Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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Spillikins є178. Galaxy Madness
It was a mad week with news pouring from everywhere more than we usually get in a month. Microsoft was making biggest news presenting a tablet family and Windows Phone 8 at two different events with another one in Amsterdam all dedicated to Windows 8.
The news that LG is quitting the tablet market passed almost unnoticed in all this noise. The LG rep said that his company is going to focus on smartphones and ditch the tablet program completely. Apparently, LG is leaving tablet due to the immense competition on that market. Besides, that market has gotten a bit tougher now that Windows RT is about to be released.
Many of you liked the 44 meter NTT DoCoMo xylophone so today I want to share a behind the scenes video about it.
Every time I get down to the Spillikins I keep telling myself to stay brief and every time there is a lot more I want to discuss. Just as this time and I hope you will like my selection as I find it pretty interesting.
Last week Microsoft presented Windows Phone 8 and announced that current WP phones will not be updated to WP8 causing a heap of problems for Nokia. The only condolence for WP7 owners is the upcoming 7.8 update, which is not bringing any big upgrades for WP7. The only purpose of the 7.8 update is to make it look like those who just got a WP7 phone did not waste his money. In my WP8 article I did not mention the current WP7 sales as I should have.
It is funny to watch how every Nokia PR campaign goes to no avail. What seems at first as great news for Nokia comes back a boomerang and hits the company hard. Nokia has been promoting the idea of its leadership on the Windows Phone market making it look like a big achievement even though they knew from the beginning Windows Phone was going to be fragmented one day when WP8 is released. A result of this is that today Nokia is heavily associated with Microsoft and its future depends on MS. Any problem of Microsoft is a tenfold problem of Nokia.
The news that the current Lumia family will never be updated to WP8 is not a very big deal for any WP manufacturer except for Nokia. Nokia has only released Lumia 900 in Europe, the flagship of Windows Phone 7.5 till September when the first WP8 smartphones are released. So if you bough a Lumia 900 this June you must be feeling cheated as the price has already went down by 7% which is a part of the 2011-2012 trend of the Lumia family. It has happened to Nokia 800, 710 and not its Lumia 900's turn.
Many European carriers doubted the point of releasing Lumia 900 at all since the next gen WP devices are to be released in September already. T-Mobile is one of the carriers who decided not to waste his time with Lumia 900 for obvious reasons like very poor sales of all Lumia products in Western Europe and no firmware updates in the future. They would have to try and sell a quite expensive phone which is going to lose half of its price in just three months.
Nokia's response was predictable and Lumia division head Kevin Shields in his interview to TheVerge said that firmware updates are not important as most people don't care about those things.
I don't think so Mr. Shields. Besides, his words disagrees with Nokia's stance on dying Symbian and their previous statements about Windows Phone.
Many journalists saw this Microsoft announcement as a backstabbing for Nokia dooming Lumia sales to fail miserably in the summer. And since the current sales data is depressing already (only 2.2 million Lumia devices sold in Q1 2012 and only 970K of them sold in Western Europe according to IDC) the optimistic summer scenario for Nokia is the same level of sales. This makes Nokia's position uncertain even on the small and unprofitable market of Windows Phone .
In regard to this news very few remember that Samsung and HTC too produce WP phones. But these two companies never bet their lives on the success of Windows Phone so its failure is not a big deal for them. In July Nokia will report Q2 data which promises to become the worst quarter in the history of Nokia. And I guess it will be followed by an even poorer Q3. I am sure that when in Q4 WP8 is released Nokia will call it the beginning of a new story as if they would not have been spending billions a year before trying to make Lumia popular.
