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Yesterday, 11:58 AM| Yesterday, 11:58 AM | 13 Comments
Yesterday, 10:18 AM
- Morgan Stanley reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) plans to hike its DRAM output. Micron (MU -3.5%), whose shares have risen over 6x from their fall 2012 lows, is selling off in response. Peer SK Hynix (HXSCL) fell 4.1% in Seoul.
- Digitimes recently reported Samsung is thinking of building a new DRAM fab in 2015, as industry consolidation and strong mobile and server-related demand keep prices high. The site also reported spot prices for 4Gb DDR3 DRAM chips could rise to $4.80-$5.00 in Q3, after rallying to an 18-month high of $4.35 in late June.
- TrendForce estimates Samsung had 35.5% of the global branded DRAM market in Q1, SK Hynix 28.2%, and Micron 28%.
- This morning, SA author David Alton Clark argued Micron investors should tread carefully at current levels, given the DRAM industry's historical cyclicality.
- Previous: Samsung reportedly planning to hike DRAM contract prices
Tue, Jul. 8, 4:40 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF), Intel (INTC) and Dell have teamed up to create a standard by which household gadgets communicate with each other, called the Open Interconnect Consortium. The partnership also includes chipmakers Broadcom (BRCM) and Atmel (ATML).
- The new consortium will rival the AllSeen Alliance, a similar framework supported by Qualcomm (QCOM), LG (LGEIY), Microsoft (MSFT) and other companies.
Tue, Jul. 8, 3:03 AM
- A Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) factory in Brazil was robbed yesterday, after 20 thieves stole $6.4M of cellphones, tablets and other products. The company is hoping that insurance will minimize the cost incurred from the stolen inventory.
- The heist is also a setback for Brazil, which has been trying for years to draw more electronics makers to do business in the country. Besides for the high employment costs and taxes in Brazil, added security concerns can now have some manufacturers thinking twice.
- ETFs: BRXX, BRAQ
Mon, Jul. 7, 11:43 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) expects to report Q2 revenue of KRW51T-53T ($50.4B-$52.4B), and an op. profit of KRW7T-7.4T ($6.9B-$7.3B). Those guidance ranges are below Bloomberg consensus estimates of KRW53.2T and KRW8.1T.
- The electronics giant blames "mid-to-low end" phone competition in China and Europe, a strong won, and higher marketing spend aimed at lowering phone inventories.
- Also, tablet shipments fell more than expected due to a weak market, and mobile weakness had a spillover effect on internal display and chip sales.
- Samsung is facing intensifying low-end/mid-range smartphone competition from Chinese OEMs pricing aggressively - its smartphone share fell Y/Y in both Q1 and Q4 (per IDC) following a long run of share gains, while Huawei and Lenovo each grew rapidly. Xiaomi, which shipped 26.1M phones in 1H14 (+271% Y/Y), is also a growing threat.
- The tablet weakness comes after the market's growth slowed to a trickle in Q1. Notably, Samsung states phablets are cannibalizing 7"-8" tablets, and a lack of carrier subsidies is leading to low upgrade rates (previous).
- Samsung is "cautiously" optimistic about Q3. It expects hardware refreshes to boost smartphone sales, and for display and memory chip sales to also rise.
- Shares are up 0.5% in Seoul. Investors have been expecting soft Q2 numbers.
Mon, Jul. 7, 2:59 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF) is facing a tough time on all fronts, as competition from cheaper models and the launch of the iPhone 6, will likely cause profit to decline again this quarter. Chairman of the group, Lee Kun-hee, also suffered a heart attack in May, leaving the company without a leader and unclear succession.
- According to a Thomson Reuters poll, the company is expected to say on Tuesday, that earnings fell 12.6% for the second-quarter. Previously, CFO Lee Sang-hoon announced that the company's Q2 results "doesn’t look too good."
- As a result of this year's 5% stock drop, Samsung says it will compensate investors by boosting dividends.
Tue, Jul. 1, 5:55 PM
- Digitimes reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) and Globalfoundries have landed orders from Qualcomm and Apple for chips to be made using their next-gen 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) process. Production is expected to start in early 2015.
