Wireless Device Strategies

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July 17, 2012 14:24 Alex Spektor

Samsung, the world's largest handset vendor, has acquired the mobile division of CSR, a UK-based chipset maker. CSR's portfolio includes key technologies for mobile device connectivity, such as Bluetooth and WiFi, including the emerging 802.11ac standard. The US$310 million purchase brings two primary benefits to Samsung:

  1. The vertical integration of components to improve its supply chain, optimize BOM costs, and introduce a point of differentiation. Samsung already makes many of its own components, such as displays, flash memory, and application processors;
  2. The strengthening of the device vendor's patent portfolio to help with IPR battles. Samsung and rivals like Apple have been in courts around the world over patent infringement issues.

Samsung is strengthening its component assets for Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi, which should eventually strengthen its handset designs. If Samsung has great displays and great chips in-house, then that’s going to be a solid basis for technology differentiation and supply chain control that can give Samsung devices a competitive edge. Of course, in the longer term, Samsung may end up juggling too many component balls at once, and a sprawling components portfolio could potentially become a negative rather than a positive if they don’t keep things under control.

February 26, 2012 19:53 Neil Shah

Its a Sunday with a day away before the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2012 kicks off in sunny Barcelona, Spain, and, we have already seen LG, Fujitsu announcing top-line high-spec smartphones. LG took two steps ahead with its aggressive LTE multi-core smartphone strategy targeting high value developed markets launching its latest quad-core LTE superphone LG Optimus 4X HD powered with NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor sporting a true 720 HD IPS display running the latest Android 4.0 ICS.

The quad-core play was on the cards from the Korean & Japanese vendors at MWC 2012, but the biggest surprise of the pre-MWC announcements has been by Huawei, the world's sixth largest handset vendor. The fast growing Chinese vendor has been looking forward to extend its portfolio up in the high- to premium-tier segment with cutting-edge high-spec handsets challenging big boys such has Samsung, LG and HTC in smartphone race. This intent was depicted today as Huawei unveiled premium-tier handsets under its new Diamond Series : Huawei Ascend D Quad, Ascend D quad XL, Ascend D1 building upon its "Ascend" sub-branding with earlier promising announcements of Ascend P1/P1S at CES 2012 last month.

To add to this, the vendor's new lineup is powered not by NVIDIA, TI or Qualcomm's solutions but surprisingly by its home-grown K3V2 quad-core 1.2GHz/1.5GHz processor. The vendor claims it to be the world?s fastest quad core smartphone and features a proprietary power management system which provides up to 30% in energy savings. The Ascend D series scores high with top-notch specs and design to make it top-selling Android portfolio and compete on par or maybe higher with bigger Android vendors:  

  • Fast Processor: 1.2/1.5GHz K3V2 quad-core Processor
  • Operating System: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Large High Resolution Screen: 4.5-inch 720p HD screen
  • Form Factor: 64mm narrow and 8.9mm slim slate  
  • Radios: HSPA+, LTE 
  • Camera: 8MP Rear Camera with 1080p HD Video Recording, 1.3MP Forward-Facing Camera
  • Battery: From 1670mAh to 2500mAh battery


Image Credits: Huawei

Huawei, thus has learnt quickly from its competitors in key areas such as powerful sub-branding (Ascend), slimmer design and bigger battery, multi-core chipsets, hint of vertically integrated play (in-house chipset design)  in producing a premium offering.