Posts Tagged ‘manufacturing’
HTC One fans were disappointed to learn last week that the phone had been delayed to late March or early April. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the flagship meant to turn around HTC’s performance is being hampered by its past defeats. “The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year’s unexpected slump in shipments,” says an unnamed executive. He and others blamed the One’s delay on shortages, particularly of the metal casing and camera parts. “HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer.” Though the company released its flagship One X and DNA phones, as well as one of the first..
call -151 writes “An editorial appearing in the ACM notices complains about the effects of the Elsevier boycott particularly with respect to academics refusing to do unpaid review for for-profit journals, particularly the extortionate Elsevier journals. Mathematician Tim Gowers’s post gave energy to this about a year ago and recently he reflected on progress in several directions, including developing new arXIv overlay journals. Not disclosed in the ACM editorial is that the author serves on three Elsevier editorial boards; I take it that his complaining about the difficulty of finding referees is an indication that the boycott is having some good effect.
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Editorial In ACM On Open Access Publishing In Computer Science
Reports that Sony was no longer shipping PlayStation 2 models have been confirmed by The Guardian . The Japanese manufacturer told the newspaper that it will no longer manufacture its massively-successful home console. Sony has sold over 150 million PlayStation 2s since its release in October 2000, and has continued to sell and produce the console despite the PlayStation 3 launching in 2006. All good things come to an end, though, and given that a successor to the PlayStation 3 is widely expected to launch later this year it makes sense that it wouldn’t want to sell three home consoles simultaneously. Continue reading…
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Sony halts PlayStation 2 production after 150 million worldwide sales
In June 2011, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou announced plans to deploy one million robots across factory assembly lines, as part of a company-wide effort to adopt more automated manufacturing processes. The company has been reluctant to discuss any progress toward this goal, but according to the Wall Street Journal , the automation process is already underway, and some workers are beginning to feel its effects. One such employee is a man known as Zhang, who has spent the last two years working on the assembly lines at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant.
Samsung has made no secret of the fact that it provides a number of the key components inside Apple’s flagship iPhone and iPad devices, even while actively competing against them with its own Galaxy line of Android competitors. A major change in that relationship has now been reported out of Korea, however, where the Chosun Ilbo says Samsung has increased the price of manufacturing Apple’s application processor by nearly 20 percent. The Korean daily notes that this is the first time Samsung has sought to increase pricing on the processors that go inside Apple’s mobile devices, and that Apple, faced with a lack of alternatives, has accepted Samsung’s demands. Although custom-designed by Apple itself , the A-series of mobile processors are..
Marcin Jakubowski dreams of living off the grid. Over the past few years, he’s been working on a set of 50 machines he believes necessary to found and sustain an independent, modern community. He wants to “take everything that civilization has learned to date” and use it create a blueprint for a “Global Village Construction Set” that others can use to follow in his footsteps. His Factor e Farm has already developed and built a tractor, brick press, table saw, and bread oven, as well as many other machines. The farm hopes to have the complete set of 50 ready in 2015
There was a considerable backlash when Apple announced earlier this year that it would be removing its products from EPEAT , a widely-used product registry which grades electronics based on their compliance with environmental standards — enough to warrant a swift backpeddling from then-hardware boss Bob Mansfield. Now the program’s awarding of its ‘Gold’ standard to five ultra-thin laptops, including the infamously ” unrepairable ” Macbook Pro with Retina display, has raised serious concerns that EPEAT is bending to intense lobbying pressure from manufacturers who want the certification without meeting the standards. In an editorial for Wired , iFixit founder Kyle Wiens cites huge discrepancies between EPEAT’s product standards and the…
“Made in the USA.” Those are four words that are rarely found on electronics, but following Google’s surprising move to build the unsuccessful Nexus Q in the United States , Lenovo is opening up a plant in North Carolina to manufacture a portion of its ThinkPad and ThinkCentre laptops, desktops, and tablets. According to the North Carolina-based News & Observer , the new manufacturing facility will cost around $2 million and will employ 115 workers once it opens next year in Whitsett, NC — not far from Lenovo’s US headquarters in Raleigh. Largely a symbolic gesture, for now Considering the Chinese company had $29.6 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year , the decision appears to be primarily symbolic.
