AMD forecasts first revenue drop in seven quarters, shares plummet

(Reuters) – Advanced Micro Devices Inc on Tuesday flagged competitive pressures with a forecast that pointed to the first revenue drop in seven quarters, sending the chipmaker’s shares plunging 11 percent in after-hours trading.

FILE PHOTO: AMD Opteron 6000 series processor is seen on a motherboard during a product launch in Taipei April 14, 2010. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang/File Photo

The company, which has gained from a surge in demand for its chips from cryptocurrency miners, also sought to tamp down expectations of benefits from the boom.

“We’re also predicting that there will be some leveling off of some of the cryptocurrency demand,” said Chief Executive Lisa Su on a post-earnings call.

AMD’s underwhelming forecast overshadowed a strong third-quarter performance, which was aided by a slew of launches this year such as the Epyc processors for servers and a new range of Ryzen desktop processors.

The company said it expects fourth-quarter revenue to fall about 12 percent to 18 percent from the third quarter. This implies a revenue of about $ 1.35 billion to $ 1.44 billion, according to Reuters calculation.

“AMD has headwinds with competition from Intel and Nvidia among other worries,” Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer at GBH Insights said.

Bigger rival Intel Corp recently launched its new line of Coffee Lake processors, which analysts said could challenge AMD’s Ryzen processors.

AMD’s total revenue surged 25.7 percent to $ 1.64 billion in the third quarter, beating analysts’ average estimate of $ 1.51 billion.

Sales in its graphics and computing business, which makes processors for servers and gaming consoles such as Microsoft Corp’s Xbox and Sony Corp’s PlayStation, surged 73.5 percent to $ 819 million.

“We anticipate seasonal demand to remain healthy as our customers enter the holiday sales cycle with Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One X,” Lisa Su said on the call.

France-based company Atari said last month that its latest gaming console Ataribox would feature AMD’s customised processor Radeon.

AMD reported a net income of $ 71 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $ 406 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 10 cents per share, topping analysts’ estimate of 8 cents, according Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

AMD’s shares have risen 25.7 percent this year, outperforming the S&P 500’s nearly 15 percent increase but underperfoming the Philadelphia semiconductor index’s 37 percent gain.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Couple Calls Cops Over Airbnb Hidden Camera. And It’s Not The First Time.

The host has been charged with video voyeurism.

A couple who stayed in a Florida Airbnb found hidden cameras that they reported to the police, leading to their host being charged with voyeurism.

Derek Starnes and his wife, who was not named in media reports, were visiting Longboat Key just over a month ago when Starnes spotted a camera hidden in the bedroom’s smoke detector. He determined the camera was recording to an SD card and called the cops.

When the police arrived, they seized multiple pieces of computer equipment. A second camera was in the living room. Starnes reckons the bedroom camera recorded him naked.

The landlord, a man named Wayne Natt, was arrested on Oct. 3 and, according to an Ars Technica report, charged with one count of video voyeurism. He claimed he was a swinger and had recorded dozens of videos of sexual activity on the property, but with the subjects’ knowledge.

Airbnb spokesman Benjamin Breit told WFLA that the firm was “outraged” at the reports and had banned Natt from the platform permanently.

“Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense and we hope justice is served,” Breit said. “We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior.”

This is hardly the first time Airbnb guests have discovered they were being filmed by hidden cameras. There are a few examples in just the last few months. A Korean couple traveling in Japan also found a camera hidden in a fire detector in July, then a month later a Chinese couple experienced the same thing in Taiwan.

The practice is so widespread that, at the end of 2015, a software developer even released a tool to help Airbnb guests spot hidden cameras that have a Wi-Fi connection.

Tech

Rocket Internet start-ups narrow losses in first half

BERLIN (Reuters) – German e-commerce investor Rocket Internet (RKET.DE) reported that its leading start-ups narrowed their losses in the first half of 2017, while revenue growth picked up slightly to 29 percent.

Aggregate revenue rose 29 percent to 1.24 billion euros ($ 1.45 billion) in the first half, while the adjusted loss before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization was 161 million euros, down from 204 million a year ago.

Rocket said meal kit delivery company HelloFresh, which has been considering an initial public offering, saw net revenue rise 49 percent to 435 million euros, while its loss rose slightly to 47 million euros.

