to regional vendors in China, Europe and the US.

                    Taiwan IC design houses to benefit from Samsung aggressive product roadmaps in 2013 [DIGITIMES, Dec 7, 2012]

                    … the Korea-based vendor is reportedly set to adopt a more aggressive ‘shotgun’ strategy wherein many models will be created in the smartphone, tablet, notebook, LCD TV and DSC sectors that cover a wide range of market segments in 2013, according to industry sources.

                    In the smartphone sector, Samsung will move into the Windows Phone platform and roll out models targeting the entry-level, mid-range and high-end segments simultaneously, in an attempt to duplicate its success in the Android space, the sources revealed.

                    Digitimes Research: Android phones to account for 70% of global smartphone market in 2013 [DIGITIMES Research, Dec 6, 2012]

                    Shipments of Windows Phones, including 7.x and 8.x models, will grow 150% on year to 52.5 million units in 2013 for a 6.1% share

                    Worldwide Mobile Phone Growth Expected to Drop to 1.4% in 2012 Despite Continued Growth Of Smartphones, According to IDC [IDC press release, Nov 1, 2012]

                    For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units.

                    Windows Phone will battle with BlackBerry for the number three spot in 2013, but will gain further clarity in the years that follow. Windows Phone will build on the progress it made in 2012, with Nokia establishing its presence and HTC solidly jumping back into the race. Moreover, contributions by Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei will help grow its footprint. With more vendors releasing more devices aimed at multiple segments, sales associates will be better positioned to tell a compelling Windows Phone story and to explain the value of Windows Phone’s differentiated experience compared to market leaders Android and iOS.

                    Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2012–2016

                    Smartphone OS

                    2012 Market Share

                    2016 Market Share

                    CAGR 2012 – 2016 (%)

                    Windows Phone








                    Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, December 3, 2012

                    The previous forecasts taken together mean:
                    – IDC: 18.7 million Window Phones in 2012 (calculated as 2.6% of 717.5 million units)
                    – IDC: 161 million Window Phones in 2016 (with 71.3% CAGR of that 18.7 million)
                    – DIGITIMES Research + IDC: 46.6 million Window Phones in 2013 (150% growth predidicted for WP in 2013 by DIGITIMES Research over 18.7 million given by IDC for 2012)
                    which makes DIGITIMES Research’s forecast of 52.5 million Window Phones in 2013 quite feasible for me, at least for three reasons:

                    1. Samsung aggressive move into the Windows Phone platform as noted above by DIGITIMES.
                    2. The kind of breakthrough for the WP8 Lumias, and WP8 in general, especially against iPhone 5, as described by my recent blog entries ragarding:

                      High-end smartphones state-of-the-art:
                      Lumia 920 vs. iPhone 5 (and vs. Android, Galaxy S3, HTC One X+) [Dec 7, 2012]
                      Windows Phone 8 vs. Android 4.1 and 4.2 [Dec 6, 2012]

                    3. The additional, not yet recognized end-user and business partner advantages as described in all detail in my:
                      – Lead post: Marko Ahtisaari from Nokia and Steven Guggenheimer from Microsoft on the Internet of Things day of LeWeb Paris’12 [Nov 6, 2012]

                    Uncertain Windows 8 future may relatively affect Windows Phone 8 [DIGITIMES, Nov 5, 2012]

                    Although Microsoft has been aggressive promoting its new Windows 8 operating system (OS), a weak global economy has the notebook supply chain remaining conservative about the OS’ contribution to their performance in the fourth quarter and the OS’ uncertain future may relatively affect the software giant’s plan for its Windows Phone 8 platform, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

                    Microsoft’s aggressive promotion of Windows 8 touchscreen functions is meant to blur the boundaries between smartphone, tablet, notebook and desktop through a similar usage experience, while expanding its advantages in the IT industry through a unified OS platform structure and gain some benefits from the smartphone market, where the company is currently still behind.

                    Microsoft originally hoped to strengthen its Windows Phone 8 penetration through a PC replacement trend brought by Windows 8, but since the OS may not trigger a replacement trend as expected, while Microsoft’s smartphone partners such as High Tech Computer (HTC) and Nokia are also conservative about their Windows Phone 8-based product shipments, the sources believe Microsoft’s plans for its operating systems will be further delayed.

                    Microsoft’s launch of own-brand smartphones in 2013?
                    It is based on rumors that Microsoft Is Reportedly Testing Its Own Smartphone [TechCrunch, Nov 2, 2012]

                    First it built the Surface, and now Microsoft is said to be working on another new hardware product, this time a smartphone. That’s according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, which says Microsoft is currently working with Asian component suppliers on its own handset design, though it isn’t yet clear whether or not the device will ever go into mass production.
                    Details about what a Microsoft smartphone would look like are scarce, but the report does say that the version being currently tested has a screen between four and five inches, which is in keeping with recent designs from Apple and Android handset OEMs. It’s also probably pretty reasonable to assume that any device Microsoft puts out now will have more in common with the flagship phones from its hardware partners for Windows Phone 8, which include Nokia and HTC, than with its previous Kin smartphones. The teen-focused Kin carried Microsoft’s branding, but was made by Sharp, and lasted only 48 days on the market.
                    Microsoft had made a more dedicated approach to creating its own hardware with the Surface, albeit to mixed reviews. And as the WSJ reports, it’s also been more aggressive about enforcing hardware standards with its partners in recent years, both in terms of the look and makeup of Windows-certified PCs and in minimum specs for partner mobile handsets. That Microsoft could be considering an approach like Apple’s, wherein it would sell both hardware and software and control all aspects of the ecosystem, definitely seems more plausible than it has in the past.
                    Also, rumors have been building that Microsoft is working on a smartphone since back in June, thanks to Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund, who said that Microsoft was already working with a “contract manufacturer” to create their own Windows Phone 8 mobile device. Then at the beginning of October, Boy Genius Report received a tip that Microsoft was indeed working on its own smartphone, that would sell alongside and compete with partner OEM devices like the HTC 8X and Nokia Lumia 920. The company has shown it’s willing to go there with the Surface, and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop even said on a conference call two weeks ago that a Microsoft-made device would be a boost to the entire Windows Phone 8 device sales ecosystem.
                    Even if it didn’t become a top seller in and of itself, a Microsoft-branded smartphone could offer Windows Phone what the Nexus line provides Android: a place to show off the latest and greatest software, experiment and build hype around the platform. I think the biggest risk would be in potentially alienating hardware partners, but so far the Surface doesn’t seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of Windows PC OEMs all that much, and Elop has already declared his support. If nothing else, a Microsoft-made Windows Phone 8 smartphone would be interesting, and generating interest is maybe the key ingredient to Microsoft’s future mobile success.

                    Why Microsoft believes latest-gen Windows Phones are ‘killer hardware’ [TechRadar, Nov 18, 2012]

                    INTERVIEW We talk to the head of Windows Phone: Terry Myerson

                    For the last year, Nokia has been the poster child for Windows Phone but recently HTC and Samsung have seemed more in favour.

                    Samsung announced their Windows Phone 8 handsets first and the HTC 8x was handed out to enthusiasts at the Windows Phone 8 launch.

                    We asked corporate vice president of the Windows Phone Division Terry Myerson to explain how Microsoft juggles partnerships with rival phone makers and how much influence manufacturers have on the design of Windows Phone.

                    “We work in different ways with each of them on the engineering and on the marketing,” Myerson told TechRadar.

                    Nokia gets priority when it comes to development because of the commitment it’s made to Windows Phone; “Nokia is exclusive to Windows Phone and we definitely, on the engineering side, prioritise platform work to support their differentiation coming through.”

                    Despite the restrictions it puts on handset specs, Microsoft doesn’t want to see the same handset from every phone maker. “Our goal is that Windows Phone is a platform that our partner differentiation can shine through on.

                    We do spend time planning with HTC and Samsung, sitting down with them and collaborating on what a product is where their differentiation elegantly coexists with Windows Phone and what we bring. There are different cultures to each of these companies and they all have their own plans for how they want to bring their technologies to market.”

                    “The best devices”

                    He’s predictably enthusiastic about the handsets that come out of the collaboration with all three partners. “I think the result is the most fantastic killer hardware we’ve ever had, not only for the windows ecosystem – I think these devices are better than any device – well, I they’re the best devices. They’re colourful, they’re beautiful, they’re thin, amazing cameras…”

                    Some of what you see in Windows Phone 8 handsets is Microsoft’s idea, some comes from the OEMs. “In the case of wireless charging, that was definitely Nokia’s initiative to say they wanted that; they had technologies inside their labs, they took the initiative to put forward a number of engineering designs. There were definitely platform modifications we made to support their innovation but Nokia led on that. All the credit goes to them.”

                    “The Wallet feature is a place where the Windows Phone team thought about how to use NFC. Roaming content though SkyDrive, encryption; these are all features coming from Microsoft. But the wide angle camera that HTC did with Skype in mind, Nokia’s wireless charging – those are innovations coming from our hardware partners.”

                    Although app developers get far more access to the platform in Windows Phone 8, Microsoft is still keeping some control and treading a fine line between the free for all of Android that Google is increasingly trying to rein in and the central control of the Apple ecosystem.

                    We like to think of it as the structured ecosystem that allows the differentiation of partners to shine though on our platform, at the same time providing consumers the confidence that we will protect their privacy, keep malware off the platform, provide a consistently familiar user experience, and providing developers confidence they can write apps once and target our platforms. So there is more structure and structure at times can feel constraining but also there are benefits to it. It’s helpful that everyone drives on the same side of the road, for example…”

                    Why was the SDK so hard to get?

                    Myerson is unapologetic about not making the Windows Phone 8 SDK widely available before the launch (when most developers didn’t have phones to work with) and concentrating instead of key developers to get big-name apps; 46 of the top-selling 50 apps from other phones will be on Windows Phone 8 (and yes, he knows who the missing four are and is working on changing their minds).

                    The sheer number of apps in the Store is far from the most important thing. “It’s a balance; definitely there is magic that occurs in that long tail of apps, [you get some] delightful things… but it is also true that working with these incredibly popular mobile apps is important as well.”

                    Windows Phone 8 is the future and it’s getting all the marketing love at the moment, but Windows Phone 7 is far from dead. Myerson assured us. “We’re going to have more to say about 7.8 in the coming weeks,” he promised.

                    I would expect both platforms to exist for quite some time, from a global point of view. Windows Phone 7.8 devices will span much lower price points than Windows Phone 8 devices, initially, and given the application compatibility across the platforms, it makes the ecosystem stronger to have more device and more price points. We value every 7 and 7.8 customer we have; we’ll continue to work for them as well but it is true that Windows Phone 8 is our future platform.”

                    Of course that only matters if Microsoft can finally start selling Windows Phone devices in significant numbers. Just as Steve Ballmer promised you wouldn’t be able to escape Windows 8 ads, Myerson promises what sounds like an advertising blitz, focussing on Windows Phone rather than on the handset makers.

