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GlobalFoundries Trims Workforce, Up to 150 people laid off in Singapore

20 Dec

GlobalFoundries, the biggest semiconductor foundry behind TSMC and UMC, announced its stunning plan to cut 3% of its global workforce on December 4, 2013. (more…)

Volvo Group do research on high-tech eco-driving

16 Dec

source: volvo

A driver who has mastered eco-driving can substantially reduce fuel consumption and thereby reduce carbon emissions. The Volvo Group has conducted research on a system, whereby technology aids the driver in driving in an even more environmentally economical manner. (more…)

Facebook Unveils 2013 Year in Review

13 Dec

Similar to what it did in 2012, Facebook has conducted a comprehensive review of its massive user-base, asking data and trend analysts to gather specific information on what the hottest topics among its users are, what exciting public (or personal) events are being attended to, and the locations where people are most likely to click the widely popular “check in” button. In Taiwan, where Facebook’s user penetration rate is reportedly higher than that of any other Asian markets (according to the data collected by Taipei Times), the most popular check-in sites are revealed to be Tainan’s Flowers Night Market and Kaoshung’s Kaisyuan Shopping District.Looking at the area of general interests, Facebook users on average tend to show the most concern for the changes in their friends’ personal interests, hobbies, and romantic relations. (more…)

How about That? $175 BOM for 16GB iPhone 5

12 Sep

With the iPhone 5 ready to launch in the US today, one question remains: will the 6 year “golden” tech champion be able to create another astounding, technological miracle? Not only does the iPhone contribute to over 46% of Apple’s revenue, the handset from each respective generation has also been able to consistently maintain 50% profit.

BOM of iPhone 5

At a time when the smartphone terrain was going through a drought, the iPhone was able to surprise many with just moderate hardware capabilities. With the iPhone4 having increased the performance and capabilities up by a whole notch, the Cupertino giant is not far from releasing perfect, 10-point smartphone. The iPhone 5 will be Apple’s last smartphone device that received creative input from the late Steve Jobs, and the first major Apple product to be released since Tim Cook took charge as CEO. The handset is both an indicator of the company’s future success and a product that helps us understand how the market may potentially assess the Cupertino giant’s performance.

Production-wise, the costs for most of iPhone 5’s components are lower than those of the iPhone 4S.TrendInsider estimates the profit of Apple will increase no matter how good or bad the iPhones 5 sales go. As the cost savings allow Apple to potentially experiment with different things, we look forward to seeing what surprises Apple has in store with its new product.

iPhone 5 will be increase sales of iPads and Macs, also thesales of apps, online music and video streaming.These sales will add to Apple’s profit.

New Prism Battery Technology to Potentially Change Laptop Structure

6 Sep

As many may be aware, most traditional notebooks utilize cylindrical batteries. These are generally found at the bottom of a laptop device and can be conveniently removed or replaced by its users. Ultrabooks, on the other hand, generally use flat, lithium polymer batteries that are embedded within the hardware device. The cost and price of these cells are a lot higher than those of the traditional ones, which explains why the retail prices of MacBook Air and other ultra books tend to be so expensive.

In the future, there will likely be a new form of battery similar to the slim ones found in cell phones, but only bigger. These are known as Prism Batteries, and many are already used in smart-phone and tablet pc products. If proper adjustments are applied within the manufacturing process, then the new battery models can be made by the same production equipments that makes the cylindrical batteries. Compared to the lithium cells used for ultrabooks, one of the major benefits of the new batteries is that they can be standardized.

With the release of the new battery models, an opening can be made in the rear of light ultrabooks or any “ultrabook-like” products, allowing users the convenience of replacing the battery with ease. At the moment, replacing customized batteries for existing ultrabooks not only burdens the users, but is inappropriate to the hardware as well.

According to TrendInsider, the NB manufacturers likely to utilize the new battery technology will be those equipped with better design and manufacturing capabilities rather than those that rely heavily on ODMs and OEMs. It is predicted that leading US and Korean manufacturers will utilize the new battery standard to create a notebook that not only blurs the boundary between traditional laptops and ultrabooks, but also comes at a cheaper price.

