Tag Archives: Samsung

Report: Shipments of wearable devices triple as prices get lower


The wearable market recorded its eighth straight quarter of solid growth, according to a new report by IDC.


Even in the months leading up to the highly-anticipated release of the Apple Watch, the wearable space continued to show strong growth, IDC has confirmed. In its latest report, the research firm revealed that the worldwide market recorded its eighth consecutive quarter of steady maturation in the first quarter of 2015. During this three-month period, vendors shipped a total of 11.4 million devices — a 200% jump from the 3.8 million wearables shipped that time last year.

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“Bucking the post-holiday decline normally associated with the first quarter is a strong sign for the wearables market,” IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said in the report. “It demonstrates growing end-user interest and the vendors’ ability to deliver a diversity of devices and experiences. In addition, demand from emerging markets is on the rise and vendors are eager to meet these new opportunities.”

The top five wearable vendors over the timespan included Fitbit, Xiaomi, Garmin, Samsung and Jawbone, in that order, each of whom have been able to collectively grow their dominance from two-thirds of the market in Q1 2014 to three-quarters Q1 2015. Fitbit’s extensive lineup of bands, such as the Charge, Surge and older Flex models, led the way by capturing just over a third (34.2%) of the space. Not far behind, Xiaomi made up about a quarter (24.6%), driven by the tremendous popularity of its Mi Band, primarily from China.

Meanwhile, Garmin’s health and fitness-focused devices, Samsung’s Gear smartwatches and Jawbone’s UP MOVE and continued demand of UP24 round out the list at 6.1%, 5.3% and 4.4%, respectively. Now with the Apple Watch in the equation, however, IDC expects that the wearables landscape will experience a seismic shift, one in which will “force the competition to up their game in order to stay on the leading edge of the market.”

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Without question, helping to spur widespread adoption has been price erosion. As seen with many young forms of technology, gizmos and gadgets become much more affordable over time. In the case of wearables, more than 40% of devices are now priced under $100.

“Despite this price erosion, Apple’s entrance with a product priced at the high end of the spectrum will test consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for a brand or product that is the center of attention,” explained IDC research analyst Jitesh Ubrani.

Want to learn more? Download the entire report here.

Photos: The best of Mobile World Congress 2015


A look at some of the biggest product news to come out of Barcelona… 


Wearables and tablets and phones, oh my! Mobile devices of every kind were sprawled out across the exhibition halls at Mobile World Congress this week, where nearly 2,000 companies gathered in Barcleona to show off a slew of products to a 90,000-plus crowd. While every major brand was well-represented, HTC, Huawei, Samsung, LG and Microsoft were among the names that stole the spotlight as they debuted next generations of their flagship gadgets. Beyond that, a number of emerging IoT startups also drew a great deal of attention with their new wave of projects, from smart buttons to slick watches.

So without further ado, here’s some of the best things we saw over the last couple of days — other than the paella, tapas and Catalan wine, of course!

Microsoft Lumia 640 and 640 XL

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

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HTC Grip

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HTC Re Vive

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Huawei Smartwatch and Talkbands

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Huawei Mediapad x2

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HP Spectre x360

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Sony Xperia M4 Aqua

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Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

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Runcible Anti-Smartphone

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Pebble Time Steel

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LG Watch Urbane and Urbane LTE

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LG Spirit and Magna

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Microsoft Folding Keyboard

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BlackBerry Leap

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Silent Circle Blackphone 2

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Guess Connect

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Ford MoDe:Me Bike

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Xiaomi Yi Action Camera

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IKEA Qi Wireless Charging Furniture

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La Comanda Click’N’Pizza

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Samsung: Wearables will lead to a ‘new era of power dressing’

As 2014 comes to an end, Samsung has shared a set of predictions around wearable technology for year ahead. Following the release of several smartwatches over the past 12 months, the electronics company believes that wearables will make the crossover from the consumer market into the workplace.

(Source: Business Insider)

(Source: Business Insider)

According to the Samsung, wearable technology will not only be the “2015 equivalent of the shoulder pads of the 1980s,” but today’s business leaders will rely heavily on connected devices to “stay always-on,” with the first wave of that change being smartwaches.

The manufacturer delved deep into business attitudes around wearables, which revealed that nearly half (47%) of users felt more intelligent, 61% felt more informed and efficient, and 37% believed that devices adorned to their bodies could potentially assist with career development.