- Samsung and Globalfoundries inked a FinFET licensing deal this spring in an effort to challenge TSMC's (TSM +2.7%) foundry market hegemony. Qualcomm is a top TSMC client, and Apple (though historically relying on Samsung) is reportedly relying on TSMC to help make its upcoming A8 and A9 CPUs.
- TSMC, which has had an edge in ramping 28nm and (more recently) 20nm chip production, is responding to Samsung/Globalfoundries' challenge with plans to launch a 16nm FinFET process by year's end, and (more importantly) roll out its low-power 16nm FinFET+ process in early 2015.
- TSMC claims 16nm FinFET+ chips will consume 30% less power than 16nm FinFET chips at the same clock speed, and offer 40% better performance than comparable 20nm chips.
- Digitimes states TSMC plans to launch a FinFET+ process "tailored to Apple's requirements," as part of its efforts to manufacture the A9.
Mon, Jun. 30, 7:02 PM
- With the help of a strong Galaxy S5 launch and healthy low-end phone demand, Android's (GOOG) U.S., Chinese, EU5, and Japanese shares respectively rose to 61.9% (+990 bps Y/Y), 82.7% (+1130 bps), 73.3% (+150 bps), and 47% (+50 bps) during the March-May timeframe, says Kantar Worldpanel. (PR - .pdf)
- Results were mixed for the iPhone (AAPL) ahead of the expected fall launch of 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone 6 models: U.S. and Chinese shares respectively fell to 32.5% (-940 bps Y/Y) and 14.7% (-910 bps), but EU5 and Japanese shares rose to 16.6% (+80 bps) and 51.7% (+210 bps). With March quarter iPhone ASP at $596, revenue shares are bound to be higher.
- More evidence large screens are a bigger selling point in Europe (among other places): 17% of European Galaxy S5 buyers said they switched from Apple, while only 8% of U.S. buyers said the same. 58% of European S5 buyers already owned a Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) phone.
Mon, Jun. 30, 10:05 AM
- Three weeks after hiking its Micron (MU +3.5%) PT to $50, Credit Suisse is planting itself even more firmly on an increasingly crowded bandwagon by adding the memory giant to its Focus List.
- CS praises a valuation of 9.8x EPS, and sees new products and margin expansion driving future EPS growth.
- Separately, Taiwan's Economic Daily News reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has told clients it plans to raise DRAM contract prices by 10% starting in July.
- The paper also states spot prices for mainstay 4Gb DDR3 DRAM chips (widely used in PCs) could reach $4.60 in Q3. DRAMeXchange showed an average Friday price of $4.255, following a Q2 gain of nearly 20%.
- Previous: Micron jumps post-earnings
Thu, Jun. 26, 5:43 PM
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) occasionally tense relationship with Google (GOOG) - Samsung is by far the world's biggest Android OEM, but its efforts to customize if apps, services, and UI often haven't gone over well with Google - appears to be thawing, judging by the announcements at Google's I/O conference.
- Most notably, Samsung is now allowing its KNOX mobile security platform to be built into Android. KNOX provides a slew of data protection, authentication, and device/app management features for enterprises who might otherwise be nervous about letting employees work with Android hardware.
- Newly-public MobileIron (MOBL -2.6%), one of several device/app management software firms whose feature set overlaps to an extent with KNOX, sold off a bit today, but closed well off the day's lows.
- Samsung has also announced the Gear Live, a $199 smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. The launch comes even though Samsung is already selling two smartwatches based on its Tizen platform (still suffers from a weak app ecosystem), and Google is preventing OEMs from installing custom UIs (such as Samsung's TouchWiz).
- Samsung suggests it'll still try to offer some proprietary apps/services for Android Wear smartwatches. LG and Motorola are among the other OEMs backing the platform.
Wed, Jun. 25, 7:32 AM
- Execs at Samsung (SSNLF) are not expecting great results this quarter, after announcing that company performance has been declining. Shares have fallen 8.5% so far this month, after a string of downgrades in earnings forecasts.
- “It doesn’t look too good,” says CFO Lee Sang-hoon, in reference to second quarter results.
- The company is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings estimates in early July.
Thu, Jun. 19, 6:59 AM
- Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation has announced it will sell approximately $500M of shares in Samsung Life Insurance, about 2.5% of total shares outstanding.
