Archive for December, 2011


Friday, December 23rd, 2011


(Reuters) – Weakening economies and falling prices of rival smartphones are hurting sales of Apple iPhones across Europe, data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed on Thursday.

The October roll-out of Apple’s iPhone 4S boosted its position in Britain and United States, but the new phones failed to excite interest in continental Europe, where Apple’s share of the fast-growing smartphone market slipped.

The smartphone industry is dominated by Google, which has stormed the market with its free Android platform.

“In Great Britain, the U.S. and Australia, Apple’s new iPhone continues to fly off the shelf in the run-up to Christmas. However, this trend is far from universal,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director.

Apple’s market share in the 12 weeks to end-November rose to 36 percent in the United States from 25 percent a year earlier and in Britain to 31 percent from 21 percent, Kantar said.

However, in France its share slipped to 20 percent from 29 percent and in Germany to 22 percent from 27 percent. Similar drops were seen in Italy and Spain.

“The French market is showing increasing signs of price sensitivity,” Sunnebo said.

In part, the European sales of the expensive Apple model were hit by weakening economies across the continent.

Euro zone GDP grew just 0.2 percent in the third quarter and most economists expect it to contract in the fourth and also in the first three months of next year, sending the bloc back into recession after its two-year recovery from the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s.

The euro zone’s own crisis with government debt has scared off investment and eaten into business and consumer confidence, particularly since August when investors intensified their scrutiny of the bloc’s problems.

European consumers are keeping a lid on their expenses as government spending cuts and job losses deprive companies of demand for goods and crush exports.

Google had market shares of between 46 and 61 percent in all markets. Cellphone makers like Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson, LG Ericsson and Motorola Mobility all use its Android platform in their phones.

“In Germany, Android achieved a dominant 61 percent share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks, with the Samsung Galaxy S II the top selling handset,” Sunnebo said

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

A brief three-page contract  establishing Apple has sold for $US1.59 million at Sotheby’s auction house in New York.

A phone bidder acquired the document, signed on April 1, 1976, by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The price, which includes the buyer’s premium, soared past the estimated presale range of $US100,000 to $US150,000.

The contract was initially owned by Wayne, who met Jobs while working at Atari Inc. Wozniak, a friend of Jobs, worked at Hewlett-Packard Co. Jobs enlisted Wayne to persuade Wozniak to join Apple. His success in doing so earned Wayne a 10 per cent share in the new company.

Eleven days after signing the contract, Wayne withdrew from the partnership… The move is documented by a County of Santa Clara, California, statement and an amendment to the contract, both of which were included in the Sotheby’s lot. Wayne received $US800 for relinquishing his 10 per cent ownership of Apple, according to the document. He subsequently received an additional payment of $US1500, according to Sotheby’s.

Based on Apple’s market capitalisation today, Wayne’s 10 per cent stake would be valued at more than $US36 billion.

Jobs died at 56 on October 5.

In an October 7 interview with Bloomberg, Wayne, 77, called Wozniak and Jobs “intellectual giants”, but “also felt it was going to be something of a roller coaster”, adding, “If I’d stayed with them, I was going to wind up the richest man in the cemetery.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, December 12th, 2011


Amazon, a mover & shaker at the very forefront of online retailing in the United States is to make a compelling offer this coming Saturday for one day only – use its smartphone app (Android or Apple app) to compare prices, and they’ll effectively pay you $5 if you walk out of the store.

Certainly an historic move in the evolution of retail sales.

Mobile sales make up around 5% of American retail sales currently, but with the population heading for blanket smart phone penetration, the price comparison app might go mainstream quite quickly from here and retail advertising may never be the same again. Several such apps exist, but none with this level of promotional upbeat effort behind them.

The Price Check by Amazon App is designed to let users compare prices with and its merchants when you are standing in front of a real product in a bricks and mortar store. Products are identified by scanning a barcode, taking a picture, speaking the product name or using text search, then compared to Amazon prices. You can then, of course, purchase the product online if you want.

On Saturday December 10 Amazon is sweetening the deal by giving customers who use the app (with geolocation switched on) a discount of 5 percent (up to $5) if they buy the item they price checked through Amazon (within 24 hours) instead of accepting the price in front of them for the convenience of taking immediate possession of their purchase. The offer is valid for up to three items per customer.

The advantages of getting a customer to use a mobile app are obvious from the point of view of the customer, but in grabbing the lion’s share of attention on a critical shopping day, Amazon’s move seems well calculated.

A mobile app gives online retailers the ability to make a bid on a customer’s patronage at the time- and point-of-sale, inside a competitor’s bricks and mortar. Offers can be made and thresholds established for changing behaviors with incentives, at the same time as creating a marketing intelligence tool par excellence.

