Next-generation iPhone to utilize new display technology

By on April 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM.

Next-generation iPhone to utilize new display technology

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will reportedly make use of new display technology that will allow the device to utilize thinner components without sacrificing responsiveness. Citing anonymous sources within Apple’s component supply chain, DigiTimes on Friday reported that Apple’s new iPhone will utilize in-cell touch panels rather than industry-standard on-cell technology. In-cell touch panel technology allows a device’s touch sensors to reside inside a display’s color filters rather than above them, and the result is a thinner, lighter panel. According to the report, the new displays will be manufactured by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display, and production will ramp up in the second quarter followed by a launch some time in the third quarter this year. BGR reported last December that Apple plans to launch a completely redesigned iPhone with a new antenna system and a unibody case this fall. A separate recent report suggested that the new iPhone’s case could be made from the Liquidmetal alloys Apple licensed in 2010. More →

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An inside look at how iPads are made [video]

By on April 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM.

An inside look at how iPads are made [video]

Apple’s iPad and the conditions under which it is built are topics that surface regularly on technology blogs and in the mainstream media. While the company did recently initiate a review by the Fair Labor Association, human rights organizations regularly take Apple to task for not doing more to ensure factory workers employed by its China-based manufacturing partner Foxconn are treated well. Foxconn and parent company Hon Hai employs hundreds of thousands of workers, however, and hundreds more travel from around the country each day to line up and apply for jobs at Foxconn’s various plants. Marketplace Shanghai bureau chief Rob Schmitz was recently given a rare opportunity at operations within Foxconn’s Shenzhen iPad factory, and his crew was permitted to film a number of active stations on the iPad assembly line that have never been seen before. The result is an inside look at some of the fascinating technology that goes into building the world’s most popular tablet. Marketplace’s video follows below. More →

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Sharp and Foxconn enter into manufacturing partnership

By on March 27, 2012 at 5:15 PM.

Sharp and Foxconn enter into manufacturing partnership

Sharp on Tuesday announced that is has entered into an manufacturing partnership with Foxconn that will see the manufacturing giant take a 10% stake in the Japanese electronics company. Hon Hai has invested nearly 67 billion yen ($809 million) in Sharp in exchange for roughly 121.65 million new shares, which will be spread out between four Foxconn companies. Sharp CEO Takashi Okuda said, “Until now we have handled all of our R&D and manufacturing, but going forward we will need to include partnerships in our approach,” pledging to leverage both companies’ strengths to get products to market efficiently. Each company will hold a 46.5% stake in Sharp’s Sakai plant in western Japan, with the remaining 7% owned by Sony. More →

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Nokia to cut 1,000 jobs from Finnish phone plant

By on March 22, 2012 at 9:35 PM.

Nokia to cut 1,000 jobs from Finnish phone plant

Nokia on Thursday announced that it will cut as many as 1,000 jobs at its plant in Salo, Finland. The company’s layoffs will happen gradually through 2012, with most cuts happening by the end of June, Reuters reported. The Salo plant is the last large cell phone manufacturing plant in Western Europe, as most businesses have moved their manufacturing to Asia. Last month, Nokia shed 2,300 workers from a plant in Komarom, Hungary and 700 others in Reynosa, Mexico as it too shifted much of its manufacturing to China. This new round of layoffs comes as part of a larger effort to cut costs following the €1 billion loss the company reported last quarter. More →

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Raspberry Pi suffers a manufacturing hiccup, possible delays

By on March 8, 2012 at 9:15 PM.

Raspberry Pi suffers a manufacturing hiccup, possible delays

Shipments of the long-awaited Raspberry Pi single-board Linux computer may be delayed due to a “manufacturing hiccup.” The company on Thursday said that during the manufacturing process, the computers were equipped with non-magnetic jacks, which would result in a lack of network connectivity. The Raspberry Pi Foundation claims, however, that there is no need to fret because this is “a very minor problem to fix, and the factory is nearly done working on replacing them on the first set of boards.” The first shipments should still go out to customers in line with the firm’s previously announced time frame, although there might be a “slight delay.” Pre-orders of the $35 dollar computer sold out in less than a day when it went on sale last month. The single-board computer is equipped with a 700MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, SD card support, two USB ports, an Ethernet jack and both HDMI and RCA outputs. More →

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Nokia to shed 4,000 jobs as manufacturing shifts to Asia

By on February 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Nokia to shed 4,000 jobs as manufacturing shifts to Asia

Nokia plans to eliminate 4,000 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting effort that will see much of its manufacturing shift to Asia. The cuts will be made across three Nokia plants — 2,300 workers will be shed in Komarom, Hungary, 700 will lose their jobs in Reynosa, Mexico and 1,000 more in Salo, Finland will be laid off. Each of the three plants will continue to operate at reduced capacities, and the move is part of a larger effort to cut costs following the €1 billion loss Nokia reported last quarter. “Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive,” Nokia EVP of Markets Niklas Savander said in a statement. “We recognize the planned changes are difficult for our employees and we are committed to supporting our personnel and their local communities during the transition.” Nokia’s full press release follows below. More →

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Workers should not have to die so Apple can build the iPhone 5, petition says

By on February 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM.

