Electronista: New quarterly data indicates little change in the US cellphone market, according to research firm ComScore. Android devices continue to dominate as a platform, up 0.8 percent to account for 50.9 percent of smartphones. Apple’s iPhone, meanwhile, has grown 1.7 percent to claim a 31.9 percent share. (more…)
BBC News: A German court has upheld a ban on the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, saying it did infringe Apple patents. It was asked to reconsider a previous ruling that elements of the tablet’s design were copied from the iPad. That decision led to a Europe-wide ban, which was later lifted amid concerns about the court’s power to impose such a broad embargo. The latest hearing went in Apple’s favour and means the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is again banned from sale across Germany. Dusseldorf regional court judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffmann said that the “minimalist, modern form” of the two products gave a “clear impression of similarity”. In the early stages of the dispute, Apple had won the right for the ban to be imposed continent-wide. However, that was lifted following a challenge by Samsung. (more…)
Engadget: Congratulations, Panasonic, you’re now the adoptive father of two companies, Sanyo and Panasonic Electric Works. We know, the plan’s been all but confirmed since July, but it’s nice to see the deal go through and all the necessary paperwork signed. Both now-wholly-owned subsidiaries (through a share exchange that commenced today) are scheduled to be de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on March 29th, 2011, and after that… well, independence was fun while it lasted, eh chaps?
TG Daily: Is the venerable Steve Jobs and his trusty band of acolytes plotting a hostile takeover or acquisition of Sony with Club Cupertino’s $51 billion war chest?
Although many analysts doubt that such a deal would ever take place, reports of a potential acquisition sent Sony stocks up nearly three percent at one point.
Unsurprisingly, Sony has declined to comment on the rumors, which were kickstarted by a recent Barron’s report endorsing the plausibility of an acquisition engineered and executed by Apple.
As AppleInsider’s Sam Oliver notes, another possible source for the frenetic rumors may be a recent Bloomberg interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley.
“I remember (Sony co-founder) Akio Morita gave us one of the first Sony Walkmans. None of us had ever seen anything like that before, because there had never been a product like that,” Sculley told Bloomberg.
“This was 25 years ago and Steve was fascinated by it. The first thing he did was take it apart, and he looked at every single part. How the fit and finish was done, how it was built.”
However, despite Steve’s obvious admiration for Sony, Ashok Kumar, an analyst with Rodman & Renshaw, remains convinced that Apple has absolutely no intention of buying the Japanese-based company.
“We [really] don’t see any acquisitions of any size,” Kumar told Reuters.
“[Firstly], Apple is happy to keep its cash under the pillow. [And secondly], it would [obviously] be a [clear] cultural miss.”
Engadget: LG isn’t dishing out many details about this one just yet, but company exec KW Kim (head of LG’s Middle East and Africa Operations) has told Emirates Business that LG will soon be launching a product — “maybe by April” — that “will compete with Apple and Amazon.”
And, well, that’s about it. As you may recall, however, LG has been showing off various bits of technology for e-book readers over the past little while, including a solar-powered system designed specifically for e-readers and, of course, some flexible e-paper displays that have already turned up in the Skiff Reader. In other LG news, Kim also dropped word that the company is talking with Etisalat about a new line of “notebooks” (possibly netbooks) that would use “Google’s operating system,” although it’s not clear if he was referring to Chrome or Android.
Engadget: Over the last several months complaints that Panasonic’s plasma HDTVs experience sudden adverse changes in their black levels after a certain number of viewing hours have been piling up in an AVSForum thread, and now that behavior has been confirmed, though not very well explained, in a response the company sent to CNET today:
“In order to achieve the optimal picture performance throughout the life of the set, Panasonic Viera plasma HDTVs incorporate an automatic control which adjusts an internal driving voltage at predetermined intervals of operational hours.
As a result of this automatic voltage adjustment, background brightness will increase from its initial value … The newest Viera plasma HDTVs incorporate an improved automatic control which applies the voltage adjustments in smaller increments. This results in a more gradual change in the Black Level over time.
Especially considering many buyers purchased their televisions specifically for those deep black levels, you can see why a TV suddenly going Sammy Sosa overnight would be upsetting.
One of the reigning theories in the thread indicated by poster & calibrator D-Nice has been that this is by design, but a flaw in the settings caused the large jumps (around double the brightness, as measured by several owners light meters) instead of a much more subtle change. So what now for owners or potential buyers?
Without more details about what is going on and whether or not anything can be done about it, like CNET’s David Katzmeier, it’s hard to see how we can continue to recommend these HDTVs for purchase without knowing what they will do months or years down the line.
The ball is in Panasonic’s court now, a speedy response could do a lot to assuage the concerns of current and potential owners.
Electronista: Shin Jong-kyun, head of Samsung’s mobile division, announced the company’s goal to ship more than 18 million smartphones this year.
Recognizing the shift away from hardware features, Samsung will change the way its smartphones are marketed by emphasizing content, applications, and services.
The company is the world’s second largest cellphone manufacturer with about 20 percent of the market but has only about 3 percent of the smartphone market, a deficit the executive feels Samsung needs to address.
The company’s goal of shipping a total of between 260 and 270 million phones this year would represent an increase in shipments of more than 14 percent from 2009 and require faster growth than the overall market.
Samsung actually increased its share of the overall cellphone market last year. The company’s dominant position has not carried over to the smartphone market, losing ground to newer offerings from Apple, Blackberry and Android-based devices.
Its launch of its Bada open development platform for smartphones late last year was partly ignored by handset vendors and developers, though the open OS is intended primarily for Samsung’s own devices.
Engadget: Pretty good news for Nokia today as it announces its Q4 results. Net income jumped 65% to €948 million (on €12 billion in sales) or 26 eurocents per share, from €576 million euros, or 15 eurocents a share, earned in Q4 2008.
That handily beat the consensus forecast of 19 eurocents per share. Importantly, Nokia grew its smartphone (or “converged devices” in Nokia parlance) marketshare to a healthy 40%, up from 35% just last quarter.
Looking forward, Nokia cautioned that it expects its adjusted operating margin in Devices & Services in Q1 2010 will be at the low end of its 12% to 14% target. At the time of this posting, Nokia stock has jumped about 9% in recognition of these good times.