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Monday, Apr 142:53 PM
Monday, Apr 142:53 PM| 5 Comments
- U.S. first-day Galaxy S5 sales were up 30% relative to first-day S4 sales a year ago, Samsung (SSNLF) declares. The electronics giant also states sales in certain other markets doubled Y/Y.
- Pac Crest's checks also paint a favorable picture of U.S. S5 sales: The firm estimates average inventory sell-through hit 60% within four hours, and thinks sales were especially strong at Verizon thanks to a 2-for-1 promotion.
- Needham thinks S5 sales could reach 10M sales in 25 days vs. 27 for the S4. The firm is reiterating a Buy on touch controller/fingerprint sensor supplier Synaptics (SYNA +3.7%).
- Two caveats: 1) Samsung's numbers typically measure sell-in to carriers/distributors rather than consumer sell-through. 2) S4 sales also got off to a hot start, but later slowed down.
- Compared with the S4, Samsung has taken a no-frills approach with the S5, emphasizing practical features such as waterproofing/dust-resistance over sensor-based features (Smart Pause, Smart Scroll, etc.) often derided as gimmicks. The company has also provided modest discounts relative to the S4 (the S5 still typically goes for $600+ unsubsidized), as it contends with aggressive high-end pricing from Chinese Android rivals.
- Synaptics is outperforming, as is motion sensor supplier InvenSense (INVN +1.7%), which gets over 30% of its revenue from Samsung. S5 OLED materials supplier Universal Display (OLED +0.6%) is up slightly. Synaptics reports on April 24, and InvenSense on May 1.
Friday, Apr 113:37 AM
Friday, Apr 113:37 AM| Comment!
- Samsung (SSNLF) is starting sales of its latest flagship phone in 125 countries today, although the launch of the Galaxy S5 seems to lack the buzz of previous smartphone debuts.
- Samsung is even apparently pricing the device below its predecessor. "It reflects the trend of smart phone commoditization," says researcher Tom Kang.
- The company is also offering up to $600 of incentives to persuade consumers to buy the phone, including PayPal vouchers, a LinkedIn premium account and at least four fitness-related apps.
- Despite the Galaxy S5 being able to withstand being submerged in water, some critics appear to be underwhelmed.
Tuesday, Apr 83:24 AM
Tuesday, Apr 83:24 AM| 1 Comment
- Samsung's (SSNLF) Q1 operating profit fell for the second quarter in a row in Q1, dropping a preliminary 4.3% to 8.4T won ($7.96B) and vs consensus of 8.5T won.
- Sales rose slightly to 53T won from 52.87T won and vs expectations of 54.58T won.
- Samsung released its Q1 estimates ahead of the global launch of the Galaxy S5 on Friday amid criticism that the device doesn't have any overly interesting new features.
- Shares fell 0.2% in Seoul. (PR)
Monday, Apr 712:33 PM
Monday, Apr 712:33 PM| 26 Comments
- "I watched the Samsung (SSNLF) pre-superbowl ad that launched today. It’s pretty good and I can’t help but think ‘these guys are feeling it’ ... while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone. That’s sad because we have much better products," wrote Apple (AAPL -1.5%) marketing chief Phil Schiller in a 2013 e-mail to ad agency Media Arts unearthed during the latest Apple-Samsung trial.
- In another e-mail, Schiller asked Tim Cook if Apple should consider finding a new agency. Media Arts saw the exec behind Apple's panned "Genius" ad campaign resign in 2012. Nonetheless, it remains Apple's ad agency today.
- Interbrand estimates Apple's brand was worth $98.3B in 2013, +28% Y/Y and #1 globally. Samsung's brand was given a $39.6B valuation, +20% Y/Y and #8.
- "Consumers want what we don't have," reads the title of a 2013 internal slide noting all of the smartphone industry's 2012 unit growth came from devices featuring sub-$300 unsubsidized prices and/or 4"+ screens. Apple is widely expected to launch two 4.5"+ iPhones, but there are no signs it plans to sacrifice its margins and $600+ iPhone ASP by going after the sub-$300 segment.