During the international Nokia Russia event Nokia announced closing down their brand retail chain operated by Nosimo. I have covered this story a few times in the Spillikins:
By the end of the year all Nokia retail stores will be gone in Russia unless their owners decide to continue running them at their own expense. Nokia says that the reason they are doing it is because their current retail partners are just doing a better job. It is actually true when you have nothing to sell. And it is a perfect solution if your products are popular what Nosimo has proved switching their stores to Samsung brand retail chain. The first few weeks the new Samsung stores were visited by former Nokia clients and as sales associates say it was quite easy to make them interested in Samsung products. Right now the newly born Russian Samsung retail is doing twice better than the Nokia retail used to.
And the last thing I wanted to mention in regard to Nokia: after announcing another this time 10.000 big lay-off the CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop was spotted followed by two bodyguards. Until recently Elop had not been known to use private security, Finland is a safe place and he lives in a well-off district of Helsinki. In February 2012 Elop was giving a speech at a Nokia factory located in the town of Salo, Finland. He was reassuring the workers that they would not be fired. Most likely back then he knew already it was not true so he was blatantly lying to the workers. That might be the reason Elop feels unsafe these days.
In April this year I noticed that Qualcomm was putting more and more efforts into promoting their products. Apparently it was their reaction to NVIDIA with its Tegra. Then Qualcomm tried to make us think that it is not falling behind but 'focusing' on quality rather than quantity. Right now Qualcomm is doing everything to catch up and I am sure that a company as big and as strong can do a lot when it wants to. The processor market is turning another milestone and we will see lots of good action in 2013-2014 when a plethora of customized ARM processors with integrated GPUs hit the market. Then we will see who was making the right decisions. I have partly covered this story here.
The Snapdragon family will now be divided into several groups and subgroups. In 2011 Qualcomm divided the family into four classes: S1 for budget devices, S2 for more complex ones including home solutions, S3 even more powerful ones and, finally, S4 the top-notch flagship solutions. The company used the performance as the main criterion for this division and it may be logical but I think an average consumer will find it rather confusing. Look at this promo image and tell me how much time it took you to figure everything out:
Unless you are a geek or a nerd I am sure you had some difficulties with it. Compare this approach to NVIDIA promoting Tegra as a whole. Very few people ever heard of chipset version of Tegra 3 like AP33 or AP37 While Qualcomm I guess would have given each version a flashy name to confuse us.
it has come to be that Qualcomm processor typology is incredibly complex and diverse. On the one hand, it is a very good thing. But on the other, it makes it very hard explaining why this or that product is good. A year after they came up with the four classes Qualcomm introduces subclasses inside the S4 class practically negating the point of the previous classification. For example, MSM8255 used to be S2 but now it belongs to S4. Confusing, right? They turned the already not so clear thing upside down. So right now it looks like this:
I find it funny how manufacturers has fallen in love with the word 'prime'. I can think of six products with 'prime' in their names. Another whim of fashion.
I don't fancy this new Qualcomm typology at all and unless I am given a brochure to carry around I will never remember which one is which. Instead of making a proper promo Qualcomm created a multifaceted monster with a very short life span. I am pretty sure I am not the only one and most people will only be confused by all these names and indexes. And I have not yet told you the worst part: inside those subclasses possessors differ depending on the clock, number of cores, and whether they can work with Adreno graphical accelerator. Just wonderful.
I think Qualcomm should reconsider putting every processor they have into ads and instead think about getting the message to the average consumer and make them choose between reasonable two or thee choices. It is your partners who care about exact specs not us users.
It has been almost a month since Galaxy S3 was released and it yet premature to draw any conclusions but in terms of sales S3 has already set a few records no one expected it to. I thought it would be about twice more popular than S2 at the start. Then I learned about the quantities Samsung was thinking in and realized they wanted to satisfy all the demand however high focusing on the US in the first place. On the release date about 10 million S3 had been manufactured. The issue with the blue panels reduced the available quantity by the release a bit and the very first day Samsung had itself a short supply. It was not very big until sales began in the US. Carriers faced an avalanche of orders they were not ready for.
