Sat, Mar. 14, 9:21 PM
- BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) SecuTablet, launched in partnership with Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and IBM, is based on Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Android tablet, and contains encryption and anti-eavesdropping tech developed by the company's German Secusmart unit (acquired last year). BlackBerry says the device could be available by this summer, and will sell for about $2,380.
- The tablet is aimed at enterprise and government clients with high-end security needs, and relies on app wrapping technology provided by IBM to silo consumer apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from secure apps. IBM will also assist in implementing Secusmart's solutions "within the infrastructures of the various clients inside the governmental sector."
- The launch comes a year after BlackBerry discontinued the (QNX OS-based) PlayBook following less-than-stellar sales, and four months after the company formed an alliance with Samsung to create security solutions for Samsung's Android hardware. Google gave its blessing to BES12 (along with other enterprise mobility management platforms) last month.
Fri, Mar. 13, 2:38 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) will use more premium materials in mobile devices to win customers and offer a wider range of connected devices after being recently dethroned by Apple as global smartphone sales leader.
- The plan includes more smartphones with metal casings, slim designs and high-definition displays, Co-CEO Shin Jong Kyun said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Seoul today.
- Samsung's unveiling of new Galaxy S6 phones this month and signs of strong early demand has spurred a stock rally on expectations the company can revive earnings and stem the slide in market share.
- Update: Shareholders have approved a plan to increase the company's dividend payout for 2014 by 40% compared with a year ago.
- Related: Universal Display +6%; Samsung reportedly ups S6 production (Mar. 12 2015)
Thu, Mar. 12, 12:45 PM
- Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) has rallied to new 52-week highs today. Its move has come on volume of 1.26M shares, well above a 3-month daily average of 662K.
- Signs of strong early demand for Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge (unveiled on March 1, going on sale on April 10) could be giving the OLED materials/IP provider a lift. Samsung has announced S6 pre-orders have topped 20M, and Korea's Electronic Times has reported Samsung has upped its April S6/S6 Edge production target by 1M to 8M.
- The S6 sports a quad-HD OLED display that requires more materials than the S5's 1080p display. Its use of a metal/glass body (as compared with the plastic bodies of its predecessors) has been well-received.
- Samsung's shares have already benefited from S6 enthusiasm: Though they fell overnight in Seoul, they're still up 7% since the March 1 launch event.
Mon, Mar. 2, 4:27 AM
- HTC (OTC:HTCXF) is planning its first move into the crowded virtual reality market with a new headset called Vive, competing against Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Rift, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Gear VR and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Project Morpheus.
- The device will track head's movements as precisely as one-tenth of a degree, and will include a Steam VR base station, which will let users walk around the virtual space instead of using a controller.
- HTC has partnered with Valve Software on the platform, which will be made available to the public by the end of the year.
Sun, Mar. 1, 9:08 PM
- As rumored, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 eschews the plastic-heavy designs of its predecessors in favor a body with a metal frame and both front and back glass panels - both panels use Corning's (NYSE:GLW) recently-launched Gorilla Glass 4 (offers better damage resistance).
- Also as expected: The standard S6 is accompanied by the S6 Edge, a premium model with curved sides. Samsung has also launched a new version of its Gear VR headset (relies on Oculus' VR platform) that uses the S6/S6 Edge for its display instead of the Note 4.
- The S6's display size is unchanged from the S5's 5.1", but (as was the case for the Note 4) the resolution has been upgraded from 1080p to 2560x1440 - that's a positive for OLED materials supplier Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED). An 8-core Samsung Exynos processor powers international S6 models - Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have historically powered U.S. models, but that might not be the case this time.
- A new fingerprint sensor (previous) only requires users to touch the home button (a la Apple's TouchID) rather than swipe over it, as is the case with the S5's sensor. Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) should receive an ASP boost, provided it remains Samsung's fingerprint sensor supplier and not rival FPC.
- Other features: Wireless charging support; a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, improved software, and an F/1.9 aperture (good for low-light shots); a 5MP front camera that also has an F/1.9 aperture, 32/64/128GB storage tiers (up from 16/32/64GB); and far less bloatware - Samsung claims the S6 has 40% fewer software features than the S5.
- Initial reactions are positive. "Samsung finally builds a premium smartphone," proclaims Ars Technica. The Verge calls the S6/S6 Edge "dramatically nicer and better phones than Samsung has ever produced." More than a few observers have spotted major design similarities with the iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL).
