Tag: phone

Axeman looms large at Huawei

Staff at Huawei fear jobs cuts after internal memos highlighted intense pressure to improve earnings.

A key executive said the flagship smartphone business had missed internal profit targets and lost its top spot in China, the world’s biggest market, to new contender Oppo last year.

Richard Yu, head of its consumer business division that includes mobile device operation said mobile gear is still profitable but the profit margin is very low.

In an internal memo sent last Friday, Huawei Group founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei urged all employees to work hard, saying the company would otherwise “fall apart”.

“Thirty-something strong men, don’t work hard, just want to count money in bed, is that possible? Huawei will not pay for those that don’t work hard.”

This has rattled Huawei’s 170,000-strong workforce, 45 percent of which are in research and development,which is probably one of the least secure areas to be working.

“We are now all thinking more of the next steps, realising permanent employment with the company is no longer a given,” one worker moaned to the press.

According to company insiders, Huawei maintained its five percent annual quota to eliminate the worst performers, but was seen indirectly pushing underperformers out by asking them to relocate to undesirable posts.

“Huawei does not have a layoff plan,” the company said in an emailed response, declining further comment.

Consumer business chief Yu said in his New Year’s address to staff that the company needed to adhere to a “streamline strategy” in personnel as well as product portfolio as it must make profitability its focus in 2017.

“We will seek to improve efficiency and profitability by focusing on organizations at all levels, every employee, and every detail, and strictly control costs and risks to ensure sound development, ” Yu said.

“We will not tolerate low-performing managers, and prioritize removal of managers who fail to make noteworthy improvements after working in a position for several years.”


Nokia releases ancient phone

Nokia has just released a brightly coloured version of the classic 3310 talk and text phone which was the world’s most popular device 17 years ago.

Yup, it looks like we are all waking up in the Year 2000, the only thing different is a slightly bigger screen and a $52 price tag.  You can have 22 hours of talk time and up to one month of standby time too.

The 3310 is a retro gambit and Nokia also launched four moderately priced smartphones ranging from 139 to 299 euros.

Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that people loved the brand and claimed it had a lot of affection from millions and millions of people.

Once the world’s dominant phonemaker, Nokia in 2014 sold its by-then ailing handset operations to Microsoft for $7 billion, leaving it with its network equipment business and a large patent portfolio.

Last year, it gave the Nokia brand a fresh start by licensing its devices brand to HMD Global, a new company led by ex-Nokia executives and backed by Chinese electronics giant Foxconn.

Industry analysts say the revived Nokia 3310 has the makings of one of the hit devices of 2017, appealing to older Nokia fans in developed markets looking for an antidote to smartphone overload, while also appealing to younger crowds in emerging markets.

The original 3310 sold 126 million phones, the 12th best-selling phone model in history. Nine of the top 12 selling models were produced by Nokia.

The other three three smartphones are cheap Androids. The Nokia 6 smartphone has a 5.5-inch screen, the Nokia 5 with a 5.2-inch screen and the Nokia 3 with a 5.0-inch screen.

It also offered a limited edition of the Nokia 6 with added features retailing for around 299 euros.


AT&T kills off first iPhone

apple_iphoneIn an end of an error (surely era Ed.), AT&T has shut down its 2G service and finally killed off the first-generation iPhone.

The 2G shutdown has been planned for a few years  and judging by the lack of outcry from Apple fanboys when the network stopped working there can’t be many people still able to get Steve Jobs’ pivotal shiny toy to go. To be fair it is ten years and Apple normally expects people to replace their phone after one.

AT&T notes that the 2G shut down will free up resources and spectrum bandwidth for the network to use for future rollouts of more advanced wireless solutions like 5G down the line.

Of course, the Apple fanboy could move to Blighty, where 2G is still going. In fact some remote areas are only covered by 2G because it is reasoned that some coverage is better than nothing.

Even within more urban and populated areas that have substantial 3G coverage, there is still a large dependence on the reliability of 2G.

Nokia gets back into smartphones


wellington-bootFormer rubber boot maker Nokia is back in the smartphone game and launched a mid-range smartphone for the Chinese market.

The Nokia 6 is an Android smartphone and is being made by HMD which owns the rights to use Nokia’s brand on mobile phones.

