Vendor News

WSJ: Amazon (Partly) Gives Up on Hardware

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Following the failure of the Fire Phone Amazon gives up on mobile devices, the Wall Street Journal reports-- the online retailer turned hardware maker is reportedly killing projects and laying off staff from the secretive Lab126 hardware division.

Amazon BezosLab126 is the facility behind the Fire tablets, STB and phone, as well as the oddball Echo speaker/voice-activated assistant and the Dash product re-ordering button. According to the WSJ unsold Fire Phone inventory lead to a $170 million write down, meaning the creator has to not only scale down in size but also shelve some admittedly interesting-sounding projects.

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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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