Monthly Archive: December 2016

Cellnet Review

Editorial: Apple survived 2016’s onslaught of fake news and failed competitors



By Daniel Eran Dilger
Saturday, December 31, 2016, 01:45 pm PT (04:45 pm ET)[1]

Across 2016, ostensibly legitimate journalists and research firms gravely warned that Apple was in trouble on every front–from low cost wearables to Microsoft’s 2-in-1 notebooks, to Google’s new Pixel Phone and a resurgent Samsung–as well as falling behind everyone else in the emerging, very promising field of Virtual Reality. They were all so incredibly wrong we can now have a good end-of-year laugh at their expense.

Apple’s Infinite Loop campus

Take a gander at the goose in Apple’s sauce

There are two measurements of success in the tech industry: one is applied to Apple, where expectations are stratospherically high and failure is always anticipated.

The other is applied to Apple’s competitors, where expectations are so low that even a tremendous, embarrassing flop can be written off as a “valuable learning experience” (Google Glass) and every new failure rudely blindsides perpetually optimistically observers (Google Pixel: who could have guessed it wouldn’t sell in significant volumes!? At least it was a valuable learning experience).

At the beginning of this year, AppleInsider published ”Apple’s competition is going to have a tough year in 2016[2]“, examining the question of whether Apple even faces any effective competition anymore.

Throughout the year a variety of critics worked hard to invent competition for Apple. But no amount of advocacy or propaganda has shifted the reality that’s readily apparent.

Entering 2016, Apple earned virtually all of the profits in smartphones, in tablets, in PCs and had introduced the only successful smartwatch[3]–capable of not just stomping out Android Wear and Samsung Tizen as competitors but also taking a large bite[4] out of premium Suisse watch sales–even as its rivals struggled in every product category.

Apple Watch in white ceramic

What changed this year? Apple’s weak competitors lost more ground and suffered more failures, setting Apple up against an even weaker competitive threat in 2017.

Profits build offensive infrastructure

At the same time, while Apple is now amassing incredible piles of resources (now above $237 billion) and is returning $2 billion to shareholders each quarter, it’s also investing tremendously in a proprietary software development (including macOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS; the Continuity and iCloud glue that bind them together and its new Swift language[5] and the development tools that power third party apps).

It’s also investing billions in supply chain capacity, materials, operations and technology. And in parallel, its building billions of dollars worth of new facilities, including its Campus 2[6] research and development offices in Cupertino and a global collection of other sites focused on software development, health technology, Maps, machine learning, silicon logic and other specialties.

While pundits keep asking simplistic questions about where Apple’s next big i-device is, the reality is that we already have an ultra-mobile personal computer in iPhone, and mobile professional computer in iPad Pro[7], and conventional Macs. Apple doesn’t need to introduce another device category as much as it needs to maintain and advance what it already sells.

Discussing mobile now is like discussing PCs in 2000. The important questions are about what we can build with this, and what we build next

—Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) December 31, 2016[8]

Microsoft wasn’t expected to introduce a new OS every few years. Google wasn’t tasked with creating a new search engine over and over again and HP and Dell churned out conventional PCs for many years without facing interrogation about the “next PC” replacement.

Apple’s silicon secrets

What drove much of the forward progress of the tech industry in the 1990s and 2000s was actually Intel’s processors, continually upgrading PCs, servers and the software they ran.

Today, Apple is actually hampered by Intel’s slower chip advancements in releasing new Macs. But in the iOS world, Apple has not only outpaced the industry in mobile Application Processors, but has also taken over ownership of the cream in mobile silicon.Apple has not only outpaced the industry in mobile Application Processors, but has also taken over ownership of the cream in mobile silicon[9]

It’s done so by earning money on advanced chips and aggressively reinvesting that into further development.

When Apple first worked on the Newton Message Pad[10] in the early 1990s, it had to invest in developing the ARM Architecture as a new mobile processor.

But it wasn’t making enough money on hardware sales to rapidly and perpetually advance ARM chip development on its own. The rest of the industry, notably Nokia, began investing money into ARM chips and made them ubiquitous in phones. When Apple returned to ARM chips with iPod in 2001, they had become cheap and power efficient.

Apple spent billions investing more money into commodity ARM chip orders until the late 2000s, when it began doing custom design[11] of its own ARM cores. Apple has not only radically advanced the state of the art, but has done so on a scale that nobody else can match.

No other phone or tablet maker sells anywhere near as many premium, powerful devices as Apple. That greatly reduces the potential for Google, a Chinese startup, or even Samsung to build a true competitor to iPhones or iPad at a similar cost structure. The chips used by Google’s Pixel, for example, feature cores that are only half as fast[12] as Apple’s A10 Fusion[13].

And despite various attempts by Google, Microsoft and others to dumb down smartphones into less powerful devices using simpler chips at a lower cost, Apple has proven that a lucrative demand exists for very powerful smartphones capable of advanced processing features–notably including sophisticated camera imaging and secure biometrics for authentication and Apple Pay.