Update: iPhone and iPad Mini Components Shortage Issue Could Impact Apple’s Performance during Peak Season

23 Aug

TrendInsider recently learned that two manufacturers from Korea and Japan will be shipping LCD panels to Apple’s OEM partners beginning from July and August. The total number of panels shipped, on the whole, appears to be relatively small, and is not expected to increase until September or October. It is predicted that for the two following months, the number of panels provided by the three major manufacturers will end up being approximately 10 million units. If we were to add that to the existing panels from July and August, the total iPhone 5’s released in 2H12 will probably only hit 30 million units. Compared to the originally predicted 40-50 million units, the new figure is a lot lower than expected.

For now, it is very likely that there will only be a limited number of iPhone 5’s available when Apple announces the new smartphone. This is not necessarily the result of the end market consumer effect or the anticipated craze towards newly released Apple products. Factors such as Apple’s decision to use new in-cell technology, along with a variety of other component shortage issues, are also expected to limit the initial number of iPhones released.

Regarding the iPad Mini, TrendInsider has noticed that even though the tablet is cruising relatively smoothly throughout the production stage, the number of components received during August and September will not be particularly high, and may only be around 30 million units. Given this situation, it is predicted that upon mass release, the total units of iPad Minis will probably be less than that of the new iPhone.

Taking into account the fact that Apple’s two new products use components that sometimes overlap with one another and that the Cupertino firm is implementing various new hardware designs, a number of manufacturers have begun to also place a greater emphasis on production yield and manufacturing cost. In a way, this is likely to create an interesting new dynamic between buyers and suppliers following the release of Apple’s new iPhone and iPad Mini.

At the moment, TrendInsider believes one of Apple’s greatest weaknesses to be the time it takes to complete the design and production phase, which is evident in Apple’s habit of releasing only one new handset per year. This, in a sense, has made the 4-inch size of the new iPhone somewhat less remarkable than it could have been, given the number of 5-inch phones that already exist in the market. There is no denying, though, that the new screen size is a lot more impressive than that of the 4S.

Whatever happens, the release of the new iPad and iPhone should help us find out whether the new generation of Apple products are worthy of future consumer attention, and the whether Apple has what it takes to exceed expectations in the post-Steve Jobs era.

Component Shortage for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini to Contribute to Lower than Expected Shipments

20 Aug

From the news TrendInsider retrieved from various component vendors and suppliers, it appears that the new iPhone 5, aimed at a possible 3Q12 or 4Q12 release, may not reach the originally intended 40 million shipment target.

The reason for the less than expected shipments can be attributed to the shortage of various major components, which include in-cell panels, aluminum casings, and various other hardware parts. Given the situation, the OEMs responsible for assembling the new iPhones predict that by the end of 2012, only 30 million units of Apple’s new handset will be released within the market. Apple may still satisfy the needs of worldwide consumers in the short run, but the shortages of its upcoming products will more likely than not to be a major issue in the future.

It is predicted, at the moment, that the plummeting iPhone 4 & iPhone 4S sales will continue at a much faster rate than expected. As such, it remains likely that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 as soon as this September. At such a timing, the new handset will quickly replace the iPhone 4 during the October-December peak season, and in turn gain the necessary advantage to thrive within the market.

iPad Mini

Apple’s new 7.85 inch tablet, currently referred to as the “iPad Mini”, is likely to take a major hit from the component shortage as well. While the overall shipment quantity of the new tablet is expected to fall short of the originally planned 13 to 14 million units, the extent of the decline is not expected to exceed that of the iPhone 5.

At present, the quantity of iPad Mini units that are being supplied by manufacturing plants numbers in the range of millions. Aimed at the 2012 peak season, the tablet will likely see an official release date before the end of September or October.

TrendInsider believes that even though the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini are both affected by shortage issues, the two devices do not necessarily share the same set of components. What’s certain is that both devices’ supply quantities will definitely be affected one way or another.

Xiaomi Phone 2 Announced at Beijing, Will Launch with $310 Price Tag

16 Aug

Announced at a Beijing event just yesterday is the new Xiaomi Phone 2. Coming from a non-major brand, the handset boasts a surprisingly impressive array of hardware features, including Quacomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, a 4.3 inch 720 Display, 27mm F 2.0 8MP rear camera, 2G of RAM, 3000mAh battery, and a standard 16 GB storage capacity.

