Tag Archives: ZTE

China's ZTE finds some positive in security concerns, wants to boost brand

Chinese handset maker ZTE put a positive spin on the recent U.S. scrutiny of its networking business, stating that the controversy at least gave the company some publicity and name-recognition.

“The publicity around it caused some to pay close attention to ZTE, and ask ‘What kind of company is ZTE?'” said company executive vice president He Shiyou on Thursday. “Last year, when we were in Europe, many people were paying attention to the concerns.”

ZTE is the world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker, and the company has big ambitions to become a well-known handset vendor in the U.S. Last year, however, the company and its networking equipment business came under fire from a U.S. congressional committee for the company’s alleged close ties to the Chinese government. Although ZTE has denied the claims and said its networking gear is safe to use, U.S lawmakers are worried that purchased ZTE gear could expose the nation to cyberespionage or hacking attacks from China.

The U.S. scrutiny of ZTE may have had more to do with politics than actual security, according to analysts. But the Chinese company is still in contact with U.S. authorities to try and resolve any misunderstandings, said He in an interview with journalists.

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From: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2035662/chinas-zte-finds-some-positive-in-security-concerns-wants-to-boost-brand.html#tk.rss_all

China's ZTE Looks To Handsets, 4G Networks To Snap Losing Streak

By Simon Montlake, Forbes Staff

Corp has the U.S. Congress to thank for its higher international profile in 2012 as lawmakers turned up the heat on Chinese suppliers of telecoms equipment, alleging security risks. Separate revelations of Chinese-originating cyber-hacking have only added to suspicions on both sides. But Hong Kong-listed ZTE‘s troubles run much deeper than U.S. market access. The company last month reported a $450 million full-year loss, its first since it listed in 1997. An aggressive push for overseas telecom-network contracts led to losses while increased shipments of cheap handsets didn’t translate into higher margins. To add to its frustrations, ZTE‘s  Shenzhen-based competitor Huawei Technologies notched up another bumper year. “I have to admit there’s a problem with our management strategy,” says chairman Hou Weigui, the company’s founder. “We didn’t adapt correctly to the (business) environment.”

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmontlake/2013/04/18/chinas-zte-looks-to-handsets-4g-networks-to-snap-losing-streak/

China's Alibaba bolsters mobile OS after clash with Google

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is seeking to revive its mobile operating system, with a new name, new partners and more money, after Google threatened to block the companies from bringing aboard handset vendors for the OS.

The company on Monday announced a push to create an ecosystem around its Alibaba Mobile Operating System (AMOS), formerly known as the Aliyun OS. In addition, five local Chinese handset vendors — AMOI, G’FIVE, KONKA, Little Pepper, and ZOPO — are releasing six smartphones installed with the operating system.

Launched in 2011, Alibaba’s Linux-based mobile OS is the company’s attempt to carve a presence in China‘s booming smartphone market. But last September, Alibaba collided with Google over accusations that the fledgling operating system is in fact an Android variant built with incompatibilities. Many of today’s top Android handset makers, including Samsung, HTC and Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE, are thus barred by the Open Handset Alliance from supporting it, even though Alibaba has refuted Google’s claims.

The dispute with Google marked a major blow against Alibaba’s OS, according to analysts. But the e-commerce giant, best known for its Taobao and Tmall shopping sites in China, is not giving up. On Monday, the company said it would pay handset makers to back its mobile operating system. The company will do this by subsidizing vendors with a monthly 1 yuan (US$0.16) payment for every Alibaba OS handset sold, with the fee ongoing until the phone goes out of use.

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From: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2034646/chinas-alibaba-bolsters-mobile-os-after-clash-with-google.html#tk.rss_all

Is Samsung About to Get Samsunged?

By Evan Niu, CFA, The Motley Fool

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Pop quiz. Name this company:

A vertically integrated South Korean conglomerate with an extensive supplier relationship with Apple has ambitious hopes in the smartphone market. The company will aggressively imitate the products of rivals in the pursuit of success, and also further integrate additional key components, such as investing more heavily in its own mobile processors.

Time’s up
Pencil’s down. The correct answer? LG Electronics.

That’s right; LG is in the process of doing to Samsung what Samsung did to Apple. LG has just unveiled a new “Value Pack” of software upgrades for its Optimus G Pro, and some of the features that the company is adding are straight out of Samsung’s playbook.