Across 2014, pundits and analysts were castigating Apple for not building a cheaper iPhone. Apple did eventually repackage iPhone 5 to resell it as iPhone 5c, and this was successful[14] (despite many false reports maintaining that is wasn’t). However, in the years since, Apple’s own sales data has made it clear that it could perform better by focusing on more advanced and expensive models rather than cheaper repackaging.

In 2015 Apple launched iPhone 6 alongside its most expensive ever iPhone 6 Plus. Next year, Apple is rumored to be adding an even more premium option to woo high end buyers.

In direct contrast to the popular narrative of cheap commodity erasing Apple’s Mac and iOS businesses, the reality is that Apple is increasingly becoming more difficult to compete against as it builds its own sophisticated custom silicon and refines its incrementally expanding software platforms.

While Apple keeps advancing its state of the art in core technologies, consider what its rivals have been doing in 2016.

Samsung’s smoke screen of excessive innovation

Samsung–after just beginning to recover to its 2014-level revenues after being clobbered by iPhone 6 & 6 Plus and then batted back down again by iPhone 6s an 6s Plus–rushed to market a poorly designed tablet flagship that was so dangerously prone to burst into flames that airports, metro stations and even cruise ships banned its possession on their vehicles. It was undoubtably the worst and most expensive recall to ever occur in tech.

Samsung’s Galaxy karma from fomenting Bendgate

However, Samsung’s fiery Note 7 conflagration was coached by the media as being a problem of the Korean conglomerate having “packed it with so much innovation” that, well, flames ensued. That ridiculous quote was actually set into type[15] for the New York Times by Brian X. Chen and Choe Sang-Hun.

Remember when these writers excused iPhone 4 signal attenuation as a problem with Apple “packing too much innovation” into its products? No, because they didn’t. They reviled Apple’s innovation and branded it as an inexcusable failure because it might drop a call if you hold it wrong–versus bursting into flames no matter how its being held.

Packed with so much innovation it naturally burns

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Geoffrey A. Fowler and Joanna Stern insisted[16] that while Samsung’s defective design of the Note 7 carried a clear risk for fire and should be powered down and returned immediately, “there’s no reason to believe other Samsung models are dangerous,” shortly before citing an anecdotal story of an iPhone 7 that was also said to have caught fire in a posting on Reddit, a false equivalency of the highest order.

There’s no evidence, anywhere, that iPhone 7 has an inherently flawed design that results in fire. If it did, there’d be many scores of reports, not a single photo posted to a site that provides an audience to the GamerGate and AltRight fringe–because Apple ships many times more premium iPhones compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Note. There are, however, a variety of reports of other Samsung models catching fire (such as the Galaxy J5). But lets move past the selective reporting of facts by Fowler and Stern, because I don’t have all day.

Pay no attention the fire behind the curtain

Note instead that after Samsung released millions of dangerous Galaxy phones, then bungled its recall, handed out new batches of equally defective replacements, then pulled its 2016 Note 7 flagship entirely, reporters and research groups fell all over themselves to “report” that Samsung’s explosive launch would have absolutely no impact on buyers’ behavior going forward and virtually no impact on its brand.

Incredibly, CNBC and Reuters collaborated to spread[17] the results of a single internal poll that insisted the “Galaxy Note 7 recall did not damage Samsung brand in U.S.”

That poll was necessary to conduct and report because earlier, independent polls had reported[18] that 34 percent, and later 40 percent, of current Samsung owners said that in the wake of the recall that they wouldn’t buy another Samsung phone. Of those leaving the brand, 30 percent said they planned to switch to an iPhone.

With scathing results like that, why would news organizations with a clear bias against Apple feel the need to create their own data to refute the findings that exist on Apple’s primary competitor, not to mention obvious reality? And why would they exclusively report only their own mind-bending findings? Also, what sort of data might they be able to create assuring the public of the safety of lead, asbestos, cigarette smoking and coal pollution?

More recently, NPD[19] similarly issued a report suggesting that Samsung’s Note 7 fiasco had no apparent impact on U.S. phone sales for the company, based on sales data.

However, it didn’t quantify how much of this was attributable to Samsung offering generous cash handouts and other promotions, a very real expense necessitated by Galaxy Note 7 fires. However, it apparently remains necessary to exonerate Samsung because apart from that company, Apple has no real competition at all among smartphones that sell at a sustainable profit.

And a sustainable profit is one where real money is made, not just fake numbers like those that were reported[20] by the Wall Street Journal in an article suggesting that China’s Xiaomi was actually showing positive signs of potential profitability

Apple premium sales volumes lower than total global production of cheap devices!

Samsung is the only company apart from Apple that earns any significant profits from its smartphone sales, due almost entirely to its premium-priced Galaxy flagship models. With the primary competitor to Apple’s iPhone literally on fire and pulled from the market, the only way to continue to marginalize Apple’s phone business would be compare iPhone sales against volumes of low end phones shipped into developing countries. Done!

