Sony phasing out feature phones, banking on Smartphones

Now that Sony completely owns the Sony Ericsson phone company it has decided to start phasing out feature phones. This means that Sony will most likely be basing its future on the Android operating system.

Hot on the heels of the announcement of Sony buying out Ericsson to own the phone company outright Sony makes a bombshell announcement. Howard Stringer, Sony’s president and CEO, said today “We’re phasing out feature phones.” Stringer has yet to outline exactly how quickly the phasing out process will take.

With smartphone prices dropping every day it seems as though it’s only a matter of time until every phone on the market will be a smartphone. The price issue that comes into play would be the monthly service fee, which we are sure not everyone is willing to pay. We are curious about if or when other large cell phone manufacturers will follow suit.

One hurdle that Sony might be facing is the never ending patent lawsuits surrounding Android smartphones. As of right now all of Sony Ericsson smartphones run Android, so basically Sony’s move today is banking on Google’s OS. With Apple’s latest patent for unlocking touchscreens Android phone makers have to be losing some sleep over the possible ramifications.

It is doubtful that Sony will be making its own operating system, so that only leaves three options for Sony.

1.) It can stick solely on Android and hope for the best.

2.) It can branch out to make a Windows Phone 7 devices in addition to Android.

3.) It can blow everyone’s minds and buy webOS from HP.

Most likely it will stick solely with Android, but it is always fun to guess what might happen.  How soon will HTC or Motorola follow Sony’s lead and phase out feature phones?

Netflix now takes up nearly a third of all Internet bandwidth in North America

While Netflix's recent management missteps have caused the stock to take a massive beating over the last few months, this hasn't stopped more Netflix users from streaming television shows and movies over the Internet.

According to Sandvine’s Fall 2011 Global Internet Phenomena Report, Netflix now makes up 32.7 percent of all Internet traffic in North America and has become the most powerful driver of traffic during the evening. This report analyzes approximately 200 Internet service providers in 80 different countries. Across all countries, real-time entertainment applications make up 60 percent of peak downstream traffic, an increase from 50 percent in 2010. Hardware in the entertainment traffic category include smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes, game consoles like the Xbox 360 and smart televisions. Entertainment hardware dominates the laptop and desktop PC category which only makes up about 45 percent of all Internet traffic.

netflix-streaming-demoVideo makes up over 32 percent of all peak downstream mobile traffic and the largest contributor to that group is YouTube. Web surfing is in second place at a bit over 16 percent of peak period aggregate traffic and peer-to-peer file sharing is also in second place for daily aggregate traffic. Peak network traffic is typically at maximum levels between 8 to 11 p.m. each evening. Other sources that contribute to traffic at peak times includes real-time communication, gaming, secure tunneling and social networking.

Netflix subscribers are watching real-time entertainment on multiple screens over the same network as well. Data usage rises based on the size of the screen. For instance, people watching on a 55″ HDTV are more likely to opt for a higher quality video stream with similar quality on the multi-channel audio stream. The report also raises the possibility that Netflix traffic has peaked as of Fall 2011 due to the recent developments with Netflix’s loss of 800,000 subscribers. Assuming the subscriber base continues to fall over the fourth quarter, Netflix will be forced to rely on supplying streaming content to emerging foreign markets to continue the growth of Netflix’s dominance of Internet traffic.

Samsung knocks Apple off top spot to become world’s biggest smartphone seller

Samsung has overtaken Apple to become the world's biggest smartphone seller, helped by healthy sales of its Galaxy smartphones - a range which happens to be at the center of a legal dispute between the two companies.

Thanks in part to strong sales of its Android-operated Galaxy S II handset, Samsung has passed Apple to become the world’s biggest seller of smartphones.

The Korean company also released figures for the third quarter on Friday, which showed a record profit generated by smartphone sales.

According to data from Strategy Analytics, Samsung took 23.8 percent of the smartphone market with 27.8 million shipments compared to Apple’s 14.6 percent with 17.1 million shipments.

This will of course come as good news for the Asian electronics giant, what with all the patent-based legal wrangling it’s currently experiencing with rival Apple. At the same time though, it’ll no doubt reinforce the Cupertino company’s determination to press on with its legal action to try to prevent the sale of many of Samsung’s devices, such as its Galaxy tablets and smartphones.

In an email statement, Strategy Analytics said of the figures, “Samsung’s rise has been driven by a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution.”

With early sales of Apple’s new iPhone 4S looking more than promising, Samsung’s time at the top could be short lived. Apple will be buoyed by news that, following the lengthy service outage suffered by BlackBerry users recently, 64 percent of those considering switching to another handset said they would opt for an iPhone.

Though Samsung showed strong growth in sales of its smartphones in the third quarter, the state of its chip business was less straightforward. Profit from sales of its computer memory chips were low compared to a year earlier, though revenue generated from sales of processor chips for smartphones and tablets was strong. And to whom is it selling many of its processor chips? Why, Apple of course. Some may see the battle with Apple as a win-win situation for Samsung, with the iPhone and iPad both incorporating its components.

The Korean company was upbeat about the immediate future. “Looking ahead into the fourth quarter – when industry demand is traditionally at its peak – Samsung expects sales of mobile devices to remain strong and flat panel TV shipments to increase,” the company said in its earnings statement.