Much in the same way that Sony got rid of its PC division last year, Fujitsu has announced that it’ll do the same in 2016. The outfit’s leadership has revealed that its laptop and desktop firm will be spun out into a new wholly owned subsidiary, Fujitsu Client Computing Limited, on February 1st. In addition, the firm will do the same to its mobile arm, tossing it out to become the newly-formed Fujitsu Connected Technologies Limited.
As Fujitsu itself says in the release, commoditization of PCs and phones makes differentiation difficult. That’s business-speak for the PC industry is dying, and you can now knock out a half-decent mobile device for $50. Those two factors combined mean that there’s very little profit to be made and when firms like Samsung are bleeding, Fujitsu has no chance. Spinning these businesses out into their own separate entities is an easy way to get rid of a painful, loss-making division without admitting that’s what you’re doing.
There’s another element to this story, and that’s what this decision means for the combined fates of Toshiba and Vaio. At the start of December, we brought you rumors from Japan that scandal-ridden Toshiba and Fujitsu would spin-out and merge their PC divisions together with that of Vaio under the latter’s brand name. Fujitsu has either begun the merger process a little earlier than its new frenemies, or it simply believes that it can do without them.
Toshiba hasn’t always made the best laptops. The company is perhaps known for the sort of bargain-basement machines you’ll find at big-box stores like Best Buy, and when it has dabbled in flagship systems, its efforts have sometimes fallen short. The Radius 12 could be different, though. It ticks off almost all the right boxes, with a 4K, Technicolor-certified screen option and a 2.9-pound design — particularly impressive for a convertible like this with a 360-degree hinge. And though the entry-level $1,000 model makes do with a lower-res, lower-tech screen, even that configuration offers some impressive specs for the money. All good things, and yet, I can’t recommend it — not now, anyway.
The Radius 12 is a halo product, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first glance, with the machine powered down. Though the lid is fashioned out of faintly brushed metal, the smooth, plasticky surfaces throughout make the device feel less than premium.
Then you pick it up. The machine is so light that it nearly excuses the drab design. (I say “nearly” because there are, in fact, machines like the 12-inch MacBook that weigh even less and manage to feel more luxurious in-hand.) And while it might not be much to look at, it’s well-built underneath its ho-hum surface; the screen doesn’t wobble when touched, and the palm rest doesn’t flex when you grip it between your fingers.
On a practical level, too, the chassis is home to a useful selection of ports, including a full-sized HDMI socket, two USB 3.0 connections, a smaller USB Type-C port, a full-sized SD card reader, a headphone jack and a volume rocker for when the device is in tablet mode. Compare that to the MacBook, which makes do with one measly USB Type-C connection, and doesn’t even come with a dongle in the box.
So far in our tour we haven’t yet powered on the Radius 12, but now would be a good time: The optional 4K display is likely the reason you’re considering buying this in the first place. The glass stretches virtually from edge to edge, with the skinniest of bezels acting as a nominal buffer between the display and the rest of the machine. I remain unconvinced that 3,840 x 2,160 resolution is necessary on a display this small — a slightly lower pixel count would still look sharp and would be less devastating on battery life, and there’s not yet much 4K content to watch anyway. Even so, there’s no question that the pixel density helps make the screen as gorgeous as it is.
Just as important, perhaps (or more so): The 4K version of the display (not the entry-level 1080p one) is Technicolor-certified, which means when you boot up the Radius 12 for the first time, you’ll be hit not just with super crisp images, but vibrant, saturated colors. It reminds me of how I felt years ago when I tested the first phones and tablets with Super AMOLED screens: The Radius 12’s panel is stunning in a way that most other laptops haven’t yet come close to matching. Fortunately, though, color-accurate screens are becoming more common, and perhaps one day we’ll even begin to take them for granted.
The audio doesn’t disappoint either. For the Radius 12, Toshiba went with Harman Kardon, which it only does on its highest-end machines; for everything else, it uses Skullcandy’s tech, which doesn’t sound as good. In this case, the sound comes out of a speaker on the backside of the hinge, which means you should get unobstructed sound regardless of the mode you happen to be using the laptop in. Aside from the fact that the speakers aren’t muffled on the bottom, the audio is balanced and the volume loud; I rarely had to pump it past the halfway mark when alone in my apartment.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Radius 12’s keyboard is more comfortable than it looks. With a flat profile, and a handful of undersized buttons, including the Caps Lock, Ctrl, Shift and arrow keys, it’d be easy to write off as poorly designed. Somehow, though, I enjoyed typing on it in spite of myself. In fact, this thousands-of-words-long review you’re reading was composed on the Radius 12. Even with the shrunken-down buttons, I rarely hit the wrong one when touch-typing, which isn’t always the case — the Lenovo Yoga 900 also has a few undersized keys, and the typing experience was at times so frustrating that I implored the company to reconsider the design on next year’s model.
