Thursday, April 29, 2010

Palm sold $1.2 billion to HP

Hewlett-Packard announced it will buy beleaguered smartphone maker Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) for $1.2 billion, ending weeks of speculation about the company's fate and pushign H-P deeper into the smartphone market.

Acquisition speculation has been rampant since multiple reports earlier this month indicated Palm had tapped Goldman Sachs and another investment bank, Qatalyst Partners, to find a buyer. HTC, Lenovo and other handset makers had been bandied about by analysts as potential suitors. H-P was sometimes mentioned, but had not been thought of as a serious contender. Through the deal, H-P joins the likes of computer makers Dell, Lenovo and Acer in targeting the smartphone market.

And for all you webOS fans out there: Don’t worry — it doesn’t look like the platform is going anywhere just yet. It appears that the companies plan to continue the development of webOS, leveraging HP to “rapidly accelerate the growth” of the platform.

During a conference call with analysts after the deal was announced, Todd Bradley, executive vice president of H-P's Personal Systems Group, praised Palm's webOS operating system and said that H-P will leverage its distribution channels and financial strength to help expand the platform. He said H-P expects to take webOS beyond smartphones, possibly to tablets and netbooks for both consumers and enterprise users.

Contrary to previous whispers, it appears that CEO Jon Rubinstein will be staying with the company. To quote the release, “Palm’s current chairman and CEO, Jon Rubinstein, is expected to remain with the company.”

One outstanding question is what will happen to the Palm brand. According to Engadget, H-P has not yet decided how to handle the Palm brand whether to replace it with the H-P brand, maintain the Palm branding or somehow join the two.

In its most recent quarter, Palm reported a net loss of $18.5 million, narrower than the $95 million net loss it posted in the year-ago period. The company shipped a total of 960,000 smartphone units during the quarter, up 23 percent from the second quarter of fiscal year 2010 and an almost 300 percent increase from the year-ago quarter. However, smartphone sell-through for the quarter, which ended Feb. 26, was 408,000 units, down 29 percent from the second quarter and down 15 percent year-over-year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Skype is the world largest international calling carrier

Skype accounts for 12% of all international calling minutes! Some amazing numbers below from a company that has started not too long ago if you compare them to incumbent carriers who had been in business for decades:
  • Skype added 39 million registered users in the fourth quarter to end the year with a total of 560 million.
  • The number of Skype-to-Skype call minutes totaled 36.1 billion in the final three months of 2009.
  • Skype users made more the 250 billion minutes worth of Skype-to-Skype calls from the time the service was launched through the end of 2009.
  • Skype in 2009 accounted for 12 percent of the world’s international calling minutes, a 50 percent increase over 2008 when it accounted for 8 percent of international calling, according to TeleGeography Research.
  • 36 percent of Skype-to-Skype calls as of the end of the fourth quarter included video — in other words.
  • 35 percent of Skype users utilize it for business purposes.
Skype can only grow bigger as the adoption proliferates. In fact, i had just conducted my interviews with some candidates on skype and the average call quality over the cloud is even much better than a regular mobile to mobile call. Its amazing how the technology has improved over the years. I can still remember making my 1st call over the internet using an arcane VOIP software back in the mid 90s where the call quality is nothing by comparison.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Next Apple's iPhone

You are looking at Apple's next iPhone. It was found lost in a bar in Redwood City, camouflaged to look like an iPhone 3GS. For more details, go check it out at Gizmodo.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo

Friday, April 16, 2010

Twitter launches advertising model

Microblogging site Twitter yesterday unveiled its long-awaited advertising program in a first step to turn the incredibly popular service into a profitable business. The ‘Promoted Tweets’ offering lets brands pay to have their tweets listed as the first result when a user conducts a search on Twitter.

Over time, Twitter plans to show the promoted tweets in the stream of messages people see when they log into the site and to allow partners from small developers to large Internet companies to display the sponsored messages as well. A handful of brands are already on board, including Starbucks, Virgin America and Best Buy, although Twitter is not yet charging for the Promoted Tweets service. The pricing model remains to be determined.

