Start up: dual-SIM nations, Korea v Apple (and Google), Galaxy S6 flat – or rounded?, and more


A dual-SIM Sony Xperia. Photo by hirotomo on Flickr.

A selection of 8 links for you. Keep moist. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Korea’s FTC has created a task force to determine whether Apple and Google are damaging the Korean market » Patently Apple

Today the South Korean press is reporting that he Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) will create a task force for ICT this year and closely monitor Social Networking Service providers (SNS) and operating system providers.

The country’s anti-trust regulator announced its plan for this year on Feb. 1. What is most noticeable is a task force for information, communication Technology (ICT).

The FTC is said to establish a task force and closely monitor whether or not monopolistic companies like Google and Apple inflict damage to the Korean market using their dominant position in the market.

The regulatory body is paying attention to the fact that the two companies comprise 99.5% of the local mobile operating system market.

Umm.. that percentage hasn’t changed. All that’s changed is Apple’s proportion of it, which went from about 10% to 33%.


Enough is ENOUGH: It’s time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell » The Register

Iain Thomson:

Even if Adobe put its top programmers working on Flash, a free piece of software, a lot of people around the world are very keen to find exploitable bugs in the plugin so they can break into victims’ computers.

Many netizens have recognized that Flash is too old and doddery to be worth the hassle. YouTube finally dumped the technology in favor of HTML5 video. Twitch doesn’t need it any more, neither does Netflix and others.

“The reality is there’s a market out there and people are going to exploit it,” Williams said. “Java has been a top vector, as has Flash, and now the attackers are moving to Silverlight as well.”

The fact is, Flash is just not fit for purpose. It will ruin your month. It will fill your hard drive with raw sewage seeping in from the grotesque underbelly of internet. It’s the Lego brick in your foot when you’re feeling your way through a dark kitchen at 3am.

It’s not even good for funny animations any more – we have HTML5 and a GIF resurgence for that. If you’re still using the plugin, you may as well hang a sign out for hackers reading: “Here’s my arse, please kick it. And then empty my back account.”


The global prevalence of dual-SIM Android devices » OpenSignal


Dual SIM devices are particularly popular in Asia

What we found

– The number of multi SIM devices is huge:
in the last month 26% of new users of the OpenSignal app had a device multi SIM support. This survey covers just over 1 million app users up to 18th January 2015.

– There is a very broad choice of multi SIM devices:
we identified over 10,000 different Android models with multi-SIM support.

– There are profound differences between markets:
in general developing economies have a higher proportion of dual-SIM users, in several countries dual (or multi) SIM users are the majority of Android users. The US, UK and Canada all have around 4% penetration, Australia is slightly higher at 5%. Several European countries have middle of the road values – Greece, Hungary, Spain, Albania, Croatia are all around 25%.

Ten thousand different Android models with multi-SIM support. Just amazing. Multiple SIMS are used for many purposes: having a business and personal number on a single phone, choosing between providers in different locations or data/voice plans, being.. er.. duplicitous.

India, Russia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and the Philippines lead the pack (greener means higher percentage).


Supply chain sees weak demand for Xiaomi’s Mi4 model in 4Q14 » Digitimes

Supply chain shipments for Xiaomi Technology’s Mi4 were weaker-than-expected in the fourth quarter of 2014, while those for the company’s previous Hongmi model remained steady.

Orders to supply chains for the Mi4 throughout the quarter until February 2015 have lagged, which coupled with an expected slowdown in the overall handset industry during the first quarter of 2015 has left supply chains rather pessimistic about orders for the device.

Supply chain sources commented that China’s handset market cooled down over the fourth quarter, which coupled with weak demand in emerging markets also influenced orders for the Mi4.

The cooling market in China really is going to have a lot of effects – principally, forcing a number of Chinese OEMs to look abroad or suffer badly in the slowdown.