That’s the same strategy IDC likes to use in marginalizing[21] Apple Watch sales. Except that IDC can’t even compare its Apple Watch estimates against other smartwatches, because that’s not flattering to anyone but Apple. Instead, it has to compare $300 to $1,000 and up Apple Watch sales against Fitbit’s fitness trackers with an average selling price of around $88 and Xiaomi’s $13-25 fitness bands.

In 2015, Apple stopped detailing sales volumes of iPods, Apple Watch, and other hardware, including the new AirPods. That’s allowed critics to claim that Apple might be hiding its failures, an idea that isn’t often applied to Amazon, Google, Microsoft or even Samsung, none of which document their own sales of bands, tablets or even phones.

Selective scrutiny, broad credulity

When Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook noted that AirPods are “a runaway success” and that the company is “making them just as fast as we can” to meet demand, The Verge announced[22] in its headline “that means nothing without numbers.”

What a curious, egregious double-standard in framing events from a site that celebrates Bezos graph scales, Amazon’s meaningless sales chart rankings, Microsoft’s perpetual claims of “sold out” inventories, and Samsung’s “quite smooth” numberless smoke signals of suggested successes.

Coincidentally, just days before skeptically suggesting Cook was lying about the popularity of AirPods, The Verge printed[23] a Microsoft press release that claimed Mac users were rushing to buy a Surface. Rather than insisting that the claim “means nothing without numbers,” Tom Warren nodded along with Microsoft’s Surface advertisements, writing that they “might be paying off.”

Warren wrote, “Microsoft still isn’t providing sales numbers, but the company claims ‘more people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before.'” then repeated, “Again, Microsoft refuses to provide numbers but vaguely claims ‘our trade-in program for MacBooks was our best ever.'”

Microsoft’s Surface headline on The Verge expresses no skepticism of the the idea that significant numbers of MacBook Pro buyers are actually so disappointed in Apple that they are rushing out to those notoriously vacant Microsoft retail stores to snatch up its breathtakingly expensive[24] Windows 10 PCs, but the site offers no similar level of credulity in the possibility that Apple’s AirPods might be popular, even given the fact that Apple, an experienced high volume manufacturer, has stock-outs into January on a product it desperately wants to sell, not just advertise as as success.

Pathetic Pixel, Stagnant Surface

Perhaps writers at The Verge are just still really upset because they know that the site will have to write a new excuse for why Google’s latest “Nexus,” rebranded Pixel, failed to garner any real attention among buyers despite the website’s valiant efforts to incessantly promote the device on behalf of Google.

Or alternatively, perhaps it’s disappointed that its parallel promotion of Microsoft’s Surface has been similarly ineffectual. The pricey, “Sleep of Death[25]” premium notebooks, hybrid tablets and convertible desktops have had more praise heaped on them than a Millennial, but that still isn’t resulting in total sales reaching above the $1 billion quarterly ceiling they’ve bumped up against for the last several years.

Before Microsoft got into hardware, all the tech media could talk about was how Apple’s overall business model was doomed because of cheap commodity PCs. But now, Microsoft is supposedly going to be saved by innovative hardware designs and proprietary gadgets. Why? There’s much less differentiation between a Microsoft branded PC and any other Windows PC running the same software.

Google was similarly credited with having erected a commodity platform in Android that Apple supposedly wouldn’t be able to compete against, or even keep up with in terms of innovation. Those stories proved to be entirely false, but now Google’s own hardware is being described as able to stand out and compete against the that same bulk of cheap Android commodity. Why?

Apple sells many times more notebooks, phones and tablets every quarter, but the company is also tasked with not just remaining in the lead, but also bettering its own sales volumes each year by a margin greater than most of its competitors’ total sales: another double standard.

Imaging a runner expected to not only beat everyone else in the race, but also beat their own best time, every time, while being derided as a having a boring running style and failing to invent new ways to run each time they race. Meanwhile, everyone else gets a trophy just for showing up.

Virtual reality journalism

Journalists are supposed to report what’s happening, not invent a narrative they want to happen. The problem is that few modern tech writers are actually journalists. Many are casual bloggers from vendor advocacy sites with a grudge against Apple.Journalists are supposed to report what’s happening, not invent a narrative they want to happen

The New York Times hired Brian X. Chen despite his history in inventing quotations[26] and attributing them to others for Wired, in an apparent attempt to instantiate his own desired reality (most famously, that Japan “hated” the iPhone).

The Wall Street Journal hired blogger Joanna Stern from a background at The Verge and Engadget, both of which desperately advocated Android ideology despite the software’s technical failings, Google’s poor management and maintenance of it, and its ultimate failure to be anything other than a “toxic hellstew” of a platform for also-ran hardware companies lacking the resources to maintain their own platform.

Bloomberg hired a rumor leaks blogger Mark Gurman to report hard news on Apple, after he scored such “exclusive reports[27]” as the 2015 claim that the next Apple Watch would feature a camera and handle FaceTime calls (but not GPS!) and could be made from titanium, tungsten, palladium and platinum (but not ceramic!).

The FaceTime idea made no sense[28] to anyone familiar with watchOS or even Apple’s developer guidelines that outlined its “glanceable” UI as targeting a few seconds of interaction, rather than sustained video calls.

