Mobile phone manufacturerHTC has revealed that it expects its revenues to more than double in the fourth quarter of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Taiwanese company expects to make in the region of NT$100 billion ($3.27 billion) over the October to December period, a massive increase on the NT$41 billion ($1.34 billion) it earned during the same period last year.
HTC forecasted that its gross profit margin for the fourth quarter is likely to be between 29.5 percent and 30.5 percent, continuing the trend from its third quarter results, which revealed a gross profit margin of 30.2 percent.
Shipments during the fourth quarter are expected to hit nine million units, a 1.6 times increase on 2009.
Operating expense ratio is expected to be between 13.5 percent and 14.5 percent.
The strong fourth quarter expectations also follow on from a highly-successful third quarter, where unaudited net profit rose from NT$5.7 billion ($186 million) in 2009 to NT$11.1 billion ($362 million), a huge 95 percent increase. Revenue also more than doubled from NT$33.88 billion ($1.1 billion) to NT$75.85 billion ($2.47 billion).
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has slated the iPad, saying it is uncomfortable, lacking in features, and that seeing one of them on the market is more than he would like.
In an interview with CNet after the Windows Phone 7 event, Ballmer spilled the beans on just what he really thought of that other Steve’s favourite toy.
He suggested that the iPad is awkward and that someone who wants to sit and do an interview and take notes with it will find it quite uncomfortable.
He slammed it for its lack of keyboard, which is actually where the iPad succeeded by eliminating the need for a keyboard through a strong touch-based user interface.
He also said he didn’t like that the screen wasn’t big and that it doesn’t stand up on its own.
When asked about the pervasive iPad, Ballmer could not hide his discontent at its success: “You certainly see more,” he said. “You certainly see more than I would like. One is more than I would like.”
For all the negativity he threw Apple’s way he was reluctant to comment on how Microsoft would do any better. When asked about Windows tablets he was particularly evasive, saying that tomorrow should be left for tomorrow and when there’s some news to reveal he will talk about it.
So, in other words, Microsoft will focus on Windows Phone 7 for now, giving Apple and Google another head start on tablets, just as it did in the smartphone market.
Ballmer recognised that when Microsoft finally enters the tablet game it will face some stiff competition. “Certainly we have our work cut out for us,” he said.
He also took a jab at the iPhone 4 and its notorious signal dropping by suggesting that Windows Phone 7 handsets would not have that kind of problem: “I make phone calls, not surprisingly, a lot of them and I don’t want those phone calls dropped.” We reported todayHTC is trying to rush a fix for the broken Windows Phone proximity sensor on the HD7.
Ballmer described himself as “a mobile person”, despite criticism from the Board of Directors that he was not moving fast enough in the mobile sector, resulting in the latest instalment of the Windows Phone series becoming a late player in the phone war.
In its rush to finally make a proper play against Apple and the iPhone in the smartphone wars, a Windows Phone partner has copied one of the Jobs’ Mob’s unique selling points: a proximity sensor bug.
ZDNet got the scoop from a “source within HTC“. The insider said HTC is hoping to fix the bug ahead of the commercial launch on the 21st of this month – not long now, guys. ZDNet’s unit sometimes “remained activated while calls were being made, resulting in calls occasionally being hung up or put on hold accidentally,” David Meyer says from his bog. It’s the HD7 that is affected.
Back in July it was revealed the iPhone 4 had a troublesome proximity sensor. It would work when covered with your finger but pratically, when held up to a user’s face, the screen would blink and struggle to decide what to do. Calls would accidentally hang up, be placed on mute and numbers would accidentally be dialled.
While it hasn’t hurt the iPhone 4’s profits and the marketing juggernaut is still steaming ahead, as a budding contender HTC had better fix the issue. It certainly gives gives credence to Jobs’, at the time flawed, perception that it’s not just his phones that are buggered.
Microsoft has today revealed its Windows Phone 7 lineup, which will include nine new smartphones launching in more than 30 countries, with over 60 different mobile operators, an attempt by the software giant to take the market by storm and become a contender to the iPhone and Android.
While the spec of each phone will differ, depending on manufacturer and target audience, all of them will feature one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors which have become a staple for many smartphones on the market.
HTC is one of the main contributors to the new lineup, announcing four Windows Phone 7 handsets. It will be releasing the Surround, HD7, Mozart, and Trophy.
LG will launch the Quantum and Optimus, while Samsung will release the Omnia and Focus. Dell will launch the Venue Pro, which sounds less impressive than its peers.
Windows Phone 7 will come packed with a variety of apps and features, including Bing for search, Zune for music, Windows Live calendar, Office OneNote Mobile, and a new Find My Phone service which will allow users to remotely ring, lock, or erase data from their phone for free, a service which usually requires a subscription on other devices.
