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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become the No. 3 smartphone company in the world - but don't expect it to jump into new markets just for the sake of expansion. Xiaomi is focusing on China, India and Indonesia, for example, while Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Turkey and Thailand will have to wait until later down the road.
"We have to build better and better products making sure they're catered to each market and sold at the best possible price," said Hugo Barra, Xiaomi VP of global operations.
As Xiaomi continues to grow, the company will likely need its own manufacturing plants - and lessen the burden on its partners. However, it appears Xiaomi management is prepared to have new markets wait as it is able to establish itself further - showing impressive logic that other companies don't necessarily appreciate until it's too late.
Sonim has just unveiled the "world's most rugged LTE/Wi-Fi/Android smartphone" with its new XP7 Extreme, featuring a 4-inch 800x480 "glove touchscreen" and oh-so-much more. The company has taken to Indiegogo to raise $150,000 for this awesome device, with the campaign ending on January 7, 2015.
The 4-inch display may be low-res in this QHD world we live in, but it is a high-visible display which is viewable in direct sunlight, a powerful 103 dB speaker, the keys and screen can be used with heavy or wet gloves, it's rated at IP68, which means the XP7 Extreme can be fully submerged in water at up to 6.5 feet, for up to 30 minutes, as well as being rated at IP69, for resistance to high temperature pressure wash.
The Sonim XP7 Extreme is also drop and impact resistant, surviving drops up to 6.5 feet onto concrete, from any angle. It can be used in temperatures ranging from -4C to 131F, can survive in extreme pressures of up to one metric ton, is resistant to oils and chemicals, and is also puncture resistant. But don't worry, Sonim (even with all these technologies keeping it safe) still offer a 3-year comprehensive warranty, covering accidental damage.
Hardware maker Intel wanted to rely on its desktop, laptop and server CPUs, and missed the mobile boat when the smartphone and tablet markets began to soar. The company has managed to get its CPUs in tablets, giving away millions of chips to manufacturers, and will continue to expand its offerings in 2015.
"All is not well," said Andy Bryant, Intel board chairman, when speaking at the Intel annual investor meeting. "We are aware we're losing logs of money trying to gain presence in the mobility space. I'm not proud of the money we're losing, but I'm not embarrassed by it. This is the price we pay for sitting on the sidelines for a number of years. We're fighting our way back into a market. We will improve this. We will not accept a business to lose billions of dollars. We are getting back in."
Despite dropping growth in the tablet market - as saturation continues to increase - the mobile market will remain a viable goal for hardware manufacturers. Even though Intel has greatly struggled trying to enter the space, profitability in smartphones, tablets, and other devices can be achieved.
Willing to give up your Apple iPhone in favor of the BlackBerry Passport? If so, BlackBerry is ready to hand over up to $550. Starting next month, BlackBerry will offer up to $400 in cash and a $150 prepaid gift card, depending on iPhone model and condition. The promotion will run from Dec. 1 until Feb. 13.
BlackBerry has struggled to reinvet itself - on multiple occasions - as ioS and Google Android smartphones quickly took over the market.BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants to be diligent in his efforts to turn the company around, and winning over previous customers is a valuable step in that direction.
Smartphone video calling is growing in popularity throughout the United States, and it appears 50 million adult smartphone owners in the US currently embrace video calling. The statistics top 60 million when researchers include people aged 17 and younger.
Not surprisingly, adoption rates are skewed towards younger demographics, as video calling in the 18 to 24 age group was as high as 53.5 percent in the US.
"Based on these survey findings, we believe one of the use cases that has seemed marginal for some time now warrants much greater attention - and that is video calling," said Atsuro Sato, Gartner senior research analyst. "Person-to-person video calling, especially using smartphones, has reached very high numbers in the U.S., particularly among the younger demographics. Although the U.S> results were ahead of Germany, we believe they show the direction that other markets will follow, with important implications for product managers and marketers of smartphones."
The tablet market has seen massive deceleration this year, and while year-over-year growth still accounted for 7.2 percent, the figure is down from 52.5 percent in 2013, according to the IDC research group. There will be 235.7 million tablets shipped in 2014, and is a clear indicator consumers need full functionality of PCs and smartphones.
Android has seen 16 percent year-over-year tablet market growth, now amounting for 67.7 percent of the market - Apple iOS is the No. 2 spot, but struggled, losing 12.7 percent year-over-year. Microsoft Windows saw 67.3 percent year-over-year and now has 4.6 percent control of the tablet market.
"The tablet market continues to be impacted by a few major trends happening in relevant markets," said Ryan Reith, IDC Program Director. "In the early stages of the tablet market, device lifecycles were expected to resemble those of smartphones, with replacement occurring every 2-3 years. What has played out instead is that many tablet owners are holding onto their devices for more than 3 years and in some instances more than 4 years. We believe the two major drivers for longer than expected tablet lifecycles are legacy software support for older products, especially within iOS, and the increased use of smartphones for a variety of computing tasks."
