Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘smartphones’ Category

Unicorns Fold

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Well this has been a week.

If you’ve not been keeping up with the Samsung Galaxy fold saga, The Verge’s latest report indicates that iFixit has “decided to honor a Samsung request to pull its Galaxy Fold teardown off the Internet,” even though the company apparently didn’t make the request directly.

Why is Samsung doing this? We’ve asked for comment, obviously, but we suspect an answer may not be forthcoming. That leaves us with a whole pile of possible reasons we can only speculate on.
On the charitable end of the interpretation scale is that Samsung is definitely reworking the Fold, the design will change, and Samsung doesn’t want to have a teardown out there for a device it isn’t ever going to ship. Possibilities get successively less charitable from there. Perhaps the partner who provided the Fold to iFixit wasn’t supposed to, and Samsung is just enforcing a contract.

It’s too easy, I know, but I can’t help myself…

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’

When the dealin’s done

Thank you, Kenny Rogers.

Okay, well, now that the country music interlude is over, let’s see what’s up on the unicorn IPO front.

CNBC is reporting that Slack has filed for an IPO via a direct listing, indicating the company took a loss of $138M on $400M in revenue.

What, all those free Zooms I do aren’t making Zoom zoom faster??

Uber, on the other hand, has set an IPO range of $44 to $50 per share, and is expecting to raise up to $10.35B on an $84B valuation.

And here’s a blast from your DoCoMo past. For those of you remember NTT’s DoCoMo iMode phone service from Japan, one of the world’s first mobile app ecosystems way back in 1998…well, NTT DoCoMo (which is now Japan’s biggest cellphone service provider) is backing the magic AR unicorn Magic Leap to the tune of $280M.

Magic Leap has already raised $2.3B, so what’s $280M more among unicorns?

This move would obviously allow ML to make the magic leap right into the Japanese market.

The New York Times is reporting that the company is already planning to reopen its Series D fund-raising, acknowledging the “costs of its business.”

Damn, those unicorns are expensive, though some more than others.

Written by turbotodd

April 26, 2019 at 12:21 pm

When the Chips Are Down

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We now know more about the Apple/Qualcomm settlement.

It was all (or mostly) about 5G.

No sooner was the settlement announced that Intel announced it was pulling out of the 5G smartphone chip market.

Apple and Qualcomm’s six-year licensing agreement will help ensure the launch of the first 5G iPhone in 2020.

According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, the settlement included an undisclosed payment to Qualcomm by Apple, which "several weeks ago asked its suppliers to begin testing the chipmaker’s 5G modems."

Intel told Nikkei Asian in a statement that there was "no clear path to profitability and positive returns in the smartphone little business. That said, 5G remains a strategic priority across Intel and we continue to invest in our 5G network infrastructure business."

Apparently, Apple had long been concerned that Intel could not meet its 5G schedule, likely prompting the settlement with Qualcomm.

Nikkei Asian notes that Intel had been the sole modem chip supplier for iPhones since 2018, which, ironically, were due to Apple’s legal dispute with Qualcomm

What to do when the chips are down?!

Written by turbotodd

April 17, 2019 at 10:30 am

Apple, Qualcomm Settle

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Well I certainly didn’t see that one coming!

CNBC is reporting the Apple and Qualcomm has settled their royalty and patent dispute that was going to trial in San Diego this week.

According to the report, as part of the settlement all legal action worldwide between the two companies will be dropped, and Qualcomm said it expected a $2 increase in earnings per share as its stock rose over 15% on the announcement.

Apple shares were up less than 1%.

The trial started yesterday and was expected to last until May, according to the report from CNBC, and both sides were asking for billions in damages.

Their legal battle centered around modem chips and had been going on since 2016.

Apple had bought those chips from Qualcomm for years, but “chafed under Qualcomm’s prices and requirement that any company using its chips would also pay licensing fees for its patents.”

Here’s the lede from the Apple press release:

Qualcomm and Apple today announced an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm. The companies also have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.

Written by turbotodd

April 16, 2019 at 2:37 pm

A Foldable Phone

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Happy Monday.

We have ourselves another weekend-announced tech deal, this time SAP announcing that it would purchase survey-software provider Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash.

Axios reports that "this would be the largest-ever purchase of a VC-backed enterprise software company" and "the third-largest sale of any SaaS company (behind Oracle buying NetSuite for $9.3B, and SAP buying Concur for $8.3B).

