Acer recovers after tackling quality, tablets
Acer showed signs of returning to health on Tuesday through both monthly results and remarks from company president Jim Wong. Its February revenue was up 38 percent from the month before, to the equivalent of nearly $1.3 billion. Wong framed it to Digitimes and others as part of a larger recovery, where Acer would return to third place in notebooks sometime in 2012.
HDD shipments said to be returning to normal
Notebook makers are reportedly experiencing an uptick in shipments for the month, increasing approximately 10 percent over January's numbers, unnamed industry sources have told DigiTimes. The positive growth is said to be partially due to the recovery in hard drive availability following supply restrictions that resulted from flooding in Thailand.
Pantech in talks with Microsoft over Android tech
South Korean cellphone maker Pantech revealed on Monday it is talking with Microsoft about if it should pay royalties for the patents the software giant holds on Android-powered devices. No specific details have been worked out yet, however, a spokesperson said. How much the patent license is worth hasn't been revealed either.
Compal now gives Microsoft 50pc of ODMs licensed
Microsoft picked an unusual Sunday timeframe to reveal that it had struck a patent licensing deal with Compal. The deal will make Compal pay a royalty for every Android and Chrome OS device it makes under contract for others. As with every other deal from Microsoft, the exact terms weren't made public.
Motorola working on new 7-, 10-inch tablets?
Motorola will launch a couple of new tablets in November and December, Chinese daily DigiTimes just reported. Manufacturer Compal will build the smaller of the two devices, said to be a 7-inch tablet PC. The larger, 10-inch model will be reportedly built in-house.
China may see shakeup from wage and power issues
Chinese electronics suppliers may be facing an upheaval across multiple fronts. Part makers claimed that China's mandatory minimum wage hike on January 1 will create a "severe crisis"for the smaller outlets. Many of these have been operating on very thin margins and, combined with lowered sales, might have to declare bankruptcy, Digitimes said. Orders might end up consolidating at heavyweights such as Compal, Quanta, and Wistron.
Acer, Compal ask Intel to cut costs to match Apple
Acer Taiwan's president Scott Lin and Compal's equivalent Ray Chen have both put out public complaints that Intel isn't cutting chip prices to let their ultrabooks compete with the MacBook Air. Lin insisted that Acer and other Windows PC builders couldn't get below $1,000 with their ultraportables without a subsidy while meeting the performance targets. His PC firm and others would have to either use slower processors or reduce their marketing, according to Digitimes' account of events.
Samsung outsourcing in hints of HP hopes
Samsung might be grooming its notebook business in hopes of buying HP's spun-out PC business. Insiders in the part stream claimed Samsung was talking to Taiwan companies to outsource some notebook orders to companies like Compal, Pegatron, or Quanta in what could be the first step of handling HP's work. As HP moves over 40 million PCs a year, it would need those suppliers to keep production going, especially as Taiwan's suppliers are good at keeping costs under control, Digitimes was told.
iPad proving popular with students, teachers
Back-to-computer PC sales -- particularly Apple's -- have been "encouraging," according to UBS analyst Maynard Um. "Demand for Apple's Mac computers remains robust as the brand continues to be the most popular among consumers and students heading back to school," he comments. The trend is "consistent with historical trends of Apple outpacing the overall PC industry growth," he adds.
Updates appear to follow name pattern
Microsoft is reportedly beginning to license its upcoming Windows Phone 7 update to handset manufacturers. The revamped software is said to be codenamed 'Tango," unnamed sources have told DigiTimes. If true, the company appears to be maintaining 'o' endings for the series of updates, which started with NoDo and moved to Mango.
Android tablets running the NVidia Tegra 2 chipset have a substantial performance edge over Atom-based tablets, according to a series of benchmark tests performed for Tweakers. Researchers tested four tablets running Android 3.0.1 (Honeycomb). The lone Atom tablet tested, a prototype from Compal Electronics with a dual core 1.5GHz Oak Trail CPU, posted a Caffeinemarks score that was barely one-fourth that of the slowest Nvidia tablet. Caffeinemarks is a synthetic test that gauges the speed at which Android apps will run on a given system.
Lenovo said planning smart TV entry
Lenovo may be entering the TV market with an Internet-aware model of its own. Sources claimed late Thursday that the company wanted into the smart TV field and would wield its existing PC assembly relationships with Taiwan's Compal and Wistron, among others, to get them made. Orders would be "released" in the second half of 2011, Digitimes said, presumably referring to when they would ship.
Toshiba to bring three different tablets to CES?