- The phones go on sale on April 10. Samsung needs a hit: It's coming off a Q4 where its smartphone unit share fell to 20% from 28.8% a year earlier (per IDC) amid stiff competition from Apple and Chinese Android OEMs.
Thu, Feb. 26, 1:47 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) has decided to freeze paychecks for its employees this year, as the tech giant struggles amid a slump in profits, heavy competition and a weak Japanese yen, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.
- The move marks the first time since 2009 that the company has frozen paychecks for all its workers.
- Samsung's net profit fell sharply in 2014, dropping 23.2% to 23.4T won ($21.2B) from 30.5T won the previous year.
Tue, Feb. 24, 9:44 AM
- The Korea Times reports Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has struck deals with Apple and LG to supply DRAM for upcoming phones, with Samsung handling "at least half" of Apple's DRAM needs for the iPhone 6S. Micron (NASDAQ:MU), a major iPhone DRAM supplier, has sold off in response.
- The paper adds the deals are estimated to be worth billions, and that Apple could "ask more from Samsung" depending on the situation. The report comes amid expectations Samsung will manufacture Apple's A9 CPU (expected to go into the 6S), using its 14nm manufacturing process.
- DRAMeXchange recently estimated Samsung had a 46.1% Q4 DRAM share, down from 50.7% in Q3. With the help of iPhone-related orders, Micron's share rose to 23.3% from 19%; SK Hynix's share rose to 28% from 27.6%. Samsung is generally seen as the most aggressive of the big-3 DRAM vendors in terms of growing production.
Thu, Feb. 19, 2:28 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) has acquired mobile wallet startup LoopPay, indicating its intention to launch a smartphone payments service to compete with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Pay and others.
- Despite strong backing, mobile payments have been slow to catch on, as many retailers have been reluctant to adopt the infrastructure required for the mobile payment options to work.
- LoopPay, however, works off existing magnetic-stripe card readers at checkouts by transmitting a magnetic signal similar to that of a swiped card.
- Previously: Samsung reportedly in talks to launch Apple Pay rival (Dec. 16 2014)
Tue, Feb. 17, 4:08 AM
- "Dividends and other forms of shareholder returns are responsibilities that the company has for shareholders, so we will make efforts to meet them. But our primary objective is growth," said Robert Yi, Samsung Electronics' (OTC:SSNLF) head of investor relations.
- While investors were cheered this year by Samsung's 40% dividend boost and its first share buyback since 2007, the tech giant is looking to use its $56B cash pile to fund growth in 2015, including acquisitions.
Wed, Feb. 11, 1:23 PM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) plans to invest KRW4T ($3.6B) in a new OLED production line for small and medium-sized (e.g. smartphone/tablet) displays. The spending will take place from 2015-2017. The announcement coincides with one from LG Display (LPL +1.5%) stating it will invest KRW1T-1.2T this year to expand an existing large-panel (e.g. TV) OLED production line.
- In its Q4 report, Samsung forecast its OLED panel shipments, a huge portion of which currently go to the company's mobile hardware unit, would rise over the whole of 2015 thanks to new customers. OLED materials/tech supplier Universal Display (OLED +1%) is up moderately; its Q4 report arrives on Feb. 26.
- Samsung has also announced the creation of an advanced technologies team that will work on products such as 3D printers, virtual reality hardware, drones, robots, unmanned vehicles, and telepresence equipment. The team will be housed inside Samsung's mobile unit, and overseen by mobile chief Shin Jong-kyun.
Tue, Feb. 10, 10:08 AM
- Six months after filing a contract dispute suit with Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) over unpaid Android royalties, Microsoft (MSFT -0.2%) says it has settled the dispute. Terms are confidential.
- Microsoft previously suggested Samsung stopped paying royalties in late 2013, with the electronics giant arguing the Nokia deal (by making Microsoft a phone manufacturer itself) nullifies the 2011 Microsoft/Samsung deal and requires a new cross-licensing agreement to be inked.
- The bottom-line impact of a settlement could be big: Samsung paid $1B in royalties to Microsoft in 2013 (pure gross profit, or close to it), and Samsung, though losing ground in recent quarters, still maintained a 20% Q4 global smartphone share, per IDC.
- Microsoft's total "Windows Phone" licensing revenue (includes Android royalties) amounted to $2.54B in FY14 (ended June '14). Nokia licensing payments (no longer being made) accounted for $382M of the figure.
Fri, Feb. 6, 2:04 AM
- The SEC and the Ontario Securities Commission are investigating whether a recent Reuters report about a possible $7.5B purchase of BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) by Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) was sparked by investor intent on pumping the Canadian smartphone maker’s stock.
