Monthly Archives: August 2012

Chris Nuttall

Sony’s huge push into 3D led by Sir Howard Stringer has dominated its announcements at recent consumer electronics shows on both sides of the Atlantic, with new products and frequent instructions to the audience to don their 3D glasses during presentations.

But 3D, which has failed to give a significant lift to Sony’s consistently loss-making TV business, didn’t rate a mention when Kaz Hirai, who took over as chief executive in April, conducted Sony’s press conference at the IFA show in Berlin on Wednesday.  Instead, the event climaxed with the unveiling of an 84in 4K LCD TV. Read more

Lenovo A270 Hero

The Lenovo A720 all-in-one

Widescreen TVs may be the norm these days, but not so much widescreen PCs. That may be about to change thanks to Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which encourages users to scroll across the screen rather than up and down.

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Chris Nuttall

Two more executives have left Zynga, the leading social gaming company whose stock has lost 70 per cent of its value since going public in December.

There has been a string of departures this month after the San Francisco-based company issued disappointing quarterly results and its stock price continued to slide. The latest to leave are vice presidents Bill Mooney and Brian Birtwistle. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Toshiba has confined its consumer storage offerings to its Canvio line of portable hard drives and external desktop drives to date, but the Canvio Personal Cloud unveiled on Thursday at the IFA show in Berlin sees the brand breaking out into network-attached storage (NAS) in the home.

The concept is around storing personal files in the “cloud” in the home rather than in a remote data centre that can mean subscription fees and slow uploads and downloads. The Canvio device, in 2Tb or 3Tb internal hard drive sizes, hooks up to a spare ethernet connection on the wireless router in the home to provide both local and remote connectivity. Read more

Chris Nuttall

HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba have been showing the shape of Windows 8 computing to come, unveiling hybrid PC/tablet devices that take advantage of the new dual-mode operating system when it launches on October 26.

HP has been demonstrating its Envy x2 (pictured left) to media in San Francisco, while its Asian rivals launched their takes on hybrid computing at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.  None of them have anything to fear from Apple in this area, in terms of patent disputes or rival devices, with Tim Cook, chief executive, describing such designs as being as unsatisfactory as combining a toaster with a refrigerator. Read more

This month Apple has achieved something almost as remarkable as transforming a phone into an iPhone. It has turned Samsung into an underdog.

That takes some doing. Samsung, with its 220,000 employees and 83 business divisions, astonishingly accounts for a fifth of South Korean exports and has such an overwhelming presence in its home market it is described by one detractor as an “aggressive octopus”. To regard it as the plucky – albeit “copycat” – upstart is the equivalent of getting people to root for Goliath on the grounds that “a big man like that just doesn’t stand a chance”.

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Tim Bradshaw

Valuations in technology mergers and acquisitions nearly doubled last year and have continued to rise into 2012, even as dealmaking has waned in other areas this year, a study has found.

American Appraisal, a valuation advisory group, said that on average, the multiples of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation that technology companies paid for acquisitions in 2011 leapt from 7.7x in 2010 to 14.1x in 2011, a trend it says has continued during 2012. Read more

Chris Nuttall

A year after launching its first tablet, Sony has announced a next-generation version, the Xperia Tablet S.

The new slate is a slimmer version of the original, battery life has been boosted from eight hours to a claimed 10 hours and new accessories have been added.  The Tablet S was unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin along with new smartphones, hybrid PCs and an 84in 4K LCD TV. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

At least one Android maker is optimistic right now.

Asus, the Taiwan based company behind Google’s Nexus 7 tab, announced some very ambitious sales goals on Wednesday, predicting that the company will grow leaps and bounds ahead of the overall flat PC market – and could even beat Samsung to become the number one manufacturer of Android tablets.

With the rest of the industry predicting far more modest growth, can Asus really deliver?

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Chris Nuttall

Logitech, the computer peripherals maker that has seen keyboards and mice sales hit by the advent of the smartphone and tablet, is expanding its premium Ultimate Ears (UE) brand to become a mass-market name for products that meet the musical needs of the Apple-led mobile crowd.

This necessary shift – Logitech admitted last year it had missed opportunities in this newer market – begins with the launch today of Logitech UE headphones, speakers and even an internet radio. Read more

Maija Palmer

Apple’s victory over Samsung in the patents dispute shone an interesting light on the murky world of patents. For one thing it demonstrated clearly that there are two different types of patents around mobile devices that operate very differently.

On the one hand you have patents that are to do with how the phone actually operates, how it connects calls and handles data. These are the standards essential patents and they are the things that companies like Samsung, Nokia and Motorola have a lot of, as they have been in the business of making phones for a very long time. Read more

The electronic glitch that cost Knight Capital Group $440m points to a new threat to our digital economy: technological risk.

As one of the largest and most technologically advanced broker-dealers in the US, much of Knight’s trading is handled electronically. Its growth is a reflection of Moore’s law, an observation on the trend towards ever cheaper, faster, and more powerful computer hardware.

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Chris Nuttall

Steve Perlman (pictured left), founder and chief executive of OnLive, has left the groundbreaking cloud gaming company following its restructuring this month.

While Mr Perlman was “departing to work on his myriad of other projects”, according to a company statement, OnLive had been the entrepreneur’s main focus for at least the last three years. Read more

Samsung’s legal defeat in California on Friday was a nasty PR moment for the South Korean tech behemoth: the jury ruled that Samsung had wilfully copied elements of Apple’s product design and user interface features, as it awarded a shade over $1bn in damages. Still, the near-7 per cent fall in Samsung’s share price on Monday morning was surprisingly sharp.

Continue reading: Samsung v Apple: no more playing nice

Origin PC's Millennium System

A device used just for video games might seem quaint when smartphones, ereaders, tablets and, increasingly, televisions offer fully featured gameplay. But two new computers aim to show why the more dedicated devices might still have the edge.

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Chris Nuttall

Evernote, the rapidly growing “external brain” service that stores the minutiae of our lives, has announced an Evernote Business service that will help workers share and collaborate on company-related information saved online.

The move marks Evernote’s continuing expansion from its core business of personal web-clippings and note-taking, after it began introducing social sharing of its notebooks in 2009. Read more

These are not happy days for Apple in China. The iconic American brand, outpaced by Samsung in its appeal among Chinese consumers since last year, is now also losing out to other smartphone competitors.

According to IDC, Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market by shipments fell by nearly half to 10 per cent in the second quarter from three months earlier. The company came fourth in a ranking topped by Samsung and Lenovo, the Chinese company that is also the world’s second-largest PC vendor.

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Tim Bradshaw

Facebook has overhauled its much-criticised application for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, in the social network’s latest attempt to tackle the challenging transition from desktop to mobileRead more

Maija Palmer

It has not been a great week for Sony employees, as the Japanese consumer electronics group carries out some late-summer pruning on its businesses. Around 1,000 people at Sony Mobile’s operations are to be let go, with two-thirds of the redundancies falling in Lund, Sweden,  as the headquarters of the mobile phone unit moves to Japan.

This was widely expected after Sony bought out Ericsson from their Sony Ericsson joint venture last year. In April this year, Sony had announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs globally. About half of these would come from the sale and spin-off of two subsidiaries, but detail about the rest is just starting to trickle through. Read more

After the dotcom bubble popped so spectacularly in 2000-2001, a few glum years for the technology industry have been followed by an equally spectacular run. Apple has roared back from near extinction and this week became the most valuable company in history. Facebook amassed users and mesmerised investors for years before Wall Street staged what now seems a wildly overpriced initial public offering.