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SSNLF vs. ETF Alternatives
Thursday, Oct 312:46 PMGoogle launches Nexus 5, Android 4.4
Thursday, Oct 312:46 PM| 18 Comments
- Google's (GOOG +0.7%) much-hyped Nexus 5 phone, developed with LG, has been officially launched. As rumored, the 5 has a 5" 1080p display, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, and an 8MP camera with optical image stabilization.
- In-line with expectations, the 5 will sell for an unsubsidized $349 - an aggressive price point in light of its high-end specs, and one that could worry high-end Android leader Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY). Unlike the Nexus 4, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (but not Verizon) plan to broadly carry the 5 in their stores.
- More importantly, Google has also taken the wraps off Android 4.4 (KitKat). The latest version of Google's mobile OS adds a dialer with integrated search - The Verge declares Google has "essentially built the Yellow Pages into its dialer app" - more pervasive Google Now push notifications, a revamped Hangouts app (previous) that acts as a unified voice/video/text hub, and integrated Web/local app search.
- KitKat has also been optimized to run well on cheap Android phones with only 512MB of RAM, of which there are plenty in emerging markets. Thanks to Android's low-end/emerging markets boom, Strategy Analytics recently estimated Q3 smartphone shipments rose 45% Y/Y to 251M, and IDC has forecast full-year shipments will hit 1B.
Wednesday, Oct 3011:15 PMTablet growth slows in Q3, Apple loses more share ahead of iPad launches
Wednesday, Oct 3011:15 PM| 13 Comments
- IDC estimates 47.6M tablets were shipped in Q3, +7% Q/Q and +36.7% Y/Y. The Y/Y growth rate represents a major slowdown from Q2's 60% (never mind Q1's 142%), and is below JPMorgan's forecast for 54% growth. It also puts IDC's September forecast for 227.4M 2013 shipments (+58% Y/Y) in doubt.
- Apple (AAPL), which just reported 14.1M Sep. quarter iPad shipments, is assigned a 29.6% share, down from 40.2% a year earlier. In July, IDC gave Apple a 32.4% Q2 share, down all the way from 60.3% a year earlier.
- A pending iPad refresh played a role in the decline - IDC expects "robust" iPad shipment growth in Q4 - but an industry mix shift towards cheap ~7" Android (GOOG) tablets (many of them from white-label OEMs) was also a major factor.
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is believed to have shipped 9.7M tablets, good for a 20.4% share (+800 bps Y/Y). IDC thinks Nexus 7 OEM Asus shipped 3.5M tablets and held a 7.4% share, and that Lenovo (LNVGY) shipped 2.3M tablets and held a 4.8% share.
- IDC's numbers come two days after Strategy Analytics estimated smartphone shipments rose 45% Y/Y in Q3 to 251M. The two sets of figures suggest the smartphone market was 5.3x as large as the tablet market on a unit basis. That ratio will probably narrow in Q4, given the iPad refresh and the popularity of tablets as Christmas presents.
Monday, Oct 286:36 PM5S backlog still significant, Strategy Analytics releases smartphone estimates
Monday, Oct 286:36 PM| 9 Comments
- There's still a significant backlog of iPhone 5S (AAPL) orders, even though supplies are rising every week, says Tim Cook on the CC. Likewise, though Cook is upbeat about FQ1 iPad sales, he says it isn't clear retina iPad Mini supplies (reportedly constrained) will match demand during the quarter.
- Also: 1) Greater China sales (+6% Y/Y) benefited from an earlier Chinese iPhone launch. 2) Cook says education market sales topped $1B for the first time, and estimates Apple has a 94% tablet share in the vertical. 3) DRAM and NAND flash memory costs rose in FQ4. DRAM costs are expected to rise again in FQ1, while NAND costs are expected to be flat and other commodity costs lower.
- Strategy Analytics has plugged Apple's FQ4 iPhone sales (33.8M) into its spreadsheet and released its Q3 smartphone estimates. The firm believes industry shipments rose 45% Y/Y to 251M, after rising 47% in Q2.
