As it happens, Samsung issued a warning about its upcoming quarterly earnings literally hours before Walmart’s decision to discount the iPhone 5c to $29, apparently permanently. Oddly enough, smartphone chip titan Qualcomm’s share price has started lagging NASDAQ since early June even as overall tech investment sentiment remains giddy. Isolated events? Or omens of high-end gadget sales slowing down? Unfortunately, it’s probably the latter. More →
The strong early sales performances of the Xbox One and PS4 consoles have caused some jubilation. The PS4 is clearly leading the Xbox One in sales volume at this point, but both consoles can be claimed to have beaten expectations at least marginally. One sign of this strength can be found in the share prices of Electronic Arts and Activision, which have jumped giddily since the new consoles hit stores.
One of the most unanticipated developments surrounding mobile phones is the fact that people don’t really want to use them to talk to each other. They want to use them to send messages. This phenomenon was so counterintuitive that it has now disrupted the entire tech industry twice — first in 1994 and later in 2012. It was messaging that turned Nokia into king of the mobile phone market in 1990s and then WhatsApp into one of the most successful startups in the history as Facebook was forced to pay $19 billion for a tiny company that was just five years old.
The astonishing popularity of text-messaging on phones has now blindsided two generations of tech leaders. It goes to show how difficult reading consumer behavior can be for even the most accomplished companies. More →
You may not have heard of them before, but I can tell you that Aerogels are cool. They are ultra-porous materials that are whipped up from silica gel or even aluminum oxide and may weigh just 15% more than air. Because they consist of so many microscopic air pockets, they are incredibly effective insulators. More →
It’s no surprise that the $200 Amazon Fire Phone is now the No. 1 on-contract phone at Amazon.com, outselling all Samsung models one month before its official launch. But it’s a bit of a shocker that the $300 Fire Phone model with 64GB of memory is the No. 2 phone. American consumers have started showing signs of becoming increasingly unwilling to pay more than $200 for even the latest smartphones, but loyal Amazon customers may be so attracted to the brand that they are willing to pay up for the pricier version of its flagship phone. More →
I was at this grim Helsinki airport hotel two days ago and decided to watch an old horror flick on my laptop since Finnish television stations were running wolverine documentaries and cooking shows. I ended up renting Don’t Look Now for $2.99 on Amazon to figure out whether it really was an overrated piece of pseudo-art or a horror masterpiece. I’m still not sure either way, but the movie was interesting enough. More →
The strategy of launching wave upon wave of new, original content has worked like a charm for Netflix. As the second season of Orange is the New Black has received an avalanche of media coverage, Netflix’s share price has zoomed up by 20% over the past month. The company is now prepping launches in France and Germany after it clobbered HBO in Sweden by a roughly 10-to-1 ratio in new subscriber additions. And now Netflix is preparing to unleash a new wave of content that includes some of its most surprising shows yet. More →
BlackBerry shocked Wall Street on Thursday by delivering a much narrower loss than expected. The company is now growing its cash pile even though it is shipping fewer than 2 million phones per quarter. This stabilization is a feat in itself, but where is future sales growth going to come from? Messaging app system BBM is the best bet. It now has close to 100 million active users — but some decidedly worrisome trends have emerged in recent months. More →
On Tuesday morning in Melbourne, Australia, HealthKit co-founder Alison Hardacre turned on her iPhone at 4:00 a.m. Like many entrepreneurs, she woke up thinking about her business and checked her email. To her astonishment, her email box was filling with excited questions. Had she cut a secret deal with Apple? Had Apple acquired her company?
Alison was gobsmacked.
She had founded HealthKit in early 2012 and registered HealthKit.com in the spring that same year. The site was the No. 1 search result for anyone who did a Google search for “healthkit.” How was it possible that Apple had just launched a very similar iOS 8 feature and taken her name? More →
There is now organized resistance against the modern smartphone. And it appears to be quite lucrative.
A website called Vintage Mobile offers a wide array of defiantly dumb phones from the era when Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson ruled the global handset market and there was a wide range of different designs and form factors.
Refurbished models on Vintage Mobile sell typically for between $100 and 200, but there are some gems that command four figures. Among European connoisseurs of the art of mobile handset, the Nokia 8800 Arte Carbon has achieved legendary status — and the price of a refurbished model in 2014 is nearly $1,400. More →
HTC has faced many setbacks, disasters and bitter disappointments since its handset unit performance started missing projections around Christmas 2011. But May 2014 might have been the most devastating blow yet. That is because HTC had supposedly reacted to miserable sales declines in 2012 and 2013 by revamping its handset design and marketing strategies. Both the product and how it is sold were changed to finally staunch the bleeding by spring of 2014.
Yet despite the new product and branding initiatives, May 2014 turns out to be a chilling omen of a summer of horror for the besieged Taiwanese vendor. More →