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Apple, Sony, revenues rise, but iPhone slips

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Despite a small slip in iPhone sales, Apple reported increased revenues, while distant rival Sony has made a turnaround.

Apple this week reported posted quarterly revenue of $52.9 billion, compared to $50.6 billion in the year-ago quarter. Despite this, iPhone sales were down marginally, from 51.19-million a year ago to 50.76-million in the last quarter.

“We are proud to report a strong March quarter, with revenue growth accelerating from the December quarter and continued robust demand for iPhone 7 Plus,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve seen great customer response to both models of the new iPhone 7 RED Special Edition and we’re thrilled with the strong momentum of our Services business, with our highest revenue ever for a 13-week quarter.”

Meanwhile, lagging far behond but turning around from a loss-making situation, Sony Mobile Communications has reported a profit of $91 Million for the past year.

Sony Mobile expects to increase annual smartphone unit sales by 1.9 million year-on-year, mainly in the Middle East and Europe, to 16.5 million units. Sales revenue is expected to result in record operating income for Sony Mobile.

Sony Mobile has put emphasis on higher value-added models to achieve profitability. Operating results improved significantly mainly due to a reduction in operating costs and benefit from restructuring initiatives. Further improvement in profitability resulted from a concentration on fewer geographic areas and a reduction in restructuring charges.

Jason Smith, Vice President, Middle East & Africa at Sony Mobile Communications said: “Advances included in our new smartphones have positioned us as a technological leader in the global market and our innovation gives us confidence for the future. Our latest award-winning smartphone, Xperia XZ Premium, features the world’s first super slow motion video capture via a smartphone at 960 frames per second, four times slower than with any other smartphone. Other products to address the mid-range of the market launched this year include Xperia XA1, the XA1 Ultra and the Xperia L1.

Hideyuki Furumi, Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing, Sony Mobile Communications said: “We are committed to the vision of offering personalised and intelligent products to the market and continue to push the boundaries of communication through cutting-edge technologies. We are developing Artificial Intelligence apps on our phones. We have continued to evolve and transform our smartphone portfolio, with an unwavering focus on delivering the most advanced technology in elegantly designed products. We expect to see a good next year financially, with a range of new products and increasing smartphone unit sales.”

Sony Corporation, of which Sony Mobile is a division, is targeting its highest annual operating profit in two decades, thanks to continued dominance in gaming and strong growth in phone-camera chips.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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