Tag Archives: samsung

Samsung Profit Growth Slows Down, As Galaxy Faces Heat From iPhone And Cheaper Rivals


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Samsung’s latest financial results underscored slowing growth in the smartphone business and its increased rivalry with Apple, which seems to be closing the gap, at least in the U.S.

Samsung reported its first decline in quarterly profit in two years for the December quarter. Fourth quarter net income was 7.22 trillion won ($6.7 billion), lower than what the analysts had expected. Operating income for Samsung’s mobile business during October to December period remained flat at 5.47 trillion won.

While consumers in both India and China are expected to buy over half a billion smartphones this year, they are going to look for cheaper versions, triggering a pricing battle. This basically means lower profit margins for Samsung’s Galaxy range of phones — the company’s biggest and most profitable business division.

With Apple iPhone at the higher end of the market (and even pushing lower-priced iPhones in markets like India), and aggressive rivals such as Lenovo and Micromax selling much cheaper versions of Android phones, this year is going to be tough for Samsung.

Investor concerns on Samsung’s ability to keep growing its mobile phone business became visible early this year, when the company lost $8 billion of the market value. According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung shipped only 9 million units of Galaxy S4 during the fourth quarter ending December, much lower than the 13 million units it had expected.

Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee even warned employees last January to watch its back and continue to innovate in new business, as competition increases and the global economy continues to drag.

Earlier this year, Apple finally managed to strike a deal with China Mobile for selling iPhones in the country. Tim Cook also said that Apple sold more iPhones in China than ever before during the quarter. Moreover, Apple now seems to be working on bigger-sized iPhones to address the opportunity in markets like China where many consumers still prefer the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note over iPhones that offer 4-inch screen.

Among new launches planned for this year, Samsung said it will release Galaxy S5 by April and at least one other wearable device during 2014.

The company attributed lower growth to currency fluctuations and one-time bonus payments to workers to celebrate the 20th anniversary of chairman Lee’s new management strategy.

To be sure, Samsung is still the world’s biggest smartphone maker, accounting for nearly half of all the sales, but the challenge is more in terms of protecting its turf — both in terms of volumes and profitability.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/23/samsung-profit-growth-slows-down-as-galaxy-faces-heat-from-iphone-and-cheaper-rivals/

As World Clamors for Cheap Phones, Workers Riot at Samsung Factory Site


Hanoi Skyline. Image: andersofsydney/Flickr

Hanoi, Vietnam. Image: andersofsydney/Flickr

Workers at a Samsung factory construction site in Vietnam have clashed violently with local police, underscoring the sometimes extreme cost of meeting the worldwide demand for inexpensive smartphones and tablets.

Motorbikes and security guard housing went up in flames during the riot today at the $2 billion factory complex, The Associated Press reports. Eleven people were injured, including one police officer, the wire service says. Samsung is apparently moving some of its manufacturing to the site in an effort to further reduce costs.

In a statement sent to WIRED, Samsung blamed the incident on a disagreement between construction workers and security guards over safety protocols at the site. The injured were sent to nearby hospitals for treatment, the company says. “Construction work in the area was not affected,” the statement reads. ”We will do our utmost to prevent any such incidents from recurring in the future.”

Courted by the nominally Communist Vietnamese government, the AP says, tech companies are moving production from China to Vietnam in search of cheaper labor. Smartphone parts are made in China, and the phones assembled for less in Vietnam. As Apple knows all too well, such monetary savings often come at a steep price. At the Chinese factories that help build iPhones, poor working conditions have lead to riots and suicides.

Despite the scandals surrounding the making of iPhones in China, however, we’re sure to see similar stories emerge from Vietnam and other countries with low labor costs. The pressure to keep phone prices low — coupled with the eagerness of governments to get the business of tech giants — creates prime conditions for worker abuse. Consumer electronics industry analysts say that lower-end devices are a main source of growth in the mobile sector, especially in emerging markets, and handset makers are racing to hit low-as-possible price points to put phones and tablets in the hands of as many of those would-be customers as possible.

Ironically, Apple is one company more likely to escape ongoing damage to its image caused by the kind of violence seen at the Samsung site. Despite the release of the cheaper 5c model, the iPhone is still being positioned as a premium product. Though the sheer number of iPhones Apple makes to meet the strong demand puts immense pressure on factories, Apple’s decision to sit out the race to the bottom would seem to give the company more room to absorb the costs of improved working conditions.

