Apple announces fiscal 2013 Q1 results

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Jan 242013

Apple yesterday announced financial results for the first quarter of its fiscal 2013 year. It once again posted impressive numbers but is also facing stiffer competition on many sides. Quarterly revenues came in at US$54.5 billion with quarterly net profits topping US$13 billion. Despite this year’s quarter being a week shorter than last year’s quarter, Apple still beat last year’s numbers.

“We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.”

Apple sold a record 47.8 million iPhones over the quarter, up from 37 million the same quarter a year ago). It also sold a record 22.9 million iPads (up from 15.4 million a year ago), 4.1 million Macs and 12.7 million iPods. Both Macs and iPod volumes dropped from last year.

Underlying the stiffer competition it is facing (among other factors), Apple’s gross margin for the first quarter came in at 38.6%, down from 44.7% the same quarter a year ago.

Apple expects revenues to fall in the US$41 billion to US$43 billion range for the next quarter.

Read more: Apple

RIM rebrands its app store to BlackBerry World

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Jan 212013

Research In Motion today announced that its BlackBerry App World web store has been rebranded and is now known as BlackBerry World. The move comes as RIM gets ready to broaden its app store’s catalog to include videos and music (and movies in the future) as well as apps sot that it can become a ” one-stop shop for all of your mobile entertainment needs.”

With BlackBerry World, there are various ways to browse, download, buy, and manage apps using a BlackBerry smartphone, BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, or desktop or laptop computer,— inspiration is at your fingertips. And if you find something you love and want to tell the world, you can easily share it with your friends over BBM, Facebook and Twitter. Also, you can simply tap smartphones together and invite your friends to download it — just like that.

BlackBerry World

The change is first coming to the web storefront. It will be rolled out to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry smartphones “in the coming weeks.”

Read more: Inside BlackBerry Official Blog

LG Sells One Million LG Optimus G smartphones

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Jan 202013

LG Optimus GLG announced on Friday that sales of its LG Optimus G smartphone have topped one million units since its launch late last year. Currently available in Canada, Japan, South Korea and the United States, LG also plans to offer it in China and several European countries sometime this quarter.

LG has a ways to go to catch up with top players Samsung and Apple but it is moving in the right direction. It sold a record 7 million smartphones in Q3 (compared to its previous record of 6.2 million) with about 2.1 million of those being LTE devices. With rumoured devices such as the LG GK, LG Optimus G Pro, and LG Optimus G2 in the works, LG looks set to grow further.

LG’s reputation also got a shot in the arm when it became Google’s latest partner for a Nexus device, the Google Nexus 4. Unfortunately, a bit of tarnish has followed due to the availability issues faced by Google and LG since it went on sale.

Read more: Yonhap News Agency

WIND Mobile CEO to step down after selling shares to Orascom Telecom

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Jan 182013

WIND MobileOrascom Telecom and today announced that it will buy WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera’s stake in the company in a move that will also see Lacavera step down as CEO. Pending approvals, Lacavera’s holding AAL Corporation will transfer its indirect 66.7% voting share in Globalive Wireless Management Corp., operating in Canada as WIND Mobile, to Orascom. When the dust settles, Orascom will have an “indirect 99.3% interest in Globalive Wireless Management Corp,” making it Canada’s first fully foreign-owned carrier.

“As an entrepreneur, my vision was to ignite change across the wireless landscape in Canada, bringing more competition, better prices and superior service to Canadians,” said Mr. Lacavera. “And that is exactly what we did. Now that I am confident WIND Mobile Canada is on a course for long-term success, I can focus on launching Globalive Capital to make targeted investments in companies that share my entrepreneurial vision and continue to support innovation through new and emerging entrepreneurs.”

Lacavera founded WIND Mobile in 2008. The carrier went live in late 2009. Its early days were marked by a number of lawsuits and accusations that it did not meet foreign ownership rules. It has weathered all the challenges and has established itself as the country’s fourth largest network with over 600,000 subscribers. Lacavera will now turn his attention to a new initiative, Globalive Capital, and will become WIND Mobile’s Honorary Chair when the deal closes.