AP CEO Bill McDermott said in a conference call that the Qualtrics IPO was already over-subscribed, and that this deal will be as transformative for SAP as buying Instagram was for Facebook — with SAP being able to merge its massive trove of operational data with Qualtrics’ collection of user experience data.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been keeping an eye on that nifty-looking foldable Galaxy F smartphone, Yonhap News Agency is reporting that it will launch in March, "along with a fifth-generation (5G) network-powered Galaxy S10."

Yonhap reports that the eagerly anticipated foldable smartphone is expected to launch at the Mobile World Congress in February, but that it is not expected to support 5G. So all that folding will have to transpire on existing 4G networks.

Hey, a slower folding phone is better than no folding phone, right?

And if you’ve already started that Christmas shopping binge, looking for the latest and greatest gaming console, you might want to hit "pause" just long enough to read this effort from The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Needleman.

She writes that tech giants are "trying to bring videogames the same streaming capabilities that gave rise to Netflix and Spotify," which could potentially do an end around traditional gaming consoles.

I wouldn’t short the X-Box or Playstation just yet, but there is the possibility those consoles will have to reinvent themselves to stay up to speed with the Jones’s…errr, I meant to say, the Streamers.

Written by turbotodd

November 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Peak Smartphone?

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Samsung’s new S9 and S9+ smartphones are in just in time for Mobile World Congress (MWC) to kick into high gear.  What a coincidence!

The Verge has a hands-on look at the two devices, claiming they have the same look and fell as the S8, and a welcomed and improved fingerprint reader placement. The S9 will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, and the S9 and S9 Plus will work with the Gear VR that launched last year (as well as with Google’s Daydream View headset). 

The Verge also makes much of the S9’s new camera system, with a single lens on the S9 and a dual camera on the S9 Plus, noting that the new camera is Samsung’s first with a mechanically adjustable aperture and can switch between a very bright f/1.5 to a smaller f/2.4. For true photo junkies, I would imagine the “manual” overrides are much welcomed.

Pre-orders from Samsung and T-Mobile start March 2 for $720 for the S9 and $840 for the S9 Plus. AT&T comes in at $79/$915, $800/$930 from Verizon, and $792/$912 on Sprint.

Back in Barcelona, MWC gets underway as worldwide smartphone sales have dropped for the very first time after years of unbridled growth. The decline, 5.6 percent YOY in the last quarter of 2017, can likely be attributed to a confluence of factors, including consumers moving more upscale in the smartphone feature sets and thus being able to hold on to their devices longer than they used to.

Or could it just be we’ve all grown weary of looking down all the time, ignoring everyone and everything around us?

Me, my iPhone SE still chugs along just fine, and when I want to look at a bigger screen?  Well, that’s what an iPad is for.  

They still make those too, right?

Written by turbotodd

February 26, 2018 at 9:06 am

The Data Unlimited

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Lotsa news on the telecommunications and smartphone front leading up to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress later this month.

Verizon threw down its gauntlet on unlimited data, its first since 2011 according to MacRumors. The new plan unveiled Sunday includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data, and will cost $80/month for a single smartphone or tablet.

But unlimited isn’t completely unlimited, as “Verizon Unlimited” includes a potential slowdown after customers exceed 22 GB of data usage in a single billing cycle.

Over at Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, they’re looking to introduce their own code-named processor, “Pinecone” within the month, writes Ars Technica. This moves Xiaomi into an alternative smartphone processor universe, considering that most every Android OEM other than Samsung and Huawei have been Qualcomm customers.

Meanwhile, Android Authority reported that Huawei defied slowing global smartphone sales trends and shipped 139M units in 2016, a nearly 30 percent YOY increase. It’s consumer division revenues grew 42% to $26B.

But probably the most intriguing numbers to recently appear were new device activations leading into the Christmas holidays. Flurry has apparently done this analysis every year for several years, and this year, the headline was this: For every Samsung device activated, Apple saw two activated devices (44 percent for Apple, 21 percent for Samsung).

Admittedly, Samsung had a bit of a rough 2016, but yet and still, 2 to 1…and this as Apple recently announced record earnings, sending their stock price to an all-time high.

The sub-headline was that the so-called “phablet” was the dominant form factor by the end of 2016 (with phablet being defined as a smartphone having a screen intermediate in size, between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.

Written by turbotodd

February 14, 2017 at 8:52 am

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