Jun. 30, 2014, 7:02 PM
- With the help of a strong Galaxy S5 launch and healthy low-end phone demand, Android's (GOOG) U.S., Chinese, EU5, and Japanese shares respectively rose to 61.9% (+990 bps Y/Y), 82.7% (+1130 bps), 73.3% (+150 bps), and 47% (+50 bps) during the March-May timeframe, says Kantar Worldpanel. (PR - .pdf)
- Results were mixed for the iPhone (AAPL) ahead of the expected fall launch of 4.7" and 5.5" iPhone 6 models: U.S. and Chinese shares respectively fell to 32.5% (-940 bps Y/Y) and 14.7% (-910 bps), but EU5 and Japanese shares rose to 16.6% (+80 bps) and 51.7% (+210 bps). With March quarter iPhone ASP at $596, revenue shares are bound to be higher.
- More evidence large screens are a bigger selling point in Europe (among other places): 17% of European Galaxy S5 buyers said they switched from Apple, while only 8% of U.S. buyers said the same. 58% of European S5 buyers already owned a Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) phone.
Jun. 30, 2014, 10:05 AM
- Three weeks after hiking its Micron (MU +3.5%) PT to $50, Credit Suisse is planting itself even more firmly on an increasingly crowded bandwagon by adding the memory giant to its Focus List.
- CS praises a valuation of 9.8x EPS, and sees new products and margin expansion driving future EPS growth.
- Separately, Taiwan's Economic Daily News reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has told clients it plans to raise DRAM contract prices by 10% starting in July.
- The paper also states spot prices for mainstay 4Gb DDR3 DRAM chips (widely used in PCs) could reach $4.60 in Q3. DRAMeXchange showed an average Friday price of $4.255, following a Q2 gain of nearly 20%.
- Previous: Micron jumps post-earnings
Jun. 26, 2014, 5:43 PM
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) occasionally tense relationship with Google (GOOG) - Samsung is by far the world's biggest Android OEM, but its efforts to customize if apps, services, and UI often haven't gone over well with Google - appears to be thawing, judging by the announcements at Google's I/O conference.
- Most notably, Samsung is now allowing its KNOX mobile security platform to be built into Android. KNOX provides a slew of data protection, authentication, and device/app management features for enterprises who might otherwise be nervous about letting employees work with Android hardware.
- Newly-public MobileIron (MOBL -2.6%), one of several device/app management software firms whose feature set overlaps to an extent with KNOX, sold off a bit today, but closed well off the day's lows.
- Samsung has also announced the Gear Live, a $199 smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. The launch comes even though Samsung is already selling two smartwatches based on its Tizen platform (still suffers from a weak app ecosystem), and Google is preventing OEMs from installing custom UIs (such as Samsung's TouchWiz).
- Samsung suggests it'll still try to offer some proprietary apps/services for Android Wear smartwatches. LG and Motorola are among the other OEMs backing the platform.
Jun. 25, 2014, 7:32 AM
- Execs at Samsung (SSNLF) are not expecting great results this quarter, after announcing that company performance has been declining. Shares have fallen 8.5% so far this month, after a string of downgrades in earnings forecasts.
- “It doesn’t look too good,” says CFO Lee Sang-hoon, in reference to second quarter results.
- The company is scheduled to report its second-quarter earnings estimates in early July.
Jun. 19, 2014, 6:59 AM
- Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation has announced it will sell approximately $500M of shares in Samsung Life Insurance, about 2.5% of total shares outstanding.
- This marks the third large transaction Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has performed in the last month and a half. Previously, Samsung Everland (a Samsung holding company) and Samsung SDS (an IT solutions affiliate) announced plans for IPOs.
- Samsung is continuing to do heavy restructuring as its owner the Lee family passes on its various companies to the next generation.
Jun. 18, 2014, 2:52 PM
- Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy S5 LTE-A, launching today in South Korea, sports a 2560x1440 OLED display that's a marked improvement from the 1080p display found on the regular S5.
- It also features Qualcomm's (QCOM -0.2%) flagship Snapdragon 805 (quad-core, 2.5GHz.) baseband/app processor - the regular S5 uses the Snapdragon 801 - and can handle theoretical max download speeds of 225Mbps thanks to its support for the LTE-Advanced standard.
