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   Technology StocksSmartphones: Symbian, Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and Others


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From: Eric L9/11/2013 10:16:16 AM
   of 1647
 
The Dawn of 64-Bit Mobile Computing using ARMv8 architecture: Apples A7

>> The real reasons Apple's 64-bit A7 chip makes sense

Don't swallow Apple's marketing lines that 64-bit chips magically run software faster than 32-bit relics. What the A7 in the iPhone 5S does do, though, is pave the way for Apple's long-term future.

Stephen Shankland
C|Net
September 11, 2013

news.cnet.com


Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller touts the advantages of the A7 processor used in the iPhone 5S.
(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)


Apple injected a lot of marketing hyperbole into its claims about the wonders of 64-bit computing when it showed off the A7 processor at the heart of the new iPhone 5S. But there are real long-term reasons that Apple is smart to move beyond the 32-bit era in mobile computing.

Apple did indeed beat its smartphone rivals to the 64-bit era with the A7, and the processor may indeed vault over its predecessor's performance. The hyperbole came when Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, speaking at Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C launch event on Tuesday, linked those two accomplishments.

"Why go through all this?" Schiller asked, referring to the new chip and 64-bit versions of iOS 7 and Apple's iOS apps. "The benefits are huge. The A7 is up to twice as fast as the previous-generation system at CPU tasks," Schiller said, and up to twice as fast at graphics tasks, too.

Indeed, there's a reason the computer industry is shifting to 64-bit computing; the main benefit is memory capacity that can exceed 4GB. But just as we saw with 64-bit personal computers arriving over the last decade, 64-bit designs don't automatically improves performance for most tasks. In fact, there can be drawbacks: it's likely that 64-bit versions of programs will be bulkier than their 32-bit equivalents.

But Apple is smart to lay the foundations for 64-bit mobile computing now, for three reasons. First, large memory capacity is an academic issue in the mobile market today, but it won't always be. Second, the the 64-bit transition happens to come along with other chip changes that are useful immediately. And third, it gives Apple more flexibility to build ARM-based PCs if it chooses to embrace an alternative to Intel chips.

What is 64-bit computing?

A 64-bit chips can handle memory addresses described with 64-bit numbers rather than 32-bit ones, which means a computer can accommodate more than 4GB of memory, and that chips can do math with integers that are a lot bigger and floating-point numbers that are more precise. The 64-bit transition doesn't have any effect on a lot of computing performance at all.

With servers, 64-bit chips are crucial, because they often need gobs of memory for running many tasks simultaneously and keeping as much of it as possible in fast-response RAM. With PCs, 64-bit chips are useful to avoid bumping up against 4GB memory limits, which is about where the mainstream market is today.

On mobile devices, though, the 4GB limit has yet to arrive. Even though having more RAM is really useful, it's got big drawbacks in the mobile market: it's expensive, it takes up room, and most problematic, it draws a lot of electrical power and therefore shortens battery life. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3, an Android phone, has an unusually large 3GB of RAM, but it's also got an unusually large size to handle a bigger-than-average 3,200mAh battery.

Higher-precision 64-bit math is helpful for tasks like scientific simulations, but it's not a big deal on mobile.

At Apple's event, Epic Games executives were gleeful about the A7 performance playing Infinity Blade 3, and there's no reason to doubt their statements that they could draw a dragon with four times the detail. But that performance improvement is likely to come more from the new graphics abilities in the A7 and from its support for the richer OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics-acceleration interface, not from its 64-bit design.


Schiller touted processor performance improvements in the iPhone 5S, which uses Apple's new A7 chip, but didn't detail which speed tests he was using. (Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Why bother with 64-bit mobile chips?

Even if 64-bit computing isn't some across-the-board speedup technology, there's a very good reason to adopt it: the future.

But here again, we have to splash a little cold water on Schiller's enthusiasm.

"The PC world went through the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit, and it took years," Schiller said. "Today you're going to see that Apple is going to move the mobile computing system forward from 32-bit to 64-bit in one day."

In fact, it only took a couple hours for Apple to announce the iPhone 5S and the A7 processor. But the full 64-bit transition will take years in mobile, just as it did in the PC market.

Indeed, the transition already has been going on for a couple years. In 2011, after four years of behind-closed-doors work, ARM Holdings announced its 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set for the chip designs it licenses to Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, and many other makers of mobile chips. Apple's A7 uses the ARMv8 architecture.

