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SSNLF vs. ETF Alternatives
Wednesday, Dec 1110:58 AMMicron, SanDisk slip; Hynix plant to reportedly be operational next month
Wednesday, Dec 1110:58 AM| 7 Comments
- MKM reports the Wuxi, China SK Hynix (HXSCL) DRAM plant that was badly damaged in a September fire will be operational by mid-January, well ahead of the mid-2014 timeframe forecast by others.
- Micron (MU -2.1%) is slipping, as is SanDisk (SNDK -1.5%), which benefits when NAND flash capacity gets reallocated to deal with DRAM shortages.
- Micron and SanDisk rallied on Monday amid a flurry of positive DRAM sales, pricing, and supply-related news.
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY), the world's largest DRAM manufacturer (37.1% Q3 share per DRAMeXchange), fell 1.4% overnight in Seoul. Hynix rose 0.8%.
Tuesday, Dec 106:26 PMSamsung sells 10M+ Note 3 units, reportedly dials back smartphone target
Tuesday, Dec 106:26 PM| 3 Comments
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) says it has sold 10M+ Galaxy Note 3 units (measured in terms of of channel sell-in, rather than end-user sales) since the 5.7" phablet went on sale on Sep. 25.
- The figure highlights the burgeoning size of the phablet market, whose growth has been fueled in part by strong Asian demand. It comes in a year that has seen sales of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S4 fall short of initial expectations, and a host of rival OEMs launch phablets of their own. Samsung tries to differentiate its Note line via its proprietary S Pen and related apps.
- Universal Display (OLED) and Synaptics (SYNA) are among the companies that benefit from strong Note 3 sales.
- Meanwhile, South Korea's ET News reports (translation) Samsung has lowered its 2014 smartphone shipment target to 330M units from a prior 360M. The new figure represents expected growth of just 14%, or less than the 20% growth forecast by IDC.
Monday, Dec 912:22 PMMicron rallies amid positive DRAM pricing, sales reports; SanDisk also up
Monday, Dec 912:22 PM| Comment!
- Digitimes reports DRAM spot prices continue to jump, with recent quotes "soaring more than 5% on a single day." Tight supplies (caused in part by the SK Hynix fire), PC OEM inventory replenishment, and order pull-in from Chinese tablet vendors are said to be contributing factors.
- Naturally, spot price strength is expected to bolster contract pricing, whose growth has been tempered somewhat by attempts from SK Hynix and peers to adjust capacity in the wake of the fire.
- The report backs up recent comments Morgan Stanley's Joseph Moore, who has reported seeing a pickup in orders from the PC supply chain.
- Also: Both Taiwanese DRAM vendor Nanya and Micron/Nanya's Inotera JV have reported strong November sales. Nanya's sales rose 34% Y/Y to NT$3.85B ($130M), and Inotera's sales rose 117% to NT$6.46B ($218M).
- Aided by a favorable supply/demand balance and healthy mobile DRAM growth, the DRAM industry is expected to perform well again in 2014, though growth is expected to slow from 2013's levels. DRAMeXchange forecasts sales will rise 14% to $40B, after growing 32% in 2013.
- Micron (MU +3.9%) is making new 52-week highs, and SanDisk (SNDK +1.6%) is also up. Though not a DRAM vendor itself, SanDisk benefits from DRAM strength to the extent NAND capacity gets reallocated for DRAM production. Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) rose 1.8% overnight in Seoul, and SK Hynix (HXSCL) rose 2.4%.
Friday, Dec 62:32 PMEU raids Philips, Samsung offices in price-fixing probe
Friday, Dec 62:32 PM| 2 Comments
- The E.C. has raided Philips (PHG +2.1%) and Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) local offices, as well as those of electronics store chain Media-Saturn.
- The Commission says it has raided several companies who are either making or selling consumer electronics and domestic appliances, in order to probe whether the firms had conspired to drive up prices by limiting the online sale of certain goods.
- The E.C. is already probing Samsung's use of standards-essential mobile patents in its legal battles. Samsung made a settlement offer in October.
Friday, Nov 293:24 PMReport: "Premium" Galaxy S5 to feature curved display, metal case
Friday, Nov 293:24 PM| 7 Comments
- South Korea's ET News reports (translation) a "premium" version of Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy S5 will feature a 5" curved display and a metal case, while a standard model will have a flat display and plastic case. Initial production volumes for the S5 are reportedly set for January, but mass production won't start until February-March.