- The display and CPU are among the features rumored to be on a next-gen flagship called the Galaxy F. But two other features - OIS and a long-demanded metal case - aren't found in the S5 LTE-A.
- The 805, first announced last November, sports a newer custom ARM CPU core than the 801 and 800 (Krait 450 vs. 400), as well as a faster GPU (Adreno 420 vs. 330) and more memory bandwidth.
- A next-gen flagship CPU, the Snapdragon 810, will feature a 8 64-bit non-custom ARM cores (4 high-end cores and 4 low-power cores). It's expected to arrive in commercial hardware in 1H15, prior to the launch of a 64-bit flagship sporting custom cores.
- Samsung's launch comes as Amazon unveils its Fire phone, which sports a less less powerful Snapdragon CPU (appears to be the 800 or 801).
Jun. 12, 2014, 6:01 PM
- Pictures said to depict Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) Galaxy F flagship phone have surfaced. In-line with past rumors - they referred to the phone as the S5 Prime - the pictures show a device with a metal case, a feature users partial to the iPhone's aluminum cases have long clamored for.
- Evleaks, generally a reliable source for mobile scoops, reports the Galaxy F will have a 2560x1440 display (also backed by previous rumors), Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 805 CPU, and a 16MP camera with optical image stabilization (OIS). A September launch is expected. The Galaxy S5 has a 1080p display, and its 16MP camera lacks OIS.
- Likewise, SamMobile has reported the Galaxy Note 4 (also expected in the Sep. timeframe) will have a 2K display and a 16MP camera with a Sony OIS module. A mixture of Qualcomm and Samsung processors will be used (similar to the S5).
- Korean media, meanwhile, has reported Samsung wants to eventually launch an 8"-9" tablet with an OLED display that can be folded twice to create a smartphone-like form factor in terms of height and width (but probably not thickness). An early 2015 launch is reportedly being eyed.
- The Galaxy F/Note 4 reports come with Apple widely expected to launch 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones this fall.
Jun. 9, 2014, 4:17 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is thinking of investing $1B to build a third electronics plant in Vietnam - likely at a high-tech park in Ho Chi Minh City.
- The investment would significantly grow Samsung's footprint in an increasingly popular low-cost manufacturing hub. As it is, Samsung has been shifting production from China to Vietnam on account of rising wages in the former country.
- Samsung's efforts to keep costs down come as it deals with toughening low-end Android competition from Chinese OEMs and white-label firms. Low-end competition was arguably the biggest reason Samsung's smartphone share slipped in Q1 following many uninterrupted quarters of share gains.
Jun. 5, 2014, 8:43 AM| 1 Comment
Jun. 2, 2014, 3:10 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF) has announced its first commercial smartphone using the Tizen open-source platform. The Samsung Z featuring the new system will be available in Russia in the third quarter before expanding to other markets.
- Tizen is being developed with companies including Intel (INTC) and Vodafone (VOD).
- The new platform is revolutionary for Samsung, as the company is the world’s biggest maker of mobile devices using Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android operating system.
- Previously, Tizen was only used on Samsung smartwatches. The watches went on sale in April.
May. 30, 2014, 4:48 PM
- Engadget reports Samsung (SSNLF) is partnering with Oculus VR (FB) to build a mobile/media-focused VR headset.
- Not surprisingly, Oculus is said to be handling the product's software/UI, and Samsung the hardware. Unlike the gaming-focused Oculus Rift, the headset won't have a display of its own, but will instead (using a slot within the device) rely on a smartphone to act as its screen.
- The phone's rear camera can allow a user to stay connected to the outside world, and might also enable augmented reality apps. Oculus is reportedly providing Samsung with an early version of its mobile SDK,
- As part of the tie-up, Samsung is providing Oculus with OLED displays sporting resolutions above 1080p for its own hardware; Universal Display (OLED) should be happy to hear that. The latest Rift dev. kit (DK2) features a 5" 1080p OLED display.
- Mark Zuckerberg has insisted from the start the Oculus deal is about enabling a wide variety of VR applications, of which gaming is just one.
