Category: Mobile

Chinese ZTE in big trouble

big-trouble-in-little-chinaChinese telecom equipment maker ZTE is slashing about 3,000 jobs, including a fifth of positions in its struggling handset business in China.

The company is already facing US trade sanctions that could severely disrupt its supply chain and is getting rid of about five percent of its 60,000 stron global workforce.

Its global handset operations will shed 600 jobs, or 10 percent of the total, with the cuts concentrated in China. Things have not been going very well in China and the outfit is losing market share.

A local manager in one of the company’s overseas branches said a 10 percent quota was given to shed staff in his department by the end of January.

The US Commerce Department first announced in March that it would impose a ban on exports by US companies to ZTE for allegedly breaking Washington’s sanctions on sales to Iran.

While this has not happened yet it could nobble the company’s supply chain because it relies on US companies including Qualcomm, Microsoft and Intel for about a third of its components.


Samsung laughing despite melting phones

laughing-camelSamsung is likely to forecast its best quarterly profit in nearly three years this week thanks mostly to good memory chip sales.

It would have been a lot better had it not for those pesky melting smartphones it released. The South Korean firm discontinued sales of the Galaxy Note 7 phones after some of the devices caught fire, warning of a $2.1 billion hit to its profit in the fourth quarter of 2016 due to expenses tied to an ongoing global recall and lost sales.

But a surge in sales of memory chips and organic light-emitting diode screens for smartphones will provide Samsung with a pile more cash than expected.

Samsung’s operating profit likely rose for a second straight quarter to $7 billion over October-December this is up 37 percent from a year ago, and the highest since the first quarter of 2014.

Memory chip prices have spiked recently on demand for more firepower on mobile devices. But it is the sales of the higher-end 3D NAND chips which have rallied significantly, helping Samsung rake in profits given it is ahead of its rivals such as Toshiba Corp and SK Hynix in the mass production of these chips.

Much depends on how badly the mobile business does with the incredible melting smartphone but most expect Samsung to make a huge profit this year.

For the recently ended quarter, Samsung’s mobile earnings likely rebounded from the dismal third quarter on healthy sales of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge smartphones, analysts said.

Shares in the company have increased by 43 per cent in 2016 suggesting investors did not expect a serious business impact from Samsung’s name being dragged into a growing political scandal in the country.

Apple sued for not making something

keep_calm_and_love_your_patent_lawyer_2_inch_round_magnet-re8c2c059dc99401ca676f1a1e58344f5_x7js9_8byvr_324Fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has been sued for not making a product it patented and thus killing a child.

James and Bethany Modisette are suing the toy-maker after a car crash two years ago that killed one of their daughters and injured the rest of the family. The driver of the car who hit them was using Apple’s FaceTime video chat.

The plaintiffs claim that if Apple had implemented technology it received a patent for in 2008 which was “a lock-out mechanism to prevent operation of one or more functions of handheld computing devices by drivers when operating vehicles,” such as texting or video chatting the accident would not have happened.

The complaint cites Apple’s “failure to design, manufacture, and sell the Apple iPhone 6 Plus with the patented, safer, alternative design technology” — in other words, lack of the programme’s inclusion — as a “substantial factor” in the crash.

It is a bold move taking this argument into a court and while we think it is unlikely to that it will go anywhere it does highlight a point. Tech companies patent shedloads of things and then never produce a product with them.  In this case it was a fairly obvious piece of tech which would have saved a life. Apple could easily have incorporated it into the iPhone 6 but it didn’t.

iPhone 7 hands free lost with all hands

imagesubmarine2sinkingApple appears to have realised that its iPhone 7 is not doing as well as it has been claiming.

For a while now the Tame Apple Press has been telling the world+dog that the iPhone 7 has been heading for a recording breaking year. This is even though it shipped with wireless headphones, which no-one wanted, and no real noticeable difference from the iPhone 6S.

Apple had already ordered less of the iPhone 7 from its Asian partners than the iPhone 6, but increased its orders when its main rival the Galaxy Note 7 started melting.

Word on the street is that most Galaxy Note 7 owners remained brand loyal and refused to buy an iPhone and left Apple with rather a lot of stock on hand.

The Nikkei financial daily said Apple has trimmed production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017citing calculations based on data from suppliers.

This is on top of its original 30 percent cut in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory.

This means that the iPhone seven production is down 40 per cent in total and Apple can’t shift the phones it has in stock.

Apple is saying nothing because it means that the iPhone 7 is to Apple what Vista was to Microsoft.

