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Samsung Unveils Curved Smartphone in Challenge to Apple

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Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) will start selling what it called the world’s first smartphone with a curved display as the largest handset maker adds another device to help win users from Apple Inc. (AAPL)

The 5.7-inch (14 centimeter) Galaxy Round will go on sale starting tomorrow in South Korea and cost 1,089,000 won ($1,010), Samsung said in an e-mailed statement today. The 7.9 millimeter thick device will only be available in the Suwon, South Korea-based company’s home market and comes in brown.

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC, talks about Samsung Electronics Co.’s financial performance and business outlook. Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, posted third-quarter profit that beat estimates as sales of cheaper handsets in emerging markets cushioned the impact of slowing demand for high-end devices. Kumar speaks with Susan Li on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.” (Source: Bloomberg)

 

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Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg’s Rich Jaroslovsky reviews Samsung’s new Galaxy Mega smartphone. The Mega dwarfs the other Galaxy offerings. It has a 6.3-inch display, measures 6.6 inches tall by 3.46 inches wide, and weighs 7.02 ounces. (Rich Jaroslovsky is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. Source: Bloomberg)

The Round joins the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the Galaxy Golden smartphone with a clamshell design, the flagship S4 and an upgraded Note among devices introduced this year as Samsung targets products at multiple prices to maintain sales growth. Amid fresh competition from Apple’s latest iPhones, Samsung is expanding handsets into new shapes such as the curved design as it works on technology to produce flexible screens.

“This phone signifies something that is much more important,” said Warren Lau, an analyst at Kim Eng Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “In the next 18 months or so, we could see Samsung launching foldable display devices. That is going to be a game changer.”

That could see a 5.5-inch smartphone unfold to an 11-inch display and be part of a brand new market, said Lau.

In January, Samsung showed a flexible organic light-emitting diode display that can bend as it plays images and said it has “various mobile application opportunities,” according to a statement at the time. The material is composed of thin plastic instead of glass.

Curved Televisions

The Galaxy Round’s curved display is designed to make the phone screen viewable from different angles and be more comfortable to hold in a user’s hand, Samsung said.

Samsung started selling 55-inch curved televisions using organic light-emitting diodes for about $13,500 in its home market in June.

Last month, Samsung released the Galaxy Gear wristwatch device that can make phone calls, check e-mails and take photos. Cupertino, California-based Apple has a team of designers working on a watch-like device, two people familiar the matter said in February.

The first companies to sell devices that multitask could lock customers into their platform and boost device sales, with researcher Strategy Analytics expecting 500,000 Galaxy Gears to be shipped this year.

Apple Dispute

Samsung shipped about 32 percent of global smartphone deliveries in the second quarter, more than twice its nearest competitor, Apple, according to researcher IDC.

The company announced the new curved phone a day after U.S. President Barack Obama decided not to veto a ban won by Apple in a patent-infringement dispute. The Korean company asked Obama to overturn the ban ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission on public policy grounds, the same relief the president gave Apple in August from an order barring imports of the iPhone 4S.

The company last week reported record third-quarter operating profit of 10.1 trillion won as an expanded range of mid-priced smartphones captured sales in China and India.

Samsung is also the world’s biggest maker of chips and televisions.

The A7 processor inside Apple’s new iPhone 5s was made by Samsung, according to a teardown of the handset by IFixit.

source:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-09/samsung-unveils-first-curved-smartphone-in-challenge-to-apple.html

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Nokia awarded contract to build 4G network on the moon

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Nokia has been awarded a contract to establish a 4G network on the moon. The contract is one of several that NASA is awarding to companies as it plans a return to the moon.

The $14.1 million contract was given to Nokia’s US subsidiary and is a small part of the $370 million total awarded to companies such as SpaceX. The cellular service will allow astronauts, rovers, lunar landers, and habitats to communicate with one another according to Jim Reuter, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Space.

