Category: Tablets

Flash Memory Summit 2016 – Consolidation?

FMS2016_BannerAd_300x250The Flash Memory Summit 16 will be convening at the Santa Clara Convention Center over August 9 -11, 2016. Flash memory is now established as a key technology enabling new designs for many products in the consumer, computer and enterprise markets.

Storage Crossover

The industry is at a critical juncture where the total cost of ownership for flash based SSD’s achieved crossover with hard disk drive equivalents last September as the enterprise storage medium of choice.

The fact that the number of producers is limited has altered the landscape of consumption with some analysts indicating that serious shortages will exist for some time to come. An interesting, but mitigating fact is that most of the analysts are not technical – the ones that we’ve talked to that have a technical bent are not so sanguine about the availability mix. One item that stands in the road to profits is the need for this next generation storage device to not only retain data but do so interactively without losing bits. The unrecoverable bit boogie man is now staring the industry down. The ability to store immense amounts of “ready data” for execution now depends on the technologies ability to reliably retain data.

All Flash Array producers are now entering the “really big data storage array” market – the battle has dropped down to the cost of storage per dollar creating a whole new category of marketing lows. 3D Flash is now so dense that failure modes are now dependent upon being aware of “how and when” the bits were used during the entire lifetime of the device.

Cork, Ireland NVMdurance was the first to understand this phenomenon and is now firmly embedded in their first customer Altera (now Intel). Pure and Nimble Storage are offering their services for their AFAs – seems that leasing AFA memory is a probable in the future of solid state storage. We’re still left reading the indemnification clauses of their contracts.

Poison Pill

Micron Technology filed with the SEC a poison pill last Friday. The buzz is that the company is once again in play. The likely suitor is none other than Intel according to the lead rumor. We will be talking with Micron and Intel at FMS 16 and although they’ll not say anything about what’s going on we’ll at the very least get to look into their pupils while they’re telling us…,

US’s ZTE ban backfires

Great-Depression-Unemployment-Line-It seems that the US’s daft ban on ZTE gear is doing more harm to its home-grown businesses which are suffering more.

The U.S. Commerce Department decided to punish ZTE for selling coms gear to the Iranians years ago and issued an export ban on the outfit. However that seems to be punishing a lot of US companies who depend on ZTE’s components or business.

Jose optical-parts maker Oclaro saw its shares plummet because it sells multiple products to ZTE, a maker of mobile devices and telecoms systems.

Chipmaker Integrated Device Technology said the Commerce Department’s ruling “could cause changes to revenue trends” in its quarter ending July 3 its shares fell 1 percent.

Among other suppliers whose shares fell were Lumentum, down 3.3 percent; NeoPhotonics Corp, down 8.6 percent; Fabrinet, down 5.3 percent; Finisar Corp, down 7.7 percent; Inphi Corp, down 7.3 percent; and Skyworks Solutions Inc, down 4.1 percent.
ZTE distributor Avenet fell 1.5 percent.

Qualcomm slid 1.58 percent while its rival MediaTek Inc rose three percent. Any switch by ZTE to replace Qualcomm as a supplier might take several months, because of the need to work out need specifications.

However the worse it yet to come. The worst fallout for US suppliers around ZTE’s telecommunications-infrastructure equipment rather than its handset business.

Still while the US tech industry suffers, at least they can be re-assured that by stuffing themselves up they will be punishing that naughty Chinese telco for breaking a US embargo when the Americans hated the Chinese.

Microsoft beats Apple in Tablet sales

SurfaceMembers of the Tame Apple Press were grasping their chests and screaming blue murder over the weekend after it was revealed that Apple was being beaten in Tablet sales by Microsoft.

Vole has been making tablets for ages, but no one actually noticed until Apple reintroduced the keyboard-less notepad under its own fruity label in 2010.