- Samsung recently launched the Galaxy Round, a phone with a curved 5.7" display, in limited volumes. The electronics giant argues curved displays are more durable, offer better viewing angles, and (for large phones) are easier to grip than flat ones.
- The S5 is also said to feature an ultra high-res display (previous), a 64-bit ARM CPU (Apple just put one into the iPhone 5S), a 16MP camera, 3GB of RAM, and (take this one with a grain of salt) a massive 4,000 mAh battery.
- S4 component suppliers that could benefit from an early S5 launch include Synaptics (SYNA), Universal Display (OLED - would also benefit from a higher-res screen), Anadigics (ANAD), and RF Micro (RFMD).
- S4 sales started off strong, but failed to meet lofty expectations due to a demand shift towards cheaper Android phones. The S5 will face competition from a slew of Chinese firms offering Android phones with high-end specs and mid-range pricing.
Thursday, Nov 213:44 PMApple awarded $290M in Samsung retrial
Thursday, Nov 213:44 PM| 27 Comments
- It's a nice win for Apple (AAPL +1.1%) as a jury awards it $290M in its patent damages retrial with Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY). Apple had asked for $380M, while Samsung argued it owed $52M.
- The award comes on top of the $598.9M granted to Apple in its 2012 infringement suit against Samsung. The jury in that trial had originally awarded Apple $1.05B, but Judge Koh later reduced the figure, arguing the jury had miscalculated how much Samsung owed.
- Like the original trial, the retrial took place in San Jose, next door to Apple's hometown of Cupertino.
Tuesday, Nov 198:29 AMSamsung smartwatch sales reach 800K, gets ambitious with displays
Tuesday, Nov 198:29 AM| 2 Comments
- In spite of rough reviews, Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) says sales of its $299 Galaxy Gear smartwatch have topped 800K, exceeding internal expectations. However, it's worth noting Samsung typically measures sales based on sell-in to retailers/distributors, rather than sell-through to consumers.
- Compared with Samsung's mobile phone sales, Gear shipments are still a drop in the ocean. IDC estimates Samsung shipped 115.4M phones in Q3 (24.7% share), of which 81.2M were smartphones (31.4% share).
- Separately, a Samsung patent filing has been made public that depicts a "bended display" wrapping around a phone's side. Samsung argues such a display, which might be included in a phone launching 2H14, would make it easier to read information at an angle, as well as provide more screen real estate.
- With the company's efforts to differentiate via software clearly a work in progress (in spite of big investments), Samsung continues to invest heavily maintaining a display tech edge. In addition to wrap-around displays, the company is working on foldable and ultra-high-res displays.
- Whereas its current phone display resolutions top out at 1080p, Samsung wants to launch phones with 2560x1440 displays in 2014, and 4K (3840x2160) displays in 2015. Many are skeptical about the value of having such resolutions on a 5"-6" display, but if Samsung goes through with its plans, it should be a positive for Universal Display (OLED), given more of its OLED materials will be needed to support higher resolutions.
Monday, Nov 1811:55 AMNew reports of 5C/5S order shifts; Apple can pursue Samsung injunction
Monday, Nov 1811:55 AM| 8 Comments
- Digitimes reports Foxconn, said to be responsible for 30% of iPhone 5C (AAPL -0.4%) production, is stopping 5C production a northern China factory, and will shift capacity to iPhone 5S production.
- The site also reports Apple respectively cut its 5C orders to Foxconn and Pegatron (said to be responsible for the 70% of 5C output) by "nearly one-third" and 20% a month ago due to "unsatisfactory sales."
- The report comes shortly after Chinese site C Technology, which provided one of the first reports of a 5C order cut, stated Pegatron has cut 5C production to just 80K units/day from 320K/day in October.
- Analytics firm Fiksu reports global 5S usage outpaces 5C usage by more than a 3:1 margin (6.9% of all iPhone usage vs. 2.2%). Localytics' activation data has also indicated 5S sales soundly outpace 5C sales.
- Meanwhile, a U.S. federal appeals court has ruled Apple can pursue an injunction against Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) products ruled to be infringing the company's IP in last year's California suit. Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the CA suit, ruled last December Apple hadn't proven the infringed patents drove Samsung's product sales. The infringement rulings were tied to older/largely outdated Samsung devices.
