Google Maps gets a digital speedo and new SOS
Samsung to bring super speedy AMD RDNA GPU to smartphones;
Samsung Galaxy Note9 rates top in customer
Motorola Z4 5G;
Wearables may be coming of age;
ITy Bytes 8 June
The impact of the US Presidential Order begins to bite
US companies can neither supply to or buy from Huawei.
Facebook has announced its apps (Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram)
will no longer be part of pre-installed apps for Huawei phones made from the
date of the Presidential Order. The same applies to Twitter, Uber, YouTube
(Google) and other US-owned apps. These apps can still be post-installed from Google
It is a two-part blow. Huawei charges these companies to
have their apps installed, and in return, the worlds #2 smartphone maker propagates
these apps wider use.
We remind users and potential buyers that the US ban (applying
to companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) applies for
phones built from 21 May. It does not apply to phones in-stock at that time. Google
has obtained a reprieve until 18 August to provide Android security updates to
existing Huawei phones, and its Play Store remains available to these.
We are hoping this may be a storm in a teacup, but it has
hit Huawei hard. Analysts say its stellar sales in Q1, 2019 have dropped 20-30%
in Q2 and it has cut production orders by a further 30% for Q3. While Huawei’s
China market share is solid sales in the five/nine/fourteen ‘eye’ (western) countries
have stalled due to uncertainty about Google Android’s future on Huawei handsets.
Google Maps gets a digital speedo and new SOS features
Coming soon to Australia, Google Maps, when used for in-car
navigation, will display the GPS speed (which is more accurate than most car
speedos) as well as speed limits.
SOS Alerts introduced last year provide access to authoritative,
real-time information during times of crisis. New visual information about
natural disasters and a new navigation warning system enable drivers to reliably
know where a disaster is and anticipate where it is going. It is also adding
(not globally yet) crisis navigation warnings crowdsourced from users. These
include road closures, accidents and more.
Samsung to bring AMD Radeon to smartphones
These days most Android smartphones have a Qualcomm Adreno, ARM-design
Mali or PowerVR Graphics processing unit.
Samsung has signed a licence agreement to implement AMD’s RDNA
graphics into its high-end Exynos Chips. Ironically AMD sold its smartphone
development to Qualcomm in 2009 as the basis of its Adreno GPU. Adreno is an
anagram of Radeon.
The RDNA technology powers AMD’s Navi desktop GPU and is for
high-performance gaming. Google will be using RDNA technology to power its Stadia
gaming cloud. Analysts say that Samsung is looking for a distinct edge over other
smartphones that can use the ARM-designed Mali even in lower powered SoCs.
Don’t expect to see the new Exynos SoC until 2021 at the
Samsung Galaxy Note9 rates top in customer satisfaction
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 topped the 15th annual American
Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scoring 86-out-of-100 from a poll of 19658
users. Samsung has held the top rating for the past seven years.
Second place (all tied) were Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus and
X, Samsung’s J7 Prime and S8+, Motorola Moto G-series.
The majority of the other brands/models scored closer to 70.
The lowest satisfaction rankings were for internet service
providers and cable TV.
Motorola Z4 5G
While we may not see it here for a while, Motorola has a new
fits Moto Mods – one of which is a 5G add-on. It’s selling via Verizon USA for
US$4399 including a 360° camera Moto Mod.
The Z series is Moto’s flagship line, but it has cut specs
to bring in as the lowest cost 5G phone in the US. It has a Qualcomm SD675, 4/128GB/microSD,
6.4-inch OLED, 3600mAh battery, 48M<P rear and 25MP front cameras with Night
Mode, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The 5G Moto mod also has a Qualcomm X50 modem, supports hotspot mode, has a 2,000mAh battery, weighs 127g and will also work on the Z3-series. Smart thinking.
Wearables may be coming of age
A few years ago wearables were an answer to a question no
one had asked. IDC says Global shipments of wearable devices reached 49.6
million units during the first quarter of 2019 (1Q19), up 55.2% from Q4, 2018.
63.2% of the market was wrist-worn wearables (smart watches
and fitness trackers and 36.4% was ear-worn (135.1% year over year).
Top 5 Wearable Companies by Shipment Volume, Market Share,
and Year-Over-Year Growth, Q1 2019 (shipments in millions) – Source: IDC
Worldwide Quarterly Wearables Tracker, May 30, 2019
1Q19 Market Share
1Q18 Market Share
Now before you get excited Q1 is usually a bumper time as a
lot are given as gifts (as is Q4), and the world may change significantly in
Q2, 2019 with the US Presidential Order.
Apple Watch, AirPods, and select Beats headphones have the highest
average selling price (ASP). The latest AirPods with optional wireless charging
and an increased ASP have made an impression. Apple had a large Chinese market share
that appears to be dropping as its iPhone sales tank there.
Xiaomi has Mi Band, which accounted for roughly five million
shipments, mainly in China but a growing proportion is selling Europe and the
Huawei ended the quarter with market-beating growth of
282.2%. A lot of the success has come via bundling these with smartphones.
Samsung has Gear/Galaxy watches/bands, Galaxy Buds, and
select JBL headphones. Samsung also bundles with phones. The JBL range performed
well due to a range of options at a lower cost. Samsung has a very small Chinese
Fitbit Versa Lite, as well as the Inspire series, has helped
the company reach new users as well as encouraging upgrades, although at the expense
of a lower ASP.