LG‘s Smart Video pauses videos when the user looks away, an obvious carbon copy of Samsung’s Smart Pause. There’s also the Dual Camera feature, which simultaneously takes pictures using both sensors, and is exactly like Samsung’s Dual Shot. This is all for a device that already looks identical to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 (except without the stylus).

Galaxy Note 2 (left) vs. Optimus G Pro (right). Sources: Samsung and LG.

The Optimus G Pro was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February, so it technically predates the Galaxy S4 that it also resembles. The 5.5-inch phablet isn’t expected to launch in the U.S. until May, though, which comes after the Galaxy S4.

The bad news for Samsung is that there’s little stopping LG from successfully using its own strategy against it. One of the benefits of enormous marketing budgets, however, is that Samsung has been able to build its Galaxy brand.

Another big marketing spender
While smaller rivals like HTC simply can’t keep up with Samsung’s marketing budget (even if HTC offers higher-quality products), larger competitors such as LG have more of a chance. Last year, LG spent $1.1 billion on advertising. When you add in other below-the-line marketing expenses like promotions ($652 million) and commissions ($1.6 billion), we’re talking about more than $3.3 billion in marketing.

That’s more than the $1 billion that Apple spent in fiscal 2012 (but less than Samsung) on advertising ,and Apple doesn’t really use below-the-line marketing as much. The Mac maker doesn’t typically offer very many promotions, and most of its sales are conducted through its online store or retail stores, where sales reps aren’t compensated with commissions.

Android loyalty isn’t Samsung loyalty
Android consumers have shown their fickleness before. It seems like just yesterday that HTC was the Android champion, but that was 2010. Even for users loyal to the platform, they’re normally not loyal to the OEM brand. It’s quite conceivable that another Android vendor could supplant Samsung in exactly the same way that Samsung displaced HTC.

Source: IDC.

Maybe it won’t be LG; maybe it’ll be Chinese vendors like ZTE or Huawei, both of which showed up on the global top-five radar last year. This may be more likely, since

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/13/is-samsung-about-to-get-samsunged/

China Puts Another Tech Company in the Hot Seat

By Chris Neiger, The Motley Fool

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Well, it seems China is at it again. China National Radio chastised Microsoft  yesterday for not following a national warranty law for its Surface Pro tablets. The criticism comes on the heels of Apple  getting rebuked for poor customer service in China.

Bloomberg first reported on China‘s criticism of the Surface warranty, and said that the national warranty law China is referring to is for notebook computers (which would seem to exclude tablets). That law says that notebooks must have a one-year repair warranty and two-year warranty for the main parts of the computer.

It’s hard not to draw a connection between China‘s public criticism of Apple a few weeks ago and the new attack on Microsoft this week. Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to China‘s disapproval by issuing an apology for its customer service in China after two weeks of repeated disparaging comments from Chinese press and celebrities. The apology statement also said that Apple would make its warranty more clear, would update the warranty policy for the iPhone 4 and 4S and provide more training and oversight to Apple Authorized Service Providers. The apology has, so far, taken Apple off of China‘s naughty list. 

What’s odd about the criticism of Microsoft’s warranty policy is that the Surface tablet launched in China back in October and the Pro and new Chinese Surface version just launched in the country. This means that the products would be covered under Microsoft’s most comprehensive warranty right now. It’s hard to imagine that many of Microsoft’s tablets are falling apart and being returned for service so soon after their launch.

But the big question for investors is why the Chinese government and the press are targeting American tech companies. Some have speculated that the Chinese government is retaliating because Congress forbid American telecom companies from buying certain parts from Chinese companies ZTE and Huawei due to security concerns. 

As competition heats up in the technology space, the Chinese government may be protecting its own interests as well. China owns about two-thirds of the world’s largest telecom company, China Mobile, and parts of other Chinese tech companies. Bashing Apple and Microsoft could directly or indirectly benefit Chinese technology companies, or help foster better deals between American and Chinese companies. 

Although the reasoning behind the attacks may not be clear, the importance for companies like Microsoft and Apple to receive positive (or at least neutral) press in China, is. China is now the largest mobile market and American tech companies can’t afford to lose face in the country. If the attacks keep coming against Microsoft, CEO Steve Ballmer may want to follow Apple’s lead and issue an apology. Investors should keep an eye on China‘s public criticism of tech companies closely, as their attacks could sway public opinion of products and services in the country. So far, it hasn’t seemed to hurt Apple or Microsoft’s sales, but further attacks could have negative results for both.

Microsoft has struggled to gain momentum in the mobile market, …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

This Should Have Nokia Fans Jumping for Joy — Right?