                    This holiday it’s very important to us to get out there and tell the Windows Phone story: how we do have this amazingly unique point of view, the smartphone that can be so personal and reflect your interests and the people in your life. Telling that in the most pure sense without confusing them which brands we’re talking about is important. We need consumers to understand and love Windows Phone.”

                    More advertising money

                    Certainly Microsoft has promised to advertise Windows Phone better before, without much to show for it, and Myerson seems happy to admit it.

                    “We weren’t out there with same experience as Windows, even we though shared the same brand; we didn’t have all the right teamwork in place with our partners on the go to market, and we were not advertising the product. We were not out there telling the story to consumers – and that changes now. We will start telling our story. We are going to go out there and advertise the product and tell people.”

                    What’s different now? In a word, Windows 8 – but also more operator support. “It’s a special time. We have a great product that expresses this unique differentiated point of view, that we are the most personal smartphone, we’ve got killer hardware from partners and we have a great partnership with the mobile operators.

                    “The fact that they’ve ranged so many phones at such great price points is fantastic. And of course having Windows out there at the same time is exciting; making the experience familiar to users and being the best phone for Windows; if you’re a Windows user, this is the phone for you.”

                    Windows Phone 8 software architecture vs. that of Windows Phone 7, 7.5 and the upcoming 7.8

                    Announcing Windows Phone 8 [Joe Belfiore on Windows Phone blog, June 20, 2012]

                    Many of Windows Phone 8’s new capabilities come from a surprising source: Windows, the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than a billion people.

                    Joe Belfiore at the Windows Phone SummitYes, you read that right: Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. As a result, Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses.

                    We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system.

                    Windows Phone…7.8!

                    The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”

                    Some of you have been wondering, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.

                    Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.

                    Developers, developers, developers

                    Since we’re talking about apps, I want to tell developers a little bit about what they can expect in Windows Phone 8. Some of the exciting changes on the way include:

                    • Native code support: Windows Phone 8 has full C and C++ support, making it easier to write apps for multiple platforms more quickly. It also means Windows Phone 8 supports popular gaming middleware such as Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD, as well as native DirectX-based game development.
                    • In-app payments: In Windows Phone 8 we make it possible for app makers to sell virtual and digital goods within their apps.
                    • Integrated Internet calling: In Windows Phone 8, developers can create VoIP apps that plug into our existing calling feature so Internet calls can be answered like traditional phone calls, using the same calling interface.
                    • Multitasking enhancements. Windows Phone 8 now allows location-based apps like exercise trackers or navigation aids to run in the background, so they keep working even when you’re doing other things on your phone.

                    This is just a taste. Later this summer, we’ll have much more for developers on the Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) and the new Visual Studio 11-based development tools. So stay tuned.

                    The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, all built on next-generation chips from Qualcomm. …

                    Introducing the New Windows Phone Start Screen [Windows Phone YouTube channel, June 20, 2012]

                    Live Tiles are the heart and soul of a Windows Phone. With the new start experience, your Windows Phone is even more personal than ever before.

                    Watch Microsoft introduce Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone Summit video [YouTube copy of the MS recorded summit session, June 20, 2012]

                    originally published on http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Windows-Phone/Summit (there are also structurally organised parts of the whole video)

                    From the whole presentation for the subject of this post the most important is this:

                    1. Shared Windows Core: Technical Overview
                    2. Developer Platform Early Preview

                    which is available in the following parts of the whole video:

                    1. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Summit Complete Video – Part 6 Developer Features

                    Kevin Gallo, Group Program Manager 00:40: Shared Windows Core: Technical Overview; 04:15: Developer Platform Early Preview: Native Code in detail [ in the next part: –> Multitasking improvements –> New speech platform –> Focus on developers]
                      • image[00:40]: KERNEL
                        – State-of-the-art Windows 8 Kernel
                        – Increased scalability
                        – Proven robustness

                    – Established driver ecosystem
                    – Focus on optimized driver
                    – Better devices, faster

                    – Hardware-based security of Windows
                    – Never regret installing an app
                    – Your content under your control

                    – IPV6
                    – NFC, tap to share
                    – Improved Bluetooth

                    Graphics & Media
                    – Built on hardware accelerated Direct3D
                    – Media Playback and Record
                    – High-fidelity experiences

                    Developer Platform
                    – Share more code (both native code and .NET code) because the same builiding blocks are shared
                    – Native code: C/C++ [especially for games because the same DirectX componentry between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, even the same gaming middleware, like Havok could be used making porting easier]
                    Use the same native code to make it easier to port applications to Windows Phone 8
                    – Same .NET engine that runs on the Windows desktop
                    – Compile in the Cloud enabled as part of taking that .NET engine
                    Basically what happens is, when developers publish their applications to the Marketplace we will compile them in the cloud to machine code, and then when the end user installs that application it will start faster and run faster.

                    2. Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Summit Complete Video – Part 7 Developer Features

                    Kevin Gallo, Group Program Manager Developer Platform Early Preview (continued) –> Multitasking improvements –> New speech platform –> 08:55: Focus on developers 13:05: Enterprise Ready (soon to be continued on in the next part)

                    [08:55]  Focus on developers … [09:15] Maximizing Developer Investments: Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 applications will run on Windows Phone 8. Also this technology I talked about, compiled manipulation  in the cloud, will go to compile every existing Windows Phone application in our Marketplace, so that Windows Phone 8 end-users get the benefit of every application being faster, and developers will not have to do anything beyond that of having supplied their applications, do any work. It will just be done for them. Also Visual Studio 2012 will support development for both Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 applications, and of course they already support Windows 8 applications. This means that as a developer you can use one tool to build for all the platforms that matter to you. [10:06]

                    Windows Phone Application Platform Architecture

                    [between 7:17 and 8:15]

                    We created a brand new, organized OS. It is based on [Windows] CE* [renamed Windows Embedded Compact] kernel, but it has virtual memory support, paging, security, networking, just like Windows. It’s a modern OS. One of the key functionality we added also, when we are writing device drivers it used to be a big issue, that for OEMs had to do a lot of heavy lifting to interact with the hardware and write device drivers. We changed the game there as well. We are writing most of the device driver software, and so hardware vendors need to write only the very silicon specific part of the device drivers. And we write a lot of the software ourselves, which of course also have established a common foundation across all devices.

                    Note: Because the first “partner only and confidential” information of February 2010 was that the WP7 OS is based on Windows CE 6.0 kernel you can still find such misleading information even in wikipedia (althought stated as of “Kernel type: Windows CE 6/7.0”). The reality was nevertheless that it was based on CE 7.0 (Chelan) kernel code base, more precisely both the Chelan derived Windows Embedded Compact 7 and the Windows Phone 7 were based on the same Chelan kernel with the Compact 7 product having more resamblance to Chelan kernel than the Windows Phone one:

                    Olivier Bloch (Microsoft) on Windows Phone 7 Series announced at MWC, 02-18-2010 10:26 PM

                    Windows Phone 7 and Windows Embedded Compact 7 are based on the same kernel.

                    Olivier Bloch (Microsoft) on Windows CE is NOT dead!, 05-03-2010 9:54 PM

                    By the Way, Windows Phone 7 is based on the Windows Embedded Compact 7 core


                    Discussion with analysts on 2012 Mobile World Congress [Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone Division, Feb 29, 2012]

                    I joined Windows Phone in October 2008, and that was right about the time Android launched, the iPhone had been out a little over a year, and our product was Windows Mobile 6.1, which was a product that really was optimized for what we call the QWERTY monoblock form factor. It had a hardware keyboard, a small QVG screen, sort of the canonical products at the time, were the Blackberry ‑‑ I’m sorry, the Samsung Blackjack, and the T-Mobile Dash. So, that was the products of October 2008, and we had the iPhone out for over a year.

                    You know, at that time, we decided to commit to a new vision for a consumer mobile experience, and we developed Metro, and we shipped Windows Phone 7 approximately two years later. And so, from there, now we need to get the message out to consumers, and here we are today.

                    More information on that history is in the:
                    Tackling the Android tide [Experiencing the Cloud blog, July 16 – Aug 17, 2011]

                    Experiment 19: Re-imagining the Windows Phone OS [MS Research video, recorded on June 25, 2009]

                    This video shows a comparison of two identical prototype phones with NVIDIA Tegra APX2500 processors. The phone on the left is running the Windows CE kernel, the same OS kernel used in Windows Phone 7. The phone on the left is running the Windows NT kernel, the same OS kernel used in Windows Phone 8. Dubbed “Experiment 19”, the prototype system on the right proved that the Windows NT system could achieve better performance than Windows CE on identical hardware. The system was first demonstrated at MSR TechFest 2009. Filmed in 2009, this demonstration proved for the first time that Microsoft could use the same core windows components for both PCs and phones. On June 20, 2012, nearly 3 years after this video was recorded, Microsoft publicly announced that Windows Phone 8 would use the same Windows core as Windows 8.

                    Experiment 19 [Microsoft Research, June 21, 2012]

                    A skunkworks project in 2008/2009 to re-imagine the OS platform for Windows Phone. The prototype proved that Windows NT and the CLR could deliver better performance than Windows CE and the .NET Compact Framework on identical hardware. Within months of the completion of Experiment 19, Microsoft launched efforts to build what would become Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT for ARM tablets.

                    Re-imagining the Windows Phone Platform

                    In the fall of 2008, our Operating Systems Group was participating in the Menlo project to explore new phone-related experiences. At the time, Windows Phone 7 was in early development using the Windows CE kernel and .NET Compact Framework. We had been experimenting with these “legacy” platform components for over a year. While they performed well, we were frustrated by their lack of compatibility with the Windows NT system and .NET Framework Common Language Runtime (CLR) used on PCs. We realized the time had come for a bold experiment: could we replace CE with NT and replace the Compact Framework with the CLR?

                    We undertook a skunkworks project, codename “Experiment 19”, to re-imagine the software platforms used by Windows Phone. We started with a core set of windows system components (called MinWin) and a port of the Windows NT kernel to the ARM processor. Working closely with MinWin pioneers—Adam Glass, Mark Russinovich, Richard Pletcher, Richard Neves and Bryce Cogswell—and with partners at NVIDIA, we created the device drivers and firmware necessary to boot and run MinWin on our prototype phones. We created an ARM JIT compiler for the CLR and ported the CLR runtime to ARM. To complete the system, we ported the phone implementation of Silverlight to run with our ARM implementation of the CLR.

                    The resulting system proved that the “desktop” code bases actually performed better on modern phone hardware than the legacy mobile systems. Why? Because mobile chips now provide advanced features and capabilities, such as multiple cores, rivaling PCs of just a few years ago. The Windows NT and the CLR code bases had long since learned to exploit those capabilities to maximum benefit. With Experiment 19, we proved that Microsoft could build mobile devices using the desktop code bases (NT & the CLR). Within months, Microsoft began efforts to build the systems that would become Windows RT for ARM tablets and Window Phone 8.


