LG Display Struggles for Footing After LCD Forecasting Error Leads to Crisis

LG Display Struggles for Footing After LCD Forecasting Error Leads to Crisis

The chief executive of South Korea’s LG Display, Han Sang-beom, was determined to deliver a strong message when he appeared before 1,000 employees at the firm’s main manufacturing plant last spring.

So he donned a pair of goggles, picked up a hammer, and smashed a liquid-crystal display screen to bits.

The symbolism was impossible to miss: LCD panels, the company’s mainstay for years, were being relegated to the industrial dustbin. The company’s future would depend on a newer technology, organic light-emitting diode, or OLED.

“I’ve never seen him do such a thing,” said one company official who was present. “His performance showed a grim determination to weather this crisis.”

Yet LG Display’s predicament was in many ways one of its own making. Less than a year earlier, the company had showered employees with perks and bonuses as profits rolled in, driven by the company’s leadership in LCD screens for TVs, computer monitors and smartphones.

But LG Display had misread the market: Chinese competitors were coming on strong, and by early this year prices for LCD screens were plummeting. The fat profits of 2017 turned into big losses in 2018 – and the company abruptly announced in July that it would slash $2.7 billion in capital spending it had planned through 2020.

It did not reveal its total or previous targets but made about $6 billion in capital expenditures in 2017, according to Eikon data.

The company’s troubles stand as a stark example of the risks inherent in hotly competitive technology businesses that require massive capital investment.

“It seems that LG Display made a major miscalculation on its LCD business, not accurately judging the timing to pull away when they could see China’s rapid catch-up,” said Lee Won-sik, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

“We knew from last year LCD prices would go down but we did not expect this big and fast fall,” acknowledged one LG Display official, who, like others in this article, declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. “Customers had been asking for price cuts, but we didn’t act until it got too late.”

Prices in free fall

LG Display posted five straight years of strong profits after Han took the helm in 2012, riding a tide of LCD screen orders from Apple and strong demand for both phone and TV screens from LG Electronics, which owns more than a third of the display-maker.

LG Display also began to invest in OLED displays, which unlike LCD screens don’t require backlighting and can deliver more natural-looking colours. OLED screens also consume less energy and can be bent and folded.

But the technology is expensive, and LG Display was earning the vast majority of its revenue from LCDs. Until its recent cutbacks, it was running eight LCD production lines in South Korea and another in China.

While LG Display hummed along, Chinese companies, led by BOE Technology Group, were pouring huge sums into LCD production.

By January 2017, BOE had become the No. 1 supplier of LCDs larger than 9 inches, according to market tracker IHS Markit, taking 22.3 percent of unit shipments versus 21.6 percent for LG Display. It was the first time a Chinese display maker had taken the top spot.

By early 2018, prices for many types of LCDs were in free-fall. Prices for 50-inch LCD television panels, for example, slid 32 percent in August versus the same month last year, according to IHS Markit.

LG Display’s big South Korean rival, the display unit of Samsung Electronics, had begun pulling back from LCD years earlier, shutting down older LCD production lines in South Korea beginning in 2010, according to a Samsung Display official. The company now has just two LCD factories in South Korea and one in China.

But LG Display was caught flat-footed and is now furiously slashing LCD capacity. It has closed three LCD production lines since last year and abandoned plans for a new one.

The company in April also rolled out an “emergency management system,” with employees being told to use cheaper flights and cut back on group meals, company sources told Reuters. Cash flow has become a concern: it was negative 838.2 billion won ($743.93 million) in the second quarter, according to Eikon data, and has been negative for three straight quarters.

Three company sources say the company is not planning layoffs for fear of losing talent to China, but some employees are frustrated with cuts in benefits.

“Executives are trying to keep the morale up, telling us media reports about a voluntary redundancy program are false,” a company source with knowledge of the matter said.

OLED a game changer?

