Tag: samsung

Samsung likely to lead us through the gloom

SamsungWhile the world’s semiconductor industry is in a bit of a sulk, Samsung is expected to cope much better and might make a bob or two.

Intel has had to cut 12,000 jobs, Qualcomm has said fiscal third-quarter chip shipments could fall as much as 22 percent and SK Hynix saw a 65 percent slide in quarterly operating income – its weakest result in three years.

Samsung, while hurting, is not hurting as much. In fact some analysts expect to see a drop of 10 percent in January-March from a year earlier. But that is really a scratch instead of the others, which have more or less lost limbs.

This is because it is in the right place as clients shift towards premium power-conserving DRAM chips for smartphones, as well as solid state drives for data storage using 3D NAND chips.

The technological gap between Samsung and its competitors in fields such as DRAM and NAND has been widening.  Samsung’s chip operating profit is expected to be nearly five times that of SK Hynix.

Samsung also runs the world’s biggest smartphone business, giving it a captive customer for its chips that none of its rivals have.

Healthy initial sales for Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones are expected to be the main driver of first-quarter operating profit, which the firm has said likely rose 10.4 percent from a year earlier to $5.8 billion.

Samsung’s NAND chip prospects are also expected to do well. Samsung was the first to mass produce NAND flash chips using a technology called 3D NAND, helping it assume a dominant position in higher-margin products such as solid-state hard drives for computers and servers.

Some analysts think that Samsung’s  NAND revenue will climb 16 percent and NAND operating profit to jump 69 percent this year. Shipments will also likely outpace the industry average, allowing Samsung to seize more market share.

NAND rivals Toshiba , SK Hynix and Micron are three years behind technology-wise. Samsung has better production technology for DRAM chips, saying the firm is ahead of its closest rivals by at least a year.

Samsung commanded 58 percent of the mobile DRAM market as of the fourth quarter of 2015, according to TrendForce. Mobile DRAM revenue also accounted for more than half of Samsung’s overall DRAM sales for October-March.

Samsung gets patent for smart contacts

don_t_blink_by_risarocksit-d68mtdmWho needs VR specs?  Samsung has come up with contact lenses which can do something similar in a blink of an eye.

Samsung has received a patent in South Korea for interactive contact lenses that can receive or send data to a nearby phone.

According to the patent, the way Samsung’s “smart” contact lenses integrate a camera, movement sensors, a transmitter, and a display unit in the lenses’ glass. They can be controlled by blinking.

To take pictures or interact with data displayed on their contact lenses, the user must blink. The motions are picked up by the sensors, and the commands are relayed to the user’s phone for processing, with the results being sent back immediately.

The user can stream video or send images to their contact lenses from their smartphone, and send pictures they took with the integrated camera back to their mobile device for storage.

Some circuits are visible in the contact lenses, but they’ll be placed towards to glass’ edge, not to impede vision or the received images.

Samsung is not alone in its quest for manufacturing contact lenses. Back at the start of March 2016, Swiss healthcare startup Sensimed was granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start testing so-called smart contact lenses that can cure glaucoma.

Additionally, Google has also been working on the same type of technology, for which it receives a patent in March 2015, but never got around to releasing a prototype.

Samsung’s project has nothing to do with health-related applications and seems only to be a project aimed at exploring methods of integrating augmented reality with today’s devices.

The Samsung patent, filed on September 26, 2014, was only approved by South Korean authorities two days ago.

Samsung expects big profit jump

SamsungSamsung hinted that it is expecting a surprise 10 percent jump in quarterly profit, thanks to early sales for its new Galaxy S7 smartphones.

The South Korean tech giant’s estimate for first quarter operating profit handily beat market forecasts and has boosted hopes that its struggling mobile business will post its first annual profit gain in three years, also benefiting from an improved performance for mid-to-low tier devices and cost cutting efforts.

Samsung said January-March operating profit was likely to be $5.7 billion, well above profit expected by the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street.

The firm will release more details in late April, and gave no comment on the performance of its business divisions.

Analysts had lifted forecasts for Samsung earnings since late March encouraged by reports of better-than-expected sales of its Galaxy S7 models, which boast an improved camera, waterproofing and microSD storage support. Samsung’s mobile business was probably the top earner for the first time in seven quarters, analysts say.

