Nov. 18, 2014, 5:52 PM
- In addition to launching fewer smartphone models (thus providing more manufacturing scale for the models that are launched), Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) plans to improve its mobile cost-competitiveness by lowering OLED display costs.
- Samsung Display exec Lee Chang-hoon: "One of the superior things about AMOLED is that [because it has no backlight] it can become cheaper to produce compared to LCD. We are prepared to compete directly with LCD."
- Lee adds Samsung Display, which depends heavily on Samsung Electronics for OLED sales, hopes to get half its OLED sales from other customers in three years. Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) would be pleased if that happened.
- Also: Samsung plans to offer a flexible display that can be folded in half (previous) by year's end. However, the company's production targets are modest for now: It's looking to make just 30K-40K flexible displays per month by the end of 2015.
- Universal closed up 4.3% today. Shares fell two weeks ago after Universal disclosed (along with its Q3 results) Samsung isn't using its green host materials in certain new products (the Note 4 is a strong possibility). On its earnings CC (transcript), Universal said it's working on "higher-performing cost-effective next-generation emitter and hosting systems."
Nov. 18, 2014, 2:15 AM
- In a move to combat declining profit and high costs, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is cutting the number of smartphone models it offers next year by 25% to 30%. In October, Samsung reported a 49% drop in Q3 net profit.
- The decision will help Samsung reduce its large smartphone portfolio and better compete with cheaper models from rivals, such as Xiaomi.
Nov. 17, 2014, 5:27 PM
- BMO's Keith Bachman reports seeing improved U.S. iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplies. "Whereas the iPhone 6 Plus was very hard to find a few weeks ago, supply has improved ... Whereas Apple stores were sold out of virtually all iPhone 6 models a few weeks ago, retail stores now appear to have almost half of the iPhone 6 models across the various carriers available for walk-in."
- Bachman does note there's still "virtually no available stock of iPhone 6 at carrier partner stores, such as AT&T and Verizon." However, online wait times at carrier stores have fallen in half to ~10 days.
- Apple's U.S. site typically shows wait times of 7-10 days for the iPhone 6, and 3-4 weeks for the 6 Plus. In October, there were multiple reports stating Apple is boosting 6 Plus production.
- Apple has added UnionPay, China's dominant payment-processor, as an App Store payment option. UnionPay credit/debit card holders will be able to link their cards with their Apple IDs, something Internet software/services chief Eddy Cue calls "one of the most requested features from [Apple's] customers in China." Quartz notes the agreement could pave the way for an Apple Pay deal.
- The Korea Times reports Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) will supply 80% of Apple's A-series app processors starting in 2016, thanks to a new agreement.
- While TSMC (NYSE:TSM) is manufacturing Apple's 20nm A8 processors, Samsung has been expected to supply a large portion (if not all) of Apple's A9 processors, leveraging a 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) process it's developing with Globalfoundries.
Nov. 13, 2014, 2:17 PM
- DirecTV (DTV +0.2%) will be the first pay-TV major to offer 4K UltraHD content to its subscriber base beginning tomorrow.
- 19 films from Paramount Pictures and K2 Communications will be available initially in the format.
- The company tipped off during its earnings conference call last week that 4K channels will be introduced in 2015.
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is a partner with DirecTV on the UHD initiative.
- DirecTV earnings call transcript
Nov. 12, 2014, 7:12 AM| Nov. 12, 2014, 7:12 AM | Comment!
Nov. 10, 2014, 2:38 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is planning on building a $3B smartphone plant in northern Vietnam, bringing the company's total investment pledges in the country this year to around $11B.
- Samsung has been increasing production in Vietnam to reduce costs and better compete with the low-priced smartphones of Chinese rivals.
- The factory will be built in the Thai Nguyen province, where it opened a $2B smartphone plant in March.
Oct. 30, 2014, 6:37 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) reports that its net profit nearly halved during Q3, as its mobile business continued to face heavy competition from low-cost Chinese smartphone makers.
