Displaying items by tag: smartphones
Nokia phone maker HMD Global raises $230 mln investment from partners
HMD Global, the maker of Nokia brand phones, announced it has raised USD 280 million in new financing from investors including Google, Qualcomm and Nokia. The money will go to strengthening its product offering, including 5G devices and new services, and expanding in new markets, such as Brazil, India and Africa.
The company announced four areas where it plans to invest. First, is affordable 5G smartphones, "with an emphasis on strong partnerships with US carriers".
Second, HMD Global will further transition to digital-first offerings as part of a new post-COVID reality, as well as more consumers buying their phones from internet sellers.
Third, the company plans to expand its presence in key growth markets. This includes the recently introduced operations in Brazil, as well as Africa and India.
Fourth, the investment will help the business strengthen its position beyond hardware and into a "holistic mobile service provider".
This year alone, HMD Global launched its international data roaming service HMD Connect, enhanced its mobile cybersecurity capabilities with the acquisition of Valona Labs assets, and started developing its own software, security and services with a new research and development centre in Tampere, Finland.
It last raised external funds with a USD 100 million round in mid-2018. HMD first started selling Nokia phones in 2016 and has since expanded to 91 markets and shipped over 240 million phones.
Smartphone shipments plummet worldwide
Global shipments of smartphones have dropped 38 per cent year-on-year in February, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.
It was the biggest fall ever in the history of the worldwide smartphone market, in-line with forecasts of a sharp decline due to the impact of the global Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
61.8 million units were shipped during the month compared with 99.2 million during February 2019.
This trend is cited to both production issues, as factories were forced to close in an attempt to limit Covid-19 cases, along with a drop in consumer visits to retailers.
In a statement, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said: “Supply and demand of smartphones plunged in China, slumped across Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world.”
The company expects weak demand to also be reflected in its March figures.
Despite the grim forecasts, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf was last week confident on global outlook after a slight rebound in handset demand in China.
The CEO noted the company is working towards the future: “I think the biggest issue you have to be prepared for is when this thing snaps back it snaps back hard, and make sure you’re in a position to take advantage of it. And so we’re trying to do the best job we can to be prepared.”
His comments came as cases of Covid-19 virus appeared to be improving in China, with handset and component production also beginning to return to normal.
Huawei enters top 10 list of most valuable brands for the first time
Brand Finance, a leading brand valuation and strategy consultancy headquartered in UK, has named Huawei one of the top 10 most valuable brands for the first time ever. In the recently published Brand Finance Global 500 2020 report, Huawei is the third Chinese company on the list with a brand value of US$ 65.084 billion, up 4.5 per cent year-on-year.
“Clearly the next big opportunity for the telecoms industry, the 5G space is inviting fierce competition, with Huawei expanding into markets traditionally covered by Western providers. Despite sparking controversy, the Chinese giant is making clear headway, and with a brand value of US$65.1 billion, now counts among the world’s top 10 most valuable brands for the first time,” writes Brand Finance in the report.
With 205 companies accounting for 45.4 per cent of the top 500, US is the most represented economy in the ranking with a combined brand value of US$ 320.4 billion. China follows closely with 70 companies, equivalent to 18.9 per cent, and a combined brand value of US$ 133.4 billion.
The technology sector continues to draw the most attention as the most valuable sector. Of the 500 most valuable brands, 46 of them – or 14 percent – originated from the tech sector. Together, they have a combined brand value of US$ 986.5 billion. Huawei is the sole Chinese tech brand among the top 10 most valuable brands.
Huawei’s brand value growth can be attributed to its commitment to innovation to continually improve product competitiveness and consumer experience.
In 2019, Huawei predicted that it would ship 240 million units of smartphones and retain its position as the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer. The company shipped more than 44 million units of its HUAWEI Mate Series and HUAWEI P Series flagship devices, recording a 50 percent increase year-on-year. Winning critical and popular acclaim for their technological breakthroughs, Huawei’s 5G smartphones recorded 6.9 million unit shipments as of December 2019.
Last year, Huawei also built out its all-scenario experience by introducing a range of new products spanning multiple categories, including tablets, PCs, wearables and IoT devices in the HiLink ecosystem, all of which exhibited a certain degree of growth.
Looking at the future, Huawei remains committed to the all-scenario strategy. Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said, “The all-scenario strategy will remain the primary focus of Huawei for the next five to 10 years. We are steadfast in our commitment to creating an integrated ecosystem, in which tablets, PCs, VR devices, wearables, smart displays, smart speakers, cars and IoT devices are all connected to smartphones to deliver a truly seamless user experience.”
Apple South Korea proposes settlement to avoid antitrust allegations
Apple’s South Korea unit has proposed a settlement agreement with the country’ antitrust regulator, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
Facebook probed by Policymakers over ‘highly sensitive information’ from apps
New York regulators are investigating Facebook’s gathering of intimate data about consumers’ menstrual cycles and body weight through smartphone applications.