By Tim Brugger, The Motley Fool

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First, the good news: Nokia isn’t just the leading manufacturer of Microsoft‘s Windows 8 global smartphone market. According to a recent report from AdDuplex, it’s absolutely destroying the competition. Combined with the Q4 announcement of 4.4 million Lumias sold, that should make even Nokia bears stand up and take notice. But with so many ongoing questions regarding the impact of Windows 8 in the smartphone OS market, does Nokia’s resurgence even matter?

The envelope, please
As of April 4, the date of AdDuplex’s report, Nokia was the manufacturer of choice for 80% of all Windows 8 phones in use worldwide. HTC was a distant second, holding 14% of the Windows phone market, and Samsung, with its limited Windows smartphone alternatives, accounted for 5%. A smattering of others, including Huawei, ZTE, and Acer, shared what little was left.

Nokia’s dominant position isn’t entirely a surprise. As the world’s No. 2 phone manufacturer, and the first to go all in with Windows 8, Nokia was always going to be ahead of the pack. But 80% is a staggering market share.

Fools should also note the growth of Nokia’s Lumia 920, its latest, greatest, and most expensive smartphone. The Lumia 920 has taken over the top spot of all Windows 8 phones worldwide, jumping from fourth place just a month ago.

With Nokia’s earnings announcement slated for April 18, let’s hope CEO Stephen Elop shares Lumia sales numbers specific to the China Mobile deal Nokia inked late last year. With 700 million subscribers, China Mobile is the world’s largest wireless carrier; a good start there would certainly help to explain the jump in Lumia’s position and position Nokia for further growth.

Internationally, Nokia dominates Windows 8 smartphone sales the way Samsung and Apple do in the U.S., with more than 90% market penetration in its top 10 markets. South America in particular loves its Nokia Windows 8 smartphones; four of Nokia’s top 10 countries by market share hail from the continent, with Argentina clocking in at 99% market share for all Windows 8 phones in use. Impressive.

Now for some perspective
Windows Phone, while growing market share in the U.S., remains a distant fourth behind Google‘s Android, Apple iOS, and BlackBerry , according to recent data from comScore. Android OS and iOS together own slightly more than 90% of the market domestically, and the story’s about the same internationally. Nokia and Microsoft can only point to Windows Phone 8’s movement in the right direction. Along with iOS, Windows 8 was the only operating system to increase its share of the domestic mobile OS pie the past quarter, up to 3.2% from 3% in November.

The battle lines have been drawn, and for mobile OS developers, that means the immediate objective is a fight for third place. Unseating Android and iOS will have to wait. Right now, BlackBerry’s holding onto that position. With its new BB10 slowly but surely rolling out across various markets, it should be able …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Dow Tries to Rally, Leaves Tech Behind

By Jessica Alling, The Motley Fool

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After falling more than 100 points yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a go at rallying earlier in trading, jumping 72 points after the Japanese central bank announced an accelerated QE policy this morning. But the gains were short-lived and the index fell again — though it remains in positive territory as of 11:45 a.m. Up 16 points, the Dow may have a fight ahead of it based on the weak economic news released so far this morning.

International news brought some good vibes to investors this morning as the Bank of Japan announced that it would be doubling its balance sheet by 2015 through accelerated bond purchases. The majority of the bonds would be long-term government paper as the bank tries to target a 2% inflation rate to spur on growth after years of deflation.

Yesterday’s weak labor market data really took its toll on the market, so today’s jobless claims report is likely to do the same. A spike in new claims surprised analysts, who expected claims to drop by 7,000 to 350,000 — instead, new jobless claims rose to 385,000 last week. Investors should pay close attention to tomorrow’s employment situation report, which could bring some positive news, but if it supports the trend of a softening labor market, then the Dow could be headed back south.

Tech gets left in the dust
Of the Dow’s 30 component stocks, three major tech players were in the red this morning: Intel , IBM , and Microsoft .

Intel has had some positive news lately regarding its push to join the smartphone race, with its Atom Clover Trail+ processor in the Lenovo IdeaPhone K900 beating out the new Samsung Galaxy S4’s ARM CPU in benchmark tests. The chip maker is also expanding its mobile presence in the Chinese market, with an exclusive partnership with ZTE, China‘s second-largest mobile manufacturer. Closer to home, Big Blue is still dealing with its long-running antitrust case regarding the marketing of its microprocessors. Citing a recent Supreme Court case, Comcast v. Behrend, Intel is looking to have the defendants’ right to sue as a class rejected, which could lead to settlements if the company’s motion wins.