- Net profit during the quarter ended in September fell 49% Y/Y to 4.2T won ($4B). That followed a 20% profit decline in the previous quarter.
- Samsung also warned that uncertainty remains for its mobile business in the current quarter, since it will have to boost its marketing efforts to counter an anticipated year-end surge in competitors’ smartphone launches.
Oct. 18, 2014, 3:36 PM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has developed technology that could increase the data capacity of NAND flash memory chips by as much 50%.
- Single-layer chips improve memory capacity and lower costs by narrowing circuit width. But many believe there is a physical limit to how narrow a circuit can be made. Multi-level chips can raise memory capacity without narrowing circuit width. Multi-level NAND chips are made by vertically stacking memory cells.
- The purported 50% increase can be achieved by combining 3-bit cells (vs. conventional 2-bit) with multi-layering.
- Source: Nikkei
Oct. 14, 2014, 12:35 PM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) CEO Kwon Oh-hyun: "We'll have to wait and see how things will go next year, but there definitely will not be any game of chicken."
- Micron (MU +2.6%), SanDisk (SNDK +2.3%), and SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCL) must be happy to hear that. Micron and Hynix sold off in late July after Samsung hiked its 2014 DRAM production forecast, and all 3 names sold off last week after Samsung announced plans to spend $14.7B on a new chip fab.
- Cowen's Tim Arcuri recently downplayed concerns about the fab's impact on Micron. "We don’t put a ton of stock in this announcement as we question when – or even whether – this fab will ultimately be built, and we also question the market’s assumption that this would be DRAM."
- Bernstein pounded the table yesterday for Micron, highlighting a valuation of ~6x 2015E EPS and arguing fears about its exposure to a chip inventory correction (following Microchip's warning) are overblown. "The memory cycle has been more supply driven rather than demand driven ... if there is any short-term demand weakness memory makers can just decide to hold on to inventory as opposed to selling at a suboptimal price."
- Micron and SanDisk are both faring well on a strong day for tech.
Oct. 12, 2014, 8:37 PM
- Amid evaporating profits from its key mobile phones operation, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has fallen out of favor with investors thinking the company could be the next Motorola, Nokia, or BlackBerry, writes Andrew Bary. Another view, however, says Samsung looks more like Apple from a year and a half ago when it's stock plunged below $60 (split-adjusted), and traded at 6.5x earnings (excluding cash). Samsung today sells for 4.8x earnings, net of a $60B pile of cash and investments.
- "[Samsung's] semiconductor division and the cash are worth more than the current market cap," says Bernstein's Mark Newman, meaning investors are getting for free the world's largest maker of handsets, the leading display business, and the largest and most profitable TV maker.
- With $60B in cash against a $150B market cap (Apple has $133B and a $608B market cap), Samsung could find itself the target of an activist investor seeking share repurchases or a boost in the dividend (current yield 1.3%), but then again the Carl Icahns of this world can't as easily pressure family-controlled Korean companies the way they can Apple.
- The last word goes to CLSA's bullish Shaun Cochran: "It is ludicrous to compare Samsung to Nokia, BlackBerry, or Motorola ... Samsung has a history of reinventing itself time and time again. There is an institutional paranoia, a constant sense of crisis that has helped make Samsung so great.”
Oct. 6, 2014, 8:01 PM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) expects to report a Q3 op. profit of KRW4.1T ($3.8B), down 60% Y/Y and well below a KRW5.6T consensus. Revenue is expected to total KRW47T ($44B), down 20.5% Y/Y and below a KWT50.9T consensus.
- The Korean electronics giant blames weak mobile sales and a declining smartphone ASP. With its efforts to differentiate via proprietary software/services running on top of Google's Android often falling flat, Samsung has been losing share to Chinese OEMs offering aggressively-priced low-end and mid-range devices. More recently, it has also had to deal with the iPhone 6/6 Plus launch.
- The Q3 warning comes on the heels of July's soft Q2 numbers.
Oct. 6, 2014, 1:36 AM
- As it seeks growth beyond smartphones, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) says it will invest 15.6T won ($14.7B) to build a new chip plant in South Korea.
- Construction of the facility will begin next year, with the aim to be completed in 2017.
- Samsung has been on a falling cycle of capital expenditure, which dropped to 10% of sales last fiscal year from 14% in 2010. It plans to devote the bulk of its capex, or W14.4T, to semiconductors this year.
Sep. 26, 2014, 2:41 PM
- Google (GOOG +0.5%) has been increasing the number of Google apps OEMs must pre-install on phones running the company's version of Android to "as many as 20," The Information reports, citing confidential docs.
- Google is also said to be requiring more apps be placed on the home screen or "in a prominent folder," and that Google search be given more prominence. Affected OEMs reportedly include Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), Huawei, and HTC.
- The bundling of Google apps/services (especially Google search) is pivotal to Google's Android monetization strategy. Moreover, Google's ability to mandate bundling, together with Android's ~80% smartphone unit share, helps keep the company's mobile traffic acquisition costs down - the Web giant reportedly makes huge traffic acquisition payments to Apple for Mobile Safari search integration.
- Regulators and OEMs haven't always been thrilled with Google's requirements. The WSJ reported in July EU regulators are likely to launch a formal probe of Google's Android licensing policies.
- In January, Re/code reported Samsung had agreed (in tandem with a new patent cross-license) to tone down support for its own apps/services (often less popular than Google's) on Android phones. More recently, Samsung has been reported to be moving engineers out of its mobile software ops to other units.
Sep. 19, 2014, 4:49 AM
- Despite cancelling the launch of its homegrown Tizen operating system already twice this year, a company exec now says Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) will attempt the release again in November.
- With the new OS, Samsung is looking to lessen its reliance on Google' Android, which currently powers the vast majority of the mobile devices sold by the South Korean giant.
Sep. 9, 2014, 9:23 AM
- A large patch of the retail sector will have their ears perked up this afternoon to see what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) delivers up with its iWatch announcement or teaser.
- Though the company's entry into wearable technology is considered nearly a certainty, the unknown variable is if the product will end up falling under the "gadget" category or be another Apple device revolution.
- Computerworld's Mike Egan is in the latter camp: "The iWatch should be most comparable to the Mac and the iPhone, Apple's two most stunning revolution."
- Forrester Research isn't waiting for details, forecasting 10M iWatch sales by 2016 - a mark which could dent demand for high-end watches.
- Showtime is 1:00 pm ET. (webcast)
- Luxury watchmakers: Movado (NYSE:MOV), Fossil (NASDAQ:FOSL), Swatch (OTCPK:SWGAY), Tiffany (NYSE:TIF), Richemont (OTCPK:CFRUY), LVMH Moet Hennessy (OTCPK:LVMHF), Hermes (OTCPK:HESAF)
- Wearable technology players: Sony (NYSE:SNE), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY), Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN), Basis (NASDAQ:INTC), Fitbit, Jawbone, Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY), Under Armour (NYSE:UA).
Sep. 3, 2014, 11:52 AM
- The Gear VR, long rumored to be in the pipeline, relies on Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) just-announced Galaxy Note 4 to run Oculus VR's (FB -1.1%) software, and provide the device's display and sensors. For now, no other phones work with the device.
- Unlike the gaming-focused Oculus Rift (still in beta), the Gear VR doesn't need a wired connection to a PC. Users interact with the headset through a trackpad and head movements. No price details have been given yet.
- Initial testers are intrigued by the Gear VR's potential, but are also quick to point out content/game support and software/UI development are still very much works in progress. Samsung/Oculus promise a content store will soon be available, and note initial content partners include DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Fox, and Marvel.
- Facebook was recently reported to be working with Hollywood on Oculus deals. Meanwhile, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has made it clear he considers OEM deals crucial to his firm's efforts to drive mass adoption of its platform, which has a solid head-start on rivals from a software standpoint. Competition will be provided by Sony's Morpheus headset and Google's Cardboard Android VR platform.
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