Category: Mobiles

Apple turns taps up on iWatch supply

WatchA glut of orders for the Apple watch over the weekend has caused the company to make a statement later today on the number of customers that have committed to buy.

And, according to a report on Reuters, Apple will ask its Asian suppliers to increase production to meet demand for the much hyped device.

Some analysts estimate that as many as a million people placed order for the iWatch at the end of last week. One analyst claimed that Apple sold out within the 10 to 30 minutes.

Other analysts believe that Apple will sell as many as 20 million watches in the first year, which is a success in anyone’s book.

Delivery date for the iWatch is the 24th of April and it’s unclear whether Apple will be able to meet demand.

Most see the Apple iWatch as a fashion accessory rather than a practical piece of kit.

Addicted to smartphones don’t ya know that they’re toxic?

Britney_Spears_Toxic-e1428916575934A Japanese University president has told his students that smartphones are toxic and they should quit their smartphones or quit school.

Channelling Britney Spears Shinshu University President Kiyohito Yamasawa told his students that their addiction to smartphones was “toxic.”

“Smartphone addiction slows down brain functions and wastes precious time,” he added.

Yamasawa’s comments are being seen as a split from students and other college heads, with some saying that smartphones were useful for finding information.

A government survey released in March shows that over 80 per cent of high school students who own a mobile phone use a smartphone. Smartphone users aged between 10 and 17 spend an average of 133 minutes on the Web per weekday using their device, the study also showed.

Another head, Hiroshi Hosoi, the president of Nara Medical University in western Japan,referred to Yamasawa’s comments while speaking to his freshmen at another ceremony.

He said that it was true that spending time reading books is probably better for developing one’s character, but the important thing was to learn how to use smartphones properly, because they are tools.

The phones not the students, we guess.

Apple’s iWatch panned by reviewers

salvador-dali-persistence-of-memory-clocks-meaningIt seems that Apple’s iWatch has failed to interest those who know what they are talking about when it comes to technology.

Early versions of the iWatch have been sent to reviewers and the verdict is not that good.

Reviewers have blasted the product for its weak battery life and slow-loading apps.

The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler said that the Apple iWatch is for “pioneers”, as no-one in their right mind would pay the $1,000 it would cost for the model he tested, only to see a significant improvement roll in before too long.

Of course Apple will not care that much, its fanboys are quite willing to be pioneers and will empty their credit cards for anything with an Apple logo on it if they are asked.

Reviews published yesterday made much of the device’s relatively poor battery life – up to 18 hours, according to Apple – and said its apps will need upgrades to load more quickly.

Nilay Patel, who reviewed the watch for theverge.com said that there was “nothing I can’t do faster or better with access to a laptop or a phone except perhaps check the time… the maps app, surely the answer to wandering pedestrians’ dreams, is so slow”.

Loading an app required the watch to pull tremendous amounts of data from iPhones, Patel said, adding that Apple had told him upcoming software updates would address performance problems.

Re/Code’s Lauren Goode said the watch’s battery life was not nearly as long-lasting as some other wearable devices. CNET’s Scott Stein said the battery’s recharge time was slow.

Apple’s favourite paper, the New York Times, did its best to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear by saying that the phone was “initially complex” and not suited to tech novices.  So in other words it is not really rubbish it is just that you are too stupid to use it.

Analysts at Societe Generale said they expected Apple to sell eight million watches in 2015, contributing about 1.7 percent or $4 billion to Apple’s total sales.  This was on the basis that it was any good and would be marketed to death.  However since it failed on the first point, it might not do so well on the second.

 

Nearly four in ten UK households bought a tablet

tabletNearly 40 per cent of UK households bought a tablet last year, despite the fact that they didn’t really know what to do with one.

The statistic, compiled by the Internet Advertising Bureau suggests that the average number of internet connected devices in each house is up to 7.4.

Smartphones are the most commonly owned connected gadget, followed by laptops and tablets, according to research from the UK. Games consoles, desktop computers and smart TVs were also likely to be found within British homes. One fifth of UK households own two tablets, while 11 per cent own three or more, the study found.

However the writing appears to be on the wall for the tablet.  The percentage of customers planning to buy a tablet has fallen from 44 percent in 2014 to 38 percent this year, a separate set of research from Accenture found.

The two figures side by side suggest that people who bought a tablet did not use it much and when they came to buy something else they went for ‘phablets’ instead,

John Curran, managing director, Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology group said that phablets were grabbing centre stage because a growing number of consumers prefer the screen size and resolution to that of a smartphone.

“This does not mean the tablet market will become inactive, but as consumers’ purchasing plans for mature device categories such as tablets decline, high tech companies will need to replace lost revenues with sales in new categories such as wearable health and fitness monitors.”

 

Samsung recovers from slump

galazy-SSamsung has told Wall Street that it expects January-March profit to be its highest in three quarters, beating expectations and suggesting that the tech giant is on track for an earnings recovery.

Samsung’s profit is expected to have reached $5.44 billion in the first quarter, the South Korean manufacturer said.

Investors and analysts expect the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge models  to revive handset sales and propel profits in coming quarters.