IBM has been trying to downplay the recent independent benchmark tests that showed the new chips and servers from rival Oracle outperformed the company’s own products. The continued race for speed and low cost has always dominated the industry, and IBM has to begin to find new ways to win. The tech giant is working on other projects, which have helped it along so far. Its big data push has been moving along, with the company announcing new improvements and advances for the Hadoop System that will accelerate performance and simplify administration.

Microsoft took a blow this morning with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts’ downgrade of the company from “buy” to “neutral,” along with a lower price target. Some are concerned that Mr. Softy won’t …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Apple Needs to Move Siri From Beta to Indispensable

By Chris Neiger, The Motley Fool

Detroit Electric SP:01

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Recent postings on Apple‘s jobs site show the company is looking to hire 12 new Siri developers — and it may be just in time. With Apple’s increased competition with Samsung and others, it’s not surprising the company may be looking to its personal assistant more indispensable.

Over the past few years, Siri has become an integral part Apple’s iOS, and although it has had some setbacks, it’s still arguably one Apple’s most innovative mobile features. But others have begun to catch up to Siri’s functionality — some even surpass it.

Source: Apple.

When Samsung launched its new Galaxy S4, the company came up with the tag line “life companion” for the phone and touted the S Voice feature. Similar to Siri, Samsung’s S Voice allows users to use voice commands to ask questions, place calls, and send texts. In comparison tests by The Christian Science Monitor, S Voice on the Galaxy S III was competitive with Siri, and even outperformed it at times.

The next contender, although not a voice personal assistant, is Google‘s new Android app Google Now. Google Now offers calendar reminders, location-based traffic updates and other time-sensitive information. The app was the recent source of a little controversy between Apple and Google. Google said the app wasn’t available on the iPhone yet because Apple hadn’t approved it, meanwhile Apple said the app was never sent to App Store for approval.

Apple’s strength in the personal assistant arena lies with its first-mover advantage in the space — particularly in the automotive industry. Apple is working with about a dozen automotive companies to integrate Siri into cars, dubbing it “Eyes Free.” When Siri is paired to the car via Bluetooth, drivers can ask Siri for directions, make phone calls, send and read texts, play music, and ask questions that don’t require a web browser to open.

Detroit Electric SP:01

Source: Apple.

Apple’s move into the automotive space is just another way it’s trying to keep current iPhone users hooked on Siri. The company needs to fill in niches like the automotive market to prove to smartphone users that it’s an indispensable feature.

But Android phones are making a move into autos as well, through the use of Nuance Communications‘ voice technology. Nuance already works with over a dozen car companies to bring voice controls into cars, and some smartphone makers like ZTE are working with Nuance to bring car-ready voice integration to their devices. Nuance is currently developing a personal assistant of its own that has yet to be released, which has led to some speculation in the tech world that Apple may purchase the company to eliminate further competition.

With Apple opening up 12 new spots for Siri developers, it may be a sign that Apple recognizes the personal assistant competition is heating up. Given that iOS 7 is likely to launch this summer, it may be the right time for Apple to bring …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Why Is the Chinese Government Out to Get Apple?

By Evan Niu, CFA, The Motley Fool

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In recent weeks, state-owned media outlets in China have been bashing Apple  in a comprehensive smear campaign. The government might be trying to retaliate for a recent attempts by the U.S. government to ban telecom equipment purchases from ZTE and Huawei. Another possibility is that the government is trying to give China Mobile  more leverage in its negotiations with Apple, since the government indirectly owns 74% of China Mobile. The negative publicity is a risk factor, but CEO Tim Cook’s recent apology has been well-received.

In the video below, Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, discusses the implications for investors.

Is Apple a buy? The Motley Fool’s senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, is prepared to fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Apple, and what opportunities are left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Apple's China Syndrome: iPhone vs. the World

By Dan Radovsky, The Motley Fool

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Let’s face it, Apple‘s iPhone, though a wonderful device, is seen globally as a high-end smartphone, one that many relish as not only a do-almost-everything handset, but also as a status symbol.

But, as much less expensive Android-driven phones become available in those parts of the world where price is definitely important, and status means less than putting food on the table, paying retail for an iPhone is out of the question.

Greater China (the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) is Apple’s second largest market outside the United States, with $6.83 million from sales during its last fiscal quarter. But the iPhone fell two notches — to sixth place — in smartphone sales during the third quarter of 2012, according to research firm IDC. Samsung and Lenovo, were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, ZTE was No. 4, and Huawei was No. 5.