In the meantime, billions of people still don’t have smartphones. In the race to put mobile devices in their hands, victory will likely go to whomever gets there first and cheapest. If that’s true, clashes like the one today are far from over.

Marcus Wohlsen

Samsung Electronics Q4 guidance widely misses street estimates


SEOUL Mon Jan 6, 2014 6:58pm EST

A man walks out of Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A man walks out of Samsung Electronics’ headquarters in Seoul January 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said October-December operating profit fell 18 percent to 8.3 trillion won ($7.8 billion) from the prior quarter’s record earnings, missing analyst estimates, due primarily to a one-off special bonus.

Samsung is bracing itself for its weakest smartphone profit growth this year since it started making the devices in 2007, as arch rival Apple Inc challenges its domination in China’s $80 billion market.

Samsung’s mobile devices business, which earns two thirds of the company’s profit, will come under pressure when Apple makes its phones available from January 17 via China Mobile Ltd, through which Samsung has been selling smartphones for around seven years.

Apple is also widely expected to sell smartphones with larger screens come autumn when it traditionally announces products, neutralizing a selling point that Samsung has enjoyed since introducing its Galaxy Note in late 2011.

“Even taking into account one-off costs, the profit is lower than expected. Samsung has not provided details, but smartphone profit may have fared worse than expected, given increased marketing expenses,” said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Investment & Securities.

The guidance, released on Tuesday ahead of full quarterly results scheduled for January 24, was lower than a 9.75 trillion won Thomson Reuters’ Starmine SmartEstimate of 23 analysts, which gives greater weighting to the more accurate analysts.

At 8.3 trillion won, it was even below the most bearish forecast of 8.8 trillion won, and was the lowest since the 8.06 trillion won of the third quarter of 2012.

The reading would be 18 percent less than the record 10.2 trillion won of July-September as Apple enjoyed buoyant sales in the United States and Japan during the year-end holiday season.

Fourth-quarter earnings were also likely pulled down by a special bonus related to the 20th anniversary of the “New Management” strategy of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, which analyst estimates put at 300 billion to 700 billion won.

“Samsung’s special incentive payments to employees including domestic and overseas units appear to have been much larger than the market expected; marketing costs of its mobile business might have also been larger,” said Kim Young-chan, tech analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

The South Korean firm estimated its fourth-quarter sales at 59 trillion won, versus a market forecast of 61 trillion won.

Samsung shares have been pummeled in recent weeks by 22 analysts downgrading fourth-quarter earnings estimates over the past 30 days.

The shares, worth $190 billion, fell 10 percent over the past fortnight to a 4-month low last week, wiping off market value to the tune of $19 billion – equal to the total value of shares of Sony Corp.

The won’s rise to a five-year high against the U.S. dollar has also been prompting investors to sell, as a strong won reduces the value of Samsung’s repatriated earnings.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Joyce Lee; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/06/us-samsung-idUSBREA0517720140106

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab And Note Tablets Go “Pro”


Samsung’s latest tablets feature cutting-edge hardware designed to go head-to-head with Apple and Microsoft.

http://readwrite.com/2014/01/06/samsung-galaxy-note-tab-pro-ces-2014#awesm=~osdl4gKc9vC9S0

Dan Rowinski January 06, 2014 Mobile

Samsung’s strategy when it comes to smartphones and tablets is very simple: make everything and anything and fill every imaginable market niche there is. Work. Play. Work and play and every possible combination in between. That’s pretty much what Samsung is aiming at in the gadget world.

Samsung introduced two new tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday. This time, Samsung is headed upmarket with “Pro” devices the company claims are perfect for both work and watching shows or playing games.

The Pro tablets come in both of Samsung’s primary tablet lines, the Tab and the Note. The Note distinguishes itself by integrating Samsung’s smart “S Pen” stylus. The tablets feature multi-window multitasking much like the company’s earlier large tablets. The Pros come with Cisco WebEx videoconferencing software and full size virtual keyboards.