Rocket said in a separate statement it agreed to sell a 13 percent stake in Delivery Hero (DHER.DE) to global entertainment group Naspers for 660 million euros in cash, cutting its stake to 13 percent.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Ludwig Burger

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Wileyfox is Europe’s newest mobile brand — here’s how its first smartphone stacks up

Wileyfox Swift

Fledgling European mobile phone brand Wileyfox announced its arrival in the smartphone realm a month ago, and now the London-based company is preparing to launch its first ever product: The Wileyfox Swift.

Initially slated for launch this week, Wileyfox revealed that shipping for the $ 200 Android device has been delayed until September 30. But while you wait, VentureBeat has grabbed some serious hands-on time with the phone, and here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.

Vital stats

Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

Above: Wileyfox Swift: Rear view

The Wileyfox Swift is powered by Cyanogen OS, the commercial, customizable Android-based operating system from Cyanogen Inc. It sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor, 5″ Gorilla Glass screen (1,280 x 720 pixels), 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage (expandable up to 32GB). It also supports 4G, has two SIM card slots, and it will set you back €179 EUR (£129 GBP / $ 205 USD).

As a slight aside, launching a month after the Swift is the souped-up €279 (£199 GBP / $ 315 USD) Wileyfox Storm, which offers a 5.5″ full HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, a whopping 20MP rear-facing camera, 3GB RAM, and 32GB of storage (expandable up to 128GB).

From VentureBeat

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Available for preorder now through the Wileyfox website, as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Expansys, and E-buyer, the Swift is pitched squarely at the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) market, with localized call center support, a replacement screen service, and an extended three-year warranty offered for the equivalent of around $ 15 for each service.

That said, the phone can be purchased in other territories, including the U.S., but Wileyfox said the “experience will not be full” elsewhere. For example, in the U.S., data streaming would be limited because the phone uses CDMA — voice and SMS should be fine on the Swift, as would Wi-Fi, but 4G / LTE would suffer. And there won’t be dedicated phone support outside EMEA, either.

Look and feel

Perhaps the most immediately striking facet of the Wileyfox Swift is its looks — it doesn’t resemble a cheap phone, despite what its price would have you believe. The rough-ish, sandstone black rear, embossed logo, and colored brand marking gives it a premium feel.

Wileyfox: Back

Above: Wileyfox Swift (Right): Back

The front side sports a clear screen with no physical buttons, and down the right edge you’ll find the volume control and power button. On the bottom edge is the micro-USB port and two speakers.

Wileyfox Front

Above: Wileyfox Front

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The Wileyfox Swift is noticeably light in the hand — at 135 grams, it’s 30 percent lighter than my OnePlus 2, though it is also around 0.5″ smaller. While this is good, it does make it feel a little bit cheaper to me — but that’s probably just because I’m used to a heftier handset.

Indeed, many people will like its deftness, and looking at other premium phones on the market, the Swift isn’t actually too light — the marginally larger Samsung Galaxy S6 weighs only 3 grams more, while the slightly smaller iPhone 6 comes in at 129 grams. In other words, the Swift is about the right weight for its size; it’s really just down to what you’re already accustomed to.

Under the hood

With Cyanogen OS on board, Wileyfox brings some useful features to the mainstream market. Cyanogen is already supported by many handsets, but in the West not many actually ship with the OS preinstalled.

Highlights include being able to lock some apps in protected folders on the home screen. Tap on a folder, hit the little padlock icon, enter a code, and voila.

Folder Protection

Above: Folder protection

Other neat little touches include Privacy Guard, which gives users easy access to control what data is shared with which apps. And with Truecaller built in, the Swift can block spam calls and texts from specific numbers — a giant smack in the face to robocallers everywhere.

Truecaller and App Privacy

Above: Truecaller and App Privacy

General performance

One of the downsides of Cyanogen OS is that it is prone to bugs, and at times it’s not the most responsive to touch. For example, occasionally I would attempt to swipe down from the top to access notifications and settings, and literally nothing would happen. This was similar to what I experienced with the OnePlus One, which ran Cyanogenmod 12.

That said, it’s not prevalent enough for it to be a deal-breaker — it just gets a little frustrating at times for those 5 seconds or so I’m desperately trying to swipe the screen.