It will also be Xbox LIVE-enabled, allowing access to a variety of mobile games based on successful Xbox titles, while Live Tiles will allow users to customise their experience.
“We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience — one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a ‘glance and go’ format.”
A little birdie told us that Stephen Fry, who is usually out talking up the iPad was speaking at the London launch event, ditching his iThingies for what we presume is a bigger cheque. E-Week’s Peter Judge reported Fry as saying: “WP7 is fun to play with. Has faults, but so did iPhone at start.”
We were also informed of the planned opening of a new Microsoft store in the Mall of America which is directly opposite and only feet away from an Apple Store. Talk about direct competition. At least Fry won’t have as much walking to do.
The Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to have a large global appeal, with launches planned for North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Carriers will include AT&T, T-Mobile, TELUS, América Móvil, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, SFR, Movistar, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Three, SingTel, and Telstra.
Many of the phones will be release in the run-up to Christmas, with the first becoming available in the UK on October 21. Others in the range will launch in early 2011.
Microsoft launched a video to advertise Windows Phone 7. It’s fun – but it raises questions about what Microsoft truly wants from its OS. If it’s truly engaging it will contribute to the behaviour seen in the clip. If it’s not, then it’s probably no good.
Most handset manufacturers are aandonding or have already abandoned Symbian in favour of other operating systems, primarily Android. SonyEricsson ditched Symbian recently for Android and Windows Phone 7, while Samsung already left it behind when it coupled with Android and its own Bada some time back.
Gartner found that very few of the Symbian Foundation’s members are still supporting it. ZTE, Sharp, and Compal are still there, but Gartner dismissed them as not being trend-setting industry leaders. It also went on to relegate the Symbian Foundation as a whole as not being the “powerhouse of innovation” that it should have been and what an OS really needs.
“The brave Symbian open source experiment has failed,” said Nick Jones, vice-president and analyst at Gartner. He said that Symbian is in a “desperate state”, but the Symbian Foundation is “unable or unwilling” to understand how bad things really are.
One of the biggest flaws for Symbian is the user experience, Jones found. He said that Symbian 3 promised a better user experience but failed to deliver. He said that many of the new phones packing Symbian have great specs, but the user experience is extremely lacking.
Jones forecast that as Symbian finances drop due to Foundation members leaving in their droves it will become even more difficult for Symbian to succeed, which will push the financial burden of the project back onto Nokia itself.
There are a number of possible futures for Symbian, according to Jones. These include abandoning it altogether or absorbing it back into Nokia, since Nokia does most of the work on it anyway. Jones believes that abandoning it altogether would be unwise, labelling it as “sick” instead of dead.
He said that there’s still room for it to compete with Android by undercutting prices since Symbian can run on lower spec devices. He also said that Ovi would have a difficult time surviving without Symbian, which means closing shop could endanger a wider range of Nokia’s services.
Jones suggested that Nokia take over the reigns again and abandon the Symbian Foundation instead of Symbian as a whole. He said the Foundation adds “approximately zero value” and that Symbian needs “agility and vision”, not the committees and councils that the Foundation holds. He also said that Symbian 4 needs to be “nothing less than outstanding” and that Nokia needs to act very quickly if it is to rescue its operating system from obscurity and ultimate demise.
HP has promised to deliver potentially dozens of new devices packing the webOS operating system over the next year.
The news came from Rahul Sood, Chief Technology Officer at HP’s gaming division, who revealed that HP is planning a “wide range” of webOS devices over the next twelve months.
“You will certainly see products released over the next 12 months, some sooner than others, and some which are very exciting to me,” he said on his blog. “The stuff that excites me the most are the new form factors. Now, when I said ‘over the next 12 months,’ I really mean over the next 12 months. Not at the end of 12 months, not tomorrow…but over the next 12 months we will see the makings of a new portfolio and the beginning of something great again.”
It’s not clear which products HP is working on, but it appears keen to enter a number of different markets.
The webOS platform has already been employed on several smartphones, such as the Palm Pre, but it has yet to receive a once-over by HP which has said it will not build Windows Phone 7 smartphones.
He said Palm was such a small company compared to HP, with “less access to resources”, all of which the webOS platform needs to succeed. He said that HP, as a big company, can bring a lot of good to webOS, but that it will also bring new challenges, but he refused to comment on any specific difficulties.
He said that app developers will “flock to HP” since it’s easy to port games over to the platform.
Sood also said that those who have defected from webOS products will come back when they see some of HP’s new webOS offerings.
Our first impressions are that it is black and it fits in your hand. It’s by no means stylish – it resembles the lovechild of an anorexic Zune and a credit card – but in terms of usability it sounds like it could be a treat.
