Yesterday, 5:00 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) teased the market with hints of a new design for its Gear smartwatch on Friday, the same day its rival's long-awaited wearable, the Apple Watch, goes on sale.
- Samsung's official blog post showed images eschewing the Gear's familiar square shape for a fully rounded face, alongside apps from CNN, Yelp, and Baidu.
- The company said it would also release a software development kit for third-party developers prior to the launch.
Mon, Apr. 20, 5:39 PM
- Backing up industry speculation to the effect (as well as a 2014 Digitimes report that pointed in this direction), Re/code reports Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 820 baseband/app processor (its next-gen flagship) will be made using Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) 14nm FinFET (3D transistor) manufacturing process. Qualcomm has historically relied on TSMC (NYSE:TSM) to make its most advanced processors, though it also does business with other foundries.
- The scoop follows a slew of reports stating Samsung's 14nm process will be used to manufacture at least a majority of Apple's A9 CPUs; KGI reported last week TSMC (set to ramp 16nm FinFET production) will handle 30% of A9 production after (Samsung 14nm partner) GlobalFoundries encountered yield issues.
- No word on whether Samsung will reward Qualcomm's decision by using the 820 in future high-end phones. Samsung opted to use its Exynos 7420 processor (also made using its 14nm process) instead of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 (made using TSMC's 20nm process) in the Galaxy S6, and is also using its own baseband modems in a large chunk of S6 units.
- The 820, which makes use of Qualcomm's next-gen Kryo CPU core and Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. The timetable suggests commercial hardware featuring the SoC could arrive in 1H16 (in time for the Galaxy S7?). Qualcomm's FQ2 report is due on Wednesday.
Wed, Apr. 15, 7:51 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) has created a standalone team of about 200 employees to work exclusively on making screens for Apple's products, Bloomberg reports.
- The team at Samsung Display Co, which provides screens for iPads and MacBooks, helps develop products and is only allowed to share information about Apple's business within the group. The team formed on April 1.
- Relations between the two rivals thawed last year after they dropped all lawsuits against each other outside the U.S.
Wed, Apr. 15, 5:03 AM
- Building on last week's guidance, Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has announced that demand for both its new Galaxy S6 models was "much higher" than initially estimated.
- "Although there may be some difficulties for the short term, we will do our utmost to secure enough supply for our global consumers," Samsung said in a statement.
- Analysts say the new devices will generate meaningful earnings momentum in the current quarter as the phones go on sale across the globe.
- Previously: Samsung eyes record shipments for Galaxy S6 (Apr. 09 2015)
Thu, Apr. 9, 3:47 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) expects to ship record numbers of its new Galaxy S6 smartphone after it goes on sale tomorrow, but will have problems fulfilling demand for the curved-edged version due to difficulties in manufacturing the screens.
- The hope is that the launch of the flagship device will help spark a turn around at Samsung following a slump in earnings over the past year or so.
- The company hasn't disclosed what its record shipment is, although the S3 is reckoned to be its best-selling model. Nomura has estimated that the firm sold 80M units following its launch in 2012.
Tue, Apr. 7, 3:55 AM
- Samsung Electronics' (OTC:SSNLF) Q1 operating profit fell a preliminary 31% to 5.9T won ($5.4B), although the figure represents a slowdown in the company's earnings decline and topped analyst forecasts of 5.5T won.
- Sales dropped 12% to 47T won, below consensus of 50.1T.
- Buffeted by competition from Apple at one end of the market and cheaper rivals at the other, Samsung's earnings have dropped for six consecutive quarters, although the South Korean company is hoping that Friday's launch of the the Galaxy S6 will attract back buyers and push sales of chips and displays.
- Samsung didn't provide net profit or divisional numbers, with its final results due later this month.
Fri, Apr. 3, 3:20 PM
- Whereas Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) had six chips designed into many Galaxy S5 models, a Chipworks teardown of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 didn't turn up a single Qualcomm part.
