Vendor News

Microsoft Shutters Finland Phone Site

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Microsoft confirms the closure of the former Nokia handset product development unit in Salo, Finland. The company also plans to slash up to 2300 jobs in the Nordic country, with around 1000 in Salo.

Microsoft EspooThe company will retain Finnish mobile operations in two units, Espoo and Tampere. The Espoo unit will concentrate on high-end smartphone development while the Tampere unit is dedicated to the development of mid-range handsets and key technologies.

Salo housed one of the first Nokia factories, set up back in the 1970s. Until 2005 the factory employed 5000 people, and the closure leads to further resentment among Finns against the American company.

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Apple Merges Website, Online Store

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The Apple website gets a major redesign with the removal of the standalone "Store" tab and the "store.apple.com" domain, creating a streamlined main website combining product details with online retail.

Apple websiteAs a result each product page offers purchasing buttons, with no need to "jump" to the online store. The site also offers a unified shopping bag following users wherever they go on the site.

Also streamlined is the buying experience, as one press on the buy button summons all choices up to including extended warranties and cases. However, other than such changes the website and product pages remains more or less identical to their former selves.

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LG Display Adds to OLED Capacity

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LG Display invests nearly $1 billion in the building of a 4th OLED display factory, one doubling its production capacity of small- and mid-sized displays featuring the technology.

LG DisplaysWork on the factory is to start on Q3 2015, before mass production kicks off from H2 2017. LG says the factory will use a 6th generation production process able to produce over 200 cuts of 5.5-inch displays from a single 1500x1850mm substrate sheet.

The company adds the investment will also pioneer future display technologies such as foldable and large auto displays through the use of plastic (rather than glass) substrate.

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Positive Q3 for Apple, if With iPad Declines

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Apple reports another company record for fiscal Q3 2015, with revenues reaching $49.6 billion and net profits worth $10.7bn thanks to growing iPhone and Mac sales, as well as record services revenues.

Apple buildingHowever the company remains (perhaps predictably) mum over Apple Watch numbers, merely describing the launch as "successful"-- instead the wearable is lumped in the "other products" revenue bucket (one worth $2.6bn) together with the iPod and iDevice accessories.

That said, Apple insists it is focusing on the bigger picture, not mere sales. As CEO Tim Cook puts it, "we're more excited about how the product is positioned for the long term because we're starting a new category."

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Google Takes on iBeacon With Eddystone

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Google reveals what it describes as a "new and open" rival to Apple's iBeacon-- Eddystone, an open source, cross-platform Bluetooth LE beacon format one can use to send information from a specific points of interest.

Google EddystoneNamed after the Eddystone Lighthouse in the UK, the beacon system uses Bluetooth to beam relevant data to mobile devices in range. It broadcasts either app data or web links, and makes use of one of two APIs to either find and ping nearby beacons (such as at a retail outlet) or send information when one is at a specific location (through latitude/longitude).

Google already runs something of the sort in Portland, Oregon, in the shape of bus stop beacons offering transit times to Android device users. However the Eddystone format promises to be compatible with both iOS and Android, making it arguably superior to the iOS-only iBeacon.

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