Monday, May 30, 2011

Samsung's Galaxy S II Sells 1 Million Units in First Month

Samsung Galaxy S IISamsung started the week off with some good news stating that the Samsung Galaxy S II set a record for the fastest-selling smartphone in Korea. The Galaxy S II, which is a dual-core Android handheld, hit one million in sales in its first month alone. If you want to put that into perspective, it is about one phone sold every 3 seconds. This is incredible news considering the original Galaxy S smartphone took a full 70 days to reach one million units sold.

The Galaxy S II shipped back in the later part of April to Korea, the homeland of Samsung, and hit the 100,000 mark in three days, then doubled in eight and passed 500,000 units sold in two weeks. Samsung attributed the rush to hardware, pointing out the highly improved 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen. Samsung also added that other features, like the newer TouchWiz interface, super thin 8.9mm design and 21Mbps 3G, were also responsible for the rush of purchases.

The super fast sales rate of the Galaxy S II just goes to show you how intense the fight for smartphone supremacy is in Korea. Apple managed to wrangle 300,000 iPhone pre-orders in Korea and quite possibly came close to beating out Samsung's numbers. However, Apple's device still faces limitations from the past that Samsung has not had to face like limited carrier availability.

Until the addition of SK Telecom back in March, Apple was only able to pump out phones via KT. Samsung and LG have a virtual duopoly in Korea which has led to KT and other carriers supporting foreign devices. However, this has caused corporate retaliation. Samsung, for example, held back on marketing support for KT's Omnia line due to the carrier's iPhone deal.

Overall Galaxy S II sales are expected to be much larger due to the fact that the smartphone has a strong presence in Europe and other key parts of the world. Samsung is expected to repeat its all-fronts strategy in the United States with the launch of the Galaxy S II on almost all the major US carriers in slight variants.

Source: Electronista - Samsung Galaxy S II hits 1m units in Korea, breaks records

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Foxconn Explosion Wasn’t an Accident

Although the Chinese government had previously said that the explosion at the Foxconn factory was an accident, a Hong Kong workers advocacy group is claiming otherwise. The group alleged on Monday, May 23 that the blast was the result of Foxconn management disregarding work safety at the plant.

"The explosion is not accidental," Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) wrote in a blog post. The blog went on to condemn the conditions at Foxconn’s facilities in mainland China. It also alleged a total lack of inaction on the part of the contract computer and electronic manufacturers including Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

The explosion at Foxconn’s Chengdu facilities in southwestern China killed three people and left more than a dozen workers injured. The explosion occurred in the factory’s “polishing plant” where the aluminum cases for Apple’s iPad 2 are polished. Reports now seem to be linking the blast to combustible “ultra-light” aluminum dust.

"SACOM pinpointed the problem of the aluminum dust in the polishing department in our report in early May," the advocacy group stated. They are referring to a report that the group released on May 6, 2011. The report condemned the alleged failure of Foxconn and its partners to improve the conditions for the workers at the plant in lieu of the string of worker suicides that took place.

"Regrettably, Foxconn turns a deaf ear to SACOM's findings. After the spate of suicides, the blast also affirms Foxconn puts productivity of [the] iPad before workers' lives," the blog continued.

Apple is the most prominent customer of the factories. Foxconn, which is a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, assembles iPads, iPhones and iPods for the company; however, they also provide products for Amazon (the Kindle e-reader), Acer, Asus, Intel, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony and Vizio, among a variety of other clients.

In recent years, Hon Hai Precision Industry and its many high-profile customers have been under scrutiny and sparked many controversies with the worker suicide and leaked product design incidents. It was the suicides that really drew attention to the working conditions at the plants, especially its Shenzen plant, which houses more than 420,000 workers inside of the facilities.

After the suicides, Foxconn announced that they would have a series of pay raises that included a 30 percent across-the-board pay hike and a 66-percent performance-based raise for those employees who received good marks following a three-month evaluation. Some of the partners, including Apple, HP and Dell, pledged that they would monitor the pay rate changes at Foxconn to make sure that employees new pay rates, safety and overtime compensation were taken care of.

However, SACOM reported in their May 6 report that these pledges by the partners and the company have not been kept.

SACOM said that when they last visited the Foxconn facilities, there were “anti-suicide nets” in the workers' living spaces, but working conditions and promised compensation allegedly remained completely unaltered.

SACOM also said that Foxconn promised that it would provide adequate personal protective equipment for workers, but the workers do not have this protection and “are not well-informed about the chemical in use.”