LG Display is now betting the house on OLED, and says it can fund $17.6 billion in OLED investments over the next three years. It expects the newer technology to account for 40 percent of revenue by 2020, up from just 10 percent today.

As OLED becomes more prevalent, LG Display’s fortunes could turn, analysts say.

LG Display’s OLED panels have helped its sibling, LG Electronics, take the lead in high-end televisions. Some analysts believe LG Display has been pressured to supply those panels cheaply, hurting its profitability, though the company denies that is the case.

But the OLED market promises to be tough. Samsung boasts that it has been investing in OLED since 2005. BOE is getting into OLED too. There are also still technical challenges in making large-panel OLED TV screens that don’t wear out too quickly, noted Ross Young, CEO of research provider Display Supply Chain Consultants.

Son Young-jun, LG Display’s vice president of public relations, said in a statement that the company is the only producer of large-size OLED displays and had “unmatched technological expertise” in OLED. “The potential and outlook ahead is promising,” he said.

LG Display says its OLED division will turn a profit in the third quarter. It also expects LCD prices to stabilise, enabling it to squeeze profits from the older technology until the newer one matures.

“Given OLED is our answer and solution to the crisis, there’s nothing else we can do other than tightening our belts and pushing for OLED,” a company official said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 Set to Launch in India Tomorrow: Here’s Everything You Should Know

Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch live stream is scheduled to start at at 4pm tomorrow

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Xiaomi Mi A2 launch event is scheduled to start at 4pm on August 8
  • It will be live streamed for fans to watch in real-time
  • Xiaomi will give 100 people who register for the live stream F-codes

Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled to start in less than 24 hours, marking the entry of only the second Xiaomiphone part of the Android One initiative in the country. The new Mi A2 smartphone is the follow-up to last year’s Mi A1, and the company is emphasising its cameras in its social media teasers. Gadgets 360 has previously learnt the smartphone’s base variant, unveiled in Spain last month, will not be coming to the Indian market. Instead, the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage model will serve as the entry point for the new model. Also, the smartphone will be an Amazon exclusive in India. The specifications of the handset are already known, so the Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India will be the big draw for all the fans. Here’s what you should know about tomorrow’s launch:

Xiaomi Mi A2 live stream

The Xiaomi Mi A2 India launch is scheduled for 4pm IST, and there will be a live stream. However, the link is not yet live, and we will update this story as and when it becomes available. Xiaomi fans looking forward to the Mi A2 launch in India can register for the live stream on the official site and 100 of these registrants will win F-codes for the handset.

Xiaomi Mi A2 price in India, specifications

As mentioned above, the Mi A2 price in India is not yet known. The smartphone was unveiled with price tag of EUR 279 (about Rs. 22,500) for the 4GB RAM + 64GB storage variant and EUR 349 (about Rs. 28,000) for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option. While the former is confirmed to launch in India at tomorrow’s event, the company was said to be still deliberating on the latter.

ALSO SEEXiaomi Mi A2 vs Mi A2 Lite: What’s Different?

As for the specifications, the dual-SIM (Nano) Xiaomi Mi A2 runs an optimised stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo, certified by Google’s Android One programme, and sports a 5.99-inch full-HD+ (1080×2160 pixels) display with a 18:9 aspect ratio, 2.5D curved glass, and Gorilla Glass 5. It is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, paired with an Adreno 512 GPU.

 

In the camera department, the handset sports a dual rear camera setup. It consists of a 12-megapixel Sony IMX486 with f/1.75 aperture and 1.25-micron pixels, and a 20-megapixel secondary Sony IMX376 sensor with f/1.75 aperture and a 2-micron 4-in-1 Super Pixel size. The rear camera setup comes with dual-tone LED flash and PDAF. On the front, the handset gets a 20-megapixel Sony IMX376 selfie camera with f/1.75 aperture, fixed focal length, and a soft-LED flash. There is a 3,010mAh battery under the hood, and the India variant will come with Quick Charge 4 for fast-charging support.