The Tame Apple Press meanwhile is claiming that Samsung will not do very well because soon Apple is going to release its new products. As it is, they are hard pressed to explain the lift in Samsung’s fortunes and blamed its success on the value of the South Korean won rather than technical superiority over Apple.

They seriously claimed that Apple’s iPhone SE was a rival to the S7 which clearly indicated that they have no concept of what they were talking about.  The iPhone SE is a two year old design which has been pimped up with a better chip but is hardly new. The S7 is also a little more pricey.

UK prisoner got his paws on a Samsung prototype

60a0a2ce63135a4a1906527f19b2de84fae6d23cA lag who is residing at Her Majesty’s pleasure managed to get his paws on an expensive Samsung prototype.

A Samsung Galaxy S7 was seized from a Category D male lag in August 2015, over eight months before the phone was released.

According to data obtained by Mobile provided no information on how the unreleased device made its way into one of the UK’s jails but a key trend amongst other phones seized was their slim profile.

This lets the phones to be hidden easily during prison searches. However it is not clear how the prisoner was one of the first people in the world to get their hands on the phone, and also one of the first to have it nicked.

While other previous flagships were also discovered as contraband, including two iPhone 5s, an iPhone 4 and a Samsung Galaxy S5, the Galaxy S7 is certainly the newest.

In fact the phone of choice for crims is the Samsung E1200 with the Samsung E range accounting for a third of all confiscated devices.

Samsung appears to have 57 percent of the market share amongst illicit prison phone users.

In one month alone, 30 phones in total were seized from Category D English male prisons, which is one seizure per 90 prisoners.

Other models seized were the Alcatel 1040x, a BMW style key fob phone, the Samsung Galaxy Young 2, the Nokia 105, the Vodafone 340 and the Yamayahoo BM50. Few choose an Apple of course – prisoners are already walled up, there is no way they want to repeat that in their phone experience.

Owning a mobile device is a criminal offence in prison and can lead to an additional two-year sentence for those caught, but Her Majesty’s prison service says it is often difficult to discover which prisoner handsets belong to.

Samsung wants to become the world’s biggest acorn upstart

Big acornSamsung has announced plans to adopt a corporate culture akin to a startup saying it wants to be more flexible as growth slows.

Samsung’s executives will sign a pledge to move away from a “top-down” culture and towards a working environment that fosters open dialogue.

The outfit will reduce the number of levels in its staff hierarchy and hold more frequent online discussions between business division heads and employees.

“We aim to reform our internal culture, execute as quickly as a startup company and push towards open communication and continuously innovate,” it said in a statement.

Samsung has been hit by a rapid decline in smartphone profits and the absence of new businesses to drive growth. It has been under pressure to reform its military-style working culture to foster innovation.

It might be a little difficult for the company to change. The system has become pretty entrenched and was helpful while the company was on top. Some analysts warn say there is the risk of Samsung losing its edge as a fast-execution hardware company by attempting to change its ways.

Samsung said it will also cut down on unnecessary internal meetings and simplify reporting procedures in order to improve productivity and offer training to employees to strengthen their “winning spirit”.

Ka-PAO! Intel kills its tock

Ka-Pow-logo-Halftone-SMALLChipzilla has decided that the world has had enough of its Tick-Tock strategy and is having its Tock removed and replaced with something with a longer rhythm called PAO.

Intel has produced chips on a yearly tick-tock cycle for the last decade. Thanks to the shrinking die sizes, that process may permanently become a three-step.

For those who came in late Chipzilla had significant issues going from 22- to 14-nanometers, and it extended the latter to a third generation with “Kaby Lake” CPUS. This was the first time that Intel had a break from tick-tock. Now it looks like the longer rhytum has a name which Intel calls “process, architecture, optimisation (PAO).” This will continue for its upcoming 10-nanometer chips.

During “tick” years, the chip giant upgraded its manufacturing technology to make circuits smaller — for its latest chips, for instance, the tick cycle reduced traces from 22- to 14-nanometers. During “tock” years, it uses the same circuit size and manufacturing technique, but changes the microcode, often drastically, to make chips faster and more energy efficient.

While Intel said that the latest 14-nanometer chips were on a “2.5 year cycle,” it plans to introduce three different 10-nanometer chips yearly.

With the three-step PAO, that slows the pace of innovation by effectively a third, meaning consumers will have to wait an extra year before they see significant speed improvements. The third year of a chip’s life cycle will likely see smaller performance gains, giving power users and gamers — who have become critical customers — less reason to upgrade.