- Previous: Apple reportedly set to buy PrimeSense
Friday, Nov 152:58 AMSamsung extends smartphone crown
Friday, Nov 152:58 AM| 75 Comments
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) widened its lead over Apple (AAPL) in the smartphone market in Q3, with Gartner estimating that Samsung sold 80.36M smartphones vs 55M a year earlier and Apple 30.33M vs 24.62M.
- The Korean company's market share held steady at 32.1% while Apple's dropped to 12.1% from 14.3%.
- Overall, the number of smartphones sold increased to 250.2M from 171.65M.
- By operating system, Google's (GOOG) Android accounted for 205M devices, or 81.9% of the market, Apple's iOS 30.33M, or 12.1%, and Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8.9M, or 3.6%.
- The total number of cellular phones sold rose to 455.6M from 431M. Samsung was in first place with 117M units and Nokia (NOK) second with 63M. (PR)
Thursday, Nov 1412:15 PMGoogle roundup: book-scanning verdict, solar plants, Tizen
Thursday, Nov 1412:15 PM| Comment!
- Google (GOOG +0.3%) has scored a big legal win in its 8-year copyright dispute with the Authors Guild over its scanning/indexing of 20M books, with the purpose of making them available via Google Books.
- Circuit Judge Denny Chin declares Google Books "provides significant public benefits," preserving decaying text copies and and helping readers discover new titles. He also argues Google's book-scanning qualifies as fair use since it doesn't make full copies available online.
- The WSJ reports Google and KKR are jointly investing $400M in six California and Arizona solar plants. Google's portion of the investment is said to total $80M. The company has already made a series of solar/wind investments in an effort to become carbon-neutral (not an easy task for a company running over a dozen giant data centers).
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY), intent on lowering its enormous dependence on Google's mobile OS, apps, and services, has announced 36 more partners for its Tizen OS; the list includes eBay, Panasonic, and game developer Konami. However, no Tizen phones have hit the market yet - Samsung once promised multiple 2013 phone launches - and carrier partner Orange has backtracked on a promise to offer Tizen phones this year.
- With Gartner and IDC each assigning Android an 80%+ Q3 smartphone share, and with Android phones sporting ~$100 unsubsidized prices now easy to find in emerging markets, Tizen and other would-be Android rivals (such as Firefox OS) face an uphill battle.
Wednesday, Nov 1311:50 AMGoogle tries to reverse Motorola's fortunes with low-cost Moto G
Wednesday, Nov 1311:50 AM| 1 Comment
- The Moto G, a 4.5" Android (GOOG +0.9%) phone with a 720p display and 8GB-16GB of storage, will have an unsubsidized starting price of just $179. The product is aimed squarely at a burgeoning low-end smartphone market that has helped fuel Android's tremendous - IDC estimates 212M Android phones were shipped in Q3, and that the OS' smartphone share was 81% - and which has been dominated by Samsung and various Chinese/white-label vendors.
- Motorola Mobility chief Dennis Woodside realizes that, while much cheaper than an iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4, the G won't be the cheapest Android phone out there. He argues the device's mid-range specs will help it sell well in emerging markets. "There are products that are $70 ... They are just not very good."
- The G features Qualcomm's (QCOM +1.2%) middle-of-the-road Snapdragon 400 baseband/app processor (quad-core, 1.2GHz.), 1GB of RAM, newly-released Android 4.3 (KitKat), and a promised 14 hours of talk time. On the other hand, it doesn't have a 4G modem. It's launching in 30 countries, including some Motorola hasn't been in for years.
- The phone comes amid disappointing sales of the high-end and well-hyped Moto X, which Motorola sought to differentiate via support for extensive hardware customization. It also follows a Q3 in which Motorola saw a 34% Y/Y sales drop, and a $248M op. loss.
- Meanwhile, Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is boasting it expects to have a 50% African smartphone share this year, and is aiming to double its smartphone sales to the continent in 2014.
Monday, Nov 114:55 AMAlibaba expects $5B boon from China's "Singles Day"
Monday, Nov 114:55 AM| 2 Comments
- Alibaba expects to sell 30B renminbi ($5B) worth of goods today in celebration of "Singles Day" in China, which the online giant has managed to turn into by far the world's largest e-commerce discount event, even surpassing Cyber Monday in the U.S.