Facebook has confirmed that New York’s Department of Financial Services set them a letter about the data sharing issue.
The New York based regulator asked the social media giant to provide a list of all the companies that were involved in sending them the data over the past three years.
According to the source, requests to provide information on agreements with Facebook were sent to a number of application developers.
A Wall Street Journal report from February 22 showed that after testing over 70 smartphone apps, approximately 11 were disclosing ‘highly sensitive’ information to Facebook to use for target ads. These ads would be able to reach users who are not Facebook members.
The intimate data that was collected by the apps showed personal information with regards to body weight, height, ovulation cycles, heart rate, pregnancy status and home shopping.
It was found that around 6 of the 15 most popular health and fitness apps shared personal information with Facebook.
A Facebook spokesperson stated:
"It's common for developers to share information with a wide range of platforms for advertising and analytics.
"We require the other app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us, and we prohibit app developers from sending us sensitive data. We also take steps to detect and remove data that should not be shared with us."
The investigation comes at the peak of the debate over online privacy and at a time when Facebook is still attempting to regain the trust of the masses following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
According to the Journal, the ‘highly sensitive information’ is sent to Facebook immediately after it is entered into the app.
Facebook is able to collect data through the Software Development Kit (SDK), which is a set of programs used to create apps and it often includes a set of open software tools.
These apps have used Facebook’s SDK to build their software in exchange for data which Facebook uses for advertising purposes.
A Facebook spokesperson has said that the data transmission does violate the company’s business agreement and that Facebook has taken measures to stop the apps from disclosing such personal information.
UK might use Huawei’s equipment after all
British intelligence has concluded that security risks posed by using equipment made by Chinese telecom giant Huawei can be managed, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) sees ways of limiting risks from using Huawei in future 5G networks, according to two unnamed sources cited by the FT.
The firm is the leading manufacturer of equipment for next-generation 5G mobile networks that will bring near-instantaneous connectivity for smartphones, but some Western nations have barred it amid fears Beijing could gain access to sensitive communications and critical infrastructure.
The United States has been leading a campaign to persuade allies to blacklist Huawei equipment, and a decision by Britain, a key intelligence gathering partner, could undermine its effort.
“Other nations can make the argument that if the British are confident of mitigation against national security threats then they can also reassure their publics and the US administration that they are acting in a prudent manner in continuing to allow their telecommunications service providers to use Chinese components,” one source was quoted by the FT as saying.
Responding to the report, a NCSC spokesperson said that “the National Cyber Security Centre is committed to the security of UK networks”, adding that it has "a unique oversight and understanding of Huawei engineering and cyber security".
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China expects Britain “to maintain its open nature and make wise choices based on its own interests.”
Huawei’s HONOR smartphones dominate Black Friday sales
Leading smartphone e-brand HONOR, recorded an impressive sales performance on Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday in Europe, Middle East and USA. HONOR products dominated Amazon best seller lists in France, Germany, Italy and UK, with this year’s figures revealing a remarkable 250% YoY sales increase from 2017 across pan-European regions and sales in Spain reaching an impressive 300%.
HONOR smartphones’ popularity with shoppers demonstrates HONOR's continued growth and the increasing demand for its AI-Powered models. The HONOR 9 Lite was the No.1 online best-selling smartphone in the EUR150-EUR200 category, while the HONOR 10 - with its industry-leading AI-powered dual camera - ranked highly on the Amazon Top 10 list for Black Friday weekend sales. The new handset, HONOR 8X, was the best new release on Amazon Germany, and was the Best Seller in France smartphone online sales since the global launch in October. In Russia, the HONOR 8X is now the top selling smartphone online, and it has surpassed the sales of its predecessor, the HONOR 7X, with an increase of 500%.
During a Black Friday Promotion in the USA, the HONOR View 10 sold out on Amazon and Newegg, and saw remarkable sales growth over the weekend in the Middle East. Over Black Friday Weekend, HONOR ranked No.1 in the phone category on all sales channels in Finland, while Czech Republic saw overall HONOR smartphone growth reach 200% compared to 2017, with a 300% YoY increase for the HONOR 10. In Poland, the HONOR Play recorded 500% sales growth during Black Friday weekend, completely selling out on Euronet, X-kom and Media Expert within two hours, reaching an overall 150% sales growth.
"I'm pleased and grateful for the support we have received from consumers during this year's Black Friday sales. This latest sales surge tops a successful year for the HONOR brand, and we look forward to another fast-growing year in 2019,” said George Zhao, President of HONOR.
“With continued efforts in innovative technology and cutting-edge product design, we will continue to provide the best smartphones with the ultimate user experience to all consumers around the world."
SK Telecom develops Wi-Fi technology that delivers 5G speeds
SK Telecom announced the introduction of a new Wi-Fi technology that can deliver speed as fast as 5G technology. For the first time in South Korea, the technology successfully demonstrated speeds of up to 4.8Gbps at SK Telecom’s Bundang Center.
