Samsung Electronics on Monday announced that its display panel spin-off is now operational. The company said in February that it would separate its struggling LCD business from the rest of the company and form Samsung Display Co., Ltd. The subsidiary opened its doors Monday morning and it will commence operations with roughly $6.6 billion in financing from parent company, Samsung Electronics. “We will make Samsung Display a well-respected company through continuous efforts to supply a wide variety of customized products that provide great value to our customers,” newly named Samsung Display CEO Donggun Park said. “By continually staying one step ahead of our competitors, we can make our company the very best in the display market.” Samsung’s full press release follows below. More →
Foxconn workers claim the manufacturer transferred underage employees to other departments or did not schedule them to work overtime in an effort to avoid discovery during the Fair Labor Association’s investigation of its facilities, reports AppleInsider. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) project officer Debby Sze Wan Chan was told by two Foxconn employees that the manufacturer “prepared for the inspection” by hiding the child laborers. “All underage workers, between 16-17 years old, were not assigned any overtime work and some of them were even sent to other departments,” Chan reportedly said. Another Foxconn worker said she had recently been allowed three breaks a day during the audit, an increase from one. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company “cares about every worker in our supply chain,” however many workers don’t feel the care that the CEO talks about. “Most of the time, the workers are aware of the presence of Apple’s representatives inside the factories,” said Chan. “It is not the problem that Apple doesn’t know the real problems at their suppliers. They know, but it is only because they do not care.” More →
Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, Ltd., parent company of original device manufacturer Foxconn, reported huge revenue growth of nearly 50% for the month of January, Taiwan Economic News reports. The manufacturing giant enjoyed performance that beat forecasts last month, with revenue ballooning 47.9% year-on-year to NT$274.6 billion, or approximately $9.1 billion USD. Revenue was down 13.3% sequentially after a big December capped off a hot holiday quarter, but the seasonal decline was expected and well below the average 20% fall off Hon Hai typically sees between December and January. Hon Hai’s nearest competitor Quanta Computer saw revenue grow 2% to NT$78.3 billion in January, and rival Compal Electronics reported a dip of 22% to NT$43.7 billion in January. More →
Google hasn’t been known as a hardware vendor in the past. That may soon change thanks to the company’s pending acquisition of Motorola, and recent reports suggest Google is already working on a self-branded home entertainment system and HUD glasses. Through a recent FCC filing, it has now been discovered that Google is also planning a “next generation personal communication device.” Details surrounding the mystery device are few and far between, although the filing does confirm both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are on board. The company has requested to test 102 units near Google office locations throughout the United States. The Mountain View-based company is listed as the manufacturer of the devices and it is described as being “in the prototyping phase and will be modified prior to final compliance testing.” More →
Taiwanese manufacturer Hon Hai reported revenue growth of 19.89% year-over-year in 2011 and 37.5% quarter-over-quarter in the fourth quarter last year, Taiwan Economic News said Friday. Hon Hai recorded $10.5 billion in revenue for the month of December, $92 billion in revenue for the year and $30.5 billion in revenue for the full fourth quarter of 2011. Hon Hai said the growth was propelled by a strong demand for new computers, phones and other consumer electronics. Analysts predict that the company, perhaps best known for its Foxconn subsidiary, which builds Apple’s tablets and smartphones, will achieve annual revenues of $100 billion in 2012. More →
HTC, Samsung and LG are poised to launch new Windows Phone Mango devices in September, DigiTimes reported on Friday. HTC’s handsets will be equipped with displays sized between 3.8-inches and 4.7-inches and will be powered by Qualcomm CPUs clocked at 1.5GHz. We’re expecting at least two of HTC’s new phones to be the Ignite and the Prime, which leaked again yesterday. Suppliers also indicated that Nokia will launch its first Windows Phone Mango devices during its annual Nokia World conference in October. Acer, Fujitsu-Toshiba and ZTE are also preparing to launch new phones in the coming months although it is unclear when those devices will hit the market. Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the final Windows Phone Mango build had been released to vendors.
