Sep. 3, 2014, 10:13 AM
- As rumored, Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) Galaxy Note 4 sports a 5.7" quad-HD (2560x1440) display; the Note 3 has a 1080p display. Other improvements include a revamped S Pen (twice the pressure sensitivity, among other things), a metal rim, and the addition of optical image stabilization, a fingerprint scanner, and a heart rate sensor.
- The U.S. version will run on Qualcomm's (QCOM +0.8%) high-end Snapdragon 805 processor (2.7GHz., quad-core) and support Cat-6 LTE; the Note 3 uses the Snapdragon 800. Some international models will use Samsung's Exynos 5433 processor (1.9GHz., 8-core) and only support Cat-4 LTE. The 5433 beat the 805 in some early benchmarks.
- Samsung has also launched the Note Edge, a phone with combines most of the Note 4's specs with a display that curves downwards at the sides. Samsung argues the edges of the display can be used to quickly glance at information while the phone is lying on a table.
- Samsung, which pioneered the phablet market 3 years ago, is counting on the Note 4/Edge to both counter hungry Chinese OEMs that have been grabbing share, and deal with the pending launch (per numerous reports) of a 5.5" iPhone 6. The company still maintains a high phablet share in the U.S.
- Universal Display (OLED +1.4%) benefits from Samsung's use of a quad-HD display, since the panel requires more OLED materials than a 1080p display.
Sep. 2, 2014, 6:55 AM
- In yet another round of Samsung restructuring, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) says it will consider acquiring the shares of unlisted medical equipment maker Samsung Medison that it does not currently own.
- Samsung Electronics currently holds a 68.5% stake in Samsung Medison, which has a book value of about 478B won ($472M).
- Samsung's restructuring has accelerated since the May hospitalization of the group's chairman Lee Kun-hee, and has sparked investor speculation to the group's succession.
Aug. 28, 2014, 4:45 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) and LG (OTC:LGEIY) will face off at a trade show in Berlin next week, showing off their new smartwatch models.
- Unlike its previous versions, Samsung's new "standalone" watch will support 3G wireless networks and be able to make and receive calls without having to be tethered to a smartphone. The watch, called the "Gear S," will run on the company's Tizen operating system.
- LG’s new smartwatch, called the "G Watch R," will be powered by Android and have a rounded 1.3-inch plastic OLED screen.
Aug. 28, 2014, 2:26 AM
- In the latest round of the remaining Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) patent wars, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has denied Apple's bid for a permanent injunction prohibiting Samsung from selling infringing features on its smartphones that relate to three earlier patents.
- Earlier this year, Apple won a $120M jury verdict against Samsung related to the patents and was hoping to extend the ruling.
- Until recently, the two have been been embroiled in untold numbers of global patent lawsuits, but both dropped all claims on battles outside the U.S. earlier this month.
Aug. 19, 2014, 5:59 AM
- Drifting again toward the "Internet of Things", Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has purchased U.S. air conditioner distributor Quietside.
- The acquisition is aimed at strengthening the company's "smart home" business, which enables users to control multiple household appliances from a mobile device.
- Last week, Samsung snapped up SmartThings, a developer of home automation hardware/software platforms.
Aug. 18, 2014, 4:34 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is planning to set up a factory to produce mobile phones primarily for Indonesia, one of the world's fastest growing markets for the devices.
- Production capacity at the facility in West Java will be initially set at 100K units per month, but will eventually climb to 900K.
- Seeing sales of its flagship Galaxy models weaken in more established markets, Samsung is turning to markets with low smartphone penetration rates and higher disposable incomes like Indonesia.
Aug. 14, 2014, 7:16 PM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has acquired SmartThings, developer of a home automation hardware/software platform. Re/code reports the purchase price is $200M.
- SmartThings' platform relies on kits featuring a router and small sensors that attach to various home items. Once installed, users can monitor, control, and customize connected devices using mobile apps.
- The acquisition follows Google's purchases of smart thermostat/smoke detector vendor Nest and Wi-Fi monitoring camera maker Dropcam, and the launch of Apple's HomeKit platform, which aims to let 3rd-party home devices be controlled with iOS hardware.
- SmartThings is looking to differentiate itself by creating an open platform for 3rd-party apps/services - founder/CEO Alex Hawkinson claims SmartThings supports 1K+ devices and 8K+ apps. Control4 (NASDAQ:CTRL), whose shares took off after the Google/Nest deal was announced, is among SmartThings' rivals.
Aug. 13, 2014, 11:28 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has partly given in to calls to offer phones with Apple-like metal cases rather than plastic ones: Its new Galaxy Alpha sports a metal frame around its sides. However, the device still has a plastic rear shell that strongly resembles the Galaxy S5's.
- Moreover, unlike the rumored Galaxy F (expected to have a full metal case), the Alpha carries mid-range specs notably worse than the S5's: It has a 4.7" 720p display, 12MP rear camera, and 2GB of RAM.
- Separately, The Verge has posted pictures of Samsung's upcoming VR headset (will use a phone's display/sensors), and states the device will be unveiled at a September event also expected to feature the Note 4, which might also have a metal frame. Past reports have stated Samsung is relying on Facebook's Oculus VR to provide the headset's software.
Aug. 5, 2014, 10:48 PM
- Following untold numbers of lawsuits, injunction requests, court petitions, and billed legal hours, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) have agreed to drop all suits against each other in Germany, the U.K., Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, France, South Korea, and Italy. The deal doesn't involve any licensing agreement.
