Huawei reveals new Kirin 970 phone chip

Huawei has unveiled a powerful new mobile phone chip, the Kirin 970. The chip will increase competition between Huawei and its major competitors, Apple and Samsung.

The Kirin 970 is technically a chipset, bringing together the components for computing, graphics, image and digital signal processing power that have traditionally used separate chips and, therefore, required more space within a handset.

Huawei describes the new chip as the first Neural Processing Unit for smartphones, bringing together previously separate chip functions. The chip incorporates Artificial Intelligence to help users personalise their phones with functions such as real-time language translation and augmented reality.

Apart from Apple, virtually all competitor brands including Samsung rely on Snapdragon chips manufactured by Qualcomm, which leads the market in mobile chip design.

It is claimed that the Kirin 970 will deliver 25 times better CPU performance and 50 times greater energy efficiency, resulting in longer battery life. The chips are made using a 10nm manufacturing process.

Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei’s consumer branch said: “Users are in for much faster performance, longer battery life and more compact design.”

The new chip will feature in Huawei’s forthcoming Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro phones, to be unveiled on 16 October 2017.

Less than half of iPhone users planning to switch to iPhone 5 — study

The launch of the new Apple iPhone 5 has made headlines globally, but what certainly matters more than publicity is what consumers think of the new gadget. According to a poll by online research company Usurv, 44% of current iPhone users in the UK are willing to switch to iPhone 5. In what will essentially be a ‘sell iPhone – buy iPhone’ move, the iPhone 4 will quickly become redundant as new apps are launched on iPhone 5 only firmware ensuring that Apple fanatics continue updating to the newest models.

Overall, the survey finds that one in five British smartphone users want to have the new mobile device, even without researching into its features. However, Samsung Galaxy users tend to be most loyal to their brand, with just 5% of them admitting they want to try iPhone 5. The feeling of loyalty could partly be fuelled by the recent court battles between Samsung and Apple, experts believe.

When asked about the features they find most attractive in the new product, almost one in five cite its larger screen as an advantage and a further 17% say they find faster Internet access appealing. However, two in five respondents are unimpressed by the new device, saying that none of its features is of interest to them. Furthermore, over a quarter of those polled believe that the launch of iPhone 5 has been “over-hyped”, without the product actually offering anything new or intriguing.

Usurv director and market researcher Guy Potter comments that the poll was carried out immediately after the official launch of iPhone 5, with the intention to gauge consumers´ spontaneous reaction to the news. In general, UK users do not seem over-excited about the product, he summarises.

Source: M2 Bespoke News

Finnish Nokia agrees sale of Vertu unit to sponsor EQT Partners

Finnish mobile phone group Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) said on Thursday it was selling its luxury handsets making subsidiary Vertu Corp to EQT VI fund, part of Swedish private equity firm EQT Partners AB, for an undisclosed price.

According to earlier media reports, the sale was expected to generate EUR200m, but Financial News has not been able to verify the actual price tag.

The struggling handset maker also announced that it will cut 10,000 jobs as it warned that losses of its mobile phone business will be wider than expected in the second quarter.

Nokia will keep 10% in Vertu, it said, adding that the sale to EQT VI was the next logical step in the unit’s development, helping it to focus on increased opportunities for growth in the luxury category.

EQT VI has also announced the agreement, saying it would further develop Vertu as a standalone firm through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development.

Vertu’s strong brand, its leading position in its category and significant growth potential makes it a perfect fit for EQT VI’s investment strategy, Jan Stahlberg, partner at EQT Partners, said.

Vertu’s president, Perry Oosting, expressed in his comment confidence that EQT VI will position the company to continue its growth and lead the sector.

Based in Church Crookham, UK, Vertu employs around 1,000 globally. The company offers tailored, luxury services and finest design, engineering and manufacturing services. Its products sell through more than 500 stores, including over 70 own-brand boutiques, in 66 countries around the world.

Subject to regulatory clearance and other customary conditions, the transaction is expected to complete during the second half of this year, the parties said.

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UK private equity firm Permira in talks to acquire Nokia’s luxury handset brand Vertu

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia Oyj (NYSE:NOK) has reached the advanced stage of negotiations over the sale of its luxury handset subsidiary Vertu to UK-based private equity firm Permira, as the company looks to shed non-core assets in a bid to revive its devices unit.

The Financial Times reported that the disposal is expected to generate around EUR200m (USD265m) for Nokia, which was once considered the undisputed leader on the mobile phone market, but is now struggling to make inroads into the smartphone business. Efforts also include accelerating cost reductions at the division, the newspaper said.

For Permira, a successful outcome of the talks would mean another luxury brand in its portfolio, which includes fashion labels Hugo Boss and Valentino. According to the sources, there is no certainty yet that the parties would reach an agreement. Nokia has enlisted the advisory services of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). None of the companies mentioned agreed to comment to the FT.

Swedish-based private equity group EQT Partners has also held talks with Nokia over acquiring Vertu but sources familiar with the matter report that there is currently no development on that front. The FT said that some luxury goods companies had also indicated interest in buying the brand.

Vertu was set up by Nokia in 1998 and has become known as the maker of the most expensive handsets in the world. The UK-based business makes devices whose price sometimes exceeds GBP200,000. The hand-made phones with precious metal components are sold in over 60 countries. Vertu’s annual revenues are estimated at between EUR200m and EUR300m, the FT added.

Carphone Warehouse to close UK Best Buy Stores

Carphone Warehouse have announced that 11 of their Best Buy consumer electronics stores will be closing. This is less than two years after they opened.


Stores will be axed across the southeast and Midlands with the likely loss of around 1,100 jobs. The company had hoped to create 8,000 jobs and open stores throughout the UK and Europe.


Charles Dunstone the founder of Carphone Warehouse is in line for a substantial windfall as he prepares to sell the mobile phone retailer’s US business for up to £1billion.


The British retailer owns a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture, with a value between £620 and£1billion.


Shareholders are expected to receive a portion of the proceeds made in the form of a special dividend.


In partnership with Best Buy, 11 warehouse-sized stores were opened in Britain two years ago as a predecessor to 100 outlets around Europe. However following a strategic review of the ‘Big Box’ shops, which are set to lose a staggering £80million this year, they will be closed.


Stores are located in Aintree, Bristol, Croydon, Derby, Enfield, Hayes, Hedge End, Merry Hill, Nottingham, Rotherham and Thurrock.


This information comes following results published by accountants BDO, which shown that non-food high street sales dropped by 3 per cent in October compared to the previous year’s figures.


Non-store sales including Internet and catalogue orders however were up to 20.7 per cent compared to last October. This information shows a further rise in online shopping which has hit high street retail badly.


Best Buy Europe was formed in 2008 when the company spent £1.1billion in a deal with Carphone Warehouse to buy 50 per cent of their retail shops, launching their own branded stores across the UK.


However the company’s problem is an example of a wider crisis of consumer confidence that has swept the high street.


This move has meant other electronic retailers such as Comet and Argos are continually under pressure following the drawback on customers buying big-ticket items or choosing to shop online.


By Charlotte Greenhalgh