Intel said that the new process is a direct result of the difficulty in building chips with traces that are just 20 silicon atoms wide.

“We expect to lengthen the amount of time we will utilize our 14nm and our next generation 10nm process technologies, further optimizing our products and process technologies while meeting the yearly market cadence for product introductions,” according to the document.

Intel has maintained that it will introduce 10-nanometer chips before its rivals. Furthermore, it says that “this competitive advantage will be extended in the future as the costs to build leading-edge fabrication facilities increase.”


Samsung claims its S7 is doing well

Samsung-Galaxy-S7-ReviewSamsung said that it is seeing stronger than expected pre-orders for its new flagship Galaxy S7 smartphones launching this week.

Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s handsets business, did not give a figure or disclose sales targets during a press briefing for the phones, which go on sale in South Korea and other markets tomorrow.

However he said that the S7s will help revive sales in China, the world’s top smartphone market where researchers say the Korean outfit is falling behind.

The Tame Apple Press is doing its best to knife the Samsung phone claiming that it only offers incremental upgrades and might not sell as well as last year’s Galaxy S6s. Of course it does not do the same thing when Apple products are mentioned.

In fact there are at least five things that the S7 can do which the iPhone can’t: Launch the camera by double tapping the home button, take clearer low-light photos without using flash, make a payment using your phone without Near Field Communication and charge your phone without plugging it in.

Samsung trials phone upgrade programme

mobileSamsung is trailing a phone upgrade programme in South Korea this week that will allow subscribers to switch to a new premium handset every 12 months.

Customers seeking to buy one of two Galaxy S7 models that go on sale can sign up for the programme on a 24-month instalment plan offered through Samsung Card.

Subscribers would pay a monthly fee of $6.35 in addition to the cost of the device and can upgrade to a new Galaxy S or Galaxy Note smartphone after a year in exchange for the original device they purchased.

The move is seen as part of a cunning plan by Samsung to counter slowing global market growth by coaxing consumers to replace their handsets quicker. Apple already has a similar programme in the United States last year.

Samsung has launched an upgrade programme in Blighty to test the scheme on western markets but still has not said if it is going to go worldwide yet.

Whispering grass! Don’t tell the telly because the telly don’t need to know

hqdefaultSamsung has warned customers not to discuss personal information in front of smart TVs because they are listening to customers’ every word.

The company revealed that the voice activation feature on its smart TVs will capture all nearby conversations. The TV sets can share the information, including sensitive data, with Samsung as well as third-party services.

It all became public when someone actually reading Samsung’s privacy policy discovered the line:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

Samsung has now issued a new statement clarifying how the voice activation feature works. “If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.”

The company added that it does not retain or sell the voice data, but Nuance Communications who is its partner in the technology might do. Nuance was unavailable for comment at press time. We asked our TV but our TV doesn’t listen.

Flash beats HDD areal density

flasherCoughlin Associates has said that NAND flash memory has surpassed hard disk drive (HDD) technology in areal density for the first time. Believe it or not.

The market researchers told the assorted throngs at the 2016 IEEE International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco that areal densities in its laboratories of up to 2.77Tbpsi for its 3D NAND. That compares with the densest HDDs of about 1.3Tbpsi.

Tom Coughlin, Coughlin Associates’ president, said that hard drive products from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015 had an increased areal density of about 60 per cent, So HDDs have not stopped evolving.

“On the other hand, flash memory is getting denser with technology announcements of 2.77Tbspi, higher than any announced HDD areal density. This is a new development. So flash is developing and certainly getting competitive in terms of areal storage density, but the chips are still more expensive to make than disks and the raw costs of storage will likely remain less for HDDs for some time to come.”

The highest areal density for today’s HDD products is about 1.3Tbpsi, according to Coughlin. Most HDD products, however, are well below that. For example, Seagate’s desktop hard drives have a maximum areal density of 850Gbpsi; those drives use shingled magnetic recording (SMR), which overlaps the magnetic tracks for greater density.

Samsung has already announced what would be industry-leading 15TB 2.5-in solid-state drives (SSDs) are already on the horizon.

However the price is not likely to reach parity with hard drives any time soon. The factories to build flash are still a lot more expensive to build than the hard drive factories, Coughlin said.

But Micron and Intel are opening new plants or are revamping older NAND facilities to increase their 3D production, which is driving prices down.