October 2016 – My Blog

Samsung Electronics said on Thursday it will examine every aspect of the Galaxy Note 7 such as hardware, software and the manufacturing process to determine the root cause of the fires that led to the phone’s cancellation.

Samsung Co-Chief Executive J.K. Shin said at a shareholder meeting that Samsung had sold 1.47 million new replacement Galaxy Note 7s using different batteries. Samsung secured 90 devices following 119 incidents of fire, of which 55 were relevant to the battery issue and another 19 are under investigation.

The firm said it is working with regulators and third-party experts to conduct a thorough investigation.

Samsung on Thursday also said it aims to recover quickly from the disastrous withdrawal of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 that dragged third-quarter mobile earnings to their lowest in nearly eight years.

The world’s top smartphone maker saw its mobile earnings plunge 98 percent from a year earlier to its lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008, barely avoiding its first-ever loss and dragging the firm’s overall profit to a two-year low.”Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings to improve (from a year earlier) driven by strong performance in the components business,” Samsung said in a statement.

“The mobile business expects a recovery in its earnings to a similar level with that of the fourth quarter of 2015.”

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Samsung Electronics on Thursday reported an expected 30 percent profit plunge on the back of a highly damaging recall crisis that hammered the reputation of the world’s largest smartphone maker.

The third quarter earnings were announced just hours before the start of an annual shareholder meeting which was set to approve the latest step in a complex generational change of leadership at the family-run South Korean conglomerate.

Samsung said its operating profit for the July-September period stood at KRW 5.2 trillion ($4.6 billion or roughly Rs. 30,772 crores), compared with KRW 7.3 trillion a year ago.

The profit slump was in line with a revised earning estimate issued by Samsung two weeks earlier after it killed off its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone due to devices overheating and bursting into flames.

The decision to discontinue production of a model aimed at competing with arch-rival Apple’s iPhone was a devastating move for a company that prides itself on the quality production of cutting-edge technology.

Scrapping the Galaxy Note 7 saw earnings of the company’s core mobile business drop off a cliff, with the mobile division’s operating profit for the third quarter down almost 98 percent from the previous quarter at just KRW 100 billion.Regaining confidence
In an earnings statement, Samsung said its mobile unit would focus on “expanding sales of new flagship products … as well as regaining consumers’ confidence.”

The impact of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle on the electronics giant’s brand name is still being calculated, with Samsung itself having predicted another $3 billion-plus in lost profits over the next two quarters.

“The mobile business hit bottom, but it should pull off a partial recovery in the fourth quarter where we will be looking for an operating profit of roughly KRW 2 trillion,” said Greg Roh, an analyst at HMC Investment Securities.

“But we’ll have to wait until the second quarter of next year for a full recovery with the launch of the Galaxy S8 smartphone in March,” Roh said.

“Samsung has lost consumer confidence, but I think it still has at least one more chance. Rather than rushing to release the next product, it should conduct a thorough inspection and explain the results of its investigation into the Galaxy Note 7,” he added.

As an illustration of the loss of prestige suffered by a company used to being treated as corporate royalty in South Korea, thousands of domestic Galaxy Note 7 customers are expected to join a class action lawsuit seeking compensation over the recall fiasco.

And one South Korean investment advisory firm went so far as to recommend shareholders vote on Thursday against the nomination to the Samsung Group board of vice chairman J.Y. Lee – the family-run firm’s heir apparent.

The crown prince
Lee is already vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and has gained influence since his father, Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee, suffered a heart attack and was hospitalised in 2014.

His elevation to the nine-member board is being seen as a coronation of sorts.

The founding Lee family controls the Samsung group companies, with interests that extend into financial services, hotels, biopharmaceuticals and fashion, through a complex network of cross ownership.

Samsung alone accounts for around 17 percent of South Korea’s GDP and the Galaxy Note 7 crisis has impacted the national economy, with the Bank of Korea adjusting its overall growth forecast.

