Samsung’s Galaxy S6
Samsung struggled to stay ahead of the competition in 2014. Apple’s new iPhone 6 outperformed the Galaxy S5 smartphone, while new entrants to the market such as the highest valued startup in the world, Chinese-firm Xiaomi, ate into its market share.
So for Samsung, the popularity and success of the newly unveiled Galaxy S6 upgrade will be pivotal for the company in solidifying its dominance in the smartphone sector. The Korean giant introduced two versions of the phone this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – the Galaxy S6 and the slightly more innovative Galaxy S6 Edge.
The new model does away with some of the touted features of the Galaxy S5 that were underwhelmingly received by consumers. The S6 has a metal frame instead of a plastic one, with a glass back similar to the iPhone, meaning the case cannot be removed to change the battery. The bubbling excitement for the water-resistant S5 has also died down, as its successor will most likely break if dunked in water for 30 seconds. Even the software has been tweaked for a more simplistic feel and less pop up images.
The Galaxy S6 Edge isn’t hugely different, but certainly looks more innovative with a curved screen on both sides of the phone. Perhaps the more impressive claim is that just 10 minutes of charge will allow the phone 4 hours of battery life.
Samsung CEO LK Shin called the Edge “the most beautiful smartphone in Samsung’s history and the most advanced smartphone in the world,” according to the Guardian. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and Samsung will hope that the Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge can recapture the attention of consumers deterred by the S5 model.
The phones will be available in 20 different countries on April 10.
Mandarin Oriental cyber attack
The Mandarin Oriental luxury hotel chain has confirmed its network has been hacked and customer credit card data has been compromised.
The hack occurred due to some malicious software installed in the companies point-of-sale systems in 45 hotels in the U.S. and Europe. The company specified that venues in Asia remain safe in a statement directed mainly to its guests, reassuring them that they are doing all they can to resolve the issue and prevent another attack.
“We take the protection of customer information very seriously,” the statement says. Unfortunately incidents of this nature are increasingly becoming an industry-wide concern and we have therefore also alerted our technology peers in the hospitality industry.”
The company does also warn its guests to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on their credit card accounts. It is not wholly surprising that a hack attack would target a luxury hotel with high end guests, whose credit cards might allow a more generous amount of spending room than the average samaritan’s.
The Mandarin Oriental joins a huge list of high profile companies, most recently Chinese-firm Lenovo last week, which have displayed a worrying level of cyber vulnerability.
Amazon’s Alibaba store
Amazon has struggled to gain a foothold in China thanks to the only e-commerce company that is bigger and more profitable, Alibaba.
It would seem that Amazon has stopped a direct battle for Chinese market share and instead is cooperating with its rival by opening a shop on Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace in China. Amazon will hope that the new distribution channel will give them the opening into China that they have so far struggled to gain.
The Tmall marketplace does not sell its own products, but instead plays home to over 60,000 foreign or domestic online stores, according to Forbes. Forbes also reports that approximately 75% of e-commerce transactions in China are linked in some way to the Alibaba business.
“China’s e-commerce industry is fast-growing and nobody wants to miss it,” said a representative from e-commerce services provider HC international, Yang Xiao, according to the BBC. “Amazon wants to add an additional distribution channel in China.”
So when it’s a choice between missing out on Chinese e-commerce or joining your arch rival, its no surprise that the Seattle-based online retail store has decided to build off of the platform of its Chinese counterpart.
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