Tiny video calls of far poorer quality than the display on the phone you’d actually be using to handle the call anyway really made zero sense on any level. Essentially every other part of his report was also wrong. Yet this report was hailed for a year as being the definitive road map for Apple Watch, until everyone just forgot that everything they’d been told was completely wrong, made up guesswork.

And yet today, the majority of the most viral headlines about Apple are crafted by these same bloggers, now at major news outlets and claiming to know lots of details about what Apple is actually doing in automotive and other areas where far less is actually known compared to Apple Watch. These same figures collectively predicted that iPhone 7 would be boring[29], when all signs cleared pointed to major advances.

Apple’s Tim Cook gets blogsplained in how to run a global enterprise by a person who interviews tech products

Tech media writers can invent attributions, stage false equivalencies and present made-up product rumors and channel checks as credible facts and get away with it, because nobody calls to mind their reports once they’ve collect all the clicks they can.

These fast-and-loose reporters are undermining their own credibility and the legitimacy of the media in general. They seem to feel entitled to continue without concern, because Apple is unlikely to correct them out of regard for its own secrecy. But how many times can you report that Apple is failing when it clearly isn’t true?

It’s hard to think of a better example of 2016’s virtual reality in tech journalism than VR itself, which was hyped into a frenzy and used as a data point showing how Apple was falling behind and failing to meaningfully contribute to the important and imminently commercially-relevant business–right up to the point where VR was ultimately deemed toward the end of the year as being “the biggest loser[30]” of the holiday season.

Post holiday sales data confirming our holiday buying study that bluetooth headphones (general category) were the big winner this holiday.

—Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) December 31, 2016[31]

The biggest actual winner so far this holiday season? Bluetooth headphones. That comes after Apple was derided for buying Beats, which now leads in Bluetooth headphones. That acquisition also set Apple up to leverage its silicon prowess to develop its custom W1 chip and release its own AirPods[32], which appear to be a hit.

While VR remained the “biggest loser” Bluetooth headphones were a holiday hit

After so many years of preaching PC Commodity, Android Ascendancy, Tablet Media Consumption Theory, Global Device Volume Market Share, and a basket of other propaganda tactics designed to aggrandize everything outside of the most successful and competent hardware maker, perhaps 2017 is the year for tech journalists to stop trying to affect ideological change and more honestly begin to report reality.


  1. ^ Daniel Eran Dilger (
  2. ^ Apple’s competition is going to have a tough year in 2016 (
  3. ^ only successful smartwatch (
  4. ^ large bite (
  5. ^ Swift language (
  6. ^ Campus 2 (
  7. ^ iPad Pro (
  8. ^ December 31, 2016 (
  9. ^ outpaced (
  10. ^ Newton Message Pad (
  11. ^ custom design (
  12. ^ only half as fast (
  13. ^ A10 Fusion (
  14. ^ successful (
  15. ^ set into type (
  16. ^ insisted (
  17. ^ collaborated to spread (
  18. ^ reported (
  19. ^ NPD (
  20. ^ reported (
  21. ^ marginalizing (
  22. ^ announced (
  23. ^ printed (
  24. ^ breathtakingly expensive (
  25. ^ Sleep of Death (
  26. ^ his history in inventing quotations (
  27. ^ exclusive reports (
  28. ^ made no sense (
  29. ^ iPhone 7 would be boring (
  30. ^ the biggest loser (
  31. ^ December 31, 2016 (
  32. ^ AirPods (
Cellnet Review

Pokemon Go For Apple Watch Now Available – How You Play

Well, finally Pokemon Go launched in Apple watch. And this brings the biggest mobile game of 2016 into your wrists. Yes, we know that the launch of Pokemon Go on Apple watches was delayed for three months. But Niantic made a special announcement that Pokemon Go will be available in Apple watches. And according to Niantic, this is fully official. Earlier reports suggest that Niantic was working on the unfinished port of Pokemon Go for the Apple watch, but that idea was scrapped. But the latest tweet denies such rumors, but it does not give any specific reasons for the delay.

In a blog post, the creators of the game highlight some of the features:

  • Log each play session as a workout, with gameplay counting toward personal Activity rings
  • Receive notifications about nearby Pokémon
  • Count distance toward hatching Pokémon Eggs and receiving Candy with your Buddy Pokémon
  • Receive notifications about PokéStops nearby and collect items from them
  • Receive notifications when Eggs hatch and medals are awarded

Now that Pokemon Go is officially launched for Apple Watch, here is how you can play the game. Check out how to play Pokemon Go with Apple watch.

How to find Pokemon

You need to remember that if you are playing Pokemon Go with Apple Watch, you will still need to mobile phone. To check which Pokemon are nearby. With the Apple Watch app, on the mobile device, you can see the nearby Pokemon. The watch app will treat the Poke-walls as the workouts. It lets you know how far you have traveled and how many calories you have burnt. If you get any close to a Pokemon, the watch app will notify you what is there nearby.

