The 3Doodler is a 3D printing pen developed by Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue of WobbleWorks LLC. 3Doodler began funding in February 2013 on the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. It utilizes plastic thread made of either acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polylactic acid that is melted and then cooled through a patented process while moving through the pen, which can then be used to make 3D objects by hand.
The 3Doodler has been described as a glue gun for 3D printing because of how the plastic is extruded from the tip, with one foot of the plastic thread equaling “about 11 feet of moldable material”.
WobbleWorks launched a Kickstarter campaign for the 3Doodler on February 2013 with an initial fundraising target of $30,000. The $50 reward level was the minimum needed to receive the product, with higher reward levels of $75 and $99 including more bags of plastic thread, and the highest level of $10,000 including a “membership in the company’s beta testing program for future products” and the opportunity to spend an entire day with the company’s founders, along with the backer’s 3Doodler being personally engraved.
The reward levels were expanded due to demand, with the added tiers of the product shipping in 2014 rather than in September, October, November or December 2013 for the earlier backers. The company also teamed up with several Etsy wire-artists to showcase the abilities of the 3Doodler and to create “limited edition art pieces” for the campaign.
The fundraising target was reached within a matter of hours and many of the reward levels were sold out within the first day, along with all the Etsy art pieces.By end of February, more than $1 million had been pledged.
- First 3Doodler 3D Printing Pens Ship to Kickstarter Backers (inhabitat.com)
- The $75 3Doodler is a simple, handheld 3D-printing pen (venturebeat.com)
- 3Doodler Finally Shipping to Early Backers, Retail in 2014 (news.softpedia.com)
- IFA 2013: Hands-On Alone Time With the 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen (news.softpedia.com)
- 3Doodler 3D printing pen starts shipping to Kickstarter backers, retail models arriving in early 2014 (engadget.com)
Flexible OLED displays launched in January
In January 2013 Samsung officially launched their flexible OLED displays, calling them YOUM displays. YOUM panels are bendable – but it’s likely that the first products to use those displays will actually be rigid. The display can be “curved” thought. A plastic based AMOLED will also be shatterproof, and also lighter and thinner compared to glass based OLEDs.
1st product using flexible display in October
In October 2013, Samsung announced the world’s first product to use a flexible OLED display – the Galaxy Round curved smartphone. This is an Android 4.3 smartphone similar to the Galaxy Note 3, with the major feature being the 5.7″ Full-HD curved flexible display; samsung simply refers to it as a flexible Super AMOLED, strangely they are not using the YOUM brand.
Flexible OLEDs are lightier and thinner compared to glass-based panels, and they should also be much more durable. In fact in the past they were said to be shatterproof, although Samsung did not mention this during the Galaxy Round release.
When will we see the first YOUM product?
As we said, in October 2013 Samsung finally launched the first flexible OLED product, although this was not branded as YOUM. Samsung announced they have started to mass produce flexible OLEDs – 5.7″ Full-HD panels.
Samsung currently capacity is about 8,000 5.5-Gen sheets, which is about 1-1.5 million 5″ panels a month assuming 100% yield. But they are producing larger panels, yields won’t be that high and the line is also used for R&D which means that actual production will be a few hundreds of thousands of panels a month.
As you can see, Samsung’s capacity is very limited; consider the fact that they currently make around 10 million 5″ AMOLEDs in a month for the Galaxy S4. So at first Samsung will not use these panels in a mass market phone. As we said, some reports suggest that Samsung will unveil a Galaxy Note 3 variant with a flexible OLED – this phone will be lighter, thinner and more durable than the regular Note 3.
- The Samsung Galaxy Round: Why the Curved Smartphone Display is Truly Innovative (thedroidguy.com)
- Samsung Galaxy Round with flexible display likely to debut soon (thenewstribe.com)
- What you should know about flexible displays (FAQ) (news.cnet.com)
- Flexible Displays: FAQ (business2community.com)
- Samsung Galaxy Round tipped to come this week with flexible display (androidcommunity.com)
- LG begins mass production of flexible OLED smartphone displays (androidos.in)
The PC market has been on the decline for the past year, but there are new hints that the situation is improving — if only slightly. Both Gartner (shown here) and IDC estimate that worldwide computer shipments dropped roughly eight percent year-over-year in the third quarter. While that’s not exactly comforting to vendors, it’s better than the double-digit losses of the past several months; the analyst groups even saw flat or positive growth in countries like Japan and the US. Any further declines in some regions may be relatively gentle, Gartner says.
As for who’s out in front?