                    Barry Bond
                    Barry Bond
                    Chris Hawblitzel
                    Chris Hawblitzel
                    Galen Hunt
                    Galen Hunt
                    Reuben Olinsky
                    Reuben Olinsky

                    Note: Samuel Phung, ICOP Technology, Inc. described Windows Embedded Compact 7 Advantages [Oct 26, 2011] (this also gave a glimpse into it) after it was released in March, 2011:

                    • Small-Footprint, Modular, Scalable and Optimized for Embedded Device
                    • Platform Builder: Efficient Tool to Develop Custom OS Image
                    • Visual Studio: Efficient Environment to Develop Embedded Application
                    • Silverlight for Windows Embedded: Enables Designer and Developer to Jointly Develop Compact 7 Application
                    • Compact 7 Advantage: The Development Environment
                    • Develop Compact 7 OS Run-time Image
                    • Develop Silverlight for Windows Embedded Application

                    Microsoft’s own description in History of Windows Embedded Compact 7 is:

                    Windows Embedded Compact 7 is the latest release of the componentized, hard real-time operating system for small footprint devices. Compact continues the history of embedded innovationwith:

                    • Silverlight for Windows Embedded, a UI framework included with Compact, combines the flexibility of declarative UIs with the performance of native code. Silverlight for Windows Embedded is based on Silverlight v3.0 and allows developers and designers to create and update device UIs using Microsoft Expression Blend.
                    • Compact also includes an updated Internet Explorer, built on the same core as IE in Microsoft Windows Phone 7 and includes support for Flash 10.1, panning and zooming, multi-touch, and viewing bookmarks using thumbnails.

                    More information:
                    – product microsite:  Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Formerly CE)
                    – a new product blog (since May 15, 2012): Approaching Embedded Intelligently / Windows Embedded Compact
                    What are the differences between Silverlight and Silverlight for Windows Embedded [Olivier Bloch from the Windows Embedded Compact team, Dec 13, 2010]
                    Maximizing Internet Explorer in Windows Embedded Compact 7 [the new product blog, June 11, 2012]

                    In Microsoft Drives Agile Approach to Intelligent Systems [Nov 14, 2011] press release Microsoft announced the following changes for the next release:

                    According to [Ben] Smith [director of Program Management for Windows Embedded], the power and complexity of tomorrow’s distributed computing, such as intelligent systems, will require a shift from less frequent, full-scale software upgrades, often the industry standard, to ones that are more frequent and incremental.

                    “The industry has reached a point where successful companies are those that can iterate the smartest and drive value in terms of the customer experience,” says Smith.

                    With that in mind, Microsoft has made the following specific changes:

                    • Combining the development teams for each of the Windows Embedded solutions — Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded Enterprise, Windows Embedded Compact 7 — into one larger team focused on creating many products with a common platform
                    • Adopting agile methodologies that help developers avoid last-minute feature cuts and respond to customer feedback with midstream course adjustments
                    • Creating more focused and frequent code release cycles

                    In the adjacent Microsoft Unveils Product Road Map Delivering on Intelligent Systems Vision [Nov 14, 2011] feature story the following information was given about the roadmap:

                    [Kevin] Dallas [general manager of Windows Embedded] also confirmed that Microsoft updated Windows Embedded Compact 7, the current generation of the Windows Embedded CE platform, in October 2011, and Windows Embedded Compact v.Next will follow in the second half of 2012, introducing support for Visual Studio 2010.

                    Windows Embedded Standard v.Next will support the ARM architecture, in addition to continuing support for the Intel x86 and x64 architectures. Windows Embedded Compact will continue to provide a proven, real-time operating system and a full tools suite for a streamlined development experience on small-footprint, specialized devices. Windows Embedded Standard v.Next will deliver technologies for customized, rich user interfaces, enhanced always-on connectivity, and all of the management and security functionality provided by Windows 8.

                    “Windows Embedded Compact and Windows Embedded Standard represent Microsoft’s platforms for intelligent systems.” Dallas says. “We need Windows Embedded Standard v.Next to take the lead around application-rich devices, and Windows Embedded Compact v.Next to take the lead around real-time, small form-factor devices. Both are critical to the success of our partners and enterprise customers building intelligent systems.”

                    MWC 2012 day 1 news [Feb 27, 2012]: Samsung and Nokia


                    Samsung had a number of enhanced GALAXY products (see them in the “Details for Samsung” section below). The really strong message from innovation point of view from them has, however, been (considered by them as “hidden gems”):
                    Samsung Mobile – Beyond Product [ YouTube Channel]

                    Tour the Samsung Mobile booth at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. Find out more about our new innovations, from AllShare Play and Control through Smart Driving and Smart School to NFC mobile payments.

                    UPDATE: for Nokia the major competition is the overall Android ecosystem, and not only in the proper smartphone market as:
                    – repeatedly stressed by Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia:

                    Our number-one focus is competing with Android. [see here and here]

                    The principal competition is Android, and then Apple. [see here]

                    – indicated in relevant excerpts from the Nokia 2011 fiscal year report [March 8, 2012] as:

                    Market overview

                    … Today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Increasingly, basic feature phone models, supported by innovations in both hardware and software, are also providing people with the opportunity to access the Internet and applications and, on the whole, offering them a more smartphone-like experience.

                    Whether smartphones or feature phones, mobile devices geared for Internet access and their accompanying Internet data plans are also becoming increasingly affordable and, consequently, they are becoming attractive to a broader range of consumer groups and geographic markets. A notable recent development has been the increased affordability of devices based on the Android platform, which has enabled some vendors to offer smartphones for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been dominated by more basic feature phone offerings.



                    …  some competitors’ offerings based on Android are available for purchase by consumers for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been traditionally dominated by feature phone offerings, including those offered by Nokia. Accordingly, lower-priced smartphones are increasingly reducing the addressable market and lowering the price points for feature phone. …

                    Principal Factors & Trends Affecting our Results of Operations

                    Devices & Service

                    Increased Pervasiveness of Smartphones and Smartphone-like Experiences Across the Price Spectrum

                    During the past year, we saw the increasing availability of more affordable smartphones, particularly Android-based smartphones, connected devices and related services which were able to reach lower price points contributing to a decline in the average selling prices of smartphones in our industry.

                    This trend affects us in two ways. First, it puts pressure on the price of our smartphones and potentially our profitability, as we need to price our smartphones competitively. We currently partially address this with our Symbian device offering in specific regions and distribution channels, and we plan to introduce and bring to markets new and more affordable Nokia products with Windows Phone in 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 announced in February 2012. Second, lower-priced smartphones put pressure on our higher-end feature phone offering from our Mobile Phones unit. We are addressing this with our planned introductions in 2012 ofsmarter, competitively priced feature phones with more modern user experiences, including software, services and application experiences. In support of our Mobile Phones business, we also plan to drive third party innovation through working with our partners to engage in building strong, local ecosystems.

                    Full information is in the Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion” based on software and web optimization with super low-cost 2.5/2.75G SoCs [Feb 14 – March 8, 2012] post on this blog.

                    END OF UPDATE

                    For Nokia, accordingly, a number of innovations have already been introduced on the MWC 2012, from the hardware level up to the services which surround all that. So for Nokia I will provide a video-based overview here well before going into the “Details for Nokia” section in the very end:

                    Nokia Press Conference Highlights from MWC 2012 [ YouTube channel]

                    Key points: Nokia Lumia 610 is announced. Award-winning Nokia Lumia 900 will become available in various markets outside the US. Nokia PureView elevates industry standard in smartphone imaging. New Asha feature phones and services grow increasingly ‘smarter’.

                    Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-On Video [ YouTube channel]

                    The funky Nokia Lumia 610 http://nokia.ly/AztJvZ is the most affordable Lumia phone yet, but it delivers everything you need in a smartphone. The People Hub pulls family and friends’ contact details in one place, along with Facebook and Twitter feeds. A choice of colours, with metallic trim, makes the phone an individual style statement. [$254 (€189). Has a 3.7” 800 x 480 WVGA LCD display.]

                    The Windows Phone Xbox tie-in and 5-megapixel camera add to the funky package. And Nokia Music, with Mix Radio (availability may vary by market), Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and Nokia Reading – make this phone unbeatable value.

                    UPDATE: the Nokia Lumia 610 won Tom’s Hardware Best in show and Best Budget Smartphone from Laptop. See here.

                    Introducing the White Nokia Lumia 900 – Live Large [ YouTube channel]

                    Meet the new Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone http://nokia.ly/zoyq6L Find out how fast amazing can be. And social. And beautiful. With its award winning design including front facing camera and Live Tiles, keeping in touch with friends, and the entire Internet, has never been so easy. [$645 (€480). Has a 4.3” 800 x 480 WVGA AMOLED ClearBlack display with Gorilla Glass.]

                    Experience The Amazing Everyday.

                    First Look at Nokia Reading on Nokia Lumia [ YouTube channel]

                    In this hands on video, Rhidian from Nokia talks about Nokia Reading, a premium e-book and audio experience service announced at Mobile World Congress 2012, and shows how it works on Nokia Lumia.

                    Nokia Reading will be available for Nokia Lumia handsets from April and will first launch in six markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia) with more to follow.

                    UPDATE: Nokia Reading: Get gripped by a great book [Nokia Coversations blog, Feb 28, 2012]

                    Nokia Reading follows the same simple and elegant panorama design we’ve become used to with other services, delivering the whole experience through a beautifully designed “reading hub.”

                    Nokia is working with some of the world’s biggest publishers, including Penguin and Hachette, and Pearson to launch a world class e-book and audiobook experience that’s been designed specifically for the Nokia Lumia.

                    Using a single, simple app you can choose your own favourite authors, or select bestselling novels and the top local books in your own language. If you’re not sure that you’ll like a book, Nokia Reading lets you browse some sample pages before you buy. Or you can download and read one of the thousands of classic works of literature that will be available for free.

                    Once you have chosen a book, large, clear, smartphone screens like those on the Nokia Lumia make reading an enjoyable experience – and you can switch to ‘night mode,’ change the font or adjust brightness, if your eyes get tired in the evening. It’s also great on an underground train or plane, because you can read everything offline after downloading beforehand over WiFi or mobile network

                    In coming months you’ll also be able to create a personalized magazine page (called “news stream”) that updates content across the most popular categories, and adds web content from your chosen sites.

                    Nokia 808 PureView – The next breakthrough in photography [ YouTube channel]

                    The game changer! Nokia 808 PureView http://nokia.ly/xz6mhS takes every bit of image goodness captured by a 41MP sensor and Carl Zeiss lens and turns it into beautifully detailed images and Full HD videos. Be ready to shoot and share with friends in an instant. [$605 (€450). Has a 4” 640 x 360  16:9 nHD AMOLED display.]

                    The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.

