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Asus Brings PC Gaming Excess to Android With New ROG Phone – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Asustek Computer Inc., best known for its PC and gaming enthusiast gear, launched the latest in its Republic of Gamers smartphone line targeting Android gamers in markets like China.

The ROG Phone 5 maintains the heritage of over-the-top specs and design: its exterior is decorated with angular motifs and its interior is populated with up to 18GB of memory and Qualcomm Inc.’s latest Snapdragon 888 processor. It has a custom-made 6.8-inch Samsung OLED display, contains two battery cells and is cooled by a vapor chamber system — and its higher-tier models bundle an attachable fan cooler for even more performance.

In the commodified Android device market, Asus is betting on its brand association with gaming and the broad enthusiasm for a tailored user experience. The ROG Phone 5 comes with an app providing a console-like interface and Asus is working with game makers to add support for the highest refresh rates its display is capable of. Though to break past its 0.2% global market share, the company will need some help, according to Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics.

“Fancy smartphone features are only one leg of a three-leg stool. A top global smartphone vendor today also needs a loud mobile brand plus extensive retail presence; two things that Asus lacks right now,” Mawston said.

Asus has found success partnering with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. The two companies have collaborated on the marketing of ROG Phones and certification of games in China for several generations and the country is one of Asus’ main focus markets, the Taiwanese manufacturer said.

Unlike the PC market, where higher clock speeds and more memory can translate into being able to play at higher fidelity or on larger screens, in the mobile realm practically every company relies on the same basic architecture. And the leading duo of Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. consistently tout their devices’ gaming capabilities, pushing brands like Asus to focus on hardcore gaming fans.

“For these branded gaming phones to grow, vendors will need to heavily invest in esports tournaments and have their phones become the official competition phone so that demand can flow from top to bottom,” said IDC analyst Yexi Liao. “Gaming performance is their top selling point and hence the target audience has to be both hardcore gamers and professional gamers.”

Asus has seen “big growth” in sales between each successive ROG Phone generation, the company said, and it appears committed to the niche it has carved out. The ROG Phone 5 starts at 799 euros (about $950) and scales up to 1,299 euros for an Ultimate fan edition with maxed-out memory and storage.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Britain in talks with 6 firms about building gigafactories for EV batteries

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Britain is in talks with six companies about building gigafactories to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV), the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the discussions.

Car makers Ford Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, conglomerates LG Corp and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in talks with the British government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, the report added .

 

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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EBay to sell South Korean unit for about $3.6 billion to Shinsegae, Naver

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EBay will sell its South Korean business to retailer Shinsegae Group and e-commerce firm Naver for about 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion), local newspapers reported on Wednesday.

EBay Korea is the country’s third-largest e-commerce firm with market share of about 12.8% in 2020, according to Euromonitor. It operates the platforms Gmarket, Auction and G9.

Shinsegae, Naver and eBay Korea declined to comment.

Lotte Shopping had also been in the running, the Korea Economic Daily and other newspapers said, citing unnamed investment banking sources.

South Korea represents the world’s fourth largest e-commerce market. Driven by the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has soared to account for 35.8% of the retail market in 2020 compared with 28.6% in 2019, according to Euromonitor data.

Shinsegae and Naver formed a retail and e-commerce partnership in March by taking stakes worth 250 billion won in each other’s affiliates.

($1 = 1,117.7000 won)

 

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Canada launches long-awaited auction of 5G spectrum

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Canada is set to begin a hotly anticipated auction of the mobile telecommunications bandwidth necessary for 5G rollout, one that was delayed more than a year by the pandemic.

The 3,500 MHz is a spectrum companies need to provide 5G, which requires more bandwidth to expand internet capabilities.The auction, initially scheduled for June 2020, is expected to take several weeks with Canadian government selling off 1,504 licenses in 172 service areas.

Smaller operators are going into the auction complaining that recent regulatory rulings have further tilted the scales in the favour of the country’s three biggest telecoms companies – BCE, Telus and Rogers Communications Inc – which together control around 90% of the market as a share of revenue.

Canadian mobile and internet consumers, meanwhile, have complained for years that their bills are among the world’s steepest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has threatened to take action if the providers did not cut bills by 25%.

The last auction of the 600 MHz spectrum raised C$3.5 billion ($2.87 billion) for the government.

The companies have defended themselves, saying the prices they charge are falling.

Some 23 bidders including regional players such as Cogeco and Quebec’s Videotron are participating in the process. Shaw Communications did not apply to participate due to a $16 billion takeover bid from Rogers. Lawmakers and analysts have warned that market concentration will intensify if that acquisition proceeds.

In May, after Canada‘s telecoms regulator issued a ruling largely in favour of the big three on pricing for smaller companies’ access to broadband networks, internet service provider TekSavvy Inc withdrew from the auction, citing the decision.

Some experts say the government has been trying to level the playing field with its decision to set aside a proportion of spectrum in certain areas for smaller companies.

Gregory Taylor, a spectrum expert and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said he was pleased the government was auctioning off smaller geographic areas of coverage.

In previous auctions where the license covered whole provinces, “small providers could not participate because they could not hope to cover the range that was required in the license,” Taylor said.

Smaller geographic areas mean they have a better chance of fulfilling the requirements for the license, such as providing service to 90% of the population within five years of the issuance date.

The auction has no scheduled end date, although the federal ministry in charge of the spectrum auction has said winners would be announced within five days of bidding completion.

($1 = 1.2181 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by David Gregorio)

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