iPhone Brings Unique Perk to Enterprise Users: Happiness

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Much has been made of the iPhone’s potential as an enterprise device, with many still holding out against its usefulness in a corporate environment. A new report from Forrester Research, however, finds that enterprise iPhone users get more than just a communication tool with Apple’s (s aapl) handset; they get happiness and productivity, too.

The 12-page report from Forrester covers three large companies that support iPhone deployment: Kraft Foods Inc. (s kft), Oracle Corp. (s orcl) and Amylin Pharmaceuticals (s amln). In each case, the report’s author Tim Shadler says the evidence suggests that the iPhone not only lead to a “happier, more productive workforce” but also carries lower support costs, which is unexpected considering that the device is still a relative novelty in corporate IT environments. Read More about iPhone Brings Unique Perk to Enterprise Users: Happiness

Hoku Scientific Haunted by Setbacks

“Challenging” usually has positive connotations: something tough but invigorating and capable of making you stronger. These days, it’s being used more and more as a euphemism for “terrible.”

Dustin Shindo, CEO of Hawaii-based solar company Hoku Scientific (s HOKU), used the word in his company’s press release announcing a financial quarter that can, realistically, only be described as terrible.

Three months ago, Hoku forecast revenue for the year ending March 31, 2009 to be between $15 million and $18 million. Now it expects only $5 million. Revenue in the most recent quarter totaled $767,000, 47 percent down from the same quarter a year ago. Analysts following Hoku were looking for $4.9 million in revenue.

The silver lining is that Hoku posted a loss of three cents a share, half of the six-cent loss analysts were expecting. Hoku was down 5 percent in after-hours trading following the earnings, reversing most of the 7 percent gain it made during market hours Wednesday.
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Desperately Seeking Solar’s Safe Haven

J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Blansett created some buzz in the solar sector Monday with a note urging investors to make a “flight to safety” — noting that companies will have to weather “reduced solar subsidies next year, higher solar system borrowing costs and increasing competition at all levels of the solar PV food chain.”
Those factors, combined together, could damage the weaker players in the industry.
And investors, having stomached several months of volatility — most of it downward — are surely craving some safety. Just this week, MEMC cut its own forecast for this quarter. The solar-wafer manufacturer expects $500 million in revenue (down from $570 million) and its gross profit to be 48 percent of profit (down from 50 percent).
MEMC’s darker forecast follows another one that made even bigger waves last week: JA Solar (JASO), whose executives weren’t content with slashing its own guidance but went a big step further and used a word that can trigger a cascade of sell orders: “At this moment the market reaction has been panic,” JA’s CEO Samuel Yang said.
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Congress Bickers, Solar Stocks Crumble

The failed passage of a financial bailout bill has taken a harsh toll on most corners of the stock market, but few sectors saw steeper one-day declines Monday than solar stocks. That’s largely because there was a second piece of bad news coming from Congress that had special meaning for the solar industry.

Much like the bailout debacle, the House of Representatives and the Senate can’t find agreement on how to extend energy tax credits that are key to a more mainstream embracing of solar panels among businesses and homeowners. Incentives such as tax credits and subsidies are crucial to lowering the costs of solar power to make it competitive enough to reach a large scale.

The perception that Congress had been dragging its feet was a big factor in driving down solar-stock prices this year. Now legislators are taking action, but the arguing and sniping from both houses is threatening to delay a bill possibly into early 2009. More details on the political deadlock can be found at Congressional Quarterly and Bloomberg.
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MobileTechRoundup 145: live from Singapore!

Motr_coverCLICK HERE to download the file and listen directly.
MoTR 145 is 34:30 minutes long and is a 31.8 MB file in MP3 format.

INTRO: Based on “Time v2.1? by Meta Sektion, additional mixing by James Kendrick.
HOSTS: James Kendrick (Houston), Matthew Miller (Seattle) and Kevin C. Tofel (Philadelphia)

TOPICS:
Matt’s recording Singapore, hence a little audio challenge for this show.
Nokia N79, N85 and N96 coming to America.
Where are all of the OLED devices?
There’s an MSI Wind with 6-cell battery on the way.
Matt scores an Amazon Kindle for $200 since Kindle 2.0 isn’t coming soon.
WiMAX getting location-based services and there’s potential for “the ability to use multiple devices on the same account without being charged multiple times“. That would be sweet!
What do we expect (or want) the WiMAX offerings to be?
Android is getting an AppStore, er Market… which looks to be less restrictive than Apple’s.

