Apple has switched from controversial Taiwanese company Foxconn to little-known Pegatron as its primary supplier, marking the end of an era for the iPhone and iPad maker. Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, previously enjoyed a monopoly on assembly of Apple's popular devices, but the more affordable rival Pegatron is set to take its place. Pegatron has worked with Apple for more than a decade, but only became a viable contender to Foxconn last year when Apple contracted it to assemble iPad Minis. It has also helped produce iPhones and is expected to become the main producer of the low-cost iPhone rumoured to be launching later this year. Pegatron has reportedly agreed to lower profits than Foxconn, which was likely the primary motivator to get Apple to switch from its long-time ally. It was not the only factor in the move, however. Sources close to the companies suggest Apple wanted to diversify to avoid a repeat of inferior quality devices.
Just two weeks into the job, Intel's new CEO is making some big changes to the company; he first appointed Mike Bell to head up the newly created New Devices division, and yesterday acquired the division of ST-Ericsson that makes mobile GPS chips. The acquisition might sound small, but when you consider that Intel is one of the least acquisitive companies in Silicon Valley, and factor in the creation of a New Devices unit, it's clear that Intel is planning on taking the smartphone and tablet markets by storm. When ITProPortal last spoke to Mike Bell, he was the co-chief of Intel's mobile chip business. Back then, his department had just shipped Medfield and created a reference smartphone specifically for Medfield, so that carriers and OEMs could get to market with a Medfield-powered device very easily. When we asked if this was the beginning of a trend, he said, "For every chipset, we're going to do what we call an 'iconic' design, to really showcase what [the new SoC] can do. These designs will be available to anyone who wants to build a device based on our chipsets." With the new Bay Trail and Merrifield SoCs arriving this winter, and Bell's move to the New Devices unit, it's almost guaranteed that Intel will release home-grown smartphones and tablets based on these new, fast, Silvermont-based chips.
The European Union will unveil plans for new net neutrality laws designed to protect the open nature of the Internet, while the 27-member bloc may also abolish roaming costs by 2014. Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and head of the Digital Agenda group, unveiled plans that would guarantee net neutrality in Europe, while also creating a unified telecommunications market by 2014. She has called for "radical legislative compromise" and said that she expects the EU can deliver the package of reforms by Easter 2014. The exact nature of the proposed net neutrality laws has yet to be revealed but Kroes will bring the legislation before the European Parliament today, asking the EU to "save the right to access open Internet" and put an end to the blocking and throttling of Internet services and applications.
Last but definitely not least, it's been a busy day in the smartphone world. Motorola has confirmed that a new flagship mobile, the Moto X, is set for launch in the near future. Speaking at the AllThingsD D11 conference, Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside teased that the Moto X would sport an OLED screen and feature sensor technology, adding that it would be a high-end handset to go head-to-head with premium devices like Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S4. Speaking of which, the South Korean electronics giant has unveiled a smaller version of its top device, called the Galaxy S4 Mini. We don't yet know how much this handset will cost or indeed when it will hit UK retailers but we expect everything will be revealed at Samsung's 20 June event in London. A device that could go head-to-head with the S4 Mini, however, is the freshly-leaked (and waterproof) Huawei Ascend D2 Mini, which is expected to be officially announced on 18 June - two days before Samsung's event. This smartphone is still unconfirmed, but two leading Chinese retailers earlier placed it on preorder on their websites. Both the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Ascend D2 Mini will pack 4.3in screens.