- This marks the third large transaction Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has performed in the last month and a half. Previously, Samsung Everland (a Samsung holding company) and Samsung SDS (an IT solutions affiliate) announced plans for IPOs.
- Samsung is continuing to do heavy restructuring as its owner the Lee family passes on its various companies to the next generation.
Wed, Jun. 18, 2:52 PM
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy S5 LTE-A, launching today in South Korea, sports a 2560x1440 OLED display that's a marked improvement from the 1080p display found on the regular S5.
- It also features Qualcomm's (QCOM -0.2%) flagship Snapdragon 805 (quad-core, 2.5GHz.) baseband/app processor - the regular S5 uses the Snapdragon 801 - and can handle theoretical max download speeds of 225Mbps thanks to its support for the LTE-Advanced standard.
- The display and CPU are among the features rumored to be on a next-gen flagship called the Galaxy F. But two other features - OIS and a long-demanded metal case - aren't found in the S5 LTE-A.
- The 805, first announced last November, sports a newer custom ARM CPU core than the 801 and 800 (Krait 450 vs. 400), as well as a faster GPU (Adreno 420 vs. 330) and more memory bandwidth.
- A next-gen flagship CPU, the Snapdragon 810, will feature a 8 64-bit non-custom ARM cores (4 high-end cores and 4 low-power cores). It's expected to arrive in commercial hardware in 1H15, prior to the launch of a 64-bit flagship sporting custom cores.
- Samsung's launch comes as Amazon unveils its Fire phone, which sports a less less powerful Snapdragon CPU (appears to be the 800 or 801).
Thu, Jun. 12, 6:01 PM
- Pictures said to depict Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy F flagship phone have surfaced. In-line with past rumors - they referred to the phone as the S5 Prime - the pictures show a device with a metal case, a feature users partial to the iPhone's aluminum cases have long clamored for.
- Evleaks, generally a reliable source for mobile scoops, reports the Galaxy F will have a 2560x1440 display (also backed by previous rumors), Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 805 CPU, and a 16MP camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). A September launch is expected. The Galaxy S5 has a 1080p display, and its 16MP camera lacks OIS.
- Likewise, SamMobile has reported the Galaxy Note 4 (also expected in the Sep. timeframe) will have a 2K display and a 16MP camera with a Sony OIS module. A mixture of Qualcomm and Samsung processors will be used (similar to the S5).
- Korean media, meanwhile, has reported Samsung wants to eventually launch an 8"-9" tablet with an OLED display that can be folded twice to create a smartphone-like form factor in terms of height and width (but probably not thickness). An early 2015 launch is reportedly being eyed.
- The Galaxy F/Note 4 reports come with Apple widely expected to launch 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones this fall.
Mon, Jun. 9, 4:17 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is thinking of investing $1B to build a third electronics plant in Vietnam - likely at a high-tech park in Ho Chi Minh City.
- The investment would significantly grow Samsung's footprint in an increasingly popular low-cost manufacturing hub. As it is, Samsung has been shifting production from China to Vietnam on account of rising wages in the former country.
- Samsung's efforts to keep costs down come as it deals with toughening low-end Android competition from Chinese OEMs and white-label firms. Low-end competition was arguably the biggest reason Samsung's smartphone share slipped in Q1 following many uninterrupted quarters of share gains.
Fri, May. 30, 4:48 PM
- Engadget reports Samsung (SSNLF) is partnering with Oculus VR (FB) to build a mobile/media-focused VR headset.
- Not surprisingly, Oculus is said to be handling the product's software/UI, and Samsung the hardware. Unlike the gaming-focused Oculus Rift, the headset won't have a display of its own, but will instead (using a slot within the device) rely on a smartphone to act as its screen.
- The phone's rear camera can allow a user to stay connected to the outside world, and might also enable augmented reality apps. Oculus is reportedly providing Samsung with an early version of its mobile SDK,
- As part of the tie-up, Samsung is providing Oculus with OLED displays sporting resolutions above 1080p for its own hardware; Universal Display (OLED) should be happy to hear that. The latest Rift dev. kit (DK2) features a 5" 1080p OLED display.
- Mark Zuckerberg has insisted from the start the Oculus deal is about enabling a wide variety of VR applications, of which gaming is just one.
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