Despite being one of the most popular Internet services, Twitter has “frustrated some Twitter watchers” by its “stubborn insistence on a slow and thoughtful approach to monetisation.” In a blog posting this week, the company set standards for its new Promoted Tweets offering: “Promoted Tweets must meet a higher bar; they must resonate with users. That means if users don’t interact with a Promoted Tweet to allow us to know that the Promoted Tweet is resonating with them, such as replying to it, favouriting it, or Retweeting it, the Promoted Tweet will disappear.”

It’s worth noting that Twitter already draws some revenue from licensing partnerships with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Under the terms of those deals, tweets appear in each company’s respective Internet search results.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Microsoft introduces two Kin phones to target youth market

Microsoft finally unveiled its mobile strategy to entice consumers in their teens and twenties. It’s coming out with two phones, the Kin One and Kin Two that deeply integrate social networking features.

The launch is an attempt by Microsoft to bring back the glory days of Danger’s Sidekick device, which was incredibly popular among young people. Microsoft purchased Danger Research in 2008, and since then there’s been little public success from that union; it wasn’t difficult to imagine that they were working on something covertly.

Verizon will be the exclusive wireless partner for the new Kin phones in the U.S., and the device will roll out to its stores in May. Vodafone will carry the phones in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom this fall. Microsoft is positioning the Kin phones as complementary to Windows Phone 7.

The Kin One (pictured right) has a compact keyboard for one-handed texting. Users can drag and drop photos and pieces of content across the screen to share them with friends on social networks like Facebook. Photos are automatically geotagged. It has a 5.0 megapixel camera with flash and shoots SD video. The small phone also has four gigabytes of disk space, which is enough to store 1,000 songs. Those, of course, are played through Zune. The Kin Two (pictured below) has a larger keyboard meant for two-handed texting. It has an 8.0 megapixel camera with 8 gigabytes of disk space.

The company is pairing the devices with online services called Kin Loop and Kin Studio (pictured below) that help users keep track of their friends’ lives and manage their own videos and photos.

Adora Svitak - What adults can learn from kids

Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs “childish” thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids’ big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups’ willingness to learn from children as much as to teach. Truly inspiring!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

iPad cost $260 to manufacture

That's the total cost of manufacturing for each iPad!

The new 16GB iPad, which is selling in the US for $499, cost just $259.60 to make, according to iSuppli. The research firm said the much-hyped tablet device has already “changed the game of how many electronic products are - and will be – designed.” With more than 40% of its Bill of Materials (BOM) dedicated to the display, touch screen and other user interface components, the iPad is a radical departure in electronic design

Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst, said conventional notebooks are “motherboard-centric”, with all other functions, such as the display and keyboard, peripheral to the central microprocessor and the main PCB. With the iPad, this is reversed. Everything is human-machine-interface-centric, with the PCB and Integrated Circuits (ICs) all there to facilitate the display of content as well as user inputs.

iSuppli estimated that the BOM of the 16GB, Wi-Fi only iPad at $250.60. When manufacturing expenses are added, the cost rises to $259.60.

The costs of user interface-related components in the iPad amounts to $109.50, representing 43.7% of total BOM.

The single most expensive component in the iPad is the display, priced at $65 and representing 25.9% of the BOM. The display uses in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which supports a wider viewing angle and better picture quality.

The next most expensive component is the touchscreen assembly, which cost $30, followed by the NAND-type flash memory, which cost $29.50.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

iPad Unboxing Porn

This has to be the funniest unboxing video we’ve ever seen courtesy of

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Apple introduces new iPhone OS and mobile ad strategy

Apple yesterday unveiled the latest version of its iPhone operating system software which incorporates its high-profile move into the mobile advertising space. Apple stated that iPhone OS 4 features multitasking for third-party apps (allowing users to switch between several programs running simultaneously); folders to better organise and access apps; improved mail with a unified inbox, fast inbox switching and threaded messages; enhanced enterprise support with better data protection, mobile device management, and wireless app distribution; and iBooks, Apple’s new ebook reader and online bookstore recently debuted on the iPad.