- An Apple slide containing an Android logo states "competitors have drastically improved their hardware," and are "spending 'obscene' amounts of money" on ads and carrier/channel promotion. It also states carriers "have strong interest" in capping iPhone sales due to their steep subsidies and Apple's policies, among other factors.
Monday, Mar 316:52 PM
Monday, Mar 316:52 PM| 10 Comments
- An early teardown (translation) of Samsung's (SSNLF) Galaxy S5 has turned up the same 6-axis InvenSense (INVN) motion sensor found in the Note 3. The InvenSense part displaces the STMicroelectronics (STM) motion sensor found in the S4.
- Multiple Maxim (MXIM) power ICs were also uncovered. Though Barclays thinks Maxim lost the gesture IC slot it had in the S4 to rival AMS, it nonetheless thinks its dollar content grew ~10% (previous).
- An NXP (NXPI) NFC controller/secure element displaced the Broadcom (BRCM) NFC chip that went into the S4; Barclays estimates the design win will be worth $50M-$60M to NXP, assuming average content of $1. Broadcom is still expected to get $4/unit for supplying the S5's Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip.
- Synaptics (SYNA) is believed to have the S5's touch controller slot and (though not revealed in the teardown) its fingerprint/swipe sensor slot. The company's S4 touch controller win delivered a windfall.
- Though a Skyworks (SWKS) power amplifier module and discrete amplifier were found, and a Wi-Fi filter is believed to be present, Barclays thinks Skyworks' content share likely fell, thanks to the absence of Wi-Fi switch/LNA content. It also thinks the total value of the S5's Wi-Fi RF content is lower due to Broadcom's use of internal power amplifiers (possibly a negative for S4 supplier ANAD).
- Separately, DisplayMate calls the S5's OLED display "the best-performing smartphone display we have ever tested," after doing an in-depth analysis. The display's color accuracy, brightness, ambient lighting performance, and power efficiency all receive high marks. OLED materials/tech supplier Universal Display (OLED) will be happy to hear that.
Monday, Mar 313:15 AM
Monday, Mar 313:15 AM| 2 Comments
- Jury selection is due to start today in the second major U.S. court fight in the Apple (AAPL) vs Samsung (SSNLF) global patent battle.
- Apple is suing the South Korean company for $2B for the alleged violation of five patents, while Samsung has argued that Apple has breached two of its patents.
- Apple's other target is Google (GOOG), with some of Samsung's alleged IP breaches involving Android features such as the ability to dial a phone number written inside a text message.
- As she did in a previous trial between Apple and Samsung, Judge Lucy Koh is set to preside. In the latest encounter, Koh has already ruled that Samsung infringed an Apple patent that automatically corrects words while a person is typing.
Friday, Mar 289:43 AM
Friday, Mar 289:43 AM| 19 Comments
- "We disagree with the bullish consensus, as EPS growth is unlikely to be strong once it hits $2," writes BofA/Merrill's Simon Dong-je Woo, reiterating an Underperform on Micron (MU -1.1%).
- Micron's huge rally leaves shares trading above BofA's memory up-cycle fair value target. In addition, Woo is worried about weakening chip prices (esp. for NAND flash), SK Hynix's (HXSCL) DRAM fab plans, "greater downside" to DRAM spot prices, and execution risk for new memory process deployments - he considers Micron's 20-30nm process tech inferior to Samsung (SSNLF) and Hynix's.
- Earlier this week, Susquehanna downgraded Hynix, arguing Samsung has a technology edge. The firm noted Hynix is still using a 30nm DRAM process, whereas Samsung has made it to 25nm, and says checks suggest its migration to a 16nm NAND process (from a current 20nm process) might be pushed out to 2015.
- Micron has forecast 16nm will account for a majority of its 2H NAND output. Samsung has an early lead on rivals in developing 3D NAND flash parts, but the technology is seeing a slow ramp.
Friday, Mar 217:01 AM
Friday, Mar 217:01 AM| 16 Comments
- Could President Obama one day give up his BlackBerry (BBRY) addiction?
- The White House is testing Samsung (SSNLF) and LG Electronics (LGEAF) smartphones in a development that could threaten one of BlackBerry's last and most high-profile strongholds, the WSJ reports.
- Still, the testing is at an early stage and any use of Samsung or LG handsets is still "months away," while there's no indication - yet - that Obama will switch phones.
- Apple's iPhone is not being assessed.
Tuesday, Mar 186:46 PM
Tuesday, Mar 186:46 PM| 6 Comments
- Micron (MU) thinks Friday's Japanese earthquake (6.2 on the Richter scale) will affect its DRAM output by a low-single digit percentage over the next 90 days.
- RBC (Outperform) estimates the quake could affect May quarter revenue and EPS by $50M and $0.02, respectively, and potentially affect its near-term market share.
- At the same time, the firm thinks the quake could have a stabilizing impact on DRAM prices, which have come under pressure after a very strong 2013 fueled by industry consolidation, strong mobile DRAM demand, and a September fire at an SK Hynix (HXSCL) fab.
- TrendForce estimates Micron had a 23% Q4 DRAM share. Industry giant Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) had a 48.9% share, and Hynix a 25.9% share.
Friday, Mar 77:05 PM
Friday, Mar 77:05 PM| 22 Comments
- Citing "slowing consumer purchases" amid high penetration rates in mature markets, IDC now forecasts tablet shipments will grow 19.4% in 2014 (to 260.9M units), down from a prior estimate of 22% (271M units).
- Tablet growth steadily slowed in 2014: Shipments rose an estimated 142% in Q1, but just 28% in Q4. IDC puts full-year growth at 52%.
- Two silver linings for high-end/enterprise leader Apple (AAPL - 33.8% Q4 share): 1) ASPs are only expected to drop 3.6% in 2014, after falling 14.6% in 2013, as more consumers embrace "higher-end devices." 2) Commercial buyers are expected to account for 14% of shipments, up from 11% in 2013.
- IDC also thinks Windows (MSFT) tablets, struggling to gain a strong consumer foothold, will take over a quarter of the commercial segment thanks to rising convertible adoption.
- The revised forecast still puts tablet sales within striking distance of eclipsing PC sales: IDC expects PC shipments to drop 6% this year to 295.9M. Smartphone shipments are expected to grow 19% to 1.2B.
- Major tablet OEMs (besides Apple): SSNLF, LNVGY, AKCPF
Thursday, Mar 67:10 AM
Thursday, Mar 67:10 AM| 15 Comments
- Judge Lucy Koh has turned down a request from Apple (AAPL) to ban certain Samsung (SSNLF) mobile products in the U.S. because of patent infringements.
- However, Koh did complete a $929.8M damages award to Apple stemming from the companies' IP dispute.
- Apple and Samsung are due to face each other again this month in a trial over Apple patents different to those involved in the $929.8M award.
Wednesday, Mar 56:06 PM
Wednesday, Mar 56:06 PM| 26 Comments
- After growing ~60% in 2013 (and fueling global shipment growth of 39%), IDC expects Chinese smartphone shipment growth to slow to ~20% in 2014 and just ~10% in 2015.
- Though only 40% of China's 1B+ mobile users now use a smartphone, IDC's Kiranjeet Kaur notes most users who can comfortably afford a smartphone have already bought one. Plunging low-end Android prices could expand the addressable market in a country whose nominal per capita GDP is around $6K.
- India, which has a sub-10% smartphone penetration rate, still presents a major growth opportunity. But with a nominal per capita GDP of ~$1,500, the country is even more cost-sensitive than China.
- With China slowing down and developed markets living up to their name, IDC expects global smartphone growth to slow to 19% in 2014; that still spells total volumes of 1.2B. Tough competition and the ongoing mix shift towards emerging markets is expected to lead the industry's ASP to fall $27 to $308.
