Vendor News

Razer Buys Cloud Smartphone Maker Nextbit

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Gaming peripheral maker Razer buys into smartphones with Nextbit, the small startup behind the Robin "cloud smartphone" founded by former HTC, Google and Amazon employees.

Nextbit RobinAccording to the new owner, Nextbit will operate as a "standalone business unit under its own management" with a staff of 30. It should also continue providing Robin owners with product support and software updates (including a leap to Android 7.0) while working on more products under the Nextbit brand.

“Nextbit is one of the most exciting companies in the mobile space,” Razer says. “Razer has a track record of disrupting industries where our technology and ability to design and innovate have allowed us to dominate categories with longstanding incumbents, such as the peripherals and laptop categories. With the talent that Nextbit brings to Razer, we look forward to unleashing more disruption and growing our business in new areas.”

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iPhone 7 Brings Apple Growth Back

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iPhone sales see a return to growth on a record holiday 2016 quarter (ending 31 December 2016)-- the iPhone 7 leads to sales of 78.3 million, a 5% increase over the same period last year.

iPhone 7Since iPhone sales are up, Apple financials are also back on the positive track. The company reports all-time record quarterly revenues of $78.4 billion, with international sales accounting for 64% of the sum. It also managed to exceed Wall Street expectations of $77.4bn in revenue.

“We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch,” CEO Tim Cook says. “Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

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Apple Files $1bn Suit Against Qualcomm

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Apple accuses Qualcomm of employing extortion, price-gouging and other monopolistic practices-- and as a result the iPhone maker is filing a $1 billion lawsuit against the semiconductor giant.

Apple QualcommThe lawsuit is filed in US District Court for the Southern district of California, and claims Qualcomm overcharges for chips and refuses to pay $1bn in promised rebates on "exclusivity or de facto exclusivity from Apple." It adds Qualcomm withheld the rebates because Apple is in discussions with the S. Korean antitrust regulator, the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

"If that were not enough, Qualcomm then attempted to extort Apple into changing its responses and providing false information to the KFTC in exchange for Qualcomm's release of those payments to Apple. Apple refused," the lawsuit reads.

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Apple, TV Show Producer?

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Apple sets to rival the likes of Netflix and HBO, the Wall Street Journal reports-- the iPhone maker apparently plans to start producing original TV series and possibly even movies.

Apple TV WestworldThe WSJ adds such content will be available by end 2017 via Apple Music. As to the genres of such shows, unnamed sources point out HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things as comparisons, and say they "don't have any particular relationship to music."

Mind, Apple already confirmed it is working on video content, mind-- last year it announced its music streaming service will be hosting a season of Carpool Karaoke and Vital Signs, a drama starring Beats co-founder turned Apple exec Dr. Dre.

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Fitbit Confirms Pebble Acquisition

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Fitbit confirms last week's rumours as it announces the acquisition of former Kickstarter darling Pebble. The deal does not include Pebble products, meaning the company's smartwatch story is officially dead.

Pebble watch Financial details are not available, but the grapevine put the price paid for Pebble to around $40 million, a fraction of its previous estimated worth. After all, in 2015 Citizen offered $740m for the company! As for why Fitbit acquired Pebble, the announcement press release cites an interest in "key personnel" and the software powering Pebble devices, a sentiment echoed by a post on the official Pebble blog.

“With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding health and fitness capabilities, we see an opportunity to build on our strengths and extend our leadership position in the wearables category,” Fitbit adds. “With this acquisition, we’re well positioned to accelerate the expansion of our platform and ecosystem to make Fitbit a vital part of daily life for a wider set of consumers, as well as build the tools healthcare providers, insurers and employers need to more meaningfully integrate wearable technology into preventative and chronic care.”

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