I also found that although the Radius 12’s keyboard is flat, it feels sturdy; no matter how fast or vigorously I typed, the keys bounced right back. Whereas on other machines I might have to mash the buttons to make sure my presses register, that wasn’t a problem here. I appreciate too how relatively quiet it is. The backlighting came in handy as well, though that’s of course standard fare on notebooks in this price range.
If only I liked the touchpad as much. (What is it with this resurgence of bad laptop trackpads, by the way? I feel like I’ve hated every one I’ve tested in recent months.) The cursor doesn’t always go where I want, and I found myself accidentally rearranging my pinned browser tabs (ugh!) many, many times. Even single-finger tapping frequently went awry: I’d try to hit send on an email or select messages to delete, and my tap wouldn’t register. Two-finger scrolling can also be choppy.
It got to the point where I used my fingers to scroll when possible, and even used my finger where I really wasn’t meant to — things like the small “select” boxes in Gmail. Interfaces like that may have been designed primarily for a mouse, but ultimately, I found that my own digits were usually the more accurate input tool.
Performance and battery life
|PCMark7||PCMark8 (Creative Accelerated)||3DMark11||3DMark (Sky Diver)||ATTO (top reads/writes)|
|Toshiba Radius 12 (2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,458||3,684||E2,865 / P1,622||3,605||552 MB/s / 489 MB/s|
|HP Spectre x2 (1.2GHz Core M7-6Y75, Intel HD 515)||3,395||3,307||
E1,884 / P1,148 / X331
|2,737||554 MB/s / 281 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)||5,403||3,602||
E2,697/ P1,556/ X422
|3,614||1.6 GB/s / 529 MB/s|
|Lenovo Yoga Pro 900 (2.5GHz Core i7-6500U, Intel HD 520)||5,368||3,448||
E2,707 / P1,581
|3,161||556 MB/s / 511 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Book (2.4GHz Core i5-6300U, Intel HD 520)||5,412||3,610||
E2,758 / P1,578 / X429
|3,623||1.6 GB/s / 571 MB/s|
|Microsoft Surface Book (2.6GHz Core i7-6600U, 1GB NVIDIA GeForce graphics)||5,740||3,850||
E4,122 / P2,696
|6,191||1.55 GB/s / 608 MB/s|
|HP Spectre x360 (2015, 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD 5500)||4,965||N/A||
E1,667 / P932 / X265
|N/A||555 MB/s / 270 MB/s|
|Dell XPS 13 (2015, 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD 5500)||4,900||N/A||
E2,114 / P1,199 / X330
|N/A||515 MB/s / 455 MB/s|
It would be inaccurate to say that Toshiba didn’t cut corners — it clearly made some tradeoffs here — but when it comes to certain key specs, like display quality and internals, the company clearly wasn’t messing around. The configuration I tested (valued at $1,300) makes use of a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i7-6500U CPU, along with 8GB of RAM, integrated Intel HD 520 graphics and a 512GB solid-state drive.
And it’s just as fast as you’d expect it to be. The machine boots into the desktop in just eight seconds, while the SSD (made by Toshiba itself), reaches peak read speeds of 552 MB/s and top writes of 489 megabytes per second. While those read speeds are typical for a flagship laptop, the write rates are exceptional: Other machines can achieve little more than half those speeds. Need benchmarks? I’ve put some scores in the table above. As you can see, the Radius 12 delivers numbers that are just as good if not slightly better than similarly specced machines, like the Yoga 900.
