Huawei maintains dominance in mobile broadband modem market

abi researchEven as mobile broadband modems and hotspot router shipments fell 21 percent year-on-year to nearly 73 million units, Huawei continued to lead the market with nearly 61 percent share. Together with fellow China company ZTE, the pair shipped more than 85 percent of all mobile broadband modems, according to ABI Research.

The overall drop in the market could be attributed to the declining PC market. USB modem sticks and embedded modem modules led the two-year slide while mobile hotspot routers increased 32 percent.

As the computing marketing continues to evolve with more performance and choices than ever before, mobile broadband modems were not impervious to the transition.

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Smartphone chipsets used in wearables compromise user experience

abi researchSmartphone components are being used in smartwatches in lieu of optimised smartwatch components, even when claimed otherwise, according to ABI Research.

Teardowns of a number of devices found that nobody has an optimal wearable peripheral solution yet. The Samsung Galaxy Gear and Z-watch use application processors originally targeted for smartphone/tablets and the uWatch goes a step further by using a full blown GPRS SOC, MediaTek MT6260, but only uses the integrated BT. Other watches such as the Sony series and Pebble use discrete solutions. The end result is less than optimal battery life and unnecessary cost/size that get passed on to the consumer.

“Our findings show the chipset suppliers are playing the ‘wait and see’ game before making investments into wearable peripherals. Of the solutions available the oversized application processors draw too much current and cost far too much. Discrete solutions tend to be physically large and also a little higher cost than necessary. The closest match is the SOCs with embedded BT whichcan be both power and size efficient withthe only drawback being slight cost impact. Once the market takes off expect to see a number of truly optimal solutions available,” said Jim Mielke, Vice President of Engineering at ABI Research.

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Viettel Group to trial ZSmart 8 intelligent charging solution

ZTEZTEsoft’s ZSmart 8 iCS (intelligent charging solution) will be used in a trial project by Viettel Group to develop innovative data service plans for users in Vietnam.

The project is part of a joint effort by Viettel Group and ZTEsoft to offer improved user experience to consumers and optimise the marketing of new services.

“ZSmart iCS will help Viettel offer new data services to users in a more flexible and dynamic way, and ZTEsoft is excited to partner Viettel in this key project to bring an improved user experience to consumers in Vietnam,” said Dora Xu, General Manager of ZTEsoft International Business Center.

Apacer introduces SATA 3 SSD

Apacer SFD 25H-2_loApacer has launched the SATA 3 SFD 25H-M SSD, which features up to 1TB capacity with really fast sequential read/write speed of 510/420MB/second.

To cater to industrial applications, its 512GB version is also designed to operate in the harsh environment of industry-level extended temperature (-40°C ~ 85°C). The product also features anti-shock, anti-vibration, low-power consumption and high-speed transmission.

It can improve access efficiency of servers as an alternative to traditional hard disks, and provide outstanding efficiency and highly reliable operating environment. In addition, it can be applied to embedded devices for industries such as medical, military, gaming, and transportation, especially in airborne surveillance system. The SFD 25H-M is able to keep on recording data repeatedly when working at heights and in low temperatures.

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Violin Memory and Microsoft develop and avail all-flash array solution

WFAViolin Memory has teamed up with Microsoft to develop and avail Windows Flash Array (WFA), the first all-flash high-performance storage array powered by Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. WFA is a tightly integrated combination of Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 and Violin’s award-winning hardware and software into a single solution that delivers high performance all-flash array storage for enterprise and cloud customers.

The solution is claimed to transform the datacentre by dramatically reducing server overhead and application response times through improved storage performance, fundamentally altering the cost structure of enterprise applications. It enables enterprise and cloud workloads, such as SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and Windows Server with Hyper-V virtualised applications, to meet the needs of global enterprises, while satisfying IT operational demands for maximised agility, automation, and orchestration between network, storage and compute resources.

“Microsoft technologies, such as Windows Server, SQL Server, and Microsoft SharePoint, are already adopted by enterprises worldwide and growing dramatically,” said Bill Laing, Corporate Vice- President of Microsoft. “By jointly developing this highly integrated solution with Violin Memory, we are working together to provide enterprise and cloud customers with dramatically improved performance, scalability, and economics for their Windows applications – virtualised, physical, and cloud.”