In terms of connectivity, the smartphone includes 4G LTE, Bluetooth v5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Miracast, an IR emitter, and USB Type-C. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Xiaomi Mi A2. Sensors on the handset include accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, and proximity sensor.

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Xiaomi Mi A2

Xiaomi Mi A2

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
Display5.99-inch
Processor2.2GHz octa-core
Front Camera20-megapixel
Resolution1080x2160 pixels
RAM4GB
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Storage32GB
Rear Camera20-megapixel
Battery Capacity3010mAh
BUY AT
  • Xiaomi Mi A2
    Launching 8th August
    Buy

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 AI Camera Features Leaked, S Pen to Come in Colour Options

S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will sell them separately

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Camera app in Galaxy Note 9 to get some AI features
  • Samsung to sell S Pen separately
  • S Pen comes with a finer tip and supports 4,096 levels of pressure

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will get unveiled this week, but with all the rumours that have been surfacing on the Web, we probably know what to expect from the smartphone. Besides all the leaks, the Galaxy Note 9 has also been showcased in several teasers released by Samsung itself. However, leaks are still pouring in tipping the expected specifications and features of the upcoming handset. A recent leak has suggested that the Galaxy Note 9 will have AI-based features. Samsung will also reportedly give early Galaxy Note 9 buyers a choice between the AKG Y50 Bluetooth wireless headphones and 15000 Fortnite V-Bucks. Additionally, a leak has also suggested the features of the S Pen stylus that will reportedly also be sold standalone by Samsung.

As per a post by a tipster on Reddit, citing an unnamed Samsung trainer, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will come with AI-based features that will be able to optimise the camera based on the subject detected, such as landscape, portrait, food, and more. The new camera is also said to have speech bubbles that pop out if it detects an image having any imperfections such as “blurriness, eyes blinking, and hand shaking too much.”

According to the Reddit user, pre-order offers on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 include wireless noise-cancelling headphones from AKG worth $299 or the Fortnite package. Also, buyers would be given the option to get both if they pay $100, the user added. This piece of information has been reaffirmed by an image of Galaxy Note 9 Value Pack retail box shared by Dutch site Techtastic. The retail box includes the AKG headphones along with a car mount.

The leaks suggest that the S Pen stylus in Galaxy Note 9 will let users double tap a button to flip camera mode via by doubling as a remote shutter. Also, the S Pen will be able to deliver up to 30 minutes of use by charging for just 40 seconds. Also, the leak suggests that S Pen will come in different colour options and Samsung will separately sell different colour styli. However, there is no information on the pricing. The colour of the stylus is also said to determine the colour of the on-screen memo font.

Also, when it comes to Samsung Dex, the Galaxy Note 9 will reportedly be able to enter Dex mode without a dock, just by using a USB Type-C to HDMI cable. The display of the Galaxy Note 9 will be 6.4-inch but the footprint of the smartphone will remain the same as the Galaxy Note 8, the Reddit user added.

Meanwhile, a new report has hinted at the features of the S Pen stylus that will arrive with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. As per a WinFuture report, the S Pen will get Bluetooth support, a feature that has been suggested in leaks multiple times. The report says that the button at the top of the stylus can now be used for the first time as a remote control for the smartphone. The report claims that the S Pen can be used to trigger images, remotely control presentations, or even operate other apps without having to touch the handset itself. The images leaked in the report suggest that the stylus comes with a finer tip and now supports 4,096 levels of pressure for a very precise control over your drawings or hand-written messages.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
Display6.40-inch
Processor1.8GHz octa-core
Front CameraYes
Resolution1440x2960 pixels
RAM6GB
OSAndroid 8.1
Rear CameraYes
Battery Capacity4000mAh
Also See
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (Jet Black, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs.18,999
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (Black, 32GB)
    Rs.29,990
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Maple Gold, 64GB, 6GB RAM)
    *Includes Rs. 4,000 cashback
    Rs.55,900*