The threat to iPhone growth in China, however, comes from companies one may never have heard of in the U.S. Coolpad, for example, is the smartphone maker that jumped up three spots to become the third best-selling smartphone brand in China during that time frame. 

But the real danger for Apple in China and other emerging markets comes from companies like MediaTek, the Taiwanese company behind those companies that have been taking China‘s smartphone market share away from Apple. MediaTek is the company that has helped those other companies produce smartphones at prices Chinese consumers just can’t refuse.

MediaTek makes what’s called a “turnkey solution” to the problem of manufacturing inexpensive smartphones. It puts together the chipsets, the Android operating system, packages all that with instructions on how to build the phone, and provides technical support for those companies needing it. Why pay for the research and development of a smartphone when someone has already done it?

MediaTek’s turnkey systems have become so popular that, within 18 months of putting its first chipset in a Lenovo phone in 2011, its chipsets have taken 50% of China‘s smartphone market, analysts told the New York Times.

Spreadtrum Communications is a Chinese company that is also in the turnkey smartphone chipset business.  It expects to ship between 80 million and 100 million of its smartphone chipsets in 2013, platforms that will end up in markets where consumers are just now moving up from feature phones to smartphones.

“To date,” says IDC, “much of the world’s smartphone shipments were a direct result of demand in mature economies such as the U.S.” 

But that is definitely changing. The growing middle classes in China, Brazil, and India are ready to buy smartphones. China, especially, says IDC, “which supplanted the U.S. last year as the global leader in smartphone shipments, is at the forefront of this shift.” 

Even the young tech-conscious consumers of the world have to live within their economic realities. Zhang Ying is a 31-year-old Shanghai resident who wants the latest tech gadgets, but can’t pay a premium for it. He bought a pirated version of an …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

3G and 4G USB modems are a security threat, researcher says

The vast majority of 3G and 4G USB modems handed out by mobile operators to their customers are manufactured by a handful of companies and run insecure software, according to two security researchers from Russia.

Researchers Nikita Tarakanov and Oleg Kupreev analyzed the security of 3G/4G USB modems obtained from Russian operators for the past several months. Their findings were presented Thursday at the Black Hat Europe 2013 security conference in Amsterdam.

Most 3G/4G modems used in Russia, Europe, and probably elsewhere in the world, are made by Chinese hardware manufacturers Huawei and ZTE, and are branded with the mobile operators’ logos and trademarks, Tarakanov said. Because of this, even if the research was done primarily on Huawei modems from Russian operators, the results should be relevant in other parts of the world as well, he said.

Tarakanov said that they weren’t able to test baseband attacks against the Qualcomm chips found inside the modems because it’s illegal in Russia to operate your own GSM base station if you’re not an intelligence agency or a telecom operator. “We’ll probably have to move to another country for a few months to do it,” he said.

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…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Google trims another 1200 jobs from Motorola Mobility

Motorola Mobility is cutting 1200 staff members, in addition to a reduction of 4000 staffers it announced in August, in order to focus on high-end devices.

“These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer,” said Motorola spokesperson Katie Dove in an email. “It’s obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition.”

Motorola’s mobile business has been overwhelmed in the smartphone market by larger players such as Samsung Electronics, Apple, Sony, Huawei Technologies, and ZTE. Samsung, the largest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter, like Motorola makes phones using Google’s Android operating system.

The revenue of Motorola’s mobile business as a result of knocks in the market was US$1.51 billion, or 11 percent of parent Google’s consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012. It also had an operating loss of $353 million in the quarter. Apple in contrast posted revenue of $54.5 billion and net profit of $13 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 29.

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…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at PCWorld

Hewlett Packard Extends the Dow's Record Rise

By Dan Carroll, The Motley Fool

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A day after hitting a record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average isn’t stopping to rest on its laurels. As of 2:20 p.m. EST, the index has risen 31 points, or 0.22%, to continue pushing into uncharted territory. Most stocks are in the green today, and the tech sector’s rise is giving a nice boost to the markets. Let’s dig into the details.

Tech highs and lows
Hewlett-Packard
isn’t stopping to admire the Dow’s new record. The tech giant leads all Dow stocks higher, with shares up 3.8%. HP had an awful 2012, but 2013 has turned the tables on this stock: Since Jan. 1, shares have jumped a whopping 36% as investors look to take advantage of a potential turnaround opportunity. Take care if you’re tempted, however: Analysts still expect the PC market to decline in 2013, and HP still has a long road back to respectability ahead of it. Until this company can establish a competitive long-term plan, I’d avoid this volatile stock.