How to catch Pokemon in Pokemon Go

One of the primary functions of this game is claiming the items at Pokestops. It is programmed into the new watch app. When you are near a PokeStop, the app will notify you and just like the smartphone; you can spin the icon to grab the loot. But the only thing is, you cannot catch the Pokemon with Apple watch. And the spinning in Apple watch does not work well too.

Also Read: Pokemon Go Launched In India With Reliance Jio[2]

If you are near a Pokemon, you have to bring out your phone and then go through the familiar motions of flickering the screen. We hoped that Niantic would bring a new way to make these possible on the Apple watch, but that might make the game unfair. Because, if the similar function differs in different gadgets, then people would find it difficult to continue the game.

How to hatch eggs

Now the final step of the game is to hatch eggs. To hatch eggs into the core game, you just have to walk. So when you are using the phone, if you see an egg incubating, the watch will notify you when an egg is about to hatch. When that is happening, you can check out you will be able to see the new Pokemon that is hatched by taking a glance at the phone screen.

[embedded content]


  1. ^ blog post (
  2. ^ Pokemon Go Launched In India With Reliance Jio (

3 Ways Google’s Mobile First Ranking Affects SEO


Google’s most recent changes rank mobile friendly sites above those that are not mobile friendly, when the user is searching on their smartphone. This makes sense from a logical perspective, but may be very disrupting from a marketing one.

If your website hasn’t already adjusted to SEO’s new reality, it should be your top priority, as SEO success plays a major – and growing – role in your brand’s revenue and growth trajectory.

In a world where so many users have instant online access right in their pockets, search engines like Google are viewing websites from a mobile[1] perspective by making the crossover from the desktop search indexes of yesteryear to ones that ensure mobile compatibility.

As mobile search outpaces desktop with nearly 60 percent[2] of searches being conducted on mobile devices, Google is cracking down on user experience. Their latest effort in user improvement is beginning with mobile search index and modifying of how it will rank[3] websites.

At the moment, Google uses a single index of documents for searches, their latest change will release a separate mobile search index that will become the primary one, allotting content to mobile users that is more fresh and accurate to their online queries.

By having an index that is primarily mobile focused, Google’s most substantial change will now exclude extracting data from desktop content— significantly affecting the way in which sites approach SEO on mobile.

Here’s how Google’s mobile-driven search indexing system will affect SEO in 2017:

Recommended for You

Webcast, January 12th: Leveraging Urgency and Scarcity for Increased Sales[4]

1. Mobile vs. Desktop Content Serving

Most marketers publish abbreviated versions of desktop pages on mobile sites as a fairly simple approach to mobile publishing.

It was a quick fix for them in the past, but Google’s current SEO method ranks websites by using a desktop crawl for all searches despite the type of device being used.

The process can create a significant problem for users who harness smartphones or tablets and ultimately select results that appear to have the answers to their search but only provide them on a desktop forum. It’s the major reason behind Google’s latest crackdown on the way it ranks websites.

Their latest SEO changes mean that websites that drop desktop content from mobile[5] and fail to publish the same content on both will feel the hit the most. It’s a saving grace for users who select a site expecting to get answers containing exactly what they’ve searched for, but a major hassle for websites that cut corners on content when they first started building their mobile-friendly sites.

2. Structured Data

Using structured data is relatively standard for marketers who want to ensure that a search engine understands the content being served by boosting its discoverability. Yet, increasing markup on a mobile site can slow a page’s load time— causing many marketers to remove markup from mobile versions in an attempt to hasten loading rate.

Here’s where Google’s SEO comes into play: once the switch to mobile first index is made, the structured data for your pages will no longer be visible in mobile search results. Google has recommended[6] that sites add missing structured data back into mobile pages albeit at a smaller percentage.

Marketers should avoid adding large amounts of markup and take out any extra schemas that are irrelevant to the content of their pages and Google’s search results. This will ultimately help keep mobile page load times as quick and efficient as possible.

3. Mobile Site Building

Marketers who are considering or are currently working towards a launch of a mobile version of a desktops site may want to give their hands a break.

As of right now, no one is entirely sure when the changes will be implements. If you’re intending to build a mobile site strategy, make sure it’s up for the task. In Google’s new world, a desktop site that is fully functionally will be better for users than a mobile version that is defective.

If you intend on launching one anyway, ensure that the content you’re providing is fully accessible to a mobile user and mirrors the content you produce on your desktop site to a T.

Google will continue index desktop pages, so don’t rush out and quickly slap together a mobile version of your site for Google’s latest update. What you will want to do is ensure that your content is fully accessible[7].

Making sure that you’ve got every aspect of your site and its content covered will be crucial with Google’s latest and upcoming SEO changes. As your customers use an ever-growing and ever-diversifying number of screens, make sure that your online presence is flexible enough to fit anywhere.

