Category: Mobile

Lenovo disappointed by Motorola purchase

LENOVOLenovo is having that same moment of realisation that people get when they realise that special deal they bought off ebay was not really so special after all and they probably bid too much for it.

The company moaned that its integration efforts after buying Lenovo had not met its expectations.

Both crucial mobile markets, China and the United States, disappointed in the wake of Lenovo’s takeover, with Chinese shipments declining by a huge 85 percent and product transition in North America deemed simply “not successful.”

Lenovo says it has drawn many lessons from the experience since the close of the Motorola acquisition and it’s applying them quickly. One aspect of its refreshed strategy is to have two co-presidents, with two distinct strategies for China and the rest of the world. In China, Lenovo will refocus around its affordable Zuk brand “to rebuild its end-to-end competitiveness,” while elsewhere the company plans to keep growing in emerging markets “and get the US business back on track with a competitive product portfolio.”

It has already been doing this for its Moto G launch which is focused on India and Brazil, two countries where the Moto brand is already doing well.

When Lenovo bought Motorola from Google, it had expected to become a strong number three and a credible challenger to the top two in smartphones.

CEO Yang Yuanqing said that the combined Lenovo-Motorola group has fallen out of the top five global smartphone vendors, supplanted by fellow Chinese manufacturers Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo.  Huawei rose to become what Lenovo intended.

In any event Lenovo is planning a come-back with its Moto Z flagship which looks like it will be bold and ambitious. The Moto Z is expected to be accompanied by a series of MotoMod accessory cases, which add things like a projector, a zoom camera, and better speakers to the basic device. This will be revealed on June 9.

Chromebooks now outsell Macs

c04808585Google’s low-cost Chromebooks are now outselling the Apple range of Macs in the US for the first time.

IDC analyst Linn Huang has been adding up the numbers and concluded that Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16.
Apple sold 1.76 million Macs in the latest quarter, with nearly 2 million  Chromebooks sold by Dell, HP, and Lenovo combined.

Over the pond, Chromebooks are extremely popular as they are supplied to students in schools.

Google recently announced that Android apps are on the way to the Chrome platform so it looks like the technology is getting as large and stable as Android.

 

Fire disaster was a good thing claims Bezos

Hindenburg3Budget bookseller Jeff Bezos has been telling the world that the Fire Phone disaster was good for the company.

Amazon’s wizard idea to start flogging a smartphone, the Fire Phone, was a major flop that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

But according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Fire Phone was a “tiny little blip” compared to some of the larger experiments his company is working on now.

“If you think that’s a big failure, we’re working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip,” Bezos said.

He said that the size of mistakes needed to grow along with the company, Bezos said. “If it doesn’t, you’re not going to be inventing at scale that can actually move the needle.”

The great thing is when you take this approach, a small number of winners pay for dozens, hundreds of failures. And so every single important thing that we have done has taken a lot of risk taking, perseverance, guts, and some of them have worked out, most of them have not, he said.

Other failed projects included the hotel-booking site, Amazon Destinations, and auction site, Amazon Auction. But it’s also led to massive successes, such as its Amazon Web Services and the Amazon Echo, which is why Bezos likes to call the company “the best place in the world to fail”.

 

Nokia gets back in the phone business

nokia-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-alcatel-lucents-wireless-business-reportsFormer rubber boot maker Nokia is back in the mobile phone and tablet business after flogging its previous loss making empire to Microsoft which trashed it.

Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global licence to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years.

Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.

HMD will provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. HMD has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights.

These agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

Apparently HMD intends to invest over $500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.

HMD’s new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a Foxconn subsidiary has bought the remainder of Microsoft’s feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution. HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets.

This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH’s world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components.

Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD.

HMD’s new CEO will be Arto Nummela who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa and Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business. HMD’s president will be Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.

BabelFish created

babel-fish-large_trans++EDjTm7JpzhSGR1_8ApEWQA1vLvhkMtVb21dMmpQBfEsGoogle has managed to create a piece of technology first described in Douglas Adam’s ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the  Galaxy’.

Adams described a fish which could solve all the world’s translation problems: “e Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier, but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.”

Now Google has invented an ear-piece which will let you translate between English, French, Spanish and Italian in Autumn of this year.

Pilot will cost $129 (£90) ​and will be available for pre-order on the Google website.

It works by being connected to two different people, speaking two different languages, and translates what they are saying in your ear.

Pilot is supposedly the first ‘smart earpiece’ capable of translating between two languages.

Waverly Labs, who have developed the technology, said on their website: “This little wearable uses translation technology to allow two people to speak different languages but still clearly understand each other”.

They have not said how it works except for that it uses “translation technology” embedded in an app.  So far the first generation of the device only works between two people wearing the earpieces.

However, they hope to make one which translates everything happening around you in a foreign country.

Waverly Labs, a New York-based company, said one of their technicians came up with the idea after “meeting a French girl” and wanting to communicate with her.

The company is going to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, where people who want to be the first to try this new technology can pre-order the Pilot for between $129 (£90) and $179 (£125) – whereas it’s expected to retail for between $250 (£174) and $300 (£209).

 

Microsoft to license Nokia brand to Foxconn

nokia-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-alcatel-lucents-wireless-business-reportsMicrosoft is going to license the Nokia brand to Foxconn and shut down its operations.

Microsoft and Nokia struck a deal in 2014 and the terms of acquisition read that the Windows developer owns full rights for the Nokia brand for smartphones until 2024.

