Memory chipmakers are fighting for their life.
The memory chip market--and industry--is caught in a particularly brutal downward price spiral that is threatening the viability of even the largest players.
"Memory manufacturers who have already been losing money for several quarters are now looking at another six months to a year of absolutely ominous conditions," said Avi Cohen, managing partner at Avian Securities.
Companies are now in survival mode, according to Cohen. "It is a matter of survival and everyone needs to figure out how to stay in business over the next year or how to scavenge … Read more
Two weeks ago, I asked Samsung Instinct owners to tell me what they thought of their phones. Normally, I don't write blogs asking for comments on individual phones after we've reviewed them, but Sprint's Instinct had me worried. While I liked the handset when I reviewed it, I know that people who use a phone long term can develop varying opinions. After I started to get e-mails from disappointed Instinct users, I began to wonder if I had it wrong. Even now, the average user score on the review almost matches my score of four stars (or 8.0), but perhaps opinions were changing over time.
After a careful review of the responses to my blog, it's clear that the Instinct is a good phone, but it falls short of a being a great phone. Of the 67 verbose and candid comments that passed the "relevancy" test (I had to discount quite a few because they were duplicate posts, comments from non-Instinct owners, flame wars, or just off topic), opinions were just about evenly spread. The largest group (39 percent) wrote that they liked the phone overall, but they didn't shy away from registering quite a few complaints. The next largest group (31 percent) was soundly positive with very few gripes, while 30 percent were strongly negative with very few praises. So even though the majority of users like the Instinct, many of them do so only begrudgingly. On the other hand, the unhappy minority is shouting at the top of their lungs.
Let me state that this wasn't a scientific study by any means. Also, while one reader warned me that there was a "concerted effort" on Sprint forums to bombard my blog with negative comments, the results are interesting nonetheless. For the most part the "likes and "dislikes" were universal. I'll list those below. Also, while I agreed with most of the complaints, and noted them in my review, there were a few gripes that didn't occur to me before. As I said, long-term use gives a fresh perspective. So now, on to the opinions (albeit in a Zagat's Survey format). … Read more
Almost a year after it gave us the Samsung SCH-U410, Verizon Wireless rolled out a successor model with the Samsung SCH-U430. Announced Tuesday and available immediately, the SCH-U430 has a standard flip phone design in basic black. On the exterior you'll also find a small display and the lens for the VGA camera.
Features include the VGA camera, Bluetooth, personal organizer applications, voice recognition, messaging, e-mail, support for VZ Navigator, and a speakerphone. The SCH-U430 is $79.99 if you pay full price but it's free with a two-year service contract.
To us, the Samsung Pixon's name sounds like it was chosen to reflect the phone's camera capabilities, sounding something like a mix between "pictures" and "megapixels." And in any case, we like the name better than "Innov8", which Samsung chose for another 8-megapixel camera phone that it announced earlier this summer. You'll certainly be seeing this played up in the promotion, with a Web site dedicated to the adventures of one Nick Turpin, a professional street photographer let loose with the 8-megapixel-packing Pixon to see if a phone can truly challenge … Read more
If there's a place that's more of a sensory overload than Las Vegas, it's Tokyo, which makes it a perfect place to host what many say is the best consumer electronics show in the world: the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies, or Ceatec, for short.
It's that time of year again, after IFA in Berlin and before the madness of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, when Ceatec gets its turn on the world's technology stage.
It's a huge show: just less than 206,000 people showed up to see the 895 companies show off their wares last year. The 2008 confab, which runs from Tuesday to Friday in Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo, promises to be even bigger.
While Ceatec offers a glimpse into the future of gadgetry, it's also a parade of practical products. Some tech exhibits can be merely a glance at what a company's R&D department is toying around with in a basement laboratory, with no practical application in sight. However, it's very likely that Asian and European consumers will see them in stores sooner than those in the United States.
From the standpoint of a manufacturer or marketer, this show can be kind of dramatic. It's often the last tryout before products get cut from a company's portfolio. Although many products shown are made especially for the Asian or European markets, it's also a final test in another way.
"The reception these products get at Ceatec will help decide if they will enter the U.S. market," according to Richard Doherty, a consumer electronics market researcher at The Envisioneering Group. Doherty hunts the halls every year at Ceatec looking for the best upcoming technology.
But just like at CES, not everything is designed to become an actual product. Both big and small names in electronics come to Ceatec to display a large portfolio of products so that investors, journalists, potential partners, and retailers can take a look.
While some of the products will already be in development, others are just strategic deterrents, designed to throw competitors offtrack from where a company's real product road map is going.
But Ceatec is probably a better show for consumers and gadget hounds, since much of what will be in a company's booth isn't so far from sitting on a store shelf. For example, according to Doherty, 60 percent of the products shown by electronics giant Samsung at CES this past January will become actual products by year's end.
"At the Japan show, more like 9 out of 10 products will make it to market within the year," he said.
And for the stuff that does make the cut, it will sometimes take two to five years before it appears on this side of the Pacific. … Read more
Toshiba will begin shipping a 256GB solid-state drive, matching Samsung, its bigger, badder rival.
Another nail in the hard-disk-drive coffin? Well, not quite. But Toshiba's drive rivals magnetic drives in size while delivering better performance.
Solid-state drives are more expensive than hard-disk drives but are also generally more power efficient and faster.
Toshiba is trying to keep pace with the 800-pound SSD gorilla, South Korea-based Samsung. Samsung is the largest flash memory chip supplier in the world and has stated in the past that it would sample a 256GB SSD in September. Toshiba is ranked No. 2.
And the … Read more
Scanbuy, the developer of the 2D EZcode bar codes, announced on Wednesday that it has secured a global agreement with Samsung to preload the ScanLife mobile 2D bar code reader application on Samsung's camera phones.
The deal comes into effect as early as next month when Samsung starts selling these phones in Spain, Italy, and Denmark. With this move, Scanbuy hopes to quickly expand the use of EZcodes in other major markets, including Mexico and the United States.
EZcodes allows for instantaneously executing an action that the code is associated with, such as launching a Web site without you … Read more
On Monday, the company announced two new products in the ESP line of desktop All-in-One printers. The ESP 7 and ESP 9 both feature secure Wi-Fi print servers for wireless connectivity and Kodak's newest intelligent paper tray system. The printers can approximate the amount of paper in the tray and automatically adjust print settings to increase productivity in the office or home. Both printers are available now and will be tested and … Read more