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Dell Streak…Is it REALLY a phone?

Communication at its finest

The Original Brick Cell Phone

So they say “history repeats itself”, but does that mean the era of “brick phones” has returned? Are we going back to the

days when cell phones were about a foot in length, 8 inches wide, housing a thick black antenna that could double up as sword?

Does anyone remember the 1980′s when car phones were actually huge plastic devices connected to the car through a spiral cord?

This is exactly what I thought of at first glance of AT&T’s “Dell Streak.” Sporting a whopping 5-inch multi-touch display, this device is more than just “a phone.” In my opinion, Dell might as well have left the “phone” part out.

Without the use of a Bluetooth ear piece and/or speakerphone when making calls, this phone is just way too cumbersome. I’d buy it to use solely as a cheap alternative to a tablet. I can just imagine some dork trying to look cool while walking and talking with this thing on his face.

Nice try Dell/AT&T, you get an “A” for effort.

Dell Streak - Phone or Tablet?

History Repeats Itself

Farewell Apple

Farewell Apple

sooo…the Verizon iPhone went on sale today!!! *Yippee!* Aren’t you just so EXCITED?!!!…(yea, me neither.)

My excitement has now turned into sheer disappointment and I am retiring from further blogs and/or camtasia’s relating to it. I’ve waited so very long for this one moment, and now that it’s here, I’m truly uninterested. I give them a *BBM talk-to-the-hand-smiley-face* for all you Blackberry/RIMM users.

Anywho, it doesnt look like I’m the only one uninterested in the VZ iPhone as news reports stated the lack of people waiting on-line for the phone in stores today. This could, however, be the result of the phone’s pre-sales for current Verizon customers which began last week.

This news might have still affected AAPL as the stock closed over 4 dollars lower than its open, falling 122 basis points from yesterday’s close.

Verizon, on the other hand, did not result in as much of a drastic change as it closed 1 cent lower than its open and 3 basis points lower than yesterday’s close.

With all of that said, I’m now off to my nearest Verizon store to check out the new iPhone. However, I do assure you, I won’t be walking away with one tonight-nor in the near future.

TriQuint: What’s the Next Move?

TriQuint Semiconductor Inc.’s (TQNT) fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled as revenue jumped by nearly one-third, but results still fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Shares fell 13% to $11.90 after hours. The stock has more than doubled in value the past year.

The company also forecast current-quarter earnings of 14 cents to 16 cents a share on revenue of $215 million to $225 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect 19 cents on $227 million.

TriQuint also said it sees full-year revenue up about 20%. Analysts had forecast an increase of 17% in revenue.

“With the world transitioning to a mobile Internet, I expect a strong market and see another solid growth year for TriQuint in 2011,” said President and Chief Executive Ralph Quinsey.

The maker of chips used in mobile communications devices participates in a mobile-devices market that has been rapidly expanding-and seeing high levels of competition-of late.

TriQuint reported a profit of $42.5 million, or 25 cents a share, up from $17.5 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier. The year-earlier quarter included 3 cents of net impacts such as stock-based compensation.

Revenue rose 31% to $253.4 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast earnings of 28 cents on $251 million in revenue.

Gross margin rose to 39% from 37.4%.

After reading the quick article from the Wall Street Journal you can see that TQNT is getting shellacked after a light quarter.  The question remains, is there business still intact?  Well, from a fundamental view I still have to do more work and read up on what has really changed but from I have read in the past I don’t see these earnings having any impact as to future 4G growth, but this is extremely raw and I have to take a closer look at the quarter and the companies remarks.

Technically there is solid support from $11.50 - $10 and if the name gives me any sign that it is  starting to hold I will start accumulating shares.   We bought a little on the release at $11.85 but nothing substantial as we take time to let the news digest and evaluate our original thesis.

I will give an update on the overall thesis over the next few days.

Let it be green!

I’m all for the environment. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I sometimes think myself to be going overboard with the idea when I notice that I focus on the amount of gas burnt by vehicle rather than the attractive lady driving it. I was overjoyed to see the shift in the american automobile manufactures towards a greener more efficient engines. My ideal car would be a green vehicle; A simple conversion from electricity to mechanical energy.

