Samsung’s e315 worthy upgrade

315samsung.jpgWhat’s a phone without a camera? Apparently nothing, according to Samsung, which has upgraded their best selling e105 model and are now calling it e315. (Its $199 with a new activation, or for $25 with special offers and all!) They are two “fit in fifth pocket of my jeans” phones which weight next to nothing, have great battery power and are a great compromise between features and price. I got my dirty paws on this phone and after two days of use, I am ready to declare it a “worthy upgrade.” For starters, RF functions are better than its predecessor. The screen is much brighter, and outside LCD is now a color screen. The icons have improved, and overall the phone OS is more brisk. Text messaging and thumbing emails is so much better, and there are more options for “text input” including the impossible to use T9. The VGA camera is not the greatest, but does the job well. The Video Camera features are good, but without an option for memory card, it is pointless to really shoot anything longer than a few seconds. Video quality is well… lets say worse than the mood in Kerry HQ these days. What truly sucks is that you cannot download the photos without sending them over the air, which means spending extra dollars on bandwidth. No wonder T-Mobile loves this phone! What I don’t like it the new nasty habit Samsung has picked up from Apple. It changed the headset-port and now you cannot use your old handsfree with it. Samsung E105 has been my default phone for months now, and if I was going to upgrade, I wouldn’t mind e315.

Chips tell the story

Ever since Cisco and HP announced their poor results, investors have been reacting with a sense of panic, and lot of hand-wringing. It is a little late now, because they ignored the disaster signals coming from the semiconductor sector. The chip equipment makers like KLA-Tencor have been warning about slowing sales for a while. When their sales slow, it means that chip foundries are not buying, because in turn they are seeing slowdown in orders from their customers, mostly fabless chip companies. In other words, chip equipment order book acts like an early warning system for what is going to be an industry wide problem. National Semi cut its forecast yeaterday. Cisco’s rising inventories means that there will little growth in the business of companies like PMC Sierra, Broadcom and others who supply to Cisco.

This morning, Ren Zamora, analyst with Loop Capital wrote, “A stronger case is being made that year-over-year technology growth is slowing more than we originally expected. Near-term, we are less comfortable with the concept that inventory builds are growing to prepare for an increase in customer demand.” His action: cut estimates for Texas Instruments which sells a ton of chips for all things that are supposed to be much in demand: cell phones, DSL modems, VoIP gear, handhelds and other musical gear. Zamora’s actions suggest well these devices are not going to be as hot in the near term. Vishesh points to a good round up on The Washington Post, and writes, “Anyone else get the feeling that the 2003 recovery might be fading? Rember the 2001 debates about whether it would be a “V” shaped or “W” shaped recovery… i.e. would we dip again? Feels like it might be the later.”