Huawei and Volkswagen to collaborate on smart cars

Volkswagen LamandoHuawei and Volkswagen are working together on car connectivity. They have unveiled technology that integrates smartphone functions with vehicle-mounted systems and allows drivers to use those functions safely while driving at the International Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai this week.

The partners have demonstrated a series of apps that safely allow drivers to use GPS navigation systems, play music, send and receive messages, and make phone calls while behind the wheel. The apps support MirrorLink, an open technology standard designed to maximise interoperability between smartphones and vehicle-mounted systems. They cover multiple services including phone calls, SMS, navigation, multimedia, and payment that are all centered on smartphones.

“Our cooperation with Huawei will seamlessly blend the capabilities of users’ smartphones with the systems in their cars. All content on the phone will be shown in real time on the car’s infotainment touch screen. The result is smart and convenient interaction between phone and car,” said Sven Patuschka, Executive Vice President for Research and Development of Volkswagen Group China.

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India software market up 8% in 2014

GartnerSoftware revenue in India rose 8.3 percent to hit US$4 billion in 2014, according to Gartner.

“The enterprise software marketplace is dynamic and ever-changing. Its growth and structure are being shaped by the factors and forces of decentralised purchasing, consumerisation and mobility, influence of emerging markets, cloud-based implementations, and new consumption models. Improvement in global economic conditions has somewhat relaxed the strain on the Indian economy, thereby boosting corporate sentiments. Along with a new stable government at the center, this has helped in alleviating concerns about economic growth — to a certain extent — with early signs of spending in growth initiatives beginning to emerge,” said Bhavish Sood, Research Director of Gartner.

Several leading trends include:

  • Software as a service (SaaS) adoption and development
  • Open-source software (OSS) adoption and its broader market implications
  • Changing buying behaviors and purchasing styles associated with the digital business
  • Spending in key growth markets such as India and China

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Where’s the Razer Nabu?

Razer NabuWhen Razer demonstrated the Razer Nabu at CES 2014, the media was all excited. This was a cool looking activity tracker with nifty features such as the ability to communicate band-to-band.

More than a year on and the wearable device is still not readily available. In fact, it was only sold in batches to Razer Insiders (members) in the US late last year. For the rest of the world, it’s been a long wait.

A lot has changed since the Razer Nabu was first announced. Many new offerings are available in the market, which may prompt some potential Nabu customers to switch — if they have not already done so.

Amazon takes pole position in Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 ranking

GartnerE-commerce giant Amazon has emerged tops in Gartner’s 11th annual Supply Chain Top 25 ranking, which identifies global supply chain leaders and highlights their best practices.

Fast food chain McDonald’s came in second and consumer goods maker Unilever third.

“In this edition of the Supply Chain Top 25, we have several longtime leaders with new lessons to share and a number of more recent entrants from the high-tech, consumer products, retail and industrial sectors,” said Stan Aronow, Research Vice President of Gartner.

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China will outstrip the US in LTE subscriptions this year

abi research​LTE is growing phenomenally in China. By the end of 2014, China gained almost 100 million LTE subscriptions in the first year of full LTE commercialisation, demonstrating an accelerating growth momentum, according to ABI Research.

Thanks to the first-mover advantages, China Mobile seized almost 90 percent share of the LTE market in China.

“Since the other two China mobile operators — China Unicom and China Telecom — were granted preferred FDD-LTE licenses in March 2015, it is expected that China will overtake the US to become the largest 4G market in the world, accumulating 500 million LTE subscriptions, or 36.5 percent of the domestic cellular subscriptions in 2015,” said Marina Lu, Research Analyst of ABI Research.

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ZTE introduces new SDN-based OAM solution

ZTEZTE has demonstrated a new OAM (operations, administration and management) solution based on SDN architecture at the Broadband & TV Connect Asia conference in Singapore.

The new Elastic SDN IPRAN OAM solution, powered by ZTE’s Elastic SDN technology, is claimed to enable operators to perform 90 percent of routine network OAM functions with one-touch control on mobile devices, generating at least 30 percent labour cost savings.

As operators accelerate deployments of 4G LTE networks to meet rising demand, it is becoming increasingly challenging to manage IP RAN mobile bearer networks. This problem is especially acute in Southeast Asia, where operators need to manage their IP RAN networks efficiently on outlying islands and mountainous terrain.

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Global PC shipment down 7% in Q1

CanalysApple held on to its top spot despite a 16 percent drop in PC shipment in Q1. It shipped 17.2 million units, taking a 15 percent market share while Lenovo and HP came in second and third place respectively. Samsung was next with 9.5 million units shipped with Dell just behind with 9.4 million units.

Overall, the global PC market, including tablets, declined seven percent, according to Canalys.

“The growth drivers that previously helped the market through 2014 will have little effect this year. Vendors are struggling with exchange rate fluctuations which is making financial planning more difficult and forcing price increases. These challenges, combined with a softening of demand as Windows 10 draws nearer along with Microsoft’s free upgrade plans, means PC market declines will be greater in the second quarter than they were in the first,” said Tim Coulling, Senior Analyst of Canalys.

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Selfie stick: Simple invention but extremely useful!

Selfie stickIn a world of technological breakthroughs, the selfie stick is a really simple invention. Somebody had the bright idea to stick a holder at the end of a rod and voila, the selfie stick was born.

And what an invention it has turned out to be. It has solved the problem of close up shots being really closed up, especially for the one pressing the smartphone button. Also, group shots would have been really tough with the presser looking really big relative to the rest of the folks.

But, it was only during a recent trip to the UK that I truly appreciated the value of the selfie stick. From the airport to the various tourist attractions, my wife and I could take couple shots without me having to look disproportionately larger or having to keep asking passers-by for their help.

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PC prices to rise by 10%

GartnerPC vendors will have to raise the prices of PCs to offset the effects of currency devaluation, according to Gartner. Prices of PCs in the Eurozone and Japan will increase by up to 10 percent during 2015.

“We are currently seeing the sharp appreciation of the dollar against most other currencies reflected in companies’ earnings results. PC vendors selling to Europe and Japan, where local currencies have fallen up to 20 percent since the start of 2015, have little choice than to raise prices to preserve profits,” said Ranjit Atwal, Research Director of Gartner.

In 2015, Gartner estimates that end-user spending in constant dollars in Western Europe will reach US$116 billion, a four-percent increase over 2014. This increase reflects the expected price increases in local currency.

Smartphone market slows down in China

CanalysThe combined market share of Chinese brands fell to a two-year low on a global basis, as growth in China slowed to single digit in the first quarter of 2015, according to Canalys

Apple increased its market share in China, extending its lead over its Chinese rivals Xiaomi and Huawei. Major local vendors face the strongest headwinds in their home market since the smart phone boom began in 2011. Lenovo (including Motorola), Yulong and ZTE recorded their lowest shipment volume to the Chinese market for the last two years.

“Consumers are losing their appetite for ultra-low-cost devices, as expectations increase in line with spending power and, combined with rising market saturation, this is resulting in a major shift to devices that provide better user experience,” said Jingwen Wang, Analyst of Canalys.