Microsoft isn’t helping the PC market’s fortunes, as its new Windows 8 operating system has gotten off to a sluggish start. The company is offering the new OS at a discount to equipment manufacturers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Microsoft is hoping manufacturers will move into creating smaller, touch-based notebooks and laptops with Windows 8 in mind, but between the lackluster reception to the OS, Microsoft’s sluggish Surface tablet sales, and the PC market’s fall, investors should tread lightly around this vulnerable stock. Shares of the company lead all Dow laggards lower by losing 1%.

Fortunately, other members of the tech sector are having a better day. Cisco and Intel have jumped on board the climbing Dow, with shares gaining 2.3% and 1%, respectively. Intel in particular has had a tough go lately, being heavily exposed to the same PC market woes that have taken down HP and Microsoft. However, the company’s making moves to break into the mobile market: Intel is partnering with Chinese mobile-maker ZTE on a line of next-generation smartphones. Intel and ZTE already teamed up for the latter’s Grand X IN smartphone, released in Europe last year, and if Intel’s mobile push pays off, the company will end up much better-positioned for the future.

Outside of tech, aluminum producer Alcoa ranks among the Dow leaders with share price gains of 2.9%. Like HP, Alcoa has walked a tough road recently: Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has slumped 11.8%. While investors may be looking for a turnaround, don’t expect the path ahead of Alcoa to be any easier: With China looking to curb its housing bubble, demand for raw materials across the Pacific could slow. Budget cuts in the U.S. sure won’t help Alcoa’s cause, either, and if infrastructure spending doesn’t pick up, this stock won’t become the turnaround story many are hoping for.

Materials industries are traditionally known for their high barriers to entry, …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

1 Sector Making the Dow's Rise Look Easy

By Jessica Alling, The Motley Fool

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One might have expected that reaching a new market milestone would incite some caution. But after setting a new all-time high with its close last night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is still headed skyward. Breaking through the 14,300 mark in early trading, the index is still poised 28 points above yesterday’s close as of 11:55 a.m. ET. Perhaps news of the Dow’s record-breaking climb has finally brought back some investors who lacked confidence in the market.

Positive economic news continued this morning with the ADP jobs report, which showed steady improvement in private-sector job growth. Though the 150,000 jobs added in February was the lowest amount since October, it beat analyst expectations. Small businesses generated the most new positions, adding 77,000 jobs.

1 sector to rule them all
If you look at how the 30 Dow components are doing today, you’ll see a very clear pattern: Tech is up. Hewlett-Packard is leading the way this morning, up 3.14%. The computer-manufacturer held a webcast last night highlighting its new big-data software product, Vertica. The company’s product works in a “columnar” form, allowing queries to work against multiple data points at the same time, producing faster retrieval for analysis than a traditional relational database approach. In its infrastructure business, HP is adding new Texas Instrument ARM server processor options into its new “Project Moonshot” hyperscale servers — a big blow to Intel , which continues to fight for marketshare against ARM processors.

Despite HP‘s new plans for its Moonshot servers, Intel is up this morning by a solid 0.7%. The tech giant recently announced a new technology, DAAS, or Display as a Service, which may change the way people use their tech products. The service will disconnect the hardwire between a video source and the display, allowing people to view their phones or tablets on their big-screen TVs.The technology may also allow multiple devices to be linked to the same display. Intel has also announced that Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE will be using its new Atom Z2580 platform for its newest phone line.

Cisco Systems is also up 1.29% so far in trading. The network giant is one of the tech companies teaming up with European lawmakers to help improve technology training for the European workforce. With unemployment in Europe hitting new highs, it is important for workers to beef up their training for increasingly tech-centered jobs. Other Cisco news from Europe comes from Belgian cable company Telenet, which announced that it will be using Cisco’s Videoscape Snowflake user interface to provide increased user function for customers browsing through its available content.

Outside of tech
One company that doesn’t fit today’s trend is Bank of America . The bank is moving ever closer to the Fed’s release of its stress-test results, and many analysts are confident that BAC will pass with flying colors. If that is the case, investors may be trying to jump on board before the …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Is the Sino-Google Cold War Heating Up?

