Texas Instruments announced recently that, even though it reported better than expected chip sales during the fourth quarter of 2011, the company will shut down its plants in Texas and in Japan. Texas Instruments has seen an increased demand for its mobile chips but will close the two factories during the next 18 months while increasing its employee numbers at different plants. The move is an effort to cut costs, Reuters said. The company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $298 million, down from $942 million during the same quarter last year. Revenue also fell from $3.53 billion last year to $3.42 billion during the fourth quarter. “Everybody feared we’d end the holiday season with abysmal sales,” Cody Acree, an analyst with Williams Financial, told Reuters. “The reality is that end-demand is better than TI customers had originally feared. We’re not calling for great growth but we’re not heading into the abyss.” More →
Samsung Group, the parent company that owns Samsung Electronics and several other subsidiaries, said it plans to spend $41.1 billion investing in new technology this year. Reuters said most analysts expect the company to spend a large chunk of that money on OLED and mobile technologies in an effort to continue to stay on target with its rivals. The South Korea-based company uses its OLED displays on mobile phones and on televisions. “Samsung’s got strong cash flow to make bold bets in new technologies,” NH Investment & Securities analyst Lee Sun-tae told Reuters. “No other IT company can beat it in terms of investment and that’s how Samsung finds new revenue sources ahead of rivals and widens its gap.” Samsung’s spending on its mobile processors and other mobile technologies is expected to exceed the amount it spends on its memory business for the first time ever, Reuters said. The firm currently employs about 350,000 people around the globe and expects to hire 26,000 additional employees this year. More →
Rumors surrounding an NFC-equipped iPhone from Apple date back to last summer, when Apple hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as its Commerce Product Manager. Speculation surrounding how Apple might use NFC dates back even further, of course, considering the many NFC-related Apple patents that have been revealed in the past. On Monday, the flames were rekindled yet again as The New York Times reported Apple will include NFC chips from Qualcomm in a future version of its iPhone handset. The Times’ report doesn’t specifically state that Apple’s next iPhone — referred to as the iPhone 5, for now — will include NFC capabilities, saying only that a “coming iteration” of Apple’s smartphone will include Qualcomm NFC chips. Following several reports however, many still anticipate that the iPhone 5 will indeed be the first Apple smartphone to include NFC capabilities. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone in June. More →
Samsung on Friday reported its fourth quarter and full year 2010 earnings, highlighting revenue and net income growth but missing Wall Street’s consensus as operating profit slid for the first time in six quarters. The company posted fourth quarter revenue of 41.87 trillion won, up 7% from the same quarter in 2009, and net income was up 13% year-over-year to 3.42 trillion won. Operating profit missed the Street’s consensus, however, falling 12% year-over-year to 3.01 trillion won. Samsung reported record revenue for the full year, up 13% from 2009 to 154.63 trillion won. 2010 net income set a full-year record as well, up 65% year-over-year to 16.15 trillion won, as did full-year operating income, which came in at 17.3 trillion won. Samsung’s mobile division reported a record profit of 1.44 trillion won in the fourth quarter, up 38% year-over-year, and the company shipped 80.7 million cell phones in the quarter. Full-year shipments reached 280 million units, up 23% from 2009 and outpacing the global market. Hit the break for Samsung’s full press release. More →
Qualcomm announced Wednesday that it will acquire microchip maker Atheros. The $3.1 billion deal is set to be the largest acquisition in Qualcomm’s history. The two companies have worked together on several products in the past, and Qualcomm intends to use Atheros’ products to expand onto new platforms and into new markets. Atheros develops and builds the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipsets found in a wide variety of popular devices, including the Amazon Kindle and Apple notebooks. The implications of this deal are tremendous, and could ultimately result in the inclusion of cellular radios in countless popular consumer electronics products moving forward. The Atheros acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies and now awaits regulatory approval and the approval of Atheros’ shareholders. The deal is expected to close some time in the first half of 2011. Hit the break for Qualcomm’s full press release. More →
While speaking at a conference hosted by Barclays Capital, Intel CEO Paul Otellini quipped, “You will see smartphones from premier-branded vendors in the marketplace in the second half of 2011 with Intel silicon inside them.” Mr. Otellini also went on to note that his company has won contracts on 35 tablet-style devices thus far. Intel’s chips have been noticeably absent from the smartphone marketplace, as the majority of devices have opted for ARM-based processors from Texas Instrument, Qualcomm, Samsung, and others. More →
Taiwan-based chip manufacturer JMicron is reportedly preparing to make a splash next month at Computex 2009 when it debuts its latest breakthrough NAND flash controller. The JMF612, successor to the company’s JMF602 pictured above, represents one of several technological advancements that could combine to substantially reduce Solid State Drive (SSD) pricing in the near future. The JMF612 is designed for a new breed of SSD drives that will be smaller, faster and cheaper to manufacture. Combined with an inexpensive single-chip controller such as JMicron’s, SSDs should become much more accessible and affordable — with drive pricing possibly impacted as soon as this holiday season. What’s more, the blazing speed of the JMF612 may very well lead to the introduction of a 1TB SSD as the chip’s improved efficiency will allow for larger drive sizes. JMicron is expected to begin mass production of its new controller in July.