However, aside from the inclusion of multitasking (a service Apple has been slow to introduce compared to rival smartphone offerings), it is the launch of Apple’s new iAd mobile advertising platform that has generated the most interest.

iAd is the result of Apple’s US$275 million acquisition of Quattro Wireless, a company that makes tools for embedding adverts in applications in January. iAd is designed to work so that users clicking on mobile ads do not need to leave their app and view the advertiser’s webpage via a Web browser. Instead, iAd claims to display full-screen video and interactive ad content without users having to leave the app. Apple claims that iPhone OS 4 lets developers easily embed iAd “opportunities” within their apps, and developers will receive 60 percent of iAd revenue. This puts Apple in the position of gatekeeper for advertising on the iPhone.

Apple has not given a specific launch date for the new iPhone software, stating only that it will be available “this summer.” A beta version of the software has already been released to iPhone Developer Program members.

Meanwhile, Apple also yesterday revealed a number of newsworthy statistics: it talked up the continuing success of its App Store - stating that more than 4 billion apps have now been downloaded worldwide, from an offering of over 185,000 different applications and revealed stronger than expected sales of 450,000 for the iPad tablet computer since its much-hyped debut last weekend. Since going on sale on 3 April, users have downloaded 600,000 digital books and 3.5 million applications for the iPad with Apple has so far sold more than a whopping 50 million iPhones!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Free Music downloads coming to China courtesy of Nokia Comes with Music service

Nokia has taken its unlimited download Comes With Music service to the world’s largest mobile market in the Finnish vendor’s latest effort to counter industry perception that the service is floundering.

To be known locally as 'Yue Sui Xiang,' the DRM-free music offering will be available to consumers across China via eight devices, including the Nokia X6, 5230, 5330, 5800w, 6700s, E52 and E72i. The cheapest device will retail for EUR140. The service features music from the four largest labels (Warner, Universal, Sony and EMI), as well as Chinese labels, and enables users to download as much music as they like and keep the tracks forever following a 12-month subscription.

At launch, hundreds of tracks will be available to Chinese customers and the songs will be DRM-free, meaning the tracks will come without anti-piracy software. Now available in 30 markets (including the UK, Brazil, Australia and Mexico), Nokia’s music service has come under fire for poor subscriber takeup. Last year it was reported that as of July 2009 the service had just over 107,000 active users in nine markets.

While the free service is great, not sure how Nokia is monetizing it for the long run. Margin in handsets are thin thus realistically its not commercially viable to be supporting free music downloads. Paid-for music download service struggles in China as the market is rife with piracy with 99% of all music files in China are downloaded illegally resulting in billions of dollars losses to the record companies and this is unlikely to change in the short to mid term. Music lovers can head to Baidu, China's leading search engine to search the links to their favorite songs.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The iPad is OUT with 700,000 units sold in 1 day!

The iPad is finally out and the sales numbers are out, an estimated 700,000 iPads have been sold on Day 1. With a minimum value of USD 500 a piece, its a one day revenue alone is USD 350 million for Apple. Amazing right for just 1 day of sales!!

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster had predicted that as many as 300,000 iPads would be sold this weekend but he had revised his numbers upward Saturday to between 600,000 and 700,000 units purchased on the first day. That contrasts with 270,000 iPhones sold during that product’s initial launch.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Huawei doubles profits to become the most profitable network vendor

Huawei Technologies continues to defy the market, doubling its profit last year despite a capital spending slowdown by operators worldwide thanks to the massive 3G investments coming from the Chinese mobile operators.

The privately-held Chinese vendor yesterday announced a full-year profit of 18.3 billion yuan ($2.7b), up from 7.85 billion in 2008, on sales of 149.1 billion yuan ($21.8b).

Huawei predicts year-on-year revenue growth of 20% in 2010, driven by increased broadband rollouts, smartphone adoption, and higher demand for professional managed services and currently supplying 45 of the world’s top 50 operators, up from 36 in 2008.

The result makes Huawei the most profitable telecom vendor and the second biggest in the market by sales, overtaking Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks during the year. Market leader Ericsson last year posted $29 billion in revenue and $1.6 billion in net income. Alcatel-Lucent recorded €15.15 billion ($20.4b) in sales but finished €524 million in the red. ZTE, the 2nd largest network vendor in China has a forecast of finishing the end of 2009 with slightly over $400 million.