Posts with «company earnings» label

DJI's RS4 gimbals make it easier to balance heavy cameras and accessories

DJI occasionally knocks us sideways with cutting-edge innovation à la the Ronin 4D, but it's usually just refining existing products to stay ahead of rivals. That applies to the new RS4 and RS4 Pro gimbals, which boast multiple improvements over the previous RS3 models, particularly in the size and capacity of cameras they can support, but no new standout features. 

However, the company also unveiled the Focus Pro, a new version of its LiDAR focus system that works either standalone or with the RS4 Pro. This product is more on the cutting-edge side, adding a host of new capabilities to the company's gimbal and camera systems. 


The mainstream RS4 gimbal is largely the same as the last model, with a carrying capacity of 6.6 pounds (3kg) that accommodates most mirrorless cameras and a good load of accessories. However, the tilt axis has been extended 8.5mm compared to the RS 3, giving you more balancing space for longer lenses or front-heavy add-ons like ND filters. It also uses DJI's latest 4th-gen stabilization algorithm for improved smoothness and control.


The RS4 can pair with the new Focus Pro Motor (more about that in a sec), allowing smooth focus and lens zoom adjustments at a speed 30 percent faster compared to the original DJI Focus Motor. As before, it uses dual-mode Bluetooth tech so you can pair with and control multiple cameras. 

Another new feature is improved stability in vertical shooting, steadying jolts for the influencer crowd even when walking or running. The redesigned gimbal horizontal plates allows for "seamless transitions to vertical shooting," the company said, allowing for more efficiency in video creation (to let you quickly get out an Insta Story while filming, for example). 


As before, it comes with automatic gimbal locking and unlocking for ease of use, along with Teflon coatings on all three axes for smooth operation. A new joystick mode switch lets you change from zoom to gimbal control and the customizable trigger can quickly turn on the FPV mode.

The RS4 supports multiple accessories via the RSA communication port, including DJI's RS Tethered Control Handle and third-party options (DJI has an SDK protocol for the RS family). IT also supports the new BG70 High-Capacity Battery Grip that extends runtime to 29.5 hours with a 2.5 hour charge time (compared to , while supporting power delivery to camera and USB-C accessories.

Finally, the RS4 supports DJI's Ronin Image Transmitter, delivering live-action high-definition feeds to other crew members and allowing for remote-control (focus, etc.) capabilities. 



The RS4 Pro ups the carrying capacity to 10 pounds (4.5kg) as before, while adding side handles and extra mounting points for accessories. It adds a 20 percent motor torque boost to all axes (compared to the RS 3 Pro) to allow for more responsive tracking even with heavy cameras and accessories. 

DJI also introduced a car mount mode, optimizing the stabilizer for vehicle shoots, while updating vertical shooting capability and improving axis locks. Like the RS4, it has DJI's latest 4th-gen stabilization algorithm that's particularly helpful for fast-moving scenes when carrying a heavy camera.


The primary new capability is functionality with the Focus Pro LiDAR and Focus Pro Motor system, giving cinematographers autofocus capability even with manual focus lenses. It also supports remote control and image transmission, "allowing for remote gimbal operation and intelligent focus assistance," according to the company.

"In collaborative team shooting, the gimbal operator can control the RS 4 Pro gimbal through devices such as the DJI Master Wheels, DJI Ronin 4D Hand Grips, and DJI High-Bright Remote Monitor. Meanwhile, the focus puller can enable LiDAR Waveform on the High-Bright Remote Monitor for intelligent focus assistance, precisely controlling focus using the Focus Pro Hand Unit," DJI says. 

DJI Focus Pro


For creators and cinematographers, the Focus Pro is the most intriguing product in this release. It's a LiDAR focus system consisting of the Focus Pro LiDAR unit, Focus Pro Grip, Focus Pro Motor and FIZ Hand Unit. It gives the operator autofocus capability even with manual lenses, or lets them focus manually via a real-time view from the LiDAR's perspective.

The grip has a full-color touchscreen, 2.5-hour power supply, intuitive visual operation, auto-calibration and data storage for 15 lenses, along with Bluetooth capability for easy start/stop recording. The LiDAR, meanwhile, supports focus at up to 20 meters (three times more than before), and has an ultra-wide 70-degree view for focus. IT has 76,800 ranging points and a 30Hz refresh rate to minimize focus hunting and ensure reliable focus. 


Autofocus includes AF subject recognition and tracking, adjustable focus speed and selectable focus area modes, much like a regular mirrorless AF system. The AMF (auto-manual focus) mode, meanwhile, allows for instant switching between manual and autofocus for tricky shooting scenarios. It also helps camera or focus operators by showing the LiDAR waveform. I tried something similar with the Ronin 4D, and while it takes a while to get used to, it's very effective.

The FIZ Hand Unit allows full remote control over focus, iris and zoom for focus pullers. It uses stepless real-time damping for smooth control, while letting the focus puller be up to 160 meters away. Other features including faster motor speeds, 10ms latency and intuitive dial operation. 

Price and availability

The DJI RS 4 is now available for purchase starting at $549 and includes one Gimbal, BG21 Battery Grip, USB-C Charging Cable, Lens-Fastening Support, Extended Grip/Tripod (Plastic), Quick-Release Plate, Multi-Camera Control Cable, and Screw Kit. You can also pick it up for $719 in a combo with a Briefcase Handle, Focus Pro Motor, Focus Pro Motor Rod Mount Kit, Focus Gear Strip, a second Multi-Camera Control Cable, and one Carrying Case. The RS 4 Pro, meanwhile, starts at $869 or $1,099 with the high-capacity battery grip, with the same range of accessories for each.  

The Focus Pro creator combo (DJI Focus Pro LiDAR, DJI Focus Pro Grip, DJI Focus Pro Motor and DJI Focus Pro Carrying Case) is $999, or you can buy the All-in-One combo (with the FIZ Hand Unit as well) for $1,899. The RS BG70 high-capacity battery grip is sold for $149 by itself. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Grok chatbot will soon be enabled for X Premium users, Elon Musk says

xAI's Grok chatbot, the Elon Musk-helmed company's answer to OpenAI's ChatGPT, will be available to X's Premium subscribers later this week. Musk has announced Grok's expanded availability in a tweet, along with an instructional video on how to post a conversation with the chatbot directly on the X website. Grok has been available to X's Premium+ subscribers since it exited early beta, but that paid tier on the social network costs $16 a month or $168 for the full year when billed annually. Since the Premium tier costs half that much at $8 a month or $84 a year, this rollout makes Grok a bit more accessible. 

Later this week, Grok will be enabled for all premium subscribers (not just premium+)

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2024

Musk's xAI open sourced its Grok-1 model, which powers its chatbot, in mid-March. Just a couple of weeks before that, the executive sued OpenAI and Sam Altman, accusing them of chasing profits and abandoning their non-profit mission. Musk was one of OpenAI's earliest supporters and funded its operations when it was just starting out. In his lawsuit, he claimed that OpenAI was developing generative artificial intelligence "to maximize profits for Microsoft, rather than for the benefit of humanity." That, he said, was a "stark betrayal of the Founding Agreement."

But in a rebuttal of his claims, OpenAI said that there "is no Founding Agreement, or any agreement at all with Musk" to open source its technology. The company said that Musk did not only know that it was going to transition into a for-profit entity, he was also involved in its planning and originally wanted majority equity, control of the initial board of directors and the CEO position. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Meta's Reality labs had its best quarter, but still lost $4 billion

Reality Labs, Meta’s division for AR, VR and the metaverse, just had its best quarter yet despite continuing its multibillion-dollar losing streak. Reality Labs generated more than $1 billion in revenue during the final quarter of 2023 thanks to its Quest headsets and the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.

While crossing $1 billion in revenue is a new milestone for the company’s metaverse group, it’s still expected to continue racking up massive losses for the foreseeable future. Reality Labs lost $4.6 billion in the quarter, and more than $16 billion in 2023. Meta CFO Susan Li said that these losses are expected to “increase meaningfully year-over-year due to our ongoing product development efforts in augmented reality/virtual reality and our investments to further scale our ecosystem.”

The fourth-quarter, which encompasses the holiday shopping season, has typically been when reality does the best. During a call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg suggested that the company’s smart glasses had done particularly well, saying that Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica was “planning on making more [smart glasses] than we'd both expected due to high demand.” He added that both Quest 2 and Quest 3 were “performing well,” calling Quest 3 the “most popular mixed reality device.”

Reality Labs aside, Meta had a strong quarter, reporting $40.1 billion to close out 2023, bringing its total revenue for the year to just under $135 billion. Facebook’s user base also grew to 2.1 billion daily active users (DAUs). Meta CFO Susan Li said that the company was “transitioning away” from sharing the metric and would no longer report on Facebook’s daily or monthly active users or its “family monthly active people.”

The company had shared that it would eventually stop reporting user numbers back in 2019 as Facebook’s growth began to slow. But the change shows how Facebook’s position in the company’s “family of apps” has changed in recent years. A report from Pew Research earlier this week found that Instagram is continuing to grow in the US while Facebook use remains flat.

Meta’s newest app, Threads, is still growing, however. Zuckerberg said the service has 130 million monthly users, up from “just under” 100 million last fall. “Threads now has more people actively using it today than it did during its initial launch peak," Zuckerberg said, referring to the app’s initial, but short-lived, surge in growth.

Zuckerberg also talked more about his newly-stated ambition to create artificial general intelligence, or AGI at Meta, saying it would be the “theme” of the company’s product work going forward. “This next generation of services requires building full general intelligence,” he said. “It's clear that we're going to need our models to be able to reason, plan, code, remember and many other cognitive abilities in order to provide the best versions of the services that we envision.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple sold enough iPhones and services last quarter to reverse a downward revenue trend

After four consecutive quarters of revenue decline, Apple broke the trend and reported its first period of revenue growth today. In its earnings report for the first quarter of the financial year of 2024, the company announced a quarterly revenue of $119.6 billion, which is an increase of 2 percent from the same period last year. 

In addition, Apple CEO Tim Cook said its "installed base of active devices has now surpassed 2.2 billion, reaching an all-time high across all products and geographic segments." This quarter includes money brought in from the sales of the iPhone 15 line introduced in September 2023, which had an obvious impact on performance. 

"Today Apple is reporting revenue growth for the December quarter fueled by iPhone sales, and an all-time revenue record in Services,” Cook said. He noted the company hitting "all-time revenue records across advertising, Cloud services, payment services and video as well as December quarter records in App Store and Apple Care." Cook recapped some updates made to the Apple TV app, as well as TV+ content earning nominations and awards. 

Cook went on to remind us during the company's earnings call that tomorrow is the launch day for the Vision Pro headset, calling it historic. After saying that Apple is dedicated to investing in new technologies, Cook added that the company will be sharing more about its developments in AI later this year. 

Products in the wearables, home and accessories categories didn't fare well in this quarter, though sales in the Mac department did increase year over year. iPad sales in particular dropped 25 percent over the same period last year, though Cook attributed that to a "difficult compare" to the big numbers recorded in the first quarter of 2023 due to new models with refreshed Apple Silicon. Considering the company did not release a new iPad model in 2023 at all, this is not surprising. 

Cook continued by highlighting developments like Apple opening its 100th retail location in Asia Pacific and updates on its sustainability efforts. He wrapped up by saying "Apple is a company that has never shied away from big challenges," adding "so we're optimistic about the future, confident in the long term and as excited as we've ever been to deliver for our users."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Samsung's annual profits continued to decline in 2023

Samsung has failed to recover from the sharp decline in profit it experienced in 2022. In its latest earnings report, the Korean company has reported KRW 258.94 trillion ($194 billion) in annual revenue and KRW 6.57 trillion ($4.9 billion) in operating profit for the fiscal year of 2023. Those are markedly smaller numbers than the previous fiscal year's, especially the latter's — Samsung posted an operating profit of KRW 43.38 trillion ($35 billion) for 2022, which was already $6.9 billion smaller than the year before due to the weak demand for its chips and smartphones. According to The Wall Street Journal, these numbers represent Samsung's weakest earnings in over a decade. 

The company says its memory business showed signs of recovery, but not enough to stop it from incurring KRW 2.18 trillion ($1.63 billion) in operating losses for the fourth quarter of 2023. Its visual display and digital appliances division also posted KRW 0.05 trillion ($37.5 million) in operating losses despite TV sales doing well in the fourth quarter due to the holiday season. Samsung's mobile business showed a a decline in sales and profit quarter-on-quarter, as well, due to lower smartphone sales and "the fading of new-product effects" from previous flagship models. 

For the first quarter of 2024, Samsung's game plan is to improve its profits "by increasing sales of high value-added products," such as components meant for generative AI products. It expects stronger demand for its chips in the PC and mobile sectors this year, but it admits that its earnings may not significantly recover soon because its customers are still downsizing their inventories. Samsung has high hopes for the Galaxy S24 series, though, and believes the devices' AI capabilities can help its mobile business achieve a a double-digit growth in 2024. The Galaxy S24 phones have already started shipping with prices starting at $800 for the most basic version and at $1,300 for the S24 Ultra

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple's revenue declines again despite record iPhone and services sales

Apple's latest earnings report paints a picture of software wins amid a hardware slump. In a statement announcing the financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter, the company called out a new all-time high for revenue from its Services products. It also highlighted iPhone revenue as having set a September quarter record. However, this marks the fourth consecutive quarter of overall revenue decline, with its earnings of $89.5 billion representing a 1 percent drop year over year. This also means the record-breaking performances of the iPhone and Services divisions did little to offset weakness elsewhere. 

The lackluster performance is somewhat understandable, though. The company just had a launch event for its new M3 chips, MacBooks and an iMac this week, none of which can be bought yet. And though the new iPhone 15 lineup and Apple Watches were introduced in September, sales of those devices likely did not account for much of this fiscal quarter’s results. We're also anticipating a November release for new iPads this year, which could further fuel hardware revenue. 

Correspondingly, the Mac, iPad and wearables divisions were down this quarter, with the first two taking noticeable hits. Though Apple drummed up significant interest with the Vision Pro headset earlier this year, that device is far from ready to be sold to the public and is unlikely to hit the market until 2024 at the earliest. With holiday shopping about to ramp up, as well as more product releases on the horizon, it’s much more likely that the company’s hardware products will have a greater impact on its bottom line next quarter.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Samsung credits strong smartphone and mobile display sales for income growth

Samsung has been reporting steep profit declines and record-breaking losses over the past quarters, and while it has yet to go back to its previous numbers, it sounds optimistic for the future in its latest earnings report. The company credited the strong sales of its mobile flagship devices and its premium displays for doing better the past three months than the previous quarters. Samsung also said that its Device Solutions (DS) division, which includes its memory and foundry businesses, has narrowed its losses. It even expects demand for memory chips to recover gradually with the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence. 

The company has posted a consolidated revenue of KRW 67.40 trillion ($49.9 billion) for the third quarter of 2023, which shows a respectable 12 percent increase from the previous quarter's. It reported KRW 2.43 trillion ($1.80 billion) in profit, as well, and while that's a third of what it earned in the same period of 2022 — KRW 10.85 trillion or $7.6 billion — that figure still much better than the $527 million profit it reported for the second quarter. 

For its mobile and network business, in particular, it reported KRW 30 trillion ($22.17 billion) in consolidated revenue, as well as KRW 3.30 trillion ($2.44 billion) in operating profit. There was a higher demand in the third quarter compared to the second, Samsung said, thanks to the global smartphone market showing signs of recovery. If you'll recall, the company mostly blamed its drop in revenue for the second quarter to a decline in smartphone shipments. For this period, it says the Galaxy S23 series has maintained "solid sales momentum," while its foldables, tablets and wearables recorded strong sales. It expects smartphones sales to grow next quarter due to the holiday season and for the market to bounce back next year "as consumer sentiment stabilizes in anticipation of a global economic recovery."

Another segment that did well in the third quarter is Samsung's mobile panel business, which "reported a significant increase in earnings on the back of new flagship model releases by major customers." As Bloomberg notes, those new flagship model releases could include Apple's iPhone 15. Samsung intends to continue focusing on OLED panels for its mobile display business and plans to establish a supply chain catering to the augmented and virtual reality market. 

Finally, the company's semiconductor division posted KRW 3.75 trillion ($2.77 billion) in operating losses for the quarter, which is slightly better than its KRW 4.36 trillion ($3.23 billion) losses in the previous one. Samsung expects the demand for PCs and mobile devices to improve next period, and it's anticipating strong server demand from cloud service providers thanks to generative AI applications. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Sony raises its annual forecast on the strength of its PlayStation sales

Sony has published its earnings report for the first quarter of the year (PDF) ending on June 30th and an adjusted forecast for the fiscal year, and they paint a picture of mixed results for the company. Its overall operating profit for the period was down 31 percent year-over-year, from 364.9 billion yen ($2.54 billion) to 253 billion ($1.76 billion). The company's revenue was up 33 percent, however, thanks to significant increase in sales by its game and network services, music, imaging and financial services businesses.

Sony believes its game and music segments will continue to do well and has raised (PDF) its sales and revenue forecast for the fiscal year ending on March 31st, 2024 by 6.1 percent due to higher-than-expected sales for those businesses. It also expects its net income to be 2.4 percent higher than its previous forecast, from 840 billion yen ($5.86 billion) to 860 billion ($6 billion).

For its game division, in particular, Sony has tweaked its forecast, because it's anticipating an increase in sales for non-first-party PlayStation titles, including add-on content. Several much-awaited games are coming out for PlayStation gamers this year, such as Spider-Man 2, Assassin's Creed Mirage, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty Expansion, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and EA Sports FC

This expected increase in sales for non-first-party titles will be aided by a decrease in costs and expenses. That said, they will also offset by a "deterioration in profitability of PlayStation 5 hardware." Sony has dropped the PS5's pricing in several regions around the world recently. While that translates to lower overall earnings from the console, it could also get people on the fence to finally purchase the PS5, which in turn could lead to more game purchases. 

To note, Sony has shipped 3.3 million PS5 units in the first quarter of the year. That's almost half of the previous quarter's sales of 6.3 million units, though that figure was for the holiday season, when businesses typically do better than usual. This is Sony's best-performing first quarter for PS5 sales so far, bringing the total number of units sold to 41.7 million. 

Despite adjusting its outlook with better numbers for the year overall, Sony has lowered its expectations for the sales of mobile sensors due to the continuing downward trend in smartphone sales. Sony Pictures' earnings was also down year-on-year despite the success of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The company doesn't foresee a recovery for the business, as well, and believes it will perform worse than what was predicted last April due to the impact of strikes by the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Spotify's new AI 'DJ' expands to 50 countries

The beta version of Spotify’s AI-enhanced DJ feature is coming to 50 new countries, after soft-launching in the US and Canada back in February. In recent months, it’s rolled out in the UK and Ireland, but now the robotic Wolfman Jack is headed to more countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, in addition to Australia and New Zealand.

There’s a caveat, but it depends on some initial understanding of what this tool actually does. The Spotify DJ is available to premium subscription members and provides algorithmic recommendations of what to listen to, just like any music streaming app. However, these recommendations are accompanied by AI-generated DJ commentary on what you’re listening to. So what’s the rub? The DJ, based on Spotify’s Xavier Jernigan, only speaks English, no matter where you live. This is not a big deal for Australia and New Zealand, but an annoying constraint for listeners in Ghana, Singapore and most other parts of the world. A Spotify spokesperson told Engadget that the company has “no more news to share on new languages at this time.”

Despite the language limitation, it’s still a nifty toolset. It combines OpenAI’s proprietary large language model (LLM) technology, which powers ChatGPT, with Sonantic’s AI voice generation platform. Spotify bought Sonantic last year, largely due to its focus on generating realistic speech. In addition to the AI-enhanced speech, the platform also gives for written information as to why a particular song was chosen.

This tool is available today for Spotify Premium users across the world, but this is a beta, so expect changes and improvements in the short-term and long-term future. Spotify says that it is “continuing to iterate and innovate the experience.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Samsung's semiconductor business posted massive losses for Q1 2023

Samsung's earnings results for the first quarter of 2023 are in, and they're a massive departure from the same period's last year wherein it reported a steep rise in profit. The tech giant has posted a consolidated revenue of KRW 63.75 trillion (US$47.5 billion) and an operating profit of only KRW 0.64 trillion (US$477 million), mostly because its semiconductor business has (according to Reuters) reported record losses. Samsung's DS division, which operates its semiconductor and display businesses, reported a consolidated revenue of KRW 13.73 trillion (US$10.2 billion). However, it also posted KRW 4.58 trillion (US$3.4 billion) in operating losses for the first quarter.

Overall demand for memory products has been decreasing over the past months, with the division reporting only KRW 0.27 trillion (US$201 million) in operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2022. This quarter, Samsung blamed ongoing inventory adjustments, as well as the economic slowdown and the weakened customer spending that resulted from it for the decrease in overall demand. That said, the company expects demand to gradually recover in the second half of the year as customers' inventory levels get depleted.

Despite the loss in profits overall, Samsung's mobile division performed well in the first quarter. The company's MX and Networks businesses, which cover both mobile devices and telecommunication network equipment, posted KRW 31.82 trillion (US$23.7 billion) in consolidated revenue and KRW 3.94 trillion (US$2.9 billion) in operating profit. Samsung explained that while there was a low demand for smartphones overall, the market for premium devices grew year-over-year. The division's positive performance was apparently made possible by the strong sales of the Galaxy S23 series, specifically the Galaxy S23 Ultra

Going forward, the company's MX business will focus on supporting Galaxy S23 sales while boosting the marketing for its foldable phones to increase awareness about the devices before the next generation drops. Samsung is expected to unveil its next foldable devices in the second half of the year, possibly in August likes its previous launches

This article originally appeared on Engadget at