Credit rating agency Fitch says Samsung’s market share will fall from 31 to 25 percent

SAMSUNG

Samsung’s troubles are far from over, says credit rating Fitch, predicting that the company’s share of the smartphone market will fall from 31 percent last year to 25 percent next year, reports the WSJ.

Nitin Soni, a Singapore-based director of corporate ratings at Fitch, warned that Samsung had lost its edge with consumers as Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei make cheaper and cheaper products that meet most consumers’ needs.

He added that innovations like wearable devices and curved screens – two of Samsung’s recent tricks – are “unlikely to change the trend” …

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Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi more than doubles sales as it begins international expansion

xiaomi

Samsung, HTC and Motorola are likely to be looking a little nervously over their shoulders as Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi more than doubled its year-on-year sales. The company announced (via TNW) that it sold 26.1M phones in the first half of this year, more than it sold in the whole of 2013.

These are impressive sales for a company which sold its first smartphone just three years ago, and whose sales were initially limited to China. Its growth has been fuelled by expansion into Singapore, Malaysia, India and the Philipines, with the company now eyeing up Latin America as its next market …  Read more

Google abandons plans for new data center in Hong Kong due to lack of land


Google’s proposed data center (red icon) location in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in Kowloon, next to a golf course.

News that Google was building new data centers in Hong Kong have circulated since the beginning of the year. Google has, however, now decided to cancel the project in Hong Kong. The company blames real estate acquisition issues as the reason for the decision. It isn’t immediately apparent if Google’s contentious relationship with the Chinese Government is to blame or if Honk Kong’s operation costs were at issue. It was reported in September 2011 that Google had already acquired  2.7 hectares of land n the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in Kowloon which was expected to employ 25 full-time Googlers by this year…

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New Google data centers to bring 30 percent speed increase to areas worldwide

google sign

According to a report from the Economic Times, new data centers in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are set to bring more speed to Google’s services for many areas. Construction on these data center sites began in 2011 at the sum of $300 million, and, according to today’s report, they are pegged to bring a 30 percent speed increase to Google services for neighboring regions. The Singapore facility is expected to go up in the next few months, while the Taiwan is pegged for the second half. No timetable has been given on the Hong Kong facility.

As an Internet-relying company, one big focus area for Google is speed. The new data centers are going to hopefully bring more speed to areas that normally aren’t as fast. Lalitesh Katragadda, head of product at Google India, explained: “Internet connectivity speed in India is not very high. These data centres will be crucial to this market due to its proximity.” Outside of Asia, Google has seven other data centers across the world. Several are in the U.S., with one each in Finland, Belgium, and Ireland as well. [Economic Times via TNW]

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Google pushes massive Street View update with over 250K miles of worldwide roads

While still taking its sweet time building a Maps app for iOS, Google is making sure to take care of its own business today by launching the biggest update ever for Street View.

Street View is a five-year-old feature in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides panoramic views of many streets in the world, and its latest update adds over 250,000 miles of roads from around the globe. Google’s Street View team elaborated on the service’s expansion in a post on the official Lat Long blog:

We’re increasing Street View coverage in Macau, Singapore, Sweden, the U.S., Thailand, Taiwan, Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Norway and Canada. And we’re launching special collections in South Africa, Japan, Spain, France, Brazil and Mexico, among others.

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Interview: Google Enterprise VP Amit Singh on expansion, social and numbers

We sat down with Google Enterprise Vice President Amit Singh in his Mountain View office this week to discuss the direction and plans of the Google Enterprise team.  While he did not share the all-important revenue numbers with us, he did shine a light on Google Apps’ impressive growth across all of its markets.

Singh was a two-decade alumnus of Oracle when he came with many, many others to the GooglePlex last March to help Dave Girouard and the Enterprise Team sell to big business.  Oracle announced this week very disappointing earnings that has thrown the stock price off almost 15 percent.  Meanwhile, Google Apps is growing like gangbusters; Perhaps Singh’s timing is good.

9to5Google: Hi, Amit. I assume we’re here to talk about your big GM announcement.

Singh: We have no big announcements today but look forward to a whole assortment of announcements in mid-January.  We tend to announce new customers after implementation rather than after sign up. Here’s a hint: we’re growing very big in South America…and Asia, where we’re building three monster data centers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore that should all be online in the next 12-18 months.

9to5Google: Speaking on that, Apps has had a pretty solid year.  It seems like you have a big announcement almost every week and new features added to Google Docs every day.

Singh: It has been incredible across the board. We are seeing double the daily signups and about 5,000 organizations per day vs. 3,000 per day at the beginning of the year [those numbers also seems to point to bigger signups] and a lot of those are paying users.

9to5Google: You mentioned the new Hong Kong data center and it appears that Google’s plan for China is to deal with Hong Kong’s system.  But what about users in China? Certainly international organizations have to be wary of Google’s relationship with greater China.

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HTC: “Windows Phone 7 will give Android a run for its money”


HTC is doubling down on Windows Phone. Pictured above: The HTC Titan, powered by Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’ and arriving to AT&T this Fall.

HTC, the embattled handset maker from Taiwan and the second-largest smartphone vendor in the United States, is doubling down on Microsoft’s mobile platform, seemingly to reduce its reliance on Google’s Android software which has been under heavy fire lately from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle over patents. According to ZDNet Asia, a HTC manager for Singapore said during the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango launch event:

We believe that Windows Phone 7 will eventually be better than other platforms and will give Android a run for its money.

Melvin Chua, the manager, also noted that the Windows Phone platform already accounts for nearly one-third (30 percent) of HTC’s overall sales. This subtle hint points to a possible 180-degree turn for the company that made fortunes by making and selling Android phones. It’s not terribly surprising, though. Their chairwoman Cher Wang recently went on record, saying the company discussed internally a mobile operating system purchase. “We can use any OS we want”, she was quoted as saying.

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