Workers should not have to die so Apple can build the iPhone 5, petition says

A new web-based petition singles out Apple and calls for the company to force its suppliers to reform the working conditions at their factories. Original device manufacturer Hon Hai and its subsidiary Foxconn are among the Eastern firms repeatedly accused of mistreating workers, and Apple has again been called upon to demand change as Foxconn’s biggest customer. Read on for more. More →

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Explosion at iPad plant injures 61 workers

By on December 19, 2011 at 6:35 PM.

Explosion at iPad plant injures 61 workers

The safety of workers at electronics manufacturing plants has again been called into question on reports that 61 people were injured by an explosion at a Pegatron factory at Shanghai’s Songjiang industrial park in China. Reuters on Monday reported that an explosion at a plant run by Pegatron subsidiary Riteng Computer Accessory Company injured 61 people and sent 23 workers to the hospital. Among other products, the plant manufactures back panel parts for Apple’s iPad 2 tablet. Pegatron Chief Financial Officer Charles Lin confirmed the incident. “The factory has not started operations yet,” Lin told Reuters. “Part of the facility is still under pre-operation inspection and part is running trial production.” Riteng spokeswoman Carolyn Wu added, “Our hearts go out to the people who were hurt in Songjiang. We are working closely with Pegatron to understand the cause of this accident.” An explosion this past summer at a Foxconn plant that manufactures Apple tablets killed three workers and injured another fifteen. No fatalities resulting from the Riteng explosion have been reported, and the cause of the blast was not immediately clear. More →

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Apple’s A5 chip reportedly now manufactured by Samsung in Texas

By on December 16, 2011 at 10:30 PM.

Apple’s A5 chip reportedly now manufactured by Samsung in Texas

Apple and other consumer electronics companies typically look to the Far East for components, but a new report suggests that the production of Apple’s current mobile processors has now moved to the United States. Reuters on Friday reported that the chip powering Apple’s current iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models is now manufactured in a new 1.6 million square foot Samsung factory located in Austin, Texas. The report cites unnamed people familiar with Samsung’s operations. Samsung’s new Austin facility — which is the size of nine football fields — reportedly reached full production earlier this month, and it was built to manufacture non-memory chips. The South Korea-based company confirmed that its Texas plant was recently expanded to manufacture logic chips, though it would not comment specifically on Apple or its A5 processor. Reuters reported earlier this year that Samsung lost the contract to build Apple’s next-generation A6 processor, which will instead be manufactured by Taiwan-based chip maker TSMC. More →

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Component orders from Nokia to grow 20% in 2012 on strong Lumia demand

By on December 8, 2011 at 3:15 PM.

Component orders from Nokia to grow 20% in 2012 on strong Lumia demand

Component suppliers in Taiwan expect orders from Nokia to grow 20% in 2012 as demand for Nokia’s Lumia smartphones increases. DigiTimes cites unnamed industry sources from within Nokia’s supply chain in stating that the launch of Nokia’s first pair of Windows Phones — the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710 — has helped foster growth at several parts suppliers in Taiwan. Magnesium-alloy chassis orders from Nokia helped Silitech’s revenue grow 7% to NT$1.34 billion last month, and circuit manufacturer Ichia’s revenue grew 61.6% year-over-year last month thanks in part to Nokia’s Lumia handsets. Nokia’s first two Windows Phones launched in a number of markets last month and the vendor is expected to announce the imminent launch of its Lumia 710 smartphone at T-Mobile USA at a press conference next week.

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Hitachi, Sony reportedly begin shipping next-gen 4-inch iPhone displays

By on November 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM.

Hitachi, Sony reportedly begin shipping next-gen 4-inch iPhone displays

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 →

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Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle Fire tablet may launch in Q2

By on November 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM.

Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle Fire tablet may launch in Q2

Following the successful launch of its first tablet last week, Amazon reportedly plans to launch a second model as soon as the second quarter next year. Fresh off an apparent miss — Asus went on record in denying an earlier report from the site on Friday — DigiTimes cites unnamed sources from within Amazon’s supply chain in claiming that the company’s next Kindle Fire tablet is scheduled to launch by the end of the second quarter 2012. The site reported earlier this month that Amazon’s 8.9-inch model would follow the 7-inch Kindle Fire, bumping the 10-inch quad-core “Hollywood” tablet BGR exclusively revealed into late 2012. DigiTimes also noted that Foxconn has been added as a second ODM for the current Kindle Fire, and it will join Quanta in mass-producing the 7-inch slate in the first quarter next year. More →

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Teardown reveals $199 Kindle Fire costs $201.70 to build

By on November 18, 2011 at 10:45 PM.

Teardown reveals $199 Kindle Fire costs $201.70 to build

A recent teardown of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet reveals that the company is likely selling its new Android-powered slate at a loss. Market research and intelligence firm IHS iSuppli on Friday published its findings after disassembling the new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet and examining its components. Following its analysis, the firm determined that Amazon’s Build of Materials cost is $185.60, and its total cost including manufacturing-related fees is $201.70 per Kindle Fire. Prior to obtaining and disassembling the tablet, IHS had estimated its parts and manufacturing costs to be $209.63 per unit combined. Read on for more. More →

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