The hardware change is only the first part. After that comes software. Apple has retooled iOS 7 -- the kernel a the heart of the software, the libraries of pre-written code that it and other software draw upon, and the device drivers the kernel uses to talk to hardware like the network and touch screen -- so it's 64-bit software. And it's got a version of its Xcode developer tools so that programmers can build 64-bit versions of their iOS products.

But it'll be years before the whole software ecosystem makes the move. Old software likely will never make the change, which is why it's good ARMv8 chips can run older 32-bit software seamlessly. And programmers will still need to build 32-bit versions of their software for older iPhones -- as well as brand-new 32-bit models like the iPhone 5C.

Given how long it takes to make the transition, it's important to lay the hardware foundation early enough that the software market can move gracefully. Even though adding more RAM is hard in mobile devices, it'll happen. It might well happen sooner on iPads, too, which can handle faster processors, bigger batteries, and more elaborate software. And it's possible that computing engineers will successfully commercialize some other form or memory that's not as power-hungry.

ARMv8 benefits

A nearer-term reason the Apple A7 might appeal to programmers has nothing to do with its 64-bit nature: the ARMv8 architecture brings some real advantages.

One of them is a larger number of registers -- tiny on-chip storage areas where the processor stores data for very fast access. ARMv8 roughly doubles general-purpose registers from 16 to 31, which means the chip needn't fritter away as many cycles swapping things into and out of memory.


The ARMv8 architecture used in the Apple A7 chip brings several improvements in addition to a 64-bit design, including more registers to store data, better double-precision math, and built-in cryptography features. (Credit: ARM Holdings)

When AMD pioneered 64-bit computing on x86 -- a transition it pushed while Intel was distracted with its Itanium designs -- it got a big speed boost from increasing the number of registers. But 32-bit x86 chips were hobbled by having only four registers, while 32-bit ARM chips have a relatively abundant 16; that could mean the performance boost won't be as good with the ARM transition.

ARMv8 also has some other significant changes. It's got much better mathematical abilities, especially when performing the same operation on a lot of data. And it's got built-in encryption processing abilities, which should speed a lot of secure communications and cut battery usage.

New Apple options

Apple surprised the world when it moved its Mac line from PowerPC processors to Intel processors, and there have been rumblings it might move to or at least embrace ARM chips for Macs, too.

The A7 processor or its rumored higher-end A7X sibling might not have enough oomph for a full-fledged personal computer, but it was hard to miss Schiller boasting that the A7 has a "desktop-class architecture." And even if there's never any ARM-based Mac, it's still possible Apple could take iOS into something more laptop-like. The company, which made iWork free with new iOS devices and threw iPhoto and iMovie into the bargain, clearly likes the idea of customers creating content on iOS devices, not just consuming it.

If Apple chose to build ARM-based PCs, having more than 4GB of memory could be very useful. Thus, it would be a big asset to have a mature 64-bit ARM chip design with an accompanying operating system and app collection.

ARM-based Apple PCs would be a dramatic shift indeed. Intel is working furiously on lowering the power consumption of its x86 chips to compete better against ARM, and an ARM-based Apple PC would have serious difficulties running Mac software for x86-based machines.

We need not invent reasons for Schiller's 64-bit A7 enthusiasm besides that it makes a good marketing line, something that sounds like progress and that's easy to see missing from Android competition.

But even if it's mostly just an iPhone marketing line for now, Apple's change to 64-bit ARMv8 designs does make sense in the long run. ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L9/11/2013 12:08:22 PM
   of 1647
 
Mobiledia: The Downfall of RIM and Blackberry in 3 Parts ...

... by Allen Tsai (September, 2013)

Long with several videos and definitely worth a read.



I. Origins: The Birth of BlackBerry | mobiledia.com

II. Origins: A Nation of BlackBerry Addicts | mobiledia.com

III. Origins: How BlackBerry Fell | mobiledia.com

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1602)9/11/2013 3:11:15 PM
From: waitwatchwander
   of 1647
 
With 64-bit capability, you gotta figure Intel should now be concerned that Apple's preparing to use their own ARM processor inside their Macs and AirBooks. That certainly makes more sense than solely developing a 64-bit processor for use in phones and tablets.

