Moto Makes a Strong Comeback in the US, Enters Top 5: Counterpoint

Moto Makes a Strong Comeback in the US, Enters Top 5: Counterpoint

Lenovo brand Moto made a significant comeback in the US in the third quarter this year, almost doubling its volumes and market share annually and was the fastest growing brand, Counterpoint Research said on Saturday.

The US smartphone shipments remained flat during the third quarter. Moto, ZTE, and LG registered strong gains and Verizon remained the largest smartphone sales channel, revealed Counterpoint’s Market Monitor programme.

“Motorola jumped back into the top five rankings after a long time. Motorola’s focus on affordable devices for prepaid/unlocked market and breaking out from Verizon’s shadows helped drive growth during the quarter,” said Research Analyst Archana Srinivasan.

Motorola also benefited in terms of visibility with presence across all four of the major carriers with its Moto Z2 Force Edition in premium segment.

“The Moto E series was actually the key volume driver for Motorola during the quarter across prepaid and open channels,” Srinivasan added.

Verizon had a good quarter and remained the biggest channel for smartphone sales, followed by T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint.

“LG had a strong quarter recording highest ever volume for the third quarter closing on Samsung volumes, especially at T-Mobile & Sprint,” said Research Director Neil Shah.

Apple iPhone 7 was the most popular smartphone in the US. The Moto E4 and LG Stylo 3 were also solid performers. LG grew its share to 17.6 percent.

ZTE grew its smartphone volumes 34 percent (year-on-year).

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Parent Alphabet Reports Strong Results on Mobile Ads, YouTube, Other Bets

Google Parent Alphabet Reports Strong Results on Mobile Ads, YouTube, Other Bets

Google’s parent company Alphabet on Thursday reported profit in the recently-ended quarter leapt as money poured in from ads delivered to mobile devices and returns improved on “other bets.”

Alphabet profit was up 32.4 percent to $6.7 billion (roughly Rs. 43,555 crores) on in the quarter on revenue that increased 24 percent to $27.8 billion (roughly Rs. 1,80,724 crores), up 24 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Chief financial officer Ruth Porat credited “strength across Google and Other Bets.”

The earnings topped market expectations, and Alphabet shares jumped in after-market trade on the Nasdaq exchange before concerns about growing expenses apparently caused them to settle back a bit to be up nearly 3 percent to $1,021.

“It is what everybody looks at every time: what is going on with expenses?” independent analyst Rob Enderle told AFP.

“For the most part they seem to be well managed, but you watch to make sure they remember they still have limits even though they are printing money.”

While mobile ads were a main area of growth, they brought with them higher traffic acquisition costs, pushing up Google expenses in a trend seen as unavoidable.

Investing in cloud services and artificial intelligence also means spending more on data centers to provide the massive computing power involved.

“I’ve been really proud of the progress this quarter; launching popular new products and continuing to grow our business in new areas,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in an earnings call with analysts.

“It’s been particularly exciting to see our early bet on artificial intelligence pay off and go from a research project to something that can solve new problems for 1 billion people a day.”

YouTube continued to see “phenomenal growth” with more than 1.5 billion people spending an average of an hour a day watching videos there on mobile devices, and surging use on television screens in homes, according to Pichai.

He boasted of progress winning businesses over to Google services hosted in the internet cloud, where the company competes with Amazon and Microsoft in that market.

Pichai also said that opening day pre-orders for recently unveiled Pixel 2 smartphones were double that seen for the first-generation Pixel.

Google is “seriously committed to making hardware” as well as working with partners such as South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung which is a major producer of smartphones powered by Android software made available free by the US Internet company.

“The intersection of hardware and software is how you drive computing forward,” Pichai said.

“I think it’s important we thoughtfully put our opinion forward.”

Smartphones and other devices “made by Google” can showcase the potential of its Android and Chrome software, setting a bar for partners.

Moonshots
A corporate reorganisation started two years ago created Alphabet, which has holdings including cash-engine Google and ventures devoted to innovative “moonshots” such as Waymo self-driving car unit and a Loon project for delivering internet service from high-altitude balloons.

Subsidiaries other than Google were put into an “other bets” group which saw revenue in the quarter rise to $302 million (roughly Rs. 1,963 crores) from $197 million (roughly Rs. 1,280 crores) during the same three-month period last year.

Google ads accounted for the bulk of Alphabet revenue, contributing $27.47 billion (roughly Rs. 1,80,369 crores), according to the earnings release.

Alphabet earlier this year spun off a little-known unit working on geothermal power called Dandelion, which will begin offering residential energy services.

Dandelion chief executive Kathy Hannun said her team had been working for several years “to make it easier and more affordable to heat and cool homes with the clean, free, abundant, and renewable energy source right under our feet,” and that the efforts culminated in the creation of an independent company outside of Alphabet.