The bloke in the video says that the aim was to focus on usability. The dev team had been pulled in from “the most respected talent” from Microsoft and into the phone team. “We think we’ve got an extremely compelling end user option,” he says, and harps on about the ease and open nature of the development tools, which are provided for free on the Microsoft website.
The app store is going to be “very similar” to competitors. It goes through “Windows Phone Marketplace” which is an “evolution of what you’ve seen on the Zune”. We saw this at Ubergizmo.
It features an 8 megapixel camera and comes with three touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom: Back, Search, and Windows Home. Considering some complaints about these buttons not being very receptive on the Nexus One, this may have been a bad choice.
Other features which have not been confirmed, but which should come as standard as per Microsoft’s requirements for devices running its latest operating system, include 256MB RAM, which may be double that to come closer to the Desire’s offering, and 4GB of built-in storage. Wi-Fi, GPS and an accelerometer should also be included.
The phone, which has not been named, will run Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s latest offering into the growing world of smartphone operating systems. Surprisingly, however, there won’t be HTC’s Sense UI overlay to differentiate the user experience from other Windows Phone 7 mobiles.
Sense creates a more intuitive and user-friendly skin for the operating system of a phone, bringing it closer to the successful UI implemented on the iPhone.
Without this users will have the bare knuckles Windows Phone 7 experience, but this seems to be an intentional design by Microsoft which wants “firmer control” of how people use their phones, an effort that mimics the approach taken by Apple with its own devices.
That said, HTC is promising that while it will not be able to offer a full Sense skin, it may be able to alter things slightly to provide some additional features to its phones that sport Windows Phone 7.
The iPhone 4, which has gained more renown for its faulty antennae and terrible signal than for anything Apple would normally class as “innovative”, was the focus of a keynote speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference by Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Turner, where he compared it to Windows Vista, the unsuccessful and much-disliked sixth addition to the Windows operating system family.
“It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I’m okay with that,” he said, which we imagine he really is, given he’s working for Apple’s long-term bitter rival. If the iPhone 4 was as unsuccessful as Vista it could spell doom for Apple, considering Google is already poised to steal its smartphone crown.
Microsoft is also hoping to steal some of Apple’s market share. “One of the things I want to make sure you know today is that you’re going to be able to use a Windows Phone 7 and not have to worry about how you’re holding it to make a phone call,” Turner said, referring to the fact that iPhone 4 users were losing their signal, even to the point of ending a call, when holding it in a variety of ways.
Microsoft is obviously keen to benefit from Apple’s misfortune in this regard by promising a phone that can be held in multiple ways without affecting signal, similar to Nokia’s clever parody which showed the many methods of holding a Nokia phone.
In typical Jobsian dismissal, the Apple CEO classified the problem as a “non-issue”, urging users to hold the phone in a different way or buy a case for it, which amounted to having to pay more to have the working phone you already paid for. Then Apple issued a letter to customers saying it was a software problem that mistakenly displayed more bars than there really were.
Consumer Reports, however, did not buy that. This week it slammed the iPhone 4 over its poor reception and said it could not recommend it to consumers, in stark contrast to the recommendations it gave for the previous iPhone models. It urged Apple to address the problem by providing a free fix to customers, and this wave of bad press has clearly forced Apple in its latest move to organise a press conference tomorrow.
Perhaps Apple actually secretly agress with Microsoft and is scared that the iPhone 4 may turn out to be its equivelant of Vista. If it does not address the issue in some way that actually includes admitting there’s a problem and then fixing it for free, the iPhone legacy may see its worst damage done by Apple itself and not its competitors.
Just six weeks after it launched, Microsoft has decided to pull its ‘Kin phone from the market.
The ‘Kin was just an ordinary phone with pretensions of being a mobile social notworking tool.
While it was not bad the ‘kin suffered from several fatal flaws. Its biggest problem was that it was not a smartphone, even if it was marketed as such, and it was being compared to Apple’siPhone and Google’sAndroid, which was out of its league.
Verizon priced Kin’s monthly service like a smartphone, and even if Redmond dropped the price, punters would be saddled with a high connection contract.
According to Gizmodo, Microsoft’s Andy Lees is shoving the entire Kin team into the core Windows Phone 7 team, so there will just be one big group to focus on Windows Phone 7.
Rumour has it that Redmond only managed to sell 500 ‘kins and even if this is only half true, Microsoft has made no secret that sales were too low.
Another reason for the failure was that the advertising of the product was terrible and showed the difference between Microsoft and Apple’s consumer marketing.
Microsoft will still support the phone for a while but it is unlikely to get much needed software updates.
Microsoft’s official statement on the matter said that it wants to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and we will not ship Kin in Europe this autumn as planned.
The ‘Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from ‘Kin into future Windows Phone releases, Redmond said.
Verizon said the phone is still an important part of our portfolio.