Consumer Electronics

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.)

 Read more

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