Samsung pins hope on Galaxy S6 for rebound » Korea Times

“The Galaxy S6 is expected to have pretty much upgraded features compared to previous models. It will help the company post stable growth,” said Kim Young-chan, a technology analyst at Shinhan Investment. “If it successfully attracts users who have been reluctant to change their devices, Samsung can increase market share in the premium smartphone segment.”

On Tuesday, Samsung started giving out invitations for its Galaxy Unpacked Event 2015.

“The Galaxy S6 will make its debut in two versions ― flat and rounded screens,” said an executive at a local parts supplier, Tuesday. “It will have a metal build, which will make it look even more like Apple’s latest models.”

Galaxy S6 will use glass on the front and back, making it more appealing, he said.

Samsung dropped its earlier plan to adopt a dual-edge design on the new phone due to concerns over defect rates of curved glasses.

Also: 5.1in screen, embedded (ie non-changeable) lithium polymer battery. It’s hoping this will win back share in the premium phone market. Don’t see why any of those characteristics would do it, to be honest.


Senior Samsung executive resigns » WSJ

A senior Samsung Electronics Co. executive in charge of the technology giant’s rollout of its next flagship smartphone has abruptly resigned, people familiar with the matter said, in the latest management departure at the struggling mobile division.

Just a little over a month into the job, Kim Seok-pil, who was named head of strategic marketing for Samsung’s mobile business in December, will be replaced by another Samsung executive, Lee Sang-chul, who is currently in charge of Samsung’s Russia operations, one of the people said Tuesday.

This person said Mr. Kim was leaving due to health reasons and could return to the company at a later time.


Is Windows RT dead? Microsoft stops making Nokia Lumia 2520 » PCWorld

Microsoft could be close to pulling the plug on Windows RT with its decision to stop manufacturing the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

The Lumia 2520 tablet was the last tablet remaining running Windows RT with Microsoft not making its Surface 2 tablet. Microsoft didn’t provide the specific date it stopped making the Lumia 2520 tablet to Dutch publication PCM, which broke the news.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets are still being sold through Verizon Wireless in the U.S. starting at $499.99 with a two-year commitment, and for $599.99 without a contract.

That could bring a quiet end to Microsoft’s experiment with Windows RT, which was built for tablets and PCs based on ARM processors. The first tablets with Windows RT shipped in 2012, but the response has been poor, with PC makers like Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung abandoning devices with the OS. Microsoft last year cancelled plans to launch a small-screen tablet with Windows 8.1 RT.

The “Surface mini” just missed its window of opportunity by about six months. Now it would be impossible without gigantic corporate customer buy-in to sell them. But Apple and IBM look to be going after that business, if it exists.


Asustek facing challenges in 2015 » Digitimes

Monica Chen:

Asustek managed to ramp up its notebook shipments to 20.1m units in 2014, up from 18.8m shipped a year earlier. However, shipments of low-priced models to some designated markets contributed much of the growth in 2014.

Meanwhile, shipments of desktops totalled 2m units in 2014, doubling from those shipped in 2013.

Excluding shipments of Windows-based tablets and 2-in-1 models, Asustek’s notebook shipments lagged slightly behind the 20m units shipped by Apple in 2014, according to IDC…

Although Asustek boasts a number of notebook lines, including Gun-, KX- and T100- and Chi-series as well as EeeBook and Chromebook families, slack global demand for notebooks will cap Asustek’s efforts to ramp up its shipments, according to industry sources.

Asustek’s tablet shipments fell short of its target in 2014, reaching less than 10m units compared to 12m units shipped a year earlier. However, buoyed by its voice-calling Fonepad tablet series, the company still aims to ship 12m tablets in 2015.

The company shipped eight million smartphones in 2014, but saw a loss of NT$2bn (US$64m) for the handset business. Asustek plans to release its second generation ZenFone soon and aims to ship 16m units in 2015.

You can just about use those numbers to back out the number of 2-in-1s that Asus shipped, which looks like the low single-digit millions for the year. And that handset business is painful.


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