|Toshiba Radius 12||5:12|
|Surface Book (Core i5, integrated graphics)||13:54 / 3:20 (tablet only)|
|MacBook Air (13-inch, 2013)||12:51|
|HP Spectre x360||11:34|
|Surface Book (Core i7, discrete graphics)||11:31 / 3:02 (tablet only)|
|Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display (13-inch, 2015)||11:23|
|Chromebook Pixel (2015)||10:01|
|Lenovo Yoga 900||9:36|
|Microsoft Surface 3||9:11|
|Apple MacBook (2015)||7:47|
|Dell XPS 13 (2015)||7:36|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4||7:15|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 3||7:08|
|HP Spectre x2||6:43|
Toshiba rates the battery life at up to nine hours on the 1080p edition, and up to six and a half on the 4K model. Unfortunately, I only got to test the higher-res edition, which didn’t quite live up to its six-and-a-half hour claim, at least not in my tests. With video looping and fixed brightness, I got five hours and 12 minutes. That’s not surprising — it is a taxing test, after all — but even lowering the brightness to 50 percent from 65 didn’t help; the machine still managed just five hours and four minutes. As I read reviews written by my colleagues at other tech publications, I see they encountered short runtime as well. Not surprising, I guess: a bright, super-high-res panel will do that.
So that’s a shame. If you otherwise find the Radius 12 appealing, perhaps you’ll consider the 1080p version, with the idea that you’d be exchanging some pixels for longer battery life. I too would be interested to test the entry-level model. If I do, I’ll be sure to update this review with my findings.
Configuration options and the competition
As of this writing, the Radius 12 is available in two configurations on Toshiba’s website. The cheaper one is listed at $1,000 (after instant savings) with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1080p screen and a 256GB solid-state drive. The second option is the one I tested, currently retailing for $1,300 with a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a larger 512GB SSD and, of course, that higher-res 4K display. Either way, the inclusion of 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is notable, especially at this starting price.
Spec-wise, then, the Radius 12 isn’t a bad deal, while the keyboard, lightweight design and colorful screen also make it worth a closer look. That said, the battery life and finicky touchpad will be a dealbreaker for some, in which case there are several other worthy options waiting in the wings. The most obvious comparison is Apple’s 12-inch MacBook ($1,299 and up), which weighs just two pounds and features a 2,304-by-1,440, 226-pixel-per-inch screen. This too is a compromised machine. The battery life is significantly longer, offering nearly eight hours of video playback, but it comes at the expense of watered-down performance. Also, while the MacBook has a leg up in certain areas, like its easier-to-use touchpad, it’s a step back in other ways, like that shortage of ports I mentioned earlier.
If you were looking for a Windows machine, particularly one with a convertible design, the Radius 12 is notable for how thin and light it is (a 360-hinge and touchscreen do add heft, after all). That said, if you can stomach a slightly heavier design, you’ll be rewarded with much longer battery life. Case in point: HP’s 13.3-inch Spectre x360 ($900-plus) starts at a heavier 3.17 pounds, but lasted about 11 and a half hours in our tests (and that was with last-generation processors; I’m sure it does even better with Intel’s new sixth-gen Core CPUs). Throw in a comfortable keyboard, well-made design and bright screen, and it’s one of our favorite Windows notebooks of 2015.
Another convertible to consider is Lenovo’s Yoga 900 ($1,200 and up). At 2.8 pounds, it’s actually slightly lighter than the Radius 12, despite having a larger 13-inch screen. It also competes with the Radius 12 on specs, with the base model including the same Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, plus a 3,200 x 1,800 display. The battery life is longer, though: about nine and a half hours in our tests. If I could change anything, I’d have Lenovo correct those undersized keys I alluded to earlier, and issue an update for the wonky touchpad. As with the Radius 12, where I have some similar concerns, it’s more an annoyance than a dealbreaker.
Lastly, there’s the Dell XPS 13 ($800-plus), my favorite Windows laptop of the year. The only reason I didn’t mention it sooner is that it has a fixed screen, which may come as a disappointment to people dead-set on a convertible 2-in-1 design. Fixed or no, though, it’s a very nice display: The glass extends nearly edge to edge, flanked by some very thin 5mm-thick bezels. That smart use of the screen real estate also means that the XPS 13 has a more compact footprint than other 13-inch laptops. Additionally, I like the build quality; I enjoy the comfortable keyboard and bright screen; and the performance is fast. Here, too, the touchpad can be a bit jumpy, and while the battery life is respectable, it’s not best in class. Those shortcomings aside, it deserves its high rating.
I like the Toshiba Radius 12 more than I thought I would. When confronted with the poor battery life results early in my testing process, it was easy to assume that between that, the flat-looking keyboard, and Toshiba’s unimpressive track record in ultraportables, that the company had taken another wrong turn. In fact, the keyboard is more comfortable than photos would suggest, and while the runtime is indeed short, the Radius 12 can still lay claim to fast performance, a generous selection of ports and one stunning display.