These devices will not only make life easier for employers and their teams, but will improve productivity and streamline business processes. In fact, Samsung expects that:

  1. Wearable technology will create a new era of power dressing for business leaders.
  2. People will restructure their working lives around personal “Power Hours’’ – as technology reveals peak performance times.
  3. Virtual reality technology and the innovative use of displays will lead to a new generation of digital shops, allowing retailers to overcome space constraints and high rent.
  4. Automated home systems will move from ‘geek’ to ‘chic’ driven by a dramatically improved user experience.
  5. Every child born in the next 12 months will learn coding as a core subject alongside numeracy and literacy.

Exploring smart meters in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t a single homogenous market but splits up into different segments with very different requirements. A lot of IoT markets are still in our future: next generation wearable medical devices, autonomous cars and more. One area where IoT has been going strong, long enough that it probably pre-dates the catchy buzzword IoT, is smart power meters.

Atmel recent announced their latest power line communications SoC specifically designed for this market. The SAM4CP16B is an extension of Atmel’s SAM4Cx smart energy platform built on a dual-core 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 architecture. It is fully compatible with Atmel’s ATPL230A OFDM physical layer device compliant with PRIME standard specification. The flexible solution addresses OEM’s requirements for various system partitioning, BOM reduction and time-to-market requirements by incorporating independent application, protocol stack and physical layer processing functions within the same device. Key features of the SoC include integrated low-power driver, advanced cryptography, 1MB of embedded Flash, 152KB of SRAM, low-power real-time clock, and an LCD display controller.

I think that as various submarkets of the Internet of Things develop, we will see a lot of devices like this; SoCs that integrate everything that is required for a particular application, leaving the system company to customize the hardware, add their own software and so on. IoT will not be a market like mobile, with huge chips being done in the latest process generation. Many IoT designs will include analog, RF and sensors, all of which are best designed in older processes like 65nm or even 130nm.

The system volumes for many designs will be relatively low and so designing a specific chip for each application will be unattractive. Even in mobile where the volumes are much higher, only Apple and Samsung design their own application processors, as far as I know. Everyone else licenses one from Qualcomm, Mediatek or others… Even Apple gets the modem (radio) from Qualcomm. The aggregate volumes will end up being large (there will be a lot of things) so the prize goes to the semiconductor companies that do the best job of designing chips that match what the system companies require.

Interested in learning more? The data sheet for the part can be found here. (Warning: It’s 1,000 pages!)

This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Paul McLellan is a featured blogger. It first appeared there on August 13, 2014.

Samsung stays ahead of the curve with the Galaxy Note Edge

Samsung’s concept for a smartphone with a slanted screen edge that could easily be viewed from the side is now a reality, in the form of the company’s first-of-its-kind device aptly named the Galaxy Note Edge.

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Announced last week at IFA 2014, the smartphone’s wraparound display boasts a 5.6-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED at a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, with an additional 160 pixels on the edge which cascades off to the right. The sole curved edge serves as a fully-functional touchscreen independent from the main screen itself, and features the app shortcuts one would typically find along the bottom of a phone’s home screen — such as the dialer, your contacts, web browser and camera.

“The Galaxy Note Edge’s unique curved screen provides quick access to frequently used apps, alerts and device functionality – even when the cover is closed – all with the swipe of a thumb,” the company’s press release stated. The Edge’s side screen offers a dynamic user experience, providing owners with a variety of immersive apps, including camera, video, S Note, ticker board, night clock among several others. Users can also receive notifications directly on the Edge Screen while watching videos without disturbing their viewing session. What this means is that a user would simply have to swipe in order to access their latest Twitter updates, sports scores and an assortment of other alerts.

Similar to the other Galaxy Note family members, the Edge comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus. Using the pen, a user can do things such as capture images off the screen and edit them on the fly, take handwritten notes, and more.

The company’s latest design will run Android 4.4 KitKat, and will be powered by a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core processor. The system also is equipped with 3 gigabytes of RAM, with storage options of 32 or 64 gigabytes, and a microSD slot that offers expansion up to 64 gigabytes. The Note Edge’s rear-facing camera is a 16-megapixel shooter with smart optical image stabilization, while the front-facing lens is 3.7 megapixels.

In terms of connectivity, the Note Edge will support up to LTE Cat 6 for 300Mbps download speeds, and also includes next-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, infrared LED remote control, and NFC technology.

While the Galaxy Note Edge puts Samsung ahead of the ‘curve,’ it looks like we’re in for a flexible future. As previously reported here on Bits & Pieces, the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. This should come with little surprise following recent analyst forecasts projecting the flexible display market to cross the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.

