Two of Apple’s component suppliers, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co and Toshiba, have reportedly shut down some of their operations in Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, this could result in shortages of Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in March, through the rest of the first quarter, and into June. Toshiba manufactures 40% of the world’s flash memory, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co is believed to be Apple’s go-to company for BT resin — which is used on circuit boards. Munster says Apple’s strategy to buy from multiple component suppliers could help soften the blow. “This strategy has proven to be an effective way for Apple to leverage its balance sheet and its position as one of the largest buyers of many of the components it uses; moreover, this strategy may prove particularly helpful if supply is limited and pricing increases,” wrote Munster. “Finally, we believe Apple buys futures on important components, which will help offset near-term pricing swings. Our conclusion is that Apple is well positioned to suffer proportionally less than its competitors.” Apple’s stock traded down sharply yesterday on the news of an analyst downgrade and potential supply shortages. More →
As Netflix continues to barrel into living rooms across the country, the thriving company announced new agreements Tuesday that will enable one-click access to its streaming video services on compatible partner devices. The new deal will place a dedicated Netflix button, complete with the Netflix logo, on remote controls that ship with various consumer electronics including Watch Instantly-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and set top boxes. Manufacturers on board include Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Dynex (Best Buy’s in-house brand), Haier, Memorex, Boxee, Iomega and Roku. The deal is big news for Netflix, and it stands to substantially increase brand visibility. Netflix claims that there are currently more than 250 devices on the market compatible with its streaming video service. Hit the break for Netflix’s full press release. More →
According to a report in The New York Times Monday morning, Google TV might not be ready for primetime. Google TV is Google’s attempt at a next-generation WebTV service — a combination of television and the Web meant to expand and enhance the viewing experience. But the initial iteration of Google’s service seems just as half-baked as WebTV was in the mid-1990s. Google reportedly wants more time to refine the software, which has not been well received by reviewers or early adopters. Sony and Logitech both have products out to market already, but Toshiba, LG and Sharp were all set to show off new Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Google has apparently asked the companies to hold off so it can “refine the software.” The report does not address whether or not the companies agreed to hold their Google TV offerings, though changing plans would be anything but easy at this point. CES kicks off in less than three weeks on January 6th. More →
According to Deutsche Bank in a note sent out to clients, Apple’s combined iPad and MacBook / MacBook Pro market share puts them right ahead Asus, Toshiba, Dell, and Lenovo globally. Obviously you have to be willing to classify iPad tablet devices in the category as laptops and notebooks, but it isn’t exactly far-fetched. Especially when customers are buying iPads over a new netbook or in some cases laptops. The jump to the #3 spot (again, if you classify iPads as portables) pulls Apple up from the #7 slot globally, and it doesn’t look like Apple’s piece of the pie will be sliding any time soon. “Retail checks suggest this share shift continues in July.” The only two companies in front of Apple in this non-standard market share survey? Acer and Hewlett Packard. Let’s see what a Retina display-equipped, FaceTime-toting new iPad will do the market then, shall we? More →
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, giving the opening keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference, told his audience to expect Windows 7 slate computers before the end of this year. “We know you really want to know what’s coming,” teased Ballmer. HP is one of several Dell partners who announced a slate-like PC earlier this year, although they did not announce when the new product would be available. Microsoft’s Chief went onto say, “They [the Slate PC's] will come from the people you would expect. From Asus, from Dell, from Samsung, from Toshiba, from Sony.” We say bring on the slates! More →
Several Japanese newspapers are reporting that Fujitsu is working on an Android smartphone. This first Android offering from the Japanese electronics giant is expected to land next year with NTT DoCoMo and will be the first smartphone in Fujitsu’s handset lineup. Details on the device are sparse but with the future merger of Fujitsu’s mobile division with Toshiba’s mobile business unit, we can conjure up images of an Android handset that takes the high-end features of the Toshiba TG01 and mixes it with the innovative, separable design of the F-04B. Sounds like a match made in heaven, no?
[Via Mobile Crunch]
Today, Toshiba announced the release of their new concept PC called the Libretto. The Libretto provides its user with dual 7-inch multitouch displays, Intel Pentium U5400 1.2 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, 62 GB solid-state HD, 1 megapixel webcam, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, micro-SD card slot, and Windows 7 Home Premium. This tight little package will weigh in at a mere 1.8 pounds and have an 8-cell Li-ion battery. The Libretto is set to hit the market in the coming months, and will retail for $1,099. The unit is priced several hundred dollars higher than the iPad and netbooks, but then again, it looks like you are getting quite a bit more. We’ve got the full press release for you after the bounce. Let us know what you think? More →
Toshiba and Fujitsu confirmed on Thursday that the two Japanese companies will be merging their mobile phone business units. As part of the merger, Toshiba will spin off its mobile division into a new company with Fujitsu acquiring a majority stake in this newly formed venture. The resulting company will become Japan’s second largest mobile phone maker with an estimated 18.7% market share. Details are expected to be finalized in July with the merged company beginning operations in October of this year. More →
Toshiba has announced the birth of their 128 GB NAND flash memory module. The new flash storage chip “integrates sixteen 64Gbit NAND chips” onto a minuscule 17 x 22 x 1.4mm chip. Toshiba writes: “Demand continues to grow for large density chips that support high-resolution video and deliver enhanced storage, particularly in the area of embedded memories with a controller function that minimize development requirements and ease integration into system designs.” Let’s hope we see these new 128 GB beasts in slates and smartphones in the very near future. We’ve got the full press release for you after the bump.
[Via Slash Gear] More →
Having sold some 1.5 million Windows-based computers, Toshiba saw it’s U.S. PC sales grow an impressive 50% in Q1. The sales, which were greatly aided by a recovering economy, were also accelerated thanks to interest in Windows 7. Toshiba is now the 4th largest mover of PCs in the U.S. As for the future, Toshiba’s GM of digital products has said the company is planning on introducing a series of tablets this year, with some running Microsoft’s Windows 7 and others Google’s Android. Some analysts have predicted that such a move would do nothing but throw a wrench into Toshiba’s netbook sales, but the company is confident that the two categories of devices can be sold side by side with minimal cannibalization. The U.S. market for tablets is expected to swell to 50 million units by 2014. More →
VUDU has taken a great leap forward, moving from its small lineup of streaming media set-top boxes and its presence on a few home entertainment devices to being the embedded media service of choice for LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. The popular streaming movie service will be installed on select models of broadband TVs and Blu-ray players across all partners, an arrangement that may put millions of VUDU-enabled home entertainment devices into living rooms across America. Customers who purchase a VUDU-spiced HDTV or Blu-ray player will be able to access VUDU’s 3,000 strong on-demand HD movie catalog and its exclusive 1080p HDX formatted feature films. VUDU also announced its new VUDU Apps application platform, a cloud-based application service that allows customers to browse photos, stream video, access social network sites and more from the comfort of their favorite chair. They’ve got over 100 applications in the catalog and they will be available on broadband HDTVs from Mitsubishi, SANYO, Sharp and Toshiba and on broadband Blu-ray players from Toshiba. We need this. Now. More →
Ever since the iPhone and iPod touch were released, it seems like a trend that its memory capacity doubles every single year: 8GB, 16GB and 32GB for the iPhone and twice that for the iPod touch. Now that Toshiba can pack 64GB of NAND flash memory onto a single chip, it’s easy for us to imagine this technology finding its way into the next generation iPhone and iPod touch. If you’ve been one of those people holding off on buying an iPhone or iPod touch because of your massive iTunes library, your decision might get a little easier this coming summer. 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 →