As if the phone couldn’t be more impressive, the smartphone also comes with Android’s newest operating system (Jelly Bean) and is only $310 USD. For a quad core-powered phone with such outstanding features, the pricing makes Mi2 an attractive option for those pursuing a powerful, yet reasonably affordable mobile device.

Xiaomi’s high-end phone is likely to pose a number of challenges to the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy Series in the China market.

Samsung to Introduce Projector-Embedded Smartphone between 3Q12 and 4Q12

13 Aug

From various sources within the industry, TrendInsider has learned that, beginning August, Samsung will be receiving shipments of LED sourced components designed specifically for pico projectors.

Taking into account the South Korean company’s production schedule as well as the nature of the shipped materials, it is predicted that Samsung may begin releasing projector-embedded smartphones sometime between the end of 3Q12 and 4Q12. From what we know so far, these handsets will be able to project images or videos up to the size of a poster. Under maximum settings, the projected image may reach up to 20-inches, or even greater.

Amongst the LED source materials that are utilized in Samsung’s projector-capable smartphones are RGB LED modules. For the moment, it remains unclear whether this component will be used in Samsung’s Galaxy Note series or in the company’s other set of mobile devices.

Being the first company to promote a handset with a built-in projector, Samsung’s product is likely to prompt a number of strategic moves from Google and Apple. The extent of the handset’s impact on the mobile phone industry, however, is open to much debate. On the one hand, one may argue that projectors are more suitable for laptops, given the amount of energy consumed and the intended use of a projector device. On other hand, a smartphone with an embedded projector does have a reasonable appeal, and may be gimmicky enough to arouse enough interest amongst consumers. Whether the interest will translate into tremendous amounts of revenue, however, is another question entirely.

A smartphone with a projector can be used in such occasions as powerpoint presentations, movie watching, and photo sharing.

New Google Wallet Boasts Strengthened Security, May Pose Credible Challenge to Apple’s Passbook

9 Aug

Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec has arguably heightened the awareness for mobile security and boosted the already strong consumer interest in Passbook, a payment feature that allows iPhone–and possibly iPad– users to pay for purchased items and various business services. Perhaps aware of the increasing concerns towards network-related privacy, Google promised to deliver a similarly competent e-payment system with the Google Wallet, which has recently undergone a series of noteworthy changes.

Introduced in 2011, Google’s e-wallet initially evoked disappointment, given that it not only offered shoddy security options, but also limited users to a single credit card option. With the recent overhauls and improvements, users are now able to use a wider variety of credit and debit cards, including those issued by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Whereas in the past sensitive credit card data is stored on the handset, with the new Wallet such information is encrypted and secured on remote cloud servers. If a phone happens to be stolen or lost, users can simply choose to disable the information from an available online browser.

Google’s decision to upgrade its e-wallet feature, along with Apple’s recent move to acquire AuthenTec, is indicative of a number of potential trends. For one, mobile security is likely to receive greater emphasis in the future, which in turn may encourage more and more companies to invest in security-related technologies. At the moment, Microsoft is one of the big names out there that is planning to apply NFC-enabled payment functions and include a loyal card feature in its smartphone.

One other significant trend we can expect to see, following Google’s wallet upgrade, is a more intensified battle between the iOS and Android system. While Apple’s iOS mobile devices have traditionally been the victor in various smartphone and tablet markets, Android has undeniably stepped up its game and is gradually catching up to Apple in terms of gaining loyal followers. Not only has the system amassed immense popularity in Europe (beating the iPhone in certain regions), it is also being embedded in more and more global branded handsets. A practical, safe wallet application is only likely to further Android’s popularity and pose more strategic problems for Apple.

According to Gigaom, although only a limited number of current devices are capable of using the new Google’s Wallet, the app nonetheless has the potential to reach out to more people than expected. The Android-based Samsung’s Galaxy S III, for instance, has reportedly sold over 10 million units, and is the perfect host for promoting Google’s wallet application.

It will be interesting to how Apple will strategically respond to the Google and Microsoft’s e-wallet features. While enshrouded in mystery, it is believed that the new iPhone, expected to be released sometime this October, will launch with the Passbook embedded in its system.