The Pro series doesn’t skimp on hardware. The 12-inch tablets come with 2.3 GHz quad core processor, 3GB RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat. The battery is one of the biggest on the tablet market at 9,500 mAh. The 12-inch variety weighs 750 grams. Samsung will also release 8.4-inch Pro tablets that weigh less than 500 grams.

Samsung threw cutting-edge wireless technology into the Pros, including fast wireless-AC MIMO, LTE and a “network booster” feature that claimes to integrate the two.

Samsung is going after both Apple and Microsoft with these tablets, especially the Microsoft Surface line, which runs Windows RT 8.1. With its amped-up hardware, Samsung can rightfully say it has some of the most powerful tablets on the market for the business professional. Samsung typically doesn’t chase other manufacturers when it comes to hardware, and instead favors the most advanced components available.

http://readwrite.com/2014/01/06/samsung-galaxy-note-tab-pro-ces-2014#awesm=~osdl4gKc9vC9S0

Samsung Addresses Investor Fears And Growth Opportunity At CES 2014


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This year at Samsung’s CES special press conference on the day before the conference kicks off, the tone was somewhat different from years past: CEO and Chairman Kwon Oh Hyun started things off with an explanation of the market opportunity that stands before Samsung for the future. In some ways, it felt like a do-over of the special conference Samsung held last year for investors and analysts, which was designed to allay fears that the company has nowhere left to grow.

Samsung essentially argued that its growth will come from a deepening desire for innovation and technological change from consumers. Hyun noted that during the past 10 years consumers have embraced change faster than ever before, and that during the next decade they’ll embrace new tech even faster. The innovation will take place in 4 key areas that Hyun said will “change our world.”

Connectivity is the first of the four. Reach of smartphones and internet is growing, and adoption of these devices and services is skyrocketing around the world. It’s no secret that this is the case, of course, but it paves the way for Samsung’s vision of a broadly-defined connected home.

A second pillar is urbanization. Half the world population lives in cities, Hyun noted, and that will be 60 percent by 2030. As populations grow, cities need to get smarter, Hyun says, and Samsung will help them do that. Plus, populations are aging, and in 10 years 1 billion people will be over 60. Hyun asked how tech make the lives of an aging population more comfortable.

IMG_0391Finally, there’s an opportunity to address changing climate and the challenges that brings up. Extreme weather events such as hurricanes have increased by 200 percent since 1990, he says. the home becomes the important place in everyone’s life in times of dramatic weather changes. So what tech will consumers need in their home/shelter of the future? It has to protect, be fliexible and be responsive, and those are the guiding values Samsung is using to form its overall market strategy.

To protect means keeping people safe from outside threats including diseases, pollution and crime, so it’s likely we’ll see more connected security and home air quality/health monitoring gadgets. To be flexible means adapting to the changing nature of the average person’s work/life balance. Hyun noted that 11 million Americans now bring their work home and that number is always growing. As a result, our home spaces need to be open and multifunctional, with the ability to create and consume content anywhere, and any time.

Finally, our homes need to be responsive, which means according to Hyun that we want homes that understand our needs and show us key information and put us in control of our lives. Combined, Hyun says these three trends will shape the future home and provide Samsung with a huge opportunity for growth. Part of why is because the company makes chips, display panels and other parts, as well as devices, services and more.

The company pointed to its new Smart Home product on display at CES as a sign of where it’s seeing opportunity. This features things like remote doctor’s visits via TV for health and safety, as well as simultaneous TV viewing in the living room and on screens built into appliances for a more flexible living space that makes spending time with family easier. There are also new control interfaces, like using your Galaxy Gear to tell your home you’re going out and having it turn off air conditioning and lights as you exit.

michael-bay-samsungFrom this big picture perspective, Samsung then brought out other executives to look at the various parts of its business in more detail, but arguably the most important message was this first one delivered from the helm about where Samsung sees its opportunity lying in the years to come. Sure, they trotted out Mark Cuban and Michael Bay (who choked massively, getting out barely a sentence before walking off stage thanks to a teleprompter fail). They drew a lot of eager photographers close to the stage with a totally useless “Bendable TV” that can go from standard flat to gimmicky curved screen with a button press. They introduced new tablets that actually do seem to do a lot more with Android than most company’s light skinning has done thus far.