Lumia has gone the way of the Dodo

dodoIt is starting to look like the end is near for Microsoft’s Lumia handsets and it is about to go the way of the dodo.

Microsoft’s UK store ran out of stock of all its Windows 10 Mobile devices and now its US store sold all its unlocked models. It would appear that Microsoft Store is no longer selling any of the company’s Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile handsets in the US.

The writing has been on the wall for a while now. Microsoft launched the Lumia 650 and it was widely said to be the last in the company’s Lumia line. In August, Microsoft removed all mention of Windows handsets from its US store homepage, relegating ‘Windows phone’ to a dropdown menu instead.

In the US the AT&T-locked Lumia 950 was the only one left and it was available only in white. Now, that model has sold out too, leaving none of the company’s Lumia handsets available to buy on its store.

The Windows phones page on the Microsoft Store lists thirteen products, but eight of these are “out of stock.”

  • Acer Liquid Jade Primo Bundle
  • AT&T – Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
  • AT&T – Microsoft Lumia 950
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
  • Microsoft Lumia 650 Dual SIM
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
  • Microsoft Lumia 950 XL
  • Verizon – Microsoft Lumia 735

There are still a few available:

  • Acer Liquid M330 – $79.99 (usually $99)
  • BLU Win HD LTE $149
  • BLU Win JR LTE $99
  • HP Elite x3 Bundle $799
  • HP Elite x3 + Lap Dock Bundle $1,298

You can continue to buy Lumia handsets from other retailers but word on the street is that these options are becoming increasingly limited. Best Buy has run out completely.

Vole is supposed to be dusting off its’Surface phone’ – which may provide a full Windows 10 OS, and support for 32-bit x86 desktop apps. We will not see its like until the end of the year at the earliest.


Apple sued over fatal crash in Texas

US court in texas

US court in texas

Apple is being sued over a fatal car crash in which a driver was distracted by FaceTime.

The plaintiffs claim Apple failed to introduce technology it had a patent for that could potentially have prevented the driver from using the app. The accident happened  on Christmas Eve, 2014.

Bethany and James Modisette, and their two children — Isabella and Moriah were in the car at the time. The family sustained serious injuries, and five year old Moriah died of her injuries in hospital.

Modisette’s lawyers claim Apple sat on the tech  that could have prevented it but failed to implement it.

The court filings point to a patent that Apple applied for in 2008 (and was granted in 2014) that would “lock out the ability of drivers to use the ‘FaceTime’ application on the Apple iPhone while using a motor vehicle.”

The case alleges that by failing to incorporate this patent, Apple contributed to the death of Moriah and the injuries of the rest of the family.

The company’s “failure to design, manufacture, and sell the iPhone 6 Plus with the patented, safer, alternative design technology already available to it … and failure to warn users that the product was likely to be dangerous when used or misused in a reasonably foreseeable manner … rendered the Apple iPhone 6 defective when it left defendant APPLE INC.’s possession, and were therefore a substantial factor in causing plaintiffs’ injuries and the decedent’s death,” the Modisettes’ lawyers allege.

Pixel has battery woes

lemon batteryGoogle’s Pixel phone might be rather nice, but it appears to be suffering from battery problems.

While these problems do not mean that they do a Note 7 and spontaneously combust, it does mean that they do an Apple and shut down when they still have 35 per cent of their power left.

It looks like they are suffering from the same shutdown bug that plagued the Nexus 6P where the device would prematurely turn off at 25 to 35 percent.

A few Reddit users are reporting that their Pixel devices are also suffering from the same shutdown bug. Some Pixel phones would prematurely shut down at or around 30 percent and would not turn back on until a charger is connected.

Vrski_15, who started the thread claimed that twice in last five days, has the phone shutdown abruptly while he was in middle of something. In both instances, battery was between 25-35 percent, and the phone under normal conditions should have lasted for at least next 3-4 hours.

In the case of the Nexus 6P, Huawei said that this was not a hardware problem but a software-related one. However, users found that the problem persisted even after downgrading to Android Marshmallow. This led Huawei to investigate further with Google, and although the company hasn’t revealed the cause yet, it is probably related to the problem that these Pixel users have been experiencing.

Nokia wades into Apple

wellington-bootThis week has seen the former maker of rubber boots Nokia sending patent lawsuits daily to the fruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple.

Nokia said yesterday it had filed a new set of patent lawsuits against Apple in Asia, Europe and the United States.

This follows the announcement on Wednesday it was suing Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of violating 32 technology patents. All up this means that Apple is facing 40 patents suits in 11 countries.

