Samsung, Sharp, Innolux Corp, Hitachi, HannStar Display Corp, Chungwha Picture Tubes and Epson Imaging Devices Corp will pay a total of $553 million to settle accusations that the firms participated in an LCD price-fixing scheme. The price fixing resulted in inflation of display prices at the benefit of all companies involved, but at the cost of consumers. “This price-fixing scheme manipulated the playing field for businesses that abide by the rules, and left consumers to pay artificially higher costs for televisions, computers and other electronics,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. The United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan began investigating the seven companies in December 2006, Reuters said, and executives and other firms have already paid as much as $890 million in fines. Settlement papers filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ask Samsung to pay $240 million, the largest fine levied against any of the firms involved. Nokia also filed a lawsuit against several, but not all, of the aforementioned firms in 2009 alleging that the companies were purposely driving up display prices for screens used in Nokia smartphones. More →
Sony and Hitachi are reportedly working with Apple on a 4-inch display for an iOS device presumed to be the next-generation iPhone set to launch next year. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s Asian supply chain, Macotakara.jp reports that the two suppliers have teamed up to begin preliminary production of Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone displays. The two companies are also said to be working on a “fundamentally changed” display for Apple’s iPad 4. As Apple’s legal battles with Samsung continue, the Cupertino, California-based company has reportedly looked to a number of new parts suppliers as it distances itself from Samsung. Apple had been Samsung’s top parts customer, rumored to be spending approximately $7.8 billion on Samsung components in 2011 alone. Apple is said to have made a series of investments in display manufacturing plants owned by Sharp, which is expected to be partnering with Apple on its upcoming HDTV and may also supply Apple with displays for its upcoming iPad 3 tablet. More →
Personal fitness GPS products could be a possible growth market for struggling PND companies. A new report from ABI Research is forecasting that the personal fitness GPS market could soon surpass 10 million units. Products such as the Garmin Forerunner 610 have helped its Outdoor and Fitness division deliver 27% of the company’s operating income last year, ABI said, and that growth continued into 2011 when the company recorded a 25% increase in fitness sales during the second quarter. “Garmin remains by far the dominant player in this expanding market, with over 90% of the market share, but it will face some new emerging competition,” telematics and navigation senior analyst Patrick Connolly said. The industry growth has been spurred by other companies too, including Citizen, Casio and Polar, among others. “There has also been a dearth of health/fitness devices launched on the market in 1H11, from companies such as Basis, Fitbit, Jawbone, Bodymedia, Philips and Hitachi,” said ABI Telematics and navigation practice director Dominique Bonte “Many have indicated that GPS is part of their future plans.” Mobile devices have also helped drive sales of personal fitness GPS applications, and ABI Research noted the success of Nike, Runkeeper and MapMyRun. Read on for the full press release. More →
It’s been rumored that Apple has been spending billions in cash on a strategic displays investment, but other manufacturers and component suppliers aren’t standing still, either. Hitatchi Displays has just announced that they have a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display lined up for production in October. The new display’s resolution? 1280 x 720 which, in a 4.5-inch screen, equals a whopping 329dpi density. It’s LED backlit and features a 1,100:1 contrast ratio. Oh. boy. More →
Some might say a capacitive touchscreen that also accepts input from a stylus or a gloved finger is the white whale of the cell phone industry. Ok — most people probably wouldn’t say that. But a single touchscreen that can respond just as well to a finger as it can to a stylus is a huge breakthrough in the mobile world. This versatile display could address the U.S. and European markets just as well as it addresses Asian markets, where handwriting recognition and stylus input are requirements for many. At this year’s IFD International conference, Hitachi showed the world that we’re not as far away from these all-purpose displays as one might think. Hitachi’s new touchscreen panels definitely aren’t ready for primetime — look at how shaky those lines are — but seeds have most definitely been planted and the company thinks it should have a ready-for-market product by the end of 2011. Hit the break for a video showing off the new tech. More →
Oh, how things have changed since 2003. The Hitachi SH-G1000 Pocket PC — also known as the largest Pocket PC in history (we’re probably stretching, but still) — was one of the first Pocket PC devices we owned. Why did we buy it? Well, if we remember correctly, it was one of the first Pocket PCs to use cellular data (it used Sprint’s 1xRTT network for data), and this enabled us to constantly use AIM, send email, and use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer; it also took our pretentious-douche-factor to new heights when we used it in our local Starbucks. You didn’t need a stylus to type on the G1000 as it had a portrait, full-QWERTY keyboard built-in. As an added bonus, there was a rotatable camera, 400 MHz CPU, and 32 MB of RAM. While the device was not “pocketable,” the battery life was impressive; clocking in at over a day of average use, possibly two. The device retailed for $649 on Sprint. Anybody ever own one of these monsters?
BGR Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.
In the future, the cost of your next smartphone might decrease by a few pennies thanks to a new lawsuit brought on by Nokia against some of the world’s largest LCD manufactures. Filed simultaneously in both the United States and the England on November 25th, Nokia is alleging that AU Optronics, Hitachi, LG, Philips, Samsung, Seiko Epson, Sharp, Toshiba and others willingly conspired to “artificially inflated the price of liquid crystal displays ultimately incorporated into LCD products purchased by Nokia, causing Nokia to pay higher prices.” Earlier this year, AT&T started a similar lawsuit after LG, Chunghwa Picture Tubes and Sharp pled guilty to price fixing which eventually caused Hitatchi to come clean. Of course with Nokia’s financial situation being what it is, any savings brought on by a successful lawsuit could just as easily — and most likely — be contributed towards the companies profit margins. So far Nokia has yet to go on the record regarding the remedies it is seeking, but we imagine the information will become clear soon enough. More →