Toshiba is said to bring three new tablets to CES in January, with a release date to follow in the first quarter of the year, industry insiders reported today. While the PC maker itself didn't confirm this report, unnamed sources for Digitimes said the production of the computers will be outsourced to Quanta, Compal and Pegatron, all three of which are also based in Taiwan. Each will have a different OS, with the 11.6-inch model most likely to sport Windows 7 while the two 10.1-inch models will probably use Google's Android and Chrome OS.
NVIDIA CEO admits Android a 'bit behind' iPad
NVIDIA chief Jen-Hsun Huang in a conference call tonight to discuss fiscal results was ready to note that Google had slipped back in tablet development compared to Apple. He thought that the work Google had done on optimizing Android for tablets and future smartphones was "really amazing" but mentioned twice that the company was a "little bit behind" in bringing it up to par with the iPad. The finished work, which would often focus on NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra chips, would help Google, NVIDIA and their partners catch up.
HP tapping Compal, Foxconn for 5-6 webOS devices
HP's plans for Palm may expand significantly based on a leak surfacing in Taiwan. Unnamed industry insiders told Taiwan Economic News that Palm had restarted its phone orders now that it was safely under HP's wing and had tapped Foxconn to make four or five webOS devices in 2011; Compal would make more of its own. One of these would be the PalmPad tablet, made by Foxconn.
Taiwan phone firms say Windows Phone 7 too costly
Microsoft may have lost key Taiwan phone manufacturers after the costs and long delays for Windows Phone 7, companies based in the area reportedly said Wednesday. Most of them, including relative heavyweights such as Compal, Foxconn, Inventec and Pegatron, have committed to developing for Android over the next two to three years and aren't ready to switch. The Digitimes contacts further allege that they consider Microsoft's licensing fee too expensive when Google gives away Android for free.
Taiwanese computer makers refuse HP's orders
Notebook suppliers in Taiwan said no to HP's requests to produce low-profit orders, a Tuesday report claimed today. A Goldman Sachs analyst said Compal, Quanta and Wistron had turned down production of 2011 models as the gross margins were too thin to be acceptable. Quanta would also reduce its investment in Chongqing in mainland China, Digitimes also confirmed.
Quanta still making 500K 11.6-inch MacBook Airs
Taiwan contractor Quanta was said today to still be on track to produce 11.6-inch MacBook Air notebooks this year. Its production would still be modest at 400,000 to 500,000 systems before the end of 2010 and suggests that Apple still considers the system a premium or specialized model. The Digitimes tip didn't give more details.
Acer to have 3 Android slates but undecided
A rumor leaked out today suggests that Acer's plan for Android tablets may include a trio of Android 3.0-based models but that it's sitting on the fence with doubts about how it should enter the market. The Taiwan company is purportedly making five-inch, seven-inch and 10-inch tablets that would all use Google's next OS but DigiTimes said it's still deciding on whether or not it should use Qualcomm's Snapdragon or a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2, even with just a few months left to go. Part suppliers suggest Acer is even undecided on its choice of main contractor and has talked to Compal and Quanta without a commitment.
Compal expects most iPad rivals to quit in 2011
Compal president Ray Chen told those at an investors' meeting that he expects the fledgling tablet industry to undergo a major thinning effect for all but Apple's iPad in 2011. He saw the entire competition moving just 10 million to 12 million tablets next year where many expect Apple to reach those numbers in 2010 with only eight months of sales. The poor results will likely see some companies quit the market after just a year, DigiTimes heard, because they falsely assumed they would automatically succeed.
Smaller iPad seen still using IPS, lighter weight
Apple's rumored seven-inch iPad gained some credibility with a detailed scoop from the Taiwan-area Economic Daily News narrowing down the suppliers. Chi Mei would supply the screens, which would still use the same high quality in-plane switching (IPS) technique as the current iPad's LG-made screen, while AU Optronics would make the touch layer.
Rover shows five tablets wtih Android, Windows CE
Russian Rover Computers has revealed five new tablets, ranging from 5- to 7-inch models. The processors are also varied and include Samsung ARM chips, while the range-topping RoverPad TegA W70 gets NVIDIA's Tegra CPU. All five are likely rebadged OEM offerings, with the TegA W70 based on the Compal Tegra tablet.
Nokia may go below N900 in price with large screen
A purported leak by Taiwan's Commercial Times newspaper today has Nokia developing its second Maemo smartphone as an unusual entry level model. While it would have a slower Qualcomm 7000 series processor compared to the N900's quick Samsung ARM Cortex-A8, the unnamed new phone would have a four-inch or larger touchscreen. Compal would make the handset, and it would notably be the contractor's first phone to have a pure cost over $150; the actual selling price would be higher.
