The Samsung Solutions Exchange (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB), announced this morning, represents the electronics giant's biggest effort yet to grow its enterprise mobile clout, and in doing so become a little less dependent on Google.
The exchange serves as an app store for enterprise-specific apps, provides access to Samsung's enterprise SDK and 1K+ APIs, and acts as a meeting place for developers and businesses. It complements Samsung's SAFE initiative, which provides the company's Android hardware with a variety of security, device management, and data-syncing features.
Separately, Samsung announces it will launch a phone with a curved display next month in South Korea. Details are currently light, but there's a good chance the phone will use Universal Display's (OLED +1.1%) flexible OLED tech.
Also: Samsung says it has developed image sensor tech that significantly improves the light sensitivity and color fidelity of its CMOS image sensors. The technology, known as Isocell, will be used in an 8MP sensor set to be mass-produced in Q4.
Isocell could make Samsung a tougher competitor to OmniVision (OVTI +0.9%). However, Samsung's rivals might not be crazy about depending on the company for their image sensor needs.
Samsung says it has "come to an agreement with LG Display to focus on finding ways to cooperate on patent matters though discussions, and to immediately drop lawsuits" related to LCD and OLED IP.
The settlement is an incremental positive for Universal Display (OLED +0.8%), which counts both companies as licensees (but currently gets far more revenue from Samsung). In addition to standard mobile OLED displays, both Samsung and LG are working on flexible OLEDs and OLED TV displays.
Samsung Display was spun off from Samsung Electronics in 2012.
SA contributor and short-seller Manuel Asensio declares a recent filing made to the European Patent Office by IP law firm Lowe Hauptman & Ham suggests "the most important claims" of a key Universal Display (OLED -9.1%) patent (EP-238) related to its PHOLED tech (used in mobile/TV displays) should be "entirely revoked." A hearing is set for November.
Asensio, who has been bearish on Universal for a while, notes Merck, Sumitomo, and BASF are each calling on the EPO to fully revoke EP-238. He argues the patent "contains UDC's only economically material patent claims," and thinks its revocation "would materially impair UDC's ability to generate future licensing revenue, even from Samsung."
Universal mentioned on its Q2 CC sales of green host materials (used in newer Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S4) rose 192% Q/Q and over 6x Y/Y to $9M. Likewise, green emitter sales rose 186% Q/Q and over 8x Y/Y to $13.1M. Red emitter sales totaled $3.6M, +25% Q/Q but -29% Y/Y.
The company added product mix and price cuts impacted its materials gross margin, and that there could be some additional margin pressure if host materials sales "proportionally grow faster" than emitter sales.
Universal Display (OLED) expects 2013 revenue "to reach the high end of its $110M-$125M guidance range" That's going over well in light of fears the opposite might hold true due to softer-than-expected Galaxy S4 sales. Consensus is at $118.8M.
Q2 materials sales +111% Y/Y to $27.1M. Royalty/license fees +37% Y/Y to $21.2M (payments from Samsung recognized in Q2 and Q4). Possible reasons for surging materials sales: Samsung's strong low-end/mid-range smartphone sales, and rising green emitter use.
Materials gross margin (a concern following the Q1 report) was 69.4% vs. 75.8% in Q1 and 87.5% a year ago.
R&D spend +1% Y/Y to $7.3M, SG&A +22% to $6.4M. Patent/amortization costs doubled to $4.5M; Universal attributes this to the Fujitsu deal.
With Universal Display (OLED +3.6%) set to announce Q2 results after the bell, Piper’s Jagadish Iyer has reiterated an Underweight, citing concerns about slowing high-end smartphone sales.
Although Iyer believes Universal will beat Q2 consensus, he sees 2013 revenue coming at the low end of a $110M-125M guidance range. Iyer observes the consensus for 2013 Galaxy S4 sales has fallen to 60M, below prior estimates and boding poorly for Universal's full-year numbers.
Iver also argues "the overall margin squeeze that Samsung is suffering" is acting as "another motivator" for the company to lower its Galaxy hardware materials costs (previous).
Universal shares recently sold off on reports Samsung is moving to purchase OLED materials/tech provider Novaled. They pared their losses after analysts defended the company.
Novaled claims its PIN OLED doping tech allows for fewer manufacturing process steps, low driving voltages, and greater design flexibility.
Universal Display (OLED -9.2%) shares aren't taking the news well. Universal remains very dependent on Samsung's materials purchases and (fixed-fee) licensing payments for now. It's counting on expected manufacturing ramps from AU Optronics, Innolux, and LG Display, among others, to help lower its dependence.
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is set to announce Galaxy S4 shipments have topped 20M, reports Korean news site iNews24. If true, that would mean the milestone was reached a little over 2 months after sales began, and about 5 weeks after shipments crossed 10M. For reference, it took 100 days for Galaxy S III shipments to top 20M. Though shipments could be notably higher than end-user sales if channel inventory is building up, the report (if accurate) might soothe fears of weak demand (spurred by multiple build order cut reports) a little bit. Suppliers with strong exposure: QCOM, BRCM, SYNA, RFMD, ANAD, OLED.