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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nokia, Sanyo to form cell phone venture

Nokia and Sanyo Electric said on Tuesday that they plan to form a global mobile-phone joint venture, helping the world's largest phone maker boost business in its weaker markets and giving a shot in the arm to the struggling Japanese electronics maker.

The two companies said they will develop and make mobile phones for the CDMA standard, dominant in the United States and popular in parts of Latin America and Asia, including Japan, India and China.

The joint company, which is expected to start operations in the third quarter of this year, would become the world's largest CDMA mobile-phone maker alongside South Korea's Samsung Electronics by current shipment volumes.

Finland's Nokia, which is No. 3 in the CDMA market, struggled for years in CDMA as it tried to avoid using chips by Qualcomm, which holds most of the patents to the technology.

It has lost market share particularly in the United States as its chip designs were delayed by comparison, and it focused on low-end phones even though the CDMA market tends to cater to mid- to high-end users.

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pixel counting joins film in obsolete bin

If you work in the camera industry, February is an exciting month.

That's when you head down to Florida for the annual Photo Marketing Association convention, where your company will unveil its latest camera models, thus making the ones everybody got for Christmas obsolete.

But this February is more exciting than most. Big changes are in the photographic air.

First, there's the astonishing collapse of the film camera market. By some tallies, 92 percent of all cameras sold are now digital. Big-name camera companies are either exiting the film business (Kodak, Nikon) or exiting the camera business altogether (Konica Minolta). Film photography is rapidly becoming a special-interest niche.

Next, there's the end of the megapixel race. "In compact cameras, I think that the megapixel race is pretty much over," says Chuck Westfall, director of media for Canon's camera marketing group. "Seven- and eight-megapixel cameras seem to be more than adequate. We can easily go up to a 13-by-19 print and see very, very clear detail."

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