smartphones

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Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Samsung Galaxy S5 (Getty)

South Koreans consumers will be able to jump the global queue for Samsung Electronics’ new flagship smartphone, after mobile operators put it on sale two weeks ahead of the official launch date. Read more

Forecast that a market is going to grow by a third, investors start to salivate. Tell them it is smartphones and mouths go dry. There was a time when owning Samsung or Apple and shorting BlackBerry or HTC was an easy trade. But things got harder a year or two ago; competition appears to be eroding high-end handset profits.

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Who says the PC is dead? Lenovo’s notebook sales rose 8 per cent year-on-year in the three months to September, a period when global industry shipments fell by 12 per cent.

Fiscal second quarter results on Thursday showed clearly that the Chinese company is not just the world’s biggest PC maker, it is also the only one that has its act together: Acer this week lost its second chief executive in three years, HP still has at least three years to go in its turnaround plan, and Dell has retreated from the public markets to nurse its wounds. 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

Samsung’s unveiling of its first curved smartphone screen today has bent out of shape a few reviewers and analysts. Read more

There is more than one way to lead in the smartphone industry, and China is at work on all of them.

No longer content to copy foreign products. China is developing brands to compete with Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi is known as its answer to Apple, and Huawei and ZTE, the equipment companies, have moved into handsets.

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Elop (l) and Ballmer in 2011

Why now? The key seems to be Microsoft’s ambition.

Since it joined forces with Nokia in mobiles in 2011, neither company has prospered. Microsoft remains a distant third to Google and Apple in terms of operating systems, while Nokia’s share of the smartphone market has collapsed from 17 per cent in 2011 to 3 per cent in the first half of this year, according to Gartner.

“We know we are number three in the market, we’re not number two or one and we need to accelerate,” Steve Ballmer, chief executive, told the FT’s Richard MilneRead more

India has overtaken Japan to become the world’s third largest market for smartphones, joining China and the US on the podium.

In some ways, it’s unsurprising. With a population of over a billion people India is bound eventually to be among the largest markets for pretty much anything. What is interesting is how Indians are using their phones – and the local handset makers that are seeing lightning fast growth.

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