Microsoft’s technology was totally eclipsed. The tablet market has been sliding, as owners realised that a keyboard-less netbook was a chocolate teapot of tech, Microsoft’s tablets have come into fashion – thanks mostly to the fact that

Apple resorted to producing the same sort of tablet for a much higher price.
According to a report, “1010data Facts for Ecom Insights, January 2014 – October 2015” by the 1010data Ecom Insights Panel, Microsoft has assumes the mantle of best-selling tablet maker in terms of online sales in October.

What is worrying for Jobs’ Mob in the report, which analyses online hardware sales at the majority of online retailers, is that October was the first month when Apple didn’t lead the market:

Apparently Microsoft has been making steady progress in tablet market share but saw a huge spike in October with the release of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

The Surface Book and Surface Book 4 were both introduced at Microsoft’s October 6 hardware event. This confirms that Windows 10 tablet and hybrid sales are having a significant impact on the market and cleaning Apple’s clock.

Overall online tablet sales have shown some spikes, influenced by a few key product releases including the Surface Pro 3, the iPad Mini 4, and the Surface Pro 4:

Apple maintains a healthy lead in terms of online tablet sales, but Microsoft is in a strong second place position.

What appears that happened was that Jobs’ Mob was aware of this and introduced its Surface clone the iPad Pro in response to Microsoft’s success.

Meanwhile this has caused huge problems for the Tame Apple Press which had written off Microsoft years ago and cast Google and Samsung as the cargo cult’s worst enemies.

Fourth quarter “promising” for tablet sales

Lenovo shopfrontA market research firm said that 40 million tablets will ship worldwide in this, the fourth quarter of 2015.

ABI Research said last quarter 30.6 million branded tablets shipped, but described this quarter as promising, with units accounting for 29 percent of the total volume in 2015.

Nevertheless, the fourth quarter will be down 19.7 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Jeff Orr, a research director at ABI, said: “Vendors are hoping to gain back some of their unit and revenue shortfall from earlier in 2015. New tablets from Amazon and others will utilise a low cost approach to achieve this strategy.”

Orr numbers the vendors as Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei and Asus, in order. But the biggest gains during the quarter were made by Lenovo and Asus.

The biggest vendor losers during the quarter will be Apple and Microsoft – the former fell eight percent during the first nine months of 2015. Microsoft lost over half of its market share in the previous 90 days as it moved from the Surface Pro 3 to the Surface Pro 4.

Large tablets to revive sales

Old Apple logo - Wikimedia CommonsYesterday we reported that the outlook is bleak for tablets as smartphones get bigger and bigger.

But in 2016 there will be a segment of the tablet market which is set to grow, according to Digitimes Research (DR).

The Apple iPad market will grow in 2016 because of sales of the iPad Pro and a future iPad Air, said DR.

Sales of Microsoft Surface 2-in-1 machines are also expected to offset the overall decline in tablet sales.

DR believes that the so-called “white box” tablet players will exit the market.

Apple will continue to be the largest vendor next year, followed by Samsung and Lenovo. But the last two will see big declines.

Analysts predict that tablets over 10 inches will grow over 20 percent in 2016 because of sales of the iPad Pro and the Surface 2-in-1, taking a total share of the tablet market of over 20 percent.

Tablets fall while notebooks falter

Dell TabletA market research company said that vendors fond hopes of the notebook recovering are likely to be dashed.

Trendforce said notebook shipments will fall “significantly” this year. Vendors still have warehouses full of notebook which they haven’t been able to shift.

Trendforce estimates that the total notebook shipments in 2015 will amount to about 164.4 million units.

That’s a fall of 6.4 percent year on year.

But Trendforce analyst Anita Wang said 2016 is likely to be better. “This year has been extraordinarily tough for the notebook market. However shipments will recover in 2016, when more branded vendors will be entering the market, including Xiaomi and Huawei.”

But it’s a glimmer of hope only, because Wang said total notebook shipments will only be up by one point compared to this year.

Tablet shipments are in an even more parlous state, she said. Demand “has become soft” and there are no new features while smartphones are increasingly replacing tablets.

Trendforce estimates that 16.4 million units, a decline of 14.9 percent compared to last year.

There appear to be no glimmers of light at the end of the tablet tunnel, she said. She thinks next year will show a continued decline in tablet shipments.

