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Jun 28, 2008

NEWS: Looks like the iPhone will make it to mainland China, after all

Sprint's iPhone Knockoff Samsung Instinct Selling Well -- Really (S)

samsung-instinct.jpgNot just a bunch of hot air: Sprint Nextel's iPhone-inspired Samsung Instinct is actually popular, and is actually sold out in some stores. That's great news for Sprint, which can use any help it can get these days.

Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk called 100 Sprint stores across 20 markets yesterday: 28 of the stores had 5 or fewer Instincts in stock; of those, and 11 were sold out. It's apparently popular in LA, where there were only 7 in stock across 5 stores he called. And one store had an Instinct waiting list of 20 customers. (Note: We don't actually know how many Instincts Sprint has sold, just that it's in short stock in some places.)...

Helio Hangs it Up


Virgin Mobile purchased Helio today for $39 million in equity. Helio is a small MVNO that made its name by selling powerful and high-end telephones aimed at technophiles and, thanks to an investment by South Korea’s SK Telecom, Korean-Americans. As part of the deal, Virgin Mobile is also receiving $50 million to pay down Helio’s debt (half from SK Telecom, and half from its parent company Virgin Group), as well as an additional revolving credit facility of $60 million. Just last September, SK Telecom tried to save Helio by pouring an extra $270 million into it, to no avail...

Looks like the iPhone will make it to mainland China, after all

When I was in China last month, it seemed like every entrepreneur I met had an iPhone — an iPhone that they had purchased elsewhere then “unlocked” so they could use it in China. Unlocking means breaking Apple’s terms of service so that the phone can use a data card from a local carrier, which goes against Apple’s business strategy of trying to partner with local carriers and sell phones through them.

But finally, it looks like the iPhone may officially arrive in the country where the iPhone is made. Apple and the largest mobile carrier in China, China Mobile, have been making progress on a deal that would allow the carrier to distribute the phone, according to Marketwatch. The progress stems from Apple dropping its demand that China Mobile share revenue, the report says — Apple is presumably still getting a cut of phone hardware sales, but not a cut of revenue from related services.

I’m personally surprised that Apple caved on this. I’ve previously spoken with one Chinese entrepreneur who had been approached by Apple to help them work something out with China Mobile. He turned down the offer and told me that “I’d rather put a chainsaw down my pants than try to negotiate that deal.” Apple is notoriously rigid about maintaining control — it did this successfully with AT&T in the U.S.

Other mobile-focused entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with in China estimated that there are more than half a million unlocked iPhones in China. That seems like a lot, assuming the guesstimate is accurate, except that there are 540 million mobile users China. I guess the Chinese market was just too tempting...

Apple Laptop Shipments up 61 Percent

A new report from market research firm DisplaySearch shows Apple’s notebook shipments grew 61 percent from the first quarter...
PC Shipments Jump Worldwide

Len Rust, Computerworld Australia

Saturday, June 28, 2008 6:35 AM PDT

Worldwide PC shipments are on track to reach 297 million units in 2008, a 12.5 percent increase from 2007 shipments of 264 million units, according to Gartner. The company's analysts have increased their outlook from their previous forecast due to the continued strength in mobile PC growth. In March, analysts had projected an increase of 10.9 percent.

"Mobile PC shipments exceeded our expectations in the first quarter of 2008," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "Mobile PCs continue to have strong momentum and the global economic environment is proving to be less punishing than we expected. Even so, it's a bit premature to say PC shipments won't be impacted by a weaker global economy, especially if oil and food prices continue to soar."

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