                    UPDATE: Zooming in on Nokia PureView [article on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, Feb 29, 2012]: meet the brains behind Nokia PureView Eero Salmelin and Juha Alakarhu, and also learn the history of this 5 years long journey that lead to the delivery on MWC 2012

                    UPDATE: Nokia 808 PureView partner makes it unbeatable [Nokia Conversations blog, March 1, 2012]

                    Dolby reveals audio secret of new phone’s success

                    Taking pride of place at their stand, the world’s best camera phone owes much to Dolby technologies for helping to make it an HD mobile entertainment device.

                    For the PureView is also about pure audio thanks to its high-definition Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel surround sound which plays on HD TVs, and home theatre systems, and when combined with Dolby Headphone technology – also built into the PureView – provides a personal 5.1 surround experience over any headphones.

                    Nokia is also bringing the Dolby experience to other smartphones with Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1 software upgrade for the Nokia 700, Nokia 701, and Nokia 603, also displayed on the Dolby stand.

                    Mobile Sales Director Shawn Richards talked us through the tech on a Nokia 700 with a demo from Batman movie The Dark Knight.

                    He explained that the Dolby Headphone upgrade transforms stereo content into a personal surround sound.

                    “You get a more natural, engaging, and authentic sound,” he said. “Good audio is even more important when you are watching a movie on a small screen. And Dolby Headphone creates a totally immersive feel.”

                    UPDATE: Nokia 808 Pureview – Best New Mobile Handset, Device or Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2012 [ YouTube channel, March 1, 2012]

                    Nokia 808 PureView wins top MWC award!
                    Our awesome camera phone scoops the top award from Mobile World Congress 2012 judges.

                    UPDATE: Damian Dinning explains Nokia PureView technology [ YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]

                    Nokia’s imaging expert Damian Dinning explains the breakthrough camera technology behind Nokia 808 PureView.

                    You could also check out the gorgeous photos taken with Nokia 808 PureView from the flickr.

                    UPDATE: Nokia PureView Q&A with Damian Dinning [interview on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, March 1, 2012]

                    Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 – See what you hear [ YouTube channel]

                    The new Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 comes with an integrated FM radio and OLED display. It as excellent audio quality and NFC for easy pairing with your phone. Learn more at: www.accessories.nokia.com

                    Nokia Asha 302: Meet the designer [ YouTube channel]

                    Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/xXK4kV was designed with one simple goal in mind – to design the best looking QWERTY phone for today’s urban professionals. The metallic touch points, bold and sophisticated colors and smooth edges help users stand out and project success giving the phone a great premium feel. [$128 (€95). Has a 2.4” 320 x 240  QVGA TFT display.]

                    UPDATE: The Nokia C3-00 won Best Feature Phone or Entry Level Phone at the GSMA Awards 2012 in Barcelona. Blanca Juti, VP for Mobile Phones Product Marketing said to Nokia Conversations after collecting the prize: “It’s great for our products going forward, because the Nokia Asha 302 we launched yesterday is pretty much the successor to C3 which has had an amazing run in the market.” See here.

                    Nokia Asha 302: Premium All Round QWERTY [ YouTube channel]

                    Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/x5m2zm is a QWERTY phone with great value for money. It is packed with a 1 Ghz processor and is great for social networking, Email, Instant messaging, supports Mail for Exchange and has a premium design with stunning looks.

                    Nokia Asha 203: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

                    The Nokia Asha 203 http://nokia.ly/x78ZBe is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

                    Nokia Asha 202 Dual SIM: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

                    The Nokia Asha 202 http://nokia.ly/yOGbDA is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. Plus it comes with Easy Swap Dual SIM.  [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

                    After exactly a year from the announcement of their new strategic set-up and direction it is quite obvious from all that above that Nokia is well on to realizing the corresponding transition. In fact they are redefining themselves which is well described by this video just published 2 days before the start of MWC 2012:

                    The New Essence of Nokia  [ YouTube channel]

                    We believe that everybody can have a richer, fuller life every day, everywhere. That means upgrading an ordinary moment to an exciting one or finding an unexpected experience to share with others. Intuitively, fast and easy. This is Nokia’s new mantra, this is the new essence of Nokia.

                    I see this overall brand message fitting rather well with their new and enhanced portfolio as you could judge for yourself from the above video presentations. In this way they have proceeded quite well from the disastrous situation they were a year ago, and which had been described quite extensively in the following post on this blog: Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21 – March 25, 2011].

                     Details for Samsung

                    This is the first hands-on video of GALAXY Beam from the Mobile World Congress 2012. GALAXY Beam is Samsung’s new projector smartphone that allows you to display and share multimedia content or business information instantly no matter where you are. For more information: http://www.samsungmobilepress.com/2012/02/26/GALAXY-Beam
                    MobileBurn.com – Samsung had relatively few things to announce at MWC 2012 this year, but one of them was the Galaxy Note 10.1, a larger version of the original Galaxy Note. The Note 10.1 uses the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) as its design inspiration (it looks nearly identical), but it adds S Pen capabilities to draw and notate on the screen. The Note 10.1 is powered by a dual-core, 1.4GHz processor and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s TouchWiz enhancements. More info: http://www.mobileburn.com/18681/gallery/samsung-galaxy-note-101-live-impressions

                    Details for Nokia

                    All the launches: Nokia at Mobile World Congress [Nokia Conversations‎ blog]

                    BARCELONA, Spain – Nokia announces six new phones and an array of new and updated services, advancing its new strategy and setting the pace for 2012.

                    Here’s our star-studded line-up for Barcelona 2012.

                    Nokia Lumia 610

                    The Nokia Lumia 610 is our most affordable Windows Phone to date – and the fourth we’ve brought to market. It’s aimed at young people who want access to a smartphone experience at the right price. Offering access to social networking, games, Nokia Maps and navigation, web-browsing and Nokia Music, the Lumia 610 comes in four bright colours. It will cost just €189 [$254] before taxes and subsidies, and starts shipping in April.

                    Nokia Lumia 900

                    First announced in January for AT&T’s LTE network in the US, the Nokia Lumia 900 will now be available worldwide in an HSPA+ edition. The Dual Carrier HSPA phone will allow for downloads up 42.2 Mbps. With a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, mobile media never looked so good, while an upgraded battery means there’s no compromise on longevity.

                    [Lumia 900 [DC-HSPA variant] $645 (€480) according to the press release]

                    Read the full story

                    which one is your favourite

                    Nokia 808 PureView

                    The Nokia 808 PureView extends our leadership in camera phones, with an amazing 41-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and brand new pixel over-sampling technology. This means pin-sharp pictures, great low-light performance, yet with the ability to save your images in a suitable file size for social media, MMS and email. Also watch out for full 1080p video recording and exclusive Dolby Headphone technology to enrich the sound of any stereo content.
                    [The Nokia 808 PureView has a current price of €450 [$605]. It will be hitting stores in Q2 2012. – according to a press report]

                    Read the full story

                    Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

                    We’re also introducing three new Nokia Asha mobile phones with new capabilities to bring them to smarter heights than ever. Aimed at urban consumers across the world, the Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203 offer more than ever in terms of work and play. The Asha 302 is a QWERTY phone with support for Microsoft Exchange synchronisation, a first for Series 40 phones. The Asha 202 and 203 bring touch screens to a lower price point than ever and come with a massive entertainment bundle.
                    [Asha 202/203 $81 (€60), Asha 302 $128 (€95) according to the press release]

                    Read the full story 


                    Super Services

                    Not satisfied with six new phones, there’s a whole raft of new and improved services. Nokia Drive for Windows Phone will now offer full, offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, there’s Nokia Reading, the best e-book experience for Nokia Lumia. And Nokia Life bringing life skills, parenting, education, agriculture and entertainment services to Series 30 and 50 phones in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.

                    Read the full story

                    Click through for all the in-depth stories from today’s press conference. We’ll be bringing you even more detail, hands-on experiences and interviews with the brains behind these beauties over the course of the week.

                    Nokia 808 PureView

                    Remember that Nokia PureView tease from a few days ago? Well, suddenly it all makes sense. We are indeed looking at an imaging flagship phone and a true successor to the N8. It’s called the 808 PureView and it’s expected to reach Europe in the next quarter for a price of 450 Euros. Before we move on to its craziest feature — the camera, of course! — let’s run down the other key specs: The OS is Symbian Belle; the engine is a 1.3GHz single-core chip; the display is 4-inches corner to corner but its resolution is a Nokia-style 360 x 640 (nHD). There’s 512MB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage that is thankfully expandable via microSD. A Pentaband modem increases the chances of getting a signal while globe-trotting, while data speeds will top out at plain HSPA 14.4Mbps. Now that Carl Zeiss-lensed camera: it handles continuous-focus 1080p, but is claimed to have an incredible sensor resolution of over 41-megapixels when shooting stills — or 34-megapixels for 16:9 images. It’s achieved by some clever sub-pixel interpolation jiggery-pokery that entails five pixels being merged into one to produce a final image with a max resolution of 8-megapixels, but we’ll dig deeper very soon. It’s expected to arrive in May at a price of €450 and if you’re curious, we’ve got a gallery of hands-on images and video for your viewing pleasure. Just follow the break for our first impressions. If you haven’t been sufficiently smacked in the face with the Nokia 808 PureView’s primary selling point, let’s settle the score right now: it’s a phone for camera enthusiasts. As niche devices often go, the sheer optical goodness will come with a few sacrifices. First and foremost, we’re a bit puzzled by Nokia’s choice of Symbian for the phone’s OS. That’s not to say that Belle isn’t a fine operating system, but it’s certainly a polarizing decision — not to mention perplexing, given the company’s ‘all-in’ approach to Windows Phone. Secondly, the 808 PureView is rather chunky, which is emphasized by the bulbous camera pod on the rear. In many ways, Nokia’s phone more closely rivals a point-and-shoot camera in size than a smartphone. That said, it’s still an infinitely pocketable handset, but there are certainly many other high-quality camera phones on the market that don’t demand such sacrifices. If you’re able to move beyond these two major caveats, the 808 PureView is likely a handset that many will come to adore — even if the fondness is learned over time. It features a lovely ClearBlack display, and while it’s decidedly low-res, it’s more than sufficient for Symbian Belle and its associated apps. Below the phone’s screen, users will find an extended rocker that provides access to the home screen, dialer and on / off switch. These physical buttons are combined with additional navigation options that are situated directly above on the touchscreen. The phone also features a headphone jack, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports along the top — each recessed into a pod of their own — and the volume rocker, screen lock slider and dedicated camera button along the right-hand side. Via engadget

                    Nokia Lumia 610 and 900 [DC-HSPA variant]

                    Live from MWC 2012 Phonearena presents Nokia Lumia 610 demo. A heavily rumored handset, the Nokia Lumia 610 was finally announced today here at MWC 2012. As expected, the 610 is the first real budget-friendly Windows Phone, expected to retail for about $255 (EUR 189), which is pretty decent for a Windows Phone. For the full details, see our Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-on Review from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Lumia-610-Hands-on-Review_id27389

                    Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

                    PhoneArena live from MWC 2012: Nokia Asha 302 Hands-on Review. The Nokia Asha 302 is the full QWERTY business class addition to the extremely affordable Asha lineup based on Series 40. For the full details, see our Nokia Asha 302 hands-on from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Asha-302-Hands-on-Review_id27399

                    Super Services

                    Marvell SoCs to win both Microsoft and Nokia for Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms (after the Kinect success)

                    Update: – Marvell licenses VeriSilicon DSP cores [Feb 13, 2012]

                    SAN FRANCISCO—Marvell Technology Group Ltd. has signed a licensing agreement for VeriSilicon Holdings Co. Ltd.’s ZSP G3 intellectual property cores, including the dual-MAC ZSP800M and ZSP880M synthesizable DSP cores, VeriSilicon said Monday (Feb. 13). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

                    Marvell is also using VeriSilicon’s quad-MAC ZSP800 core and suite of HD-audio software solutions in the ARMADA 1000 HD media processor SoC and the recently introduced Marvell ARMADA 1500 media processor SoC, VeriSilicon (Santa Clara, Calif.) said. These chips are designed for applications such as Blu-ray players, digital media adapters, HD-STB and HDTVs.