It remains to be seen which direction WIND Mobile will go in under its new leadership. Former Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris once said that he regretted ever getting involved in Canada. And VimpelCom, Orascom’s parent company, is also said to be “less enthusiastic about its Canadian assets.”

Are more shakeups in the Canadian telecom sector coming in 2013?

Read more: WIND Mobile and The Globe and Mail

Sony to exit feature phone business to focus on smartphones

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Jan 172013

Sony is looking to make more money out of its mobile phone business and one way of doing that is to exit the feature phone business. According to Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, the company will focus on high-end devices. “We basically are out of the feature-phone business and in the Android-based smartphone business,” Hirai explained. “We are more in toward the high end of the market as opposed to trying to get into the commoditized portion.”

With Sony having recorded losses in the last four consecutive years, a return to profitability is paramount. Margins for smartphones and high-end ones in particular are much higher than they are for features phones. A focus on such devices will enable Sony to turn its handset business around and meet its goal to make its handset division profitable. “That’s why we are in this business, and that’s why we invested heavily in the business,” Hirai said.

Sony is investing more in its product development for smartphones and will leverage its strengths in video games, cameras and audio players to develop future devices. “We need to have products that wow people, move people emotionally,” Hirai said

Sony may find the going tough. Competition in the smartphone space is fierce and dominated by Apple and Samsung. As Ace Securities analyst Hideki Yasuda points out, “It’s going to be hard for Sony to catch up. Still, the market is expected to continue growing, and that will probably enable Sony to boost sales.”

Read more: Bloomberg Business Week

Rogers the first North American carrier to offer LTE roaming

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Jan 172013
Rogers Communications

Rogers Communications today announced a new bilateral LTE roaming agreement with carrier 3 Hong Kong. Customers travelling to Hong Kong with a 2600MHz device will be able to roam on LTE speeds while in Hong Kong. The agreement makes Rogers the first carrier in North America and one of the first in the world to offer international LTE roaming to its customers.

“Rogers was the first carrier to launch an LTE network in Canada and today we are adding to our proud history of innovative firsts by being the first carrier in North America to launch LTE roaming,” said Raj Doshi, Rogers Senior Vice President of Products. “We know that Canadians travelling, whether for business or pleasure, want access to their device, email, documents, and the Internet. By offering LTE roaming, our customers can stay connected while travelling at the same blazing fast LTE speeds they experience in Canada on the Rogers wireless network.”

Rogers is planning to launch LTE roaming in additional countries throughout 2013 but did not provide additional details.

Rogers already offers a number of data roaming options. For example, International Data Day Passes start at CA$25 for 5MB.

Read more: Rogers

ASUS considering Windows Phone 8 including Padfone model

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Jan 172013

Things are looking for the Windows Phone 8 operating system. According to The Wall Street Journal, ASUS is the latest manufacturer to be considering making devices powered by Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Benson Lin, corporate vice president of mobile communication products confirmed that ASUS is currently engaged in licensing discussions with Microsoft. “There is no target timeline… but we are interested in making Windows phones.”

Lin also revealed that ASUS proposed to Microsoft to develop a Padfone device powered by Windows 8. The current ASUS Padfone 2 is an Android-powered smartphone that docks into a tablet accessory. “With our Padfone concept, the phone plus tablet, I think it makes sense for Windows 8,” Mr. Lin said.

Given that Microsoft offers Windows Phone 8 for smartphones and Windows 8 for tablets and PCs, it will be interesting to see how the Padfone would work. Could it use Windows Phone 8 in smartphone mode and switch to Windows 8 when docked? Or will ASUS wait for the rumoured Windows Blue release which is supposed to bring Windows 8 to smaller-screens?