- Apple, whose iPhone units rose 26% Y/Y, is given a 13.4% unit share, -220 bps Y/Y. Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is assigned a 35% share, +210 bps, and estimated to have shipped 88.4M smartphones. Huawei (5.1%), LG (LGEIY, 4.8%), and Lenovo (LNVGY, 4.3%) round out the top-5.
- AAPL -0.1% AH. Apple deferred revenue remarks have calmed investors worried about FQ1 gross margin guidance.
- CC live blogs: I, II. More on Apple.
Sunday, Oct 274:07 AMH-P sues makers of optical disk drives for price-fixing
Sunday, Oct 274:07 AM| 1 Comment
- H-P (HPQ) has sued manufacturers of optical disk drives for allegedly conspiring to fix the price of their products from 2004-2010.
- The defendants, which control 90% of the market, include Toshiba (TOSBF), Samsung (SSNLF), Sony (SNE), Panasonic (PCRFY) and Philips (PHG).
- The suits follows a long probe by the Department of Justice into price-fixing and bid-rigging. Hitachi-LG Data Storage (LGEIY), another of the defendants, and four of its executives have pleaded guilty to breaches of antitrust law, while the DOJ named H-P as a victim.
- H-P, which purchased billions of dollars of drives, is seeking unspecified triple damages and injunctive relief.
Friday, Oct 254:54 PMMicron, SanDisk tick lower following Samsung numbers, Goldman note
Friday, Oct 254:54 PM| 7 Comments
- Micron (MU -1.5%) and SanDisk (SNDK -0.6%) finished down modestly after DRAM/NAND giant Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) posted decent Q3 numbers and offered an upbeat Q4 outlook (as expected) for its memory chip ops, and Goldman issued a cautious note about Q1 2014 memory pricing.
- Samsung's memory chip sales rose 12% Q/Q and 22% Y/Y in Q3. DRAM sales benefited from strong mobile demand, pending console refreshes, and healthy server DRAM sales.Wwhile global server sales have been under pressure, applications such as analytics apps and in-memory databases have buoyed server DRAM demand. NAND sales benefited from smartphone launches (i.e. the iPhone 5S/5C) and SSD growth.
- Samsung expects DRAM sales to remain strong in Q4 due to mobile/server demand and a favorable supply/demand balance (thanks in part to the SK Hynix fire). NAND demand is expected to remain healthy thanks to mobile/SSD-related orders.
- Goldman's James Schneider, who has Neutral ratings for both Micron and SanDisk (previous), has a near-term outlook similar to Samsung's. However, he also thinks there's "some risk" of NAND oversupply in 1H14, as DRAM production gets shifted to NAND, and expects DRAM prices to drop after SK Hynix's (HXSCL) production returns to normal.
Friday, Oct 252:21 AMSamsung net profit surges 25%
Friday, Oct 252:21 AM| Comment!
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Q3 net profit, excluding minority interest, jumped 25% to 8.05T won ($7.76B), above forecasts of 7.94T won.
- Sales climbed 13.2% to 59T won.
- Operating profit +26% to 10.16T won, but that represents a slowdown from 47.5% growth in Q2.
- Operating profit at the mobile unit rose 19% to 6.7T won, with smartphone shipments climbing in the "mid-10% range" and tablet sales in the "mid-20%" range.
- Operating profit at the chip division more than doubled to a three-year high of 2.06T won, boosted by stronger chip prices and tighter supply
- Income at the consumer-electronics division dropped to 3450B won from 400B won, while earnings at the display division fell to 980B won from 1.17T.
- Samsung expects an extra $1.5T won ($1.4B) payment from Corning (GLW) after the latter agreed to acquire the South Korean company's display unit out of their LCD glass joint venture.
- Samsung's shares -0.2% in Seoul. (PR)
Friday, Oct 111:53 PMSamsung's Galaxy S5 reportedly arriving early
Friday, Oct 111:53 PM| Comment!
- South Korean site Naver, which was founded by ex-Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) employees, reports the Galaxy S5 will be announced in January (translation) ahead of a February release.