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From: Eric L9/12/2013 1:21:40 PM
   of 1647
 
5by5 Special Event (#22) Audiocast: The Apple iPhone 5c and 5s Launch Event...

5by5.tv



Dan Benjamin is joined by Haddie Cooke (5by5), blogger/writer's Christina Warren Benedict Evans (UK), and Horace Dediu (Finland), to discuss their thoughts on the September 10th Apple Event announcing the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, and more.

Duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes. It's one of the better discussions of the event and products that I've listened to.

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1602)9/14/2013 1:40:02 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
 
64-bit Processors for Samsung Galaxy Smartphones ...



"Our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality.” - Shin Jong-kyun, Samsung -

>> Samsung's Upcoming Galaxy Smartphones to have 64-Bit Processors, Will Expand in China

Samsung wants to stay on its A game to beat Apple

Tiffany Kaiser
Daily Tech
September 12, 2013

dailytech.com

Samsung sees that Apple is making an aggressive push into China, and will pump up the competition with powerful new 64-bit Galaxy products in order to keep Apple at bay.

Shin Jong-kyun, Samsung’s mobile business chief, confirmed that Samsung wants to expand its business in the Chinese smartphone market during a meeting in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.

“Samsung understands that Apple intends to boost its mobile business in China, as well as in Japan, meaning that we should try harder in these countries,” said shin.

Apple will sell its latest iPhones through China Unicom and China Telecom while also talking with China Mobile, which has a customer base over twice the size of the U.S. population. In fact, Chinese regulators gave the final required license for the iPhone to work on China Mobile Ltd's mobile network this week.

images.dailytech.com

Samsung plans to pursue the market with competitive products in hopes of swaying users from buying Apple's iPhones. For instance, Shin said the next set of Samsung Galaxy smartphones would feature 64-bit processors for more power and speed.

“Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality,” said Shin.

In addition, Samsung will hold a launch event for its latest 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 "phablet" in China.

Apple, on the other hand, just recently announced its iPhone 5S, which also features a 64-bit processor (the ARM-based A7). This will offer the market a high-end smartphone with enough power to run complex games and applications.

As of the end of the second quarter, Samsung was the top smartphone seller in China with 19.4 percent of the market while Apple’s share was just 4.3 percent.

Source: The Korea Times:http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=29112700 ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1594)9/30/2013 11:18:09 AM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
 
Latest Complete Kantar Worldpanel Sales Share Tables (9 markets + EU5) for 3 m/e August 2013 ...

Windows Phone nears double digit share across Europe






>> Windows Phone nears double digit share across Europe
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech
September 30, 2013

kantarworldpanel.com

The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to August 2013, shows Windows Phone has posted its highest ever sales share of 9.2% across the five major European markets¹ and is now within one percentage point of iOS in Germany. Android remains the top operating system across Europe with a 70.1% market share, but its dominant position is increasingly threatened as growth trails behind both Windows and iOS.

¹ The big five European markets (EU5) includes Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Windows Phone has hit double digit sales share figures in France and Great Britain with 10.8% and 12% respectively – the first time it has recorded double digits in two major markets.

Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “After years of increasing market share, Android has now reached a point where significant growth in developed markets is becoming harder to find. Android’s growth has been spearheaded by Samsung, but the manufacturer is now seeing its share of sales across the major European economies dip year on year as a sustained comeback from Sony, Nokia and LG begins to broaden the competitive landscape.”

Dominic continues: “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16 to 24 year-olds and 35 to 49 year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone’.

Across the globe

In the United States, Apple continues to grow strongly year on year and now makes up 39.3% of sales. This is set to spike in the coming months with the release of the iPhone 5S & 5C.

Apple and Android have recorded almost identical shares of sales in Japan – 48.6% and 47.4% respectively. However, news that the new iPhone range will be available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for the first time, makes it likely that Apple will pull ahead of Android in this key market.

BlackBerry’s troubles continue; the operating system now accounts for just 2.4% of sales across the big five European markets and 1.8% in the United States.

Smartphone % penetration in Great Britain stands at 67% in August, with 85% of devices sold in the past three months being smartphones. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1579)9/30/2013 2:59:55 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
 
Kantar Worldpanel Comtech US Sales Table and PR Report for 3 m/e June 2013 ...



