Vendor News

What Apple Wants: Samsung OLED Alternatives?

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What Apple Wants: Samsung OLED Alternatives?

Well connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the next iPhone brings Apple a massive dilemma-- being sole OLED supplier lends Samsung power in the negotiation of display prices, leading to production costs.

As AppleInsider reports, Kuo says OLED prices cost Apple $120-130 per unit, much higher than the $45-55 per unit Apple is believed to be paying for iPhone 7 LCD displays. Thus, the analyst states, Apple is "in urgent need" for a second OLED source. However such a task is no way easy, since such a supplier needs to ramp up OLED output while meeting Apple quality control standards.

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Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

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Intel Focuses WiGig on VR

According to Aanandtech Intel is giving up on most of its 60GHz 802.11ad-- aka WiGig-- networking products, as it has plans to discontinue all current WiGig devices before focusing the technology on VR applications.

WiGig offers higher performance than 802.11ac, reaching up to 4.8 gigabits per second. However the use of the 60GHz band (as opposed to the 5 or 2.4GHz of regular wifi) limits the technology to a very short range. It also requires line of sight between device and base station, with essentially zero penetration through walls. As such, using WiGig as a wifi replacement requires putting a base station in every room of the house.

That said, despite such limitations WiGig makes for an excellent cable replacement-- such as in VR headsets, which is where Intel is going to use the technology. Back in May 2017 HTC showed off a Vive running on WiGig, the result of a collaboration with Chipzilla. Other companies are also interested in WiGig, including AMD (who acquired Nitero for millimeter wave radio technology) and the Facebook-owned Oculus.

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Germany?

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Apple Pay Coming Soon to Germany?

According to MacRumors another European country might soon get Apple Pay-- Germany, at least judging from a news story submission by reader Philipp Ebener.

Ebener says that as he was presented with the option to add German bank cards to Apple Pay as he was setting up a new Apple Watch on the 5th regional betas of iOS 11 and watchOS. He was not actually able to register a German credit card on the system, but the partial enablement suggests full activation will arrive once the two operating systems get official launch.

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LG Display Goes All Out on OLED

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LG Display Goes All Out on OLED

LG Display has big plans for OLED technology-- the company announces the investment of almost $7 billion (or 7.8 trillion Korean won) over the next 3 years in OLED panel production in order to meet demand from smartphone and TV makers.

The company plans to open 3 OLED production lines, two in S. Korea and one in China. Both will produce glass and plastic panels suitable for next-generation smartphones and in-vehicle displays. In addition, around $2.5bn will go in the development of larger OLED displays, while $4.5bn will go towards a separate line of flexible OLEDs.

As a result, the total LG is investing in OLED technology totals $13.5 billion (15 trillion Korean won). The success of recently launched OLED panels for TVs such as the Wallpaper OLED and Crystal Sound OLED (CSO) is cited as part of the reason behind such spending.

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Corsair Finds Buyer?

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Corsair Finds Buyer?

According to Reuters PC peripheral and component maker Corsair has found a buyer-- "advanced discussions" on the matter are going on with EagleTree Capital, a middle market private equity firm.

The story comes from anonymous sources, and neither Corsair nor EagleTree has commented on the matter.

Founded in 1994 by current CEO and owner Andy Paul, Corsair makes high performance gaming hardware such as keyboards, mice and headsets. It also owns the PC gaming brand Raptor Gaming. The company was set to go public in 2013, but scrapped such plans after it received a $75 million investment from Francisco Partners.

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Logitech Buys Astro Gaming

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Logitech Buys Astro Gaming

Logitech acquires the means of producing another piece of gaming hardware with Astro Gaming, maker of the highly rated A-Series headsets and Mixamp console peripherals.

The deal cost Logitech $85 million in cash and is the second acquisition for the company in little more than a year, following the September 2016 purchase of British joystick maker Saitek from Mad Catz. Post-acquisition Astro Gaming will be folded into the Logitech G gaming peripheral brand.