Companies like Samsung are not used to dealing with public scrutiny, or indeed with uppity shareholders – but the handling of the Galaxy Note 7 recall placed its management style under a very harsh spotlight.

Despite the pall cast over the smartphone division, Samsung’s display and chip businesses – which supply screens and memory chips to TV makers and rival phone brands – held up well.

“In particular, demand for memory chips saw a remarkable increase, due mainly to high-density, high-performance mobile and server products,” the company said.

Operating profit in the semiconductor division stood at KRW 3.37 trillion in the third quarter, up 28 percent from the previous quarter.

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Motorola’s Moto M has been leaked on various occasions revealing specifications and design details, and now fresh images give more hints on what the upcoming Motorola smartphone will look like.

In this fresh image leak, the Moto M silver colour variant is seen from the front and back. If these images are indeed showing the Moto M, the smartphone will be the first in the recent past from the Moto brand to sport a fingerprint scanner at the rear. The capsule-like camera structure sitting just on top of the scanner is in sync with other Moto-branded smartphones, and the Moto M is seen sporting a full metal build as well.

The display has the information screen lit revealing key details. The Moto M sports the model number XT1662, and it runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow alongside the September security patch. A separate leak last week showed that the Gold variant is also in the offing. It also spoke the same story as the photos that leaked this week.

Past leaks indicate that the Moto M is scheduled to release sometime in November and sport 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. It is said to be powered by a 2GHz MediaTek MT6755 octa-core SoC with 3GB or 4GB of RAM. It is expected to offer 32GB or 64GB of internal storage as well.

The Moto M is likely to sport a 16-megapixel rear camera accompanied by an 8-megapixel or 5-megapixel selfie snapper. The smartphone is expected to pack a 3000mAh battery. It is likely that the smartphone might be coming in different size variants as well. However, like every other leak, we will have to wait for an official announcement by the company to clear things out.

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Samsung’s next flagship smartphone, Galaxy S8, is the company’s best shot at regaining the trust of its customers after the debacle that was the Galaxy Note 7. Rumours so far have claimed that Samsung will launch the alleged Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone on the side-lines of MWC 2017 in Barcelona on February 26. Now, a phone tipster from China has also claimed the same launch day for the Samsung Galaxy S8. Additionally, the tipster adds that the handset will go on sale from March.

According to leaked details on Weibo, the Galaxy S8 will feature a 5.5-inch 4K (2160×3840 pixels) Super Amoled display and will boast of an impressive pixel density of 806ppi. The tipster adds that the Galaxy S8 will be powered by the company’s in-house Exynos 8895 SoC. Much like some recent high-end smartphones, the Galaxy S8 is also said to sport massive 6GB of RAM. Notably, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 won’t be the company’s first smartphone featuring 6GB of RAM as the Galaxy C9 Pro was recently unveiled with the same memory.A previous report claimed that the Galaxy S8 will come with 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel dual-rear camera setup. The camera on the Galaxy S8 is believed to click decent images in low-light. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is also said to get rid of the signature home button seen on earlier flagship Galaxy phones. Other changes expected on the smartphone include bezel-less design. There are rumours that suggest Samsung is working on a new design where the front with no home button will be filled with all glass and will also incorporate fingerprint-sensing display.

However, a recent report suggested that Samsung Galaxy S8 was reportedly delayed by two weeks as engineers were working to find Galaxy Note 7 fault.

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Google with its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones is looking to do what Apple has been doing for years – integrate in-house software and hardware to build a pure-experience smartphone. Leveraging from its Android fan base, Google aims to provide the best Android experience with top-notch hardware. Hence, the pricing of the smartphone is at par with other premium handsets, if not more. Now, IHS Markit has torn down the Pixel XL alongside a complete bill of materials (BOM), and reports that the cost-to-sales-price ratio is similar to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

IHS Markit claims the 32GB Pixel XL smartphones has a total bill of materials cost of $285.75. However the tech giant charges $769 for it, gaining a maximum profit margin of $485.35 per model. The report states that this pricing point directly competes with top-end flagships.