The Enough Project, an anti-genocide nonprofit organization, released a report this week on the use of conflict minerals among leading technology manufacturers. Titled “Taking Conflict Out of Consumer Gadgets,” the report assesses and ranks each company based on efforts to eradicate conflict minerals from their supply chains. Intel , HP , Apple , and Motorola were among the organization’s highest-ranked firms, while HTC , Sharp , Nikon , and Nintendo were ranked at or near the bottom, having made little or no progress in recent years. At issue is a group of minerals including tantalum, tin, and tungsten, all of which are used to produce a wide variety of tech products. Many of these resources are mined in politically unstable countries such as…
Following its rather downbeat quarterly earnings disclosed earlier today, Sharp had one bit of bright news for its near future: the company is about to start shipping out a new iPhone display this month. President Takashi Okuda is quoted by Reuters as delivering the information, which fits neatly into the roadmap that has been built up by the last few weeks of speculation. Sharp, along with LG Display and Japan Display, had already been identified as a likely manufacturer for the next-gen iPhone’s display , and the August timing of shipments coincides reasonably well with what we’ve heard from our own sources about a September 12th launch date for Apple’s next flagship phone. Multiple reports and leaks point to this new display being a..
The European Commission has contacted 13 optical drive manufacturers suspected of being involved in a five-year bid-rigging cartel, informing them of an investigation into what the Commission terms “one of the most serious breaches of EU antitrust rules.” According to the EC statement , the manufacturers may have deliberately coordinated their bids in auctions for contracts with two major PC OEMs, artificially inflating the price. While the identities of the suppliers have not been revealed, it seems likely that the long list includes some high-profile names, with 13 manufacturers representing a significant chunk of the European optical drive market. The Commission’s initial contact is known as a statement of objections and will be… Continue reading…
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13 optical drive makers suspected of cartel behavior in EU, under investigation
Microsoft’s Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing (RTM) is ” on schedule ” for the first week of August, and new screenshots leaked this weekend show a number of changes planned for the final version of the operating system. Set to debut to the public on October 26th , the final build of Windows 8 will include a boot screen with the new Metro-stylelogo, new color picker options for the desktop UI, and additional Metro inspired wallpapers. Winunleaked has unearthed a number of the changes with screenshots, revealing that Internet Explorer 10 desktop will now interact with the color scheme of Windows 8.
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Windows 8 RTM branch screenshots leak: new boot screen, wallpapers, desktop UI colors
Microsoft’s Tami Reller has announced that Windows 8 will Release to Manufacturing (RTM) in the first week on August, with a release in late October to retail stores. Speaking at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Canada, Reller revealed that the company is “on track” to finishing the final copy of Windows 8 in early August. General availability, when the software and devices are available in stores, is expected in late October according to Reller. Microsoft revealed in late May that an RTM announcement was due “within two months,” and an early August date appears to be in line with the company’s initial expectations. Microsoft has been compiling final versions of the operating system recently, which include new features and..
As the ThinkPad gears up for its 20th anniversary later this year, Lenovo is planning to move some of the legendary laptop line’s production back to Japan. The ThinkPad was initially developed by IBM’s Yamato research laboratory in Japan and was manufactured in the country for many years after. Lenovo moved its ThinkPad manufacturing lines to China last decade, but it’s now doing a trial run at an existing NEC plant in Yamagata, Japan with the hope of moving to full-scale production in the future. “As a Japanese, I am glad to see the return to domestic production,” says Akaemi Watanabe, Lenovo Japan president. He adds that his “goal is to realize full-scale production” at the plant, and that doing so would improve the company’s image and…
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ThinkPad production returns to Japan
In electronics heat is often the enemy, but research at North Carolina State University may have resulted in a way to keep things cool in a less-expensive manner than is currently possible. Dr. Jag Kasichainula achieved the feat by using graphene. Comprised of honeycombed carbon atoms, graphene is being utilized for a number of different breakthroughs and experiments ; in this case it is combined with copper to create a composite heat spreader. The spreader then connects to the electronic device in question with a indium-graphene film.
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Researchers combine copper and graphene for quicker, cheaper computer cooling
When deciding between an e-ink display and an LCD one, you’ll currently need to take into account the difficulty of looking at the latter in bright sunlight. Anti-reflective coatings exist, but are usually films applied after the fact. VISARC (Variable Index Single-layer Anti-Reflective Coating), however, is a treatment process that coats screens in a thin layer of particles that drastically cut glare.