>> T-Mobile sees growth in sales on strength of iOS in the US

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech
September 3, 2013

kantarworldpanel.com

T-Mobile grew to 13.2% of smartphone sales in the U.S. market in the 3 month period ending August 2013, marking its highest share of sales over the past year, and realized a growth of 1.1% points, reversing an on-going trend of year-on-year decline, according to data released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

The sales growth comes as a result of strong iOS sales and strategic discounts, based upon analysis by the company.

In smartphone sales, Android has retained its lead for the 3 month period ending August 2013, with a 55.1% sales share of the smartphone market. iOS follows with 39.3% sale share, an increase of 5.4% versus the same period a year ago.

Little movement is seen among the other operating systems in the market. Windows saw 3.0% of sales in the August period, while BlackBerry was down to 1.8% of sales.

Verizon is the top carrier, with a 37.1% share of smartphone sales in the 3 months ending August 2013 (seeing growth of 6.9% points). AT&T maintained second at 21.7%, and Sprint third with 14.6% of smartphone sales.

The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA’s consumer panel, which is the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 240,000 interviews per year in the U.S. alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 3 month period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future.

Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Global Strategic Insight Director, Dominic Sunnebo states, “When iOS first debuted on T-Mobile in mid-April, the majority of sales came from consumers upgrading from a featurephone to their first smartphone. However, looking at those who purchased an iPhone in the August period, 56% of those consumers came from another smartphone, including 38.5% from an Android device.”

For the 3 months ending August 2013, the iPhone 5 remained the top-selling smartphone at T-Mobile, with 17.1% of sales.

Still, the majority of phones sold on T-Mobile run Android, including the Samsung Galaxy series, and the HTC One, which saw deep discounts in August.

As part of T-Mobile’s ‘uncarrier’ strategy, smartphones are being offered at a smaller up-front cost, with the ability to pay off the rest of the phone over the next two years. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 were debuted for $99.99 up front, $100 less expensive than other major carriers with a 2 year contract. In August, both of these phones were offered at $0 down, and saw sales increase.

Sunnebo continues “The discounts seen in August may have been in response to AT&T and Verizon, which have followed suite with similar programs, debuting at the end of July and August, respectively. With these carriers once again on a level playing field, it will be interesting to see if T-Mobile can continue its upward trajectory.” ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L10/3/2013 11:00:12 PM
   of 1647
 
HTC's Q3 2013 Loss ...

>> HTC posts first-ever quarterly losses as troubles multiply

Michael Gold and Faith Hung
Reuters (Taipei)
October 4, 2013

uk.reuters.com

Taiwan's HTC Corp slid into the red for the first time in the third quarter, with sales hit hard by fierce competition in the smartphone market, supply chain constraints and internal turmoil.

Underscoring a dramatic decline for a company which boasts award-winning smartphones but has failed to develop a durable brand of handsets, it posted an operating loss of T$3.5 billion as sales for the quarter tumbled by a third from the same period a year earlier.

At a net level, it booked a loss of T$2.97 billion ($100 million), bigger than an expected loss of T$1.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates. That compares with a net profit of T$3.9 billion in the same quarter last year.

Its shares were down 2.3 percent in early trade.

HTC lacks the scale of bigger rivals Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and its troubles this year have only multiplied.

In addition to internal feuding and executive exits, sources have said that it is facing casing shortages for its HTC One Mini. It has also lost some patent cases and media have reported that three of its design executives have been arrested on suspicion of leaking trade secrets.

HTC's share of the global smartphone market has plummeted from a peak of 9.1 percent in 2011 to 2.6 percent in the most recent quarter, according to research firm Gartner and analysts have said it needs a wholesale reevaluation of its strategy in order to survive. ###

>> HTC Posts Wider-Than-Estimated Quarterly Loss as Sales Slump

Lulu Yilun Chen (Hong Kong) & Adela Lin (Taipei)
Bloomberg
October 3, 2013

bloomberg.com

HTC Corp. (2498), Taiwan’s biggest smartphone maker, posted a third-quarter loss wider than analyst estimates as its handsets lost market share to devices from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co.