What’s more interesting is the fact that Google makes more margin on the Pixel XL than Apple does on the iPhone 7 ($424), going by the data IHS Markit released for the latest iPhone in September. Of course, this is before the marketing, distribution and other costs are involved. More importantly, the Pixel XL has a 5.5-inch screen and a bigger body, which would mean that its bill of materials would likely be slightly more than the similar costs for iPhone 7, which has a 4.7-inch display and smaller screen.

Senior director of cost benchmarking for IHS Markit, Andrew Rassweiler said in the report, “The Pixel clearly targets the same top-end flagship space occupied by the Apple iPhone and top-end Samsung Galaxy lines, with retail pricing points that directly compete with these products.”This high profit margin clearly hints at the company’s level of trust on its Pixel phones, and is looking to battle Apple and Samsung head-on in the profit market. Rassweiler also notes that Google is getting the components at the same price as other big manufacturers in the market.

The report states that the highest costing component of the Pixel phones is the display that it buys from Samsung for $58. The Gorilla Glass 4 and aluminium enclosure costs $35, and the camera is claimed to cost $17.50. The report states that Apple spends $19 for the iPhone 7’s camera system.

The profit margin is however much lesser than what the BOM suggests. The margin doesn’t include internal development, software optimisation, R&D, marketing and other supply costs. Google is spending a lot on advertising the smartphones online and offline around the world. It is leveraging from its search engine service, and is pushing pop-ups ads on the Google homepage as well.

Just like Foxconn assembles Apple’s iPhone, HTC is doing the same work for Google. The executives take the reins when it came to designing and engineering, and HTC just worked on Google’s orders to deliver the finished product.

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Google killed off its Nexus series and launched the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones earlier this month, ushering in a new era for Android smartphones. The new smartphones offer the purest Android experience there is, added with its inbuilt Google Assistant feature for seamless voice-contextual results. Needless to say, these smartphones have piqued Android fanboys’ interests, and pre-orders have soared off the charts. So much so, that Google is delaying shipments till mid-November because demand has exceeded expectations.

Many buyers are still seeing their pre-orders listed as ‘pending’, despite initial promised delivery dates not exceeding a week. Even Project Fi orders are not being shipped on the promised date, and 9to5Google learned from the support team that the shipments are running three weeks late. The author’s earlier shipment date was October 27-31, but has now been shifted to November 18.

Google later confirmed that the initial demand has exceeded expectations. “We’re thrilled to see the excitement for our new Pixel phones, and frankly pre-order demand has exceeded our expectations. We’re working to restock our inventory as soon as possible,” a spokesperson told the publication.In India, Google has exclusively partnered with Flipkart to sell Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL smartphones online. The e-commerce site promises to deliver the handset in two days for free. At the time of press, all of the Pixel and Pixel XL variants were in stock, except for the Very Silver 128GB Google Pixel XL variant. Alternatively, Google has also partnered with Reliance Digital, Croma, Vijay Sales, Ezone, Hotspot, Sangeetha, Poorvika Mobile World, and Bajaj Electronics to sell the smartphones offline.

Had any delays in receiving your Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones? Let us know in the comments below.

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Three days after AT&T announced an $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner, Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s open to make a large purchase.

When asked about his strategy around larger acquisitions during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter earnings call, Cook responded, “We’re open to acquisitions of any size that are of strategic value where we can deliver better products to our customers and innovate more. We look at a whole variety of companies and, based on that, we choose whether to move forward or not. We’re definitely open and we definitely look.”

Cook’s comments come not long after Apple was reported to be among those parties interested in Time Warner’s business. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Apple approached Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros, HBO, CNN and Turner, earlier this year but talks didn’t progress beyond the initial phase. The new report follows on a Financial Times report that Apple’s Eddy Cue made an approach last year.