The Obama administration is all out for the greener future. Their effort to put 1 million electrical cars on the road by 2015 which is quite possible. So the administration has proposed a plan to give $7500 discount directly for the customers on the spot. There are existing tax credits  between $2500 and $7500 which are only can be claimed after the tax credits come in. So in this effort the dealers and the finance companies can claim the tax credit for themselves and pass on the credit to the consumers directly. This looks really good for the consumers but the dealers remains skeptic after “Cash for Clunkers” programs.

With the sales of Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf going well the future looks good for the green cars. GM CEO also promised to build a $7500 cheaper Volt which is definitely going to help. From a fundamental point of view this is a good buy.

Marketing 101: Study Apple

The highly anticipated debut of the Verizon iPhone progressed today, or to be exact, at 3:00 AM EST.  I set my alarm last night/this morning to pre-order the iPhone after two rough years with my Blackberry Storm 1.  I never thought I would say this, but I am officially “one of those Apple geeks”.

I like to go against the crowd most of the time, and delayed my first purchase of an Apple product until just a year ago with my first iPod.  The iPhone will be my second.  I am one of the “late adopters” as marketing buffs would define my purchasing behavior for tech gadgets. I used to chuckle to myself and watch in disappointed awe when walking in the mall on the days of new Apple product releases, with lines stretching to the end of building and even outside. I used to laugh at my friends who used their Macbook, iPad, iPhone, and iPod simultaneously. I used to roll my eyes at Super Bowl parties and move theaters at the iPhone addicts who paid no attention to the big game or Jessica Alba.

After all the years of clever TV and internet ads, word-of-mouth advertising by loyal customers, jetting to the Apple Store to relieve my stress, and then finally dreaming of all the cool things I could do, I took action.  I woke up at 3 AM to pre-order a product a week in advance to make sure that I don’t have to wait any longer than February 10th to join the Apple craze. I now have an “Apple budget” in my mint.com account.  I am evidence that Apple’s marketing is extraordinary, exceptional, and transcendent.

My advice to marketing professors and boardroom executives: throw your old marketing books and snazzy presentations away, STUDY APPLE.

Cable TV Providers and “Them”

The growing availability of online video subscription has bolstered the market for set-top boxes (STBs). The question that begs to be answered though is, should the cable companies be worried yet? Are these STBs a good replacement for cable? There are multiple issues with STBs like Roku. The first is live content. Traditional programming is still largely available online only after it has aired on regular TV. The other major hurdle for connected devices is their usability. TV viewing has essentially been a passive experience. The only action is flipping the channels on the remote. STBs require higher user interaction and the users have to make conscious choices on what to watch.

In spite of these shortcomings connected devices are becoming a reality and cable companies should be worried. Interestingly, the solution for live content on connected devices is actually being offered up by the cable companies themselves. Cable companies are now ramping up their offerings to connected devices providers. Comcast tested it first version of XFinity TV app for iPad. This App acts a remote control and has the ability to show On Demand content on iPad. Verizon is also testing apps for iPads and other tablets. This type of convergence is needed by the cable companies to slow down the wave of cable-cutting, the consumers are riding.

 The offerings like Google TV, Boxee are not meant to replace cable. They work in tandem with the cable/Dish. The TV masquerades as a computer powered by Google TV (with powerful apps such as YouTube, Netflix, and Pandora etc.). Apple TV is an STB that works with any Apple device in gathering content from the internet and streaming it to the TV. It is meant to enhance the enjoyment of other iOS products. According to Steve Jobs, Apple TV is a “hobby”.

Technology-wise most of the STBs require internet connection and come with built-in Ethernet adapters. Many have Wi-Fi adapters as well. They have built-in video cards for streaming as well. The top component manufacturers in this arena are Cisco, Motorola, Technicolor, and Samsung.  Interestingly they are also the providers for cable/IPTV STBs.