May. 27, 2014, 2:44 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF) chairman Lee Kun-hee has regained consciousness after being in a coma for more than two weeks following a heart attack. An official statement calls the prognosis for Lee's cognitive function "hopeful given the extent of his neurological recovery."
- Lee has been Samsung's chairman since 1987, overseeing the company's meteoric rise. Lee Jae-yong, his eldest son and the vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, is seen as the most likely successor.
May. 25, 2014, 6:54 AM
- Apple (AAPL) is seeking a sales ban on nine older models of Samsung (SSNLF) phones after it won a lawsuit which found that the South Korean company infringed on three patents.
- Although Apple won $120M of the $2.2B it sought in the case, the tech giant argues that a ban would be more important than monetary damages.
- While Apple also infringed one Samsung patent, the latter has yet to pursue a ban on Apple products.
- Meanwhile, Apple, along with Adobe (ADBE), Intel (INTC) and Google (GOOG), has confirmed a report that they have agreed to pay $324M to settle claims they limited competition by conspiring not to hire each others' workers.
May. 23, 2014, 1:45 PM
- Korea's ETNews.com reports Samsung (SSNLF) and LG (LGEIY) are interested in adopting sapphire cover glass for their phones, and recently asked sapphire wafer/ingot makers to submit samples.
- The site adds the companies were previously reluctant to adopt sapphire due to its steep cost, but have changed their minds following Apple's embrace of the technology.
- Like much of the industry, Samsung/LG have been avid users of Corning's (GLW +0.5%) Gorilla Glass. Sapphire cover glass is thinner, stronger, and more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass, but also much more costly for now. Samsung took a 7.4% stake in Corning last year as part of a deal to sell its stake in the Samsung Corning JV.
- GT Advanced (GTAT +8%), currently quite busy ramping sapphire production for Apple, has shot higher on the report. Though GT has said its Apple deal "will be subject to certain exclusivity terms during the duration of the agreement," there could still be a long-term opportunity to service other OEMs. Moreover, stronger industry demand stands to improve GT's pricing power.
- SA author Matt Margolis notes the Apple exclusivity deal doesn't cover GT's sapphire laminate solutions (enabled by its Hyperion tech).
- Sapphire wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN +4.8%) is also up sharply, aided by an Oppenheimer upgrade.
May. 19, 2014, 6:33 PM
- The Korea Times reports Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) are once more in talks to settle their far-reaching global patent battle. A source: "Samsung has recently resumed working-level discussions with Apple and the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits ... Some more time will be needed to fix terms of details such as royalty payments."
- The report comes after Apple reached a settlement with Google/Motorola Mobility that didn't feature a patent cross-license, and was awarded $120M in damages (less than a requested $2B) from a CA jury earlier this month in a Samsung suit. Apple is receiving undisclosed licensing fees from HTC as part of a 10-year settlement reached in 2012.
- Separately, 9to5 Mac reports new retail chief Angela Ahrendts is laying out "a three-part vision for the future of Apple retail: an emphasis on China, mobile payments, and completely revamping the end-to-end Apple Store sales experience."
- Apple has already said it plans to triple its Chinese store count to 30 by 2016, and has been reported to be working on a mobile payments service. As part of her retail overhaul, Ahrendts is reportedly interested in "blurring the lines between Apple’s online and physical stores."
May. 16, 2014, 7:39 PM
- Apple (AAPL) and Motorola Mobility (GOOG) have agreed to settle all outstanding litigation between the companies in a deal that (notably) doesn't feature a patent cross-license. Apple and Google have also "agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform."
- The settlement comes ahead of the $2.91B sale of Motorola Mobility by Google to Lenovo (LNVGY). Google has said it'll retail most of Motorola's sizable patent portfolio.
- Apple settled its legal battle with HTC in 2012. That agreement included a cross-licensing deal with undisclosed terms.
- Is Samsung (SSNLF) next? Apple's legal victories against Samsung haven't made a large dent in Samsung's balance sheet, nor done much to affect Samsung's Android phone sales. Apple and Samsung execs held mediated talks in February, and also reportedly discussed a settlement last year.
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