                    According to VeriSilion, the dual-MAC ZSP architecture offers a balance of high performance, power efficiency and lower cost to support the increasing feature convergence in mobile and digital entertainment products and enable prolonged battery life. The company claims its products offer ease of use and strong customer support.

                    “We are quite impressed with the area and power efficiency of the dual-MAC ZSP800M core, combined with the ease of programming on the ZSP architecture,” said Ivan Lee, vice president of mobile products at Marvell, in a statement. “VeriSilicon’s ZSP-based HD-audio and voice software solutions will provide us with faster time-to-market advantages necessary to meet the growing demands of the mobile platform solutions for use in tablets and smartphones.”

                    Marvell’s Cutting-Edge Application Processors [Jan 10, 2012]

                    Marvell’s Allen Leibovitch talks about the cutting-edge PXA [also called ARMADA] family of application processors, which enable Marvell customers to build high performance systems at a very low cost.
                    From [2:45] the so-called hybrid multiprocessing technology is mentioned with showing the above architecture. It was introduced back in September 2010 with ARMADA 628 (see: Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23, 2010 – Jan 17, 2011]) at the time when Marvell was working on the earlier ARMADA 610 (see also in the indicated post) for the RIM Blackberry Playbook. Six month into the project RIM dumped the 610 for a TI SoC, but even with that was only able to deliver the stable version of its new QNX software on version 2, missing the crucial 2010 Holiday season. While rumors of that time blamed Marvell for that, according to a current view: “It appears that the failures are largely RIM’s, and often software related. The Marvell processors, when used, seem to work well.
                    The first larger scale win for ARMADA 610 was the VIZIO VTAB1008 8″ tablet operating with Android, made available in August 2011 (see: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011 – Jan 7, 2012]). This tablet is shown earlier in the above video (from [0:19] to [1:24]). The ARMADA 628 still has to arrive in a tablet which probably will happen only late in 2012 on Android (as “The company looks at the tablets market as ‘saturated’ and is avoiding it for the next couple quarters“, see below) and might happen in Q4 as the earliest on Windows 8 as hinted explicitly below by Marvell. This is just a possibility (but a very big opportunity for OEMs considering the obvious maturity of 628), nothing more, as any OEM engagement currently under way might end up in a market relased product, or not (as in the case of Playbook with ARMADA 610).
                    Note: in the above video instead of ARMADA the earlier PXA branding is used by Marvell’s Allen Leibovitch. Jack Kang in charge of the Application Processors business is also using the PXA branding, as you could read below.

                    After the First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011 – Jan 19, 2012], so far in the Android, Google TV, educational (more edu) and OPhone spaces, here is the next large scale opportunity for the company. With the young and entrepreneurial Jack Kang in charge since H2CY2010, who has an excellent earlier track record with Microsoft via the hugely successfull Microsoft Kinect application SoC effort, there is a real chance for the company to conclude with platform wins the reported below new engagements with both Microsoft and Nokia in 2012:

                    Exclusive: Marvell Says it Will Find a Home in Chinese Windows Phones [DailyTech, Jan 31, 2012]

                    Marvell also hints at possible Windows 8 tablets/laptops

                    We had an interesting chat with the Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. (MRVL).

                    Marvell is perhaps best known as the company that took the Xscale ARM division off of Intel Corp.’s (INTC) hands in 2006.  During the modern smartphone era, Marvell has been a quiet competitor, overshadowed by companies like Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) which have pushed the smartphone processing power envelope more aggressively.

                    By contrast Marvell has focused on budget smartphones.  It is in most of Research in Motion, Ltd.’s (TSE:RIM) BlackBerry smartphones.  These budget smartphones have led it to strong sales in Indonesia and China.

                    Blackberry 8910 China
                    Marvell has done well in China, thanks to close ties with RIM and Nokia.
                    [Image Source: BlackBerry Rocks]

                    Interestingly, the American company sees China as perhaps its most valuable market.  Jack Kang, director of Marvell’s applications processor business unit states, “China was a very strategic investment.”

                    With Windows Phones set to land in China later this year in budget smartphones, Mr. Kang is making a bold prediction — “If there’s Windows Phones in China, there will probably be Windows Phones with Marvell in China.”

                    That would be a major market event as thus far Qualcomm has been the exclusive ARM chipmaker partner of Windows Phone.  While Windows Phone has struggled in the U.S. where key Windows Phone partner Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) has virtually no market share, in China Nokia is the top smartphone maker, so a switch to Marvell ARM cores would be quite a coup.

                    Nokia is the top phonemaker in China, thus it’s crucial that Marvell gets in Nokia’s new Chinese Windows Phones when it makes the shift later this year. [Image Source: M.I.C. Gadget]

                    Mr. Kang feels his firm’s biggest strength is providing “quality low-cost devices”.  While it doesn’t bake discrete Wi-Fi circuitry into some of its system-on-a-chip devices, it says this approach works in markets like Indonesia or rural China where there’s plentiful 3G but sparse Wi-Fi coverage.

                    Marvell current produces single and dual-core chips, with the smartphone-aimed ARMADA family.  Despite competitors like Qualcomm and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) jumping to quad core, Marvell says that approach doesn’t make sense.  Mr. Kang comments, “We don’t think quad core makes sense at 40 [nm] from a power perspective, from a price perspective.”

                    OLPC Marvell chip
                    Marvell’s ARMADA series ARM CPUs power smartphones and mobile devices like the ARM OLPC variant. [Image Source: OLPC.tv]

                    He says that Marvell is tentatively slotted to release quad-core designs when it hits 28 nm in mid-2013.  The chipmaker uses Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd.’s (TPE:2330) third-party fabrication services.  TSMC has struggled at the 28 nm node, delivering low yields and in turn higher costs — a combination that doesn’t work with Marvell’s business model — hence the delay.

                    Marvell feels that the fact that it takes its ARM license and build a unique core from the ground up using the ARM instruction set gives it an advantage over competitors like NVIDIA that simply take the core licensed from ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM), but don’t do a complete redesign.

                    The company looks at the tablets market as “saturated” and is avoiding it for the next couple quarters, although it did seem distraught at losing RIM’s PlayBook to Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN), another U.S. chipmaker.

                    Mr. Kang hinted Marvell may jump on the tablet bandwagon or even release budget ARM laptops in Q4 2012 when Windows 8 arrives — and with it the first-ever ARM CPU support for a Windows main line operating system.  He comments, “Microsoft already said Windows 8 will run on ARM.  And we build ARM devices, so….”

                    Windows 8 tablet

                    Marvell hints it may be cooking up ARM Windows 8 tablets/laptops, too.

                    This move would make sense because Marvell has been involved with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project in producing an ARM (Marvell) powered design.  It has also played with low cost Linux laptops for years.

                    The company also showed off a (Android 3.2) “Honeycomb” television set, which it plans to target as an introduction to Internet TV in budget markets like China.  This was a reference design, whereas Marvell would partner with a traditional TV maker for production designs.

                    The Honeycomb set uses Marvell’s latest dual-core chip, which contains an extra low-power core to conserve energy during simpler tasks.  The power savings approach mirrors that found in Tegra 3.  In that sense Marvell’s dual-core is technically a tri-core, much as NVIDIA’s quad-core is technically a penta-core.

                    There could indeed be a real 2012 opportunity for Marvell as Nokia CEO Stephen Elop highlighted in an answer to questions about the Quarter 4 results last week (Nokia Quarter 4 results 2011 webcast [Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]):

                    on China dynamics:

                    … The Chinese operators are increasingly, on accellerated basis entering into structures where there’s effectively retail rate plan bundling is going on at the store. The operators are driving very hard for the volume of 3G data subscribers. And this is not necessary an economic measure as it is driving volume on certain networks for certain technologies. I think those targets are probably set more broadly for all of the operators [he could mean: by the state, as all three operators are majority owned by the state]. And the impact of that is that they are discovering that with very low priced devices on certain radio technologies they can drive a lot of volume at those levels. And so we are seeing, for example, a very significant uptake in a number of low-priced devices that are on CDMA, there’s also a very significant focus on the Chinese technology TD-SCDMA, again all of the low levels ought to drive those volumes. My comment in the prepared remarks is that Symbian is not well positioned today against that. We do not have Symbian CDMA products at all, so we are not participating in that part of the market. So as that part of the market grows our addressable market has gone down because of that. In TD-SCDMA we do have some products in that space but not at the price points and configurations that is the real focus of this market. …

                    … We have not yet announced our specific products for the Chinese market but I will say that when we first announced our launch plans, I think all the way back in October, we did highlight that we would have CDMA based Windows Phone products and TD-SCDMA Windows Phone products. That thing said it is the case that we have work to do to successively drive the prices down further and further and further. That will take a bit of time but this is clearly the pattern you are going to see us on the months ahead. …

                    [I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
                    The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012]
                    China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum [Jan 21, 2012]
                    China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]]

                    High performance SOC handles HD media [Jan 6, 2012]

                    The ARMADA 1500 HD media SOC decodes high-definition advanced multi-format video and audio using it’s dual ARMv7 compatible PJ4B 1.2 GHz processors with symmetric multi-processing and DSP accelerators. The chip targets IP/cable/satellite set-top boxes, advanced Blu-Ray players, digital media adapters, Google TV, and DTV applications.

                    The SOCs processors yield 6,000 DMIPS. It includes a secure boot ROM and USB, Fast Ethernet, HDMI, SATA, and SDIO interfaces, plus a 32-bit DDR3 at 800 MHz interface. The chips security engine handles OTP, RNG, AES/(3), DES, RSA, SHA-1, and MD5 and a comprehensive software development kit is available. (No price given – available now.)

