Category: Mobile

Apple orders 70 million bent OLED screens from Samsung


Apple has ordered
more than 70 million OLED screens from Samsung and it is believed that the curved screens will go into its coming iPhone 8

Nikkei Asian Review cited sources close to Apple’s supply chain, has no other details about the order, but says the screens will be used in a phone.

Apple will launch three new iPhones this autumn: Two with a regular, LCD screen, and a “premium” variant that will have a curved OLED screen.

Previous reliable rumours had claimed that Samsung Display will manufacture a total of 160 million OLED panels for Apple which suggests that Apple might not be expecting to sell so many of the pricy phones as it thought.

According to the outlet, all three new iPhones will come with wireless charging, and all three will be waterproof. Furthermore, at least one model will have 3D sensors with built-in facial recognition.

This is all a bit of a snooze really, as it is the sort of tech which adds little to the phone.

Nikkei claims the two LCD-screened iPhones will be 4.7- and 5.5-inches big – just like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, while the premium variant will have a 5.2-inch OLED screen.

US state wants to give its drones guns

 The US state which was at the forefront of the French-backed terrorist revolution against its lawful British king thinks that its freedom can be defended by drones with guns.

While thinking that the British government was a tyranny for putting a penny tax on tea, the citizens of Connecticut think they will be somehow freer if police can robotically kill someone by pressing a button on a robot.

Legislation, approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature’s judiciary committee, would ban weaponised drones in the state but an addition to the law exempts agencies involved in law enforcement. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Civil libertarians and civil rights activists are lobbying to restore the bill to its original language before the full House vote.

David McGuire, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut said according to statistics, coppers tend to shoot minorities. The fear is that armed drones would be used in urban centres and on minority communities.

In 2015, North Dakota became the first state to permit law enforcement agencies to use armed drones but limited them to “less than lethal” weapons such as tear gas and pepper spray.

Apple has Brexit on Imagination tech

Fruity tax-dodging cargo cult Apple has told British graphics maker Imagination it will stop using its graphics technology in the iPhone and other products with two years’ time.

Imagination had been leaning heavily on Apple lately and depends on it as its biggest customer. It is also unclear what Apple is going to do about its graphics technology.

It looks like Apple is trying to slash costs by bleeding its suppliers. It is widely expected to see interest in its iPhone declining and has been putting the thumbscrews on its suppliers to keep its margins and profits up.

Apple paid Imagination license fees and royalties totalling £60.7 million for the year to the end ofApril 2016, half of its total revenue, and is expected to pay about £65 million pounds for this year, Imagination said.

Imagination said Apple had not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer need Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information.

Apple’s notification had triggered talks on alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement.

Apple’s App store’s days of glory have passed

It was only a matter of time, but Apple’s App Store is no longer the mobile market leader it once was.

For years Jobs’ Mob has bragged that it has the most apps and makes the most money from its app store making it important that developers make sure their code is represented.  However analytics firm App Annie said that all that is slowing down.

The App Store will fall second to the amount of revenue generated by Android app distributors, predicts. In 2017, the App Store will generate $40 billion in revenue, which is not bad, but is being outclassed by Android app stores run by Google and other parties which will generate $41 billion.

The gap will widen in 2021, with Android app stores generating $78 billion in revenue and Apple’s App Store fall to $60 billion.

The surge in revenue for Android comes from a growing number of consumers in China who are buying Android phones and are willing to pay for apps. In 2021, App Annie expects there to be eight Android smartphone users to every single iPhone user in China.

 

Blackberry still trying to escape jam

 

Although BlackBerry appears to have succeeded at getting out of the smartphone handsets that hung like an albatross about its neck, the Canadian outfit has a long way to go before it can convince the world its software business is a goer.

The company, which will report fourth-quarter and full-year results on Friday, says it has no major gaps in its software portfolio, thanks to the integration of a string of recent acquisitions.

However, it admits that more work is needed to get those offerings into the healthcare and automotive industries and other sectors that it hopes will power future growth.

While analysts see Blackberry as something different from what it was ten years ago, it has not really convinced businesses that it has products they might want.

Chief Executive Officer John Chen would need a late bump in sales to hit the 30 percent growth in software revenue BlackBerry targeted for its recently completed fiscal year.

BlackBerry’s enterprise-value-to-forward-revenue ratio is 3.14 lower than the roughly 4.5 ratio which  Oracle and Microsoft have. In fact, Blackberry is expected to barely break even in the fourth quarter and likely notch revenue of less than $1.4 billion. In the good old days, Blackberry was taking more than $5.5 billion a quarter.

The redesigned company has gone from selling its own phones with the servers and software that manage them for businesses and governments to securing an array of rival devices and the information that flows to and from them.

The company’s 2015 purchases of Good Technology and WatchDox helped it secure a leading position in the enterprise mobility market, and its QNX industrial operating system is key to its self-driving vehicle ambitions. However, there is tough competition in these and other areas of interest.

Chen, who took over the helm of BlackBerry in late 2013, said in December the company would take another four or five quarters to halt the steady decline in its overall revenue, with software sales growth projected to slow to around 15 percent in the fiscal year that began in March.

Galaxy 8 out today and the Tame Apple Press is terrified

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best to rain on Samsung’s Galaxy 8 parade as early indications suggest that it is going to be far better than what Apple is going to release in October.

Apple’s favourite news agency Reuters  took time out of its busy day to warn users of the dire “fire-prone Note 7” smartphone and demanded to know why the company was not focusing the launch on battery safety rather than concentrating on things like functionality and what the phone does.

It quoted a Los Angeles-based Eric Schiffer, a brand strategy expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants saying that highlighting the safety issue at this point will cause the other narrative to be recycled, “so they have elected to suppress and hope”.