The offer could cost the company a lot of money if everyone downloads the app and plays along, though its move establishes it clearly as an online thought leader and with the news coverage likely to be massive. The stunt offers good value for money, particularly when you consider the price comparison app looks set to go mainstream as a new weapon in the war between bricks-and-mortar retailing and online retailing and Amazon will be leading the charge. The knowledge it gains will enable it to discern patterns on the exact deals their bricks and mortar competitors are prepared to do, and react in real time.

For bricks and mortar retailers, this could be a telling blow, and it is a fact that the industry is very aware of:

“The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) reacted to a new smartphone App from that encourages holiday shoppers to use brick and mortar stores as showrooms to then purchase merchandise online from inside the store. Central to this tactic is Amazon’s continued practice of using a pre-internet loophole to avoid state sales tax collection, a move that gives them an unfair competitive advantage over Main Street retailers.” (RILA)

Regardless, it’s going to be worth watching the take-up of the app, as the news of this offer will focus enormous attention on Amazon’s shopping comparison app and its abilities to tell you where you’ll get the best deal.   The app is available at the Apple App Store and Android Market.

This is big! Mobile phone retail purchasing is about to become a significant factor in buying decisions.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 8th, 2011

ip.access unveils “unique” portable Advanced Femtocell Concept
Femtocell and picocell manufacturer ip.access unveiled its fully functioning ‘Advanced Femtocell Concept’ (AFC) at the no doubt riotous Femtocells Americas 2011 conference in San Diego on Monday. A relatively new technology, femtocells essentially provide mobile phone network access via a local broadband connection. It’s a technology that might interest homes and businesses in signal-blocking buildings, remote areas, or anywhere where cellular signals are patchy. But how is the AFC different? In a word: portability.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Acer unveils ICS-ready Iconia Tab A200 tablet
Acer has unveiled a new addition to its Iconia tablet series in the oddly familiar shape of the Iconia Tab A200. The budget-friendly A200 shares much of its hardware profile with the company’s Iconia Tab A500 launched earlier in the year, although the former lacks a rear-facing camera and will come in 8GB and 16GB varieties only. When it first is released, the new tablet will run on Android 3.2 but Acer says that as soon as Google’s next flavor of Android (codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich) is released in January 2012, the new tablet will be switched to the new operating system – with a free upgrade to Android 4.0 for existing A200 owners.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha



Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Why hand your TV  remote to Apple?

The rumours of an Apple-branded television are coming thick and fast, but I still don’t think they make much sense for Apple or for us. Apple’s future is in content and services, supported by tiny portable devices sold at premium prices. Why would Apple want to get mixed up in the cut-throat television market when it can sell you content via gadgets such as the Apple TV media player?

I don’t think an Apple Television makes sense for shoppers either. Yes, I know that “Smart” TVs are all the rage, but I’ve always felt the best approach to shopping for televisions is to buy the best picture quality you can afford. Ensure it’s got plenty of HDMI inputs and then let your set-top boxes do the heavy lifting.

Yes, that’s the alternative, buy a dumb television with a great picture and hook up a few smart devices. Smart devices such as games consoles, internet-enabled Blu-ray players and media players like the tiny Apple TV. You might be prepared to replace these set-top boxes every few years but, if you’re going to spend thousands on a new television, you certainly don’t want to get stuck on a smartphone-esque 24-month upgrade cycle.

Owners of the original Apple TV got burned when Apple released a new model and declined to add many of the best features to the old model. Now imagine this was all built into your television, so you were looking at $999+ for a new Apple television rather than $99 for a new Apple media player. If you don’t think Apple would do that, just look at every other product it sells. Once it’s 24 months old it’s obsolete.

Also keep in mind that Apple products tend to lack the advanced features of the competition, a price you pay for elegant gadgets which “just work”. What kind of functionality will Apple expect us to sacrifice in return for an integrated Apple Television? Do you really want Apple to rule your television life with an iron fist the way it does smartphones and tablets? What won’t you be able to watch? What won’t you able to connect to your television? Which features will Apple add or take away on a whim via a firmware update?

Considering the Apple TV media player already integrates your television with the iTunes ecosystem, Apple will need to add something pretty amazing to entice people to upgrade to an Apple Television. It can’t be merely content, as the Apple TV has that covered. If you want even more online content, your money should go towards a Sony Blu-ray player or D-Link’s Boxee Box.

Chances are the Apple Television’s big attraction will be Siri, but I don’t think the ability to talk to my television is enough to entice me to hand over complete control of my lounge room to Apple. The other drawcard might be an iOS-style app-driven interface that some people have been expecting to see on the Apple TV media player. But keep in mind that iOS5 now offers video mirroring via the Apple TV, running from iGadgets with the new A5 processor.

What killer feature would entice you to buy an Apple-branded television? Which features do you think it might sacrifice for the Apple logo?

Sourced & published by Henry  Sapiecha