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APAC PC market dips for 8th consecutive quarter

IDCThe Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) PC market declined eight percent sequentially and 11 percent year-on-year in 2014 Q1 to reach 23.8 million units, according to preliminary results from IDC.

Elections in some of the bigger markets contributed to the region’s overall decline. In India, an ongoing large education project was postponed due to the upcoming elections, shaving off about half a million units from the commercial PC segment. In Thailand, political unrest continued to have an adverse impact on the economy, while in Indonesia, government funds were diverted in the run-up to the elections, resulting in lower commercial spending in PCs there this quarter.

“However, as these markets stabilise after the elections, IDC expects commercial activity to resume in the second half as a result of pent-up demand,” said Handoko Andi, Research Manager for Client Devices of IDC Asia/Pacific. “On the consumer side, ongoing distractions from smartphones and tablets as well as cautious channel intake impacted most markets in the region, especially in Southeast Asia.”

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Optimising ADM can halve costs

GartnerOptimising application development and maintenance (ADM) can cut costs by more than 50 percent, according to Gartner. Sourcing managers can develop and implement sourcing strategies, metrics and processes to help CIOs cut costs in half by eliminating legacy applications, complex architectures and outdated approaches to staffing.

“ADM accounts for 34 percent of IT budgets,” said Claudio Da Rold, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst of Gartner. “Most organisations tend to assume that the cost of ADM can only grow over time due to rising labor costs and the increasing complexity and number of applications. The ADM unit cost can be significantly optimized over time, provided that best practices across the application and sourcing life cycle — strategy, selection, negotiation and management — are followed.”

Few organisations use a comprehensive, methodical approach to their sourcing strategies for application services, and only 11 percent master sourcing. Most source application work tactically, asking a few known service providers to size the work and compete for it on price and daily rates. Few organisations master sourcing, and most still use staff augmentation for ADM work inefficiently.

Gartner has identified several key recommendations to help CIOs cut costs by optimising ADM:

  • Perform an application portfolio and life cycle activity analysis to consolidate ADM suppliers
    Two variables influence the sourcing strategy segmentation in practice — the IT life cycle phases and business domains. A business-domain-oriented sourcing strategy implements a multi-sourcing model in which internal and external resources are managed by selecting best-in-class options for each scope of service and for each major business process area.

    Moreover, allocating applications to business domains requires a proper application portfolio analysis (APA), where results can be used to identify the most suitable sourcing model per domain. They can also be used to aggregate domains into larger portfolios of application service work packages that are coherently outsourced. Organizations executing an IT services provider consolidation with the business-domain-driven approach are more likely to achieve increased supplier consolidation (and therefore simplification), higher cost savings and an improvement in effectiveness.

  • Use the right metrics to size application portfolio and development efforts, and determine the right ADM team size
    One of the main challenges that organisations typically face for ADM services is their inability to properly size the associated effort. Without performing an application portfolio and life cycle analyses, it is difficult to connect the effort to the application complexity. To be able to identify how demand has an impact on the application architecture, organisations first need to ensure the requirements that reflect business demand are complete, testable, cohesive, correct, current, essential, feasible and relevant.

    “When sizing the total development effort, organisations need to determine which activities of the life cycle are embedded in the estimation, because different phases in the life cycle can be sourced with different service providers — whether they are internal or external,” said Gilbert van der Heiden, Research Vice President of Gartner. “For sizing of the maintenance effort, additional models may apply. Whatever model an organisation uses, it should be applied consistently and as objectively as possible, with a focus on measuring and improving productivity and quality. The more comparable the data that an organisation applies to the model, the better it can benchmark the results.”

    Many organisations evaluate the effort required to develop a new functionality or to maintain existing functionalities as an afterthought, essentially measuring how much effort was already used, or leave the evaluation to the providers, which misses the essential rules of vendor management (separation of duties and measurement). The critical success factor for achieving end-to-end control on application management and providers is having practical and meaningful approaches to estimate and plan activities, objectively measure and control productivity, and to benchmark provider performances versus peers.