ICD, Notion Ink, more hurt by Tegra flaws
The ICD Ultra, Notion Ink Adam and other Android-based tablets have been pushed back due to flaws in the NVIDIA Tegra processor they use, a rumor claimed today. The dual-core Tegra 250 at the heart of these and a Compal 7-inch tablet allegedly has "serious issues" of reliability and has pushed back launches until August at the earliest. A SlashGear tipster claimed Compal wouldn't ship its reference design until mid-September, while ICD and Notion Ink wouldn't ship until the fall; ICD's Ultra and Vega wouldn't arrive until October.
ARM exec sees tablet use exploding
The number of touchscreen tablets running on ARM chips is set to explode even in 2010, the company's global mobile device ODM manager Roy Chen said today. While the iPad is the most conspicuous of these, Chen anticipates over 50 shipping in 2010. The first are due in the spring and will largely be attached to cellular carriers. There will be "a lot more" in the summer, the manager said.
Palm may be halting February shipments
(Updated with Palm response) Palm has shut down all production of its phone lineup, OTR Global said today in a report. Three contacts in Taiwan's device supply chain claim that Palm has asked Foxconn and Compal without warning to shut down production of the Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi and Pixi Plus for at least the rest of the month. A chance exists that the Pixi Plus will continue to ship but that there may be as few as 5,000 units reaching Verizon this month.
Microsoft quietly pushing Win Mo 7 back?
Windows Mobile 7 may have been quietly pushed back to 2011, talks with partners may have revealed on Sunday. Representatives from Microsoft, as well as partners like HTC and NVIDIA, reportedly don't expect to see the new phone OS until Mobile World Congress next year. It's unknown what the alleged delay might be from the commonly accepted schedule, which would have Microsoft show the OS at this year's MWC and ship it before the end of 2010.
Strong Booklet 3G demand nets 2nd model
Demand has been high enough for Nokia's Booklet 3G netbook that the company is moving ahead with a second model next year, a leak to Taiwan's Economic Daily News newspaper claims. Nokia's contractor in the area, Compal, is reportedly working "overtime" to meet demand for the Atom-based portable and that it's likely to receive orders for a 2010 model as well. Details of the system are unknown, including whether or not it's an upgrade to the existing system or an entirely new configuration.
Nokia ARM-based smartbook
Nokia may add a second netbook PC to its lineup besides the upcoming 10-inch Booklet 3G, according to unofficial sources from cellphone makers in Taiwan. They reported on Wednesday that the second netbook will reportedly be based on an ARM processor, like so many of Nokia's smartphones. The Digitimes insiders claimed Nokia may contract Compal or Foxconn to build a device that would fit Qualcomm's "smartbook" label but which would not arrive on store shelves until sometime in the middle of 2010.
Palm Eos due in October?
The Palm Eos smartphone, built by Taiwanese handset manufacturer Compal Communications, is expected to start shipping in October, says a Wednesday DigiTimes report. The GSM/HSPA device is sad to eventually be produced at numbers between 400,000 and 500,000 per month. A CDMA EVDO version of the device is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2010. This latest news supports an earlier report that the handset will first be available on the AT&T network in North America.
Acer handsets due in fall
Acer will ship four of its previously seen smartphones, the A1, C1/E1, F1 and L1 at the end of September. According to a Wednesday report from industry daily Digitimes, the Taiwanese company is outsourcing production of the devices to Compal and Inventec. This information comes from sources at Taiwanese handset component suppliers, the paper cites.
Acer dual OS netbook due
An Acer netbook with both Windows XP and Android, which gives users the option of booting into either operating system, is due to ship sometime this August, DigiTimes reported on Monday. First announced at the start of June, the netbook's main specs are unknown at this time, but prices arenít likely to be lower than Windows XP-exclusive netbooks, as Acer still needs to pay license fees for the Microsoft operating system.
Nokia Atom Netbook Soon
The first fruits of the Intel-Nokia partnership could come within a matter of weeks, the Taiwan-area Commercial Times newspaper claimed today. Stating the rumor as fact, it insists that reports of Nokia netbooks are true and that a portable based on Intel Atom chips could come as soon as this summer. Its details aren't known, but Quanta would be contracted to build the computer.
NVIDIA insurer sues
NVIDIA's insurance company, The National Union Fire Insurance Company (NUFI) of Pittsburgh, filed a case in a California district court last week regarding NVIDIA's negotiations and settlement of other lawsuits the company faced from notebook makers regarding NVIDIA's faulty chipsets. In its court statement, NUFI said NVIDIA has "not permitted" it to join in NVIDIA's negotiations of chip claims or to reach other agreements. NVIDIA supplied GPUs to notebook makers that include Apple, ASUS, Compal, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba, Quanta, Samsung and others, some of which have or still can sue the chipmaker.