- Samsung is reportedly interested in launching a new flagship relatively quickly, so as to counter weaker-than-expected S4 sales. The S5 is said to feature a 64-bit CPU (Apple just put one inside the iPhone 5S) that (like the Exynos Octa) contains eight cores and leverages ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, as well as a 16MP camera with optical image stabilization.
- Though easily the best-selling high-end Android phone, S4 sales have been pressured by a mix shift towards low-end/mid-range smartphones, a large portion of which are sold in emerging markets where many consumers can't afford phones with $500+ unsubsidized price tags.
- Going forward, Samsung and other high-end vendors will also have to contend with mid-range Android phones featuring high-end specs. Xiaomi's MI3 is one example; LG/Google's Nexus 5 might soon be another.
Friday, Oct 115:14 AMFingerprint Cards denies it's being bought by Samsung
Friday, Oct 115:14 AM| Comment!
- The CEO of Fingerprint Cards, a Swedish provider of fingerprint verification technology, has denied reports that it has agreed to be acquired by Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) for $650M.
- Earlier today, information distributor Cision published a press release announcing the deal, but Fingerprint's Johan Carlstrom said the release was false. He also said the company has held no talks with the Korean giant.
Thursday, Oct 101:37 PMChanos still short H-P, continues to like Apple/Samsung
Thursday, Oct 101:37 PM| 8 Comments
- H-P's (HPQ -1.9%) market-pleasing analyst day guidance (I, II) hasn't made Jim Chanos less bearish about the IT giant. "They're talking about margins improving. I'm just hard-pressed to see how margins are going to improve in any of their businesses given the secular headwinds that are going on."
- Chanos, who has been short H-P for more than a year - his bet did well in 2012, but hasn't done so in 2013 - declares the company's PC, printing, and enterprise ops to all be "under assault." "Turning around tech companies - IBM in the early '90s notwithstanding - is a very difficult undertaking."
- Likewise, Chanos remains long Apple (AAPL +0.8%) and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB), viewing them as mobile offsets for his PC shorts. "[Samsung] is outright, outright very, very cheap ... unlike a lot of guys like Hewlett and others who go out and acquire their R&D ... Samsung actually does it homegrown. As does Apple basically."
- Chanos also discloses he's now long cloud HR/ERP software vendor Workday (WDAY +3.9%), using it as a hedge for an unnamed cloud software short he calls "an accounting nightmare."
Wednesday, Oct 96:50 PMBloomberg: BlackBerry more open to breakup, suitors only want pieces
Wednesday, Oct 96:50 PM| 30 Comments
- Bloomberg reports BlackBerry (BBRY) is "more open to a breakup" as doubts continue to swirl Fairfax Financial will be able to obtain the funding needed for its $9/share bid to succeed.
- The news service adds SAP, Cisco (CSCO), and Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) were "approached last week by BlackBerry advisers," and indicated they’re "only interested in parts of the company." That provides a bit of color to Saturday's Reuters report.
- Intel (INTC) is said to be open to bidding for BlackBerry's patents, but nothing else.
- BBRY -1.4% AH
- Earlier: Canadian pension fund still weighing BlackBerry investment
Wednesday, Oct 93:29 AMSamsung unveils phone with curved screen
Wednesday, Oct 93:29 AM| Comment!
- Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has launched the Galaxy Round, the world's first mobile phone with a curved display.
- The handset is more of a "symbolic product," says analyst Nam Dae-jong, as it doesn't have many new unique features, other than its shape. However, he does see the phone as a "step forward for having unbreakable gadgets and flexible devices eventually."
- The Round's display is 5.7", and it will enable users to more easily check information such as missed calls when the screen is off.
- Samsung intends to initially launch the Round in South Korea, although there's no word of its plans for other countries.
Tuesday, Oct 810:54 AMWhite House refuses to veto ITC ban on older Samsung phones
Tuesday, Oct 810:54 AM| 6 Comments
- The White House has refused to grant Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) a veto on an ITC import ban on older smartphones deemed to be infringing Apple (AAPL -0.5%) patents related to swiping/scrolling gestures and headset detection. The decision comes two months after a ban on older iPhones/iPads ruled to be infringing a Samsung 3G patent was vetoed.
- While critics might allege the differing rulings smack of hometown favoritism, the White House is likely to argue its stance is the due to the fact the Apple patents weren't standards-essential, and the Samsung patent was. The use of standards-essential IP in patent suits has turned into a hot-button political issue.
- Regardless, the ban doesn't cover Samsung's latest phones, such as the Galaxy S4, S4 Mini, and Note 3, and is unlikely to have a big impact on the electronics giant's U.S. sales.
Tuesday, Oct 83:49 AMSamsung eyes acquisitions to boost software capabilities
Tuesday, Oct 83:49 AM| Comment!
- Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has put together a list of start-ups and other small companies it might be interested in buying, and it's bolstering its presence in Silicon Valley, as it looks to boost its software capabilities.
- The South Korean company has allocated $1.1B for early stage and venture capital investments in the U.S. as well.
- The companies Samsung has been interested in include gaming pioneer Atari, while it also reportedly bid for Waze before Google bought the mobile-mapping company.
- However, Samsung's disastrous $840M purchase of computer maker AST Research in the mid-1990s hangs like a shadow over the firm's approach.
Monday, Oct 72:53 PMReports: Samsung working on Glass rival; flexible phone arriving soon
Monday, Oct 72:53 PM| 1 Comment
- Mobile-Review.com's Eldar Murtazin reports Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB) is working on a Google Glass alternative, and will likely launch it in the April-May timeframe under the Gear Glass name.
- Google Glass is expected to see a Q1 2014 commercial launch. Chardan Capital reported last month Glass microdisplay supplier Himax (HIMX -2.6%) is starting to ramp microdisplay production for a device from a 3rd-party OEM, while adding it believes the company is Microsoft. Shortly before that, Oppenheimer reported Himax is seeing growing microdisplay interest from companies not named Google.
- If Samsung launches a Glass rival, software/services support could be an issue. Unlike with Android, Samsung will likely have to compete against a growing Google ecosystem, rather than ride on top of one.
- Separately, South Korean news service Asia Economic reports (translation) Samsung will launch a curved/flexible display phone called the Galaxy Round in October, and could announce it as soon as this week. The report comes just after Samsung announced it has begun mass-producing 5.7" 1080p flexible OLED displays.
Monday, Oct 711:17 AMUniversal Display rallies on Samsung, LG curved display news
Monday, Oct 711:17 AM| 3 Comments
- Samsung (SSNLF.PK, SSNGY.OB), by far Universal Display's (OLED +3.7%) largest customer, says it has begun mass-producing a 5.7" 1080p flexible OLED panel, and soon plans to launch a phone that makes use of them. A variant of the Galaxy Note 3 (has a 5.7" 1080p display) is a good possibility.
- OLED-Info.com estimates the manufacturing line being used by Samsung can produce a few hundred thousand flexible 5.7" panels per month.
- Meanwhile, LG Display (LPL -0.9%) says it will start mass-production of a 6" curved OLED, while deeming it "the world’s first flexible OLED panel for smartphones." A source tells Reuters LG Electronics (LGEIY.OB) will use the panels to launch an expected curved display phone next month.
Friday, Oct 47:06 AMTesla and Samsung in talks over battery deal
Friday, Oct 47:06 AM| 12 Comments
- Tesla Motors (TSLA) is having discussions with Samsung (SSNLF.PK) over the EV automaker using battery technology from the Korean company.
- A spokesperson for Tesla notes other potential battery suppliers are in the mix as well.
- One report indicates Samsung would like the deal to include Tesla buying its touch-screens as well.
- TSLA +0.7% premarket to $174.55.
- View all 5 replies
ardee27:: face burns .... interesting thought though
Tom Shaughnessy:: Thanks 1980! Makes perfect sense
- View all 2 replies
samuel_liu:: 'PDA' is too old fashioned &, uh, 'phone' just isn't descriptive enough? Samsung, let's stop this. Right now. Don't embarrass yourselves.
- View all 12 replies
Tom Shaughnessy:: It would be another shot for Google to make a $4.5 Billion dollar purchase... since they were outbid for Nortel
- View all 1 replies
rrose39:: LG currently enjoys a whopping 7% of the mobile phone market.