The Tame Apple Press has warned Nokia that a battle with Apple could hold up royalty payments that are vital to shoring up the Finnish company’s profits, but Nokia pointed out yesterday that Apple had stopped paying anyway.

Apple goes for the worse legal defence ever

apple queueFruity tax-dodging cargo-cult Apple has come up with quite possibly the worst court defence we have ever seen.

When faced with charges of colluding with the Irish government to avoid paying Tax, Apple all but admitted it, however it sad that it should not be found guilty because it was just a “convenient target” which had been singled out because it was successful.

In other words, it is OK to commit a crime and do it in an obvious way.

If this applies it means that if you murder your wife for her money and make it so obvious that you are the crook, you can get away with it because it was easy for the cops to arrest you. Millions of butlers who were arrested for murder under the Agatha Christie act could appeal their sentence.

There is 14 billion euro in the kitty if Apple can pull off its tax dodge in the courts. Apple is claiming that EU regulators ignored its tax expert and corporate law and deliberately picked a method to maximize the penalty.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, a former Danish economy minister, said Apple’s Irish tax bill implied a tax rate of 0.005 percent in 2014 which really was taking the Nintendo even by the standards of corporate tax dodges.

Apple’s General Counsel Bruce Sewell claimed that the iPhone and iPad maker was singled out because of its success. Well yes, a criminal who dodges huge amounts of tax will be singled out by the coppers rather than those who don’t do anything – that is mostly how the legal system works.

“Apple is not an outlier in any sense that matters to the law. Apple is a convenient target because it generates lots of headlines. It allows the commissioner to become Dane of the year for 2016,” he said, referring to the title accorded by Danish newspaper Berlingske last month.

Apple claims that the Commission was not diligent in its investigation because it disregarded tax experts brought in by Irish authorities. These were authorities who told

Apple that what it was doing was perfectly legal and therefore their opinion carries more legal weight than common sense. After all if someone tells you that you only have to pay 0.005 percent tax when you know you have to pay 16 per cent they obviously have more legal weight than the people who have asked you to pay the full wack. But

Common sense is clearly out to lunch at Apple – missing presumed fed.

The Commission’s tax demand angered the U.S. government, which accused the EU of grabbing revenue intended for US coffers. Of course, it has not the courage to take on Apple in the courts itself, but it has the right to claim the money that it is not getting for itself.

Sewell added it was impossible for Apple to comply with the EU decision because it would mean Ireland violating its own past tax laws setting different rules for residents and non-resident companies.

The Irish government is also appealing against the European Commission’s tax demand. It believes it must protect a tax regime that has attracted many multinational employers to the country. It works on the basis that being a soft state does provide jobs, even if it does not support the training of those workers and the infrastructure.
Apple plans to tell the court that the Commission erred when it ruled that the head office of Irish-registered units Apple Sales International (ASI) and Apple Operations

Europe were only front companies which existed to move money around to avoid tax.

Sewell said the fact that an entity was a holding company with no employees on its books did not mean it was inactive and it could be actively managed by employees of its parent company.

“So when Tim Cook, who is the CEO of our company, makes decisions that impact ASI, the Commission says we don’t care because he is not an ASI employee, he is an Apple Inc employee. But to say that somehow Tim Cook can’t make decisions for ASI is a complete mis-statement of corporate law, it’s a misunderstanding of how corporations operate,” he said.

Samsung will not buy its own batteries again

Samsung-Z1Samsung is in talks with LG Chem Ltd to make it one of its smartphone battery suppliers.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper Samsung is keen to diversify its supplier base after the failure of its Galaxy Note 7 which had batteries made by its own fair hand.

Samsung currently gets its Note batteries from  Samsung SDI and China’s Amperex Technology.

Chosun Ilbo quoted an industry official as saying that there was more than a 90 percent chance of a deal being struck and said that Samsung Electronics would likely begin procuring LG Chem batteries from the second half of next year.

The deal has yet to be officially announced.

Samsung Electronics announced the recall of 2.5 million fire-prone Note 7s in early September, a fault that it attributed to a defect in Samsung SDI battery. In October, it pulled the plug on the $882 device after replacement phones using batteries from China’s Amperex Technology also caught fire.  The fact that both batteries caught fire was widely seen as a poor design on the Note, however Samsung Electronics has refused to talk about that and just focused on the batteries..

LG Chem currently makes phone batteries for Apple, so if the Note 8 goes up in flames then Samsung will take down the iPhone 8 with it.