                    See also my other posts regarding the other high volume opportunities for Marvell:
                    Marvell® ARMADA® PXA168 based XO laptops and tablets from OLPC with $185 and target $100 list prices respectively [Jan 8, 2012]
                    Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort via Marvell SoC and reference design [Jan 5, 2012]
                    (the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, introduced below, is likely based on that)
                    VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment [Jan 11, 2012]

                    Background on Marvell’s relationship with Microsoft

                    A Cal ‘Kinect-ion’ [Innovations by UC Berkeley College of Engineering, Nov 9, 2011]

                    Some engineers wait a lifetime for a project like the one that Jack Kang (B.S.’04 EECS) landed when he was barely 26.

                    In the fall of 2008, Kang was settling into a new marketing position [Technical Marketing Manager] at Marvell, a Santa Clara-based semiconductor company, when Microsoft came knocking with a mysterious assignmentfor the company. Working on an undisclosed product, the computing giant needed a team to design a complex chip for manufacture on a massive scale.

                    “This project was very secretive,” recalls Kang, who had shifted from hands-on chip design to marketing management at Marvell. Marvell got the Microsoft contract, but “we didn’t really know what it was for,” says Kang. Many months into the development of a specialized microprocessor—often touted as a system’s “brains”—he got his answer. The mystery chip was destined for Kinect, Microsoft’s controller-free and immensely popular electronic game sensor device.

                    Introduced last November, Kinect uses sophisticated visual and voice recognition to run electronic games, movies and other entertainment. A companion to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video gaming system, it became the fastest-selling consumer electronics gadget in history, selling 8 million devices in 60 days.

                    Kinect’s appeal came as no surprise to Kang. “It was a giant leap,” he says of the technology that lets users interact with media through body motions and voice commands. In fact, when Kang first learned about Kinect, he was so dazzled by the concept that he wondered if it could actually be pulled off.

                    His work on the Kinect chip spanned two years. Acting as the project champion in a “do-whatever-it-takes” capacity, Kang managed the effort from the earliest negotiations through a series of designs to manufacturing. In all, more than 100 Marvell chip designers, marketing representatives, software engineers and othersparticipated in a process that witnessed its share of evolutionary curveballs.

                    For the first six months, the Marvell team focused on what Kang believes would have been one of the most powerful mobile or consumer chips on the market. Shortly after the chip was completed, Microsoft asked for an even higher performing version. But the company soon switched course, deciding to put more of the computing functions into the Xbox instead of Kinect, Kang says.

                    Ultimately, Marvell engineers were asked to build a general purpose chip capable of controlling voice recognition and sending data to the Xbox. The team wound up modifying a chip already in development. That chip, as it turned out, was one that Kang had helped design in his earlier capacity as a Marvell engineer.

                    Jack Kang at Marvell

                    PHOTO BY ABBY COHN

                    Excited by his role in unleashing Kinect, Kang sees many possibilities for human-machine interaction. “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg of what this device can do,” he says, envisioning future Kinect systems that help the disabled and the elderly, and play a role in medical treatment and procedures.

                    Beyond Kinect’s intended use for home entertainment, the $150 system has already triggered a flood of creative applications for its cameras, 3-D sensing and other features. At UC Berkeley, graduate student Patrick Bouffard installed a Kinect on a small four-rotor robotic helicopter to enable it to sense its height above the floor and detect objects in its way. Other concepts have included video-conferencing, surveillance and a navigational aid for the blind.

                    With his boyish smile and animated personality, Kang, now 29, is at least a decade younger than most of his professional peers. He has developed 11 patents, mostly in the field of CPU (central processing unit) technology. “Everything I needed to know I learned in CS152!” he quips. Kang took that computer architecture and engineering class at Berkeley Engineering and became a teaching assistant his senior year.

                    Born in Taiwan and raised in the South Bay, Kang was drawn to a career at the intersection of engineering and business. “I felt you could have more of an impact,” he says. At Berkeley, he minored in business administration and was powerfully influenced by his experience as a TA. Hired as a Marvell engineer in February 2006, he was increasingly tapped to showcase company products in technical presentations for clients. “I had the mindset of marketing,” says Kang, who also enjoyed the social interaction that came with it.

                    Twice promoted since 2008, Kang now serves as director of Marvell’s application processor business unit. Today, with a 12-member staff, Kang manages Marvell product lines for e-readers, gaming, education, tabletsand other devices. Long gone is a work schedule with room for lunchtime volleyball and soccer games. “There’s always someone up in some time zone,” Kang observes.

                    Kang is eager for the next project of Kinect-like proportions to come his way. “Technology is always evolving,” he says. “I certainly hope I have something that beats it.”

                    Marvell: Lazard Says Buy On Kinect, TD-SCDMA Opportunities [Tech Trader Daily, June 20, 2011]

                    Lazard Capital Markets analyst Daniel Amirraised the stock to Buy from Neutral …

                    Marvell’s sales of chips into China’s home-brewed TD-SCDMA cellular network standard, which is being developed by China Mobile (CHL), and backed by the government, is perhaps underestimated by the Street.

                    Marvell could produce $90 million in revenue this year from those chip sales, and $151 million next year, but it could actually go as high as $202 million next year, he thinks. The Street has just $80 million modeled for this year, on average.

                    Moreover, the company’s sales into Microsoft’s (MSFT) “Kinect” gaming accessory are “opening new doors” for Marvell in the mobile and wireless business, he thinks, which may help Marvell catch up after missing earlier tablet and smartphone bids. Kinect will probably produce $104 million in revenue for Marvell this year, up from $64 million last year, on Kinect units of 16 million, Amir thinks.

                    [Microsoft Reports Record Revenue of $20.9 Billion in Second Quarter [Microsoft press release, Jan 19, 2012]: “The Xbox 360 installed base now totals approximately 66 million consoles and 18 million Kinect sensors”]

                    Teardown: Kinect has processor after all [EE Times, Nov 15, 2010]

                    Despite Microsoft Corp.’s claims to the contrary, its new Kinect motion-gaming ad-on for the Xbox 360 uses a standalone applications processor marketed by Marvell Technology Group Ltd. , according to a teardown analysis of the Kinect performed by UBM TechInsights.

                    TechInsights’ teardown uncovered within Kinect a Marvell PXA 168 applications processor, a part usually found in notebook computers. In September, Microsoft reportedly said it decided not to use a dedicated processor in Kinect. Instead, the company reportedly said the peripheral would harness the power of the processor within the Xbox.

                    Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) did not immediately respond to request for comment about the discrepancy.

                    TechInsights analysts concluded that Microsoft’s head fake means the company has bigger plans to make Kinect more of a platform for applications beyond gaming, or that the company was simply trying to prevent the device from being hacked. The Kinect has reportedly already been hacked multiple times.

                    The analysts also believe that Microsoft may have underestimated the resource demand on the 360 console processor and was forced into using a laptop-equivalent processor to integrate the imaging, sensing, motor-drive and control functions and orchestrate I/O and communications between the Kinect and Xbox 360. It’s also possible that the processor was required to support the spatial aspects of Kinect’s multiple microphones, they said.

                    “It’s difficult to identify exactly what the Marvell processor accomplishes on the Kinect as investigation on how the firmware and software manage all control and processing functions and how they could be localized/virtualized to the Xbox haven’t been investigated yet,” said Allan Yogasingam, a technical marketing manager at TechInsights. “Regardless, Microsoft has created a product that takes full advantage of all its components to provide an innovative gaming experience. The existence of this Marvell processor just opens the door for further innovation down the line and an extension of the Kinect from more than just a sensor-based gaming accessory.”

                    TechInsights also conducted further study on the sensor unit that works with Kinect’s image processor, made by PrimeSense Ltd. The firm discovered that the CMOS image sensors used were provided by Aptina Imaging (the die markings on the sensors still refer to Micron Imaging, which was spun off into Aptina in 2008). The infrared camera uses the MT9M001 sensor and RGB input from the color camera features the MT9M112 sensor, TechInsights said.

                    Close up of the Marvell PXA 168 applications processor found inside Kinect.
                    Source: UBM TechInsights.

                    TechInsights’ recent teardown of Kinect found chips made by PrimeSense, Marvell, Texas Instruments Inc., STMicroelectronics NV and others. The firm estimates that Kinect carries a bill-of-materials of roughly $56 for the components, not including the the price of design, R&D and the $500 million Microsoft plans to spend to market the device.

                    Teardown of the Microsoft Kinect – Focused on Motion Capture [Chipworks, Dec 23, 2010]

                    Application processor An Armada Series 800 MHz application processor by Marvell was also inside the Microsoft Kinect. Interestingly, this device is typically aimed at the e-reader market


                    Why did MS dump Kinect processor? There was ‘no need’ for it  [ComputerAndVideoGames.com, Sept 29, 2010]

                    Camera tracks fewer points than it did last year

                    It emerged in January that MS had ditched a standalone processor in the camera – which some have claimed has subsequently affected performance.

                    Kinect now relies on the processing power of the Xbox itself – although the platform holder has claimed that it uses “less than one per cent” of the 360’s motherboard.

                    We didn’t know how much processing Kinect was going to take at the start of development,” Kinect creative boss Kudo Tsunoda told the new Xbox World 360.

                    “Obviously you don’t want to lose any of the things that are important to Xbox customers. Graphic fidelity is something that Xbox has always been known for, and you want to make sure that you still hit that level.

                    “Forza is a graphical showpiece, and we had Forza with Kinect at E3… the graphic fidelity has actually improved in some areas from what they shipped with Forza 3. It’s still running at 60 FPS and it’s supporting Kinect, so there’s just no need to have that extra processor.”

                    When asked why Kinect detected less points on the player’s body than it did last year, Tsunoda added:

                    “As you start building the stuff, you’re like: ‘Wow, to track everything in the human body we can do less points. That’s just normal game development. Anything you do with games, you want the processing power to be used as efficiently as possible to get the experience that you want.”

                    Kinect launches in the UK on November 10 and the US on November 4.

                    Microsoft drops internal Natal chip [Jan 7, 2010]

                    GamesIndustry.biz has learned that Microsoft has dropped a chip from its forthcoming Natal motion control system as the platform holder eyes accessible price points in the build-up to release later this year.

                    Kinect Downgraded To Save Money, Can’t Read Sign Language [Kotaku, Aug 11, 2010]

                    The patent for Microsoft’s motion-sensing camera Kinect suggested that the device could understand American Sign Language. Well, it can’t. At least, the version going on sale in November can’t.

                    Responding to the claims made in the patent, Microsoft has told Kotaku “We are excited about the potential of Kinect and its potential to impact gaming and entertainment. Microsoft files lots of patent applications to protect our intellectual property, not all of which are brought to market right away. Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language.”

                    So why did the patent suggest it could? Well, sources close to the evolution of Kinect’s development tell us it’s because the version of the hardware that’ll be available later this year isn’t as capable as was originally intended.

