This is not the first time we heard major Android vendors are aiming to hit lower price points in the months to come. With iPad mini expected to eat into a large chunk of the 7-inch tablet market, and recent price drops and refreshes to the Kindle lineups, it makes sense Google and other Android manufacturers are aiming to offer an even better value following its launch. Digitimes, despite not having the best track record, stated confidently in September, while citing its usual supply chain sources, that Google is planning a $99 Nexus 7 tablet. It also claimed an upgraded model would take over the $200 price point. This would seem to make sense with rumors of a 32GB Nexus 7 landing for under $250. Leaked retail inventory listings and even a unit that accidentally shipped have backed up those rumors.
Digitimes is once again claiming today that Google’s $99 Nexus tablet is real, adding that Taiwan-based manufacturers have confirmed it will launch in the fourth quarter of this year. Where this leaves the rest of the Nexus line is unclear. If the $99 tablet and 32GB Nexus for $250 are real, it could mean the $99 tablet comes with 8GB or 16 GB. There is also a chance Google keeps a tablet at the $199 price point. This would seem to point to a 8GB model at $99, 16GB model at $199, and 32GB model at $250. However, we are not quite buying the idea tht Google will offer an extra 16GB for only $50 more than a $199 16GB model…
CNET just reported that Amazon’s next version of the widely popular Kindle Fire, otherwise dubbed the “Kindle Fire 2” or the second-generation Kindle Fire, would unveil next month. The publication cited “a credible source” but could not confirm the summer date, and it pointed to DigiTimes for specs, which claimed the rumored 7-inch eReader will release with a $199 price tag and 1,2800-by-800 pixel display at the beginning of the third quarter.
The DigiTimes article cited the usual sources in the “upstream supply chain” and talked about how Amazon would reduce the price of the current Kindle Fire to $149. It also speculated that Amazon’s long-rumored larger tablet is still on hold but that new e-ink Kindles with integrated lighting were expected to be released alongside the Kindle Fire 2 (or whatever Amazon chooses to call it).
Our source didn’t mention the higher resolution display but did say that the new tablet would have a camera and physical volume-control buttons (many users complained that the Kindle Fire only has on-screen volume controls).
Just as you are getting content with Google’s latest Android offering Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, there are more rumors tonight on Google’s next version of Android. The sometimes-accurateDigitimes reported that Google might launch Android 5.0 Jelly Bean this summer.
This new version of Android will reportedly have a focus on tablet PCs, but hopefully not like the tablet exclusive Honeycomb. Ice Cream Sandwich hoped to pick up on Honeycomb’s mistakes by unifying both the handset and tablet platforms.
Digitimes said Android 5.0 would have a unique feature, because it will have a dual operating system approach. It will reportedly be able to boot into both Android and Chrome without having to shutdown. Perhaps Chrome will be part of the experience like it did with the launch of the browser as an app.
We will most likely hear more at Google I/O in June where Google does many of its big announcements.
Chromebooks are currently being produced only by Samsung and Acer, the former having multiple Series 5 models on offer and the latter just one base model, the AC700. Market source from Asia, however, toldDigiTimes today that handset maker HTC could be developing a Chrome OS device of its own:
HTC is evaluating the feasibility of combining the advantages of Chrome OS and Android for use in Internet-access devices, products between tablet PCs and netbooks.
The statement is a bit ambiguous in and of itself. Granted, HTC has been rumored to consider alternative operating systems before, but their mission statement-like video posted on YouTube today is a portrayal of a mobile devices company specialized in phones, tablets and personal digital assistants. There’s no reason as to why HTC wouldn’t evolve its product line and throw notebooks/netbooks into the mix.
However, it’ss a crowded space with slim margins offering little incentive unless you’re Apple. On a final note, the “products between tablet PCs and netbooks” part could mean many things, not necessarily a Chrome OS netbook from HTC. Perhaps an Internet-connected portable media player akin to Apple’s iPod touch or Samsung’s Galaxy Player. It could also be a niche gadget such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note as well as a tablet/netbook hybrid with the capability to boot into Chrome OS or Android.
When Asus chairman Jonney Shih sat opposite the Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg at the AsiaD conference saying his company was taking Android seriously, he wasn’t kidding. The Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the successor to his company’s Eee Pad Transformer tablet, will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
However, the device will have Android 3.2 pre-installed when it ships shortly and will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich via a software update, which will be arriving by the year’s end, DigiTimesreports:
The first batch of Transformer Prime tablets will run on Android 3.2 before migrating to Android 4.0 by the end of 2011, said Shih, who unveiled the new tablet at the All Things Digital (AsiaD) technology forum being held in Hong Kong from October 19-21.