Heavyweights like Lenovo, HP and Dell grew thanks to improving business sales and some advance shipments of Windows 8.1 PCs. Acer and ASUS, meanwhile, were dealt the worst blow as their netbook sales continued to suffer from the rise of mobile OS tablets. Neither Gartner nor IDC is predicting a turnaround for the industry, but they suggest that PC builders are finally figuring out their places in a world where mobile devices rule.
Not only PC, but MAC also
Another interesting piece of data we glean in the report is that Apple (AAPL) experienced a PC shipment decline of 11.2% in the third quarter. Perhaps, iPhone and iPad are cannibalizing MAC sales. It’s something to watch in the upcoming quarterly results. Smartphones and tablets have compressed the tech giant’s margins, falling Mac sales might further the problem; although management recent said margins will be higher thanks to iPhone 5S sales. Nobody actually wants the 5C as its price has been cut by many vendors already.
The way of the VHS
The PC is going the way of the VHS. Investors would be better served focusing on tablet leaders and suppliers. Even smartphone sales are beginning to moderate.
- PC shipments fall for sixth straight quarter (nbcnews.com)
- The PC Industry Shrank Another 9%, Gartner Says (AAPL, HPQ) (businessinsider.com)
- The PC Industry Shrank Another 9%, Gartner Says (AAPL, HPQ) (embargozone.com)
- IDC and Gartner: Q3 2013 PC shipments not as bad as predicted, but still bad (neowin.net)
- PC sales continue to fall as smartphones, tablets cut demand (ctvnews.ca)
Microsoft has purchased Nokia’s devices and services unit, bringing the Lumia lineup under the Redmond roof. The move unites Windows Phone 8 with its biggest hardware supporter, giving the company the integrated mobile offering it’s been looking for with Surface and other devices. When the deal closes in the first quarter of 2014, Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for Nokia’s business, plus another €1.65 billion to license its portfolio of patents. 32,000 people are expected to transfer from Nokia to Microsoft, including 18,300 that are “directly involved in manufacturing.”
The purchase comes on the heels of what appeared to be a failed acquisition in June, at which point it seemed conversations had broken off entirely. Now the two come together, in what outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called “a bold step into the future.”
A driving force behind the sale seems to be Nokia’s low-end Asha brand, which Microsoft has acquired outright. Asha gives Microsoft a far larger footprint for Windows Phone, and access to millions of customers in developing countries that it plans to use as an “on-ramp to Windows Phone.” The emphasis also lends some credibility to the notion that Nokia’s high-end strategy isn’t working — analysts predicted a horrific Q3 for the company, and its struggles to find a foothold are well-documented. In fact, Microsoft’s licensing deal for the Nokia brand doesn’t include future Lumias — Nokia as a smartphone brand is effectively dead, as Microsoft takes the lineup in-house.
Though Nokia was by leaps and bounds Microsoft’s best hardware partner for Windows Phone 8, EVP of operating systems Terry Myerson was careful to note that Microsoft’s purchase doesn’t come with nepotism. As Google has with Motorola, Myerson promised every partner would be treated the same, even quoting a song by The Killers to make his point. And from Huawei to HTC, there are still other partners — Nokia’s coming in-house, but Windows Phone 8 isn’t being walled off.
- Microsoft: Nokia kept some of its Lumia hardware features secret from us (neowin.net)
- Nokia kept secrets from Microsoft over its Windows Phone plans (theverge.com)
- Microsoft Purchases Nokia’s Device and Services Division to Unite Windows Phone Hardware and Software (macrumors.com)
- Even with its purchase of Nokia, Microsoft won’t forget its Windows Phone partners (phonearena.com)
- Microsoft’s Nokia Deal by the Numbers (allthingsd.com)
- Microsoft: This is why we bought Nokia (wpcentral.com)
- Microsoft purchases Nokia for $7.2 billion (digitaltrends.com)
One of the best ways for Microsoft to jump-start its lagging mobile business is to buy struggling BlackBerry. Why buy a mobile company quickly going south? There are plenty of reasons — here are the top six why Microsoft should pay up and take over BlackBerry.
Reason 1: Microsoft’s enterprise focus
Microsoft’s core business is in the enterprise — Windows, Office, servers and tools, Exchange, and more. BlackBerry’s core business is in the enterprise as well. But Microsoft has been hurt by the BYOD movement, because it allows iOS and Android devices to make their way into enterprises. BlackBerry is valued by enterprises for its secure networks and servers. The New York Times reports that “In its most recent quarterly report, BlackBerry reported having roughly 72 million users worldwide, most of whom were still generating monthly services fees by sending data over the company’s special closed network.” There’s clearly great synergy here for Microsoft.
