Category: Mobiles

IPhone make-overs are apparently a thing in China

lipstick-on-a-pig-1Fruity tax-dodging cargo cult Apple is facing a huge problem with its Chinese sales – not only are the Chinese not interested in its products, they are actually using common sense to avoid an expensive upgrade.

Chinese iPhone owners are giving their old models a makeover to look like the latest iPhone 7, rather than buying new.

Online sites offer shoppers makeover kits, false cameras and even dust plugs to hide the removed headphone jack to give their iPhone 6 or 6S the appearance of the iPhone 7.

Apparently, the Chinese think that the iPhone 7 doesn’t have enough new features to convince them to trade up, but it is worth looking like you have money to spend to do it.

Searches on platforms including Alibaba’s Taobao showed a range of products to transform older phones to an iPhone 7 – from stickers and engraving services to replacing the outer casing and hardware.

Apparently the iPhone 4 is the best used iPhone out there because it is more durable than the later incarnations.  Tarting up the phones show that really Apple has made sod all difference to the thing over the years.

Hopes that Apple might convert a few Samsung users behind the bamboo curtain after the Note 7 fiasco have also been dashed.  As one Chinese bloke told Rueters: “It is better to have a phone that explodes than an iPhone 7 which lacks any innovation.”

Samsung taps LG for new batteries

lemon batteryMaker of the incredible melting Note 7, Samsung, is planning to use batteries manufactured by LG for its next Galaxy S series flagship.

Samsung is said to be in talks with LG Chem for a possible partnership to supply batteries. At present, Samsung SDI, which is a sister company of Samsung, and Chinese battery maker ATL are its suppliers. Samsung SDI supplied 70% of the batteries used in the Note 7, while the rest of the batteries were from ATL.

According to a report by Korean Herald Samsung is looking at getting lots of battery suppliers.

When Samsung announced the first recall, it was speculated that Samsung could go in for LG batteries. But sources told the Korean Herald that the deal is yet to be finalised between Samsung and LG. Samsung’s phones already use cameras from LG.

Tame Apple Press bullying Samsung

back2thefutureone84Apple’s minions at its favourite tech magazines are wading into Samsung for being unable to identify the fault which sank the Note 7.

For those who came in late, Samsung stopped producing its Note 7 after a recall failed to stop the phones overheating.  Now Apple’s free PR units based at newspapers like the New York Times re wading in claiming that Samsung’s goods are dangerous because it could not identify the fault.

The Times coverage was deliberately “inflammatory” making shedloads of references to the phones “exploding” or “blowing up” when in the only cases where the fault appeared the phones melted.

But even while the Times was saying that, it had to admit that it was not that Samsung did not know what caused the problem, simply that it was refusing to tell anyone the cause. This is a slightly different issue.  One can imagine a whinging Apple fanboy hack talking to Samsung PR and threatening that if Samsung does not spill the beans he will write a story saying that Samsung does not know the cause of the overheating.

The Times went even further and suggested that no one should buy Samsung goods because they all might develop faults. That should teach them for stomping on Apple’s turf.

What is more likely is that Samsung does know the cause, and it is somewhat terminal for its design teams.

Phone Arena found some specs which were from the Korean safety body which examined the first phones to overheat. They found that the battery was too big and the thin design was pushing all the thin metal frame onto the battery. The second battery was smaller but the design was still pressing against it and so the problem had not gone away.

Samsung could not change the design or the battery and therefore had to recall the lot.

What is more surprising is that Phone Arena’s story has been ignored by the Tame Apple Press as it falls over itself to promote the iPhone 7 against all rivals.  It is true that Samsung did stuff up, the Note’s problems should have been spotted long before it got into the shops. When the first faults appeared it was logical to think that it was the oversized battery, but they should have checked the design was not a factor.

However, it is equally difficult to see how any phone maker could have done much that was different and it is certainly not fair that the Tame Apple Press are behaving like tossers.

Samsung Note 7 recall could cost billions

samsung-galaxy-note-5Samsung’s worst-ever recall could cost the company as much as $17 billion after it halted sales of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 for a second time,.