With the battery life being as short as it is, it’s still impossible for me to give the Radius 12 my highest recommendation, or maybe even a strong recommendation at all. But Toshiba got enough things right that even if you choose not to buy the Radius 12 now, it’s still worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps as chip technology improves, Toshiba will be able to put out a machine that’s just as light, and just as fast, with just as nice a screen, but that can last longer on a charge. That would really be something.
The fallout from Toshiba’s accounting scandal is hitting in force, and it’s not pretty. The Japanese company has announced that it will take a $4.5 billion loss and cut 6,800 jobs, or about 30 percent of its total consumer electronics workforce. Although some of the losses can be chalked up to a tight market, Toshiba took a serious hit after admitting it lied about profits for nearly six years. As part of the restructuring, it will sell off its TV and washing machine factories to Hong Kong partner Skyworth. The company recently sold its image sensor business to Sony and stopped building TVs for the US market.
Toshiba is still far from being out of the woods. To further streamline operations, the company wants to combine its PC operations with Fujitsu and Vaio, and may join forces with Sharp — which is also stumbling — in the appliance business. In addition, former executives may face criminal charges, and Toshiba hasn’t yet accounted for the cost of the 2011 tsunami on its nuclear business. In total, the company employees nearly 200,000 workers.
In desperate need of a turnaround, Sony just purchased Toshiba’s entire imaging sensor business.
Sony made a big move today costing the company 19 billion yen or approximately $155 million USD. This is right on par with recent reports that said Sony had built-up a brand new division called the Sony Semiconductor Corporation. Instead of facing Toshiba as a rival, Sony decided to buy out the company’s whole imaging sensor business. Sony wants to be the primary supplier for camera image sensors, which has become a big market for smartphones. Sony’s sensors are already included on a variety of smartphones from tech giants like Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi. The image sensors are also used in many DSLR cameras from Nikon.
Toshiba is reportedly thinking about merging with Fujitsu and/or Vaio in the future. The company is also considering selling a share of its memory chip business. Do you think this is the right move?
Come comment on this article: Sony buys out Toshiba’s imaging sensor business at a heavy cost
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Sony has announced its purchase of Toshiba’s image sensor business for $155 million. A merger was rumored to occur earlier this year in October, but today, Sony has confirmed the purchase. The transfer of Toshiba’s fabrication plant, equipment, and employees to Sony will be complete by March 31st of next year.
Sony has had a hard time selling many devices of its own, but the image sensor business has been a profitable one for Sony. The best smartphone cameras are ones engineered by Sony. The top-tier of smartphone cameras feature Sony-engineered image sensors, including devices like the Nexus 6P and Galaxy Note 5.
Sony’s image sensor business is the biggest reason the company has a strong footing in the smartphone market, despite its own devices not selling well and the added technology and resources from Toshiba should only make Sony’s lead in the smartphone image sensor market stronger.
The post Sony scoops up Toshiba’s image sensor business for $155 Million appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
The PC business as we know it is dying, and whenever an industry reaches this point in its life, it has to team up with the other survivors to avoid oblivion. To that end, Nikkei Asian Review believes that Toshiba, Fujitsu and Vaio, Sony’s spun out computing division, are considering merging their PC divisions together. The move would create a desktop, laptop and tablet-manufacturing supergroup that controlled more than 30 percent of Japan’s market — making it bigger than Lenovo, the current local champion. The paper believes that Vaio would be the name that survives, absorbing its rivals into its existing operations.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review
Sony is the biggest player in the mobile image sensor business and has likely just secured its position. The company has announced that it will purchase Toshiba’s rival imaging business for 19 billion yen ($155 million).
Following a series of rumors, the two companies had originally signalled the closing stages of the deal back in October. Today’s announcement sees the signing of definitive agreements and confirms that Toshiba’s fabrication plant, equipment, and around 1,100 employees mainly located at its Oita Operations facility will be transferred over to Sony, along with the cost of the acquisition. The facility will operate under Sony’s newly formed Semiconductor Corporation, a subsidiary that was formed along with a number of others to give Sony’s various business arms greater autonomy.
