The holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for electronics companies, but a few might have overstepped their boundaries this time around. Bloomberg reports that Samsung, Philips and retailer Media-Saturn “were among companies raided by European Union antitrust officials as part of a probe into suspected online-sales restrictions.” The EU commission believes that these companies might have put restrictions on online sales of their products, which could cause prices to artificially increase and online availability of some products to cease entirely. Each of the three companies named in the Bloomberg article stated that they were cooperating fully with the EU commission, although none would go into any further detail.
Each year on the evening of December 31st an estimated one million people from around the world flock to New York City’s Times Square to cheer in unison as the final 10 seconds of the year are counted down and the iconic glowing ball is lowered down a 130-foot pole from atop 1 Times Square. BGR recently attended the Philips Ball Test, during which the city does a dry run of the ceremonies that will take place seconds before midnight on New Year’s Eve. We had a chance to sit down with Jeff Straus, the president of Countdown Entertainment and one of the producers who has overseen the event for the past 17 years, and Ed Crawford, the CEO of Philips Lighting, which provides the bulbs for the New Year’s Eve ball. We also had a chance to walk up and see the ball in person, and learn about how the whole process works from the beginning down to the second when a switch is flipped and the ball begins its descent.
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 →
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 →
Philips makes cell phones? Sure the manufacturer is all but forgotten here in the US where handsets are concerned, but that apparently won’t stop it from churning out Sony Ericsson-like handsets such as the K700 for other markets. Truth be told, at the right carrier-subsidized price the K700 would likely fair pretty well here in the States. Purported specs:
- 2.8-inch touchscreen TFT-LCD, 262,000 colors, 400 x 240 pixels
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz
- Supported file formats RMBV, AVI, FLV, Divx, MP3, WMA, AC, FLAC, APE
- Dedicated GPU / stereo
- 3.2 megapixel camera with auto-focus and video recording
- Up to 4 hours of video playback / Up to 25 hours of music playback in CD-quality
- 48 MB of internal memory, support for MicroSD memory cards up to 8GB
- Bluetooth 2.0 / USB 2.0 / FM-radio with RDS / jack 3.5 mm
- Battery: 1000mA / h lithium-ion
- Dimensions: 101 x 52 x 13 mm
- Weight: 97 g
- Standby time – up to 1 month, talk time – up to 8.5 hours
Not too shabby, really. No word yet on a release date, pricing or target markets but we have a feeling you’ll be hard-pressed to locate one of these puppies on North American soil any time soon. Hit the jump for another pair of renders.
Some things in life just can’t be explained. Bush’s presidency… Ryan Seacrest’s popularity… And the Philips X800. Sure it’s an iPhone designer impostor but plenty of manufacturers are going that route. The spec read out on this puppy is what confounds the mind and warrants a viciously loud “WTF!?”
- General: 2G Network GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
- Display: Type TFT touchscreen, 256K colors
- Size: 240 x 400 pixels (Wide QVGA), 2.9 inches
- Data: GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
- HSCSD: No
- EDGE: No
- 3G: No
- WLAN: No
- Bluetooth: v2.0 with A2DP
Ok, so GSM 850 is missing but we’re used to that. Ok, the touchscreen display is nice and big but only supports 256K colors. All that is WTF-able but it can be worked through. The real marvel here is the connectivity. No WLAN, no 3G and no EDGE! That’s right people, this sweet-looking handset is limited to GPRS Class 10 data with a whopping ~ 48 kbps cap. We also notice that a flash for the camera has been omitted, but perhaps Philips presumed no one would notice thanks to the rest of the specs. Supposedly there is a higher-end Xenium X-Connect model in the works that will resolve many of the connectivity issues facing the X800. If that’s the case, why even bother with this model? The look is high-end but the specs are emerging market; someone might just get fired over this.