Intel tablet roadmap leaked

Intel bus - Wikimedia CommonsTaiwanese wire Digitimes has published details of the processors Intel will make for the tablet market.

Generally speaking, the tablet market is in decline with people not particularly interested in upgrading until their machine is broken.

Larger size screens on smartphones are also biting into tablet sales.

The roadmap shows that Intel will introduce four microprocessors in 2016 – the Atom X3 in the first quarter, and using a 28 nanometre fabrication process; followed by the Atom X5 and the Atom X7, aimed at the mainstream and high end market, in the second quarter of 2016; and lastly the Core m5/m7, built on a 14 nanometre process, released in the fourth quarter of next year and also built on a 14 nanometre process.

Intel was rather late in getting into the market and has a pretty small share. You can find the Digitimes story here.

Cook will not cross a Macbook and an iPad

tim-cook-apple-ceoThe Grand Mufti of the Apple Cargo Cult, Tim Cook has pronounced that Apple will never cross a Macbook with an iPad, for that is an abomination against the will of Jobs.

Talking to the Independent,  Cook spake and said that a converted MacBook and iPad would have to make too many compromises.

Cook wants to build the best iPad and MacBook possible and while the gap between the iPad and MacBook has shrunk, this gives customers the best possible productivity experience on both platforms.

This comment might seem a little odd given that Cook said nobody should buy a PC anymore, because the iPad offers enough performance to become a daily driver. This is despite the fact that the Tablet market has been failing for the last eight quarters.

Curiously Cook’s ability to see what is before his eyes is not that good. He claimed that Microsoft’s latest hybrid, the Surface Book, isn’t impressive, even though his Mac Book Pro is a more expensive knock off of it.

The iPad Pro is pretty much a hybrid anyway. The 12.9-inch tablet comes with a pen and keyboard, and apparently has the CPU performance of the MacBook Air and the GPU performance of a MacBook Pro. The only major difference is it runs iOS rather than OS X.

Hybrids are shaping up to be the next big thing, so it looks like Apple is not planning to be a “game change,” when not until Cook changes his mind enters the market late and claims to have invented the technology.

Tablet users indifferent to upgrades

tabletMost people don’t plan to buy a new tablet in the next 12 months because there’s no real reason to do so.

That’s according to a survey from Gartner, which concluded that only 17 percent plan to buy a tablet in the next 12 months. Gartner surveyed 19,000 people in the US, the UK, France, China, Brazil and India.

Meike Escherich, a principal analyst at Gartner, said applications rather than hardware sell tablets. “Most applications work pretty well first and second generation tablet hardware, and because the operating system can be upgraded for free, the user not compelled to change the device,” said Escherich.

Further, people aren’t particularly interested in the hardware and devices can access the cloud.

She said that “the churn of the mature installed base will continue to fall”. Many tablet users may never upgrade because so called “phablets” and 2-in-1 PCs include the benefit of a tablet.

The survey showed that 48 percent of people didn’t want to replace a hardware unless it was absolutely essential to do so.

Apple dominates the tablet market

Dell TabletDespite falling sales of tablets in general, data released shows Apple still leads the way in shipments of tablets.

Digitimes Research said that Apple represents 23.9 percent of shipments, followed by Samsung at 14.5 percent of the market.

But the remaining places are disappointing for other vendors, with Microsoft only having 2.3 percent of the market, Amazon 4.8 percent, Lenovo 5.3 percent, and Acer 1.3 percent.

The market research firm said that of the 38.5 million tablets it estimates will ship in this fourth quarter, 30.3 percent will have seven inch screens, 18.3 percent nine inch screens,, 5.3 percent eight inch screens and 9.2 percent tablets with eleven inch screens or above.

While Apple is doing well on shipments, in operating system terms it’s good for Android (56.8%), and Apple iOS 36.4 percent. MIcrosoft has a miniscule 6.9 percent of the market with Windows.

The market research outfit said that sales have fallen 22.6 percent, compared to the same quarter last year.