Intel is usually ahead of competitors in the nanometer race and the company has accordingly long rebuffed the idea of allowing outside customers use of its facilities. The outlook for third-party chip designers improved markedly last year, however, when Intel announced that it would manufacture field programmable gate arrays for San Jose-based Achronix Semiconductor Corporation. This week, Intel has reached yet another agreement — this time with Tabula, Inc. — that will see it produce upcoming products for the semiconductor developer. The allure of Intel’s latest 22-nanometer manufacturing process (which will debut in the Ivy Bridge family of processors this year ) was the determining factor in Tabula’s decision to change course from…
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Intel inks deal to manufacture chips for outside designer Tabula, expands foundry services
Auret van Heerden, CEO of the Fair Labor Association, has issued some damning language today directed at Foxconn near the conclusion of an audit of factory conditions that had been requested by Apple several days ago. Without going into detail, van Heerden has told Bloomberg that his team was finding “tons of issues” and that he believes they’re “going to see some very significant announcements in the near future.” That could mean anything, of course — but when an organization devoted to protecting workers’ rights calls out “tons of issues,” it isn’t likely a good sign for the company under the microscope. Strangely, the comments lie in stark contrast to the impressions van Heerden had initially of Foxconn’s facilities just a couple… Continue reading…
The head of an inflatable sex doll is pictured in a box at Ningbo Yamei plastic toy factory, on the outskirts of Fenghua, Zhejiang province, February 13, 2012. The company started producing sex dolls three years ago, and now owns a total of 13 types of dolls at the average price of 100 RMB (16
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Sex doll in a box
Things have just changed pretty dramatically for Sigma’s flagship DSLR, the SD1 ; due to “new efficiencies in the camera’s production” the camera’s MSRP has been slashed down to $3,300 — over 50 percent less than what the camera was selling for yesterday. Imaging Resource reports that you might see it for even less, as the minimum advertised price is now just $2,299. In a letter to the company’s customers, CEO Kazuto Yamaki said that the SD1′s original price of $9,700 was inflated due to the expense of producing the camera’s 46-megapixel (15.3 x 3), APS-C Foveon X3 sensor, which has separate red, green, and blue photo detector layers. It’s good news for just about everyone other than those who already have shelled out thousands more… Continue reading…
In a bid to “increase the company’s competitiveness in the diverse global mobile device market,” Nokia is trimming down its manufacturing operations in Europe and Mexico and transferring device assembly work to its factories in Asia. As a result, the facilities in Salo (Finland), Komarom (Hungary), and Reynosa (Mexico) will be downsized dramatically — by a full 4,000 members of staff — and will be repurposed to focus on providing “smartphone product customization.” The redundancies will take effect on a rolling basis between now and the end of 2012, and Nokia promises to provide a comprehensive support program to help those who find themselves without a job. It’s difficult to sugarcoat the impact of this decision on Nokia’s workers,…
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Nokia moves device assembly to Asian factories, cutting 4,000 jobs in Europe and Mexico
The New York Times has a long and detailed piece on Chinese manufacturing, as seen through the lens of Apple’s decision to manufacture the iPhone there. The key issue may surprise many, as the NYT says that it’s not simply the low cost of labor that drives companies’ decisions. Instead, it’s a combination of extreme speed and flexibility in ramping up new production lines, economies of scale, availability of mid-level engineers, and centralization of different plants that makes it radically cheaper and often more efficient to product gadgets overseas. The interlocking issues of supply chains, labor costs, and infrastructure likely means that these types of manufacturing jobs won’t easily be moved to the US or other locations anytime..
Why China builds our gadgets, as seen through the iPhone
According to Japan’s Asahi paper, Sony is considering moving production of its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries overseas. Sony has not confirmed the potential move, but is allegedly considering changing its Tochigi Prefecture manufacturing facility to a research institute, shifting about 500 employees there into other locations or early retirement. It’s also apparently reviewing two other offices in Fukushima Prefecture, where production was stopped at six plants during the earthquake last year.
Starting off 2012 in the same vein as we ended 2011 , we’ve got another big online security breach on our hands. This time it’s web retailer Zappos, who has been informing its customers overnight that it has been “the victim of a cyber attack.” Unauthorized access to Zappos’ data servers has exposed a great of customer data, including names, email and shipping addresses, the last four digits of credit card numbers, and the “cryptographically scrambled” version of passwords to the site. Zappos is quick to point out that the database hosting full payments details for its 24 million customers has not been breached.
After shipping its tiny Android-powered WIMM One module in November, upstart WIMM Labs was back at CES 2012 last week showing a selection of new accessories. They’re not available for sale — nor will they be, directly — but they give a better look at the third-party ecosystem that WIMM is trying to foster. We saw more variations of the standard watch band than we’d seen last August — ten in total, including a hip camouflage version. Though WIMM’s focused on the modules and the SDK, I’d love to see the company offer these at the very least. There’s no additional engineering over the black band that’s already included in the developer kit (it’s an identical design), and it seems like adding a little color to the package makes a huge..