Technology StocksSmartphones, Tablets, Wearables and Gadgets

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From: FUBHO3/22/2012 10:48:05 AM
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(Reuters) - Apple Inc's new iPhone will have a sharper and bigger 4.6-inch "retina" display and is set to be launched around the second quarter, a South Korean media reported on Thursday.

Sales of the iPhone, first introduced in 2007 with the touch screen template now adopted by its rivals, account for around half Apple's total sales.

Apple has decided on the bigger 4.6-inch display for its next iPhone and started placing orders to its suppliers, the Maeil Business Newspaper said, quoting an unnamed industry source.

Its major display suppliers LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co declined to comment.

Samsung, which is also the biggest challenger to Apple in smartphones, uses 4.6-inch OLED display for its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone, introduced in April last year.

The high-definition "retina" display--containing several times as many pixels within the same area-- is used in the latest iPad released earlier this month.

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From: FUBHO3/22/2012 11:29:03 AM
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Despite the fact that subsidising the iPhone appears to be killing its business, Sprint is continuing to bet the farm on Apple.

According to the Wall Street Journal, while shareholders are starting to get very concerned about the company's debt and general well being, Sprint managers have been getting the company even deeper into its abusive relationship with Apple.

Reportedly it has committed itself to buy 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years, a deal worth around $20 billion.

Such a deal will only work if the iPhone attracts more subscribers to Sprint's network but if it can't sell all of the phones it runs the risk of going bankrupt.

This is because Sprint is paying $500 for each iPhone so that it can offer them at the "low" prices consumers expect. Even if iPhone users adopt the expensive subscription plans that iPhone users adopt, it will take ages for Sprint to see its money back.

Boy Genius Report says that the $20 billion deal might have landed Sprint an exclusive with the iPhone 5. It might be that Sprint will be the only carrier to get the iPhone 5 when it is announced, while both Verizon and AT&T will get slightly souped-up iPhone 4S models and only get the iPhone 5 later. That will help Sprint clean up on its iPhone investment, but it may still not pull the company's nadgers out of the fire.

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From: FUBHO3/27/2012 1:19:19 PM
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Open source pin-up Linus Torvalds has managed to stuff up an important Microsoft patent which was being used to force Google Android and Linux handset users to pay up.

According to Wired, the Vole had forced many Android phone makers into paying licensing fees for various Microsoft patents related to operating system design.

It looked like Microsoft was vindicated when ITC Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex found that Motorola had violated four Microsoft patents. But Torvalds helped convince the Administrative Law Judge that the patent was invalid.

Microsoft says that Motorola patent violated one of its own, known as the 352 patent. This dealt with the storing filenames with lots of characters in old filesystems such as the Windows FAT. Mobile phone makers use this type of technology so that their devices interoperate with other operating systems, including Windows.

Torvalds said that Motorola had found the posting of his about long filenames used in a compatible manner with short file names - and that it predated the Microsoft patent by three years.

He did a video deposition last fall with Microsoft's lawyers, who tried to cast doubt on the dates of the newsgroup postings. But the fact was there was a stamped newsgroup posting that came two hours after an earlier message on the same subject.

Volish lawyers keeped hassling him about the date until he told them to stop being stupid.

If the patent is ruled invalid Microsoft could lose a lot of cash. People will no longer pay for invalid and existing licensees which would also be likely to push for reduced payments.

Of course, it could all be appealed.

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From: FUBHO3/27/2012 8:48:44 PM
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T-Mobile battles the subsidy beast (by raising prices)

By Kevin Fitchard Mar. 27, 2012, 4:22pm PT

Speaking at a Geekwire conference earlier this month, T-Mobile CMO Cole Brodman said if he had a magic wand he would use it to eliminate subsidies in the wireless industry because giving huge discounts in exchange for two-year contracts basically de-values mobile technology. His point was that if you charge me $50 for a $500 smartphone, you’re teaching me that the sophisticated mobile computer in my hand is just a mere throw-away device.

That’s bold talk from a carrier, especially from T-Mobile since it aggressively subsidizes it handsets. But nobody really expected T-Mobile to do anything about it. As Brodman admitted in his Geekwire talk, handset subsidies are here to stay, no matter how much wireless carriers claim to disdain them. But it appears T-Mobile does plan to doing something about subsidies: it’s taking the unusual step of raising prices on customers that opt for phone discounts.