Sony is the largest sensor developer in both the smartphone and high-end camera markets. The company’s sensors power a range on flagship smartphone cameras, including the Galaxy S6, LG V10 and the Huawei Mate 8. In the mobile space, Sony has become increasingly dependent on its semiconductor sales in order to offset losses from its struggling handset business. Toshiba had seen more limited success in high-end mobile products, but its T4KA7 sensor was apparently used in the HTC One M9.
The two companies aim to have the asset transfers completed by the financial year ending March 2016.
Although Sony has not been performing as expected in the mobile business, it has been significantly growing in the image sensor business. In fact, its image sensor business is what has made up the largest part of its recorded profits in the first quarters of 2015. In order to continue growing, Sony confirmed that it will acquire Toshiba’s CMOS image sensor business for about $20 billion yen by the end of the fiscal year.
Sony’s image sensor have been heavily demanded from companies such as Apple and Samsung, and have been used in top-tier smartphones such as the iPhone 6s and the Galaxy S6. In order to continue growing in the business and generating much-needed profits, Sony had recently bought Softkinetic System to continue improving its image sensor technology. To further to do so, Sony has negotiated terms with Toshiba and has confirmed that it will acquire Toshiba’s image sensor business, which includes Toshiba’s manufacturing plant in Oita, Southern Japan, and its 1,100 workers. Toshiba, as a result, will officially stop participating in the business to focus on recovering from its $1.3 billion accounting scandal. The deal is worth approximately $20 billion yen ($166.15 million). This acquisition will help Sony to keep and expand its dominant position in the mobile image sensor business, which adds up to about 40% of the total CMOS image sensor market.
Come comment on this article: Sony will acquire Toshiba’s image sensor business by the end of the fiscal year
A few days ago, rumors surfaced which suggested that Sony was preparing to close a deal to purchase Toshibas’ CMOS image sensor business. Today, Sony has confirmed that this is the case, although no financial details have been disclosed. The two have a contract to complete the deal by the financial year ending March 2016.
Sony also recently announced that it would spin off its image sensor business into a separate division, called Sony Semiconductor Corporation, in order to help keep the group competitive. The newly acquired business will fall under this new division, and all of Toshiba’s fabrication facilities, equipment, and employees at its plant in the southern Japanese city of Oita are set to come under the division’s control. As a result of the deal, approximately 1,100 employees are set to be transferred between the two companies.
Sony is notably the largest player in the image sensor business, and the division is viewed as highly important for the company, especially given its struggling mobile sales. Its Exmor RS image sensors have proven particularly popular in smartphones, catering across mid-range and premium segments of the market, which has allowed the company to profit from the success of its competitors. In fact, all of the smartphones that recently topped the DxOMark camera benchmark are packing Sony image sensors.
For Toshiba, the deal comes as part of a restructure following an accounting scandal in which they overstated about $1.3 billion in earnings. Sony’s announcement states that the deal will allow Toshiba to “devote its resources to products where it has a high technological advantage”.
This deal ensures that Sony will remain on top of the image sensor industry and should see the company continue to profit a market hungry for improved camera technologies.
A quick look at Statista and IDC research firms will show you that Sony is not doing great selling smartphones when compared to its competition. But this doesn’t mean they are doing badly in the mobile industry. In fact, they currently dominate the mobile imaging market.
Sony has been a main supplier of camera sensors for manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Motorola and others. You have heard the word “Exmor” being thrown around, right? Yeah, Sony’s cameras are all over the smartphone business, but plans for expansions don’t seem to be ending where they currently are.
According to “sources with knowledge of the deal”, Sony and Toshiba are getting ready to sign a deal for 20 billion Yen (close to $165 million USD). If all goes smoothly, this would make Sony the owner of Toshiba’s image sensor division, which would include the plant in Oita, Southern Japan. Toshiba would then pull out of this business and look for greener pastures in other markets.
Of course, Sony declined to comment and Toshiba didn’t say much, but the latter at least gave an answer when contacted. A Toshiba official told Reuters the company was still debating what the best option for their LSI semiconductor and discrete semiconductor businesses was. Not that this tells us anything, but they are also not denying the rumor.
Toshiba is currently not in a bad position, following an accounting scandal in which they overstated about $1.3 billion in earnings going back to 2008/2009. Now they are trying to reconsider their business strategy and the imaging department just might be better in Sony’s hands.
On the other hand, this will simply make Sony a much stronger player in the mobile imaging market, but we are not exactly complaining. They do a good job and will probably only improve thanks to this deal. Of course, if it actually goes through. The deal will probably go public soon enough, so stay in focus!