- In addition to eschewing the Snapdragon 810 app processor (widely reported, and hinted at by Qualcomm itself) in favor of its 8-core Exynos 7420, Samsung (possibly prioritizing margins over performance/battery life) replaced Qualcomm baseband modem, power management, RF transceiver, and envelope tracking chips with home-grown parts. As expected, Samsung is also using its own DRAM/NAND chips and image processor.
- Though Chipworks says it needs to confirm, the site believes Samsung is also using its own NFC controller. NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI) supplies the S5's NFC controller (as well as the iPhone 6's).
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) might also be a casualty of Samsung's attempts to buy local: Whereas the S5 contained a Wi-Fi module from Broadcom combo chip client Murata, Chipworks uncovered a Samsung Wi-Fi module - Samsung has already been using home-grown combo chips in cheaper phones. On the other hand, a Broadcom GPS/GNSS chip is included.
- A Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) wireless power receiver handles wireless charging for the S6; many expected IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI), which supplies a transmitter chip for the S6's wireless charging pad, would score the design. Meanwhile, Cirrus Logic's (NASDAQ:CRUS) Wolfson unit supplies an audio codec IC, and Maxim (NASDAQ:MXIM) is providing an audio amplifier and complementary power management IC.
- Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) and Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) have won RF slots: The former provides a multi-mode/multi-band front-end module and antenna switch, and the latter two power amplifier modules. Both companies also had S5 design wins.
- Not surprisingly, InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) is providing a 6-axis gyroscope/accelerometer (the MPU-6500). As was rumored, STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) won the touch controller slot, beating out S5 supplier Synaptics.
- While Qualcomm lost out on the S6, the company has landed a number of other Snapdragon 810 design wins for high-end Android phones. The Snapdragon 820, which sports a next-gen ARM CPU core (Kryo) and Qualcomm's Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. 3D SoCs (said to enable a 50% shrink in die size) are expected to enter testing in 2016.
- The Chipworks teardown follows a long list of glowing reviews for the S6 - reviewers especially like the 2K display and Samsung's decision to go with a metal/glass body instead of the usual plastic - and reports of production hikes and strong pre-orders. Sales start on April 10.
- Update: A Chinese S6 teardown turned up a chip said to be an NXP NFC part; its name (the 66T05) is very different from the chips in NXP's announced NFC controller line. A Sprint RDF file indicates Sprint's version of the S6 features Qualcomm's MDM9635 modem. That suggests Samsung could use Qualcomm modems for phones requiring 3G EV-DO compatibility (those used by Sprint, Verizon, and a handful of overseas carriers).
Wed, Apr. 1, 1:24 AM
- "The iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) Has Met Its Match," reads the headline for the WSJ's review of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6.
- Reviewer/iPhone 6 owner Joanna Stern: "Like a child who just found out that Santa isn’t real, I have spent the past week questioning everything I know." She's a fan of the S6's glass/metal body with dual Gorilla Glass 4 (NYSE:GLW) panes, as well as its 2K OLED display, improved fingerprint sensor, rapid charging support, and 16MP OIS-capable camera. "The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones ... on photo quality."
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn gives the S6 8.8/10 stars. "Samsung finally copied the right thing: caring about design." Bohn declares the S6 to have "one of the finest screens I have ever seen on a phone," thanks to a 577 PPI pixel density and improved color awareness. He also calls the device (powered by an 8-core Exynos CPU) "probably the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used."
- BGR's Zach Epstein: "Samsung’s Galaxy S6 features a stunning design that manages to be sleek and elegant, yet modern ... Samsung has raised the bar when it comes to smartphone screens ... Samsung finally stopped obsessing about increasing its [camera] megapixel counts and instead focused on improving its optics, design and software performance ... I’ve never used a phone that charged from empty to full as quickly as this one."