Samsung announced the recall of 2.5 million Note 7s in early September following numerous reports of the phones catching fire. Today the outfit told mobile carriers to stop sales or exchange of the $882 device and asked users to shut off their phones while it investigated new reports of fires in replacement Note 7s.

Now the outfit faces a probe by US safety regulators, some investors and analysts predict Samsung may scrap the Note 7 and move on to successor models to limit the financial and reputational damage.

This will presumably happen before the regulators rush in and ban the phone from sale.

If Samsung stops selling the Note 7s, that will translate into lost sales of up to 19 million phones, or nearly $17 billion, that the firm was expected to generate during the Note 7’s product cycle,.

That’s a big increase from $5 billion in missed sales and recall costs analysts initially expected Samsung to incur under the assumption that the firm would resume global Note 7 sales in the fourth quarter.

By the time it fixes the problem they have to go through recertification and requalification and by the time that happens, they’re going up against the (Galaxy) S8 launch, so it is pretty pointless.

It is still not clear what the problem was with the phone.

 

Anti-trust watchdog barks at Android

31BBE0CB00000578-3471385-image-a-12_1456857331758South Korea’s antitrust regulator has opened an investigation into the Google’s agreements with handset manufacturers over the Andriod operating system.

The watchdog is concerned that the US firm’s Android mobile operating system limits market competition.

Jeong Jae-chan, chairman of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, said the agency will re-examine anti-competition issues over Google’s policies on the Android platform. Sadly the did not say much more and probably won’t until the investigation is complete.

The agency has previously said it was looking into whether Google,  whose corporate parent is Alphabet  has violated South Korean anti-competition laws but did not elaborate on what potential charges might be brought against Google or what particular field it was interested in. Now it appears that it might be focused on the Android arrangements.

Melting Note 7 did not stop Samsung making a killing

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-ReviewThe Tame Apple Presses campaign to get its iPhone 7 selected over the Samsung Note 7 has failed to damage Samsung’s bottom line.

Since the iPhone 7 was launched the Tame Apple Press has been running scare stories about the Note 7 and over reacting to a battery problem which cased half a dozen to over heat. Samsung recalled the Note 7 and replaced the battery and the Tame Apple Press rubbed its paws with glee claiming that Samsung would suffer a billion dollar loss from having to recall the phones.

It turns out that did not happen.

Samsung said that it expects third-quarter profit to grow 5.6 percent, beating estimates, as a pickup in chip and display earnings off set its smartphone woes.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker said  its operating profit for July-September was likely $7 billion, compared with the 6.4 billion tipped by a Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimate of analysts’ forecasts. A year earlier operating profit was just under $7 billion

Revenue for the quarter likely fell 5.2 percent  the South Korean firm said. This was much less than the Tame Apple Press predicted.

Samsung’s semiconductor business did really well, ironically flogging its chips for the new iPhones and other products launched ahead of the peak year-end sales season.

The Note 7 problems could also boost Samsung’s chip business. Industry executives say the sudden need for chips in 2.5 million replacement phones is exacerbating already tight memory market conditions, which could push prices higher.

Paul Romano, chief operating officer at U.S.-based electronic component distributor Fusion Worldwide, said the firm’s clients, which include Samsung, are currently having a harder time procuring memory chips. Some smartphone makers are also trying to secure more of the chips as they see an opportunity capitalize on Samsung’s mis-steps and boost handset sales, Romano said.

 

 

Samsung drags its feet on VR

maxresdefaultSamsung does not believe it needs to do much more on VR for the moment as it thinks that the display technology has gone as far as it can for now.

Samsung has made inroads into the mobile VR space thanks to the Gear VR for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series.  For those who came in late, Samsung confirmed they were working on a standalone VR headset in April.  But it did not happen

Now it seems that the outfit has said that it does not believe the technology is quite there yet and they are holding back on releasing a standalone VR headset.

The company also says VR is at the peak of its hype phase, and they want to wait and see if the market matures.

Samsung’s President & Chief Strategy Officer, Young Sohn said that display technology needs to advance to at least twice the pixel density that we have in smartphones today.

In otherwords a until we can see a standalone VR headset with Ultra HD display panels there is little point putting “go faster stripes” on what we have.

