Consumer Electronics

Tim Bradshaw

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Apple’s appearance on the catwalk with Burberry last month should have given us clues to more than next season’s fashions. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Nest, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known hardware startups, unveiled the follow-up to its “smart thermostat” on Tuesday: a talking smoke alarm that can send alerts to an app.

The Nest Protect has already received praise for its slick design and imaginative touches, such as motion-sensing nightlights and a woman’s voice to warn more gently of rising smoke than the traditional buzzer. These are not features you often associate with a humble smoke alarm. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Environmentally conscious or just clumsy people buying a smartphone are better off with a new Samsung or Motorola than with one of the new iPhones.

A new ranking from iFixit, a group that specialises in tearing apart phones to figure out to repair them, looks how easy it is to fix the top smartphones on the market. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Backlash? What backlash? Adoption of Apple’s latest update to iOS has been strong in its first 24 hours, despite fears that some iPhone owners would freak out at its bright colours and new design. Installs of iOS 7 are ahead of iOS 6 at the same point last year, according to external estimates. Read more

Mobile operators have warned that customers shouldn’t expect to easily buy an iPhone 5s when it goes on sale this weekend – but there will be plenty of the cheaper multi-hued 5c model lying around for the casual Apple fan.

While sell-outs are expected of Apple’s latest premium iPhone 5s in many phone stores this weekend in the UK, the colourful, lower cost device will be well-stocked, according to several operator sources close to the retail end of the business. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It’s the biggest day in the Apple calendar: the iPhone launch. This year, for the first time, Apple unveiled two new smartphones: the upgraded 5S, with a 64-bit chip and fingerprint scanner, and the all-new 5C, with plastic casing in a handful of colours.

Tim Bradshaw was at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and April Dembosky reported from San Francisco.

 

Tim Bradshaw

Samsung took to the stage in Berlin to become the first major smartphone maker to launch a smart watch accessory, beating Apple, Google and other rivals to market, and hoping to recapture the innovation initiative in the process. Tim Bradshaw and Paul Taylor report from the “Unpacked Episode 2″ event. 

A South Korean website has unearthed trademark and patent filings by Samsung regarding a possible smartwatch. That’s a reminder that – while Samsung and Apple squabble over old intellectual property – they will soon have a whole new set of designs to fight over.

In the drawings, Samsung’s device looks like a smartphone bent round a wrist. Unlike similar products from Sony, LG and Pebble, it has a flexible screen rather than the familiar usual strap. Read more

The world of video gaming used to be dominated by the big publishers releasing games on consoles and the PC. But the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming and new digital distribution channels has led to a big increase in successful indie games. Reaching a large audience used to be about having the biggest budget or the most successful franchise. That isn’t the case today, writes Daniel Garrahan. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Alibaba, China’s ambitious internet conglomerate, has spread its reach from e-commerce to finance, and now to internet television. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It is three months since Apple announced a whopping $100bn return of cash to investors, topping up its existing $45bn dividend plans with what it billed as the biggest share buyback scheme in American corporate history.

In the weeks that followed that announcement, Apple’s shares soared, finally emerging from the months-long funk that saw them dip below $400. But that rally went into reverse as soon as Apple paid its next dividend on May 9.  Read more

Just a few weeks ago, Foxconn was apologising profusely for poor performance as rival contract manufacturer Pegatron was riding high on reports that it had won out over Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturer, for a contract to make Apple’s upcoming cheaper version of its iPhone.

Things have changed. Now it’s Pegatron’s shares that are falling, battered by local reports that it is will not get as many orders as initially forecast, with Foxconn getting them instead.

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(and only one is, can we play with it?)

In a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page, the officials – from the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and three Canadian provinces – have formally raised their concerns about Glass.

Here are their questions and our brief commentary: Read more

It may seem hard to understand how one could go bankrupt selling iPads and MacBooks in one of Europe’s richest countries, but that is what happened Tuesday to iCentre, the largest Apple reseller in the Netherlands, writes Matt Steinglass in Amsterdam.

A judge in the Dutch town of Haarlem proclaimed the 34-store chain bankrupt on Tuesday, after a week of negotiations between the company, its creditors and potential buyers failed to produce a rescue plan. And on closer inspection, iCentre’s fate is not so hard to explain. Like other Apple resellers, iCentre was coping with a long-term shift from notebook and desktop computer sales towards smartphones and tablets, which have lower profit margins. Read more

It’s not just Apple that can generate sales buzz in China for new devices. A couple of weeks on from Amazon’s Kindle launch in China, and the new e-reading devices are becoming hot properties.

The company told beyondbrics in an email that the two Kindle tablets were sold out “almost immediately” and customers are leaving their contact information for the waiting list to be next in line for new stocks.

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Tim Bradshaw

As the hardware startups battling for a place in your “smart” home multiply, one area has become a key battlefront: the front door.

Lockitron, Kwikset’s Kevo, Kisi and others are already in various stages of development to create door locks that can be opened with a smartphone.

Now a San Francisco startup called August, led by serial entrepreneur Jason Johnson, is hoping to unlock the market with help from its designer co-founder, Yves Behar of Fuseproject. Read more

Microsoft has closed a patent licensing deal with ZTE, one of the top five manufacturers of Android smartphones.

The deal is Microsoft’s first with a leading Chinese company, marking an important milestone in the software giant’s multi-year campaign to squeeze licensing revenues out of smartphone vendors and manufacturers.

“Experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street,” said Horacio Gutierrez, general counsel for Microsoft, “and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights.” Read more

Indian makers of tablet computers are elbowing their way into the domestic market, which is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years, writes Avantika Chilkoti

Although Samsung and Apple feature strongly in the Indian tablet market, figures from the International Data Corporation, an information technology research company, show India’s two leading domestic manufacturers have grabbed a market share of more than 20 per cent.

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Richard Waters

A new technology platform needs new apps. And new apps need funding.

So it is that two of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms – Kleiner Perkins and Andreessen Horowitz – have got together with Google Ventures to offer money to developers working on ideas for Google Glass. According to Kleiner partner John Doerr, this “goes well beyond the the world of websites, documents and mobile apps”. Read more