According to documents obtained by TmoNews, in April T-Mobile plans to raise prices by $5 on two of its most popular mobile data bundles, but only on new customers who take a discount device from the carrier. Its value bundles, which allow a customer to pay the unsubsidized price of a phone up front or in installments (also known as bring your own device), will remain the same price and are already substantially cheaper then “Classic” subsidized plans. The bottom line is that new customers who fall for the lure of a cheap smartphone could wind up paying as much as $20 more a month for a voice and data plan than a customer who opts to fork over the device’s true cost.

Price increases are usually never good, but as TmoNews’ David Beren claimed, this may be the exception, and I happen to agree with him. Subsidized phones are truly never free. Operators just factor in the cost of the device into the contract. We wind up paying higher prices per megabyte and per voice minute because of it. The problem is once those contracts expire and operators have made back their customer acquisition costs, they don’t charge lower rates.

T-Mobile is removing the shadowy accounting veil from those policies, showing – quite aggressively – that a good deal of the cost of our rate plans is really just a mortgage payment against our phones. Do the math yourself: $20 times 24 months equals $480 in savings over the life of a contract. Meanwhile you can buy T-Mobile’s newest smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 710, for an unsubsidized price of $350. Suddenly that ‘free’ subsidy doesn’t seem like such a great deal anymore.

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From: FUBHO3/27/2012 9:30:08 PM
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After Android 5 'Jelly Bean': 'Key Lime Pie'?

By: Bob Brown On: 07 Mar 2012 For: Network World (U.S.)
Google picks its code names alphabetically, working its way through desserts. Reportedly, the next Android OS will be Key Lime Pie

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. - Google, alphabetically workings its way through a list of desserts for Android code names, has reportedly settled on Key Lime Pie for a version of the mobile operating system that could roll out next year.

If reports from The Verge and assorted Android blogs are true about Key Lime Pie (KLP), it would follow what Android watchers are calling Android 5.0, or Jelly Bean. That iteration of Android (Android 6.0?), which could make its way to the market by midyear according to some reports, is expected to be further optimized for tablets, even including devices that also run Windows 8.

Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, was released in October and is still making its way on to new tablets and smartphones, with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus being the first device to support it. Android 4.0 was a hot topic at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where many companies announced their Ice Cream Sandwich plans.

Previous Android editions have also featured dessert-themed code names: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb. According to Wikipedia, Astro and Bender were the names for the first two prereleases, but couldn't be used due to trademark issues.

Andy Rubin, Google's senior vice president of mobile and digital content, recently said there are 850,000 Android activations daily and 450,000 applications available on Android Market.

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From: FUBHO3/28/2012 11:48:56 AM
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Samsung Electronics Posted All-time High Sales Record of 44 Million Smartphones in Q1

2012/03/28 By Kim In-soon

Samsung Electronics, South Korea’s electronics giant, posted an all-time high quarterly sales record of more than 40 million smartphones in Q1 of this year. This is a result from a good performance of the Galaxy Note 5.3. Samsung Electronics released the new idea smartphone as a first mover product last year. The Samsung’s new smartphone achieved better sales results than expected during Q1 which is a slow time of year, paving the road for the smartphone sales revenue of an annual 200 million won. (ERROR by writer if you look at conversion ratio)

The sales achievement is gathering more attention because Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5.3, which provides the new user experience (UX) based on an S-Pen digitizer, has made such accomplishment through going head-to-head with Apple’s sensational iPhone 4S.

Samsung Electronics sold 12.6 million units of smartphones during Q1 last year. The first quarter sales of this year tripled from the same period a year earlier. The sales units have increased by more than 8.4 million units from Q4 last year, when the smartphones sales reached a record high. The Galaxy S3, which is currently receiving much anticipation, is slated to come out on the market in Q2 this year. The release of the new smartphone will enable smartphone sales to surpass quarterly 50 million units.

The top contributor to the remarkable sales achievement of Q1 this year is the Galaxy Note 5.3. Samsung’s sales of the smartphone reached one million units in Q4 last year. The new smartphone is expected to be sold by more than 4 million units, up four times more than Q1 this year. The sales number is expected to reach 10 million units smoothly, which was announced in the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona by Shin Jong-kyun, president of the Wireless Business Division of Samsung Electronics. With the success of the Galaxy Note 5.3, the outlook is bright for the smart pad Galaxy Note 10.1, which is set to be launched on the market in the first half of this year.