By Dan Radovsky, The Motley Fool

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A white paper produced by China‘s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology implicated Google  as a roadblock in the development of homegrown mobile operating systems, Reuters reported.

The white paper, which was posted on the Internet last Friday and released to the Chinese media today, said: “Our country’s mobile operating system research and development is too dependent on Android … While the Android system is open source, the core technology and technology road map is strictly controlled by Google.”

The paper goes further, saying that Google has put off the sharing of software code with some Chinese companies that are working on their own operating systems.

The Ministry may have been inspired by the incident last fall when Google allegedly threatened Taiwanese company Acer with the cancelling of its Android license if it continued to develop its A800 smartphone for use with the Aliyun OS. Aliyun is an Android derivative developed by the mainland Chinese company Alibaba.

A Great Wall of ambivalence
Google has found China to be a problematic place to do business. In 2010, after facing up to the fact it had been acquiescing to the Chinese government’s Big Brother approach to communications control, it pledged to stop censoring Google.cn.

That decision didn’t sit well with the authorities, and now when Google.cn users type in unacceptable search queries, they are met with error messages, such as “This webpage is not available.”

But Android has been hugely successful in China. The largest Chinese phone makers, Huawei and ZTE, as well as makers of the least expensive white-label smartphones, all use Android as their operating systems.

During the third quarter of 2012, Android powered 90% of all smartphones on the mainland, compared to the iPhone’s 4.2% share, according to Chinese research firm Analysis International.

Though the Ministry did not prescribe what should be done about Google’s Android domination, China watchers see this as a possible harbinger of more hoops that Google will have to jump through to do business on the mainland.

Reuters quotes Duncan Clark, chairman of technology consultants BDA, as saying, “In China, regulators regulate regularly especially where they position the regulations as helping out domestic companies.”

If so, Android’s success may cause Google’s first real challenge to its global smartphone OS dominance.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Firefox OS Phones Set for a Summer 2013 Release

On the eve of the Mobile World Congress, which kicked off in Barcelona today, Mozilla officially announced its plans to launch Firefox OS optimized smartphones this summer, while providing a few details about carriers and manufacturers that will support the new HTML5 based platform. The first Firefox OS phones will be ready to roll out in July of this year in parts of Europe, Asia, the Americas, with launches in the UK and US to follow in 2014.

Huawei, LG, ZTE, Alcatel, and Sony are a few of the companies confirmed to have Firefox OS optimized devices in the works. Sprint is the only American carrier confirmed at the moment, but Telecom Italia, Telefonica (Spain), Unicom (China), America Movil (Mexico), and Deutsche Telekom (Germany) are just a few of the carriers on board for the rollout beginning this summer.

Continue reading…

…read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at IGN Video Games

John Baer: Ubuntu Phone – Connecting the Dots

The thought of running Ubuntu on my phone has crossed my mind a time or two this past year and now it looks like this may be feasible in the near future.

As great as the Ubuntu Phone sounds, I have to consider how this is going to be successful in today’s mobile market.

Perspective

The good news is smart phone usage is up in many regions. Almost half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones. According to Nielsen this marks an increase of 38% over last year as in February of 2011 only 36% of mobile subscribers owned smartphones. This growth is driven by increasing smartphone adoption, as more than two-thirds of those who acquired a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone. As illustrated below, Android continues to dominate as the favorite smartphone OS.

Ubuntu Phone 1938-020

On the down side, while smartphones have gone mainstream in the US adoption among emerging countries is still developing. According to new research from Nielsen, China is the only country among the high-growth BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) markets where smartphones are predominant (as of the first half of 2012). In contrast, feature phones which are not suitable for Ubuntu are still dominant in India, Russia and there’s no clear favorite type of mobile device in Brazil with mobile ownership split between feature phones and smartphones.

Other entrants to the 2013 party

When the Ubuntu Phone becomes available it will not be the only new Linux entrant to the party.

Tizen

Tizen is an open source software platform targeted to devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, in-vehicle infotainment devices, and smart TVs. The Tizen project resides within the Linux Foundation and is based on HTML5. Tizen has confirmed hardware support from Samsung.

SailFish

Sailfish is a Linux-based operating system for smartphones and other mobile devices.It traces its history to the highly praised MeeGo OS by Nokia. SailFish has confirmed support from the Chinese retailer D.Phone and Finland’s third-largest mobile carrier ST-Ericsson.

