Tag: Hitachi

Smartphones revolutionise the audio market

His Master's Voice - WikimediaTablets and smartphones have fundamentally changed the audio market with connected audio devices to reach 267 million units by 2018, compared to 58 million units in 2014.

IHS Technology said that the increasing use of streaming music services such as Deezer, Spotify and Pandora all contributing to people buying audio kit that lets you listen while you’re on the move.

IHS Technology said that tablets and smartphones will represent 83 percent of all media enabled consumer electronics by 2018.

Analyst Paul Erickson said that Bluetooth headphones and speakers are now “ubiquitous”, while wi-fi network connected multiroom speakers are also growing in popularity.

Sonos is currently the brand leader, but the trend means other vendors including Denon, Hitachi, Samsung, LG, Sony, Bose, Bang and Olufsen have all similar offerings.

Erickson said: “With the shift to an Android dominated mobile device market, audio manufacturers are steadily moving away from the wired only and Apple only connections of old in favour of wireless connectivity.”

Integrated infrastructure revenues up

Consulting-the-Oracle-JWW-1884The market for worldwide integrated infrastructure and platform rose by 8.3 percent in the first quarter and was worth $2.1 billion.

IDC divides this market into two sectors. Integrated platforms, according to its definition, are sysems sold with pre-integrated packaged software and system engineering optimised for a limited set of tasks.

Integrated infrastructure are for general purpose workloads.

So, for the platform market, the number three players are Oracle, IBM and a tie between Hitachi and HP. However, Oracle is by far the biggest player, with a 51.9 percent market share in the quarter.

For integrated infrastructure, VCE was number one with 24.1 percent market share, followed by Cisco/Netapp (22.6%) and HP (17.8%).

Kevin Permenter, a senior analyst at IDC, described the integrated systems market as “highly competitive landscape”. The major players, he added, have reorganised themselves to win business in the datacentre infrastructure marker.

IBM pours cloud into vessel

OpenPOWER allianceIBM has added an open access cloud service to the OpenPOWER alliance.

The alliance includes Nvidia, Mellanox, Google, Tyan and dozens of other vendors.

Big Blue said it has added SuperVessel to the global community of developers who have bought into the OpenPOWER alliance.

SuperVessel is based on IBM’s proprietary POWER processors and the cloud consists of those along with FPGAs and graphics processors to give faster service. OpenStack is used to manage the whole cloud.

SuperVessel consists of online virtual laboratories where developers can access open source software and build and test applications. The “labs” include Big Data, the Internet of Things, and virtualisation on POWER processors.

Xilinx is providing the PGA accelerators for the SuperVessel cloud service in a bid to make computing faster.

Other of the 113 members of the OpenPOWER alliance include Samsung, Wistron, ZTE, Hitachi and Altera – shortly to be acquired by the Intel Corporation.

Enterprises buying more server based storage

EMC logoFigures for the first quarter of this year show that factory revenue from enterprise storage systems worldwide rose by 6.8 percent, quarter on quarter, year on year, to stand at $8.8 billion.

IDC said that total capacity shipments rose 41.1 percent year on year to stand at 28.3 exabytes. An exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or one billion gigabytes (GB).

IDC said that spending on “traditional” external arrays fell during the quarter but demand for server based storage and hyperscale infrastructure rose strongly.

EMC help the pole position in the storage rat pack, collecting 17.4 percent of all spending in the quarter. HP was second with a 14.6 percent share, while Dell had 10.2 percent share.

But original design manufacturers (ODMs), such as Taiwanese firms like Quanta selling directly to data centre customers was 12.6 percent during the quarter.

As far as external disk storage systems are concerned, EMC was the clear leader (27.3%), followed by Netapp (13.6%), and HP and Hitachi holding 9.1 percent and nine percent share of worldwide revenues.

Samsung, others shell out money

old-school-tvCathode ray tubes (CRTs) are over 100 years old but it seems they still have the ability to stir the hearts and minds of people.

That much is clear after five of the biggest display companies in the world agreed to pay over half a billion dollars to settle a US class action.

Samsung, Philips, Panasonic, Hitachi and Toshiba all agreed to pay a total of $528 million.

The companies had conspired to price fix CRTs in the marketplace. Four years ago, antitrust authorities looked into the price fixing allegations.

Samsung put its hands up in the air then and pleaded guilty to the charges.

Samsung’s share of the bill amounts to $225 million, which will be doled out to people in the USA who joined the class action.

HGST comes up with 1.5TB notebook drive

HGST, or what’s left of Hitachi’s hard drive business after it was taken over by Western Digital, has come up with the world’s most spacious 2.5-inch hard drive.

The Travelstar 5K1500 is a three-platter affair stuck in a 9.5mm case. While it might not be good match for thin and light notebooks, its three 500GB platters deliver a total of 1.5TB of storage, which is more than many users have in their desktops.

The really interesting bit isn’t the capacity, though. This is the first three-platter 9.5mm design. HGST had to come up with some clever space saving tweaks in order to accomodate the third platter, while maintaining the same platter spacing used in two-platter drives. In fact, it uses the exact same platters found in the company’s earlier 1TB models.

