Krishna Baidya’s Random Musings

Archive for the ‘Mobile Device’ Category

Nokia_N8_01Nokia has announced the launch of its latest flagship smartphone, the N8 (pictured), which will be the first ever device based on the new Symbian version 3 (S^3) platform. Nokia – the world’s largest handset vendor – announced today that the new device will be available in selected markets in the third quarter of the year, slightly later than planned according to earlier reports. It is priced at EUR370 before applicable taxes or subsidies. Among the highlight features on the N8 is a 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash and a large sensor that claims to rival those found in compact digital cameras. It also offers the ability to make and edit HD-quality videos and is compatible with home theatre systems. Web TV services and social networking features are also prominent, including the ability to have live feeds from Facebook and Twitter in a single app directly on the home screen. Nokia’s free turn-by-turn navigation service – Ovi Maps – is also included. Given Nokia’s recent troubles with its smartphone portfolio, the N8 will be carefully watched.

In a separate statement, Symbian described the launch as marking its first major platform release following its transition to a fully open source model in February this year. “S^3 enables an unparalleled set of options for device creators and app developers to extend the usefulness of Symbian products and services,” said Lee Williams, executive director at Symbian. The N8 is Nokia’s first device to be integrated with Qt, a software development environment that aims to make it possible to build applications once and deploy across Symbian and other software platforms. The vendor has made a beta version of the Qt SDK available for developers.
Source: GSMA Daily

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NexusOne1Google has performed a u-turn on its strategy to sell its own-brand Android smartphone, the Nexus One. In a statement yesterday, the company announced that Vodafone will from this Friday start selling the device in the UK via its stores, online and over the phone. “Soon after,” Google said, it will be available via SFR in France, as well as via Vodafone’s other subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. More operator launches look to be on the horizon, as Google noted that Vodafone is the “first European partner to distribute the Nexus One.” The move is a direct contrast to Google’s original retail model for the device; when it launched the high-profile phone in January Google surprised many industry watchers with plans to only sell the product via its own online store. Such a move broke heavily with traditional mobile industry business practices, bypassing the mobile operator retail stores that serve as a key distribution channel for mobile phones. Meanwhile, US operator Verizon Wireless has been dropped as a partner for the device; despite being touted as an initial partner at launch, Google is now advising customers to instead “pre-order the Droid Incredible by HTC, a powerful new Android phone and a cousin of the Nexus One that is similarly feature-packed” and available in stores on 29 April. The Nexus One remains available to T-Mobile USA customers.

Reports have been quick to cite analysts as stating that the actions represent a setback for Google’s plans to carve a role for itself in the mobile business and to redefine industry practices in the process. The move is also likely to fuel speculation that Google has been forced to change its strategy due to less-than-stellar demand for the Nexus One; analysts believe Google sold about 150,000 Nexus One devices in the first quarter. By contrast, Apple sold 1 million iPhones in the first 74 days after releasing the gadget in 2007. However, earlier this month Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette said Nexus One is “a profitable business for us”, whilst Jeff Huber, SVP for enginnering, added that the company is “very happy with the device uptake and the kind of impact that’s had across the industry in terms of raising the bar for what devices can do.” Huber added that Google’s Android system is powering 34 devices and that more than 60,000 Android devices are sold and activated each day. Android also had 38,000 apps in the previous quarter, up 78 percent from the last quarter.

Source: GSMA Daily

Gartner predicts that worldwide sales of smartphones will grow by 29 percent year-on-year to reach 180 million units in 2009, overtaking notebooks in total unit terms. The research firm adds that it expects smartphone sales revenue to reach US$191 million by 2012, higher than end user spending on mobile PCs, which is forecast to reach US$152 million by the same point. Currently smartphones account for 14 percent of overall mobile device sales, but Gartner expects by 2012 they will make up around 37 percent of global handset sales. However, it adds that the PC vendors’ cumulative share (Apple excluded) of the smartphone market has remained static at around 1 percent and is unlikely to rise above 2 percent during the next three years, highlighting the challenges faced by PC vendors looking to tap into smartphones.

“PC vendors will find it difficult to simply use existing supply chains and channels to expand their presence in the smartphone market,” said Roberta Cozza, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The smartphone and notebook markets are governed by different rules when it comes to successfully marketing and selling products.” Gartner notes that PC vendors have traditionally introduced smartphones based on the Windows Mobile platform, which have mainly attracted business users. But it adds that PC vendors will face extreme challenges in having to adapt and base their smartphone offerings on a consumer-focused value proposition based on short life cycles, fashion design, hardware and software platform diversity.

Google is planning to launch a branded smartphone that will bypass mobile operators and compete with handset vendors running its own Android platform, reported TheStreet yesterday citing an analyst source. Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, who claims to have talked to Google’s design partners about the plan, says the device will be sold via retailers rather than operators. By bypassing the operators, Google is aiming to offer a device that lets users determine the functions. The rumoured “unlocked, low-cost, Web-friendly touchscreen device” is also likely to undercut the Android phones being developed by the likes of Motorola, the report says. “It’s a bit of a departure from Google’s strategy, but I think the speculation is valid,” says Michael Cote of the Cote Collaborative.

