We all have witnessed the depressing news flow about slowing smartphone and tablet sales growth over the past 12 months. But this week, Semiconductor Industry Association threw a curve ball by announcing that chip sales actually increased by a surprisingly robust 11% in the first half of 2014 compared the same period in 2013. SIA is actually hiking its annual growth estimate to 6.5% from earlier projection of 4.1% growth. How can chip sales growth be accelerating if phone and tablet markets are mediocre? More →
Finally good news for parents — a well-constructed research study in a leading pediatric journal finds that children playing 1 to 3 hours of video games a day are more well adjusted than their non-gaming peers. Crucially, the mental health benefits go only to kids who play more than an hour a day. Playing just half an hour is not associated with either positive or negative effects. More →
The iPhone 6 has been largely anticipated to debut mid-September, much like iPhone 5c and 5s, which arrived on September 20th last year. But this week, it suddenly started looking like the iPhone 6’s debut may be pushed to October 20th. There are several reasons why this might put Apple in a tough spot. More →
For years, Nintendo has believed it could reject smartphone and tablet apps, yet still flourish. The reason for this delusion is familiar — it’s the toxic Last Blockbuster Syndrome that doomed the consumer electronics divisions of Motorola in 2004 and Nokia in 2007. Often at the start of a massive trend shift in consumer electronics, dominant dinosaurs get one massive hit built on a nearly obsolete paradigm, and that allows them to be lulled into a comfy trip to the grave. More →
BlackBerry is up more than 5% on Thursday, buoyed by the CEO’s comments about partnerships that might mirror the recent Apple-IBM pact. That Apple-IBM alliance was seen by some as a fatal blow to BlackBerry, since it gives iOS another boost in the enterprise market. But BlackBerry has recently started resembling a mythical Canadian beast that absorbs fatal blows with polite disinterest, growing only stronger as its prospects weaken. More →
The new Microsoft layoff wave will axe thousands of employees from Nokia’s old handset unit and will close down the once crucially important Oulu R&D center that used to be the source of global phone innovation, from internal antennas to 3G tech. Many now view the handset industry as an unprofitable sunset business that has little relevance outside Apple and Samsung. More →
Yes, all but two of the top 80 highest grossing iPhone apps in America are now free downloads. The freemium beast has eaten the entire app industry. But there are still a couple of rare exceptions out there — paid downloads that generate millions of dollars of revenue. More →
Chinese smartphone sensation Xiaomi has started to expand into new markets aggressively and its new Redmi 1, with its astonishing specs, is a sign of just how dangerous it may be to Samsung and other dominant brands. More →
Coating objects with a layer so black it makes them look like flat holes in reality is potentially important for developing stealth weapons. But we all know the coolest implementation would be an iPhone that would look like a black splotch on the table.
We are now a step closer to this reality, as British scientists have developed a new material called Vantablack. More →
The global slowdown in smartphone and tablet unit growth rates has been tough for a variety of vendors, from HTC to Apple. But for Samsung, the evaporation of mobile division revenue growth is particularly galling, because the company’s winning streak was so long. Two years after HTC’s sales growth stalled and several quarters after Apple’s growth petered out, Samsung sailed on. More →
There are few things as despised as celebrity apps. Vanity apps are largely viewed as shameful sidekicks of the app market – expensive productions that may make a few bucks for the app vendor, but practically never bring in real revenue. But in July 2014, Kim Kardashian changed the game. Her new app is so popular that it has boosted the share price of Glu Mobile by 50% since June, adding more than $100 million to its market cap. More →
It’s been a dim couple of years for Motorola, a company that has had badly misfiring high-end smartphone strategy. Just two months ago, the company decided to shut down its vaunted U.S. manufacturing plant in Texas. Google grew tired of the issues last January, offloading Motorola to Chinese electronics giant Lenovo, and many questioned what Lenovo could possibly gain by buying the old warhorse.
We now have an answer. More →
Rooftop solar panels are becoming such a powerful factor in the energy market that they now can push the price of electricity to negative territory in the sunniest regions of the world. This is possible because powering down fossil fuel energy generators during peak solar power periods would be more expensive than paying customers to use the electricity. More →