- Samsung's software, though declared to be improved from the S5's (less bloatware, and what remains is often buried), still gets some criticism. Epstein reports seeing a lag with some UI features, and Stern is critical of Samsung's icons and keyboard. Also: Reviewers generally see little reason to pay an extra $100 for the curved S6 Edge, and some Android users might not like the S6's lack of a removable battery or microSD slot.
- Ahead of the reviews, there have been reports Samsung has upped S6 production due to strong early interest. The phone goes on sale on April 10.
- Other reviews: TechCrunch, CNET, Re/code, TechRadar
- Expected S6 suppliers: BRCM, INVN, OLED, SYNA, MXIM, IDTI
- A month ago: Samsung launches metal/glass S6 with Gorilla Glass 4, 2K display, new fingerprint sensor
Thu, Mar. 26, 12:48 AM
- Though there have been a slew of reports stating Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) will be the main supplier for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) A9 CPU (expected to go into the iPhone 6S/6S+ and next-gen iPad Air), "industry sources" tell Taiwan's Digitimes TSMC (NYSE:TSM) will "remain the major processor supplier for Apple in the second half of 2015."
- The world's biggest foundry will reportedly supply CPUs for the iPhone 6S and 6S+ using a next-gen 16nm FinFET process, and for a cheaper 4" "6C model" via its existing 20nm process (used to make the A8). Cowen previously reported Apple is working on a new 4" iPhone.
- The site qualifies its report by stating Samsung is also expected to be a 6S/6S+ supplier. Samsung recently began producing chips using its next-gen 14nm FinFET process, widely expected to be leveraged for A9 production. Meanwhile, A8 orders have done wonders for TSMC: The company has posted 30%+ Y/Y sales growth for several months in a row.
- In spite of a favorable Digitimes report last night as well (that one was about Q2 sales), shares fell 5.4% today amid a major chip stock rout - volume (32.3M shares) more than doubled a 3-month daily average of 13M. Barron's has reported hearing CFO Lora Ho made cautious comments about near-term demand at a Hong Kong Credit Suisse conference.
Sat, Mar. 14, 9:21 PM
- BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) SecuTablet, launched in partnership with Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and IBM, is based on Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 10.5 Android tablet, and contains encryption and anti-eavesdropping tech developed by the company's German Secusmart unit (acquired last year). BlackBerry says the device could be available by this summer, and will sell for about $2,380.
- The tablet is aimed at enterprise and government clients with high-end security needs, and relies on app wrapping technology provided by IBM to silo consumer apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from secure apps. IBM will also assist in implementing Secusmart's solutions "within the infrastructures of the various clients inside the governmental sector."
- The launch comes a year after BlackBerry discontinued the (QNX OS-based) PlayBook following less-than-stellar sales, and four months after the company formed an alliance with Samsung to create security solutions for Samsung's Android hardware. Google gave its blessing to BES12 (along with other enterprise mobility management platforms) last month.
Fri, Mar. 13, 2:38 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) will use more premium materials in mobile devices to win customers and offer a wider range of connected devices after being recently dethroned by Apple as global smartphone sales leader.
- The plan includes more smartphones with metal casings, slim designs and high-definition displays, Co-CEO Shin Jong Kyun said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Seoul today.
- Samsung's unveiling of new Galaxy S6 phones this month and signs of strong early demand has spurred a stock rally on expectations the company can revive earnings and stem the slide in market share.
- Update: Shareholders have approved a plan to increase the company's dividend payout for 2014 by 40% compared with a year ago.
- Related: Universal Display +6%; Samsung reportedly ups S6 production (Mar. 12 2015)
Thu, Mar. 12, 12:45 PM
- Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) has rallied to new 52-week highs today. Its move has come on volume of 1.26M shares, well above a 3-month daily average of 662K.
- Signs of strong early demand for Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge (unveiled on March 1, going on sale on April 10) could be giving the OLED materials/IP provider a lift. Samsung has announced S6 pre-orders have topped 20M, and Korea's Electronic Times has reported Samsung has upped its April S6/S6 Edge production target by 1M to 8M.