- BlackBerry shares, which closed on Jan. 13 at $9.71, shot up 30% on the news to close at $12.60 on Jan. 14, its biggest one-day gain in years.
- Shortly after the rumor, both companies denied holding talks for such a deal.
- Previously: BlackBerry denies talking with Samsung about buyout offer (updated) (Jan. 14 2015)
- Previously: More on BlackBerry/Samsung (updated) (Jan. 14 2015)
- Previously: BlackBerry +20.9%; Samsung reportedly approached about takeover (Jan. 14 2015)
Wed, Jan. 28, 8:20 PM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) had Q4 revenue of KRW52.73T ($48.6B, -11% Y/Y) and operating profit of KRW5.29T ($4.9B, -36%); the latter was slightly above guidance of KRW5.2T. Net profit fell 28% to KRW5.35T.
- With competition from Apple and Chinese OEMs taking a toll, mobile revenue fell 23% to KRW25T. On the other hand, strong DRAM demand/pricing and NAND growth led memory sales to rise 25% to KRW8.18T. Growing TV panel and mobile OLED panel demand helped display sales rise 9% to KRW7.05T. Consumer electronics sales were flat at KRW14.3T.
- Smartphone/tablet and TV sales are expected to fall in Q1 due to seasonality. TV sales for the whole of 2015 are expected to rise, aided by strong 4K TV demand. Tablet sales are also expected to grow, but no similar forecast is made for phones.
- Mobile and server DRAM demand is expected to remain strong in 2015, with the former boosted by the adoption of high-res phone displays. NAND flash sales are expected to benefit from server/SSD demand, and LSI (logic/foundry) sales by the 14nm process ramp.
- OLED panel shipments are expected to rise in seasonally weak Q1 due to new products (the Galaxy S6?), and grow over the whole of 2015 via the expansion of Samsung's customer base - Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) should be pleased to hear that. A healthy supply/demand balance is expected to remain for LCD panels.
- Samsung ended Q4 with over KRW50T ($46B) in net cash, and KRW17.9T ($16.4B) in investments. Shares are up 0.9% in Seoul.
- Q4 earnings slides (.pdf)
Mon, Jan. 26, 2:56 AM
- According to sources in the semiconductor industry, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) will be the main supplier of processors powering Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next handset model, Maeil Business Newspaper reports.
- The newspaper did not say how much the contract is worth, but Samsung will likely supply 75% of the chip production for the iPhone 7.
- Samsung was the company behind the A7 that powered the iPhone 5S, although it was ditched in favor of TSMC (NYSE:TSM) for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Thu, Jan. 22, 3:17 AM
- LG Electronics (OTC:LGEAF) says it did not encounter any overheating problems with Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) new Snapdragon 810 processor that will be powering its G Flex2 - the curved smartphone that will go on sale later this month.
- The comment came after Bloomberg report yesterday stating that Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) dropped the new Qualcomm processor from its next Galaxy S due to the chip overheating during testing.
- Previously: Samsung drops Qualcomm chip from new Galaxy smartphone (Jan. 21 2015)
Thu, Jan. 22, 1:15 AM
- Citing a "trusted source," BGR has provided a detailed list of specs for Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) upcoming Galaxy S6. Among the specs: A 5.1" quad HD (2560x1440) display, an 8-core CPU (presumably Samsung Exynos) that relies on Samsung/Globalfoundries' new 14nm manufacturing process, a 20MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, and a 5MP front camera with a large f/1.8 aperture (good for low-light shots).
- Samsung's next-gen flagship is also said to use Corning's (NYSE:GLW) Gorilla Glass 4, which was launched only in November and offers improved durability. With other reports stating the S6 will have glass panels on both its front and back (to go with a metal frame), two Gorilla Glass 4 panels might be used.
- Wireless charging is reportedly supported, along with a rapid charging feature that enables four hours of usage on a 10-minute charge. Dougherty thinks IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI) has a decent chance of being the S6's wireless charging IC supplier, and that a design win could yield $112M-$135M in annual revenue.
- Samsung is believed to be prepping both a standard S6 model, and one with curved edges. The S6 is expected to be revealed on March 2, the first day of this year's Mobile World Congress.
- Following a rough 2014, the Korean tech giant appears hungry to deliver new high-end models that stand out relative to the offerings of share-gaining Chinese OEMs. IDC estimates Samsung had a 23.8% Q4 global smartphone share, down from 32.5% a year earlier.
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