Author: George Beall[8]

George Beall is a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has a deep admiration for true innovation and has been involved in multiple in technology startups. He is currently on the founding team of Everipedia and an angel investor in an entertainment VR company. In… View full profile ›[9]

More by this author:

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  2. ^ 60 percent (
  3. ^ rank (
  4. ^ Webcast, January 12th: Leveraging Urgency and Scarcity for Increased Sales (
  5. ^ mobile (
  6. ^ recommended (
  7. ^ ensure that your content is fully accessible (
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Huawei: Strategic partner in achieving Saudi Vision 2030

Pablo Ning Huawei’s VP for Saudi ArabiaPablo Ning Huawei’s VP for Saudi Arabia

RIYADH — Huawei, a smartphone brand that has exponentially risen and drawing admiration in the Saudi market in a short period of time, pledges not just to deliver the advanced innovations in a smartphone, but would like to actively participate in making the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative happen.

Huawei’s VP for Saudi Arabia Pablo Ning narrated in a recent interview, Huawei’s commitment to excel in the market and be an enabler in instilling technical skills and provide employment for the Saudi youth.
Excerpts from the interview follow:

• What makes a good smartphone?

It is a combination of great software and hardware, and we develop both. Screen size is one of the most important factors, and our research teams are always studying the various markets’ screen size needs all over the world. Screen resolution and quality is another important factor for media consumers.

Since great moments can pop up anytime, everyone wants to capture it in the best way possible. That is why the camera element is important, and our partnership with Leica gives Huawei the edge in this domain as well. Battery consumption is another highly requested feature, and we are proud to have launched the Kirin 960 chipset in our flagship device the Huawei Mate 9, which strikes the perfect balance between performance and energy management. You can charge your phone for 20 minutes and use it for a full day. Thanks to the supercharge technology that Huawei Mate 9 has today.

Design is an extremely important factor when deciding what phone to buy, and how to use it every day. That’s why we have partnered with one of the leaders in this sector, Porsche Design, to launch beautiful and unique devices with the highest quality.
• Do you agree that there is now an ongoing intense competition in the smartphone industry? Does Huawei consider it healthy for its own growth? Are you not threatened that this degree of competition might have a detrimental effect on you, particularly in terms of profitability?

The competition in the smartphone industry is very intense but exciting. Competition always helps put business in a better perspective. In term of profitability, I can say that we have seen an incredible growth in the last year and now we rank #3 in terms of smartphones sales. We are working on improving our ranking everyday with deep innovation in our upcoming products.

• What challenges and opportunities do you see in a competitive market? Is brand loyalty an important factor? How do you disabuse the market of this mindset?

The challenge for companies is coming up with innovative technologies and products that are of interest to the user and that will make their lives better. For us, this is a huge opportunity, as we strongly believe in the importance of R&D, and continuously invest in it which paves the way for more innovative solutions, as evident by the past technologies that we pioneered with great software to compliment: Dual Cameras for best-in-class photos (P9), Force Touch before any smartphone had it (Mate S), Advanced Fingerprint Sensors (Mate 8, Mate 9, Honor 8, Nexus 6P, MateBook), Round Smartwatches, integrated global modem in the Kirin 960 Chipset (Mate 9), and many more.

Brand trust is what we believe the most important factor. If users trust the brand, they will use its products, recommend its products to other people, and will consider it first for the things they want. A brand must have a foundation or stability, must continue to develop and innovate, must provide a relationship and most importantly it must deliver practical value and benefit in order to be trusted.

Some companies get arrogant and lose stability, which yields faulty products, and the public would not trust the brand even if they continue to pump new products, since stability is not there. Other brands imitate without innovating, and users quickly notice this and go to a more innovative vendor. Others do not have offices next to their users, and lose the relationship element. The final element is the most important one, since if the product offers no value, no one would be interested in using it, regardless of all of the other factors.

As you know, Huawei enjoys all four elements, and we are proud of this, but also keen on becoming closer to our consumers and making their lives easier and better with our new innovations.

• Do you agree that competition is good for the market? Do you claim that Huawei’s sudden rise is due to this competition?

As mentioned, competition is always helpful to put our business in a better perspective and our goal is to become the leader in the smartphone industry here in Saudi within the coming 3 years. I am confident that Huawei will become a strong player in smart devices. I will explain in detail: The first Apple iPhone was launched in 2007 and it has been about 10 years now. We anticipate that by 2020, there will be another big transformation for smart devices. There are a few drivers behind this transformation. First, consumers will start using 5G networks within the next five years, and artificial intelligence will make smart devices even more powerful. Improvement in product features such as audio and video will improve quality and possibly interaction. So by 2020, we will welcome a new era for smart devices and their intelligence. By then, the entire industry will see disruptive changes and more investments will be directed to this.

Huawei has an advantage: While the whole world waits for 5G networks, our network engineers are fine tuning this technology. This enables our research and development teams to know the capabilities of the networks and build innovative applications and devices that make the best use out of it.

• Are lower prices brought about by this competition favorable to Huawei? What steps do you undertake to further grow as a business despite the low prices?

For sure, the market is divided into prices categories, but what we always look for as a top priority for us is the quality of our products rather than the prices. On this front, let me mention that Huawei has established 16 R&D centers around the world and invests 10 percent of its annual revenue in research and development to ensure design, development, procurement and manufacturing meet the highest standards.