Sohn said that it would cost Samsung $5 to $10 billion to push the technology and develop a 10K mobile display and it does not think it is worth that type of investment.  The fear is that the market will stagnate when the shine goes off the hype.

 

iPhone 7 catches yellow fever

maxresdefaultNot content with creating a phone which hisses at users stupid enough to buy it, Apple’s iPhone 7 has a feature which turns its screen yellowish.

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that yellow screens are normal and those who spent a fortune upgrading to the iPhone 7 have not really bought a lemon.

Apparently it was due to the use of the adhesive on the display, in which for some devices is still in the process of setting. Apparently it should go away in a few days and if it doesnt then your phone is not really defective and you have wasted yoru money it must be a software thing and you can adjust it. Eh?

What is amazing is that the Tame Apple Press is full of work arounds and fixes but no one appears to be bloody cross that an $800 phone has been released with such a problem. It is also a problem which Apple did not suffer from in its previous editions.

At some point someone will have to start looking at the phone, which hisses when it has a heavy work load, with its yellow screen, four hour headphone battery life and wonder “why the hell did I buy this hunk of over priced junk when I could have picked up something that did what I wanted for about $250.

Samsung will replace Note 7s by the end of the year

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-ReviewSamsung has promised to re-launch its flagship Note7 smartphone across Europe well before year-end, but has warned that it might not be until next year that it fully recovered from the defective battery fiasco.

David Lowes, Samsung’s chief marketing officer in Europe, said he expected new Note7s to be available everywhere by the end of November and well before the end of the fourth quarter.

The outfit has pledged to sell no new models until it fully completes the exchange of existing Note7S with faulty batteries,. An estimated 2.5 million Note7s were sold before the battery flaws led Samsung to issue a global recall early this month.

Samsung plans to resume Note7 sales in South Korea on 28 September Sales are to resume in Australia and Singapore in October, according to the company, which has not yet said when they will be available in other regions.

“We are confident that we can start to make up any ground that we have lost and get that momentum back into our business… get that total momentum back as we exit 2016 and set ourselves up for a strong 2017,” he said.

The Note7 was recalled in 10 markets globally, including the United States and Samsung’s home market of South Korea. Most of the affected phones sold in Europe shipped to three markets: Britain, Germany and France, Lowes said.

Lowes thinks the entire recall could be done in two weeks, clearing the way for new phone sales, although he admits this might be a tad ambitious  given the complexity of reaching consumers through its extensive chain of distributors and marketing partners.

“Our mindset is to be expediting this over that time period and not have it continuing and continuing.  Lowes cautioned that this goal may prove ambitious in practice.

Lowes said there was still pent-up demand for its marquee phone product in Europe, which was still largely in the pre-order rather than mass roll-out phase, with Note7 not yet available in many markets after launching in August. Samsung has no plans to scale back on its original marketing plans, he said.

 

Samsung can’t get people to part with Note 7

SamsungDespite a recall and well organised scare campaign by reporters loyal to Apple, Samsung can’t get owners to part with their Note 7.

For those who came in late, the Note 7 appeared to have battery problems which caused some of them to melt. Samsung started a recall procedure but not before the Tame Apple Press started printing stories of “exploding” phones and the US government took the unprecedented step of banning them on flights. The fact that US company Apple had just released its lack-lustre iPhone 7 had nothing to do with it. Honest.

Samsung has just announced that it has shipped 500,000 replacement Galaxy Note 7 devices to US retailers and carriers. They’ll be available beginning tomorrow to owners of the original,  Note 7 for in-store exchanges.

This first batch of replenishment stock is intended exclusively for exchanges; Samsung hasn’t yet said when Note 7 retail sales will officially resume, probably in October.

But Samsung is having trouble getting people to part with their original phones. It says less than a quarter have been exchanged in the United States.

Samsung thinks that is an extraordinarily fast start toward achieving our goal of removing every single affected Note 7 from circulation. But given how much fear has been raised in the press, it does suggest that the company might have a few problems prising notes from the hands of users.

The theory is that the exchange rate will shoot up much quicker now that consumers can make a direct swap for Samsung’s latest batch of Note 7 shipments.