Shipments of Asustek’s popular Eee Pad Transformer tablet have surpassed 400,000 units per month according to a report from DigiTimes. The industry watcher cites anonymous sources at touchscreen display panel suppliers in claiming shipments are expected to grow even further in the third quarter, possibly reaching up to 500,000 units per month. ASUS reportedly hopes to ship between 4 million and 5 million tablets across all of its models during the second half of 2011, and almost 3 million units could be Transformers if DigiTimes’ report is accurate. Analysts at J.P. Morgan Chase claimed last month that sales were slowing and ASUS’ convertible tablet was overstocked in some channels, but this continued high production volume would certainly suggest that the opposite is in fact the case. The Eee Pad Transformer is a 10.1-inch Android 3.1 Honeycomb tablet with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor that ships with a full notebook-sized keyboard dock. The slate can be used on its own or docked so that its function more closely resembles that of a laptop computer. More →
Images of what are claimed to be parts from an unreleased third-generation Apple iPad have been posted on the Web by Taiwanese tech site Apple.pro. The site has a history of accessing authentic parts from China-based Apple product manufacturers and publishing images of the parts before the related devices are made official by Apple. The part obtained in this instance is a new connector cable with a tip that is white in color, thus leading Apple.pro to speculate that the new iPad 3 will launch in both black and white like the current iPad 2 model. Also of note, the connector shown has a new model number and different design compared to the corresponding iPad 2 part; Apple.pro’s component is labeled “821-1259-06” while the similar connector in the iPad 2 is labeled “821-1180-A.” Another image can be seen below. More →
Former executive at Apple supplier Flextronics Walter Shimoon pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of security fraud in a Manhattan court on Tuesday. The charges stem from a crackdown on “expert networks,” which make money by connecting hedge funds and financial institutions with industry insiders such as Shimoon. The practice, which had gone widely unmonitored for years, is now said to be under the Securities and Exchange Commission’s microscope. Shimoon was arrested late last year and accused of leaking insider iPhone and iPod sales figures in the third and fourth quarters of 2009. He also leaked details surrounding the iPhone 3GS, which was unreleased at the time, and the still unannounced iPad. Shimoon is scheduled to be sentenced in July 2013 according to The New York Times. More →
We’ve reported on the harsh working conditions at Foxconn — which have allegedly driven some workers to commit suicide — and now the firm is asking its workers to sign pledges stating that they will not hold Foxconn responsible if they commit suicide, Daily Mail says. While translations may vary, the letter to employees reportedly says:
In the event of non-accidental injuries (including suicide, self mutilation, etc.), I agree that the company has acted properly in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and will not sue the company, bring excessive demands, take drastic actions that would damage the company’s reputation or cause trouble that would hurt normal operations.
Foxconn, which manufacturers electronics for Apple, HP, Nokia, Palm, Sony, and others, was covered in a study performed by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM). To Foxconn’s credit, SACOM offered some praise to Foxconn for meeting China’s overtime limits: “Foxconn was the only supplier out of those studied that set a target to meet the government-mandated maximum overtime of 36 hours per month within 2011,” the report said. However, it also noted that one employee worked 98 hours of overtime in one month, and others were required to work all but one day during a 13-day long iPad manufacturing binge. Worse yet, those who didn’t meet expectations were apparently met with public humiliation or forced to stand while working 12-hour shifts. More →
DigiTimes is citing a report from sznews.com today that three Foxconn employees have been arrested in Shenzhen, China for leaking the design specs of the iPad 2 to third-party case manufacturers ahead of the device’s launch. The three were allegedly arrested in December of last year and were charged in late March for the leaks. Foxconn grew suspicious of its own employees after accurate third-party iPad 2 cases began popping up on the market; the firm then asked local authorities to investigate. Foxconn manufacturers electronics for a number of major companies including Apple, HP, Palm, and Sony, and it has been called out in the past for the harsh treatment of its employees. More →
Rumors of possible delays may be further quashed on Friday as industry watcher DigiTimes reports that production of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is now in full swing. Quanta, the China-based manufacturer charged with building the BlackBerry tablets, is said to have ramped up production ahead of the device’s anticipated release in March. A pace of 150,000 to 200,000 units per month has reportedly been reached, and shipments could be ready as soon as next month. Quanta is said to be building PlayBook tablets in its facilities in Taiwan, though the majority of its plants are located in mainland China. An earlier report from DigiTimes claims that RIM has 1 million BlackBerry PlayBook tablets on order in the first quarter of 2011. RIM plans to launch a Wi-Fi-only version of its PlayBook tablet in March, while 3G and 4G versions are expected later in the first half of this year. More →
According to an unconfirmed report, Chinese manufacturer Quanta Computer will build and ship over 1 million BlackBerry PlayBook tablets for RIM in the first quarter of 2011. DigiTimes cites industry sources in reporting the numbers, and also states that Quanta will ship between 700,000 and 800,000 Motorola XOOM tablets in Q1. The report claims RIM will launch the Wi-Fi-only version of the PlayBook in March, with 3G and 4G versions to follow in the second quarter. The report also claims, however, that Motorola will begin offering an “LTE version” of the XOOM tablet in the second quarter of this year after launching the 3G model in Q1. This assertion is inaccurate according to Motorola, which said its XOOM tablet would only gain 4G LTE connectivity using a forthcoming modem attachment. BGR published a lengthy hands-on video demonstration of the BlackBerry PlayBook in December, and we played with it again at CES in early January. The QNX-based tablet managed to impress us on both occasions. We also checked out the Android Honeycomb-powered Motorola XOOM tablet at CES and it was quite impressive as well. More →