At the same time, Huawei operates a quality management system (QMS) across product design, development, procurement, manufacturing and distribution. Our advanced simulation technology enables us to conduct simulation tests in the process of R&D and design, so we can recognize design risks in advance. Huawei is equipped with an industry-leading Reliability Laboratory with extreme reliability tests examining the quality of the smartphone. For example, our mechanical reliability test consists of hundreds of tumbling tests, 500 twisting tests, a 70kg load test, over 2,000 press tests, and tests under solar radiation, thermal shock, smog and hydrothermal conditions. The tests for falling, tumbling, long-term high heat and high humidity, button durability and RF index exceed industry standards. Huawei also conducts tests that are not typically conducted in the industry, like insertion tests for the earphone port, charge port and SIM card slots.

• How do you measure your standing in this competition? What do you think are Huawei smartphone’s features that made the brand a celebrity in a short period? With Mate 9 as your flagship, do you think it has all the features that the most demanding and critical smartphone user/consumer/buff wants?

The Huawei Mate Series is Huawei’s premium flagship line design for the business consumer, with a durable body, large screen and long battery life accompanied by great performance and connectivity.

At Huawei, one of our core values is consumer centricity. We always focus on finding ways for more people to enjoy our devices and technology. Our research has revealed that the consumer market is changing, with different segments of consumers requiring different things. We discovered that there is considerable interest in a phone that is both high quality, full of personality and exemplifies luxury. As a result, we’re launching two models of the Huawei Mate 9 Series to offer consumers choice and experience.

The newest member of the Mate Series, the Mate 9, delivers business users a breakthrough Android experience – featuring the fastest computing performance available today, breakthrough SuperCharge technology and a stunning new UX. The Huawei Mate 9 is a dynamic interplay of industry-leading hardware and advanced software that work together to keep users a step ahead. The key features of the device include: Kirin 960 chipset, the world’s highest performing smartphone processor*; EMUI 5.0, an intuitive user interface that allows over 50 percent of features to be reached within two clicks; breakthrough SuperCharge technology that delivers a full day’s charge in 20 minutes; second generation Leica dual-lens camerawith12-megapixel RGB sensor, 20-megapixel monochrome sensor and Hybrid Zoom, featuring a superior 2x magnification.

• What are the top five leading smartphone brands? Where would you rank Huawei?

Huawei is the 3rd biggest Smartphone brand worldwide also rank 3rd in the Saudi market. I believe this is a good starting point for Huawei, and we have the passion and innovation to be the leaders in the smartphone sector. According to GFK research, our market share till end of October 2016 was 13% and we are confident that by end of this year we will gain more market share, as we do believe that consumers in Saudi Arabia are loving more our brand day after day.

• How do you sustain your ranking, much more aim for number one post? Obviously you learned from the mistakes of rivals? Can you tell us these mistakes and how do you convert them into you own advantage?

As we have reached the 3rd rank in terms of smartphone sales in the Saudi market, we see it has been driven from the trust we built with our partners and customers.

Huawei pays much care and commitment toward providing the most advanced technologies for its consumer categories, putting in their hands a world of exceptional experiences, which meet their needs and exceeds their expectations.

As for the mistakes, it is worth mentioning that incidents in this sector have shown us the high risks and the stiff competition in the consumer electronics industry. Therefore, as a commercial company in such an industry, encountering such problems is quite common. A main takeaway for us, from this issue, is to seriously reflect and ensure that we prevent such problems from happening to Huawei, and examine how we can more improve the process of quality control for our products, from their innovation to the end-products. This, to us, is a very important reminder.

• What is the best platform for mobile app? What advantages does Android have vis-à-vis others like iPhone, Windows and BlackBerry?

Android is the number one OS mobile platform with a great library of amazing apps. Its highly customizable interface makes room for companies to create amazing user experiences, one which have been successful with our EMUI. Users can easily change from one Android experience into another without losing their applications or data.

• How dedicated is Huawei’s R&D in its quest for higher innovation? Does the industry expect to hear new technological advancement from Huawei that would further establish your market strength? How much is your R&D annual spending or what percentage of your annual net revenue is allocated to R&D?

Huawei has established 16 R&D centers around the world and invests 10 percent of its annual revenue in research and development to ensure design, development, procurement and manufacturing meet the highest standards. In 2015, Huawei invested USD$9.2 billion in R&D, accounting for 15% of sales revenue. In the past 10 years, Huawei has invested approximately USD$37 billion in R&D.

Innovation is our driver toward moving ahead. We believe also in innovation through global collaboration with world-class partners which fosters industry innovation and creation of the ultimate products. Through capitalizing on its strong R&D capabilities and market reach, Huawei has teamed up with world-class partners to promote industry innovation and create technologically advanced products that provide ultimate experiences for consumers. Now our cross-over partners are: Porsche Design, Leica, Audi, Harmon Kardon & Swarovski, where our Industry partners are like Google, Microsoft & Intel.

• How will you envision Huawei as a manufacturer of smartphone five years from now? What will be your market share in Saudi Arabia by that time? Five years from now, what do you think is the new innovation that a smartphone will feature? Is your R&D team working on this now?