                    The original Kinect had a much higher resolution (over twice that of the final model’s 320×240), and as such, was able to not only recognise the limbs of a player as the current model version can, but their fingers as well (which the current version can’t). And when the hardware could recognise fingers, it would have been able to read sign language.

                    But that capability came at a cost, and while Microsoft had always intended Kinect to sell for $150, “dumbing down” the camera would have meant that Microsoft wouldn’t be losing as much money on each unit sold, an important point should Kinect prove to be a failure. So dumb it down they did, reducing the camera’s resolution (which in turn reduced the number of appendages it’d have to track) and placing the burden for some of the device’s processing on the console and not Kinect’s own hardware.

                    This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard such a rumour, but this latest time at least explains why Kinect can’t read sign language!

                    We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on the matter, and will update if we hear back.

                    Background on Jack Kang

                    Jack Kang, Director, Application Processors at Marvell [LinkedIn profile, excerpted, Feb 1, 2012]




                    • University of California, Berkeley
                    • University of California, Berkeley – Walter A. Haas School of Business

                    Jack is currently director of Marvell’s Application Processor Business Unit. He has been in the semiconductor business for more than seven years, holding previous positions in design engineering at several leading technology vendors. At Marvell, Mr. Kang manages multiple product lines from design conception to mass market implementation and adoption. These include the industry-leading PXA168, PXA618 and PXA510 processors, which are fueling today’s premier consumer devices.

                    Additionally, he oversees various market segments, including education, eReaders, gaming, tablets and other connected consumer and embeddeddevices. Most recently, Mr. Kang was responsible for the processor design powering Microsoft’s gaming console, Microsoft Kinect. This gaming console shattered sales records and was named the fastest-selling tech gadget of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records – totaling more than 10 million units since its launch in November, 2010.

                    [Steve Ballmer, Houston Technology Forum, March 10, 2011: “We shipped those in November. We just announced that we’re over 10 million sold, in what amounts to about two-and-a-half months.”]

                    Outside of his work at Marvell, Mr. Kang also serves as a technical expert on CPU technology and has more than 11 patents pending in the field of CPU technology. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis in Computer Architecture.

                    Jack Kang, Patents and Publications [LinkedIn page, excerpted, Feb 1, 2012]

                    Jack Kang’s Patents

                    Interrupt Handling

                    • United States Patent 7,870,372
                    • Issued January 11, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Hsi-Cheng Chu, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang

                    Method and apparatus for idling and waking threads by a multithread processor

                    • United States Patent 7,904,703
                    • Issued March 8, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang


                    • United States Patent 7,941,643
                    • Issued May 10, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang

                    Methods, apparatuses, and system for facilitating control of multiple instruction threads

                    • United States Patent 7,757,070
                    • Issued July 13, 2010

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Hsi-Cheng Chu, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang

                    Multithread processor with thread based throttling

                    • United States Patent 7,886,131
                    • Issued February 8, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang

                    Instruction dispatching method and apparatus

                    • United States Patent 7,904,704
                    • Issued March 8, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang

                    Methods and apparatus for handling switching among threads within a multithread processor

                    • United States Patent 8,032,737
                    • Issued October 4, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Hsi-Cheng Chu

                    Event-based bandwidth allocation mode switching method and apparatus

                    • United States Patent 8,046,775
                    • Issued October 25, 2011

                    Inventors: Jack Kang, Rich, Yu-Chi Chuang

                    Jack Kang’s Publications

                    A Cal ‘Kinect-ion’

                    • Berkeley Innovations
                    • November 28, 2011

                    Authors: Jack Kang, Abby Cohn

                    Marvell’s processors for embedded systems – Discussion of the PXA510 processor and the D2Plug developer kit

                    Mr. Jack Kang of Marvell discusses the PXA510 ARM V7 based 800 MHz application processor with with 512 Kbytes of level 2 cache and it’s associated developer kit.

                    From Dewey to Digital [HigherEdTECH, Jan 6, 2011]

                    No more pencils?! No more books? No more teachers? On-demand digital content, do-it-yourself learning, new generation learning platforms, and new modes of assessment are disrupting traditional textbooks, grading, courses, and degrees. Is technology really a catalyst for change? Let us count the ways.

                    Kenneth C. Green, Founding Director, The Campus Computing Project


                    • Sean Devine, Chief Executive Officer, CourseSmart
                    • Felice Nudelman, Executive Director, Education, The New York Times Company
                    • William D. Rieders, Executive Vice President of Global New Media, Cengage Learning
                    • Jack Kang, Director, Application Processor Business Unit, Marvell

                    Video Records (~10 min each) of the From Dewey to Digital (Jan 6, 2011) panel discussion:

                    Nokia CEO: salespeople to deliver true WP7 retail experience supported by improved product management, marketing and accelerated global coverage with a full breadth of products

                    Nokia Quarter 4 results 2011 webcast [Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]:

                    prepared remarks by Stephen Elop, President & CEO

                    [02:00] … Lumia

                    In Q4 2012 Lumia was introduced to:

                    • a number of European countries
                    • Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea

                    … [remarks on January US introduction already covered by me in detail: Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]]

                    • China and Latin America in this half

                    Current situation:

                    • to date well over 1 million Lumia devices sold
                    • since mid November from zero markets to 15 markets, from zero devices to well over a million devices, from no presence in the US to being in lead in the AT&T’s LTE launch

                    From this beachhead you will see us to push forward with the sales, marketing and successive product introductions necessary to be successfull.

                    Our performance with Lumia on a country by country basis varies. Often [it] is a combination of relative brand strength and retail execution capabilities.

                    • For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.
                    • Contrarily in Germany and Spain we have seen steady, weak on weak improvement in Lumia device activations up to the Holiday season followed by a small expected dip in the last week of the year, and then a continued weak on weak growth in January.

                    .. we are in the heart of our transition, which means as we bring the first of our new devices to market there are areas we are learning and areas where we must adjust:

                    1. We are learning more about the variations in our store by store retail execution related to Lumia. Our consumer research indicates and response at CES validates that once a consumers use a Lumia device their responses are positive. Where we’ve secured strong support from the operators we need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumersand puts the Lumia device in their hands. As a result we are adjusting, we are adjusting our retail tactics by increasing the quantity and quality of our retail associate traning programs, seeding more Lumia devices into the market, and increasing point of sales activities.
                    2. With the continued focus on consumer net promoter scores we are also learning about the areas where consumers are most favorable towards the specific capabilities of Lumia and those areas upon which we need to focus. For example, we’ve received very positive feedback on the elegance of design, ease of use, and absolute performance of the products. On the other hand, consumers initially reported that battery performance needed focus. Thus we immediately adjusted to improve battery performance with software updates which are now in the market. This rapid cycle of consumer learning and Nokia response is a critical part of our improved approach to product management.
                    3. We are learning that awareness of Lumia is steadily growing, assisted by each of the successive product and country launches that continue. As awareness grows we are adjusting the focus of our marketing efforts from an aspirational aspect of a new launch towards an emphasis on a differentiated experiences and capabilitiesof the Lumia products.
                    4. We are learning about the importance of truly breaking through. Thus we are adjusting our plans to increase the rate at which we enter new markets during the course of 2012. We also are increasing the focus of our corporate resources on continued marketing campaigns, and we are working to accelerate the introduction of a full breadth of products.

                    Overall we’re pursuing this pattern. We’ll take each step up the ladder one running at a time recognizing that the competitive dynamics vary country by country. This underscores the large amount of work immidiately ahead of us to break through as the third ecosystem, to capture the attention of retail sales associates, to convert the increasing awareness around Lumia and the purchase intent, and ultimately to delight our consumers. [09:12]

                    the essence of the answers to some questions:

                    on carriers’ motivation:

                    … motivation on third ecosystem is very strong … consistency on user experience on behalf of Microsoft … it is in our favor but we need earn their respect …

                    on Lumia sell-through:

                    … different [retail] experiences and so forth … focus on when and how those [retail] experiences are different … we do see different [retail] experiences and patterns in different countries … some are related to competitive dynamics, brand strengths, retail capabilities and so forth … for example, a lot of those reports tend to focus on UK, which in the context of Europe is the hardest market in terms of breaking through the strength of the competing ecosystems and so forth … you’ll see a lot of ballance in that direction … what’s really interesting is, and this is we’re so much in very early days that you have to really dig into the details … even when you’re in the UK. I was there a couple of days ago, and as you can imagine, I went to store, to store, to store, and asking: tell me about smartphones, what’s new and all that type of thing. You’ll see a great variability of in-store performance in terms of retail experience. .. in certain stores the retail presentation is great, the associates are well trained, everything is right, and of course it correlates very closely with the success that we’re seeing in certain chains of stores, in certain areas and so forth. Very good performance. … In other areas we are not as far along as we need to be. We need better retail execution, associates are not as well prepared, or there are other dynamics that are at play. The reason I tell you about this variability is because, first of all, how people report depend very much on the experience they have, this mix from location to location in some countries. But also as you assess, OK, as we apply more resource, as we make sure that we are very focussed on getting everyone upto the base level, if not the excellent level of retail execution, we can clearly see our way through the work that need to be done in order to deliver the results that we want to continue to deliver. …       

                    on China dynamics:

                    … The Chinese operators are increasingly, on accellerated basis entering into structures where there’s effectively retail rate plan bundling is going on at the store. The operators are driving very hard for the volume of 3G data subscribers. And this is not necessary an economic measure as it is driving volume on certain networks for certain technologies. I think those targets are probably set more broadly for all of the operators [he could mean: by the state, as all three operators are majority owned by the state]. And the impact of that is that they are discovering that with very low priced devices on certain radio technologies they can drive a lot of volume at those levels. And so we are seeing, for example, a very significant uptake in a number of low-priced devices that are on CDMA, there’s also a very significant focus on the Chinese technology TD-SCDMA, again all of the low levels ought to drive those volumes. My comment in the prepared remarks is that Symbian is not well positioned today against that. We do not have Symbian CDMA products at all, so we are not participating in that part of the market. So as that part of the market grows our addressable market has gone down because of that. In TD-SCDMA we do have some products in that space but not at the price points and configurations that is the real focus of this market. …

                    … We have not yet announced our specific products for the Chinese market but I will say that when we first announced our launch plans, I think all the way back in October, we did highlight that we would have CDMA based Windows Phone products and TD-SCDMA Windows Phone products. That thing said it is the case that we have work to do to successively drive the prices down further and further and further. That will take a bit of time but this is clearly the pattern you are going to see us on the months ahead. …

                    [I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
                    The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012]
                    China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum [Jan 21, 2012]
                    China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]]

                    on differentiating the Windows Phone:

                    … the overall user experience is differentiated against Android … good response from the customers on Music service included, location services (Map and Drive) … partnerships: e.g. ESPN … in addition we have to ensure that the retail experience is differentiated … even price, e.g. in US/T-Mobile case already …

                    [I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
                    Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]
                    The precursor of 2012 smartphone war: Nokia Lumia vs. Samsung Omnia W in India [Jan 3, 2012]
                    The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011]
                    Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [Oct 26, 2011]]

                    on rapid scalability for lower prices of Chinese market:

                    … a critical consideration for us … work is under way with Microsoft … you will see a stepwise progress in that direction in the periods ahead.

                    on the mobile phones business:

                    … feature phones and how that market is perceived is less about the collection of features and what it does and doesn’t do, but it is more about the price span, the opportunity to drive, increase sales in that area, to serve consumers who don’t want to spend the money, or don’t have the money to spend on what we would today consider smartphone and so forth. …

                    [I have a deep and more current information on that:
                    Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [Jan 9, 2012]]

                    Nokia Lumia Momentum Map [Nokia Maps Blog, Jan 15, 2012]

                    If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive map is at least worth ten thousand words! To coincide with the launch of Nokia Lumia in USA; we launched the Nokia Lumia Momentum Map – an interactive way to check out the countries where Nokia Lumia smart phones are either available or will be coming soon. You can also check out the tweets, videos and photos from users about the Lumia series.