Nokia Logo

The 4G network that Nokia will build will be miles superior to the form of communication that was used during the early missions to the moon.

This is not Nokia’s first attempt to launch an LTE network on the moon. It planned to do so in 2018 in collaboration with PTScientists, a German space firm, and Vodafone UK to launch an LTE network at the site of the Apollo 17 landing but the plan never came to fruition.

Source: https://www.gizmochina.com/2020/10/18/nokia-awarded-contract-to-build-4g-network-on-the-moon/

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Stripe acquires Nigeria’s Paystack for $200M+ to expand into the African continent

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When Stripe  announced earlier this year that it had picked up another $600 million in funding, it said one big reason for the funding was to expand its API-based payments services into more geographies. Today the company is coming good on that plan in the form of some M&A.

Stripe is acquiring Paystack, a startup out of Lagos, Nigeria that, like Stripe, provides a quick way to integrate payments services into an online or offline transaction by way of an API. (We and others have referred to it in the past as “the Stripe of Africa.”)

Paystack  currently has around 60,000 customers, including small businesses, larger corporates, fintechs, educational institutions and online betting companies, and the plan will be for it to continue operating independently, the companies said.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but sources close to it confirm that it’s over $200 million. That makes this the biggest startup acquisition to date to come out of Nigeria, as well as Stripe’s biggest acquisition to date anywhere. (Sendwave, acquired by WorldRemit in a $500 million deal in August, is based out of Kenya.)

It’s also a notable shift in Stripe’s strategy as it continues to mature: Typically, it has only acquired smaller companies to expand its technology stack, rather than its global footprint.

The deal underscores two interesting points about Stripe, now valued at $36 billion and regularly tipped as an IPO candidate. (Note: It has never commented on those plans up to now.) First is how it is doubling down on geographic expansion: Even before this news, it had added 17 countries to its platform in the last 18 months, along with progressive feature expansion. And second is how Stripe is putting a bet on the emerging markets of Africa specifically in the future of its own growth.

“There is enormous opportunity,” said Patrick Collison, Stripe’s co-founder and CEO, in an interview with TechCrunch. “In absolute numbers, Africa may be smaller right now than other regions, but online commerce will grow about 30% every year. And even with wider global declines, online shoppers are growing twice as fast. Stripe thinks on a longer time horizon than others because we are an infrastructure company. We are thinking of what the world will look like in 2040-2050.”

For Paystack, the deal will give the company a lot more fuel (that is, investment) to build out further in Nigeria and expand to other markets, CEO Shola Akinlade said in an interview.

“Paystack was not for sale when Stripe approached us,” said Akinlade, who co-founded the company with Ezra Olubi (who is the CTO). “For us, it’s about the mission. I’m driven by the mission to accelerate payments on the continent, and I am convinced that Stripe will help us get there faster. It is a very natural move.”

Paystack had been on Stripe’s radar for some time prior to acquiring it. Like its U.S. counterpart, the Nigerian startup went through Y Combinator — that was in 2016, and it was actually the first-ever startup out of Nigeria to get into the world-famous incubator. Then, in 2018, Stripe led an $8 million funding round for Paystack, with others participating, including Visa and Tencent. (And for the record, Akinlade said that Visa and Tencent had not approached it for acquisition. Both have been regular investors in startups on the continent.)

In the last several years, Stripe has made a number of investments into startups building technology or businesses in areas where Stripe has yet to move. This year, those investments have included backing an investment in universal checkout service Fast, and backing the Philippines-based payment platform PayMongo.

Collison said that while acquiring Paystack after investing in it was a big move for the company, people also shouldn’t read too much into it in terms of Stripe’s bigger acquisition policy.

“When we invest in startups we’re not trying to tie them up with complicated strategic investments,” Collison said. “We try to understand the broader ecosystem, and keep our eyes pointed outwards and see where we can help.”

That is to say, there are no plans to acquire other regional companies or other operations simply to expand Stripe’s footprint, with the interest in Paystack being about how well they’d built the company, not just where they are located.