- For now, the world's biggest smartphone and tablet OEMs remain at odds in the U.S., but there are signs that battle is also winding down. In June, Apple and Samsung dropped their appeals of an ITC case that led to an injunction on older Samsung phones. The prior month, a CA jury awarded Apple $120M in an infringement suit against Samsung, much less than the $2B it sought.
- Apple settled its patent dispute with Motorola Mobility in May in a deal that didn't feature a cross-license, and agreed to work with Google on "some areas of patent reform." A cross-licensing deal with HTC was struck in 2012.
Aug. 4, 2014, 2:06 PM
- With a 14% unit share on the back of 15M shipments (+240% Y/Y), Xiaomi passed Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) in Q2 to become China's top smartphone OEM, per research firm Canalys.
- Samsung, Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGY), and Yulong (Coolpad) are each estimated to have ~12% of the market. In Q1, Samsung had 18.3% to Lenovo's 11.3% and Xiaomi's 10.7%.
- Xiaomi has gained ground by offering Android phones with high-end specs at mid-range prices. Successful viral marketing campaigns and a popular custom Android UI (MIUI) also haven't hurt.
- The company just launched a new flagship (the MI4) that starts at $320 unsubsidized, and features a 13MP f/1.8 camera and 5" 1080p display. It's counting on former Google exec Hugo Barra to spearhead an international push; Canalys estimates 97% of Xiaomi's Q2 shipments went into mainland China.
- Xiaomi's "borrowing" of ideas from Apple and other rivals has produced controversy. Not only does Xiaomi's hardware take many design cues from the iPhone, founder Lei Jun has cultivated a Steve Jobs-like image, and ended his MI4 launch presentation with a slide prefaced by Apple's "One more thing..." catchphrase.
Aug. 1, 2014, 6:11 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has sued Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) for alleged breach of contract over unpaid Android royalty payments related to the companies' 2011 licensing deal.
- Microsoft suggests Samsung stopped paying per-device royalties in late 2013 due to the Nokia deal, with Samsung arguing the deal nullifies the 2011 pact. Microsoft wants a ruling on Samsung's claim, and is also seeking unpaid interest.
- Likely at issue: Samsung and Nokia have a patent cross-licensing deal in place for each others' patents, one that was extended for 5 years last November. Though the deal involves payments from Samsung to Nokia, Nokia's phone unit (now a part of Microsoft) has made use of Samsung's IP through it. That opens the door to Samsung arguing a new/separate cross-licensing deal with Microsoft is needed.
- The financial implications of the legal spat could be big: Though struggling a bit lately, Samsung still had a 25.2% Q2 smartphone unit share (per IDC).
- Surging Android royalties led Microsoft's "Windows Phone" revenue to rise $1.2B in FY13 (ended June '13). With Samsung apparently halting payments midway, "Windows Phone" licensing revenue grew by $822M in FY14 to $2.54B. Nokia payments accounted for $382M of the total.
Jul. 31, 2014, 11:18 AM
- Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) memory sales were a strong point for the company in Q2: They rose 10% Q/Q and 21% Y/Y to KRW6.92T ($6.7B). But the company also hiked its 2014 DRAM industry bit supply forecast to low-30% growth from a prior high-20%. Samsung itself expects to grow bit production at a high-40% rate.
- Morgan Stanley notes Samsung once forecast mid-20% industry growth, and that it's increasing capex to make another production line DRAM-capable in 2015. MS reported earlier this month Samsung is planning to hike its DRAM output.
- Micron (MU -7.7%), whose shares have soared on expectations a favorable DRAM supply/demand balance will continue, isn't taking the news well. Samsung's production hike is also a negative for SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCL).
- Samsung fell 3.7% overnight in Seoul, though that arguably had more to do with the performance of its mobile ops than its chip ops. Weak high-end tablet sales and smartphone share losses to Chinese OEMs led mobile sales to fall 12% Q/Q and 21% Y/Y to KRW27.5T ($26.6B).
- The company expects 2H mobile sales to grow with the help of seasonality, but also (in what's at least a partial reference to the iPhone 6) cautions competition is set to intensify.
- Samsung's Q2 slides (.pdf)
Jul. 31, 2014, 3:05 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is planning a few new global smartphone launches to retrieve its lost market share and make up for its first quarterly net loss in almost three years.
- Two high-end smartphones releases are planned within the next six months. "One model will have a large screen while the other will be built using "new materials", says SVP Kim Hyun-joon.
- The company will also introduce new mid-to-low-end models to counter low-cost Chinese competition.
Jul. 28, 2014, 4:26 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has postponed the launch of the Samsung Z (featuring the new Tizen operating system) which was scheduled to go on sale in Russia during the third quarter of this year.
- The company did not give any future timing to the launch, but cited the need to "further enhance the Tizen ecosystem."
- The delay will be costly to Samsung, which reported softer numbers and missed second-quarter estimates earlier this month.
Jul. 16, 2014, 4:37 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) is looking to partner with Under Armour (NYSE:UA) to increase its wearable devices product line, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.
- A meeting was stated to have taken place between Lee Jay-yong, the heir of Samsung Group, and Under Armour CEO Kelvin Plank earlier this month discussing ways to combat Apple-Nike's wearable device market share.
- Apple and Nike have been connecting sports wear with smart devices since 2006.
Jul. 14, 2014, 2:04 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has temporarily suspended business with its Shinyang supplier factory after finding evidence suggesting that the child labor allegations which surfaced last week could very well be true.
- The accusation was made by the New York-based China Labor Watch which reported several cases of underage workers at the facility.
- “If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier,” announced the South Korean company.
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