Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Panasonic will pull out of the smartphone market in Japan and pare its smartphone operations to outsourced production in emerging markets like India, the company’s president said.

The Japanese electronics company, which has suffered $15 billion in losses over its latest two financial years, is staking its turnaround on a transformation from a consumer gadget maker to a supplier for other businesses.

The architect of this turnaround plan, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga, has warned he would weed out any division that fails to meet a 5 percent operating margin goal within three years.

Tsuga told Reuters in an interview that the company’s mobile division was likely to lose more than the 1.1 billion yen ($11.02 million) targeted loss for the financial year ending next March. Panasonic’s mobile division posted an 8.1 billion yen loss last year.

“It’s not acceptable for the company to be bleeding red ink like this, so we have to think about ways to develop assets that we do have in a more effective direction,” Tsuga said.

While the company is stepping back from the consumer smartphone market, it has said it is developing smartphones for business use that would be similar to its popular “Toughbook” notebook PC series.

Panasonic is one of several handset makers caught out by the meteoric rise of the two dominant smartphone makers – Apple Inc and Samsung Electronic – which have upended the traditional hierarchy of mobile players.

Microsoft this week agreed to buy Nokia’s phone business, which once dominated the global market but has slipped drastically in recent years.

Japanese consumers, once partial to highly customized feature phones made by Panasonic, NEC and Fujitsu, have since moved in large numbers to Apple’s popular iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy series.

In 2001, Panasonic was the second-largest handset maker in Japan, after NEC, with more than 19% of the market. Last year, it barely had a 7% share, far behind Apple’s 25 percent lead.

Tsuga said Panasonic did not need to manufacture and sell its own smartphones under a vertically integrated business model, but will instead use the company’s brand to sell phones made by other manufacturers as it does already in India.

The knockout blow to its business came when NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile carrier and a loyal distributor for Japanese-made handsets, announced it would promote only Sony’s flagship Xperia smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy during its summer campaign. NEC announced in July that it would pull out of smartphones after discussions to sell its handset business to Lenovo Group fell through, sources familiar with the matter said.

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Apple has applied for a trademark for “iWatch” in Japan, a patent official said on Monday, signalling the iPhone maker may be moving ahead with plans for a watch-like device as gadget makers turn their attention to wearable computers  ..

The trademark application, submitted on June 3 and released on the Japan Patent Office website on June 27, would cover computers, computer peripherals and wristwatches, the official said. He said it was unknown how long the application process would require ..

An Apple spokesman in Japan could not immediately be reached for comment ..

Speculation has mounted that Apple is preparing to launch an iWatch and CEO Tim Cook told a gathering of tech and media executives a month ago that wearable products were ripe for exploration, but added he was skeptical, including about Google’s recently unveiled Glass which combines a mobile computer and eyeglasses ..

“There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it,” Cook said ..

Wearable devices are considered a potential area for hit products as smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy series are losing their ability to impress consumers and investors ..

Samsung, which has leapfrogged Apple as the world’s leading smartphone maker, is also developing a wearable device similar to a wristwatch, a source with knowledge of the matter has said ..

The New York Times reported in February that Apple was experimenting with the design of a device similar to a wristwatch that would operate on the same iOS platform as its iPhone and iPad and would be made with curved glass ..

Following the revelation that Apple had applied for ‘iWatch’ in Japan, it appears that Apple has done so in Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey and Colombia as well ..

On Monday, reports emerged indicating that Cupertino giant had filed a trademark application for the ‘iWatch’ product name in Japan. Filings, spotted by various Internet users and websites, reveal that similar applications have been submitted to Intellectual property bodies in various other countries ..

According to the filing with Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property, spotted first by 9to5Mac, Apple applied for the iWatch trademark under two categories pertaining to hardware and software of mobile devices. The application was submitted on June 3, though it was made public recently ..

Another filing with Taiwan’s Intellectual Property Office, retrieved first by MacRumors, also reveals the same iWatch trademark with the colour of the device mentioned as Black ..

Besides these, Apple has also filed for the iWatch trademark in Turkey through an attorney on June 3 and in Russia during the same time period. A trademark filing submitted on June 4th in Colombia has also been spotted by a Twitter user ..

It’s interesting to note that all filings also include a graphic with the term iWatch depicted in upper case letters ..

The move signals that Apple is indeed working on a new wearable device and wants to secure the iWatch moniker in markets across the globe, inline with its other devices that have been christened in the same manner ..

Earlier this year, Bloomberg had reported that Apple’s so-called iWatch is expected to release this year and that the project is currently being fueled by the efforts of over 100 engineers being led by Apple design chief Jony Ive himself ..

A recent report by Apple Insider, also mentioned that Apple’s smart watch is likely to debut in 2014, quoting Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities who regularly offers predictions on future Apple products ..

Recently, Hon Hai Precision Industry, the company that uses the trade name Foxconn, demonstrated a new smart watch that can be connected with the iPhone. A fews days back, Sony officially launched SmartWatch 2 , the successor to its SmartWatch ..

It’s worth mentioning that companies like Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and LG, are all said to be working on bringing their own smart watch-like devices to the market ..