SACOM called out Apple in the report that they released May 6 and the blog post that they posted May 23. They alleged that “while Apple commends the measures taken by Foxconn to improve working conditions, SACOM finds [the] predicaments of workers remain.”

"Workers always have excessive and forced overtime in order to gain a higher wage. Workers are exposed to dust from construction site[s] and shop floor[s] without adequate protection. Even worse, they are threatened by [the] potential harm of occupational diseases in various departments. Additionally, a military-styled management is still in practice, characterized by 'military training' for new workers."

According to the International Business Times, Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou said that the explosion will not cause any production delays for the iPad 2.

Close to 30 percent of Apple’s iPad 2 tablets are produced at the Chengdu plant where the explosion occurred; however, the managing director of Ticonderoga Securities said that the production of the iPad 2 will simply move to the Foxconn facility in Shenzhen. This will prevent any supply issues for Apple.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Apple Predictions After Foxconn Explosion

Recently, there were predictions of Apple iPad shortages due to a lack of parts and manpower at the company’s Foxconn plant in China, but now there will most definitely be a shortage following the deadly explosions at the plant on Friday, May 20.

Analysts have predicted that iPad production could drop as much as 36 percent in the third quarter. Mike Abramsky, analyst at RBC Capital, wrote that iPad production could drop by 22-36 percent or 1.8-2.8 million devices. Citing CNN, Abramsky said that this could impact Apple’s third quarter revenue by $1.1-1.7 billion.

There have been some reports that the Foxconn plant in Chengdu will only be down for about a month. In this scenario Abramsky said that iPad supplies in the third quarter would most likely only be decreased by somewhere around 1.3 million units. This, unfortunately for Apple, is the bright side of things.

The Foxconn factory reportedly had 52 iPad production lines and had the capability to spit out more than 40 million devices a year. That will not be occurring this year though. On Friday an explosion in the facilities “polishing plant” at about 7 p.m. killed two people and injured 16. According to the Wall Street Journal, the government has ruled out the possibility of foul play as the cause of the explosion.

Foxconn has had a wide range of trouble affecting its factories. The incidents range from factory workers that committed suicide in 2010 to charges against three different employees that allegedly leaked the design of the iPad 2 to third-party accessory suppliers. Just in May, the Taiwan-based newspaper DigiTimes reported that there could be shipment delays of the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 due to labor and part shortages.

Ever since the launch of the iPad 2, Apple has simply not been able to keep up with the demands for the device. In the first quarter earnings call, Apple was forced to report that there was a sharp decline in iPad sales, going from 7.33 million units sold in the previous quarter to 4.69 million. The chief operating officer Tim Cook was calling the iPad 2 issues “the mother of all backlogs.”

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Kingston Launches DataTraveler Ultimate USB 3.0 Generation 2 Flash Drive

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate USB 3.0 Generation 2Kingston has recently announced the launch of the Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Generation 2 USB 3.0 flash drive, otherwise known as the DTU30G2. The DTU30G2 is Kingston's fastest USB flash drive to date and uses a native USB 3.0 controller in order to achieve better performance and power management.

The DTU30G2 features the latest USB 3.0 technology available to flash drives which makes it perfect for people in the IT field or anybody who loves taking advantage of all the performance improvements one gets from using a USB 3.0 flash drive. It is also good for anybody who just really loves flash drives. Who knows, maybe you have your very own little collection?

This new device comes with a read speed of up to 100MB per second and a write speed of up to 70MB per second when plugged into a USB 3.0 port. If you plug it into a USB 2.0 port, you can expect read and write speeds of 30MB per second.

According to Kingston's Flash Memory Business Manager Andrew Ewing, "Kingston is committed to help drive market adoption of the new USB 3.0 standard and make it more accessible to the mass market. The growing number of platforms and computers supporting the USB 3.0 standard as well as the benefits of the single chip controllers that allow better compatibility and performance are helping drive the adoption of USB 3.0 technology."

The DTU30G2 is capable of storing large amounts of documents, photos and even HD videos and is perfect for anybody looking for the fastest USB technology on the market. The DTU30G2 is backed by a 5-year warranty as well as 24/7 tech support. The Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 Generation 2 DTU30G2 Flash Drive is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities.

Source: Engadget - Kingston refreshes DataTraveler Ultimate USB 3.0 flash drive, demonstrates the high price of speed ; Far East Gizmos - Kingston Launches its Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drive

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Monday, May 16, 2011

iPad and iPhone Shortages Could Cause Shipment Delays

There could be some definite delays in the shipping of Apple products including the iPad and the iPhone. One of Apple’s key manufacturers, Foxconn, whose factory is in Chengdu, China, is reported to be dealing with a shortage of parts as well as labor.