Asked for further commentary around Apple’s interest in the television industry, Cook confirmed that “television has intense interest with me and many other people here.”He continued: “We have started with focusing on some original content. … I think it’s a great opportunity for us both from a creation point of view and from an ownership point of view, so it’s an area that we’re focused on.”

During the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple sold more iPhones than analysts were expecting but still posted year-over-year revenue declines that have some questioning the longterm growth potential for its signature device business.

The Cupertino, Calif., iPhone maker reported fiscal fourth quarter revenue of $46.9 billion, down 9 percent from the same period last year. Earnings fell 19 percent to $1.67 per share.

The company’s financial results were in line with analyst expectations. Wall Street, polled by Thomson Reuters, was expecting revenue of $46.9 billion and earnings of $1.65 a share. But this quarter marks the third consecutive decline in quarterly revenue, which contributed to a slight drop in share price during after-hours trading on the Nasdaq.

Apple sold 45.51 million iPhones during the quarter, slightly more than the 45 million analysts were anticipating. The new iPhone 7 went on sale just two week before the end of the quarter, so this next quarter will be where most of those sales are reflected.

“We’re thrilled with the customer response to iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2,” CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Apple’s services division, which includes revenue from Apple Music, Apple Pay and other non-hardware offerings, was up 24 percent to a record $6.3 billion (roughly Rs. 42,073 crores). Cook noted in his statement that the segment was seeing “incredible momentum.”

The company is anticipating a strong holiday sales season, issuing revenue guidance for the fiscal first quarter of 2017 between $76 billion and $78 billion.

Apple shares closed up less than one percent at $118.25.

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Xiaomi has some disappointing news for fans in India looking forward to get their hands on the company’s new Mi Note 2 and Mi MIX smartphones. The company has said that it currently has no plans to launch the new smartphones in the Indian market.

The company’s confirmation to Gadgets 360 will dishearten many a buyer in India looking for a powerful mid-range phablet, as well as those who are looking for an alternative to the now-defunct Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

Xiaomi has previously shied away from releasing its most powerful smartphones in the Indian market, such as last year’s Mi Note, Mi Note Pro, and or even this year’s Mi 5, which took a while to arrive. There has been no official announcement regarding the India launch of Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus, unveiled in September this year, so far either.The Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based Xiaomi Mi Note 2 sports a 5.7-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) Oled dual-curved display and is powered by the 2.35GHz quad-core Snapdragon 821 Performance Edition SoC. It bears a 4,070mAh battery and Quick Charge 3.0 fast-charging technology, along with a fingerprint sensor on the home button. The smartphone comes in two configurations: 64GB storage + 4GB RAM, and 128GB storage + 6GB RAM.

The Xiaomi Mi Note 2 sports a 22.5-megapixel rear camera with a Sony IMX318 Exmor RS sensor, and an 8-megapixel Sony IMX268 Exmor RS sensor. Connectivity suite of the smartphone includes 4G-LTE (downlink speeds up to 6000Mbps), Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 and USB Type-C. Also on board is the Aqstic audio processor, with 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Fi sound quality.

On the other hand, the Mi MAX is a concept smartphone that will be sold in limited quantities in China. Its highlight is the 6.4-inch bezel-less display that gives it a 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio; along with that, the smartphone has a ceramic body and piezoelectric acoustic ceramic earpiece speaker. The Xiaomi device is powered by a 2.35GHz quad-core Snapdragon 821 SoC, coupled with 4GB/ 6GB RAM, and packs a 4400mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.

Xiaomi has included a 16-megapixel rear camera with PDAF on the back and a 5-megapixel camera in front. Apart from 4G LTE support, connectivity options on board include GPS/ A-GPS, NFC with Mi Pay support, Bluetooth v4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and a USB Type-C port.

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Apple Inc said it was caught off guard by how many people want to buy its biggest smartphone, the iPhone 7 Plus, and the miscalculation may hit profits this holiday season.