As more tech giants look to curved displays, we will be right there to offer our magic touch. Atmel’s Sensor Hub and MaxTouch T are high-performance solutions to bridge the scaling of these touch display markets while application use-cases will surely grow of smartphones and display markets. The MaxTouch T series architecture combines the best of mutual and self-capacitance to ensure optimal touch performance with the highest noise immunity and lowest power consumption. As for Atmel’s Sensor Hub, in more frequency for new products (embedded designs and display markets) are going to demand upon higher levels of integration especially when there are other fusion of data involved. Many of these tasks require the simultaneous analysis and fusion of data from different sensors and sensor types. These can include motion sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers), environment sensors (light level, color, temperature, pressure, humidity) and many others. To ease the design and build out of such new products, Atmel has partnered with the leading sensor manufacturers. Sensor fusion specialists can be available to provide a complete, easy to implement Sensor Hub Solution to facilitate the flexible display market.

Atmel teams up with industry leaders to form IoT group

With 212 billion connected devices expected to arrive within the next few years, Atmel is joining forces with tech leaders Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River to establish a new industry group focused on improving interoperability and streamlining connectivity. At this point, there are multiple proposals and forums driving varying approaches, yet no single solution addresses the majority of key requirements. The newly-unveiled Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) looks to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging Internet of Things (IoT) devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

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The initial aim of this new project is to create an open source code that will transform the Internet of Things from mere concept into a reality that benefits consumers, developers and end users. This will help ensure that OIC specifications and open source implementations will help companies design products that intelligently, reliably and securely manage and exchange information under changing conditions, power and bandwidth, and even without an Internet connection.

“Atmel is excited about our participation in OIC to establish an open source framework that goes beyond the digital home and supports services for multiple verticals including consumer, industrial and automotive markets,” said Kaivan Karimi, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless MCUs at Atmel Corporation. “Together with other industry leaders, we are committed to building a strong technology infrastructure for the Internet of Things; one that is instrumental in solving the pain points where other industry standards fall short today.”

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Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments – from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more – will participate in the program to enable emerging applications in all key markets. However, the first OIC open source code will target the specific requirements of smart home and office solutions. For instance, the specifications could make it simple to remotely control and receive notifications from smart home appliances or enterprise devices using securely provisioned smartphones, tablets or PCs. Possible consumer solutions include the ability to remotely control household systems to save money and conserve energy. In the enterprise, employees and visiting suppliers might securely collaborate while interacting with screens and other devices in a meeting room. Specifications for additional IoT opportunities including automotive, healthcare and industrial are expected to follow.

“Open source is about collaboration and about choice. The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to the OIC’s contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online.”

Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

“The rise and ultimate success of the Internet of Things depends on the ability for devices and systems to securely and reliably interconnect and share information,” said Doug Fisher, Intel Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Software and Services Group. “This requires common frameworks, based on truly open, industry standards. Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company’s solution.”

This exciting news follows yesterday’s big announcement of Atmel’s definitive agreement to acquire Newport Media, Inc. that will enable Atmel to offer designers and Makers the industry’s most complete wireless portfolio of smart, connected devices for the Internet of Things (IoT). The acquisition will immediately adds 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to the company’s offerings and will accelerate an introduction of low-energy Bluetooth products.

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“Combined with our existing Wi-Fi and Zigbee solutions and industry leading microcontroller portfolio, Atmel is positioned for substantial growth in the Internet of Things marketplace.” explains Atmel CEO Steve Laub.

Have questions regarding the OIC? Learn more by reading the entire press release. Interested in the ever-evolving Internet of Things? You’ll want to check out our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.

Samsung builds a Smart Bike



Designed by Italian frame-builder Giovanni Pelizzoli and student Alice Biotti, the Samsung Smart Bike is built around an aluminum frame that boasts curved tubes to soak up vibrations from riding on rough city streets.

As Gizmag’s Ben Coxworth reports, a rearview camera is located between the seat stays of the frame to stream live video feeds to a handlebar-mounted Samsung smartphone.

“There are four lasers built into the frame, that project a bike lane onto the road on either side of the bike, as it’s moving. Those lasers automatically come on as ambient light levels drop, as detected by the smartphone,” writes Coxworth.

“Additionally, an app on the phone uses GPS to make a note of routes that are often traveled by the cyclist. It then offers the option of notifying city officials of those routes, with the suggestion that they add officially-designated bicycle lanes.”

The frame is also equipped with a battery, Atmel based Arduino board, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth modules.

Interested in learning more? Ride on over to Smart Bike’s official page here.