Across all of this, though, the main message was clearly one of reassurance. Samsung ended last year and started this one off with some significant drops in share value, and it needs to communicate more than just a continued commitment to making top-tier smartphones and tablets. The big picture vision of a connected future does posit a lot of growth potential for the right company, but it remains to be seen whether the parts demoed on stage today will add up to Hyun’s rosy picture of a tomorrow when Samsung makes your everything.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/06/samsung-addresses-investor-fears-and-growth-opportunity-at-ces-2014/

A Smartwatch With Brains And Style


http://readwrite.com/2013/12/30/qualcomm-toq-smartwatch-sponsored#awesm=~orJxbp7XCRUQsb

It’s early in the smartwatch revolution, but one device has a visible advantage. (Sponsored by Qualcomm)

December 30, 2013 Body
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Sponsored by Qualcomm® Toq™—the smartwatch that’s always on, active and visible in any light. As a promotional post, this post reflects the views of the writer, not ReadWrite’s editors.

The arm race has just gotten started, but the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch has a distinctive edge: It makes your most important information more visible than the rest.

It’s the only color smartwatch whose display features crisp, clear images, even in the brightest daylight. The larger surface and color touchscreen display is always on and active for days between charges.

With the Qualcomm Toq, you can leave your smartphone in your pocket or purse. The Toq receives instant updates from your smartphone via Bluetooth wireless. With a flick of the wrist, the device displays notifications for calls, texts, email and more. Using Qualcomm’s own AllJoyn technology, the Toq does run its own apps. But the smartwatch is meant to sync with Android smartphones and can be customized to display just the information you need.

No More “On” Button

Watches don’t have “on-off” buttons, nor does the Toq smartwatch. Its screen is always on and always ready to go, giving you your key information with just a glance.

Now you can stay current without reaching into your pocket or purse. No more scrolling through notifications and checking your smartphone hundreds of times a day.

The Qualcomm runs its own apps and syncs with Android phones. The Qualcomm runs its own apps and syncs with Android phones.

The stunning graphics are made possible by the Qualcomm Mirasol reflective display. Instead of using a typical backlit display found in other smartwatches and some tablet computers, sensors in the watch use ambient light around it so you can see your screen anywhere. If it’s too dark, a double tap on the wristband above the face of the Toq turns it on.

The Qualcomm Mirasol display makes the Toq the first smartwatch to use micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS)-based Interferometric Modulation (IMOD) technology. This makes the display experience similar to a high-definition television screen. The bottom line: You won’t battle the sun to see your important information.

And where other displays gulp power, the Toq runs on a low-power 200MHz Cortex M3 processor. This means the Toq can be constantly on and active for longer between charges.

Get A Charge—Wirelessly

The Qualcomm Toq is also innovative in its wireless charging system. Using Qualcomm WiPower LE Magnetic Resonance technology, the smartwatch eliminates the need for multiple chargers and wires. Simply resting in its cradle, the Toq does not require very precise alignment of devices—just drop it in.

Never Miss A Call Or Skip A Beat

If the Qualcomm Toq looks good, the sound will impress you too. With high-definition wireless stereo headsets you can really pamper yourself. The optional Toq Bluetooth earbuds feature high-quality stereo audio with a dedicated tweeter and woofer for a superior sound. The headsets are also lightweight and sit above the ear canal to prevent hearing loss.

The controls on the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch let you play the songs you want from your smartphone in the order you want them.

The time has come to receive notifications and alerts from your wrist. You can order the Qualcomm Toq now.

Sponsored by Qualcomm® Toq™—the smartwatch that’s always on, active and visible in any light. As a promotional post, this post reflects the views of the writer, not ReadWrite’s editors.

http://readwrite.com/2013/12/30/qualcomm-toq-smartwatch-sponsored#awesm=~orJxbp7XCRUQsb

 

The Best And Worst Gadgets Of 2013


Posted 23 hours ago by (@drizzled)
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The Best And Worst Gadgets Of 2013

2013 was a heady year: a time of hope; a time for sadness; a time for twerking; and a time for doge.

But it was also a time for gadgets. As we wait for 2013 to come to a close and hope for brighter things for the year to come, here’s a look at the gadgets we loved, the ones we hated, and the ones that we found aesthetically offensive.


