Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category


Apple’s iPhone believed to account for record 8% of global mobile phone market

By Josh Ong

Published: 01:30 AM EST (10:30 PM PST)


Even as Apple appears to have retaken the top spot among smartphone makers during the fourth quarter of 2011, a new analysis claims the iPhone made up 8.3 percent of the worldwide mobile phone market during the same period.

The latest research from Strategy Analytics pegged Apple as the “star performer” among mobile phone makers last quarter. The company’s sales of 37 million iPhone accounted for a highest-ever 8 percent market share, according to the firm. For all of 2011, Apple’s 93 million iPhone units gave it a 6 percent share of the worldwide handset market.

“Apple’s growth was fueled by intense demand for its refreshed iPhone 4S, as well as the availability of three generations of iPhones at a variety of price points at operators like AT&T in the United States,” said Associate Director Alex Spektor.

Tom Kang, who serves as a director at the firm, pointed out that in just five years, iPhone sales have grown to an expected 100 million units in 2012.

“China is becoming a key market for Apple this year, and we expect Apple’s share to grow rapidly in 2012, despite countless copycat rivals,” he said.

Handset shipments for the quarter reportedly totaled 445 million, growing 11.2 percent year over year. Nokia was given the top spot with estimated shipments of 113.5 million units, while the firm’s estimate of 95 million phone shipments would put Samsung squarely in second place.

Handset market share Q4 2011

Handset market share Q4 2011Numbers are rounded. | Source: Strategy Analytics

“Nokia’s global handset shipments declined 8 percent annually to 113.5 million units in Q4 2011. Volumes were buoyed by the sales of Nokia’s low-end dual-SIM models in emerging markets like Southeast Asia, but were a little soft overall, as initial shipments of Microsoft Lumia phones could not offset declining Symbian sales,” Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston noted.

Mawston also remarked that Samsung’s 18 percent annual growth was driven by its “Galaxy-branded 3G portfolio,” especially the Galaxy S2 “superphone.”

The research group proclaimed Apple on Thursday the world’s largest smartphone vendor during the fourth quarter. According to the report, Samsung came in just behind Apple with an estimated 36.5 million smartphone units shipped.

In the third quarter of 2011, the firm named Apple the fifth-largest handset vendor in terms of volume with 4.1 percent market share, behind Nokia, Samsung, LG and ZTE.

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NASA’s New Satellite Captures Amazing Hi-Res Image of Earth

You’ve seen Earth, but you’ve never seen it like this.

Suomi NPP, NASA’s newest Earth-watching satellite, has taken a high resolution image of Earth, one of the most beautiful such images ever created. It’s available in 8000×8000 pixel resolution, and it takes a while to download, but it’s definitely worth it.

The satellite, named after the “father of satellite meteorology,” Verner E. Suomi, is designed to create fabulous images of Earth, monitor for natural disasters and improve weather forecasts as well as our understanding of long-term climate changes.

The image is a composite, created using a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on Jan. 4, 2012. It echoes the legendary “Blue Marble” photograph, taken by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft on Dec, 7, 1972,

The Blue Marble 2012, as NASA named the new photo, is available in high resolution here.

Now, where do we sign up for a 8000×8000 pixel screen so we can use this baby as a desktop background?

Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

NASA’s New Satellite Captures Amazing Hi-Res Image of Earth


More Casualties of Google’s Clearout

Google has issued an update about products that it is letting go of in the coming months. a continuation of its clearout that saw many products vanish during 2011. And there’s (unofficial) news that Google Code Search lives on.

Writing on The Official Google Blog, Dave Girouard, VP of Product Management has provided a list of six more products that will bite the dust, at least as far as Google is concerned. He tries to put a positive spin on this by saying it is to,

“focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google”,

but many supporters and users of the products concerned are far from happy.

There are over 400 responses to the news that Picknik, an online editing suite that was acquired by Google in March 2010 and they range from “not happy”, through “very disappointed ” and “terrible news” to “sad”, “shocked” and obviously angry.

The idea that the Picknik team has “sold out” without regard to their loyal customers comes in response to the news, in their official announcement of the closure, that they,

“now get to fous on even awesomer things”.

In other words, as Dave Girouard explains, the Picknic developers will move over to work on photo-editing in other Google products, presumably including Google + which Picknik customers are not at all impressed with.

There is obviously an element of guilt on the part of Google and Picknik as a full refund is being given to all Premium subscribers, even if their membership is about to expire, and use of the site between now and when it closes on April 19 will be free for everyone.

Google + is also likely to benefit from the deprecation, with immediate effect, of the Social Graph API. The reason given for its retirement, which takes full effect on April 20, 2012, is that this API, launched in 2008 to provide developers with information about connections between people on the web, is that “it is not experiencing the kind of adoption [Google would] like”.

Relatively low take up also seems to be the reason for closing Google Message Continuity, an email disaster recovery product for enterprise customers, although in this case all current customers (numbered in their hundreds) will be able to use it for the remainder of their contracts although they are all being encouraged to move as soon as possible to Google Apps for Business which has 4 million customers and is the product that Google is focusing its effort on.