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

How IIMs are using CAT 2018 to take in more non-engineers

IIMs want students to come from diverse academic backgrounds and therefore IIM professors are trying to redesign questions for its MBA entrance exam CAT.  Photo: HT

IIMs want students to come from diverse academic backgrounds and therefore IIM professors are trying to redesign questions for its MBA entrance exam CAT. Photo: HT

New Delhi: As their classrooms continue to be dominated by men and engineers, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are trying to add diversity, which will ultimately show up in corporate boardrooms over the next few years. At the centre of this strategy is IIM’s Common Admission Test (CAT 2018), which will see a change in the type of questions being asked.

Although the IIMs have decided not to change the broad pattern in this year’s CAT examination, yet questions will be framed in a manner to create a level field for students from all streams, including arts and commerce.

IIM officials say they do not want the CAT pattern to be biased towards engineering students as there is a need for academic diversity in India’s top B-schools.

What kind of questions should you expect in the CAT

CAT 2018 convener and IIM Calcutta professor Sumanta Basu told Livemint that there was no significant change in the broad pattern of the CAT exam. The IIMs are continuing with the same set of three sections:

Section I: Verbal ability and reading comprehension

Section II: Data interpretation and logical reasoning

Section III: Quantitative ability

But within these sections, there is a change. “We may focus on questions that test candidates on fundamentals,” Basu said. “Our effort will primarily involve framing the correct types of questions instead of changing the pattern altogether,” he added.

The CAT exam does not have a syllabus. Only mocks tests, to be posted soon on the CAT website, can help you understand the pattern of questions. In the three-hour-long computer-based exam, candidates get 60 minutes each for the three sections.

According to analysis of previous CAT exams by coaching centres, the focus has been more on testing reasoning and analytical ability than grammar and vocabulary. This could be a reason why engineers have the upper hand in the CAT.

How are engineers filling up IIMs in large numbers

If you walk into a typical classroom in any of the 20 IIMs in India, chances are high you will encounter students who have already completed their engineering courses. Even popular author Chetan Bhagat first studied in IIT Delhi and then joined IIM Ahmedabad before working as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs.

IIM Calcutta, ranked consistently among the top management colleges in India, has an overwhelming number of 88% students coming in from an engineering background. The figures may be better in some other IIMs, like the one in Ahmedabad (68%), but the IIMs remain a bastion of engineering graduates.

Engineers dominate list of top scorers in the CAT exams. In 2017, there were only three non-engineers who scored 100 percentile.

What are the other changes in IIM selection process

Over the last few years, the IIMs have been making concentrated efforts to have more academic diversity, not just through the CAT but via other aspects of the selection process.

IIM Calcutta, for example, allots only 15 points out of 50 to the CAT score the while personal interview (PI) and a written ability test (WAT) together receive almost double the weight (24+5). Therefore, a candidate who can write well on a given topic has a higher chance of getting through IIM Calcutta than someone who is good in analysis but has poor writing and communication skills.

IIM Bangalore, on the other hand, wants you to be at your best in PI. The weightage is 30 for PI and 25 for CAT.

If you are applying to IIM Ahmedabad then a science student has to score at least 55% in class XII exams to get 1 point in the preliminary screening process while a commerce student needs only 50% and arts 45%.

How are IIMs giving importance to gender diversity

Besides skewed towards engineers, classrooms at IIMs are also skewed against the fairer sex. IIMs, both old and new ones, are walking the extra mile to ensure that women representation.

The admission of girls in IIMs during the last three years has shown an increasing trend with the total women admitted going up from 881 in 2015-17 to 1211 in 2017-19, according to the union ministry of human resource development. IIM Ahmedabad’s flagship PGP course saw 28% women students in 2017, as compared to 14% women in 2015.

IIM Rohtak has been the most successful so far in gender diversity with a ratio of over 50% going in favour of women.

[“Source-livemint”]