- Smartphone OEMs with strong Chinese exposure: AAPL, SSNLF, LNVGY, ZTCOY
- Chip suppliers: QCOM, BRCM, CRUS, SWKS, RFMD, MRVL
- Chinese carriers: CHL, CHU, CHA
Monday, Feb 243:05 PM
Monday, Feb 243:05 PM| 2 Comments
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy S5 is the first smartphone to support 802.11ac 2x MIMO, a technology that doubles theoretical peak download speeds to 867Mbps compared with regular 802.11ac (supported by the Galaxy S4).
- MIMO support is likely a positive for Samsung combo chip supplier Broadcom (BRCM +0.6%). Broadcom just happened to announce its first 802.11ac 2x2 (antenna) MIMO smartphone combo chip this morning.
- The S5 is also the first smartphone to support phase-detection autofocus (found in SLRs), and among the first to support on-the-fly HDR processing. Samsung claims the S5's auto-focus time (0.3 seconds) is unmatched.
- Along with the S5, Samsung is launching a companion fitness tracker called the Gear Fit. The device can receive notifications from Samsung smartphones, and will compete in a crowded market headlined by Nike's FuelBand.
- The Verge isn't impressed by the S5's fingerprint scanner, calling it "quite unreliable and virtually impossible to activate when holding the phone in one hand." It offers a more positive take on the device's heart monitor.
- S5 event live blogs: I, II
Monday, Feb 242:40 PM
Monday, Feb 242:40 PM| 33 Comments
- As expected, Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has unveiled its next-gen flagship smartphone at a Mobile World Congress event (live blog). Whereas the Korean electronics giant trumpeted a variety of bells and whistles (some might say gimmicks) when launching the Galaxy S4 a year ago, it's taking a more low-key approach with the S5.
- The S5 has a 5.1" display, just slightly larger than the S4's 5" display. The resolution is unchanged at 1080p; past reports had pointed to a 2K resolution. Like Apple (AAPL) with the iPhone 5S, Samsung is integrating a fingerprint sensor into the S5's home button, and is offering a gold model.
- A 16MP camera supporting 4K video recording is included (the S4 has a 13MP camera), as is a perforated back meant to provide better grip. Qualcomm's (QCOM +0.2%) Snapdragon 801 baseband/app processor (2.5GHz., quad-core) powers the device. A heart rate monitor and slightly larger battery are also on board.
- Remarks from co-CEO JK Shin point to a shift in Samsung's product philosophy, one that arguably meshes with reports of a deal with Google to tone down Samsung's efforts to customize its hardware. "Our consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology."
- Likely S5 suppliers with strong exposure: OLED, MXIM, SYNA, ANAD
Sunday, Feb 232:11 AM
Sunday, Feb 232:11 AM| 5 Comments
- Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNGY) are set to face each other again in court at the end of March after the two companies failed to resolve their patent dispute in the U.S. during mediation that included Tim Cook and Samsung co-CEO J.K. Shin.
- The latest trial will involve Apple IP that Samsung allegedly breached in relatively recent products, including the Galaxy S III smartphone.
- Separately, Apple will issue a software update "very soon" to fix a security flaw in PCs running the company's Mac OS X operating system. The glitch leaves email, financial information and other sensitive data exposed.
- On Friday, Apple released a fix for mobile devices running iOS.
Tuesday, Feb 186:38 PM
Tuesday, Feb 186:38 PM| Comment!
- A source tells The Verge Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) "could take the wraps off multiple new Galaxy Gear wearables" at next week's Mobile World Congress. Meanwhile, USA Today reports a new version of the Gear will run on the Tizen OS; the original Gear, widely panned in reviews, runs on Android.
- Samsung is working hard to promote Tizen in the hopes of lowering its dependence on Android (and thus Google). But carrier support has wavered in the face of Android's overwhelming popularity and huge apps/services ecosystem.
- The Gear reports come as the rumor mill for Samsung's Galaxy S5, expected to launch at a Feb. 24 MWC event, continues to churn. Bloomberg backs up past reports by stating the S5 will have a "sharper" (higher-resolution?) 5.2" screen to go with a "larger battery and camera." SamMobile states the S5 (like the iPhone 5S) will have a fingerprint sensor built into its home button.