 Cisco recently launched Videoscape, supposedly a rival for Google TV. Cisco is also building digital TV components it hopes to sell to service providers who want to rival Google TV. Manufacturers like Logitech provide Google TV, whereas Sony is offering Internet TV powered with Google TV.  The Sony Internet TV seems like an ultimate solution to the merge of internet and TV. The combination of these 2 giants might drive smaller players like Boxee, Roku out of business. Google TV has strategic partnerships with Sony, Intel and Logitech. The concept of Google TV is good but the cost makes it prohibitive. Although Android is free, the cost of the components from Intel drive up the cost. The TV market is very competitive and Google TV will raise the prices making it an unattractive option to consumers. Until consumers are willing to pay extra dollars for an Integrated TV, Google TV may face some difficulties. The solution then is to build STBs that work with Google TV on any display and that’s what Panasonic, Samsung and Motorola are up to. Motorola is the components manufacturer for cable/IPTV STBs and connected devices and probably won’t lose as much in this battle.

All in all, there definitely seems to be a downward trend in cable subscribers and cord cutting is a factor. There are other factors to this like the weak economy and high unemployment. SNL Kagan, an online research and analysis firm for the media and communications industry, suggests that the STBs and video streaming subscribers are relatively new in the market. But once the economy rebounds, subscribers who have gotten used to life without pay TV will probably have even more options to turn to, depressing any rebound in the number of cable subs. If cable giants like Comcast, Time Warner cable, Cablevision, Cox and Mediacom are not worried already, they should be now.

Advertising (or the lack thereof) taken to another level

Advertising is a form of communication with the intention of convincing its audience to


purchase a product, idea, or service; or to take some sort of action. It has many different delivery methods, including newspapers, magazines, (spam) email, television, radio, direct mail; or through more innovative ways such as websites and text messages.
Although Advertising is seen by many as being necessary for economic growth, it is also seen by others as being nothing more than a nuisance. This is why new companies, giving alternative options to individual advertisements, are on the horizon.
Onga, is one of these companies. Onga, a new online service, is testing the waters to see if people are interested in signing up for their ad-free news aggregation service. For $7 per month, the service will allow subscribers to get news articles of interest pulled from multiple sites and into one place, without being bombarded by advertisements.
The company admits most people will probably not pay for the service, but rather opt to receive free news at the cost of getting smacked by constant ads. However, it is a gamble Ongo plans to take.

Future of Handheld Gaming Consoles

I’m a gamer. I’m being playing games since I was 5 years old. From the very simple Tetris and GameBoy to the Sony PSP  and Nintendo DS I’ve enjoyed every stage of their progress. But during the last couple of years I’ve wondered how they would survive in the electronic consumer market which seems to be converging day by day.

Within the next few years every consumer electronic would be able to make calls, browse the Internet, social networking, play music and video and play games. So what would happen to these big names in the gaming consoles in the future? We would have to take some time to analyse this situation.

Sony just came out with the announcement of its newest handheld code named “NGP” which looks quite the same as its predecessors. It specs are fantastic with quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 5-inch touchscreen OLED display with 960 x 544 resolution, dual analog sticks (not nubs as on the current generation), 3G, WiFi, GPS, a rear-mounted touch-pad, accelerometer / gyroscope motion sensing , an electronic compass, and cameras on both the front and back. Well is it impressive enough? If you look at some of the other types of consumer electronics you can see that you have quite the same specs as this except for the processor. How can they really make distinction between the other consumer electronics? I’m not sure if there is a clear cut line. If there was it is surely fading.

During iPhone 4G announcement it was told that the number of games purchased in the iPhone actually is much greater than the games purchased for any other gaming console. I’m sure the android platform is also able to give a similar comment. Apart from them the tablets are making their way killing off the market held by netbooks. These devices can afford to have much powerful processors and would surely rival the handheld gaming consoles. I was under the impression that the gaming console market would be safe with the younger generation until I heard a 10 year old asking for a iPad for Christmas.

This is what I believe. Sony and Nintendo would have to make a decision soon whether to kill off the devices or to join the game that is very much inline with the smartphones and tablets in the market. Smartphones and Tablets will be the future of gaming. They would cease to be called as Smartphone or Tablets but would be just larger and powerful or smaller and less powerful version of the same type of devices. I just cannot wait to see how things will turnout.

My phone can do that?