CONTACT US: E-mail us or leave us a voicemail on our SkypeLine!
SUBSCRIBE: Use this RSS feed with your favorite podcatcher or click this link to add us to iTunes!

Lenovo IdeaPad U8 Olympic MID debuts in China

We expected it for quite a while and word comes today that Lenovo has released its Olympic-themed MID, the IdeaPad U8, at the Olympics in China.  We saw the U8 at the CES back in January and as expected it’s packing an Atom processor (like everything else) and has connectivity options out the wazoo.  No word on pricing but we got the word straight from Lenovo that there has never been any plans to sell the U8 outside of China so don’t get your wallets out just yet.

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How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Sun-Stock Speculation

For a while, it seemed like this year’s promising sector was solar power. Then it started to look like it wasn’t.

Now the solar stocks are being whipsawed around on the kind of mundane news that is the bread and butter of every other industry: contracts, partnerships, delayed deals. A case in point: SunPower (SPWR) secured $190 million from Morgan Stanley for solar electric power installations.

Now, $190 million is nothing to sneeze at, but neither does it justify a 15 percent surge in SunPower’s stock in a single day. SunPower’s market cap increased by $1.3 billion on news of a $190 million facility. That’s a jump in market value nearly seven times as big as the money Morgan Stanley is putting up. And I’m sitting here scratching my head over how that makes sense. Especially if you look at the nature of the deal as explained in the press release:

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The Sun Stocks Also Set

solar stocks 11/9 and 11/12The laws of gravity do seem to apply to solar stocks, after all. After remaining one of the few sectors that was immune from the spreading turmoil and carnage caused by the credit crunch, an overwhelming wave of sell orders seemed to have swept aside the relentless bullishness that drove many of these stocks higher and higher.
But rather than originating in the mortgage mess — or even the sudden, sharp correction in big-name technology stocks that spilled over from the finance sector — the broadside in solar stocks came from a longtime ally: U.S. legislators who have suddenly become wishy-washy concerning bills that could benefit alternative technologies like solar panels. As Craig wrote earlier, the rush to pass pending legislation could leave some energy bills gutted with hoped-for provisions:

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) could cut clean energy programs like Crazy Eddie slashes prices…All in all, Congress’s hastiness with these bills could result in less-than-stellar gains for clean tech.

Or even, for now at least, some rather stellar stock losses. Even the larger-cap issues favored by investors who have been enthusiastic with solar stocks this year fell between 10 percent and 20 percent, as this table from Yahoo Finance shows.
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How To Crank Through Your Gmail

If you get a lot of email — and let’s face it, web workers live in their email — it’s likely that you already use Gmail to handle your communication needs. But are you doing it as quickly and efficiently as possible, so you can get back to your real work (read: Twitter)?

Master the tools of your trade and you will soon be churning through your email like it’s butter. Crank quickly, and get out.

I get well over 100 emails a day, and I suspect I’m not alone in this department. But I respond quickly to each one (if necessary), and empty out my inbox each time. And with the help of some of the rules and tricks I share below, it doesn’t take me long.

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Justin.tv, Meet Johnny.tv (a.k.a. Ustream)

Pretty soon you won’t be able to walk down the street without bumping into an internet entrepreneur broadcasting his life 24/7. When it rains Justin.tv‘s, it pours.

This weekend we learned of Ustream.tv, a project that’s “eerily” similar to Justin.tv, as co-founder Brad Hunstable puts it. The company has the same ultimate goal as Justin.tv — to build a platform for interactive live streaming. And now, they have the same demo product — a twenty-something Asian-American male entrepreneur accompanied by a camera. (Except in Johnny Ham’s case, the camera’s not strapped to his head, but instead carried by his girlfriend.)

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