Firefox OS

Firefox OS is a mobile operating system developed by the Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko (B2G) project. It uses a Linux kernel and boots into a Gecko-based runtime engine which lets users run applications developed in HTML, JavaScript, and other open web APIs. Mozilla has confirmed hardware support from ZTE who has announced plans to offer a Firefox OS phone in 2013 with details to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress.

The Importance of Apps

There are now more than 675,000 apps available from Google Play, a figure worth noting as it means Android is within striking distance of overtaking iOS as the mobile operating system with the most apps.

For reference, Apple announced there are 700,000 apps in the iTunes App Store during the iPhone 5 launch event on September 12th.

Ubuntu Phone 1938-025

10 Most Popular iOS Apps for 2012

  • Google Drive – cloud
  • Google Chrome – browser
  • Clear – To-do list
  • iPhoto – organize and manage your photo
  • Google Maps
  • Fantastical – calendar
  • YouTube
  • Checkmark – reminder
  • Spotify for iPad
  • Tweetbot for iPad

* Source: Slash Gear

10 Most Popular Android Apps for 2012

  • Google Now
  • Google Drive
  • Flipboard
  • Catch Notes
  • SwiftKey 3
  • Xbox Smartglass
  • WhatsApp Messenger
  • TripIt Travel Organizer
  • Smart Tools
  • SlingPlayer

* Source: InformationWeek Mobility

Typical Smartphone Activities

All of these choices begs the question, what are folks doing with their smartphones? Here’s the lowdown.

Ubuntu Phone 1938-030

* Source: Compiled by AnsonAlex.com

Putting the above into perspective, other than great hardware what characteristics does the Ubuntu Phone need to exhibit to be successful at launch?

Great at its intended purpose

Although the statistics illuminate other things folks do with their smartphone the primary reason for purchasing a phone is to place and receive calls. Above all else the Ubuntu Phone must manage incoming and outgoing calls superbly. I assume this is still under development as call management was not showcased in any of the demonstrations I am aware of.

Reflecting on my own habits, here’s a distilled list of call management functions I would like to see.

  • log all accepted, missed, and rejected incoming and outgoing calls
  • link calls to my contacts if the contact is found
  • permit acceptance or rejection of incoming calls
  • manage audio such voice volume and ring tones
  • provide and manage call notifications

Contact management is an area where Ubuntu Phone can shine. Realizing Ubuntu One supports contacts I prefer to use Google as I am a Gmail user. Offering users the choice of where contacts are kept would be a plus.

In addition to a fantastic call experience the Ubuntu Phone must be able to speak all of the other communication dialects. As a communication device this includes WI-FI, BlueTooth, NFC, and USB.

Notifications, Alerts, and Replies

Notifications and alerts can come from a variety of sources; incoming calls, new emails, weather alerts, low power notifications, text messages, social networking pings or messages. I believe this is an area where the Ubuntu Phone will excel.

The Critical Mass of Apps

There is simply no way Ubuntu will build in the foreseeable future the kind of app stores enjoyed by Google and Apple. Is a 600K or 700K app store required for success? No, but there is a critical mass which must be achieved for lift off. I am going to break these down into two categories; core and enhancement.

Core Apps

By definition a core app is an app that is so closely associated with the OS it defines the OS. The orchestrated execution of core apps characterizes the user experience and as such these apps should either be developed by Canonical or under close Canonical supervision.

Contact Management

Notification and Message Management

Camera and Photo Album Management

Internet Browsing

Music Player

Video Player

Settings

Enhancement Apps

By definition enhancement apps improve the user experience by adding extra features and functionality. Pulling from the Google and Apple app store top 10, I would add the following.

Weather and weather alerts

Google Maps

Google Drive

Other Really Nice Apps

A short list of Apps I consider optional but really nice include are the following.

Google Now

Flip Board

Select Games

Wrap Up

The lesson here is the market waits for no one and Android and iOS users will not change to a user experience less than what they currently have. The concept of using your phone as a computer is certainly compelling but isn’t this functionality available today with Android and the Galaxy Nexus HDMI Portrait Desktop Doc? Granted this does not offer the type of central management a Ubuntu device will provide and this may be a compelling reason for organizations to consider this solution instead of BlackBerry.

No matter the angle you view this, the Ubuntu Phone will be Canonical’s greatest challenge. Sculpting the right mix of out of the box apps rooted in a solid Ubuntu foundation delivered at the right moment could result in an overnight success story we haven’t seen in this market for some time.

I am very excited about the possibilities.

The post Ubuntu Phone – Connecting the Dots appeared first on j-Baer.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Planet Ubuntu