The technology leader is not sure it can make as many units of the iPhone 7 Plus as consumers want in time for the Christmas shopping rush, Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts on Tuesday. It will manage to make enough of the smaller iPhone 7s, though, he said.

Demand was strong “particularly on the iPhone 7 Plus versus our forecast going into the product launch,” Cook said.

The bigger phones bring bigger profits, and Apple’s forecast for thinner-than-expected margins concerned investors after it reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday.

Apple issued a conservative outlook on margins for the holiday quarter, 38 percent to 38.5 percent, versus expectations of nearly 39 percent, said Mariann Montagne, senior investment analyst and portfolio manager at Gradient Investments.
It was not immediately clear if the smartphone shortage caused the miss.

“You’re not able to get that product into the hands of the person who wants it right here, right now,” said IDC analyst John Jackson. “Those are dollars not in your hands.”

The Cupertino, California-based company unveiled its newest iPhones on September 7. The 5.5-inch (14 cm) Plus model is the first iPhone to have a dual camera on the back that lets users take better portrait shots and zoom in from further away.

“It’s inherently tough to know how things like new finishes and features are going to affect demand for a new model,” said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

Apple is still getting to know how consumer interest varies for larger and smaller phones, having launched two competing sizes only in 2014, he said.

The company also may have underestimated the number of customers it would win from Samsung, which recently recalled its own large format phone, the Galaxy Note 7, after a number of them caught fire.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview it was “impossible to know” the effect of Samsung halting production of the Galaxy Note 7 earlier this month.

“We cannot fulfill all the demand that is out there right now,” he added.

Speeding up production would be difficult, analysts said. The company cannot contract new suppliers, hire more workers and open factories overnight, said Trip Chowdhry, managing director of Global Equities Research.

“You can’t just shoot iPhones out of an assembly line at the speed of a bullet,” he said. “Apple does things to perfection. There is no need to rush and create an inferior product the way Samsung did.”

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OnePlus has been rumoured to be working on an upgraded variant of its flagship OnePlus 3 smartphone launched in June. Expected to be called the OnePlus 3T, the smartphone has been circulating in the rumour mill, hinting at an imminent unveil. OnePlus was recently also reported to have halted production of the OnePlus 3 to focus its efforts on the new variant powered by the upgraded Snapdragon 821 SoC.

The OnePlus 3, on its own, has some great specifications and performs impressively (Review), and the OnePlus 3T is likely to take that up a notch further. We take a look at all that we know about the OnePlus 3T variant so far, including the expected launch date of the smartphone.

Release Details
The OnePlus 3T is expected to launch in December this year, probably sometime around Christmas. Because of this, the OnePlus 4 launch next year is also rumoured to be delayed a bit. While a designer reportedly associated with the firm let out that the upgrade will be called OnePlus 3T, the names OnePlus 3s and OnePlus 3 Plus have also been floating around the Web.Price
There isn’t any price leak associated with the new variant, but knowing the company’s business strategy, it will be offered at a reasonable price point. To recap, the OnePlus 3 was launched for Rs. 27,999 and the OnePlus 3T should be priced around the same vicinity. We don’t expect it to be a cheaper variant like OnePlus X with trimmed specifications, but rather an enhanced version of the flagship.

Specifications
Let’s not forget that the OnePlus 3T is just an upgrade to the OnePlus 3, so don’t expect a massive specifications shuffle. So far, it is rumoured to be powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor just like the new Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL (Review) devices, and run on the latest Android 7.0 Nougat (based on Oxygen OS tweaks obviously). It will continue to sport an Optic Amoled display, as CEO Carl Pei recently confirmed that OnePlus will continue to use the same display in the anticipated future. The design of the OnePlus 3T is also expected to be similar to the flagship, with support for Dash Charge embedded as well.

While on paper, this isn’t much of an upgrade, but OnePlus could announce more during the big unveil, making Christmas merrier. Till then, we recommend you to take all speculations with a pinch of salt.

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