Digital Zone 288: In Search of a Problem

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In this edition of the Digital Zone, we talked about:

  • Xbox One and Playstation 4 sales
  • Touch enabled PC sales down
  • Top smartphone complaints
  • Apple’s impact on smartphone market
  • Apple and Foxconn’s relationship

Despite selling more than a million Xbox Ones in less than 24 hours after launch, Microsoft is not going to make money off the console anytime soon, according to Barron’s, saying Microsoft stands to lose more than $1 billion this year from its Xbox venture. Barron’s says Microsoft will sell around 4.2 million Xbox One units, although the number may be too optimistic considering existing competition from the PlayStation 4, early supply problems, and competition from the iPhone, iPad, other smartphones and tablets that can be used for games and media consumption. In a related story, Microsoft is rewarding Xbox One buyers who encountered issues with the console right out of the box with a free game for their troubles, in addition to a replacement console. The news comes straight from Xbox customer care, which has notified some Xbox One owners via email that they can choose one of four titles including Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Zoo Tycoon to download for free on their Xbox One.

Microsoft’s hope with Windows 8 was that it would create demand for touch-enabled PCs that would revitalize PC sales. New data from NPD DisplaySearch estimates that touch-enabled notebooks will account for just 11% of all notebooks shipped in 2013.

If you don’t own one of the most popular smartphones on the market, have you ever wondered what users complain about the most? According to Fixya, they have created this latest report by sourcing data from its 30 million users and 8 million product problems and solutions:

Top 5 Samsung Galaxy S4 Issues:
1. Overheating – 25%
2. Battery Problems – 20%
3. Screen Issues – 20%
4. Phone & Text Issues – 15%
5. Other – 20%

Top 5 Moto X Issues:
1. Storage Space – 30%
2. Screen Quality – 20%
3. Camera Quality – 20%
4. GPS Problems – 15%
5. Other –15%

Top 5 iPhone 5s Issues:
1. Battery Problems – 25%
2. Fingerprint Password – 25%
3. Display Size – 15%
4. Apps Crashing – 15%
5. Other – 20%

Top 5 HTC One Issues:
1. Battery Life – 30%
2. Audio Issues – 20%
3. Camera Quality – 20%
4. Blinkfeed Feature – 10%
5. Other – 20%

According to a report in AllThingsD from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Apple stores sell 25% of all iPhones in the United States and 11% of all retail phones overall. While the carriers still sell the majority of all cellphones, Best Buy also accounts for 13% of cellphone sales, and big-box retailers Walmart, Costco, and Target account for 12% of cellphone sales. Of course, Apple stores only sell iPhones, whereas Best Buy and other retailers sell phones from all carriers and platforms, including the iPhone.

A WSJ piece on Foxconn, ramping up production of the iPhone 5s to meet demand provided an interesting glimpse at some of the numbers involved. Foxconn operates 100 production lines, which are now operating at maximum capacity 24/7 to turn out 500,000 iPhones 5s handsets per day according to the report. Each iPhone represents the combined work of around 600 people. The unnamed Foxconn source said that this amounted to 100 people more than for the iPhone 5c due to the increased complexity of the high-end phone. For the iPhone 5C or the iPhone 5, we only have 500 workers per production line as the assembly procedure is less complicated. While the relationship between Apple and Foxconn is a crucially important one to both companies, each side is reportedly looking to reduce its reliance on the other – Apple looking to diversify its supply chain, and Foxconn keen to retain capacity for other clients. Apple currently represents around 40 percent of Foxconn’s revenue.

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