Researcher Counterpoint expects Samsung to sell more than 50 million units of the new devices to consumers this year – a new record for the company. The contribution from Samsung’s chip-making division is also tipped to be just as significant as smartphone-related income.

Chips probably sold more than phones for a third straight quarter in January-March, analysts said, as Samsung dominates in memory and grew market share for system chips. Samsung opted to use more of its own chips for its Galaxy S6 models and added chip maker Nvidia as a new contract manufacturing client.

The smartphone business likely also saw sequential shipments growth in the first quarter as new mid-tier handsets such as the Galaxy A and E models went on sale in major markets, analysts said.

For all of 2015, profit is likely to rise 6 percent and sales improving in system chips and favourable pre-sale reviews for the S6 have reversed the estimate from a profit decline forecast earlier this year.

Galaxy look reveals Qualcomm’s loss

Galaxy 6A quick look under the bonnet of the new Galaxy s6 has shown how far Samsung has moved away from its old chum Qualcomm

Samsung used more of its own chips to power the new Galaxy S6 smartphone than it did for the predecessor S5

Samsung is not only using its own Exynos mobile processor, as had been widely reported, but also decided to rely on its in-house semiconductor business to source other parts, including the modem and power management integrated circuit chips.

According to Ottawa-based consultancy Chipworks, who conducted an analysis of the Galaxy S6 eating its own dog food will mean stronger sales of system chips such as its Exynos processor that could help boost earnings

The Galaxy S6 also comes with Samsung’s Shannon modem chip, it what is starting to look like an attempt to use all-Samsung silicon as a way to increase profit margins.

All this is bad news for Qualcomm which had been expected to be a key player on the new generation of Samsung’s flagship handsets.

Qualcomm said in January that a key customer declined to use its new Snapdragon processor in an upcoming flagship phone presumed to be Samsung’s Galaxy S6. But it had been unclear whether Samsung would drop Qualcomm’s modem chips as well.

Qualcomm is the industry leader in LTE, the most advanced modem technology, but Samsung, Intel, MediaTek and others have developing their own products.

IBM strikes deal with China Telecom

IBM logoLast week IBM said that it would work closer with Chinese companies to make its intellectual property easier for them to use.

And today it has signed a deal with China Telecom aimed at using its partnership with Apple and iOS to create business enterprise apps.

The apps will be hosted on China Telecom’s cloud, said IBM – which added that it’s the biggest cloud service provider in mainland China. It hosts over 70 percent of domestic internet content and services.

The aim is to promote the development of mobile apps in Chinese enterprises.

The deal will mean that China Telecom will use IBM’s Mobile First Platform for iOS. That lets organisations build secure native apps for large companies. Apps built using the software are easily customisable for any organisation, Big Blue claims.

IBM said it has over 4,300 patents in mobile, social networking and security. It is working with Apple to build enterprise apps. Apple hopes that its partnership with IBM will let it sell more tablets to large organisations.

* IBM also said today that it has introduced IBM Verse – a social messaging product that uses built in analytics.

Integrated circuit demand picking up

ParisPissoirIntegrated circuit demand in China’s smartphone market is showing signs of a pick-up, at least those trying to sell their products to anyone other than Apple.

Digitimes said that inventories at non-Apple vendors have been getting better, showing signs that business is picking up.

Strong sales of Apple’s iPhone 6 devices in China resulted in excess inventory levels at other mobile device brands in the fourth quarter of 2014, the sources said. However, inventory digestion is near its end, the sources observed.

Downstream clients have stepped up chip orders prior to China’s Labour Day holiday, the sources noted. Rollouts of new smartphones and other mobile devices are also expected to stimulate demand, the sources said.

Taiwan-based IC design houses are expected to see their sales rebound starting March, the sources indicated. MediaTek, for example, will see its March revenues rebound to previous high levels.

MediaTek is expected to report weaker-than-expected performance in the second quarter, if the company fails to generate revenue growth of more than 20 per cent. Such a scenario also implies that overall smartphone demand from China and emerging markets is still grim.

MediaTek has estimated revenues for the first quarter of 2015 will register a 10-18 per cent decline. The company has not given its sales guidance for the second quarter.

HTC Windows 7 Mobiles reviewed

For the last few years the optional choice for the professional out on the road has been the Blackberry, Palm Trio and a few other mobile devices. Then along came Windows Mobile, which had a slow uptake and some liked it.

Windows 6.5 Professional became the choice of many a professional with its seamless synchronisation with the master operating system of Vista and, more recently, Windows 7.   For a  professional, a mobile phone is a  lifeline to the outside world and rigorously policed as the contacts and contents inside would sell for huge sums on the open market.

The hullabaloo on the launch of the new Windows 7 phones had many up in arms. Many esteemed journalists had been left off the list and had to wait for press releases telling them what to expect.  

Many old road spiders didn’t really bother, as time would tell if this product would stand up to all the hype.  Quite happy with their Blackberrys and Windows 6.5 professional, why should people change?  Mr Microsoft says you should to keep up with the times.  After all we are looking at a device that will streamline your productivity with your current Windows operating systems and applications.   With this in mind, let’s compare the major features of the HTC HD2 that is currently being used now against the new HTC HD7 we might use in the future.

specifications

And so to the nitty gritty, deciding if it was time to come into the 21st century kicking.  