The Nokia 6, which runs the newest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android Nougat, sports a 5.5-inch full HD (1920×1080 pixels) display. With metal on the sides and a rounded rectangular fingerprint scanner housed on the front, the Nokia 6 seems reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S7.

It is powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor and will compete with the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy A series models and other mid-end smartphones. The smartphone is manufactured by Foxconn.

On the face of it there is not much to see there, but really there is not much to see in many mid-range smartphones anywhere. It does have dual amplifiers which it claims can deliver a louder sound but the innovation seems to stop there.

The Nokia 6 will exclusively sell in China through ecommerce giant JD.com for $250. HMD says it will launch more products in the first half of this year.

“China is the largest and most competitive smartphone market in the world,” the company said in a press note, justifying why its long-anticipated smartphone is limited to the Chinese market. “Our ambition is to deliver a premium product, which meets consumer needs at every price point, in every market.”

The idea is to get its brand into China where it can be noticed. The price point of Nokia 6 is very close to the average selling price offered by the top three Chinese players. The mid-end smartphone market is growing 12 percent year-on-year.


Smartphones give us ADHD symptoms

mobileSmartphone use is creating similar symptoms to  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) a new study has suggested.

Research Associate in Psychology, University of Virginia Kostadin Kushlev, recruited 221 students at the University of British Columbia to participate in a two-week study to look at the effects of smartphones on them.

During the first week, he asked half the participants to minimise phone interruptions by activating the “do-not-disturb” settings and keeping their phones out of sight and far from reach. We instructed the other half to keep their phone alerts on and their phones nearby whenever possible. In the second week participants who had used their phones’ “do-not-disturb” settings switched on phone alerts. The order in which we gave the instructions to each participant was randomly determined by a flip of a coin.

Then Kushlev measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity by asking participants to identify how frequently they had experienced 18 symptoms of ADHD over each of the two weeks. These items were based on the criteria for diagnosing ADHD in adults as specified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). The results were more frequent phone interruptions made people less attentive and more hyperactive.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and Kushlev is not saying that smartphones can cause ADHD, nut the findings suggest that people can act like it. He thinks that smartphones could be harming the productivity, relationships and well-being of millions.

” Our findings suggest that our incessant digital stimulation is contributing to an increasingly problematic deficit of attention in modern society. So consider silencing your phone – even when you are not in the movie theater. Your brain will thank you,” Kushlev wrote.

Apple loses iPhone exclusivity in China

apple-dalek-2Fruity cargo cult, Apple must share the name “iPhone” trademark with a Beijing-based leather products maker Xintong Tiandi Technology (XTT).

The Beijing Municipal High People’s Court rejected an Apple appeal of an earlier ruling, according to Quartz. Xintong Tiandi is already selling a number of “IPHONE” products, including purses, passport cases, and most notably phone cases.

XTT registered its trademark in China in 2007, the same year as the Apple iPhone launched in the United States. But Apple did not register the name in China until five years later. At the time Apple had not seen China as the great white hope for its bottom line.

In 2013 the government ruled that because Apple couldn’t prove the name “IPHONE” was well-known prior to Xintong Tiandi’s registration, the public wouldn’t link its use in a way that would harm Apple interests. In rejecting Apple’s appeal, the High People’s Court further pointed out that Jobs’ Mob didn’t sell the iPhone in mainland China until 2009.

Apple has not been doing well in China. In 2012, for instance, it was ordered to pay $60 million in a trademark dispute over the term “iPad.” In April, two of Apple’s online storefronts — iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store — were shut down by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Chinese are starting to ignore the fruity cargo cult and are starting to buy other cheaper phones instead.

India’s Micromax suffers

15-days-yoga-meditation-and-trekking-retreat-in-the-indian-himalayasIndia’s Micromax which surprised the world by vaulting past Samsung to become India’s leading smartphone brand is in trouble.

Its market share has nearly halved, several top executives have resigned, and the company is looking for growth outside India.  Apparently it is being seen as a case study for those who try to make a quick buck off India’s hyper competative smartphone market.

India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. Shipments of smartphones jumped 29 percent to 103 million units last year. This rapid growth created local brands, which outsourced production to Chinese manufacturers.