In terms of juice, the Wileyfox Swift packs a removable (yay!) 2500mAh battery that promises stand-by time of up to 200 hours and talk time of up to 10 hours (2G) or 8 hours (3G).

Of course, nobody really uses their smartphones for calling anymore — they use them for tweeting, WhatsApp-ing, Google Maps-ing, YouTube-ing, and Spotify-ing. I didn’t stress-test the battery; I used it as I would any phone throughout a day (Google Maps, Twitter, BBC News app, and very little media streaming), and it lasted from when I awoke to when I went to bed, at which point there was around 10 percent battery remaining.

Elsewhere, the 13MP camera works pretty well for daylight shots, but I found it lacked somewhat in clarity for low-lighting situations. But at $ 200, this was never promising the best lens on the market. The on-board dual speakers were actually pretty darn good for casual listening at this price point, though you would of course want to use a Bluetooth speaker if you’re hosting a party.

The cherry on the cake, for me, is the display. It may not be full HD, but I found the screen to be clear and crisp. Again, this isn’t going to be for perfectionists who love watching movies on their phone with all the trimmings, but for the price it’s definitely very good.

Wileyfox Display

Above: Wileyfox display

Dual-SIM

This feature gets a special mention. dual-SIM phones are popular in many developing markets, but they’ve never really become much of a “thing” in the West. There’s no real reason why dual-SIM devices shouldn’t be popular in Europe or the U.S. — it was one of the reasons why I upgraded my personal phone to the OnePlus 2.

The use cases for dual-SIM are numerous. You can have one number for all your friends and family, and one for companies that may be inclined to call at inappropriate times. The second SIM slot can basically be your spam line, just like that Yahoo email account you keep for special occasions. You could have one domestic SIM and one business SIM, if you travel abroad often. Or you could have two domestic SIMs — one for calls and SMS, the other for Internet — if you find separate good deals from two companies.

And if you have absolutely no need for two SIMs, you don’t have to use that second slot.

Verdict

In our original assessment, we stated that Wileyfox wants to be the OnePlus of Europe. While the basic sentiment of that still rings true, it doesn’t really tell the whole picture — OnePlus sells premium phones at a knockdown price. The Wileyfox Swift is a decent mid-range device — and excellent value for the money — but it’s definitely not a premium phone.

The Wileyfox Swift should be well received when it finally goes to market. However, it sits in an awkward position for me. The customization options are excellent, but it feels a little like the handset is aimed at a more tech-savvy market, where fine-tuning privacy options are important. It’s a market, perhaps, that would be more inclined to shell out for a proper high-end phone.

That said, the Wileyfox Swift could find a sizable niche in the gift-giving fraternity. It’s the perfect price for someone to buy a family member / significant other for their birthday or Christmas. You probably wouldn’t buy a $ 600 iPhone for your dad, but you’d maybe drop a couple hundred bucks on a Swift.


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Angry Birds 2 hits 20M downloads in its first week

Angry Birds 2

Angry Birds 2 has turned into a big hit as Rovio Entertainment announced it has been downloaded more than 20 million times in its first week of release.

The game is No. 1 on the iPhone and iPad in more than 100 countries. Fans have fired their slingshots more than 1.4 billion times and blasted their way through more than 300 million levels, Rovio said.

“When we were developing and testing Angry Birds 2, we had good reason to believe we were on to a good thing, but the enormous groundswell of enthusiasm for the game from loyal fans and casual newcomers alike has been humbling,” said Rovio creative director Patrick Liu, in a statement. “It took the first Angry Birds game more than 9 months to reach this many players, and we thank all our fans for growing the flock so quickly.”

The free-to-play game is currently No. 47 on the top-grossing games list. If it moves up that chart, then Rovio will have some real money on its hands.

“While Angry Birds 2 is off to a great start around the world, including key markets in the Americas and Europe, in China we are gaining a new foothold and seeing remarkable fruits of our well-functioning partnership with Kunlun,“ said Rovio chief commercial officer Alex Lambeek, in a statement. “A new generation of Chinese gamers are getting to know the angry feathered flock, and we see a bright future together with Kunlun, one of the Chinese game industry’s largest and most important players.”

 


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