Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘smartphones

Brave New World

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Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in apple, china, fintech, 2019

Tagged with , , ,

The Harmony Hedge

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I wrote on Monday about the possible fork in the smartphone road between China and the rest of the world.

Today, at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, China, the company’s CEO, Richard Yu, made it official by unveiling “HarmonyOS.”

Though the OS is currently focused largely on IoT products (wearables, smart speakers, etc.), Yu explained that if and when Huawei can no longer access Google’s Android ecosystem, Huawei could deploy HarmonyOS at any time.

But the plan is to stay with Android. Until it can’t or won’t. 

HarmonyOS (formerly “HongMengOS”) is open source and microkernel-based, and Yu suggested onstage in Dongguan that Android wasn’t as efficient due to its redundant codes and general fragmentation issues.

Developers will be able to port their Android apps over to HarmonyOS using Huawei’s ARK compiler.

This is a serious chicken and egg proposition. Yu hasn’t given a full throated endorsement of HarmonyOS, avoided mentioning smartphones in the introduction, and clearly would prefer to avoid jumping off the Android ship.

But either because of market or political pressures, he has been pushed (quickly) by the powers that be to oversee a major OS hedge.

Statista’s latest estimate of the number of Chinese smartphone users exceeds 1B+, and last year China accounted for nearly half of app downloads.

I suspect Huawei (not to mention Google) clearly wants to hedge on this hedge.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

Samsung Hearts Microsoft

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Big announcements yesterday from Samsung re: their Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Book S devices.

They also announced an extension of their partnership with Microsoft, looking to more tightly integrate MS Outlook, OneDrive, and its Your Phone app.

CEO Satya Nadella even made an appearance on the Samsung stage.

What caught my attention was that the Galaxy Book S was developed in partnership with both Microsoft and Qualcomm, and will include LTE connectivity between phones and PCs using Microsoft’s Your Phone technology.

This will allow Galaxy Note 10 users to tie together their phones with Windows 10 PCs, and to use Your Phone apps on their computers.

ZDNet reports that later this month that Galaxy Note 10 users will be able to mirror their phone screens on their PCs and use their PC keyboards, mouse and touch screens to interact directly with their phone apps.

This is the type of PC/smartphone convergence that I believe is long overdue. Why not be able to carry our smartphones with us, no matter the brand, and “plug-carry-and-play” no matter where we are, and have at our fingertips the apps and services we need and use the most.

Maybe it’s an idea whose time has finally come.

Written by turbotodd

August 8, 2019 at 9:52 am

A Fork in the Smartphone Road

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Well, the Chimerica trade and technology war has been taken to new heights over the weekend, both in terms of policy and in global markets.

After President Trump raised the tariffs on China again, this time 10% on $300 billion in Chinese imports not covered by earlier rounds of tariffs on China, China is retaliating with both active and passive measures.

Passively, China is refusing to prompt up the devaluing Chinese currency, the yuan, allowing it to break through 7 against the dollar for the first time since prior to the Great Recession.

Actively, the Chinese Customs Tariffs Commission of the State Council has not ruled out import tariffs on newly purchased U.S. agricultural products after August 3 (this past Saturday).

While the American and Chinese leaders continue with their Great Game of Trade Chicken, Chinese state media has made an interesting announcement: That Huawei is testing a $288 smartphone running its self-developed HongMeng OS, which Reuters is reporting could go on sale later this year.

Could this eventually lead to a global fork in the smartphone OS market, which is currently largely dominated by Google’s Android (and on which most Chinese smartphones are based)?

Probably not in the short term, but longer term…?

Written by turbotodd

August 5, 2019 at 2:38 pm

A Picture’s Worth…

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If you’re wondering what happened to your images on Facebook’s News Feed, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger….well, you and over a billion other people.

The Verge is reporting that Facebook is working to resolve the outage and “to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.”

This once again proves the complexities and challenges of publishing multiple pieces of content from multiple sources into a single page. Welcome to the cloud-driven Web of 2019.

But let’s talk soccer. We witnessed yet another storied defeat by the U.S. women’s team last evening in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, beating England 2-1, in a game which missed play of wunderwoman Megan Rapinoe due to a hamstring injury.

Those women are awesome (give them a raise!).

On to the dealmaking…talk all over the place about a possible acquisition of cybersecurity firm Symantec by Broadcom, with Bloomberg reporting Broadcom is in advanced talks to buy them in a deal that could be reached “in weeks.”

From Bloomberg Intelligence:

Broadcom’s potential purchase of another asset with $4+ billion in software sales is likely its most ambitious deal yet – leaderless Symantec has been losing share, even in its core segments. Broadcom CEO Hock Tan will likely need to aggressively cut Symantec costs while keeping sales stable.

– Anand Srinivasan, technology analyst

And on to Chimerica…Mixed signals emanating from the Trump Administration on Huawei, with Reuters reporting a senior U.S. official telling the Commerce Department’s enforcement staff this week that China’s Huawei should still be treated as blacklisted only a few days after the President vowed to ease a ban on sales to the firm.

While Commerce tries to get its story straight, Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that there’s an electronics exodus from China underway:

Global consumer electronics makers HP, Dell, Microsoft and Amazon are all looking to shift substantial production capacity out of China, joining a growing exodus that threatens to undermine the country’s position as the world’s powerhouse for tech gadgets.

HP and Dell, the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 personal computer makers who together command around 40% of the global market, are planning to reallocate up to 30% of their notebook production out of China, several sources told the Nikkei Asian Review.

While this is just smart supply chain management and oversight by electronics firms, it’s a blow to China, which is the world’s largest producer of PCs and smartphones.

It could be a very good time to learn to speak Vietnamese!

Okay, over and out. For those of you in the U.S., Happy Independence Day. And if you’re in D.C. for the big celebration, you can be assured the tanks brought in are expected to be stationary.

But watch your feet, just in case.

Written by turbotodd

July 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm

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

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