New sales of Urchin, which was acquired by Google in 2005 and was the forerunner of Google Analytics, will be discontinued at the end of March. However, while users are being encouraged to migrate to Google Analytics, it is expected that current installations will “continue to work fine on most systems for years to come”. Co-founder of Urchin Software, Paul Muret is now Director of Engineering, Google Analytics and states in his announcement:

The Urchin Software product has now been completely overshadowed by its tremendously popular offspring. And so, it is time that we now complete the cycle by officially retiring the Urchin Software product and focus exclusively on online analytics.

This seems the least controversial of the retirements.

The least informative of the announcements relates to Needlebase, a data management platform acquired by Google only in April 2011 when ITA Software “merged” with Google. Its fate is unclear:

“This technology is being evaluated for integration into Google’s other data-related initiatives.”

Exactly what the future will hold for Google Sky Map, a highly popular Android app that was created by a small team of Googlers in their “20 percent time” when they could pursue personal projects to show of the capabilities of the sensors in the first generation phones Android, is also a bit hazy. It is being open-sourced and Google is

“collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University in a partnership that will see further development of Sky Map as a series of student projects”.

Let’s hope this works out as planned as this is an app that lots of users find a real eye-opener and even accounts for one or two purchases of an Android phone.

One discontinued service that seems to have survived the cull is Google Code Search. The unofficial Google Operating System blog reports:

Even though Google says that the service has been shut down, it hasn’t. Just go to http://code.google.com/codesearch and you’ll see the old homepage. All of the old features are still available and the results aren’t restricted to Google Code Hosting projects.

We tried it and it works – at least for now.

More Information:

Google announcement

Official Announcement: Picnik is closing

The End of an Era for Urchin Software

Google Code Search, Still Available

Related news:

Google Labs to close

Google dumps APIs

Google continues its mass clearout

Google’s Clearout Sweeps Away Code Search

see the article here:

More Casualties of Google’s Clearout


Apple halts sale of iPhones in China

Financial Times, 8:17am Friday January 13th, 2012

By Kathrin Hille in Beijing

Move by US group follows scuffles at flagship store in Beijing as huge crowds turn out for the gadget's launch

Read the full article at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/7dd5314a-3db1-11e1-91ba-00144feabdc0.html


Apple Buys Israel’s Anobit for $390M

Apple Inc. (AAPL) acquired Anobit Technologies Ltd. for about $390 million, paying below the price sought by the Israeli maker of a flash-memory drive part for the iPhone, people familiar with the purchase said.

Negotiations continued for more than two weeks after Israel‘s Calcalist newspaper reported Dec. 20 that Apple bought Herzliya-based Anobit for as much as $500 million. Apple finally signed the agreement Jan. 6 to buy the Israeli company, according to two Anobit shareholders, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Apple didn’t want details disclosed.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the acquisition Jan. 10 while declining to comment on the price. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple said. Anobit Chief Executive Officer Ehud Weinstein didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment that was answered by a receptionist.

The deal helps Apple secure supplies of a key component for its top-selling devices. Anobit makes high-performance controllers used to optimize the memory capabilities inside products such as the iPhone and iPad. Apple is the world’s largest buyer of NAND flash memory, accounting for about 23 percent of consumption last quarter, according to a Jan. 6 report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

The Anobit deal is the company’s first acquisition in Israel, where Intel Corp. (INTC), Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) have established operations.

Microsoft Center

Apple doesn’t typically make multi-billion-dollar acquisitions like rivals such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft or Google. The company has made a series of small acquisitions of privately-held companies that can bring in new employees or technology to be integrated into Apple’s products.

Earlier acquisitions include Siri Inc., whose technology was used for the new voice-control software in the iPhone 4S; Quattro Wireless Inc., which became Apple’s mobile advertising platform iAd; music service La La Media Inc.; Poly9, a maker of mapping technology; and chip companies PA Semi Inc. and Intrinsity Inc.

Israel, with a population similar in size to Switzerland‘s at 7.7 million, has about 60 companies traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the most of any nation outside North America after China. Israel is also home to the largest number of startups per capita in the world.

Microsoft opened a research and development center in Israel in April 2006, according to the Redmond, Washington-based software maker’s website. Intel, which began operations in Israel in 1974 with five employees, has 6,600 workers in the country, according to the chip manufacturer’s website.

Israel Acquisitions

“The acquisition is further proof that Israel’s innovation overcomes boundaries and that the semiconductors industry is an innovative and leading field in Israel,” Koby Simana, head of the Israel Venture Capital Research Center in Tel Aviv said by phone. “In 2012 we will continue to see mergers and acquisitions as a central cash flow channel for technology investors and hope that also IPO opportunities will arise when international markets will allow.”

CSR Plc (CSR), the U.K. maker of chips used in Nokia Oyj mobile phones, completed the acquisition of the Israeli developer Zoran Corp. on Sept. 1, according to Bloomberg data. Citi Venture Capital International, a private equity investor and investment adviser focused on developing markets, paid $307 million in cash last year for Tel Aviv-based Ness Technologies Inc., an information technology company.

Anobit had raised $76 million from investors, including Battery Ventures and Pitango Venture Capital, before Jan. 10, according to an online fact sheet. The Israeli company says its memory signal processing technology uses proprietary signal- processing algorithms to improve the performance of flash-memory chips.

While Apple didn’t acknowledge buying Anobit until Jan. 10, Israel’s prime minister’s office welcomed the company to the country in a Dec. 20 post on Twitter.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net; Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net; Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

Read the story online here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/apple-is-said-to-acquire-israeli-component-maker-anobit-for-390-million.html


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