The company had a net loss of NT$2.97 billion ($101 million) in the three months ended September, Taoyuan City, Taiwan-based HTC said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with the NT$1.71 billion average loss of 16 analyst estimates and is the first on a consolidated basis since at least 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

HTC’s flagship One has failed to arrest sliding sales amid product delays and changes to strategy as it faces intensifying competition from Chinese producers including Huawei Technologies Co. The company, which wasn’t among the top five producers in the second quarter, plans to boost promotion with actor Robert Downey Jr. and add cheaper devices to revive growth.

“HTC needs to figure out if it just wants to focus on the high-end market or the mid- to low-end segment, and right now it is missing out on both,” said Wang Wanli, a Taipei-based analyst at CIMB Securities Ltd. “In the fourth quarter many new products are in the pipeline, including iPhone, Samsung and Huawei, HTC only has one new model so they won’t see a strong pick up.”

Shares of HTC fell 0.8 percent to NT$132 as of 9:51 a.m. in Taipei. The stock has lost more than 80 percent of its value in the past two years.

Slumping Sales

The operating loss in the third quarter was NT$3.5 billion and sales were NT$47 billion, the company said today. Analysts had projected an operating loss of NT$2.2 billion on sales of NT$ 54 billion.

HTC, the first maker of phones using Google Inc. software, in July forecast an eighth straight drop in quarterly sales as it struggles to compete with Apple and Samsung.

The company was ranked ninth in the global smartphone market during the second quarter, with 2.8 percent share compared with 5.8 percent a year earlier, according to data from Bloomberg Industries and IDC. That compares with 31.7 percent for Samsung, 13.2 percent for Apple and 4.8 percent for Lenovo Group Ltd. (992)

HTC was a contract manufacturer before it began promoting its own brand in 2006. The company had a short-lived reign at the top of the U.S. market in the third quarter of 2011, when it accounted for 24 percent of smartphone shipments, according to researcher Canalys.

The company in February 2012 said it had “dropped the ball” on products, pointing to weaknesses in design and engineering. The HTC One, which was supposed to herald a reversal of fortune, has so far failed to stop a slide in the company’s sales since the phone’s introduction was delayed to the same timeframe as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4.

HTC lost the early momentum of unveiling its HTC One in February prior to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 as a shortage of camera components forced it to delay shipments. ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L10/8/2013 10:54:57 AM
   of 1647
 
The Commercialization of IT in the Enterprise: A Bob Egan Interview ...

... titled "The Future of Enterprise Mobility" conducted by Kevin Benedict the Head Analyst of SMAC (Social, MOBILE, Analytics and Cloud) at Cognizant Technology Solutions.

The 1st 10 minutes of this 29 minute interview focuses on the demise of Blackberry. Kevin then discusses some initial issues with iOS 7 he has experienced with his iPhones and the conversation moves on to cloud computing. It's definitely worth a listen.



The video above is part 2 of 2 interviews with Bob from Kevin's 'Mobile Expert Video Series' and part 1 was posted to the Nokia board here along with an excellent article on the challenges Microsoft faces with the integration of Nokia Devices and Services once it clears regulatory approvals. That original post is here: Message 29099528

Anout Bob Egan: Bob is a Mobile Industry Analyst, Executive Advisor and Wi-Fi Pioneer. He is the CEO and Founder of the The Sepharim Group, a mobile industry research and enterprise consulting firm. He was formerly a CEB Research Head and Advanced Technology Director at DEC and then VP of Mobile at Gartner. The origins of The Sepharim Group date back to 2002 when Bob Egan built the successful consulting boutique and industry analyst firm – The Sepharim GroupMobile Competency. With the acquisition of Mobile Competency in 2005 by TowerGroup, Bob spent the next six years as the CRO for their MasterCard division (now owned by CEB). In 2010 Bob formally founded The Sepharim Group to renew his commitment as a leading expert and trusted executive advisor for all things mobile: sepharim.com

In re the demise of BlackBerry which Bob discusses with Kevin in the video above, Bob recently wrote an article titled "Requiem For BlackBerry" for Forbes and I've posted it on our Blackberry board here:

- Eric -

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From: Eric L10/10/2013 9:09:47 AM
   of 1647
 
October 22nd: A Busy Day ...

Retail Sales of Microsoft's Surface 2 Begin in the USA



Apple refreshes its high-end desktop and tablet ranges



Nokia Devices and Services hosts the Nokia World event



- Eric -

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