Foxconn, Apple said to be at loggerheads
Apple is planning to add two Taiwanese firms, Wistron and Compal, to its list of manufacturing partners, says the Wall Street Journal. The company currently depends mostly on Foxconn and Pegatron. Wistron is expected to take on iPhone 5c production, whereas Compal will help build the iPad mini. Foxconn will reportedly continue to focus on the iPhone 5s, though it's known to handle a range of Apple products.
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.
ASUS TF300T tablet may be a future Transformer
ASUS may be working on yet another version of its Eee Pad tablet, the TF300T. Its design and model number indicate it's a follow-up to the company's quad-core Transformer Prime TF101. Spotted by Taiwanese site NCCC, the photos are accompanied by a certification from QuieTek, which provides wireless testing for electronics.
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.
Wistron develops exotic material for ultrabook PCs
Contract supplier Wistron is developing a new material to help ultrabook makers who have been finding new materials for their designs after being squeezed by Apple. The firm's president Robert Hwang was working with a new notebook chassis partner to create a new material to use as a substitute, he told local news outlet Apple Daily. It wouldn't have connections either to metal or to substitutes that have been used in its place, such as carbon fiber or fiberglass.
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.
Dell and HP ultrabook schedules pop up
More details of the ultrabooks from Dell and HP have poppoed up in a brief leak. The Dell model is now expected by Digitimes sources to have a 14-inch screen, making it one of the larger MacBook Air alternatives. Wistron would make the design and have it ready in time for Dell's customary CES introduction in January.
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.
MS makes Wistron sign deal for Android, Chrome OS
Microsoft continued a campaign to try and stifle competition from Google on Tuesday by pressing Wistron into signing a patent licensing deal. The agreement will see Wistron pay Microsoft royalties for not just the Android e-readers, phones, and tablets it makes for other companies but also Chrome OS devices. A deal for Chromebooks and similar hardware appears to be new and suggests Microsoft believes it's inherently owed money on the web-first OS as well.
Tablets breaking reliance on Wintel platforms
Simon Lin, chairman of Taiwan-based computer ODM Wistron, suggests Apple's iPad has forced a reevaluation of the entire PC industry. Although tablet devices are not expected to completely overtake the entry-level notebook market, the executive suggests Apple's tablet has inspired companies to reconsider their historic reliance on the Wintel ecosystem.
Polymer Vision resurrects with folding phone
Polymer Vision returned from nearly going defunct on Friday and showed a concept for the spiritual successor to its short-lived Readius. The new device would embrace the folding display technology but apply it to a phone with a color screen. Along with a clamshell shape that would hide a tablet-sized screen, it would even have a second option to expand to a larger size, Digital Reader heard.
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.
Sony to let Foxconn, Wistron build its LCD HDTVs
In order to save money, Sony will outsource production of its high-end LCD HDTV sets to Taiwanese makers, Digitimes reported. Foxconn is being rumored to get the contract to produce Sony's frameless sets, while Wistron is said to be producing the Google TV family. None of these companies are commenting on these rumors, however.
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 badge future ultra-thins as Gateways
Once Acer sells off its current 13- to 15-inch ultra-thin notebook inventory, it will sell new ones under its mainstream Gateway brand, according to a new rumor. The only exception will be the 11.6-inch Aspire Timeline and TimelineX series, both of which will remain under the Acer brand, said sources speaking to Digitimes. The first such model will be a 13.3-inch ultra-thin notebook, with a 14-inch expected to follow later.
Lenovo to use Wistron tech for 3D notebook?
Industry insiders claimed today that PC maker Lenovo will begin shipping a stereoscopic 3D notebook this summer that will use polarized glasses. While 3D notebooks are already on the market and use NVIDIA's GeForce 3D Vision and Wistron's 3D solution. As the former uses active shutter glasses and the latter passive glasses, it's believed by DigiTimes that Wistron's 3D technique will power the Lenovo notebook.
Acer to bring out Calpella Slim notebooks
Acer is planning on releasing ultra-thin notebooks powered by Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 chips this spring. Less than an inch thick at some points, the notebooks will have 13-, 14- and 15-inch screens and be manufactured by Wistron and Quanta Computer. According to sources in the industry, once these models are released, Acer will drop prices of its current ultra-thin notebooks to further differentiate the two lines, with the new notebooks becoming the flagship.
Wistron making HP and Dell 3D portables
HP's plans for a notebook with a 3D display could soon be followed by at least one and as many as three more computer makers, a Taiwan area newspaper said on Friday. The Commercial Times claims that local assembler Wistron is not only contracted by HP to build the notebooks but has been tapped by Dell to build a similar design. Talks are also reportedly underway with Lenovo and Sony as well.
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.
Touchscreen notebooks due
Taiwanese notebook manufacturers are developing touchscreen notebooks for use with Windows 7, which natively supports touch inputs, DigiTimes reported on Thursday, citing market sources. Working together with touchscreen panel makers, Wistron and Quanta are planning on releasing notebooks that use infrared optical touch screens, while ASUS and Acer are rumored to get projective capacitive touch and resistive touch panels.
Acer and Lenovo AIO PCs
Taiwanese PC maker Acer and China's Lenovo will release new all-in-one PCs sometime in 2009, say industry sources in Taiwan, according to a Wednesday DigiTimes report. Acer will come out with an 18.5-inch model that will be manufactured by Wistron but remain branded as an Acer product. Lenovo, after launching its first all-in-one, the 21.5-inch A600, will reportedly come out with an entry-level 20-inch C300 in May, along with a C100 and quad-core B500 in August, while an ultra-thin A300 is said coming in October.
Wistron Firstbook netbook
Taiwan's Wistron has shown off its Firstbook, an ultraportable netbook about the size of Sony's VAIO P, powered by the same 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset used in the Toshiba TG01 smartphone. The Linux-based PC is the first such netbook with an integrated 3G mobile broadband module. Snapdragon is a chipset made for upcoming mobile devices, incorporating a 1GHz processor core, DSP and 3G radio.
ARM-based netbooks coming
Qualcomm and Freescale, who build ARM-based platforms, are expected to demonstrate netbooks using their products at the Computex Taipei expo in June, DigiTimes reported on Thursday, citing sources at netbook makers. The show will reportedly see the debut of a Pegatron netbook running on Freescale's i.MX51 CPU on ARM's Coretex A8 mainboard as well as a Wistron model with a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU.