Posts by Aaron Pressman

  • Coming smartwatch war with Apple kicks off in Barcelona

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 2 hrs ago

    The maker of an upcoming smartwatch has put all the brains of the device on a replaceable module that can be upgraded, so customers won’t have to worry about an expensive timepiece becoming obsolete.

    Some hope Apple (AAPL) will go that route with its upcoming solid gold watch, expected to cost thousands of dollars, but it was Guess that showed off the first hardware-upgradable smartwatch at the Mobile World Congress this week.

    “When there’s a new feature set that people want, we can just pop out the module and replace it with a new one,” says Stanley Kinsey, president of Martian Watches, which will supply the brains for the new Guess Connect line.

    Indeed, Apple is expected to dominate the nascent market when its watch goes on sale next month. Analysts expect Apple could sell two to four times as many smartwatches in 2015 as the entire market shipped last year.

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

  • Samsung's payments plan will work everywhere -- if users install it

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    Samsung’s (005930.KS) new mobile payment system, coming this summer, will work even at the millions of old-fashioned checkout terminals that don’t have a wireless connection. That solves one of the big limitations of Apple’s (AAPL) mobile pay system, which only works at the 200,000 or so newer terminals in the U.S. that have been upgraded with wireless chips. But Samsung’s solution faces a very different problem. None of the major mobile phone carriers have announced that they will pre-install the software, meaning customers may have to add it on their own. Apple’s deals with the carriers give it greater control over hardware and software features, so it didn't need their permission to offer Apple Pay. And Google’s (GOOGL) recent deal to partner with the carriers on a third mobile pay solution, formerly known as Softcard but is being wrapped into Google Wallet, adds further complications for Samsung. Samsung unveiled the new Samsung Pay feature on Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as part of the introduction of its new Galaxy S6 smartphone. The new phone will include a near field communication chip, just like the newest iPhones, allowing the payment system to work wirelessly at stores with similarly equipped checkout terminals.

  • Google's wireless service won't take on Verizon and AT&T

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    Google ( GOOGL ) is planning to offer mobile phone service in coming months, but the limited scale effort won’t be designed to compete with the big carriers. Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, on Monday confirmed rumors that Google wanted to resell mobile service, becoming what’s known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Pichai compared the effort to the company’s limited Nexus-branded smartphone sales. “We want to be able to experiment along those lines, that’s the concept,” he said. “We don’t intend to be a network operator at scale.” The focus of Google’s network could be on connecting devices other than phones, as watches, cars and other devices increasingly will include mobile connectivity features, Pichai said. With those few words, Pichai crushed the hopes of consumers frustrated by the high prices and sometimes-poor service of the major mobile carriers. Some had hoped Google would challenge the industry head-on, along the lines of its Google Fiber project to bring super-high-speed Internet service to homes. In January, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google had struck deals to...

  • FCC adopts Net neutrality rules to ban Internet discrimination

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 7 days ago

    Federal regulators moved forward on Thursday with a Net neutrality plan to protect openness on the Internet by treating the online world more like heavily regulated telecommunications markets.

    New rules from the Federal Communications Commission adopted on a 3-2 vote will prohibit Internet service providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon Communications (VZ) from discriminating against any web site or online service. That means sites like Netflix (NFLX) or Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube won’t have to pay extra fees or face sluggish connections with their users. And new sites and services will be able to reach everyone on the Internet on the same terms as the big players.

    The agency heard from Chad Dickerson, CEO of the crafts sales web site Etsy, before the vote.


  • Hewlett Packard disappoints as old guard of tech shows more weakness

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) missed analysts sales forecasts for the second quarter in a row on Tuesday, making it the latest of the old guard tech stalwarts to disappoint Wall Street in 2015.

    HP shares dropped 9% in early trading on Wednesday.

    HP posted revenue of $26.8 billion for its fiscal first quarter of 2015, the three months ending January 31. That was 2% less than Wall Street expected, according to FactSet. Adjusted earnings per share of 92 cents just beat analysts’ forecasts of 91 cents. But the  company also trimmed its full year adjusted earnings guidance by 30 cents a share to a range of $3.53 to $3.73. Analysts were forecasting $3.96 before the change.

    CEO Meg Whitman told analysts the company simply can’t compensate for the dollar’s recent gains given that 65% of its sales come from overseas.

    “The water is now going to stop draining out of the bathtub as fast as it has, so the water we pour in ought to lead to a rising level in the tub,” she told analysts.

    So far, at least, investors remain focused on the drain.

  • Solar stocks could see a boost as more companies follow Apple

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 9 days ago

    Apple’s (AAPL) agreement this month to buy $850 million worth of solar-generated electricity over the next 25 years marks the start of a sea change in the way big corporations are going green. Already the news has been followed by similar deals from Google (GOOGL) and healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente, with many more expected. Corporate America has been dabbling in solar for years, but most of the action has been in much smaller installations of solar panels on the roofs of Walmarts (WMT) and Costcos (COST). So-called power purchase agreements like Apple’s could be much more significant as they allow developers like First Solar (FSLR) to raise funds to build more massive installations. First Solar’s stock price, which has jumped 7% since the Apple deal, took another leap on Tuesday, up 14%, after the company announced plans to shift some of its solar power plants into a joint venture with SunPower (SPWR). The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), which includes both stocks, was up 4% on Tuesday after gaining 2% since the Apple deal.

  • How to get rid of insecure apps from Lenovo and lots of others

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    Lenovo (0092.HK) poisoned some of its customers’ computers with an app that opened a huge vulnerability in secure web transactions, but it’s not alone. Researchers found another dozen apps over the weekend that also compromise secure web communications in the same way. So there’s no better time than now to check your computer and remove any useless software your PC manufacturer put there. The core problem is that PC makers like Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and others make such slender profit margins selling computers that they’re all too eager to take payments from software companies to pre-install extra apps, services, toolbars and so on, sometimes referred to as “bloatware” or, more colorfully, “crapware. Some of the additions may be useful and other bits harmless, but very little is necessary. And the impact on a computer’s speed and security is generally not good. I bought an expensive Lenovo Thinkpad laptop two years ago that had, among many other add-in programs, an app called Nitro Pro PDF. I didn’t need it, or even use it. It may not have mattered but a few weeks after I bought the machine, it stopped receiving Windows 8 updates, even critical security updates. Eventually, it turned out that the culprit was an incompatibility in the Nitro Pro app.  Fully removing the unwanted app fixed the problem – which had plagued me and many other Lenovo customers for weeks – instantly.

  • A leading cable analyst says it's time for investors to move on

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    Stocks of cable television operators have been among the top performers in the market over the past three years, but now may be the time for investors to cut back, according to one prominent analyst.

    Craig Moffett, regularly the top-ranked cable analyst by large investors for the past decade, stripped his “buy” rating from Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Charter Communications (CHTR) this week, saying it was time to “take some chips off the table." In an 18-page report, Moffett outlined increasing risks to the sector from the likely regulation of broadband Internet service, as well as declining viewership and advertising trends.

    “With the stocks having largely achieved our target prices, with cord cutting risks mounting, and with regulation clouding the path forward in broadband, it seems to us to be time to reduce exposure,” Moffett wrote.

    “The obvious risk is that carriers’ ability to monetize traffic (through either of the above mechanisms) will never be permitted,” he writes.

  • Gold Apple watch could propel sales to new heights

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 14 days ago

    Wall Street has relatively modest expectations for the upcoming Apple (AAPL) watch, but the company may be aiming for a much greater immediate impact.

    I’ve been tracking Wall Street analyst forecasts for the watch, which will go on sale in April. Apple has said only that it will offer models at three main price points, but of the prices, it has disclosed just that the low-end watch will self for $350. Analysts have had to make numerous assumptions to fill in the blanks and forecast how much impact watch sales will have on Apple’s finances. On average, analysts expect Apple will sell 22 million watches this year and 33 million next year, according to the 17 reports I have cataloged. With an expected average selling price of $450, most analysts are predicting that sales of the low-end model will dominate. (The average price is a weighted average based on proportion of sales.)

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]


  • Kim Kardashian and new Candy Crush apps please investors

    Aaron Pressman at Yahoo Finance 20 days ago

    Candy Crush Saga and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood were big hits with gamers last year, but the question remained whether they’d be winners for investors in the companies that made the apps, King Digital Entertainment (KING) and Glu Mobile (GLUU). After both companies just reported fourth-quarter results, it looks like investors will join the party. Shares of King were up 13% at midday on Friday at $16.65, and reached $18 briefly for the first time since August, after it reported big gains on Thursday. Shares of Glu, at $5.13, are up 33% since the company reported its results and a new game deal with pop star Katy Perry, on Feb. 5.

    [Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance App]

    King uses analytics and experiments to create games, and features within games, to attract more players and get those players to spend more money. New games get promoted to the network of players attracted from previous hits, as well as via healthy doses of online and television advertising.

    Two very different approaches, both paying off.