The report adds that ASUS is currently also in discussion with U.S. carriers to bring its phones to the U.S. perhaps as early as next year.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal

LG aiming to sell 45 million smartphones in 2013

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Jan 162013

LG appears to be turning its mobile phone business around. Having sold an estimated 56 million mobile phones in 2012 (41 million in the first nine months and an estimated 15 million more in the last quarter), it now hopes to sell 75 million in 2013. The majority, 45 million, will be smartphones which are more profitable.

Little is known about LG’s smartphone roadmap for 2013. According to an executive “from one of LG’s local partners,” LG plans to release “quite a number of new Optimus devices” this year. Among these could be the LG GK with a 5.5-inch FHD display and a quad-core processor which might be unveiled at MWC 2013. The LG Optimus G2 now appears set to follow as the flagship device for the fall, perhaps as one of the first devices to run the next major version of Android.

The same executive also reveals that LG is planning to jump onto the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon. Devices are in development and more than one could be launched this year.

As a comparison point, Samsung, the world’s largest mobile phone and smartphone manufacturer, is aiming to ship 510 million handsets, including 390 million smartphones, in 2013.

Can LG turn it around in 2013 and shed its reputation for lower quality?

Read more: The Korea Times (Source: UnwiredView)

Rogers secures option to buy Shaw AWS spectrum in 2014

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Jan 142013
Rogers Communications

Rogers today announced an agreement that sees it securing an option to buy Shaw Communications’ unused AWS spectrum in 2014. The deal covers spectrum licenses in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario and comes with a price tag of CA$50 million. According to Nadir Mohamed, Rogers’ President and Chief Executive Officer, “We’re investing in spectrum to ensure our customers continue to enjoy the incredibly fast speeds and throughput they crave, while ensuring our continued network leadership.”

The purchase will help Rogers maintain its “network leadership position,” particularly in Western Canada where Rogers has a significant share of the wireless market. It includes 188 million MHz POPs including 20MHz across B.C., Alberta and Manitoba and 10MHz in select B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario markets.

Rogers will be in a position to buy the spectrum in question once the transaction is approved by Industry Canada and the Competition Bureau. It could be late 2014 before the purchase closes. The option is set to expire in March 2015 but could be extended “in certain circumstances.”

The announcement comes ahead of the 700MHz spectrum auction set to take place sometime in the first half of this year.

Shaw announced in September 2011 that it would not build out a wireless network as originally planned. Shortly after, it announced plans to build a managed Wi-Fi network.

Read more: Rogers

Samsung Galaxy S sales top 100 million units

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Jan 142013

Samsung today announced that cumulative global channel sales of its Galaxy S series devices have now topped 100 million units. The series is made up of the original Samsung Galaxy S which launched in June 2010 as well as its successors, the Galaxy S II and current flagship, the Galaxy S III.

The original Samsung Galaxy S has now shipped over 24 million units to global channels. Its successor, the Samsung Galaxy S II, has now topped shipments of 40 million units. The Samsung Galaxy S III has now passed the mark of 40 million unit channel sales, or average daily sales of 190,000 units.

Samsung Galaxy S sales top 100 million units

The company named the Galaxy S II as the “driving force behind Samsung Electronics’ rise to the top on the global smartphone market.”

Impressive numbers all around!

Read more: Samsung Tomorrow

Nokia ships 4.4 million Lumia smartphones in Q4 2012

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Jan 102013

Nokia today issued a fourth-quarter preliminary report and the news is much more positive than it has been in past quarters. Its Mobile Phones business unit and Lumia portfolio both delivered better than expected results. Nokia now expects that its Devices & Services group will exceed expectations and achieve “underlying profitability” for Q4 2012. According to Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO:

“We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in Devices & Services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks. We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter.”

In particular, Nokia reports sales of 4.4 million Lumia-branded Windows Phones in the quarter. That amounts to a 51% jump over the 2.9 million devices shipped in Q3. It’s not clear how this breaks down between Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7 devices. It also shipped 9.3 million Asha full touch “smartphones” and 2.2 million Symbian smartphones.