To be fair to Samsung, only the Tame Apple Press thinks that the Samsung Galaxy 8 will catch fire. Reuters was finding it hard to dredge up a tame expert who would say that the batteries were a problem. Lewis Larsen, president of Chicago-based battery technology consultancy Lattice Energy said that Samsung had taken measures that should certainly improve battery safety and durability. “These are most definitely not just cosmetic steps ‘for show.'”

But that did not stop Reuters hacks interviewing their word processors to talk about how the new quality measures “can’t guarantee there will be no future problems”.

They even hinted that it did not matter if the failure rate was low at first, in the long term they would catch fire. Of course, they have no way of knowing that and if we were Samsung we would have sued them.

At the heart of the story is that analysts are going on record to say that the S8 will outsell the Galaxy S7, which was Samsung’s best seller in its first year from launch.

Reuters is recommending people not to buy it and to wait a few months to see if it does not catch fire. If people were stupid enough to listen to that advice then it would mean that it would give Apple a chance to release new iPhone as competition.

To put this into perspective, when Reuters covers iPhone launches it bangs on about how anticipated the phone is and focuses on its “game changing” technology, even when the iPhone’s tech has been unchanged for years with incremental changes to the chips, thinning down slightly, and the inconvenient loss of the headphone jack.

Samsung will sell refurbished Note 7s

Samsung plans to sell refurbished versions of the incredible flaming Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Samsung’s Note 7s were permanently scrapped in October following a global recall, roughly two months from the launch of the near-$900 devices, after some phones caught fire. A subsequent probe found manufacturing problems in batteries supplied by two different companies – Samsung SDI and Amperex Technology.

Analysis from Samsung and independent researchers found no other problems in the Note 7 devices except the batteries, raising speculation that Samsung will recoup some of its losses by selling refurbished Note 7s.

Samsung’s announcement that revamped Note 7s will go back on sale, however, surprised some with the timing – just days before it launches its new S8 smartphone in the United States, its first new premium phone since the debacle last year.

Samsung, under huge pressure to turn its image around after the burning battery scandal, had previously not commented on its plans for recovered phones.

“Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers as well as due consideration of local demand,” Samsung said in a statement, adding the firm will pick the markets and release dates for refurbished Note 7s accordingly.

The company estimated it took a $5.5 billion profit hit over three quarters from the Note 7’s troubles. It had sold more than 3 million Note 7s before taking the phones off the market.

 

Apple may have knifed Andy Rubin in his Essentials

Earlier this year, Andy Rubin, creator of the Android operating system, was happily building a new company called Essential and working on a “high-end smartphone with a large edge-to-edge screen that lacks a surrounding bezel.”

Much was riding on a $100 million investment from Softbank. Rubin’s company, Essential Products, was to release a new high-end smartphone this spring, and SoftBank planned to market the phone in Japan

However suddenly it appears that Softbank has withdrawn the investment and no longer wants to market the phone on its home turf. The reason appears to be that the fruity cargo cult Apple has suddenly developed an interest in working with Softbank.

Apple has written a $1 billion cheque to SoftBank’s Vision Fund, and according to the Wall Street Journal that deal “complicated” SoftBank’s investment in Essential Products.

Jobs’ Mob did not directly block the deal but the Journal claims but Rubin’s premium phone would be released ahead of the 10th anniversary iPhone and it would have been happy to see it not in the shops.

Don’t make the Samsung S8 angry it will have Bixby

Samsung has confirmed that it is Bixby digital assistant will be part of the Galaxy S8 that’ll be unveiled later this month.

The S8 will have a dedicated Bixby button on its side to make it easier to access the assistant.

It will have three key features to sort itself out from the herd. The first is that a Bixby-enabled app will allow the assistant to perform every task that the app normally supports using touch.

It will also have context awareness, which means that when Bixby is activated, it’ll can understand the current context and the state of the app that you’re in without interrupting the work that you’re doing.

Samsung says that Bixby is smart enough to understand commands with incomplete commands, meaning that you do not have to remember the exact phrase that you have to say to perform a task with an assistant. Bixby will ask you for more information when performing a task and then execute it.

Several apps on the Galaxy S8 will be Bixby-enabled at launch, and Samsung plans to add more over time. The company will release an SDK so that third-party app developers can add Bixby support.

Samsung said that the assistant will first appear on Samsung smartphones and then expand to all Samsung appliances.

“Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, if a device has an internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it can connect with Bixby,” the company said.

Samsung bribery case getting tacky

A South Korean court has reassigned the Samsung Group chief Jay Lee’s bribery trial to another judge.

Apparently, the judge had a connection to a woman Lee is accused of bribing.

To be fair to the judge, Lee Young-hoon, who presided over the March 9 pre-trial hearing for Jay Lee and four former and current Samsung Group executives alerted the authorities about his own connection.

But the decision comes a day after an opposition lawmaker accused Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law of being a financial sponsor for Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of former president Park Geun-hye and a central figure in the graft scandal that led to Park’s removal from office and the Samsung chief’s indictment.

For those who came in late, Park was dismissed as president by the Constitutional Court on Friday last week and has been summoned by prosecution for questioning as a suspect in the bribery investigation.

The special prosecution team that indicted the Samsung chief accused Park of colluding with Choi to pressure big businesses to contribute to non-profit foundations backing her administration’s initiatives.

The court said in a statement that Lee Young-hoon’s father-in-law had denied the allegations and had not met or contacted Choi or her family since the assassination of Park’s father, former president Park Chung-hee, in 1979.

But the case is starting to look even messier than it was when Jay Lee was indicted by a special prosecution team on several charges including pledging $38.03 million in bribes to a company and foundations backed by Choi.