The end of July is the off-season for announcements, which precedes the second half of the year. A good time to review the results of the first few months of the year, the highlights of our winners and losers this week.
Before we introduce the names that have caught our eye in the tech market the most over the past few days, let’s take a look back at some of the key events of the past week.
There is nothing to see here
One of the news that moved the tech media the most this week was the launch of earphones (1) from Nothing, the startup founded by ex-OnePlus Carl Pei. With a marketing based on the idea of invisible (or ubiquitous / pervasive) computing, in addition to being competitively priced, the earbuds caught our attention with their transparent finish (unlike the first teaser shown at the top of the page).
We haven’t tested Ear (1) (yet), but initial reviews suggest that these are headphones with an appealing build and sound quality, but perhaps without the same effect as the Chinese manager’s previous startup. It’s too early to judge Nothing’s prospects, but at least they seem way better than any other startup-with-noun / adjective / adverb-on-behalf-founded-by-a-badass manager, Essential (do you remember that?).
Copy it, but don’t do it like that
We already talked about Realme’s magnetic charger, the MagDart, in the last two issues. This week the company unveiled teasers for the new accessory and has already set a presentation date for this Tuesday (3).
With a design very reminiscent of the MagSafe (not to mention the name), the MagDart will have its own event, pompously referred to as the “Realme Magnetic Innovation Event”. The published teasers don’t show the fan-powered model that leaked this week, but honestly, the device in the illustration looked like a prototype fresh off a 3D printer.
The MagDart event was also supposed to present the Realme Flash, which also leaked a number of teasers, including a post with the words “ocho ocho ocho” (eight eight eight eight in Castilian), a clear reference to the Snapdragon 888 SoC.
Nobody is saved
Our editor Benjamin Lucks has spoken to digital security experts for the past few weeks to explain why Pegasus spyware is a threat to everyone. The warning came from WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart, who said the danger the spyware poses affects us all.
Finally, Pegasus shows how mass spy programs exploit security vulnerabilities traded in underground markets. This creates incentives not to report security gaps to the system and device managers, which means that loopholes remain open (and exploited) longer.
The problem has a much bigger impact than I can summarize in two paragraphs, so I recommend reading Ben’s (great) article, which also explains what Pegasus is capable of and possible alternatives to trading zero-day errors.
Winner of the Week: Corporate Financial Reports
This week, accountant happy hours at most tech companies must have been a little livelier than usual – stereotypes aside. With the release of the financial statements of large companies for the second quarter of 2021, they all appear to have emerged as winners.
From Apple – which recorded its best sales in a June month – to the LG Group – with the highest quarterly sales in its history, parallel to the end of the year. From Apple – which posted its best sales in a month in June – to LG – which, along with the end of its wireless division, had the highest quarterly sales in its history – the consumer electronics industry seems to have had a tough 2020 behind it.
The Samsung Group had its best second quarter in history, which indicates a strong performance from its component divisions – the companies in the conglomerate sell AMOLED screens, RAM and Flash modules, camera sensors, produce SoCs and GPUs, etc.
However, all of the company’s optimism does not suggest that this will lead to more competition or price reductions, as the reports highlighted the good results in the premium and service segments in particular.
In addition, the strong demand for components – and the shortage of semiconductors that has already been commented on – do not leave any indications that companies will be able to balance production and inventory of chips in the short term.
In addition, the strong demand for components – and the aforementioned shortage of semiconductors – does not indicate that companies will be able to reconcile chip production and inventory in the short term – much to the chagrin of those who are still looking for a graphics card or video game consoles (which were also released this week Announced record sales).
Loser of the week: Chinese mobile phone market
While the electronics giants are celebrating record sales, the Chinese smartphone market appears to be in hangover after the strong recovery in the first half of 2021.
After growing almost 30% between January and March compared to the same period in 2020 (which was affected by the first wave of COVID-19 in China, it’s worth noting), the second quarter of 2021 saw a 17% decrease compared to from April to June 2020, according to the figures from the consulting firm Canalys.
The company’s analysts pointed out that the Chinese are less likely to change their phones. Additionally, Canalys gives cause for concern that the upgrade cycle to 5G should slow down.
Despite the sharp decline in the overall market over the period, the 4 manufacturers at the top of the local rankings saw sales increase, with market leader Vivo growing 23%. Analysts pointed out that with Huawei’s decline (which fell from nearly 40% a year ago to less than 10%), market concentration in the country has decreased, which could stimulate competition between brands.
One segment that still seems to be open in China are the Android flagships, still without a clear replacement for the hegemony of Huawei’s Mate and P lines. The Canalys report suggests that the third quarter launches may be a sign of how brands intend to ascend the throne left by Huawei.
And with this anticipation we close this week’s article. Did you agree with our (wide) selection for winners and losers? Feel free to object and criticize in the comments below. We meet next week!