Reason 2: increase market share
The latest figures from IDC show Windows Phone with a 3.7% worldwide market share, up from 3.1% a year ago. BlackBerry has 2.9% market share. Buying BlackBerry would give Microsoft a 6.6% market share. Given that it took Windows Phone a year to grow by only .6%, this would be a big increase. Over time, Microsoft would switch users from the BlackBerry to the Windows Phone platform, and grow Windows Phone that way, especially in enterprises.
Reason 3: hardware engineers
Steve Ballmer’s vision for Microsoft is to turn it into a devices-and-services company. Microsoft has not primarily been a hardware company up until now, and so it is not rich in hardware engineers. It takes a long time to recruit and hire them. Buying BlackBerry would immediately bring to Microsoft a sizable core of experienced mobile engineers and designers, who could work not just on smartphones but on other Microsoft devices.
Reason 4: increase intellectual property
The Times notes that “Analysts generally suggested that BlackBerry’s most attractive asset is its intellectual property, including some of its software and its various cellphone patents.” In today’s litigious tech world, patents can be used to harm competitors and get very serious licensing revenue from them. Microsoft uses its patent to extract licensing fees from many Android device makers. It’s not clear that BlackBerry has any patents that could be used in this way. But it’s certainly possible, and growing your patent war chest is always a good thing.
Reason 5: Smartcar strategy
One massive mobile market is currently up for grabs: Automobiles. There’s no doubt that all cars will soon become rolling networks and smart devices. No one dominates that market yet. Buying BlackBerry would give Microsoft a headstart on owning it. BlackBerry owns QNX Software Systems, which built the operating system that powers the BlackBerry 10. More important, though, is that the same operating system is being used by GE, Cisco, and notably General Motors. General Motors uses it for its OnStar service, as well as for its Audi and BMW lines.
The Times says that BlackBerry has plans to “use QNX’s automotive ties and its unique global data network to allow car companies to update vehicle software through wireless networks and to monitor vehicles’ mechanical state.” Microsoft could do that and go beyond it, looking to make Windows Phone or Windows the smartcar operating system.
Reason 6: cheapest cost
It’s clear that by itself, BlackBerry has no future. So the company can likely be bought at a bargain price, rather than at a premium. Microsoft is cash rich. It’s time to put that cash to good use, and BlackBerry would be a very good mobile investment at a reasonable cost.
- Six reasons Microsoft should buy BlackBerry (blogs.computerworld.com)
- Speed is the key: How Windows Phone jumped ahead of BlackBerry (zdnet.com)
- Report: BlackBerry Advisers Eyeing Microsoft (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Where Will BlackBerry’s American Tale End? (fool.com)
- BlackBerry’s biggest strength (news.yahoo.com)
- Verizon pushing Bing app to BlackBerry Storm (reviews.cnet.com)
- The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: Should Microsoft buy Blackberry? (mayo615.com)
Despite beating Wall Street expectations in terms of shipment volumes, Apple’s share in the worldwide smartphone operating system market posted a year-over-year decline during the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13). Meanwhile, Android and Windows Phone both managed slight increases during the same period. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 236.4 million smartphones in 2Q13, up 51.3% from the 156.2 million units shipped in 2Q12. Second quarter shipments grew 9.3% when compared to the 216.3 million units shipped in 1Q13.
Smartphone OS Highlights
Android maintained its leadership position, with strong contributions from Samsung and its Galaxy S4. Not to be overlooked were LG and Chinese vendors Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE, which each recorded double-digit shipment volumes in the millions. Combined, these vendors accounted for 62.5% of all Android-powered smartphone shipments during the quarter. Still, the remaining vendors within the Android ecosystem should not be overlooked, as many have developed a strong local presence within key developing markets.
iOS finished the quarter as the clear number 2 operating system, showing that, even without new product launches, demand remains strong. Moreover, Apple added new mobile operators to its camp, boosting short-term volumes and cementing long-term end-user relationships. What remains to be seen is how the new iOS 7 will be received once it reaches the market later this year, as much of the look and feel of the user interface has been revamped.
Windows Phone posted the largest year-over-year increase among the top five smartphone platforms, and in the process reinforced its position as the number 3 smartphone operating system. Driving this result was Nokia, which released two new smartphones and grew its presence at multiple mobile operators. But beyond Nokia, Windows Phone remained a secondary option for other vendors, many of which have concentrated on Android. By comparison, Nokia accounted for 81.6% of all Windows Phone smartphone shipments during 2Q13.
- Wndows Phone shows signs of life while BlackBerry keeps crumbling (news.yahoo.com)
- IDC’s 2Q13 Smartphone Share Report: It’s iOS vs. Android, and Windows Phone vs. Everyone Else (globalnerdy.com)
- The Android Stat That Shocked the Smartphone World (mobilemarketingwatch.com)
- Apple loses ground to Android and Microsoft in smartphone operating systems (telegraph.co.uk)