- The S6 sports a quad-HD OLED display that requires more materials than the S5's 1080p display. Its use of a metal/glass body (as compared with the plastic bodies of its predecessors) has been well-received.
- Samsung's shares have already benefited from S6 enthusiasm: Though they fell overnight in Seoul, they're still up 7% since the March 1 launch event.
Mon, Mar. 2, 4:27 AM
- HTC (OTC:HTCXF) is planning its first move into the crowded virtual reality market with a new headset called Vive, competing against Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Oculus Rift, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Gear VR and Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Project Morpheus.
- The device will track head's movements as precisely as one-tenth of a degree, and will include a Steam VR base station, which will let users walk around the virtual space instead of using a controller.
- HTC has partnered with Valve Software on the platform, which will be made available to the public by the end of the year.
Sun, Mar. 1, 9:08 PM
- As rumored, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 eschews the plastic-heavy designs of its predecessors in favor a body with a metal frame and both front and back glass panels - both panels use Corning's (NYSE:GLW) recently-launched Gorilla Glass 4 (offers better damage resistance).
- Also as expected: The standard S6 is accompanied by the S6 Edge, a premium model with curved sides. Samsung has also launched a new version of its Gear VR headset (relies on Oculus' VR platform) that uses the S6/S6 Edge for its display instead of the Note 4.
- The S6's display size is unchanged from the S5's 5.1", but (as was the case for the Note 4) the resolution has been upgraded from 1080p to 2560x1440 - that's a positive for OLED materials supplier Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED). An 8-core Samsung Exynos processor powers international S6 models - Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have historically powered U.S. models, but that might not be the case this time.
- A new fingerprint sensor (previous) only requires users to touch the home button (a la Apple's TouchID) rather than swipe over it, as is the case with the S5's sensor. Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) should receive an ASP boost, provided it remains Samsung's fingerprint sensor supplier and not rival FPC.
- Other features: Wireless charging support; a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, improved software, and an F/1.9 aperture (good for low-light shots); a 5MP front camera that also has an F/1.9 aperture, 32/64/128GB storage tiers (up from 16/32/64GB); and far less bloatware - Samsung claims the S6 has 40% fewer software features than the S5.
- Initial reactions are positive. "Samsung finally builds a premium smartphone," proclaims Ars Technica. The Verge calls the S6/S6 Edge "dramatically nicer and better phones than Samsung has ever produced." More than a few observers have spotted major design similarities with the iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL).
- The phones go on sale on April 10. Samsung needs a hit: It's coming off a Q4 where its smartphone unit share fell to 20% from 28.8% a year earlier (per IDC) amid stiff competition from Apple and Chinese Android OEMs.
Thu, Feb. 26, 1:47 AM
- Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) has decided to freeze paychecks for its employees this year, as the tech giant struggles amid a slump in profits, heavy competition and a weak Japanese yen, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.
- The move marks the first time since 2009 that the company has frozen paychecks for all its workers.
- Samsung's net profit fell sharply in 2014, dropping 23.2% to 23.4T won ($21.2B) from 30.5T won the previous year.
Tue, Feb. 24, 9:44 AM
- The Korea Times reports Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) has struck deals with Apple and LG to supply DRAM for upcoming phones, with Samsung handling "at least half" of Apple's DRAM needs for the iPhone 6S. Micron (NASDAQ:MU), a major iPhone DRAM supplier, has sold off in response.
- The paper adds the deals are estimated to be worth billions, and that Apple could "ask more from Samsung" depending on the situation. The report comes amid expectations Samsung will manufacture Apple's A9 CPU (expected to go into the 6S), using its 14nm manufacturing process.
- DRAMeXchange recently estimated Samsung had a 46.1% Q4 DRAM share, down from 50.7% in Q3. With the help of iPhone-related orders, Micron's share rose to 23.3% from 19%; SK Hynix's share rose to 28% from 27.6%. Samsung is generally seen as the most aggressive of the big-3 DRAM vendors in terms of growing production.
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