“A lot of companies have been, let’s say, heavily influenced by Stripe,” Collison said, raising his eyebrows a little. “But with Paystack, clearly they’ve put a lot of original thinking into how to do things better. There are some details of Stripe that we consider mistakes, but we can see that Paystack ‘gets it,’ it’s clear from the site and from the product sensibilities, and that has nothing to do with them being in Africa or African.”

Stripe, with its business firmly in the world of digital transactions, already has a strong line in the detection and prevention of fraud and other financial crimes. It has developed an extensive platform of fraud protection tools, but even with that, incidents can slip through the cracks. Just last month, Stripe was ordered to pay $120,000 in a case in Massachusetts after failing to protect users in a $15 million cryptocurrency scam.

Now, bringing on a business from Nigeria could give the company a different kind of risk exposure. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, but it is also one of the more corrupt on the continent, according to research from Transparency International.

And related to that, it also has a very contentious approach to law and order. Nigeria has been embroiled in protests in the last week with demonstrators calling for the disbanding of the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, after multiple accusations of brutality, including extrajudicial killings, extortion and torture. In fact, Stripe and Paystack postponed the original announcement in part because of the current situation in the country.

But while those troubles continue to be worked through (and hopefully eventually resolved, by way of government reform in response to demonstrators’ demands), Paystack’s acquisition is a notable foil to those themes. It points to how talented people in the region are identifying problems in the market and building technology to help fix them, as a way of improving how people can transact, and in turn, economic outcomes more generally.

The company got its start back when Akinlade, for fun (!) built a quick way of integrating a card transaction into a web page, and it was the simplicity of how it worked that spurred him and his co-founder to think of how to develop that into something others could use. That became the germination of the idea that eventually landed them at YC and in the scope of Stripe.

“We’re still very early in the Paystack payments ecosystem, which is super broken,” said Akinlade. The company today provides a payments API, and it makes revenue every time a transaction is made using it. He wouldn’t talk about what else is on Paystack’s radar, but when you consider Stripe’s own product trajectory as a template, there is a wide range of accounting, fraud, card, cash advance and other services to meet business needs that could be built around that to expand the business. “Most of what we will be building in Africa has not been built yet.”

Last month, at Disrupt, we interviewed another successful entrepreneur in the country, Tunde Kehinde, who wisely noted that more exits of promising startups — either by going public or getting acquired — will help lift up the whole ecosystem. In that regard, Stripe’s move is a vote of confidence not just for the potential of the region, but for those putting in the efforts to build tech and continue improving outcomes for everyone.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/15/stripe-acquires-nigerias-paystack-for-200m-to-expand-into-the-african-continent/?tpcc=ECTW2020

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#EndSARS Twitter’s Jack Dorsey seeks support with Bitcoin

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Billionaire boss of the leading social media platform Twitter, and payments company Square, Jack Dorsey, has joined in support of the #EndSARS protest that has overtaken Nigeria.

A few hours ago, Dorsey took to his Twitter handle to solicit support for Nigerian protesters seeking an end to Police brutality and calling for reforms.

He tweeted, “Donate via Bitcoin to help #EndSARS,” while also retweeting a tweet from the Feminist Coalition informing people of the modes by which contributions can be made.

 

Twitter CEO has been a longstanding Bitcoin supporter. In the past, he has said Bitcoin is “probably the best” native currency of the internet due to it being “consensus-driven” and “built by everyone.”

Recall, some days ago, Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) led by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey on October 8th disclosed that it purchased, 4,709 bitcoins at an estimated worth of $50 million.
Square added it invested in cryptos because it saw it as a tool for economic enhancement via participation in the future of payment systems, which aligns with Square’s objectives.

Source: https://nairametrics.com/2020/10/14/breaking-endsars-twitters-jack-dorsey-seeks-support-with-bitcoin/

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