There are some downsides as well. First of all it is still too bulky for most notebooks. It won’t be fast, either, as it is a 5400rpm unit and there are no plans for a 7200rpm version. Therefore HGST believes it will be used paried to a caching SSD drive that should help boost performance.

Hitachi cuts out making chips

The Japanese company which sounds like a sneeze, Hitachi, has decided that it is not worth making chips any more.

The company announced that it would cease production of chips used in information and telecoms hardware by the end of March 2014.

According to a statement, the company believes that the semiconductor industry has seen an increasingly horizontal division of labour in terms of development, design and manufacturing in recent years.

All this horizontal stuff makes it harder to make money and Hitachi is better at making other things such as nuclear reactors and washing machines.

Culling chips from its business would boost cost efficiency and competitiveness, the statement said.

Hitachi semiconductors were used extensively by Hitachi, Casio, Sharp and Omron and were at their peak in the good old days when pocket calculators were considered cutting edge technology. Most of the company’s news has been about its storage business lately.


Hitachi exec pays up for price fixing

An executive who worked for the company which sounds like a sneeze, with HitachiLG Data Storage, has agreed to plead guilty and serve a prison sentence for price fixing.

Senior sales manager Woo Jin Yang was accused of rigging bids for drives sold to HP between 2006 and 2009, the Justice Department said.

The Department of Justice said that Yang faces four felony charges filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. He has agreed to spend six months at the State’s pleasure and write a cheque for $25,000.

Hitachi-LG Data Storage was a joint venture of Hitachi Ltd and LG Electronics. So far four of its executives have been accused of conspiring to fix prices of the devices that can read and put data onto CD-ROMs and DVDs.

According to Reuters, the company had to pay a $21.1 million fine last November. Three other executives are awaiting sentencing on the price fixing charges. 

Western Digital completes Hitachi buy out

The thinning out of the HD herd has finished  today with Western Digital announcing it has snapped up Hitachi Global Storage Technology to the tune of $3.9bn and 25 million shares of Western Digital Corporation stock, worth another $0.9 billion.

From this cash-and-stock deal, Western Digital has now merged with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, with the latter taking over ten percent of WD, and has created the world’s largest HDD manufacturer. This WD move leaves just Toshiba, Seagate and WD in place.

Western Digital has also shed some additional light on how much of its business it in fact passed on to Toshiba. Toshiba, will receive the blueprints to Hitachi’s one-, two- and three-platter 3.5-inch TB-per-platter, meaning 1TB through 3TB devices, as well as production and test equipment from WD.

The companies will continue to operate independently as separate brands. The merger will give the new Western Digital a strong foothold in enterprise storage, where it barely registered. According to last quarter data from IDC, this means the WD mothership will now account for 30 per cent of the enterprise HDD storage business.

According to the same report, in the 2.5-inch market, during the same period, the combined Hitachi and WD unit market share was 46 per cent of the market, while Seagate,  WD’s largest competitor held just 23 per cent  this particular market.

Despite having taken over Toshiba’s 2.5-inch operations in Thailand, WD states it will not guarantee the future of the fab, but for now it will be integrated into the WD Thailand structure.

Toshiba, jumping right into the 3.5-inch business will have units arrive faster than you’d expect, as Western Digital be providing contract manufacturing for Toshiba right away. Toshiba will also outsource the heads and media from WD. This is expected to last between 6 and 12 months.

Added up, both HDD manufacturers raked in over $15bn in revenues last year alone, and if not for the Thailand flood that knocked out Western Digital’s operations, the last quarter would have been a smackdown for the company. 

Seagate, who has been very vocal about taking the lead in the “Flood Quarter”, will need to take heed.This WD move leaves just three HDD players in place

Western Digital strangely unworried by SSDs

Western Digital reckons that the hype around Ultrabooks is unlikely to hurt its HDD business any time soon.

According to Danny Mauerhofer, head of communications for EMEA & India, Western Digital is not expecting a big challenge from the increasing popularity of SSDs.

Despite claims that SSDs are edging their way into becoming a truly mainstream product, Mauerhofer reckons that they are “not complete” just yet, and unlikely to challenge in either the consumer or business space.

Mauerhofer believes that there’s little to show that HDDs will take a battering, even with cloud computing on the increase there is a clear need for large amounts of storage with strong demand from datacentres, but even in consumer devices there is little to show that HDDs will take a battering he reckons.

Mauerhofer says that in the halls of CeBit, hype has surrounded netbooks in years gone by with claims at the time that they would use flash drives by the bucket load.  This hasn’t transpired and Western Digital does not appear to be overly concerned about a new wave of mobile devices which are heralded as helping bring SSDs to the masses.

Even if the Ultrabook performs well, Western Digital does not believe that many devices will feature HDDs, and the format is still in its infancy, he says.

Large costs for building factories are also a problem, WD said to us.

Western Digital is obviously not shying away from HDD production.  The firm is about to announce the final details of its $4.5 billion deal to take over Hitachi.

The deal has been pushed back, with Mauerhofer telling us that the regulatory frame work has been very “time consuming”.  He remained tight lipped on further details regarding the deal, with more info on its way with an announcement soon.