AMD is reportedly stepping away from the tablet chip market as they enter into yet another restructuring period. AMD has struggled financially over the last several years, and the low-margin tablet market isn't likely to provide them much relief. Tablet sales are declining, and the market is awash in Apple and economically-priced Chinese tablets. The beleaguered AMD is changing their focus to the low-wattage CPU space and custom chips for their customers, such as the Microsoft XBOX and the Sony PlayStation 4.
These two custom projects are projected to provide AMD with billion in sales alone, and they indicate that other custom projects are in the works. AMD is not releasing a new tablet chip this year, instead staying with their Mullins chip for the entirety of next year. AMD does not provide chip roadmaps more than a year out, so it is hard to determine if they will ever offer a new line of their currently unsuccessful tablet processors. Intel has also recently took a drubbing in the tablet PC market, as outlined during their recent investor conference, and has shifted priorities as they move forward.
Apple iPhone 6 models have been the subject of controversy and swirling rumors lately due to constant rebooting issues. Industry insiders opined that the crashing and reboot loops, only present on specific iPhone 6 models, is due to the use of TLC NAND. TLC NAND is denser and marginally cheaper than its MLC counterpart, but suffers from less endurance and lower performance. Apple only uses TLC NAND in select models with a lot of storage, and the 64GB iPhone and the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus are perfect examples. Whether or not TLC is at the root of the issue remains up for debate, and reports are circulating that Apple will abandon TLC entirely. Kbench, a Korean benchmark developer, has released tests of the 64GB iPhone 6 with MLC NAND against the same model with TLC NAND.
Unfortunately the released tests are limited to write benchmarking. TLC has inherent limitations with random write activity, but fares much better with read workloads. Mobile devices aren't subjected to as much heavy random write data as PC's, and as a general statement TLC fares well with sequential data. We mention this because these tests focused on random write data, which is the worst case scenario for mobile devices. Some read performance benchmarks would also be very helpful, and we are reaching out to Kbench for read performance results.
The Zero Fill test (at the top of the graphic) shows TLC blowing away the MLC competition. Zero Fill isn't a real-world test, it merely writes zero's to every address on the storage device. What isn't mentioned, however, is that this amazing speed with TLC hints at possible compression technology. It is interesting no one has connected the dots on this. SSDs that utilize compression and data reduction technology write Zero Fill data extremely quickly because compression algorithms can compress zero's so well that very little data actually hits the flash. One of the biggest challenges with TLC NAND comes on the endurance front. TLC NAND does not last as long as MLC NAND, and compressing the data results in less data actually written to the NAND, thus increasing endurance. Apple spent an estimated $500 million for Anobit, a company that was brought in specifically to increase the endurance of TLC NAND. Anobit doesn't entirely explain how they accomplish this feat, but adding compression in tandem with other techniques makes perfect sense.
AC Ryan has just unveiled their fresh new 4K video player, known as the VEOLO 4K. AC Ryan's VEOLO 4K features a "staunch focus" on its User Experience (UX), with a fresh UI that is easy for users to navigate their Ultra HD media player.
The company has used what they discovered from their VEOLO 2 into their VEOLO 4K player, with some serious horsepower inside. The VEOLO 4K features a 1.8GHz quad-core Cortex-A17 ARM-based processor, a Mali T-764 GPU, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and 16GB of on-board NAND flash storage. There's H.265 hardware decoding abilities, HDMI 2.0 out that allowed for the 3840x2160 output, Android 4.4 KitKat as its OS, Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
AC Ryan supports the usual slew of media codecs, such as H.264, H.265 (video codec for 4K content), MPEG-4, MVC 4096x2048. Supported formats include but is not limited to AVI, BD-ISO, MKV, MOV, MP4, VOB among others. The company adds: "Having said that, Dolby & DTS naturally comes as a given, wrapping up the UHD experience". Inside of the box, it will include the VEOLO 4K itself, an IR remote, HDMI 1.4a cable, composite AV cables, 5V DC adapter and a quick guide. The company also sells a USB-based RF VEO Navigator Air Mouse, which is around $47, while the player itself is $239.
A new battery recharging solution from Israel promises to recharge smartphones in just 30 seconds, with nanotechnology synthesizing artificial molecules. The new battery stores a higher charge, and while it is still far too large to use while on the go, StoreDot hopes a slim model will be available by 2016.
As the number of smartphone owners is expected to reach almost 1.75 billion by the end of the year, finding new mobile charging solutions will be critical.
"These are new materials, they have never been developed before," said Doron Myersdorf, StoreDot founder and CEO.