The Good

fitbit-force

The Fitbit Force

Fitness trackers are many and varied, but Fitbit consistently delivers top-notch hardware. The Fitbit Force is the latest. It takes the successful formula of the wrist-borne Fitbit Flex and adds a basic screen so you can get information right from your wrist, instead of having to open an app on your phone every time you want to check your progress (in more detail than via a few lighted dots).

pebble-outdoors

The Pebble

Many tried to make a smartwatch people wanted to wear and use this year, and many failed. Pebble succeeded. Success for a smartwatch still doesn’t look like massive millions of units sold, but it looks better than when the Pebble team tried this a few years ago with the inPulse smartwatch for BlackBerry. “The what?” you say. Exactly.

ipad-mini-front-hand

iPad mini with Retina Display

The iPad mini with Retina display takes the winning form factor of the original iPad mini and slaps a super high-res screen in there. It’s essentially a no-compromise machine, in that it’s cheaper than the iPad Air, and has the same processor, computing power and battery life. Plus if you have big pockets, it’s pocketable.

raspberry pi CC

Raspberry Pi

Kids need coding skills if they want to survive in our dystopian future. The ability to hack a circuit board could be the difference between eternal servitude and mastery over a private robot army by 2050 and we all know it. This educational tool is the perfect, cheap apocalypse survival kit. It’s technically from last year, but we contend it had more impact this year when production really spooled up.

kindle-paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon knows when it’s got a good thing going. Last year’s Kindle Paperwhite was a good thing, and this year’s update keeps all the good and adds some better stuff. Like faster page refresh, greater text/page contrast and more even lighting.

The Bad

gearhandson4

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Pebble made a good smartwatch, and Samsung made a dumb one. They made weird ads to try to promote their dumb smartwatch, too, which helped nothing and creeped out the entire world. Plus it only works with a small pool of Galaxy devices, and it has terrible battery life and looks awful. Go home Samsung, you’re drunk.

gamestick

Gamestick

Android-based game console” is a phrase we wrote so many times this year. So. Many. Times. And it turns out, they mostly blow. Atop the pile of those that miss is the Gamestick, a crowdfunded disaster that no one loves.

ouya

Ouya

The Ouya is like the Gamestick, in that it was a disappointing “Android-based game console,” but to its credit, it isn’t the Gamestick. It’s still not great by any stretch of the imagination, but huge hype didn’t help, and it has decent niche appeal for anyone who really likes emulation and would rather have something permanent instead of plugging their phone into their TV repeatedly.

leap motion

Leap Motion

Speaking of startup gadgets that really blew it in 2013, the Leap Motion Controller doesn’t live up to its massive hype at all. Sure, if you’re a billionaire inventor like Tony Stark or Elon Musk it’s great for designing space ships or giant death airships, but for regular people, trying to, say, browse the web, you’re going to try this once, hate it and stick it in a drawer.

The Ugly

digitalpotty

CTA Digital iPotty

Kids need to learn to use the toilet, and they should learn early that they also need to use iPads while they’re doing their business. So why not combine potty training and tablet use into a single device? The answer is that you shouldn’t do this because God will never forgive you if you do.

glass_google_flickr_blue

Google Glass

Maybe face-based computing is going to work eventually, but as-is, Google Glass looks like garbage. It makes your face look bad. Don’t try denying it. Google has released plenty of images of models wearing it and none of them look any good, so you with your normal-person face will look plain ol’ stupid.

lg-g2

LG G2

The LG G2 is a great phone, as it is essentially a slightly improved version of the excellent Nexus 5, albeit with some LG bloatware crud. But LG went out of its mind and put the wake/sleep and volume rocker button on the back, just to infuriate me to the point where I would like to do murder. You couldn’t choose a less ergonomic place to put that button, LG. Not if you ran a thousand focus groups to figure out more inconvenient positioning.

nintendo2ds-screen

Nintendo 2DS

I ain’t mad at you for dropping one of the ‘D’s Nintendo – you never needed three to begin with. And this device is actually pretty great, and I’d buy this instead of a 3DS if I didn’t already have one. Still, it’s not good-looking. It is, in fact, ugly. Good looks cost money, though, so uglification for a budget device may be strategy, not a stupid mistake.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/31/the-best-and-worst-gadgets-of-the-year/