Now the Chinese are entering the Indian market with their own brands, depressing prices and forcing Indian mobile makers to rethink their plans.

Micromax was founded by four partners in 2000 but only began selling mobile phones in 2008. It built its market share by working with Chinese manufacturers such as Coolpad, Gionee and Oppo to offer affordable phones quickly. In 2015, it launched more than 40 new models.

In 2014, the founders brought in outside managers to lead the company at a time when Micromax was challenging Samsung to become the largest mobile phone maker in India.  However the new blood rowed with the founders and these conflicts undermined Micromax’s attempts to raise funds for expansion.

Last May, Alibaba walked away from a mooted $1.2 billion purchase of a 20 percent stake, citing a lack of clarity on growth plans. Now those executives who left said that the lack of fresh funding undermined a proposal by the new executives to move Micromax’s research and design operations, which had previously been outsourced, in-house.   The plan was to move away from making Android clones.

But all that folded and Micromax struggled to attract other investors who would have been key to Micromax’s plan to invest in software R&D and hardware design.

At least five senior executives have resigned since November. The latest was Vineet Taneja, chief executive since 2014, who quit last week.



Nokia confirms return to smartphone market

nokia-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-alcatel-lucents-wireless-business-reportsThe former maker of rubber gear, a company called Nokia, has confirmed that it will be getting back into the mobile market after selling it all off to Microsoft.

The company’s CEO Rajeev Suri told MWC 2016 the company’s plans to return to the mobile market. In fact Nokia did first mention it last year but nothing seemed to have happened.

Suri said that Nokia’s return might not necessarily be in the near future. “There’s no timeline, there’s no rush. It could happen in 2016, it could happen later.”

Apparently the compan is waiting for the right partner and doesn’t want to rush into anything. After all it has just been through one big divorce and it is not happy to do that again for a while.

He also confirmed that Nokia will not be making the phones themselves, but rather license out the brand to a manufacturer, kind of like what Google is doing with its Nexus phones, and they also want to be in control of the process.

“We want to be in a position to design the devices in question with appropriate control measures in case they don’t meet expectations.”

It will be harder to find a partner who will be willing to accept those terms, we guess.

Huawei sells 50 million phones in 2015

William Xu, HuaweiHuawei has sold  50 million phone sales so far this year which is 46 percent more than the same time last year.

And that figure has been managed by ignoring the US market completely and concentrating on the Asian and European markets.

Revenue during the same six month period came to approximately $6.9 billion US dollars.

What is also amazing is that Huawei just rolled out its latest flagship device in April in a couple of Asian territories and this would not have affected the figures.

The 5.2-inch P8 has not hit Europe yet although a 5 inch P8 lite version is available on Amazon at $250. The 6.8-inch P8 max, which Huawei says will cost  $610 in China for a July release has not come out yet either.

The Huawei P8 Max is powered by an octa-core Kirin 935 processor with four cores clocked at 2.2GHz and four more at 1.5GHz. The P8 Max comes with 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage – there’s no other storage options unlike the P8 which comes in Standard (16GB) and Premium (64GB) variants – while the microSD card can expand the storage by up to 64GB and doubles up as a secondary SIM card slot.

The Honor 7, fast charging, Google blessed Nexus which Huawei is running next is also coming. Either way it is looking like Huawei is going to have a busy year with or without the US. [That’s enough about phones, Ed.]

Liberty wants to capture Vodafone

Vodafone_Building_Near_Victoria_ParkTalk of a merger between Liberty and Vodafone appears to be hotting up.

Liberty Chairman John Malone said that a merger with Vodafone would be a “great fit” for Liberty in Western Europe and was citing all sorts of other benefits.

Markets such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands would have “enormous shareholder value” could be created if a deal was worked out.

Malone told Bloomberg that all the numbers looked at that from our side were great and there were more synergies than you can beat with a synergy stick and both companies would have more paradigms than then know what to do with.

He declined to comment on whether the companies are in talks, but it is pretty obvious.

Vodafone posted a rise in quarterly sales for the first time in nearly three years on Tuesday in the clearest sign yet that Europe’s mobile market is edging toward recovery.

Vodafone admitted that it was reviewing potential acquisitions, including the Liberty Global deal, in November.