How makers of phones and tablets are faring
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Many companies including Nokia and Research in Motion have been struggling to compete with Apple and manufacturers of devices running Google's Android software. That shows in some of the earnings reports released so far for the latest quarter.
Here's a look at how makers of phones and tablet computers are doing:
— July 10: BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. asks disgruntled investors at a shareholders meeting for patience as it develops new devices to rival the iPhone and Android smartphones. The company reiterates a warning that the next several quarters will be challenging. It also expects to report another operating loss in the current quarter, which ends Sept. 1, as the company cuts prices to sell its older BlackBerry models.
— July 19: Nokia Corp. says its net loss nearly quadrupled in the second quarter on sagging sales of smartphones, which fell 39 percent from a year ago to 10.2 million. The company's stock jumped, however, as sales of low-end phones buoyed revenue and shipments of the new Lumia phones, which run on Windows software and will replace the older smartphone models, were not as bad as feared. In North America, sales of the Lumia phones offset declines in traditional Symbian devices.
Google Inc., which completed its purchase of Motorola Mobility during the quarter, says it saw strengths in North America with Verizon Wireless, driven by the Razr Maxx device. But it says international sales of basic cellphones and mid-tier smartphones declined. Google reiterates that 1 million new Android devices from various phone makers are being activated each day, with more than 400 million activated worldwide.
— July 24: Apple Inc. says it sold 26 million iPhones, 28 percent more than a year ago. It also sold 17 million iPads, an 84 percent increase and a quarterly record. But average selling prices for both products were down.
— July 25: LG Electronics reports a lower quarterly profit as its mobile phone division sank to a loss. Basic handset sales declined while expenses to promote its new smartphones went up. The company says profitability at the mobile communication business will not be too bad for the rest of the year with new high-end mobile device launches due in North America and Japan. But it stops short of guiding investors on when the company can fully turn around its mobile business
— July 27: Samsung Electronics Co. reports another record-high quarterly profit as customers flocked to Galaxy smartphones. Samsung benefited as rivals including Apple had yet to release new models. The performance in mobile phones helped offset a slowdown in other consumer electronics businesses such as televisions.
IDC reports that Samsung has extended its lead over Apple in smartphones. Samsung had a market share of 33 percent in the second quarter, up from 17 percent a year ago. Apple's fell slightly to 17 percent, from 19 percent a year ago. The drop is typical several months after the release of a new iPhone model.
— Aug. 2: Sony Corp. says revenue in its mobile division more than doubled, but that's largely because it took full ownership of Sony Mobile, once a joint venture with LM Ericsson. Had the transaction been reflected in the year-ago quarter, growth would have been about 14 percent. Sony says more people have been buying smartphones rather than the cheaper, basic phones. It's also sold more smartphones, mostly because of strong performance of Xperia S and Xperia acro HD.
— Aug. 3: Taiwan smartphone maker HTC Corp. reports a 58 percent drop in profit, its third consecutive quarterly decline as intensifying competition from Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. hurt sales. The company had hoped to win back some of its market with the launch of "HTC One" series, which offers users a better camera and music experience. But following the huge popularity of Samsung's Galaxy handsets, the model's key U.S. carrier, AT&T, recently slashed the prices of "HTC One" by half. HTC says the U.S. will continue to be an important market, but that China "will be a key driving force for our future growth."
— Aug. 8: Research group IDC says the success of Samsung's Android phones helped Google's operating system extend its dominance in the smartphone market. There were four Android phones for every iPhone shipped in the second quarter, up from a ratio of 2.5 to 1 in the same period last year. The gains come largely at the expense of BlackBerry phones made by Research in Motion Ltd. and Symbian phones made largely by Nokia Corp. Apple's market share dropped slightly, but the company shipped more iPhones than a year ago.
— Aug. 13: Google says it's cutting about 4,000 jobs at its Motorola Mobility cellphone business and will close or consolidate about one-third of its 90 locations. The reductions represent about 20 percent of Motorola Mobility's 20,000 employees, and 7 percent of Google's overall work force. Two-third of the job cuts will take place outside of the U.S., Google said. The job eliminations come three months after Google bought the once-dominant U.S. cellphone maker for $12.5 billion, chiefly with a view to using its large patent portfolio to bolster its legal defenses.
— Aug. 15: Rating agency Standard and Poor's downgrades Nokia Corp.'s long-term corporate credit rating further into junk status amid concerns over the cellphone company's deteriorating profitability.
— Aug. 16: Samsung Electronics Co. begins selling the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet in the U.S., the U.K. and South Korea. It has a digital pen and a faster processor than the iPad, but has a lower screen resolution.
Lenovo Group Ltd. says smartphone shipments grew 44 percent for a market share of 11 percent. Lenovo says it sold 5 million smartphones in China in the latest quarter, passing PC sales by number of units for the first time.
— Aug. 23: Sony's cellphone division says it's cutting 1,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its global workforce, mostly in Sweden over the next two fiscal years through March 2014. Sony Mobile Communications says the job cuts are an effort to reduce costs and boost profits. They are part of Sony Corp.'s already announced plan to reduce 10,000 jobs, or 6 percent of its global workforce, by March 2013.
RIM says it has begun showing its new BlackBerry smartphones to wireless carriers around the world, but the struggling company says it is still months away from starting to sell them.
— Sept. 5: Nokia announces two phones running the next version of Windows. Its stock falls 16 percent as investors weren't impressed. The company didn't reveal prices and says only that the phones will be available in the fourth quarter "in select markets."
Motorola, under new owner Google, announces three smartphones borrowing the Razr brand, the name of the hit clamshell phone from 2004. The $99 Razr M is to be in Verizon Wireless stores in a week. Two higher-end models will come later.
— Sept. 6: Amazon.com Inc. announces four new Kindle Fire tablet computers as it steps up competition with Apple Inc. and its iPad. Two of the models have screens nearly as large as the iPad's, at lower prices. Those will start shipping in November, while the smaller, 7-inch models will start selling Sept. 14. Amazon also refreshes its line of stand-alone e-readers.
— Sept. 12: Apple unveils the iPhone 5, with a taller screen and the ability to connect to faster data networks known as 4G. It will go on sale in the U.S. on Sept. 21. Apple also refreshed the iPod Nano and the iPod Touch. Plus, it introduced a new type of headphone called EarPods, which are meant to fit comfortably in more people's ears.
— Sept. 24: Apple Inc. says that it sold more than 5 million units of the iPhone 5 in the three days since its launch, fewer than analysts had expected. The sales tally is a record for any phone, but it beats last year's iPhone 4S launch only by a small margin. Apple said then that it sold 4 million phones in the first three days.
— Sept. 25: Research in Motion Ltd. CEO Thorsten Heins says he is convinced that the company's BlackBerry phone is poised to regain its stature as a trailblazing device even as many investors fret about its potential demise. Heins took the stage at a conference for mobile applications developers to rally support for the upcoming release of BlackBerry 10, a new operating system that RIM is touting as its salvation after years of blundering. Investors appeared to be heartened by what they heard and saw. The company's stock gained 30 cents, or nearly 5 percent, to $6.60. That's still far far below the stock's peak price of about $148, reached in June 2008.
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