The technology was built on the IEEE 802.11ax standard, delivering speeds of up to 4.8Gbps, which is nearly four times faster than the existing gigabit Wi-Fi service — 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac — currently prevailing among smartphones. The technology uses four antennas to transmit data and uses 160 MHz bandwidth, twice wider than the gigabit Wi-Fi service, and operates in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrums.
Once the technology is commercially implemented, SK Telecom believes it will play a tremendous role in delivering sufficient wireless access in any dense traffic scenarios. It features the OFDMA, Multi-user MIMO as well as the Dynamic Sensitivity Control (DSC) technology that are designed to improve the efficiency of the network.
Given the 802.11ax chipsets already released in the market by global makers, the next generation Wi-Fi service is expected to be commercially available for smartphones next year. Smartphones equipped with the chipset theoretically deliver a speed of up to 1.2Gbps in 80 MHz with two antennas.
SK Telecom is planning to deploy access points for the next generation Wi-Fi next year particularly in high traffic density areas. Users with the new chipset-based smartphones will benefit from the new technology.
At present, a testbed has been constructed within the T Open Lab, the company’s R&D Center at Bundang to test the performance of the new technology in various deployment scenarios including high traffic density. It is also working on upgrading the access points to the commercially deployable level by the end of this year.
Since 2014, SK Telecom has taken part in the nation’s IEEE 802.11ax standard research group, led by the Ministry of Science and ICT, along with small and mid-sized companies. Its participation has resulted in many new technologies applied to the global standards with relevant patents obtained.
“By introducing the technology for the next generation Wi-Fi that can deliver as fast as 5G technology, we at SK Telecom have successfully laid foundation to offer better mobile services,” said Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom.
Park added, “We are thrilled to work on the preparation of commercializing the technology and continue to innovate our capabilities to provide differentiated services to our customers.”
Chinese buyers opt for Huawei over Apple, survey claims
Apple appears to be facing a setback in China after a Financial Times survey revealed that smartphone buyers in the country are choosing domestic brands over California-based Apple iPhone products, with Huawei being their first choice. Huawei has the top spot, according to the survey, with 31.4 percent of respondents opting for the brand.
The report said, “The proportion of people saying they would buy an iPhone as their next phone dropped to 24.2 percent in September, compared with 25.8 percent at the time of the iPhone 7 launch in 2016 and 31.4 percent in 2015.”
Huawei surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales consistently for June and July this year, according to research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse. But with the release of Apple’s latest iPhone X, there’s a chance Huawei could be pushed back into third place. Samsung holds the number one spot globally.
“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” said Counterpoint’s Research Director, Peter Richardson. “It speaks volumes for this primarily network infrastructure vendor on how far it has grown in the consumer mobile handset space in the last three to four years.”
Huawei’s global growth, Richardson says, can be attributed to its consistent investment in R&D and manufacturing, coupled with aggressive marketing and sales channel expansion. While this success streak could be temporary considering Apple’s annual iPhone refresh, Richardson adds, it nevertheless underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing.
Chinese vendor reports 30% rise in first-half profit on 4G and handsets
Chinese telecommunications colossus ZTE has attributed its first-half net profit success to its investment in 4G infrastructure and handsets. The world’s fourth-largest vendor of smartphones has hit its projected first-half net profit target forecast of 30%.
Analysts said that domestic telephone network providers continued to invest in 4G infrastructure provided by ZTE, and the firm also enjoyed a significant growth in the sales of its mobile devices. ZTE’s profit was $344M, whilst revenue rose by 13% which incidentally was also ZTE’s projected target.
In a statement released to the press, ZTE acknowledged that the organization has been presented with many new opportunities and expressed its vision to deploy 5G products and services. 5G standardization is expected to be established in 2018.
The statement read, “Looking to the second half of 2017, the company faces new opportunities," ZTE said in a statement in Chinese. "4G users and traffic will enter a peak period and pre-5G products will have more application, while 5G's standardization, technology and testing will experience a breakthrough."
ZTE reported more growth in relation to its telecom equipment sector, disclosing that revenue in that business grew by 13%. Its telecoms sector focus primarily on constructing infrastructure such as communications towers and accounts for 60% of overall revenue. ZTE’s remarkable financial results were cemented with the fact that its consumer business had also increased by a whopping 24%.
In March of this year, ZTE was left reeling after it was found guilty by the US Commerce Department for breaching US trade rules. It was fined almost $900M for breaking exports regulations. It’s the only smartphone vendor with a real presence in the US, and it has recovered well since that setback earlier this year, remaining the fourth-biggest vendor in the US after Apple, Samsung and LG.
ZTE executives have insisted they will continue to aggressively invest in wireless and 5G technology, whilst also revealing it aims to invest more in international marketing in the second-half of 2017. Revenue from ZTE’s smallest business area which is government and enterprise services has declined by 18%.
In addition to this, ZTE confirmed that it has agreed to sell 10.1% of its smartphone subsidiary Nubia for 727 million Yuan. That will reduce its equity in the company to 49.9%.