What I can say is that we have seen incredible growth in the last year and now we rank 3rd in terms of smartphone sales. Saudi Arabia in particular has responded well to our growing devices portfolio. Together with our partners, we have expanded our footprint with growing interest from consumers who are looking for the latest in specifications, better displays, a better camera and a wider range of apps. As mentioned, and according to GFK, Huawei now ranks 3rd in the smartphone sector in Saudi with 13% market share by end of last October, and our branding awareness has reached 62% as of end of April 2016. We will sure strive our best to secure that we will be the leaders in this industry after around 3 years from now.

• Is there any plan for Huawei to have a manufacturing plant here in Saudi Arabia in line with the government’s Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program 2020? In what way would Huawei play a leading role in achieving these government initiatives?

Saudi Arabia’s new Vision 2030 represents the springboard from which the leadership will enact its progressive and ambitious plan for the country over the coming decades and reflects a long-term drive for economic reform, diversification and the eventual transition of the country into a knowledge based economy.

Huawei will do its best to work align and support the vision by all means, whether in helping the youth to find a good job in Huawei, in the training field, in supporting the woman sector where we now are targeting to expand & have more females working at Huawei in Saudi Arabia.

The recent decision issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labor to Saudize the phone retail sector and industry is a great opportunity for us at Huawei to lend a hand to the young Saudis to not only to train and employ them, but to also strategically develop distinguished partnerships in the local market that create more impactful Public Private Partnership (PPP) programs that understand the local needs. Our recent partnership with Saudi Technical and Vocational Training Corporation TVTC to train over 100 instructors – males and females – is just a start to achieve that. In mid of last June, TVTC & Huawei had celebrated the graduation ceremony of TVTC mobile maintenance training cooperation that has done with Huawei, which trained 100 instructors of TVTC in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Abha. Moreover, top 10 instructors had been sent to Huawei state of the art headquarters training facilities in China for the advanced mobile maintenance training. This initiative represents the renewal of the strategic cooperation between government bodies here in Saudi and Huawei.

Our localized operations in Saudi Arabia enable us to contribute to socioeconomic development of this country by creating jobs. Working jointly with local industry leaders, we will be able to fully combine the advantages of our global value chain with local innovation capabilities, enabling local innovations to reach the global market.

In this regard, few weeks ago, and as part of its plans to attract Saudi talent and support the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia hosted a two-day recruitment drive on 23-24 of last November at the Engineering Faculty of King Saud University, in Riyadh. This 2-day event is in line with Huawei’s strategy to support the advancement of the Kingdom’s ICT sector, nurture young talents and push forward the country’s Saudization agenda. The event helps Huawei to expand the pool of potential Saudi candidates joining the workforce after graduation, while improving the number of Saudi nationals taking up careers in the ICT field.

Investing in local talents through training centers and joint innovation centers has been a defining characteristic of our journey during the last 16 years. It is imperative that we focus to bring the Saudi highly skilled young people into the industry.

In this regard, let me mention that Huawei has been voted among top 20 employers of choice for Saudi male graduates, according to a survey of KFUPM graduates just released few days ago by an online recruitment firm. Over 200 final-year students and recent graduates of King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals participated in this survey. This means much for us, and also at the same time reflects our commitment to creating jobs for Saudis.

The survey asked graduates about the factors that drove them to choose their preferred employer. The top three factors mentioned were: 1) the quality of the training and development program, 2) the opportunity to do interesting and challenging work, and 3) good salary and benefits. Job security and company brand and reputation were also cited as important factors.

We will sure continue in this strategy toward attracting more highly skilled Saudis who will help our business here in the local market. — SG

Take Better Shots at Night with an iPhone With These Tips

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Many people love nothing more than snapping away on their iPhone to get pictures. But one thing that tends to be a problem for a lot of them is taking decent night shots.  However, keep reading for three ways you can instantly improve your shots at night when using an iPhone and improve the quality of your pictures tenfold.

The first thing you can do to improve the quality of night shots is by taking long exposures with the Slow Shutter Cam app[1]. This app will work for both day and night photos and is a great tool for the iPhone. Manual ISO control has also been added now with thanks to a recent update and works by lowering the noise in photos so that the main image is accentuated.

Light show at the National Library of Belarus in Minsk

National Academic Bolshoi Opera in Minsk, Belarus

Another good tip to get the best night shots is to use an app with Manual ISO and Shutter Speed Control. ProCamera[2] is one such app that will choose the best shutter speed for you while allowing you to take control of the ISO. By lowering the ISO and increasing the shutter speed you will almost always be guaranteed to get a great photo.

Pro Camera[3] also has Low Light Modes that can take up to 64 shots and layer them to reduce noise and improve exposure without losing any detail. There are two different low light modes featured on ProCamera:  LowLight+ and a boosted exposure option called Lux+. The latter will make night shots look as good as day shots without losing any detail, and can even work handheld (although the use of a tripod with it is highly recommended).

So why not put your photography skills to the test and have a go with these apps to see how they can improve your images.

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