Consumer Electronics

Here’s Apple’s play in the world of cars, and it’s called, er, CarPlay. Read more

Sirgoo Lee, chief executive of the South Korean mobile messaging company Kakao, chuckles when asked about Facebook’s acquisition of rival WhatsApp for $19bn. “All I can say is that’s a lot of money,” he says.

While it has a strong presence in India and Hong Kong, WhatsApp is a marginal player in many parts of Asia writes Simon Mundy. Kakao, Japan-based LINE and China-headquartered WeChat dominate mobile messaging in their respective home territories, and are fighting for control of the market in southeast Asia. The Japanese internet company Rakuten, meanwhile, last month spent $900m on Viber, an Israeli company that provides similar free calling and messaging services. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Friday’s Personal Tech column reviewed the Narrative Clip, a small wearable camera that takes a photo every 30 seconds. Although it is a well-made product, I encountered some difficulties with the privacy aspects of wearing such a device, and felt that the images it produced were not worth the social awkwardness that it created.

Narrative’s co-founders are a thoughtful bunch and Oskar Kalmaru, the start-up’s chief marketing officer, sent the FT these comments in response: Read more

Apple doesn’t do down-market.

We’ve always known this about the premium device maker, but its first quarter results hammered home how this is becoming a problem for the iPhone creator. Read more

Are phablets more phabtastic now that Apple appears to be showing an interest?

The signs are that a product of unwieldy phone size and ugly monicker is winning at least some admirers. Read more

It was a skunkworks project that whiffed for Intel’s incoming chief executive.

Now the world’s biggest chipmaker has announced the sale of its nascent internet TV service to the communications-provider-with-big-TV-ambitions Verizon. Read more

Getty Images

There’s an interesting note on François-Henri Pinault’s official bio page on the Kering website.Aafter a the usual title/school/professional background stuff, the last line is: “He takes a personal and professional interest in sustainability and the development of e-business.”

It’s the last bit that struck me, given that on Tuesday M Pinault (left, with wife Salma Hayek), through his holding company Artemis became a meaningful investor in Square, the mobile payments company started by Twitter guy Jack Dorsey.

M Pinault was staying mum about the private share purchase, but it makes sense to me on many levels, besides the obvious one above. And I think it may hint at some tantalising possibilities for the future. (Tantalising to speculate on, anyway.)

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The internet search startup, which went on to resemble a media company with its content services, is becoming all about the hardware these days. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The verdict is in and it’s unanimous. The best gadget of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show 2014 is not a curved television, a health-tracking wristband, a Bluetooth speaker or a connected car; in fact, it’s not even a finished product. Yet the latest prototype of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has so excited attendees that tech blogs the Verge and Engadget – not to mention this FT reporter – have named it their “best in show”. Read more

Monday was all about the big technology companies planting their flags in the areas believed to have a mainstream impact in 2014 – but it was telling that their choices of which segment to claim leadership in was rather varied: Read more

A new year brings a new perspective on Apple, with Wells Fargo analysts sensing a power shift for the iPhone maker and downgrading it from “Outperform” to “Market Perform”.

The stagecoach sages are turning bearish on worries that gross margins will come under pressure later this year with the iPhone 6, which would require new, more expensive components if the historic trend of a fresh design being introduced is repeated. Read more

Here’s the perfect Christmas present for the ultimate Apple fan – the Cupertino, California company has just announced a computer featuring perhaps its most striking design to date is available to order from tomorrowRead more

Photo: AFP/Getty

BlackBerry bosses’ thumbs must be getting tired. The company’s acting CEO John Chen has banged out another open letter to “valued enterprise customers and partners”, sprinkled with acronyms and suggesting a return to the group’s “heritage and roots” in “enterprise grade, end-to-end mobile solutions”.

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As Japan strives to remain at the technological forefront, why is it that its companies are so averse to the idea of merging? Too many make the same thing yet do not get around to pooling their resources. The FT’s Special Report on Japan’s technology and innovation investigates this phenomenon, while looking at some of the latest in Japanese design, writes Peter ChapmanRead more

Hannah Kuchler

Apple, the world’s largest public company by market capitalisation, has a problem. The lawyer appointed to ensure it is not price-fixing e-book sales is just too expensive.

The iPhone and iPad maker complained to the New York court this week that Michael Bromwich’s $1,100 an hour fee is “excessive” and he has not justified it as either “reasonable” or customary”. Read more

Industry watchers scrutinise Apple announcements as hard as a customer might look at its high-resolution Retina displays, trying to see the individual pixels that are supposed to be indistinguishable to the human eye.

Thus, this morning’s announcement – that the iPad mini with its own new Retina display is now on sale – will be subject to the usual intense analysis. Read more

 

For the first time in eight years, almost the entire top management team at Samsung Electronics will present themselves on Wednesday before an audience of about 350 analysts and investors at Seoul’s Shilla Hotel.

The full-day event will feature addresses from eight executives, who will also take questions. Chairman Lee Kun-hee and his son, vice-chairman Jae-yong, will not be on stage – but this represents a rare opportunity for the audience to press senior figures about Samsung’s long-term strategy, writes Simon Mundy.

So what are the key questions surrounding the future of the world’s biggest technology company by sales? Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Rihanna gives away a personalised HTC phone on stage

How badly is smartphone maker HTC doing?

By many measures, very badly. October sales are down 13 per cent year on year. Revenue next quarter could be as low as NT$40bn, a third less than the same quarter last year and lower than analysts’ expectations. And after reporting its first ever quarterly operating loss as a company in the third quarter, it shows no sign of returning to profit in the fourth.

But one measure in particular, released today with its full third quarter results, shows the Taiwanese company’s travails — its accounts payable. That measures how long it is taking the company to pay its bills to its suppliers, who make the parts of its phones. Read more

It is deja vue time for Sony investors as the Japanese electronics company revises down its income expectations again.

The profit warning is the latest in a slew of downgrades over the past few years – in 2011 Sony infamously downgraded its net income forecasts four times.

The red bars below are Sony’s net income forecasts for 2011 at various times, and the blue bar shows the actual net loss of Y456.7bn.

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Richard Waters

Apple may have beaten Wall Street’s revenue and profit expectations with its latest quarterly earnings on Monday, but the market’s skittishness about the durability of its profit margins was much in evidence. Earnings guidance, on the face of it, seemed to point to steady margin erosion in the coming months. But Apple was able to silence the doubters – for this quarter, at least.

Read on for details of the earnings and our coverage of the earnings call as it happened.