Like its predecessor, the 10-inch Eee Pad Transformer Prime functions as a tablet which can be docked to a keyboard attachment that turns it into a full-fledged notebook replacement. It is powered by Nvidia’s latest quad-core chip dubbed Kal-El and the company recently released a nice-looking teaser announcing its imminent arrival. They used advanced material processing so the device features high-quality chassis crafted from aluminum. The keyboard dock is understood to include a touch panel and expansion slots. Expand Expanding Close
A seven-inch Amazon tablet priced at $250 or less will compete against inexpensive Android tablets such as Lenovo’s $199 IdeaPad A1 (pictured above) or the $249 Nook color
Amazon is reportedly launching its inaugural Android tablet in the fourth quarter of this year. If the back office chatter is true, the online retailer will first out a seven-incher followed by a larger form-factor device(s) early next year. The latest news has the seven-inch Kindle Tablet costing $250 or less. However, market sources polled by DigiTimeswarn of a lack of differentiation between Amazon’s dedicated Kindle e-readers and a seven-inch Android tablet:
Market observers are showing concerns as to how Amazon will differentiate its e-book reader market from that of its tablet while making profits for both after the company’s launch of the 7-inch tablet in fourth-quarter 2011. […] The sources also pointed out that Amazon may run a risk by releasing a 7-inch tablet when 10-inch models have mostly outperformed 7-inch competition over the past six months.
Shipping estimates have been revised and now call for a million units by the end of this month, “but the sources remain skeptical whether Amazon can meet its shipment goal of four million units in 2011”.
Now, about that differentiation comment. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler who saw prototypes described a seven-inch device without cameras. He said the screen used is a regular LCD as opposed to a color display utilizing electronic ink technology many people have been hoping for.
The fact Amazon could be marketing this thing under the Kindle moniker won’t help either, if true. On the flipside, there’s no reason as to why an Amazon-branded Android tablet tied to their all-encompassing cloud and shopping services would ever be confused with a family of dedicated and inexpensive Kindle e-readers.
10.1-inch form factor has been adopted by Android tablets, but not Apple’s iPad. A major ramp up in 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing could indicate high demand for Android tablets.
Touch panel makers TPK Holding, G-Tech and Wintek – all major Apple suppliers – are reportedly ramping up 10.1-inch cover glass manufacturing to ten million units per month, reportsDigiTimes, a trade publication specialized in Asian supply chain. Such a substantial increase is eyebrow raising knowing that the market-leading iPad sports a 9.7-inch display while the 10.1-inch form factor is mostly an Android play.
9to5Google learned that Samsung’s Tabs are selling very well, measured in millions. We also know Amazon is close to launching its tablet and if market sources are correct, the online retailer is eager to ship millions of units in the run-up to Christmas. However, Amazon’s inaugural tablet PC will be a seven-incher, with both TechCrunch and DigiTimes reporting that a 10.1-inch Amazon tablet won’t be out until early 2012.
In any case, that’s a lot of cover glass units for non-iPad devices. Market watchers say Fuji Crystal and Lens Technology supply Apple with an estimated 70 percent of the cover glass, mainly for iPhones. G-Tech and Wintek supply to iPads and TPK Holding is said to provide cover glass to both iPhone and iPad.
Either touch panel makers have overestimated demand (which we doubt), or Apple is switching to 10.1-inch form factor for iPad 3 (highly unlikely, but possible given the hints of four-inch iPhone) or Android makers have decided to blanket the market this holiday season with millions of 10.1-inch tablets, which is the most reasonable assumption.
Android is the dominant smartphone platform pretty much everywhere, but nowhere is Google’s lead more evident than in Taiwan, the country traditionally on the bleeding edge of technology. According to the Asian trade publication DigiTimes which cited the latest data from IDC, the 990,00 smartphones accounted for half the 1.97 million cell phones shipped in Taiwan during the second quarter of this year.
Taiwan will probably become the first country where all phones will eventually become smartphones as shipments of feature phones dropped 17 percent sequentially and 32 percent annually: As for Android:
Android-based smartphones accounted for over 70% of all smartphones sold in Taiwan in the second quarter, followed by iOS and Symbian models, the data showed.
Mind you, this isn’t the Android-iOS monopoly any more, this is a Windows-type monopoly and it’s unfolding in Taiwan before our very eyes. Makes you wonder if that’s a sign of things to come elsewhere in the world. The gap between Android and iOS in Taiwan is unheard-of. And with just 30 percent of smartphones divided between iOS and Symbian, Apple’s platform is likely far behind Android in Taiwan. Of course…
Trade publication DigiTimesquoted market sources this morning who heard that the online retail giant, Amazon, is gearing up for mass production of another tablet, a 10.1-inch device, for the first quarter of next year. The world’s largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, will take care of manufacturing, the report notes. Foxconn is also Apple’s long-time manufacturing partner and they make gadgets and computers for a number of Western brands.