  • Drive continuous optimisation of ADM activities through focused benchmarked metrics and contractual key performance indicators/SLAs
    By getting ADM sourcing under control from the strategy, life cycle and application architecture perspective, defining who does what through the blueprint, and introducing contractually and practically effective metrics to measure efforts and productivity, sourcing managers can activate a continuous optimisation process that leverages both continuous improvement (to remove inefficiencies) and relevant benchmarking (to set up the pace and the scope of the improvement).

    Best practice contracts, business key performance indicators, SLAs, productivity and simplification targets, as well as a formal evaluation process for vendors, enable a much more disciplined and organised approach to sourcing management.

Smart mobile devices boost audio accessories sales in HK

gfk_logoHigh ownership of smartphones, tablets and phablets in Hong Kong have been positively impacting sales of complementary products such as headphones and headsets, as well as mini-speakers, according to GfK.

The surge in audio accessories sales come at the back of consumers’ fixation with smart mobile devices, having spent more than US$4.2 billion on nearly 8.4 million units of such devices in the past 12 months.

The combined market of headphones, headsets and mini-speakers generated nearly US$77 million in the last one year, reflecting a 10 percent surge over a year ago. While sales revenue for headphones and headsets expanded by nine percent, mini-speakers sold 83 percent more in volume and raked in additional 32 percent in sales dollar.

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Samsung Experience Store opens at Westgate in Singapore

samsungSamsung has opened its largest Samsung Experience Store at Westgate in Singapore. The 6,027-square foot standalone triplex store will provide give those staying in the western part of Singapore access to Samsung’s latest range of products with infotainment and educational content as well as in-store dining options.

At the store, consumers can get hands-on experience with Samsung products and see how Samsung’s range of content and services work seamlessly together.

“The Samsung Experience Store at Westgate represents our continued commitment to providing a conducive environment for consumers to try our innovative products,” said Eugene Goh, Vice President of IT & Mobile, Samsung Electronics Singapore.

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Worldwide PC shipment dips 1.7% in Q1

GartnerGlobal PC shipment dipped 1.7 percent to 76.6 million units Q1, compared to the same period last year, according to  apreliminary results by Gartner.

“The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments,” said Mikako Kitagawa, Principal Analyst of Gartner. “All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter. Among key countries, Japan was greatly affected by the end of XP support, registering a 35 percent year-over-year increase in PC shipments. The growth was also boosted by sales tax change. We expect the impact of XP migration worldwide to continue throughout 2014.”

“While the PC market remains weak, it is showing signs of improvement compared to last year. The PC professional market generally improved in regions such as EMEA. The US saw the gradual recovery of PC spending as the impact of tablets faded.” said Kitagawa.

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NVIDIA releases new drivers, GeForce Experience and SHIELD software upgrade

NVIDIANVIDIA has released new drivers built on DirectX11 to offer enhanced performance, a version of GeForce Experience packed with new features, and an over-the-air (OTA) software upgrade for SHIELD.

The new 337.50 Beta driver delivers up to 71 percent faster gaming performance, including Call of Duty: Black Ops II (up 20 percent), Sleeping Dogs (31 percent), and Alien vs. PredatorTotal War: Rome 2, and Sniper Elite v2 (more than 40 percent).

Along with the new 337.50 Beta driver, GeForce Experience 2.0 now includes the ability to optimise more than 150 games. It brings two signature features to notebooks for the first time. Shadowplay, which allows gamers to capture their gaming exploits with little hit to frame rates, and share them on platforms such as live-streaming video service Twitch, and GameStream, which allows gamers to stream games and enjoy them on the go.

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Gartner: Gamification driving digital business

GartnerGamification has become an essential part of any digital business strategy as a way of digitally motivating people and overcoming barriers of scale, time, distance, connectedness, and cost, according to Gartner. Digital business leaders are using gamification to add value to the product offer, to increase employee engagement and to drive crowdsourced innovation.

Gamification has tremendous potential, but right now most organizations aren’t getting it right. The road to gamification success is full of pitfalls, and many companies don’t understand how critical player motivation is to success.

In the newly-launched book Gamify — How Gamification Motivates People to Do Extraordinary Things, Brian Burke, Research Vice President of Gartner, explains how to design an experience that touches people on an emotional, rather than transactional, level and motivates them to achieve their goals.

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