"Astro is the leading player for premium console headsets and is the preferred headset for console esports athletes," Logitech says. "It's a perfect complement to Logitech G's focus on PC gaming and we couldn't be more excited; we love the team, the brand and the products. Together, we want to make game play even more fun for gamers everywhere."

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EU Considers More Durable, Repairable Devices

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EU Considers More Durable, Repairable Devices

The European Parliament is discussing how to encourage the creation of more durable and repairable devices-- with measures including "minimum resistance criteria" and labels showing how easy devices are to repair.

According to a 2014 Eurobarometer survey, 77% of EU consumers would rather repair goods than buy new ones. As such, MEPs are suggesting ways to tackle built-in obsolescence, which forces users to replace or discard products. For instance, companies can get incentives for making durable and repairable products, boosting repairs and 2nd hand sales. Meanwhile essential components such as batteries and LEDs should not be fixed into products, and spare parts should be available “at a price commensurate with the nature and life-time of the product.”

The Parliament is also asking the European Commission to consider a "voluntary European label" giving products a score based on durability, eco-design features, upgradeability and repairability, as well as a "usage meter" for large electrical appliances.

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Apple Pay Expands Further in Europe

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Apple Pay Expands Further in Europe

An update of the Apple regional websites shows Apple Pay is available in more banks in France, Italy and Spain, increasing the coverage of the iPhone maker's mobile payment system.

In France, Apple Pay will be available at three regional federations of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Mutuel du Sud-Ouest and Crédit Mutuel Massif Central. It is also coming to Crédit Mutuel Arkéa online banking subsidiary Fortuneo and Max.

In Italy Apple Pay is available at Banca Mediolanum for Mediolanum Card debit cards, which are based on the Mastercard Maestro network.

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And the Buyer of the Toshiba Memory Unit is...

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And the Buyer of the Toshiba Memory Unit is...

Toshiba names a preferred bidder for the sale of its much wanted memory chip business-- a consortium bringing together the Japanese government and interests from the US and S. Korea.

The group consists of the state-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) fund, the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) and US private equity firm Bain Capital. Also involved in financing are S. Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and the core banking unit of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. It promises to offer at least $18 billion, the minimum Toshiba is asking for the unit, and should automatically receive the Japanese government's seal of approval.

“Toshiba has determined that the consortium has presented the best proposal, not only in terms of valuation, but also in respect to certainty of closing, retention of employees, and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan,” a company statement reads.

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Withings Becomes Nokia Body

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Withings Becomes Nokia Body

Nokia finalises its April 2016 purchase of Withings-- the French health and wearables company now bears the name Nokia Body, while Withings products get a Nokia rebranding.

As a result, the Withings Body scale has been renamed to "Nokia Body Plus", the Withings Body Cardio is the "Nokia Body Cardio" and the Steel HR fitness-tracking watch is now known being sold as the "Nokia Steel HR." On the other hand the Aura sleep tracker is no more, since the company says it has been "on the market for a while" (having launched since 2014).

The rebranding also brings new products-- the Body smart scale, BPM+ blood pressure monitor and a Health mate app. The Body is connected scale able to solely tracky body weight, with no BMI or other functionality. Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity allows users to easily sync weight data with the companion app, and it is the lowest-cost smart scale offered by Nokia.

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Nikkei: Apple, Amazon, Foxconn Team up for Toshiba Memory Unit

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Nikkei: Apple, Amazon, Foxconn Team up for Toshiba Memory Unit

A Nikkei interview with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou reveals the key iPhone assembler has "financial support" from Apple and Amazon in a bid to buy the memory unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba.

The report confirms an April 2017 story by Japanese broadcaster NHK stating Apple was planning to join Foxconn to invest in the Toshiba semiconductor business. Meanwhile the Nikkei story is confirmed Reuters, with a Foxconn statement reading "Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba's chip business with a number of strategic partners."

According to the interview with Gou, the Foxconn offer for the Toshiba unit is worth over $18.2 billion. Gou does not state how much Apple and Amazon are putting on the table, but seeing how both companies are key Foxconn customers one can assume they will be pulling their financial weight in the matter.

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