Vendor News

Mad Catz Files Bankruptcy

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Gaming peripheral maker Mad Catz is out of business, announcing it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief with plans to liquidate all assets.

Mad CatzAll Mad Catz directors and officers have also resigned, effective as of 30 March 2017, and other subsidiaries have filed or will file for liquidation under legislation in their countries of origin.

As CEO Karen McGinnis puts it, “regrettably and notwithstanding that for a significant amount of time the company has been actively pursuing its strategic alternatives, including various near-term financing alternatives such as bank financing and equity infusions, as well as potential sales of certain assets of the company or a sale of the company in its entirety, the company has been unable to find a satisfactory solution to its cash liquidity problems.”

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Xiaomi Working on Own Mobile Chips?

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The Wall Street Journal reports Xiaomi is looking to break ties with Qualcomm-- as part of "aspirations to join the top tier" of smartphone makers it plans develop own mobile device chips.

Xiaomi MiThe Xiaomi processor is supposedly dubbed "Pinecone" and is set for release "within a month." The next Xiaomi smartphone is the Mi 6, which should be announced on March (should the company stick with its yearly release cycle), meaning the timeframe makes sense. As for the production know how behind the processor, Xiaomi paid $15 million for technology from Datang subsidiary Leadcore Technology.

But why would Xiaomi go for custom chips? A first reason is cost savings, since producing own processors probably costs less than buying them off a 3rd party supplier. A second reason is tighter integration of software and hardware, allowing for more innovative features (for example, Huawei's Kirin CPU provides the Mate 9 with more optimised performance based on user habits).

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Apple Preps Ultra Accessory Connector?

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According to 9to5Mac Apple is working on a new kind of iDevice connector-- the "Ultra Accessory Connector," (UAC) reportedly a new application for an old 8-pin plug.

Mini USB ConnectorApparently released in developer preview form through the Made-for-iPhone (MFi) licensing program, the UAC connector is small connector measuring 2.05mm x 4.85mm, making it slightly thinner than USB-C and nearly half as wide as USB-C and Lightning. It is essentially identical to the ultra-mini USB connectors found in proprietary cables bundled with devices such as Nikon cameras (pictured).

But what use will be the use of UAC plugs? As an intermediary, mainly. The unnamed 9to5Mac sources say UAC is not be a Lightning replacement. Instead it provides cross-compatibility between multiple connector types. Thus, users can swap between Lightning-to-UAC and USB-to-UAC cables with the same pair of headphones, with UAC allowing device firmware to juggle between connectors on the fly.

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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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