Our choice –  the new all singing and dancing HTC HD7, one of the direct successors to the current HTC line – even though many claim there’s a shortage of the Windows 7 mobile beasties.   

A quick recap on the press briefing and the HTC HD7 certainly looked to be the item to behold.
Our HTC HD7 arrived and within the box came the normal bits and pieces you would expect – a   charger with micro USB connection, a neat set of headphones and the sound playback reproduction is good, and last but not least the smallest manual we have ever seen. 

Everything else needed to be downloaded from Microsoft to get the phone sync’d up and running properly.  But of course registration through your Live account (if you had one) needed to be done first.  This just may put some people off straight away.

In the box
The HTC HD7 windows connectivity in both Bluetooth and Wireless we found to be really good, tying in nicely with the Plantronics professional headset and for those not in the know this Bluetooth headset runs two mobile phones at any one time – with excellent noise cancelling, and the Grand Cherokee’s U Connect Bluetooth system of the car. 

Contacts successfully transferred over and it was most pleasing and never dropped connection on a complete 800 mile road trip.   So a major plus here.   Construction of the phone is solid, the 4.3-inch screen is very sharp indeed and the font reproduction is clear.   

Flashed up

Once the battery and SIM card are locked into place and the back secured, you are left with a feeling of security as many mobile phones have a somewhat flimsy backing that can pop off when you least expect it.  

In the wireless mode within the office it picked up our own device straight away.   While out on our travels within several major hotels and motorway service stations that offered free wireless connectivity it hooked up straight away and we pulled off our mail and updates.

Contacts

The phone is just like having your cut down Windows 7 desktop popped onto a mobile device.  Those already using Windows 7 will have no problems but others may find the interface a little bit awkward to start with.  The HTC hub built into the set-up allows you to use  many different features of the internet like the weather, stocks and some interesting apps.   Many are free and there are a few you have to pay for.  

HTC Hub

The Microsoft Zune software interface has an array of features though at times you cannot help but feel it’s very much like something Apple would have made. You can tweak your phone settings from here and update the phones software directly from Microsoft, though the main features are fully focused upon Music, Videos, Pictures and Podcasts.  Very teen / twenties orientated indeed.   

The biggest push though is for gamers who wish to peruse their X-Box Live gaming.   Those into gaming will find this fun and play away many hours while stuck in the airport waiting for that long haul trip.  

Gaming
The  pictures it takes are good – we tried an extreme close up of a difficult shot and the proof is below.

Close up
Video – HTC claims you can make your own movies in HD as it comes with an 720p HD camcorder allowing you to capture film with incredible quality and detail. It’s ideal for turning your friends and family into stars.   A simple 20 second video test showed very good playback on both the HTC HD7 handset and when re ran it on a PC monitor, it was very sharp and clear reproduction using the Zune software.    

Conclusion

Some people  will love this, others will wait.  Many different tariffs can be obtained by the different providers for this new piece of hardware from HTC.  For now there are five different variants –  HTC 7 Surround, HTC 7 Mozart, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Pro and HTC HD7, though within the EU we are limited to 3 variants – the HTC HD7, HTC 7 Mozart and the HTC 7 Trophy.  Those of you looking for the HTC 7 Pro in the EU will have to wait.  Strange.

The Windows Phone 7 has a very fast operating system with polished animation and good performance. But a few things stand out which prevents a professional from making full usage of this bit of kit. There are some problems that will annoy many and these are:
·    No multi-tasking  – that means there’s a whole load of reloading and time wasting
·    No cut, copy, and paste functionality
·    No custom ringtone capability – to many this is the end users fun having that all important customised ringer
·    Limited customisation of the Start screen
·    Office apps are pretty limited in terms of what you can do from the phone – what, no Outlook?
·    Inconsistency in auto rotation. Now this is a frustrating point as just when you flip the phone back expecting it to follow, it stays stuck in place.  After several hard flicks of the phone it came out of portrait into landscape view.
·    Fully locked into the Zune software for PC connections with no drive or file access

For now the cons outweigh the pros as the phone is lacking in many areas of simple functionality.

Too much reliance has been placed on Live interfacing which is a pain for many. If running from Microsoft Exchange then you are laughing all the way to the corporation as everything hooks up readily. 

However there are a few who will say that this is a good thing – but honestly trusting your safe documents upon a server that you have no control over?  And security is today’s vogue Zippo really, as the investigations here could find no form of Anti Virus software etc that will protect your precious piece of equipment.

You cannot even scan the beast from your PC either as Mr Zune makes sure you cannot.  

So we have a mobile phone filled with features galore, but very readily open to hacks. This does make you sit back and wonder why the anti virus companies are not ready to launch as today’s smartphones are the vogue item to have.  

For those with teen children then it will be a winner with all the Twitter and Facebook interfaces in place.  Though, once more, your data on the phone is too readily accessible.

For this old road spider, for now, the HTC HD7 will sit in the background and I will continue with the HTC HD2 which has all the bells and whistles we need, until something else comes round  the corner.