                    The content of the Momentum Map as of Jan 15, 2012:

                    Country Lumia 710 Lumia 800
                    Germany Now Now
                    Netherlands Now Now
                    Italy Now Now
                    Russia Now Now
                    India Now Now
                    Hong Kong Now Now
                    Taiwan Now Now
                    Singapore Now Now
                    Spain Jan 11, 2012 Now
                    United Kingdom Feb 1, 2012 Now
                    USA (+ Lumia 900
                    “in coming months”)
                    Jan 11, 2012 Coming Soon
                    France n.a. Now
                    Austria Coming Soon Now
                    Hungary Jan 20, 2012 Jan 20, 2012
                    Greece Jan 21, 2012 Jan 20, 2012
                    Portugal Feb 2, 2012 Jan 26, 2012
                    Switzerland n.a. Jan 13, 2012
                    Denmark n.a. Jan 20, 2012
                    Sweden n.a. Jan 23, 2012
                    Norway Feb 1, 2012 Feb 1, 2012
                    Canada Feb, 2012 Feb, 2012
                    Belgium Mar 1, 2012 Feb 1, 2012

                    More information:
                    Nokia Q4 2011 net sales EUR 10.0 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.06 (reported EPS EUR -0.29) Nokia 2011 net sales EUR 38.7 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.29 (reported EPS EUR -0.31) [Nokia press release, Jan 26, 2012]
                    Quarter 4 report tables in xls [Jan 26, 2012]
                    Nokia Names Siilasmaa as Chairman to Replace Retiring Ollila – BusinessWeek

                    … Nokia investors lost more than 60 billion euros ($79 billion) in share value after Apple Inc. leapfrogged it with the iPhone. Siilasmaa will oversee Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop’s efforts to win customers as Apple and Google Inc. expand into new markets. … An investor in Finnish startups, Siilasmaa may also broker more tie-ups with new companies such as “Angry Birds” maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
                    “I don’t want to leave a fortune to my kids,” Siilasmaa told a panel on startup investment …

                    Nordic Chairman of the Year 2009: Speech of thanks by Risto Siilasmaa, F-Secure Oyj. [Feb 18, 2010]

                    Relative to that media reports are very narrow focused as you could even see from the below entries considered the best among them:

                    Nokia Posts Huge Loss [The Wall Street Journal, Jan 27, 2011]

                    Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said Nokia’s shipments were in line with expectations. ‘Overall, what we have been looking for is an improvement over the third quarter, and we got that. But while it seems Nokia is on track, there is still a lot more to do,’ she said.

                    Nokia CEO taps salesmen to assure Lumia push [SlashGear, Jan 27, 2012]

                    Over the last year when it came to Windows Phone, we saw a lovely looking user interface fall victim to less than stellar engagement and interest on the part of the public – Stephen Elop this week says that it’s the work of the salesmen, not the manufacturer, to make the final drop of the device into the hands on the consumer. Without a doubt there’s a certain flair to the Lumia line of smartphones being released both here in the USA and abroad this year, but without the folks in the stores actually pointing people to the hands-on equipment, there’s certainly no chance of a big hit in the engagement environment. Elop let the world know in Nokia’s sales call what he expects from store employees in the very near future.

                    Without that final point-of-sale touch, all else will certainly fail, at least that’s what Nokia’s top minds seem to be saying this week. Though the devices are perfectly legitimate in their build and execution, and the advertisements surrounding them may be lovely, there’s always a third step that must be taken. Elop said thusly this week in Nokia’s sales call:

                    “We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands. For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.” – Elop

                    And the comments were mostly supportive of that:

                    Joseph ParadisModerator1 day ago

                    I think he has a good point. I had known about WP7 for quite some time before the launch and had already chosen the phone I wanted. The last step for me was going to the store and getting a little hands-on to seal the deal. I had 3 sales reps (from 3 different stores) tell me to check out the Android phones instead (?!). One told me that the Windows OS is no good because its buggy, the other two were just astounded that I was interested in a WP7. I knew way more about the specs of those phones (and a good count of Android phones) than the sales rep. There are a lot of people who I think would like Nokia WP7 phones and other WP7 phones, but kind of go to the store without much knowledge and get carted around by these reps who may have ulterior motives.

                    Stephens_ElopedModerator1 day ago

                    I think anyone who is reading a website like SlashGear is the kind of person who probably knows more than the average salesperson in a mobile phone store. Definitely. I’ve had the experience of being “too knowledgeable” myself on many occasion. You stand there listening to false information and you’re either tempted to let it fly, (poor guy didn’t any training) or if they’re douches, you just say, “No, you’re wrong, the N9/L800/L910 isn’t all aluminum, it’s all poly-carbonate, which is a plastic.”

                    I think salespeople in the States are the worst – they’re so entrenched with Android and iPhone (and also any OEM + WP that ISN’T Nokia), that unless Nokia say, “ok salesteam, here’s a much, much bigger commission for you if you sell a Lumia”, then they haven’t got much chance of changing the mindset of the average American consumer. It’s not a Nokia friendly world here, so they’ve got to up their game. TV ads ain’t nowhere near enough.

                    CleverModerator22 hours ago

                    It’s definitely the salespeople who make it hard for WP7 to take off. Phone carriers make their biggest profits from sales of Android handsets and are able to load the Android phones with their bloatware, therefore the sales staff are trained to push these phones over iPhone and WP7 handsets.
                    Here in Australia our stores are all Android themed and one store in Melbourne has a whole floor called “Android Land”, where phone shoppers can explore and learn all about the Android ecosystem. Now that there are some decent WP7 handsets coming out, I think Microsoft really needs to do three things to get their OS to take off:

                    1 – Get some handsets out to carriers and stores. Only 1 carrier out of 4 in Australia even sells WP7 devices and they are outdated and you’d be lucky to even find them on display in stores. I think a lot of people would like to by a Nokia N900 but if it takes another 12 months before they even hit our shelves I’m sure we will have lost interest.

                    2 – Work with carriers to not only sell WP7 devices but to actually push them. Make the devices resonably priced and give carriers incentives in the way of good subsidies to entice them to get their staff to actually push WP7 devices.

                    3 – Market WP7 so people actually know it exists and know to look for it when they do walk into a phone store. Apart from us tech heads I would bet that half of the population doesn’t even know that WP7 exists. People who don’t know about something are a lot less likely to purchase it. Where are the TV ads telling us why we should be buying a WP7 device?

                    Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO [The Register, Jan 27, 2012]

                    Incentivising the McJobs

                    Analysis Stephen Elop got a pretty indulgent reception from analysts, and most of the press yesterday, after delivering some shocking results. Nokia turned a profit of €2bn into a loss of €1bn in the new boss’s first full year; volumes are down by 29 per cent; sales of the new Windows phone are unremarkable (to put it generously); and Elop has scrapped guidance for the rest of the year. [Summary] News like this would normally have analysts reaching for the panic button – but not today. Why would this be?

                    Well, obviously, much can be explained by the appreciation that Nokia is in rapid transition – it isn’t even a full year since the Elopcalypse. Elop got the bad news out of the way in his (still) remarkable Burning Platforms memo. But it’s also because he was quite unexpectedly frank and forthcoming about why Nokia isn’t making more headway with its shiny new platform – the one that isn’t burning. Elop explained that Nokia has a very stiff learning curve ahead of it in consumer retail. He also said that sales staff in the channel weren’t helping. He even detailed this country-by-country. I’m surprised more Nokia-watchers haven’t remarked on this – or why Elop dwelled on retail in such detail.

                    Nokia staff should be glad he did, because of a forlorn sight I saw last November. Just as the Christmas shopping season was getting underway on London’s Oxford Street, I saw a quite ominous sight. The flagship West End Carphone Warehouse store, next to John Lewis, had large posters in the window announcing the arrival of the Lumia 800. There were two live Lumia 800s available for curious punters to play with – of around half a dozen such working retail models from rivals. Except they weren’t live. They were completely dead. And although Nokia had secured the prime corner spot for its devices, it may as well have hidden them on some remote industrial wasteland. The shop was very busy, but nobody came and asked if they could see the Lumia working.

                    If Nokia is to claw its way back into contention, this won’t do. Getting one million Lumias stocked really isn’t a terrific achievement considering that the six largest European markets had the 800, and some pretty significant Asian markets had the 710. The needle hasn’t moved.

                    “There are areas where we are learning and areas where we must adjust. First, we are learning more about the variations in our store-by-store retail execution related to Lumia,” said Elop yesterday.

                    He then re-emphasised how important it was to show people the Windows UI, and suggested that quality of the sales droids was very variable:

                    “We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands,” he added, correctly. And he singled out some of the domestic channel here, suggesting he hadn’t been impressed by what he saw:

                    “For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.”

                    I know several first-time smartphone buyers and Windows Phone wasn’t even on the radar. People don’t know it exists. In the UK, Android gained an early and enthusiastic foothold, which two years on translates into a mature and knowledgeable market. The Samsung Galaxy SII was the best-selling phonein the UK at Christmas, by some distance. For the average punter a buying decision begins with a binary choice between Apple and BlackBerry, and if it’s a touchscreen then it’s between the iPhone and “one of the other lot”. The other lot is Android. Sales staff in stores like Carphone aren’t uniquely thick – they’re like all savvy retail staff – they want their commission, and they know there’s a huge appetite for Android out there.

                    It’s a sign of how things have changed. Nokia can no longer play hardball with its channel partners – today, it really needs their help. Windows has made no impression on the market and gaining people’s attention – which includes aligning the incentives of the channel – is going to be much more expensive than analysts realise.

                    I’m onto my second Lumia, and I like the UI very much indeed. But I still haven’t seen a civilian – someone who isn’t an analyst, journalist or Nokia industry partner – carrying a Lumia in the wild. Have you?