Nokia expects Q1 2013 to be tougher due to “competitive industry dynamics” and the general seasonal weakness of the quarter. Margins could fall into negative territory again as a result.

Nokia will issue its full Q4 and full year 2012 financial results on January 24th, 2013.

Read more: Nokia

Samsung expects record US$8.3 billion Q4 profit thanks to mobile phones

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Jan 082013

Samsung Electronics yesterday delivered its fiscal year 2012 Q4 earnings guidance. The company expects sales to reach 56 trillion Korean Won (about US$5.27 billion) with profits to come in at 8.8 trillion Won (about US$8.3 billion). This would be yet another record, the latest in a string of five record quarters.

Much of this success is attributed to mobile devices and components for these. Samsung said that it sold close to 500 handsets a minute during the quarter. If so, Samsung mobile phone (smartphones and feature phones) sales could top 65 million units for the quarter.

According to Reuters, Samsung launched more smartphone models than its competitors. It released 37 smartphone models (including variants for different markets). In comparison, LG launched 24, HTC a further 18, Nokia 9, and Apple only one, the iPhone 5.

Samsung has even more ambitious goals for 2013. It is looking to ship 510 million mobile phones in 2013.

Samsung will release its full earnings report by January 25.

Read more: Samsung and Reuters

Apple App Store tops 40 billion downloads with record December month

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Jan 072013

Apple today announced that 40 billion apps have now been downloaded through its App Store. Nearly half of those downloads came in 2012 alone with December setting a record with over two billion downloads during the month. These numbers do not include re-downloads and updates.

“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world.”

Apple highlighted a couple of applications:

  • Temple Run was downloaded 75 million times in 2012
  • Supercell’s DragonVale and Clash of Clans have earned more than US$100 million

The Apple App Store now offers over 775,000 apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Some 300,000 of those are native iPad apps. It also now has more than 500 million active accounts.

Apple had announced that the App Store had topped 30 billion downloads back at WWDC 2012 last June.

Read more: Apple

Lenovo to split into Lenovo and Think business units

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Jan 062013

According to a leaked internal email, Lenovo is planning to split itself into two different business units later this year. The first group will retain the Lenovo name and will focus on mid- and low-range products while the second one, named Think, will focus on high-end products. The email from CEO Yang Yuanqing explains that the Lenovo name still does not have the same brand cachet as the Think one. Yang sees the Think brand as taking on high-end competitors such as Apple with its own innovative and high-end products.

The split is scheduled to take place in April. The Lenovo Business Group will focus on mainstream desktops, laptops, tablets, smart TVs as well as its smartphones. It will be led by Senior Vice President (Mobile Internet Digital Home) Liu Jun. The Think Business Group will become its flagship brand and is set to expand the reach of its Think products into the consumer space. It will be led by Senior Vice President (Product Group) Dr. Peter Hortensius.

It remains to be seen if we will see smartphones and tablets under the new Think brand or if it will limit itelf to PCs.

Read more: Engadget

Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to be unveiled at CES 2013

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Jan 032013

Corning today announced that it will the next generation of its Gorilla Glass product at CES 2013. Gorilla Glass 3, billed as “a new glass composition with durability enhancements” should prove to be even tougher than its predecessor, Gorilla Glass 2. It will also unveil new fiber-based Optical Cables for device-to-device connectivity solutions, promising performances that goes beyond the limits of copper-based cables.

“This year at CES, Corning will demonstrate its industry leadership in specialty glass and fiber optic technologies with the introduction of two products designed to enhance and extend the capabilities of consumers’ favorite devices,” said Wendell P. Weeks, chairman, chief executive officer, and president. “These new innovations build on the increasingly important and continually evolving role of highly engineered glass technologies in delivering improved product performance and functionality through touch capabilities, protective cover glass, and device connectivity.”

Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Corning will hold hourly demonstrations to show off the toughness of its new Gorilla Glass 3.

There is no word yet on any devices that will come with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Perhaps we’ll hear about such devices next week.

Read more: Corning (Source: Engadget)