LG and Samsung give Apple a case of the bends

8 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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LG and Samsung muscle their flex.

LG and Samsung are firing press releases at each other, each claiming to have the first flexible OLED smartphone screen. Samsung teased their new technology at CES earlier this year, while LG unveiled its flex screen yesterday. Regardless of who is first, it’ll create marketing buzz for both companies as they build speed through the fall selling season.

A flexible screen means you can do cool things with design, like offering more useable screen real estate in more interesting ways.… More

Samsung 2, Apple 1

10 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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Sell me another one, not like the other one.

Apple’s reality distortion field did not die with Steve Jobs. Much of the press coverage of today’s announcement of two new iPhone models concluded that the iPhone 5c is aimed at defending global Apple’s market share by moving away from the saturated high end of the smart phone market.

The problem with that idea is that the cheapest unsubsidised 5c costs $549, well north of the low end smart phone offerings of Samsung, ZTE, Huawei, LG and others, which come comfortably under $200.… More

ZTE might get some developer love with cheap Firefox phone

17 August 2013 by Steve Blum
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Or it might be chasing its tail.

ZTE isn’t big in the U.S. Only the least of the four major mobile carriers – Sprint – offers a branded ZTE smart phone on its website and then just a single model. Its only distinguishing feature is the number of flaming negative reviews written by unhappy buyers.

With little to lose, ZTE is bypassing mobile carriers and going direct-to-geek by selling an unlocked $80 phone – the Open – running the new Firefox mobile operating system on eBay.… More

Diversify and conquer

Amazonian elephant coming up from behind.

There were three global technology elephants left standing at the close of the Consumer Electronics Show in January – Samsung, Google and Apple. Microsoft was last seen rumbling toward the elephant’s graveyard and the two likeliest candidates to replace it, Amazon and Facebook, were still shy of the necessary bulk.

Recent days have shown why Samsung and Google will rule the herd for a long time to come.

Google has so many market-default services that it’s accounting for 25% of daily Internet traffic, with 60% of the world’s devices touching it every day.… More

HTC won't help its shrinking share by shrinking a phone

19 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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It used to be bigger.

Combined, Samsung and Apple are selling about half the world’s smart phones, with 30% and 19% market share respectively in 2012 according to IDC. Much of Samsung’s growth from 19% in 2011 came out of HTC’s hide. Its share was cut in half over same period, dropping below 5% and putting it more or less in a tie with Nokia and Blackberry.

At least it was still in the top five then.… More

Apple plays market leader again with Hotspot 2.0

13 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Seamless offloading of cellular data traffic onto WiFi networks is a big step closer. Apple announced that version 7 of iOS and the next generation of iPhones will support the Hotspot 2.0 standard. The new capability should start appearing this fall.

The idea is to allow users to automatically authenticate on a WiFi hotspot blessed by their carrier when it’s available. Data traffic would then be routed via WiFi until the user moves out of range.… More

The Electric Blackberry Acid Test

5 May 2013 by Steve Blum
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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

I was wrong to say that Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins doesn’t seem to be the sort of CEO that might dabble in hallucinogens. First he claimed victory over Apple in the smart phone wars, and last week followed up with a declaration that tablets are dead.

We need Hunter S. Thompson. Now. He broke the ibogaine story in the 1972 presidential race and would quickly find any ambient pharmaceuticals floating through the Blackberry corporate ecosystem.… More

Another week, another Apple obit

21 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Actually, I’m waiting for the new Star Wars movie.

Traffic in major U.S. cities is snarled as lines of hopeful buyers camp out in front of AT&T stores and spill into the street, awaiting tomorrow’s launch of the Blackberry Z10. Okay, I haven’t actually seen it, but based on CEO Thorsten Heins’ declaration of victory over Apple, it must be happening. What else could explain his exuberance? He doesn’t seem like the sort to dabble in hallucinogens.… More

Mobile OS buzz for some, deafening silence for others

3 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Firefox hasn’t quite landed yet.

Firefox has sharpened the debate over prospects for HTML5. The open source, connectivity-centric mobile operating system developed by the Mozilla Foundation gained a lot of attention at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Sceptical attention, mostly.

When the OS landscape is so thoroughly dominated by two superpowers – Apple and Google – it’s risky to bet on a challenger. Several mobile carriers expressed support, but manufacturers lagged behind. Geeksphone, a small Spanish company, had demo units to show at Barcelona, but missed its February ship date for SDKs.… More

HP needs more style, less substance

9 February 2013 by Steve Blum
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First new Chevy of the 80s.

Hewlett Packard is the latest high tech company to distance itself from reported labor practices used by some Chinese contract manufacturers. It’s telling its suppliers to limit the number of student-age workers, the type of work they do and the hours they work.

The email to HP’s suppliers follows similar measures by Apple and Samsung. Two weeks ago, Apple said that a labor contractor used by one of its Chinese suppliers was forging documents in order to hire underage workers.… More