Vole gutted the Nokia brand and totally failed to make any money from it. In the first quarter of 2016, Microsoft only managed to sell 15 million handsets.

The move, which has yet to be announced, will see half of the remaining Microsoft Mobile members getting the boot and the rest joining the Vole’s Surface team. , and rumours already permeate the media about a possible Surface Phone in tow.

For one thing, Microsoft owns the site www.surfacephone.com. For another, the company is aware that the handset market is consistent and diverse, with developing countries being a gold mine for affordable smartphone manufacturers.

The question is what would Foxconn want with a Nokia licence and would anyone buy a Nokia phone from the outfit? Wasting money on Nokia was one of the shy and retired former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s silliest ideas.

Vodafone expects growth

Vodafone_Building_Near_Victoria_ParkVodafone expects its earnings growth to accelerate this year after a programme to improve its networks boosted European demand and helped the group to return to underlying growth this year for the first time since 2008.

The world’s second-largest mobile phone operator reported full-year revenue of $59 billion, up 2.3 percent on an underlying basis and broadly meeting market forecasts, reflecting a better performance in South Africa, Egypt and Turkey.

It posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $16.84 billion, slightly below forecasts but up 2.7 percent. Vodafone expected this rate to accelerate to 3-6 percent this year.

Growth in Europe, the first since the end of 2010, came as Vodafone reached the end of its Project Spring multi-billion pound investment program to improve its networks.

Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said the programme had transformed the quality of the group’s technology and customer experience.

“I am confident we will sustain our positive momentum in the coming year, allowing us to maintain attractive returns for our shareholders,” he said.

 

Microsoft dumps wi-fi sense

wifisense-100594691-primary.idge_Software king of the world Microsoft has decided that no one is really interested in its Wi-Fi Sense service.

You know that a service is not doing well when reporters have to look up what it is supposed to do, before writing a story saying it had been canned.

Wi-Fi Sense is a service mostly used on Windows phones (strike one). Once users enable the service, it allows them to seamlessly share internet Wi-Fi hotspots and passwords with their friends and contacts (strike two). Wi-Fi Sense has never really been promoted by Microsoft, despite its huge potential, and many users likely disable it or ignore it due to a lack of information on it (strike three).

Microsoft’s Gabe Aul said is a statement said that the cost of updating the code to keep the feature working combined with low usage and low demand made it not worth further investment.

The announcement was made in the release notes for Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14342 which removed the service from the operating system completely. Those users running devices with it still installed will still be able to use it though but in a limited capacity.

“Wi-Fi Sense, if enabled, will continue to get you connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots that it knows about through crowdsourcing,” says Aul.

 

Intel managers fume over call to “sell” decimation

decimationChipzilla’s managers are incandescent with rage that they are being ordered to “sell” Intel’s decimation of staff to the people who are given the boot.

Intel wants to get rid of more than 11 percent of its staff as it realises that it has lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the mobile industry.  It is shutting down its projects to build chips for Mobile Phones and Tablets.

Techeye has been told that a special webcast is scheduled on Monday for managers only, and it appears that it will be part of a hard core sales pitch to  pressurise managers to convince employees to take voluntary redundancy.

As one manager moaned: “Why the Fuck do I have to deliver the VSP Bullshit to my affected reports instead of them doing their own dirty work?”

He said it was bad enough when Intel’s front line were told to trap staff to hit SSL targets and then force them to have the ISP blood on their hands through the respect and dignity execution.”

“Will probably be required to take waterboarding training next,” he muttered.

The comment has appeared on a staff site called “the lay-off” and already has attracted a few comments from hacked off fellow managers.  Oddly one does not seem particularly upset at front line manager’s (FLMs) plight.

“OP, please, do not protect and SLMs. They are falsch/fake/trash, low level life forms (respect to 10% of them who R exceptions), protecting ONLY their fat asses.”

Another thought that the whole situation proved that Intel had “really had become a shit place to work”.

 

Tim Cook to tell Chinese to stop mucking Apple about

Kenneth-WilliamFruity cargo cult leader Tim Cook has had enough of the Chinese government mucking his company about and is going over there himself to tell them how they are supposed to behave.

The Chinese have been downright rude to Apple lately and forbidden them to run their Apple music and other entertainment packages. Cook wants to tell them that being a government they have to do what Apple tells them – just like the American government does.

Cook is going to Beijing later this month to meet high-level government officials. He often goes to China but things are starting to look a little dire for Apple behind the Bamboo curtain so these talks are a little more important.

The Chinese are no longer buying as many iPhones, and the outfit can’t even win a court case over the trademark for the Apple name. But the biggest deal is the suspension of some of its online entertainment services.

All this is making people think that Apple has run out of ideas and will no longer continue to make funny money by charging more for less.  Last week, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn flogged his entire stake in Apple, citing China’s economic slowdown and worries about whether the government could make it very difficult for Apple to conduct business.

Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders, including officials in charge of propaganda. It is not clear what he will tell them.

Under President Xi Jinping, China is also trying to shift away from its dependence on foreign technology, especially in critical sectors like banking and insurance. Foreign businesses have staunchly opposed new regulations that they say threaten to cut them out of such industries.

Apple’s refusal provide source code to help them crack open the iPhone that was linked to a mass shooting in San Bernardino has made the Chinese think the company might try the same antics with them.  In China, Apple claims it has been asked by authorities in the last two years to hand over its source code but the company refused.  If this is true then it is hard to see why Apple is still operating in China at all.