While the report doesn’t cast more light on the device, the screen size suggests a Honeycomb-class tablet. The story does corroborate an AndroidMeclaim back in May that Amazon has been working on a family of mobile devices powered by the Android software.
Amazon is also in the process of tweaking its web shopping site to mobile access, apparently in preparation for its inaugural tablet launch next month. That device is said to be a seven-inch slate tightly integrated with Amazon’s cloud and content services.
DigiTimes’ report also notes Amazon placed an order for up to eighteen million Kindle units for the entire year, confirming their lead in the e-reader market with an estimated 60-70 percent share of global e-book reader shipments in 2011.
HP’s now deceased TouchPad tablet, powered by the webOS software.
In addition to whispers of a possible take over of Hewlett-Packard’s personal computer business worth forty million PC units in 2011, Samsung is said to be considering purchasing the webOS operating system HP got through the last year’s Palm acquisition.
This comes via a DigiTimesreport this morning, citing “sources from notebook players”. In fact, that may be the reason alone behind Samsung’s rumored interest in HP’s PC making biz, the sources suspect. Samsung, of course, already makes PC notebooks but with only ten million units in this year they aren’t exactly in the big league.
Of course, the rumor-mill has been speculating about such a move since Hewlett-Packard shot down webOS and announced intentions to exit the low-margin personal computer business earlier this month. While we have to take those stories with a few pinches of salt, it’s easy to see webOS flourish under Samsung.
The company would further reduce its dependence on Android software as Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola has left the search giant’s commitment to Android backers dwindling in the air.
Samsung, which also develops Bada, its own operating system for feature phones, could make, promote and sell webOS smartphones and tablets on a global scale. And if HP’s TouchPad fire-sale is an indication, the industry and consumers yearn for a third mobile platform in order to avoid the Android-iOS duopoly. Think about it: The webOS software running on Samsung’s beautifully designed hardware rocking cutting-edge processors and graphics – and priced aggressively – could let Samsung compete with iPad more effectively than with its current crop of Android-driven tablets.
Let’s not forget Palm’s intellectual property portfolio that would no doubt enable the company to avoid future lawsuits from rivals. As a matter of fact, the webOS licensing would enable Samsung to gain a much-needed patent leverage against Apple in the mobile space.
The Amazon tablet we’ve been hearing about every now and then in past weeks is inching closer to release, folks. Industry publication DigiTimesreported this morning that Amazon picked a third supplier for touch panel parts as it gears up for manufacturing. Looks like TPK Holdings will be joining Wintek and JTouch as suppliers, the publication wrote:
Amazon, considering that the supply of 7-inch touch panels by Wintek and JTouch may not be sufficient for use in its tablet PCs, has decided to add TPK Holding as a third supplier, according to industry sources.
Shipments will begin in September, Wintek “stressed”. Note the may-not-be-sufficient part in the above quote, suggesting a likely increase of the original two million launch units. Amazon allegedly planned on unveiling its inaugural tablet in October, around the same time Apple was rumored to bring iPad 3 to market. At first, the online retailer had experienced difficulties sourcing parts because Apple pretty much locked out other vendors until mid-July they signed up Foxconn, Apple’s long-standing manufacturing partner, to produce the Amazon tablet. Surprisingly, Amazon even went on to become the largest buyer of tablet parts. A market survey has it that…
If you deemed the nearly 20 million smartphones Samsung shipped in the June quarter an impressive figure, brace yourself for even more extraordinary achievement in the second half of 2011 as DigiTimesreports that Samsung “has placed orders for 30 million touch sensors used to make four-inch AMOLED screens”. Suppliers Chunghwa Picture Tubes and others are said to be the prime beneficiaries of Samsung’s booming smartphone business. Of course, Samsung sources touch sensors from other suppliers so their final order may well exceed the quoted figure. As evident in the below chart fromAsymco’s Horace Dediu, the Korean company’s been growing at an exponential rate, eclipsing Apple’s 142 percent annual growth in iPhone shipments.
