Monday, July 25, 2011

Increasing back-to-school demand to boost PC and e-book reader sales

Sales of notebook, desktop and e-book readers, which are targeting education and document processing purposes, will have a chance to see a significant growth in the third quarter as demand for the back-to-school period, which usual starts from mid-July to mid-September in Europe and the US, has already started to appear, according to sources from PC players.

Several channel retailers in the US and Europe such as Amazon and BestBuy, have already started promotions for back-to-school shopping with products such as notebooks, desktops, e-book readers, printers and tablet PCs the major promotional items.

With e-book reader sales continuing to grow in the US and Europe, the global e-book reader market is expected to reach a scale of 20-30 million units in 2011, and as the largest e-paper supplier E-Ink expanded its capacity for the second half more than 1.5 fold that in the first half, strong demand from the back-to-school season will allow the e-book reader industry to be able to compete against the tablet PC market, the sources added.

Server platforms to become major battlefield between Intel and AMD

Observing from Intel and AMD's second-quarter results, growth from the traditional PC market has already weakened, while their server businesses, benefiting from the quick rise of cloud computing, are expected to become the major battlefield between the two firms in the future, according to sources from PC players.

Intel is performing rather strongly and achieved strong results in the second quarter from its Data Center Group, while AMD is set to challenge Intel with its upcoming server CPU architecture, Bulldozer, which will start shipping later in the third quarter, the sources noted.

Although Intel currently has about 80% share of the global server platform market, with AMD's upcoming new CPU architecture expected to significantly boost its price/performance ratio, the new CPUs should provide AMD a great chance to compete against Intel in the second half of 2011.

TSMC regaining more orders from chipset players

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has managed to regain more orders recently, aiming at sustaining a positive on-quarter growth in revenues for the third quarter, according to industry sources.

Foreign investors have recently reduced their share holdings in TSMC, expecting the foundry house to post negative growth in third-quarter revenues as its chipset clients have recently reduced some of their wafer starts due to inventory adjustments, the sources noted.

Recent financial results released by international chipset players also indicated that Nvidia, AMD, Broadcom and Qualcomm are all positive about their business outlook for the second half of 2011 after posting strong gains in the second quarter, said the sources, noting that TSMC's business is expected to move upward with those chipset players.

A positive on-quarter growth in the third quarter will also help TSMC to sustain its goal of achieving a 20% growth in revenues set for 2011, commented the sources.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nokia drops to third position in global smartphone ranking in 2Q11

Nokia may see its ranking in the global smartphone market drop from the number one position to third place in the second quarter of 2011 after the vendor reported its smartphone shipments declined 31% sequentially and 34% on year to 16.7 million units for the quarter, according to industry sources.

Apple has announced that it shipped 20.34 million smartphones in its fiscal 2011 third quarter which ended June 25, 2011. The shipments will allow Apple to take up an over 20% of the global smartphone market for the Aprpil-June period, the sources noted.

Samsung has yet to announce its results for the second quarter, but industry watchers project that Samsung's second-quarter smartphone shipments should reach 19-20 million units, trailing after Apple but ahead of Nokia.

Although Nokia did launched a number of new models based on Symbian platform in the second quarter, Nokia's sales and market share continued to drop sharply during the quarter, indicating that Symbian has lost its appeal to consumers, commented the sources.

HTC shipped 11.5 million smartphones in the second quarter, trailing after RIM to serve as the fifth-ranked vendor in the segment. However, HTC is expected to see its shipments increase 10-15% sequentially to 13-13.5 million units in the third quarter, which could further boost its ranking, indicated the sources.

China market: HTC launches social network smartphone with Sina

HTC has launched a customized version of its social network smartphone, the HTC Salsa, in the China market in cooperation with the local Internet company Sina, catering to users of Sina's Weibo microblogging services, according to the companies.

Given that the popularity of Weibo in China is much higher than that of Facebook, HTC has decided to cooperate with Sina to launch its social network smartphones so as to ramp up its penetration rate in the mid-range smartphone segment in China, commented industry sources.

The Weibo smartphone, the Weike (transliterated from Chinese), has a 3.4-inch HVGA touchsreen, 800MHz processor and a 5-megapixel camera, and also features a special button for easy access to Weibo.

Efun selects Applied Materials system for production of touch screen films

Taiwan-based Efun Technology, a manufacturer of critical components for touch screens, LCD monitors and backlight modules, has started to produce flexible substrates coated with indium tin oxide (ITO) films for touch panel screens. The ITO films were deposited using a SmartWeb system from Applied Materials, according to the equipment supplier.

This is the second SmartWeb system Efun has purchased from Applied for manufacturing its ITO touch panel components, the equipment maker indicated. The first system has been in production at Efun since 2009.

Applied's SmartWeb system is a roll-to-roll vacuum coater that uses physical vapor deposition technology to deposit the ITO-based multi-layer film stack required for fabricating the most advanced touch panels used in tablet PCs and other mobile devices, the company said.

"The latest generation of tablet PCs features 7-inch and larger projective capacitive touch screens, sizes that demand the highest quality and performance from the ITO substrate. Applied Materials was able to meet our technical specifications and aggressive timeline, providing the technology to meet our customers' requirements for high-end touch panels at a price that enables them to successfully compete in a demanding consumer market," said Kuang-Rong Lee, vice general manager, optoelectronics business unit leader, at Efun.

Intel reports fifth consecutive quarter of record revenues

Intel has reported its fifth consecutive quarter of record revenues, with double-digit revenue growth across all business segments.

On a non-GAAP basis, revenues were US$13.1 billion, operating income was US$4.2 billion, net income was US$3.2 billion, and EPS was US$0.59. On a GAAP basis, the company reported second-quarter revenues of US$13 billion, operating income of US$3.9 billion, net income of US$3 billion, and EPS of US$0.54.

The company generated approximately US$4 billion in cash from operations, paid cash dividends of US$961 million, and used US$2 billion to repurchase 93 million shares of common stock.

"We achieved a significant new milestone in the second quarter, surpassing US$13 billion in revenues for the first time," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "Strong corporate demand for our most advanced technology, the surge of mobile devices and Internet traffic fueling data center growth, and the rapid rise of computing in emerging markets drove record results. Intel's 23% revenue growth in the first half and our increasing confidence in the second half of 2011 position us to grow annual revenues in the mid-20% range."

In the second quarter, Intel's PC Client Group revenues up 11% on year, while Data Center Group revenues were up 15% on year, Other Intel architecture group revenues were up 84% on year, including Embedded and Communications Group revenues, which is up 25% on year.

Intel Atom microprocessor and chipset revenues reached US$352 million, down 15% on-year.

The acquisitions of McAfee and Infineon Wireless Solutions (now Intel Mobile Communications) contributed revenues of US$1 billion in their first full-quarter of results with gross margin reached 61%, consistent with the company's expectation.