Acer Says Windows 7 Oct 23
Acer today potentially spoiled Microsoft's Windows 7 launch plans by revealing a launch date for the operating system. The PC builder now says to Pocket-lint that the OS will be available on October 23rd and come in time for a new all-in-one nettop from Acer, the Z5600, to come preloaded with the software. Systems will also ship as early as late September for a hands-on experience, and those who buy a system 30 days before Windows 7 releases will get a free upgrade to the new platform.
Compal scaling back MIDs
DigiTimes reported on Wednesday that Compal Electronics reduced the budget and other resources for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) as the company believes the future of the market segment is uncertain. The report cites unnamed industry sources for the information, and Compal itself has confirmed that some of its MID focus was shifted into netbook development. It will continue to ship MIDs in smaller volumes.
KDDI au Box with Android
Google's open-source Android operating system thus far used only in cellphones will soon expand and run a set-top box built by Motorola, according to a Thursday report. Japanese Internet service provider KDDI will market and sell the set-top, which will be capable of playing content on CDs and DVDs, transferring music and video to mobile devices and rip and store files on its integrated or connected hard drive. Previously, Motorola used a pure Linux interface for its au Box, though both it and Android are open-source.
Dell Mini 11 Likely August
Dell's upcoming Inspiron Mini 11 ultraportable should ship in mid-summer, Taiwan's Commercial Times newspaper hints. Although the specific model isn't mentioned by name, PC assembly contractor Compal is claimed to have received orders for a Dell "ultra-thin notebook" using Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors that will be delivered in August, matching the description of the portable. Lenovo and Toshiba may also pick Compal to build CULV systems.
Compal Android netbooks
Taiwanese notebook, monitor and digital media center maker Compal Communications is reported to be developing Android platform-based netbooks, maintains a Monday Digitimes report. The website references China's daily newspaper, the Commercial Times, as the source of the rumored news. Compal is also apparently involved in talks with several unnamed notebook sellers to help with the distribution of the upcoming product.
HP to out CULV notebooks
HP is expected to introduce a few 13.3-inch notebooks equipped with Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors in the second quarter, industry sources indicate, according to a Tuesday DigiTimes report. The most likely suppliers of the low-voltage chips to HP will be Quanta or Compal, or both, as they are the main manufacturers of CULV chips. Acer has similar plans for 13.3-inch CULV processors, though it has not narrowed down its supplier. An 11.6-inch Acer notebook with a CULV CPU is due out in April, with Quanta supplying the processor.
Nokia Netbook Leak
Notebook builders in the Taiwan area have reportedly said on Friday that Nokia is in the early stages of assembling partners for a possible entry into netbooks. The Finnish company is believed to be considering either Compal or Foxconn, both well-known contractors for notebooks, as likely manufacturing partners; it's also still debating whether it should use Intel's familiar Atom processor for the computer or else use the ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon, which would have 1080p video support that Atom currently lacks.
Compal on Win 7 in Sept
Microsoft could have Windows 7 on shipping PCs by September, Compal president Ray Chen said today at an investor's conference. The PC contractor executive understands from plans that the software should be available in either late September or early October. The news would corroborate word of an April release candidate that would let Microsoft finish, manufacture and deliver Windows 7 well ahead of the holidays.
Acer to replace Aspire
Computer and peripherals maker Acer is reportedly thinking of stopping shipments of its 8.9-inch Aspire netbook to make room for the soon-to-be-released 10.1-inch Aspire One 103 model. The 103 is due out in February, and while the timing of the 8.9-inch netbook's phase-out was not definitively announced, it is due to happen sometime in the second quarter of the year.
Compal to make Motorolas
Taiwan's Compal Communications will manufacture two handsets for Motorola, codenamed the Atila and Alexander, according to a Friday report. More importantly, the report reveals that shipments of the phones will allegedly be delayed from the original fourth quarter of 2008 launch to the first quarter of 2009. Both cellphones will use the Windows Mobile operating system, support 3G data networks and have built-in Wi-Fi modules.
Dell Plans Eee PC Rival
Dell will be next to join the ranks of companies building micro notebooks, according to a claim made by one of its assemblers. An official from Taiwan-based Compal says that his company will produce between 200,000 and 300,000 "low-cost" notebooks a month for Dell starting sometime in 2008, with as many as one to two million readied by the end of the year. The unnamed executive doesn't provide details of the systems but notes that Compal could boost production if demand proves high.