The company, however, all but displaced Apple, which just toppled Nokia to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor. Being the leading Android backer, Samsung’s success has helped the Google operating system reach more than 50 percent platform share of all smartphones, more than double the iOS share of 19 percent, per latest Canalys survey. That said, it’s entirely plausible that this year Samsung could overtake Apple and become both the world’s leading smartphone vendor, while Apple remains the industry’s leading player in terms of revenues and profit. Also notable, a gap between Samsung and market leader Nokia is narrowing fast…
In what is another indication of a rumored Amazon tablet, Taiwanese trade publication, DigiTimes, this morning quoted sources from the supply chain who said Amazon has become the second largest buyer of tablet parts as component suppliers are lining up to provide parts for Amazon’s seven- and ten-inch slates. That’s a notable change from previous reports asserting Apple had gobbled up pretty much the entire supply of tablet parts. The Amazon devices are apparently due for a fourth quarter launch and the online retail giant is targeting to ship four million tablet PCs this year.
The publication named suppliers which include an unnamed processor from Nvidia, gravity sensors from Sitronix and touch panels from Wintek (also an Apple supplier) in addition to J Touch and Chunghwa Picture Tubes. Note that the mention of the seven-inch Amazon tablet probably means a new Kindle e-reader while the ten-incher most likely refers to a brand new Android-powered tablet said to be integrated with their cloud stores carrying mobile apps, music, movies, e-books and other digital warez. A Retrevo survey indicated that 79 percent of buyers would consider an Amazon tablet if priced less than $250. Apple is said to be considering cheaper components for next iPad amid the increasing pricing pressure in the market.
An iFixit teardown of HTC’s Evo 4G reveals a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. HTC denied jumping ship to adopt Samsung-manufactured chips.
Recently, there has been talk of Taiwanese handset maker HTC adopting mobile processors from Samsung in an effort to reduce manufacturing costs and royalty fees, the move that would be called a major blow to HTC’s current chip supplier, Qualcomm. Responding to the rumors, HTC denied the reporting, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reports.
Having procured memory products and display panels from Samsung, HTC is unlikely to add procurement of mobile processors to heavily rely on Samsung, the sources analyzed. In addition, adoption of Samsung’s mobile processors would not help decrease royalty payments because HTC still has to pay royalty to owners of patents concerned, such as Qualcomm, Nokia and Microsoft, the sources pointed out.
The source also noted that HTC “has adopted ST-Ericsson’s U8500 platform for entry- to mid-level smartphone models to be launched in the first half of 2012”. HTC is paying an estimated $5 per each Android handset sold as part of their patent protection agreement with Microsoft. Obviously, the company knows better than to become trapped with a sole supplier like Samsung…
Look at what happened to Apple, Samsung’s biggest buyer of various components, including custom-designed A4/A5 processors for iPhones, iPods and iPads and NAND flash chips for computers and mobile gadgets. Following increased competition from Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablet and Galaxy S smartphone families, Apple and Samsung become frenemies. The California gadget maker is now suing “copyist” Samsung and reportedly taking its billions of dollars in orders elsewhere, including next-generation A6 processor manufacturing to TSMC.
As you know, Acer lost its CEO Gianfranco Lanci who resigned in March for his inability to produce an answer to Apple’s iPad which ushered in the post-PC era. At the same time, Samsung’s notebook shipments are declining due to weak netbook sales affected by, you guessed right, the iPad and tablets in general. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that Lanci is rumored to be joining Samsung Electronics in August to “help the Korea-based electronics giant expand its notebook business, especially in Europe”, per DigiTimes’article:
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Dell and Samsung have both contacted Lanci, aiming to leverage the former Acer CEO’s expertise in the management of channel sales in Europe. Acer, Asustek Computer as well as Hewlett-Packard (HP) which all count Europe as one of their leading markets, reportedly have been on high alert on Lanci’s move, said the sources.
One possible issue: Lanci signed a one-year non-compete agreement with Acer when he resigned on March 31. This, the sources assert, should be settled easily between Samsung and Acer should Lanci take the job. Samsung is the world’s seventh-largest notebook vendor by units and sixth in Europe. They shipped 9.9 million notebooks in 2010, IDC estimated, and are one of the premium partners authorized to manufacture Chromebooks. On top of inexpensive netbooks and notebooks, Samsung is also increasingly rivaling Apple with flagship offerings such as the Series 9, an ultrathin notebook The Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg likened to the MacBook Air. That machine is also on T3’s Gadget Awards 2011 shortlist in Computer of the Year and T3 Design Award categories. In addition to Samsung, Acer stumbled, too… Expand Expanding Close
According to “industry sources” who spoke to Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Google is about to release Android Honeycomb 3.2 to select tablet makers at the end of July or early August:
Google is expected to release its Android 3.2 OS to production partners at the end of July or early August, according to industry sources. Asustek has indicated it will launch Android 3.2-based tablets soon, while Huawei Technologies also said it will roll out a 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, CNETconfirms that Google is already pushing out the Honeycomb 3.2 update to the Motorola Xoom, hoping to bring the software to other tablets “in the near future”.