- Major foreign multinationals have also been participating in the celebration - or lamentation - of "singlehood" by offering notable online bargains, including Nike (NKE), Adidas (ADDDF), Procter & Gamble (PG), Unilever (UL) and Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY).
- And why is it called singles day? Because November 11, or 11/11, has four 1s, or singles.
Sunday, Nov 1011:12 AMApple reportedly prepping 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones with curved screens
Sunday, Nov 1011:12 AM| 32 Comments
- Bloomberg reports Apple (AAPL) plans to release iPhones featuring 4.7" and 5.5" displays, as well as "glass that curves downward at the edges," in 2H14. Apple is also reportedly thinking of integrating "sensors that can distinguish heavy or light touches on the screen" in subsequent models; this suggests the inclusion of advanced haptic feedback tech.
- There have been plenty of reports indicating Apple is looking to offer one or more iPhones with a larger display next year, as it tries to address soaring demand for phones with larger displays. Demand for such phones, along with a mix shift towards cheaper smartphones, has been pressuring Apple's European and Asian smartphone shares.
- Samsung and LG both recently unveiled phones with curved (OLED) screens, but initial volumes have been limited. Proponents of the idea have argued a curved large-screen phone is easier to grip, and offers a greater field of view. Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) says it plans to offer phones with foldable displays in about two years.
- The inclusion of haptic feedback tech within future iPhone would be a positive for haptic IP developer Immersion (IMMR). Immersion's shares once took off on a rumor (proven unfounded) the 3rd-gen iPad would feature haptic tech developed by Finland's Senseg.
- Bloomberg's report comes as Apple gets set to buy huge volumes of sapphire from GT Advanced. While debate continues on whether enough of the exceptionally strong/scratch-resistant material will be produced in the near-term to replace traditional iPhone/iPad display cover glasses (such as Gorilla Glass), it's widely expected to do so over the long haul.
Wednesday, Nov 63:48 AMSamsung considers issuing ADRs, increasing dividends
Wednesday, Nov 63:48 AM| 2 Comments
- In a move that would make it easier for U.S. investors to trade its shares, Samsung Electronics (SSNLF, SSNGY) is considering listing American Depositary Receipts, CFO Lee Sang-hoon said today at the South Korean giant's first analyst meeting in eight years. Any decision would be "based on the global economic recovery and changes to Korean equity market functioning in relation to the global market."
- Samsung is also considering a dividend payout of 1% of its average stock price vs a current dividend yield of 0.54%. "We will put more emphasis on direct shareholder returns," Lee said.
- Samsung's investor day and deliberations come amid a stagnating share price, pressure to return some of its cash mountain - which is over $50B - to shareholders, and criticism over its communications.
- Samsung intends to make more international acquisitions across a wide range of fields as it looks to expand beyond its core consumer-electronics operations. The company has invested $1B in 14 firms since 2010, including in Sharp and Medison.
- The consumer-electronics firm is targeting annual sales of $400B by 2020 vs a possible $219B this year, as forecast by analysts.
Monday, Nov 48:09 AMNokia extends patent deal with Samsung
Monday, Nov 48:09 AM| 8 Comments
- Nokia (NOK) has obtained a 5-year extension for its patent licensing deal with Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY). However, the final price tag will depend on an arbitration ruling due in 2015. Nokia's IP chief calls the deal "a hallmark of constructive resolution of licensing disputes."
- With Nokia set to unload its phone business to Microsoft, it might be able to drive a harder bargain with mobile OEMs in patent licensing deals, since the company no longer has to obtain cross-licenses for phones/tablets (though it still needs to do so for mobile infrastructure gear).
- IDC estimates Samsung had a 30.2% share of the smartphone market in Q2, and a 26.4% share of the broader mobile phone market; both figures are easily good for first place. Thus, any per-device royalties Nokia receives from the licensing deal stand to be significant.
- NOK +1.7% premarket.
Friday, Nov 14:54 AMHeavyweights square up in lawsuit over former Nortel patents
Friday, Nov 14:54 AM| 12 Comments
- The consortium that bought thousands of Nortel patents for $4.5B in 2011 has sued Google (GOOG), Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY), HTC (HTCCY), Huawei and four other companies for infringing some of the IP.
- The group, called Rockstar, is owned by Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Blackberry (BBRY), Ericsson (ERIC) and Sony (SNE).
- The patents cited in the suit cover technology that enables targeted advertising on Internet search results - the core of Google's money making machine.
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