Digitimes is saying that the alleged shortage could, and most likely will, cause a stall in the shipment of Apple products, particularly the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2. Digitimes also reported that so far Foxconn has not directly commented on the possible issue. The only thing that they have said is that "the company's capacity is being arranged fully at the request of its clients." They refused to comment on whether or not the shortages would delay the shipment of Apple products. The company also went on to say that "it has experience arranging manpower to assist its clients in reaching their goals."

Although Foxconn isn’t speaking up about the problem, recent Apple iPad news seems to indicate that the shipping delay rumors could definitely be true. In Apple’s most recent earning report, they conveyed a decrease in iPad sales. In the first quarter sales slipped from the 7.33 million units that the company sold in the fourth quarter to 4.69 million units. According to Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, the company faced “the mother of all backlogs” with the iPad 2.

Cook even said in the earnings calls, "I wish that we could have made a lot more iPad 2s because there were a lot of people waiting for them."

The Foxconn factory that is struggling with the shortage issues reportedly has 52 different iPad production lines, and it supposedly can produce more than 40 million units a year, but obviously, things are not working out as planned.

One of the reported reasons that there have been iPad 2 supply problems is a leaky touch screen, but this issue has supposedly been fixed. Besides the comments that Cook made during Apple’s earnings report, the company has not commented on anything surrounding the issue.

Hopefully, Foxconn and Apple will figure out all of the shipping issues, and there won’t be big delays on their products; or if there are going to be major delays, I hope that the companies will be upfront and discuss the issues with the public. We’ll just have to wait to see how everything turns out.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab Makes Move to Gingerbread

Android GingerbreadIf you own one of those fancy new Galaxy Tabs, then have I got some good news for you! Samsung has officially began rolling out Android 2.3.3, otherwise known as Gingerbread, to any and all active Samsung Galaxy Tabs.

News of this exciting update first came in from Androidiani and was later confirmed by users from XDA-Dev. If you are a Galaxy Tab owner in Italy, you can start updating your device to Gingerbread via KIES now.

Sources from SamFirmware have also confirmed the Galaxy Tab's move to Gingerbread stating that the Galaxy Tab is now receiving the update with rom coming online within the next couple of days.

Full details of the update are below. I don't know what it is about updates and food names, I mean we've got Honeycomb, Gingerbread and even Ice Cream Sandwich. I'm beginning to think that these technology companies have their minds on something other than updates.

The firmware version of KIES is : P1000XXJPZ.
This rom is running Android 2.3.3
Firmware Version: 2.3.3
Versione banda base : P1000XXJPZ Base-band version: P1000XXJPZ
Versione Kernel : - se-infra@SEP-52 #2
Kernel Version: - if infra-SEP-52 @ # 2
Numero build : GINGERBREAD.XXJQ1

Source: The Galaxy Tab - Samsung started rolling out Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) update for Galaxy Tab in Italy! [With Upgrade Video]

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

U.S. Cellular Announces 4G Services

U.S. Cellular, in conjunction with its partner King Street Wireless, has just announced that the company will be delivering high-speed 4G LTE services as well as 4G-enabled devices to more than 25% of customers spanning two dozen markets in time for this year's holiday season. Customers of U.S. Cellular with 4G LTE devices and services will experience faster data speeds when browsing the internet, accessing email, playing games and streaming videos.

The initial rollout of 4G LTE services for U.S Cellular is planned for selected cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. These cities include some of U.S. Cellular's leading markets like Milwaukee, Madison and Racine in Wisconsin, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport in Iowa, Portland and Bangor in Maine and Greenville in North Carolina.

According to President and CEO of U.S. Cellular Mary N. Dillon, "With 4G LTE, our customers will have faster connections to the people, information and entertainment that enhance their lives and help them stay organized. In addition to our line-up of cutting-edge devices, customers who switch to U.S. Cellular get unique benefits like faster phone upgrades without continuously signing contracts, and join the happiest customers in wireless."


U.S. Cellular plans to introduce a plethora of 4G-enabled devices during the first phase of the company's 4G LTE deployment and will continue to expand its offering through 2012. This new plan builds on the 3G data services that U.S. Cellular customers already experience on the carrier's nationwide network. More information will be given as it arrives.

Source: Engadget - US Cellular announces 4G, plans to light up LTE by end of year

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