Huawei on Wednesday announced global availability of its flagship Ascend P1 smartphone. The Android 4.0-powered handset will be available in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia by May, in Latin America by June and in Europe for the summer, with availability in other markets to follow. “The global availability of the Ascend P1, which combines smart features and a sexy design, represents a significant milestone for Huawei Device,” said Richard Yu, Chairman of Huawei. “We are sending strong signals of our intention to transform into a consumer-facing brand and extend our market leadership globally by strengthening our range of flagship products. We are also expanding our sales and distribution channels to move beyond a focus on operators.” The Ascend P1 is equipped with a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, a dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and an 8-megapixel rear camera. Read on for Huawei’s press release. More →
Apple iPhone 4S pre-orders in Hong Kong sold out within just 10 minutes, analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said Monday in a note to investors. Pre-orders began last Friday and the phone will officially land in stores this Friday. White estimates that the Chinese market will be key to Apple’s continued growth. The analyst believes Apple’s revenue from “Greater China” — mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan — topped $4.5 billion last quarter, a 270% increase from the same quarter in 2010. That figure was 16% of Apple’s total sales, up from the 2% of sales that Greater China represented in 2009. Apple currently owns and operates six official Apple Stores in China. White reiterated a Buy rating on Apple stock with a price target of $666.
HTC recently surpassed Acer as the most valuable international technology brand in Taiwan, according to Taiwan Economic News. The accolade was awarded to HTC by Taiwan’s External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Bureau of Foreign Trade. The company’s brand is now valued at $3.6 billion, up from just $1.37 billion last year. The Taiwan-based phone and tablet maker is followed by Acer ($1.94 billion) and Asus ($1.36 billion). “You have to make an investment, spend time, and stay patient,” HTC CEO Peter Chou advised other companies during the award ceremony, noting that HTC was not afraid to fail. “Even if we failed, the process would help to produce positive results for Taiwan.” HTC expects to ship 13.5 million smartphones during the second half of this year and it is planning to increase its presence in China dramatically. The company on Thursday reported third-quarter revenue of NT$135.8 billion, up 79% from the same quarter of 2010, and net income grew 68% over the same period to NT$18.6 billion. More →
Shares of HTC’s stock closed down 3.9% at T$871 on Monday, just three days after the the U.S. International Trade Commission announced that the Taiwanese company was guilty of infringing on two of Apple’s patents. The patents were related to a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data,” and a “real-time signal processing system for serially transmitted data,” but the judge’s ruling is still awaiting the review of a 6-member Commission. “We are highly confident we have a strong case for the ITC appeals process and are fully prepared to defend ourselves using all means possible,” HTC’s general council Grace Lei said on Friday “We strongly believe we have alternate solutions in place for the issues raised by Apple. We look forward to resolving this case, so we can continue creating the most innovative mobile experiences for consumers.” HTC also has an ongoing patent lawsuit against Apple. The Financial Times attributed the sell-off to “investor fears that the legal battle could have wider implications for the competitive balance between Apple and Google Android-based phonemakers like HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.” More →
Apple has initiated a new seven day return policy in Taiwan in accordance with the country’s consumer protection laws, MacRumors reported on Friday. Taiwanese iTunes App Store customers can now receive a full refund on purchased applications within a seven day window after the purchase date. Specifically, Apple’s iTunes App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store terms now state:
You may cancel your purchase within seven (7) days from the date of delivery and iTunes will reimburse you for the amount paid, provided you inform iTunes that you have deleted all copies of the product. Upon cancellation you will no longer be licensed to use the product. This right cannot be waived.
Apple doesn’t currently offer that option to customers in the United States. Instead, consumers must approach Apple and request a refund on a specific app. That request will then be reviewed and Apple grants refunds as it sees fit. Google’s competing Android Market allows users to receive a full refund within a 15-minute window after downloading a new application. We’d certainly love to see Apple provide this sort of refund process in the United States, but we’re not holding our breath. More →
Apple may have just hit Samsung where it hurts as the two companies continue their ongoing legal battles over patents. Apple, said to be the largest buyer of Samsung components, will not use Samsung to build its next-generation A6 processor, Reuters reports. Instead, Taiwan-based TSMC has reportedly been contracted to build the chip, which is expected to power Apple’s future iPhone and iPad devices. TSMC, the world’s largest contract microchip manufacturer, is said to have already begun test production of Apple’s A6 processor. Samsung currently builds the A5 processor used in Apple’s popular iPad 2 tablet and it owns numerous patents surrounding the chip’s design, including a patent that covers the processor’s the system design and memory packaging. The A5 chip is also expected to be included in Apple’s iPhone 5, which is expected to launch later this year. Should TSMC in fact be manufacturing Apple’s next-generation mobile CPU, it will likely feature a significant redesign in order to avoid potential patent complaints from Samsung. More →
Taiwan’s minister of the Counsel of Labor Affairs (CLA) on Thursday announced her intentions to raise the nation’s basic wage for public workers by over 3%. CLA minister Jennifer Wang remarked that despite a 3.47% increase to Taiwan’s basic wage last year, the planned 3% pay hike for public workers should be increased further still. Wang argues that the country’s base pay was too low to begin with, so another 3% hike will not be sufficient for those earning a minimum wage. As of January 1st of this year, basic pay for public workers was increased from NT$17,280 to NT$17,880, or approximately $619 each month. The CLA minister’s comments came following Lawmaker Ho Tsai-feng’s note that the minimum wage should be raised by $2,330 each month, the average increase across all public workers at the currently slated 3% rate. This would bring Taiwan’s monthly minimum wage to NT$20,110, or $696. More →
It’s no wonder why Foxconn is considering moving some facilities outside Taiwan and China and into other countries like Brazil. Beyond the potential tax benefits for the manufacturer and its clients, China and Taiwan are finally beginning to address problems surrounding the working conditions its citizens have endured in recent history. Forced wage increases and other recent moves such as Taipei City’s decision on Tuesday to slash the maximum monthly working hours from 312 to 260 for some laborers threaten to spill over into other regions and industries. For Foxconn and parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. — which just revealed March revenue of NT$214.9 billion ($7.39 billion USD), up 41% over February — the financial impact of these moves on the bottom line could be massive. It will be interesting to see how Chinese President Hu Jintao receives Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as they discuss shifting billions of dollars out of China and into Brazil.