Android 3.2 is a minor update that will improve hardware acceleration and bring optimization for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors that power many top-selling Android smartphones and tablets. The software update will also bring improvements in Google-created apps, including Movie Studio, Movies, Music and Widget. It will also have a new compatibility mode for apps called zoom-to-fill. “Imagine viewing your app at the size of a phone screen then zooming in about 200 percent,” Google explains on the Android Developers blog. And as we explained earlier, this Honeycomb version also takes into account the popular seven-inch tablet form factor, which continues to be in abundance…
Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimesquotes unnamed industry sources who claim Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer for gadgets, will produce a rumored Android-driven tablet from Amazon, said to sport a 10.1-inch display, with shipments to begin in 2012 at the earnest. Quanta Computer, another contract manufacturer from Asia, has already begun shipping a smaller seven-inch device to Amazon, the report notes:
Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) has reportedly landed orders for 10.1-inch tablet PCs from Amazon with shipments to begin in 2012, while Quanta Computer has begun shipping a 7-inch model to Amazon. Foxconn declined to comment on market speculation.
Foxconn of course is Apple’s long-time manufacturer so it comes as a surprise that Apple did not exercise its influence and billions to block rivals from tapping Foxconn’s manufacturing potentials. That’s not entirely unheard of, however…
Active-matrix organic light-emitting diode, or AMOLED, is a display technology from Samsung which has so far been limited to their high-end devices such as the Galaxy S series smartphones. It has worked out well for the Korean firm: They’ve been advertising the crispness and sharpness AMOLED enables as the hardware feature setting apart their smartphones from Apple’s iPhone 4 which employs a regular LCD display with in-plane switching (IPS) technology. Even though iPhone 4’s Retina Display-marketed LCD IPS display sports wide viewing angles and crisp 960-by-480 pixel resolution, it falls behind the AMOLED technology which features vivid colors, true blacks, high brightness and low power consumption.
All those wonderful goodies are said to be adopted by “numerous mobile phone vendors” in the second half of this year, reportsDigiTimes. The publication explains that Samsung Mobile Display “has began production of AMOLED panels with the 5.5G production lines in May to further increase the penetration of AMOLED panels”. Samsung and its carrier partners have been making a lot of noise with the Super AMOLED Plus display featured on the Galaxy S II smartphone.
For example, the company aired a series of television commercials focused on the Super AMOLED Plus display alone. The Korean Heraldasserted in May that Apple might use AMOLED in iPad 3, but it’s unclear why Samsung would enable its rival to tap the one distinct hardware feature that differentiate their products from Apple’s gadgets.
The venerable Amazon tablet has inched one step closer to reality with the news that the company has begun sourcing parts for a rumored tablet. According toDigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication, Amazon is hoping to ship some two million units in September, in time for the holiday shopping season:
Amazon reportedly has held talks with TPK Holdings, Wintek, HannStar Display and J Touch for the supply of touch panels, indicated the sources, noting that Amazon targets to ship four million tablet PCs before the end of 2011.
However, Apple is pressuring the supply chain considerably. The Cupertino, California company reportedly plans to ramp up iPad 2 manufacturing to twelve million iPad 2 units for the third quarter, up from an estimated 6-7 million units in the second quarter and the 4.9 million iPads Apple shipped during the first quarter. Because of this, the Amazon tablet could be facing serious constraints, the report notes.
The story corroborates a previous report from the same publication calling for a September-August launch. The rumor-mill talk is that the online retail giant will introduce a plethora of Android-driven mobile devices, possibly even a smartphone. Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos wouldn’t reveal anything beyond dropping hints and teasing us to “stay tuned”.
Amazon, the well-versed vendor of vertically integrated wireless devices, is on the verge of unveiling a tablet
We’ve heard rumors that Amazon is planning multiple mobile devices and their chief Jeff Bezos teased us to “stay tuned” for a tablet, but the actual release date of their first iPad killer has been anyone’s guess. According toDigiTimes, a pretty reliable Taiwanese publication, the online retailer is gearing up to launch their inaugural Android slate some time in the August-September time frame.
Amazon is poised to step into tablet PCs and will launch models as soon as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units for 2011, according to Taiwan-based component makers. The timing of launch is to meet the peak sales period prior to Thanksgiving in the US and the year-end holidays in the US and Europe, the sources pointed out.
Four million units is a pretty aggressive target for about four months worth of sales, however…