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From: FUBHO3/28/2012 11:52:33 AM
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Google Teams with Asus for Cheapie Tablet, Says DigiTimes
By Tiernan Ray

DigiTimes’s Monica Chen and Joseph Tsai this morning write that Google (GOOG) is expected to team up with Taiwan’s Asustek Computer (2357TW) to produce a 7-inch tablet computer by this summer, citing electronics industry sources.

The model is expected to be priced at about $199, the authors write, meant to compete with‘s (AMZN) “Kindle Fire” tablet at the same price, and perhaps undercut offerings from other tablet vendors, such as Samsung Electronics (005930KS).

The article notes there are 7-inch tablets being produced by “white box” vendors that go for as low as $149. Asustek has its own “MeMO” brand of tablet that will be coming out in a $249 model soon, they note.

Google shares this morning are up $3.98, or 0.6%, at $651.

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From: Glenn Petersen3/28/2012 2:39:07 PM
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Evolution of the cellphone–from one that weighed 22 pounds in 1982 to the few ounces of an iPhone. #infographic

©2012 Twitpic Inc, All Rights Reserved

[iframe height=0 src="" frameBorder=0 width=0 name=_rlcdn][/iframe][iframe style="BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; WIDTH: 1px; DISPLAY: none; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; HEIGHT: 1px; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px" src=""][/iframe][iframe style="Z-INDEX: 99999; POSITION: absolute; WIDTH: 290px; HEIGHT: 350px; VISIBILITY: hidden; OVERFLOW: hidden; TOP: -9999px; LEFT: -9999px" class=twitter-bubble role=presentation tabIndex=-1 frameBorder=0 allowTransparency scrolling=no][/iframe]

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From: FUBHO3/28/2012 11:51:11 PM
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Amazon to launch 2-4 new tablet PCs in 2012, say sources
Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Steve Shen, DIGITIMES [Thursday 29 March 2012]
Amazon will launch at least two tablet PCs in 2012, with a possibility that the number may increase to four, according to industry sources. Shipments of a 10.1-inch model are expected to begin in July.

For the 10.1-inch model, Amazon has added HannsTouch as a new supplier of touch sensors in addition to Wintek and TPK Holding, while excluding J Touch from the supplier list, revealed the sources, adding that the 10.1-inch model is likely to be priced at US$249-299.

However, a much speculated 8.9-inch model has not been confirmed by Amazon due to the vendor's concerns on pricing, said the sources.

In addition to a 7-inch model that will be priced at about US$199 with shipments to start at the end of the second quarter, Amazon is also soliciting quotes for another 7-inch model to be priced at US$169 for the entry-level segment, indicated the sources, but adding that makers in the supply chain are reluctant to offer quotes for low-margin hardware products.

With its expanding Kindle Fire lineup, Amazon may see its tablet PC shipments reach 20 million units in 2012, a sharp increase from 5-6 million units shipped in 2011, the sources estimat

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To: FUBHO who wrote (1655)3/28/2012 11:52:28 PM
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Google 7-inch tablet PCs to bring price-cut pressure on other vendors

Monica Chen, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 28 March 2012]
Google, in order to compete with Amazon, will cooperate with Asustek Computer to launch a 7-inch inexpensive tablet PC in May-June 2012 and this is expected to bring pressure of price cuts upon other vendors, including Acer, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics, and in turn diminish gross margins for Taiwan-based supply chain makers, according to industry sources.

Since Amazon's new Kindle Fire, set to launch in the third quarter, is expected to be priced around US$199-299, Google will price its tablet PC at US$199 to even out the price advantage.

However, Google and Amazon's price war may seriously impact the pricing of 7-inch tablet PCs, forcing the market to enter fierce price competition.

Currently, both Acer and Lenovo's 7-inch tablet PCs have already dropped to a price range of around US$279, leaving Asustek Computer's 7-inch MeMO 171 and some of Samsung's 7.7-inch and 7-inch models still priced above US$500; however, since Asustek plans to launch its new MeMO 370T with a price of US$249 in the near future, Samsung may soon be forced to follow suit to drop its prices, while some second-tier white-box players are even reducing their tablet PC prices to below US$159 to survive.

Although tablet PC products currently have an average gross margin of 10-15%, as tablet PC prices continue to drop, while related specifications are rising, gross margins are expected to drop rapidly, forcing downstream vendors and upstream component makers to fight over the already-slim profits.

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