AT&T had to postpone the release of their S3 to 25th due to the incredible number of preorders Ц they did not even had enough handsets to put on display in every store. The AT&T S3 preorders alone covered all the carrier's supply for a week.
Samsung had planned a large number of ads and promo campaigns for the second half of June when S3 was released in the US. Apple made an unexpected gift to Samsung by filing a lawsuit demanding to ban S3 sales in the US due to patent violation (the initial lawsuit concerned Galaxy Nexus and two Apple patents). On June 14 a court in California dismissed Apple's claim. This story was widely covered in the American media and attracted a lot of attention to Galaxy S3 even before Samsung's PR began to work its magic. A few people working for American carriers told me that the number of preorders only increased with the publicity of legal claims.
Apple has inadvertently stimulated S3 sales by failing to fail it. Apple's PR department is working day and night trying to smear S3 in any way and I think it tells us that Apple take Galaxy S3 very seriously. I am sure that until October S3 is going to be very popular then we will have to see what the next iPhone looks like.
Terry Gou, the CEO of Foxconn, at one of his recent board meeting gave a speech and mentioned that Foxconn has started working with Sharp in order to defeat Samsung on the LCD TV and monitor market. He was using rather harsh expressions and said I quote 'I respect the Japanese and especially like their execution and communication styles. Unlike the Koreans, they will not hit you from behind'.
Many journalists have posted his quotes one stronger than another like here. A month ago Terry compared his employees to animals because they are so easily manipulated. He also mentioned then that Foxconn is going to do something concerning TV for Apple.
I am pretty sure that it was the very same meeting when Terry Gou described to his board just how savagely iPhone 5 is going to beat Galaxy S3 in his irrational rivalry with South Korean manufacturer. It is not about Apple vs. Samsung but rather about Samsung TVs vs. Foxconn TVs. But for S3 it is just a little bit more of publicity.
Walt Mossberg, a Wall Street Journal reporter, has given a rather warm review of S3.
S3 release was postponed by a week till June 27 for the same reason: an unexpected and huge short supply due to the large number of orders. Some American vendors like FutureShop and BestBuy were giving a small discounts for S3 preorders and as a result of this they stopped taking orders for S3 on June 12 already because they ran out of their own orders for S3.
The Windows Phone 8 presentation was a heavy blow for RIM and its latest Blackberry 10 OS. Well, to be precise it happened a bit earlier when Nokia purchased Scalado and all its digital photo technologies. At Blackberry World 2012 RIM was focusing public attention on how important media is in Blackberry and made a presentation on Scalado technologies to be featured in Blackberry 10 which impressed many people.
But now it will be Windows Phone 8 to be the first to feature the Scalado tech starting in October this year:
This is another nail into RIM coffin and the company has already announced another wave of lay-offs: two to six thousand employees are to be dismissed by the end of 2012 to save the company about a billion dollars. The engineers engaged in production will take the heaviest hit quite logically since RIM does not produce that many handsets anymore.
Also, according to Reuters the ODM manufacturer Celestica will cease working with RIM in the end of 2012. Celestica is a Mexico based manufacturer that used to make Blackberry Bold and Curve for the North American market. RIM still has Flextronics International Ltd and Jabil Circuit Inc manufacturers who can take former Celestica orders. This is all very bad news for RIM. Motorola only managed to survive thanks to the US market but if RIM loses it it loses everything.
The competition on the Japanese mobile market is as tough as ever and every company is seeking ways to stand out. Sharp though it would be a good idea to make an own Android overlay and outsourced to the Frog Design studio that used to work on the OVI store. The video below shows what this UI looks like:
Frog Design had been working on this Android shell for about nine months and it will be available on Android this summer already. It looks nice but it is nothing extraordinary really. What do you think?
I don't think this UI will ever leave the Japanese market but Sharp once again reminds us about its intentions to get out to international markets. However, shell comparisons always gets my audience excited like this one here.
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Published 30 June 2012
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