Meanwhile, Alphabet’s life sciences unit Verily announced a study to track people for years, right down to their genetics, in a quest for insights into staying healthy.

Alphabet also owns Nest, which recently expanded its line-up of smart home devices to include a security system.

Nest, Fiber, and Verily were said to be top performing other bets in the quarter.

Waymo on Thursday announced plans to begin testing self-driving cars in notoriously troublesome ice and snow conditions in the US state of Michigan this winter.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Paytm Says Mobile Wallets Will Become Strong Players in Financial Ecosystem

Paytm Says Mobile Wallets Will Become Strong Players in Financial Ecosystem

Mobile wallets will become strong players in the financial ecosystem as the RBI guidelines on prepaid instruments will allow more features like unlimited transfer of funds between a bank account and a wallet, a top official of Paytm Payments Bank said.

Paytm Payments Bank MD-CEO Renu Satti said the RBI guidelines released this month will enable mobile wallets to gain access to more functionalities like unlimited transfer of funds between a bank account and a wallet and higher limit of up to Rs. 1 lakh for money transfer to beneficiary accounts.

She added that as part of Paytm Payments Bank, customers get the convenience of wallets and can earn interest on their deposits by transferring money from the wallet to their payments bank account.

“This will further strengthen the value proposition of mobile wallets and make them stronger players in the financial ecosystem,” Satti said.

Paytm has over 270 million registered wallet users. However, the mandate to undertake KYC of customers could be a challenge as mobile wallets companies will have to make additional investments in the diligence process.

The KYC (Know Your Customer) process allows banks and other institutions to obtain and verify information about customers’ identity and address.

As per the new norms, mobile wallets that were conforming to a minimum KYC format (like verification of mobile number) will have to get full KYC of customers done within 12 months of setting up the wallet.

Paytm has already said it plans to invest $500 million towards the KYC exercise over the next three years.

Satti said while the process may seem time-consuming, it will also help prevent identity theft, fraud and money laundering and ensure customers’ money is safer than ever before.

“The new RBI guidelines would bring greater confluence and power to m-wallets. It will also ensure money transfers are simpler and financial systems are safer,” she added.

Paytm has introduced a ‘Nearby KYC Points’ section in its app that directs users to nearby partner shops and locations where customers can get Aadhaar biometric KYC done for their Paytm wallets.

Paytm Payments Bank started its operations earlier this year. Its Chairman Vijay Shekhar Sharma owns majority stake in the company, while the remaining share is owned by One97 Communications.

Disclosure: Paytm’s parent company One97 is an investor in NDTV’s Gadgets 360.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Sony Sees Strong Demand for PS4 Games as Mobile Business Slumps

Sony Sees Strong Demand for PS4 Games as Mobile Business Slumps

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sony had a JPY 26 billion net profit in the six months through September
  • Revenue during the period fell more than 10 percent to JPY 3.3 trillion
  • Strong demand for games for its hugely popular PlayStation 4 game console

Sony said Tuesday its fiscal first half net profit dived owing to a sharp rally in the yen and losses linked to the sale of its battery business.

The Japanese electronics giant, which has been shedding assets as part of a broad restructuring, said it had a JPY 26 billion ($248 million or roughly Rs. 1,655 crores) net profit in the six months through September, down nearly 78 percent from a year ago.

Revenue during the period fell more than 10 percent to JPY 3.3 trillion “primarily due to the impact of foreign exchange rates”, Sony said.

The company said sales in its mobile communications business slumped, offsetting strong demand for games for its hugely popular PlayStation 4 game console.

(Also see: 47.4 Million PS4 Consoles Shipped Till Date, Announces Sony)

Tuesday’s first-half results come a day after Sony warned that it now expected a net profit of JPY 60 billion (roughly Rs. 3,820 crores) in the year through March 2017, down from an earlier JPY 80 billion forecast.

It cited impairment charges and other costs linked to the sale of its battery division to Apple supplier Murata Manufacturing.In July, Sony cut its full-year sales forecast – trimming it to the current level JPY 7.4 trillion – as it blamed the surging yen and slower smartphone sales.

Japanese firms have benefited from a weak currency in recent years, which allows them to make their products cheaper overseas.

(Also see: PlayStation VR: Almost There but Not Just Yet)

But the yen, which is seen as a safe bet, shot up since the start of the year amid wild volatility on world financial markets and as uncertainty over Britain’s decision to leave the EU stoked demand for less risky investments.

Sony has also warned that a pair of deadly quakes in Japan in April would also dent financial results.

The quakes, which caused major damage in southern Kyushu and claimed dozens of lives, forced Sony to temporarily shutter factories, hitting production and sales.

The once-iconic firm has been working to stay profitable after years of huge losses, under a painful restructuring that has included layoffs and asset sales.

Tags: Sony, Sony Earnings, PlayStation, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Gaming, Console, Mobiles, Home Entertainment, Tablets,Cameras, Android
[“Source-Gadgets”]