You Won’t Believe How Easy it Is to Break the Samsung Galaxy Note 5

“The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is our easiest to break mobile device.”

OK, so that’s not how the company is advertising the Note 5, except for maybe in the Bizzaro world.

But Samsung is admitting its new product has a pretty serious design flaw. The Note 5’s stylus can be inserted into its silo in both directions, but one of those directions can cause permanent damage to the phone’s functionality and disable the stylus detection feature.

The Verge reports:

“The flaw is particularly annoying because of the ease with which the S Pen can be inserted into the Note 5 the wrong way. With previous versions of the Note, it was impossible (or simply very difficult) to put the stylus in blunt end first, but the Note 5’s redesigned S Pen means it’s the same shape all the way down its length, and can be pushed into the phone just as easily the right way as the wrong way round.”

Samsung issued a statement recently advising users to carefully read the Note’s user manual. The company advises: “We highly recommend our Galaxy Note5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

However, Android Police says Samsung was “aware of this issue when it shipped the Note 5 and still did not seek to actively address it — the official manual for the phone very clearly states that the S Pen should not be placed in the device backward, lest damage occur to the phone or pen.”

They also include a video in their report showing the breakage in action.

The Note 5 was introduced earlier this month. Its upgrades from the previous Note include a more comfortable ergonomic design featuring a curved back and narrower bezel.

Another new feature allows users to write down ideas or quick notes when the screen is off even if it is locked. Samsung says PDF files can now be annotated with the S Pen and users can use ‘Scroll capture’ to capture Web articles or images even if they are long. That assumes, of course, the pen doesn’t break.

Meanwhile, Wired gives the Note 5 and its sister phone the S6 Edge an 8 out 10, saying they’re both “great phones.”

The publication adds:

“With about 10 minutes of customization — downloading the right theme and hiding the right apps — they’re exceptional phones.”

The Note 5 is available now from all major U.S. carriers, and sells for between $700 and $750.

Image: Samsung

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Unicorns are a myth. But you do believe in them!

Photo: BloombergPhoto: Bloomberg

The enterprise value of Google pre-IPO (initial public offer) was estimated to be between $33 billion and $40 billion (based on a S&P’s pre-IPO Google report). Google listed on Nasdaq on 19 August 2004 at $85, the low end of its revised price expectation of $85-95.

Its market capitalization was valued at $23 billion at that time. Google or should I say Alphabet Inc.’s Class C shares listed on Nasdaq under GOOG symbol at the time of writing this article (21 January 2015 9:44pm India time) trades at $713.55, giving it a market capitalization of $495.2 billion.

Simple math states that Google created more value for its investors post IPO ($472.2 billion) than its pre-IPO ($23 billion). Of course, one may argue that the select few who invested early in Google (pre-IPO) shared larger bits of the smaller pie than the many who shared smaller bits of the bigger pie (post-IPO).

But the undeniable fact is that Google created more enterprise value after its rocky IPO in 2004. That “more” is a staggering 1,575%—which means a $10,000 investment into GOOG in 2004 would have become $167,894 today (accounting for a stock split)!

Now let us take a look at the phenomenon of private share trading of unlisted unicorn and decacorn start-ups which has become commonplace. Not sure the term start-ups really applies to these companies anymore! Given the relative easy availability of hyper-funds, the incentive to go public has been reduced, creating a private primary and secondary market where paper stock options have assumed real value. It’s now been used as a tool to retain talent by allowing employees to sell their stock options in this private market.

But this is going to have a fall-on effect. All these unicorn and decacorn private companies that have delayed listing on the stock exchanges will list at some point of time in their life-cycle. The danger is the value created that the mass investor will participate in. This value may be marginal compared to the privileged investor who invested early on (pre-IPO).

The market will already assume the growth numbers and value created at the time of listing. As the listing of these companies is not happening earlier in their life-cycle, the created value keeps decreasing as they keep delaying. The depressed listing of Box and Square in 2015 are two such examples.

If Google were born in 2010, it would probably still not have gone for an IPO in 2016 (like many of our favourite unicorns today) and listed much later than it achieved its $23 billion market cap value, thereby decreasing the IPO participant value as it continuously delays its listing in public markets.

Public markets are the real test. When these unicorns (read Uber, Flipkart, Xiaomi, Ola, etc) list the aura of the celeb founders, the novelty of the business model and the innovation of the product/service would have worn off.

All that the retail investors look at is the numbers on a spreadsheet. And these numbers sit alongside that of pharma, oil and gas, auto, retail and other companies. It is usually the math that wins over press mentions.

This begs the question. Will you fall for the honey trap and participate by investing when these unicorns eventually list? If yes, what is your value expectation?

Arvinder Gujral is Director Business Development APAC for Twitter overseeing its strategic partnerships. Connect with him on Twitter @arvindergujral


I will believe in e-commerce model when they sell at an economical price: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

A file photo of investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

A file photo of investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Mumbai: What do you get when you put the man who pioneered modern or organized retailing in India, the country’s top value investor, and the poster boy of its ongoing e-commerce boom together?

Answer: An entertaining and lively panel discussion with no shortage of either insights or fireworks.

In addition to Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal, and Future Group’s Kishore Biyani, the panel discussion at the Retail Leadership Summit in Mumbai on Wednesday also featured Mohit Pande, country head, south-east Asia and India, Google for Work, and Ramanathan Hariharan, group director and board member, Landmark Group.

Biyani fired the first shot.

Expect some e-commerce firms to shut shop in the next few months, he said.

“The current business model of etailers with its high costs is not sustainable and in the next six months the sector will be in the news for closures of some of these loss-making companies.”

“Can someone keep operating at a loss? And how much loss can someone keep funding?”- Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

“The cost of doing business for Future Group is at 12-14% compared with 4-5% of the kirana wala (corner store owner). For e-commerce companies, the cost of doing business is 53%,” added Biyani, without explaining how he came by the numbers, although, given the high delivery costs and huge discounts offered by e-commerce firms, they do not appear counter-intuitive. Bansal explained that this was on account of the high cost of customer acquisition.

Bansal also justified the costs and said e-commerce firms still account for just 1% of India’s $650 billion by sales retail market and that they are in investment phase with an emphasis on growth (not profitability).

“This is the stage where it is about investing in the growth of the business. We are investing in training schools for our staff, we are getting outside talent, in technology, infrastructure, warehousing and logistics. What is visible is the discounting, which is a small part of the overall investments we are making. It is the tip of the iceberg; 90% (of the investment) is in the back-end,” added Bansal.

Jhunjhunwala was skeptical.

“I will believe in it (the e-commerce model) when they (e-commerce firms) sell at an economical price. You are in a capitalist society. Can someone keep operating at a loss? And how much loss can someone keep funding?” he asked.

Investors will soon start seeking consolidation in the sector, he added.

The focus of everyone in the e-commerce ecosystem is on growth, Bansal reasoned.

“The market is growing at 100% year-on-year and if you are not matching that or beating it, you will become irrelevant in some point in time.”

According to Amitabh Mall, partner and director, Boston Consulting Group, India’s e-commerce market will grow from $10 billion in 2015 to $50 billion by 2020.

Bansal is even more optimistic. He believes it will grow to over $100 billion.