Apple has reportedly placed a new order for 30 million display panels per year from leading display manufacturer AU Optronic. The unconfirmed report from Taiwan Economic News suggests Apple paid a huge 300-400% premium to lock in the order, which could see AU Optronics produce up to 100,000 iPad 2 displays each day. The order accounts for about half of the global tablet market, the report claims. Apple had sourced its 9.7-inch iPad 2 displays from LGD and Samsung and some manufacturing took place in Japan, which could be part of the reason for Apple’s willingness to pay a premium to a new supplier. It is also unclear if the move is a response to light leakage problems many have reported with Apple’s current iPad 2 displays. More →
Intel is working with six to eight notebook manufacturers in an effort to push more into the Android tablet market, DigiTimes is reporting. Inventec and Compal Electronics — two Taiwanese companies — are among the manufacturing partners listed, and Intel could show off a few new devices during the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) show in Beijing next month (or during Computex Taipei later this year). DigiTimes has a mixed track record, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this particular prognostication come to fruition. After all, ViewSonic recently launched its ViewPad 10 tablet, which is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom processor and runs Android 1.6 and Windows 7. The report also suggests that Intel is working closely with Google in developing new Chrome OS products that could launch during the second half of 2011. More →
While this isn’t the most comprehensive global-roaming agreement you will ever see, it’s a start. Via a short press release, the U.S.’s third largest wireless provider — Sprint — has announced a global-roaming deal that will allow its WiMAX customers to operate on the Digicel and Global Mobile networks in Jamaica and Taiwan respectively. Sprint users traveling to the aforementioned areas with WiMAX-enabled devices will be able to purchase an unlimited, 24-hour data pass for $14.99.
“Over the years, we’ve built a robust ecosystem of partners that dwarves any other 4G ecosystem available today and as the first U.S. wireless carrier to launch international 4G roaming we’ve clearly demonstrated our leadership,” said Todd Rowley, the company’s vice-president of 4G.
While $14.99 per day seems a bit steep, the pricing is actually quite reasonable. AT&T’s closest offering to a an unlimited international data-bucket is its 200MB monthly plan (daily or weekly plans are not available), which retails for $199.99 — 5 days of unlimited WiMAX data at $14.99 per day would cost just $74.95. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Sixteen WiMAX operators from around the world convened in Taipei this week to draft an international roaming agreement for their 4G networks. The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit, as it is being called, had just shy of seventy representatives working on the deal. Global roaming is projected to be a $67 billion business by 2015.
“The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit was created to specifically address overcoming both business and consumer perceptions that data roaming is expensive, and to explore ways to help operators grow revenue,” said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum. “WiMAX has an established ecosystem with nearly 600 deployments around the world. The opportunity for operators to offer their customers roaming is there, and it is an excellent way for operators to add another viable revenue stream and earn returns on their 4G network investments.”
Representatives from both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire attended the event. Full press release is after the break. More →
Today, Sprint announced a new, 4G international-roaming agreement it signed with Jamaican carrier Digicel and Taiwanese carrier Global Mobile. The new agreement will allow select Sprint devices — currently the Sierra Wireless 250U and Sprint U600 — to operate on the aforementioned networks while traveling abroad.
“With these agreements, Sprint is kicking down the door to 4G international roaming and taking a first step toward allowing people to enjoy 4G service wherever they are around the globe,” said Matt Carter, Sprint’s 4G chief. “We’ve taken the 4G leadership position in the U.S. and are now proud to partner with visionaries Digicel and Global Mobile to solidify our international leadership role.”
Users who want to connect to the Digicel or Global Mobile network will have to do so utilizing Sprint’s SmartView Connection Manager software. The software will provide one-click activation, GPS services, Sprint Wi-Fi network locations, and custom enterprise configurations.
Unfortunately, the “pricing and launch details of the agreements are still to be determined.” Hit the jump for the full press release. More →