Kumar predicts that the device could be launched by year-end, though others think this timeframe is optimistic. He adds that the device is likely to be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform but it is unclear who will actually build the device. The report noted that Google already has plans with computer-maker Quanta to build its own netbooks that will run on a Linux-based Google Chrome operating system (OS) and be available next summer. But TheStreet says that Taiwan’s HTC is the most likely vendor to build Google its own Android phone. HTC was an early supporter of the Android platform and already has four Android phones available in the marketplace. Neither Google, HTC nor Quanta were available to comment. A report this week by AdMob claims that Android has secured a 7 percent share of the smartphone OS market since launching a year ago.

Indian telecom industry has not been impacted much by global economic slowdown and many new vendors see this as opportunity to enter Indian telecom space. With the 3G auction around the corner, 27 new handset vendors have entered the market in just one quarter, according to Economic Times.

These new mobile companies are coming up with dual SIM cards, full Qwerty keyboard and at a cheaper price to attract more customers. Mobile handset sales in India recorded a 6.7 percent increase to 100.9 million in the year ended June 30, as compared to 94.6 million in the year before. Even Mindtree has entered the telecom space through its acquired company Kyocera Wireless. China Wireless Technologies’ Indian subsidiary, Coolpad Communications, is targeting Rs. 800 crore revenue in next five years in India. The company is set to invest Rs. 400 crore as capex and opex over the next three years.

According to a new research study by IDC India, the new vendors have ensured that the overall mobile handset shipments touched 6.3 percent as compared to 1.2 percent during the June 2008 quarter, when the new vendors totaled 11 percent. “The shipments from such new players who have entered the Indian market in the last 12 to 18 months grew six-fold with 6.41 million unit sales,” said Deepak Kumar, Associate Vice-President (Research) of IDC, India.

In terms of shipment, Nokia still leads the market share in India with 56.8 percent followed by Samsung with a 7.7 percent share and LG with 5.4 percent share in the 12-month period ended June 30, according to the report. ‘With the mobile handsets market in India growing in volumes , device manufacturers have started focusing on niche and emerging segments based on lifestyle profiling of buyers ,” said Naveen Mishra, an Analyst at IDC India.

“We see the market getting further crowded. At the same time, an accelerated evolution of the market is at work, as rising competition forces vendors to offer a combo of volume and value,” said Kumar.

Source: SI

Came across the following story about “Courier” – Microsoft’s planned Tablet.

Some nifty features and all …. but will this be something of a game changing?  Read through and decide for yourself.

500x_courier4Mashable waxed poetic about Apple’s mythical Tablet recently (and even seen some more evidence to support it). But Microsoft, too, has a rather attractive looking tablet-like device in the speculative stages as well: the Courier.

Now, a leaked video of the Courier’s user interface sheds more light on some of the design aesthetic behind this still unconfirmed device that appears to be part tablet and part digital planner, with a dual-screen hinged design and pen and finger controls.

In the video, unearthed by Gizmodo, we see a very fluid interface where any item can be drag and dropped easily. The overarching metaphor is apparently dubbed the “infinite journal,” where items can be clipped and stored from the web, annotated and highlighted, moved around, and modified with a palette of drawing and design tools. An on-board camera handles bringing in visuals and documents from the physical world as well. Everything is searchable for later retrieval, with a Courier Pen handling text input duties. Of course the device overall is a touchscreen, and designed with finger control and gestures in mind as well.

Easy Publishing, But No Apps?

According to the video, publishing from your Infinite Journal is easy, with pages and sections exporting to Courier files, Powerpoint presentations, or PDFs. And according to Mary-Jo Foley, the device will run Windows 7 … but not be able to install Windows 7 applications. Say what? Yep — apparently that’s because someone up high thinks the first generation of Microsoft Tablets failed because the apps weren’t specific to the form factor. There could be some truth in there but still — we hope for Microsoft’s sake they come up with a better alternative app store than what they’ve done with the Zune HD to-date.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think: are you sweating this device? Which interests you more: the mythical Apple Tablet, or the mythical Microsoft Courier?

Source:

South Korean vendor LG Electronics claims it will continue to defy the general market slowdown after posting record-high quarterly net profit thanks in part to robust sales of mobile devices. It sold 29.8 million handsets in the three months to July, boosted by premium products such as the multimedia touch-screen phone Arena and steady sales of mid-range phones. In the second quarter LG’s total net profit rose 62 percent to KRW1.15 trillion (US$903 million) on revenues of KRW14.5 trillion (a 13.8 percent increase on the year-ago period). Its mobile division reported KRW5.14 trillion in sales, 25.8 percent higher than the previous year, and operating profit of KRW545 billion with a margin of 10.6 percent. Handset sales accounted for 95 percent of its mobile division revenues.

LG is the world’s third-largest handset manufacturer and aims to overtake number two rival Samsung by 2012. Although LG forecasts the global handset market to decline over 6 percent year-on-year to around 280 million units in the third quarter, it expects to enjoy its own “steady growth” with the introduction of future high-end devices. LG – a contender in home entertainment, home appliances, air conditioning and business solutions, as well as mobile communications – said it expects total company sales “to grow over 10 percent YoY as demand for LCD TVs and mobile phones continues to expand, with profitability comparable to last year’s level.”

Source: MBB, GSMA