While hiking on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, I was surrounded by mother nature and scenic views. I wanted to capture what I was seeing with my own eyes, but all I had was my phone. Utilizing the camera on the phone, and some free software, I was able to take some decent photos. This got me thinking, if I’m able to do this now, what other industries or companies will the smart phone disrupt next?

Music First: When Apple decided to come out with the iPhone, analysts questioned this strategy, as it would cannibalize their iPod business, which was driving revenue at the time. I completely agree, this would definitely affect Apple’s existing business( and it did ). With that said, if Apple didn’t do it, someone else would have. Now Apple controls the device that we are all attached to, and as its functionality grows, other companies will continue to be affected.

Pictures Second: I no longer carry my Canon Powershot camera with me. I believe the point and shoot cameras are devices of the past. While camera technology will continue to be superior to the phone, companies don’t realize that it doesn’t have to be in order for a transition to take place. Who needs 20 megapixel cameras when we can get 10 megapixels on our phone? I believe phones have come far enough for an adoption to take place, even while they continue to improve.

Looking Ahead - Hand-held Gaming: I believe Sony realizes that their PSP business could suffer as a result of smart phone development. Phones are on the verge of being able to handle complex gaming, and gaming companies are starting to take notice. Consumers will be able to play games against their friends with ease, altering the existing business model. Some hurdles remain, such as controls, etc, but are not unsolvable.

Looking Ahead - Wallet Replacement: Almost every item in my wallet will soon be integrated with my phone. Why should I carry around multiple credit cards, a metrocard, or cash? After looking at this more carefully, this is definitely where we are going, however I don’t believe any company/industry suffers as a result. American Express, Visa, and MasterCard will likely benefit as consumers adopt the technology, allowing for faster and efficient transactions simply holding up their phones for a few seconds. Starbucks has already launched a program to allow this.

Smartphones only make up 30% of the US mobile phone market. The adoption rate is expected to increase over the next few years before leveling off. Companies such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Nintendo should be extremely paranoid by this and should question whether some of their core products are facing gradual extinction.

Barron’s Technology Recap: 1-23-2011


Barron’s highlights that Nvidia’s Tegra was a major hit at this year’s Annual Consumer Electronics Show, appearing in roughly four out of five of all the new tablets, including Motorola’s Xoom (MMI), Dell’s Streak (DELL) and some of the planned units from Acer (2353.TT), Toshiba (2353.TT), HTC (2498.TT) and LG (066570.KS).

  • Barron’s notes that Nvidia’s GPUs are either standard or available options in most Apple (AAPL) Macs and many other makers’ personal computers.
  • Barron’s argues that Intel’s (INTC) decision to end its legal battles with the firm shows that Intel needs Nvidia’s expertise and technology to integrate graphic capabilities with its CPUs, its core business.
  • Barron’s highlights that Nvidia’s most exciting effort right now is in mobile computing, through an alliance with U.K.-based ARM Holdings (ARMH).

Salesforce.com (CRM)

  • Barron’s does not believe potential growth for the company justifies its current share price noting the 92% increase over the last year with the shares currently trading at 300x an expected $0.44 in f11 earnings.
  • Bulls on the stock note discounted cash flow and earnings that exclude employee stock option expense while highlighting 20%-25% annual revenue growth.
  • Barron’s does admit they have been wrong on the shares since a negative article written when the stock traded near $40/share but says even a small stumble now could lead to a sharp decline.

Barron’s Profile features Allison Thacker, a co-manager of the RS Technology Fund
Thacker is bullish on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, such as Ultimate Software (ULTI) and Concur Technologies (CNQR). Ultimate is a payroll-software play that competes with Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Paychex (PAYX).

  • Thacker owns lesser-known names like LogMeIn (LOGM), Ultimate Software and comScore (SCOR) paired with fast-growing, well-managed, established names like Apple (AAPL) and Oracle (ORCL).
  • Thacker has also has identified successful internet plays, such as Ancestry.com (ACOM).
  • RSIFX’s top 10 holdings include; Apple (APPL), Google (GOOG), IBM (IBM), Oracle (ORCL), DirecTV (DTV), Net App (NTAP), F5 Networks (FFIV), Microsoft (MSFT), Synopsys (SNPS), Amazon.com (AMZN).