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HTC Becomes Highest Shipping Smartphone Vendor In the US 151

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the king-of-the-hill dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from an article in BGR: "Samsung blew past Apple and Nokia in the third quarter to become the No. 1 smartphone vendor in the world, but another emerging smartphone vendor stole the top spot in the U.S. according to a new report. Market research firm Canalys on Monday released country-level smartphone shipment estimates and according to its figures, HTC shipped 5.7 million own-brand smartphones and another 700,000 T-Mobile-branded handsets last quarter to take the top spot with 6.4 million total devices shipped."
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HTC Becomes Highest Shipping Smartphone Vendor In the US

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  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Monday October 31, 2011 @08:05PM (#37901988)

    I don't understand the relevance of these estimates of Samsung and HTC shipment figures, for three reasons:

    1. The shipment estimates are made by analyst companies, not by Samsung or HTC themselves. Samsung, as of last summer, has stopped providing shipment numbers [techcrunch.com] of its smartphones and tablets. Then these other companies (Strategy Analytics and Canalys) step in with their own estimates that are dodgy at best. How do they get their numbers? If Samsung is not providing their shipment numbers, why should we believe a third party?

    2. One shipment to a vendor (e.g. Best Buy) does not map to one sale to an end consumer. A vendor can always return the item back to the seller.

    3. What is counted as a smartphone? Phone manufacturers are cramming more smartphone features into low-end devices; remember that even the most basic Symbian phone was counted by Nokia as a smartphone, and look how those ostensibly great sales turned out for Nokia.

    Note that Apple always lists its sales in its SEC statements. And these are sales figures to the end consumer, not shipments.

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Article doesn't say highest selling, it says highest shipping. It may be a meaningless metric, but it is not deceptive.
      • "Samsung blew past Apple and Nokia in the third quarter to become the No. 1 smartphone vendor in the world, but another emerging smartphone vendor stole the top spot in the U.S. according to a new report"

        As GP says, Apple's numbers are real sales. The submission summary suggests that Samsung and Nokia have beaten Apple. For a company so lambasted here as closed, it's sales numbers sure are a lot more open and transparent than this "devices shipped" canard we are hearing about Samsung and HTC.

        See also
    • by mirix (1649853)

      Well to be fair, the most basic symbian phones were among the original smartphones. It's not Nokia's fault that other smartphones got smarter ;)

    • HTC and Samsung don't know how many phones they sell until months after they ship, because that's how their distribution channel wworks. Apple DOES know how many they sell, because they sell directly to consumers.
      • by Dahamma (304068)

        Exactly what I was going to say...

        And another reason this is a relatively meaningless metric: in many cases this is an apples to oranges [sorry, obvious pun ;) ] comparison. iPhone retail prices (and discounted prices) are much higher than the average HTC phone retail/discount prices, and so Apple's profit margin (and total profit) are in another league from its competitors...

      • by Relayman (1068986)
        Apple doesn't always sell directly to consumers. What about the ones sold through Verizon, AT&T and Sprint stores?
        • iPhones are activated by Apple. They know exactly how many are activated as soon as it happens. They even know how many owners the average iPhone has over its lifetime and how many iPhones the average owner has over time. HTC and Samsung have nothing like that.
    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      remember that even the most basic Symbian phone was counted by Nokia as a smartphone

      Of course it was, since every Symbian-based phone sold by Nokia was a smartphone.

      And if you use the definition of "smartphone" that includes the iPhone at launch, you'd have to include the S40 phones you're confusing with S60 phones anyway.

    • by andydread (758754) on Monday October 31, 2011 @08:44PM (#37902254)
      FTFA

      "After a slow start in 2010, AT&T has over-delivered on the number of Android devices it promised to launch in 2011, including the Impulse 4G, supplied by Huawei but AT&T-branded, sold at an aggressive $30 with a contract to target first-time smart phone buyers. Android holds nearly 70% of the platform share in the United States, compared with 57% worldwide."

      Then there is the massive Chinese market that's coming online.

      "The Chinese smart phone market is seeing explosive growth, not least from domestic vendors Huawei and ZTE,’ said Shanghai-based Canalys Research Director for China, Nicole Peng. ‘Both vendors are delivering good-quality, attractive smart phones on the Android platform for both the domestic and foreign markets, and their aggressive pricing strategies are enabling them to ship large volumes. They will continue to be an increasingly disruptive force in the global market in the coming quarters"

      Then there are the Andoid smart watches [slashdot.org] and who knows what else around the corner. That's the real news. Android looks like it's set to steamroll.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      And these are sales figures to the end consumer, but mostly shipments.

      Fixed that for you.

      Apple sells most of it's phones via telco's. Which means they ship through the same channels as HTC, Samsung and everyone else. In Australia Apple have to ship through Brightstor to sell on most Telco's as Telstra and Vodafone have exclusivity agreements with Brightstor (not sure about Optus but it would not surprise me). The situation is quite similar in Europe. So most of apple's "sales" figures are shipped figu

      • Apple sells most of it's phones via telco's. Which means they ship through the same channels as HTC, Samsung and everyone else. In Australia Apple have to ship through Brightstor to sell on most Telco's as Telstra and Vodafone have exclusivity agreements with Brightstor (not sure about Optus but it would not surprise me). The situation is quite similar in Europe. So most of apple's "sales" figures are shipped figures like all other manufacturers.

        How are you sure of that? Unlike Samsung and HTC, I believe Apple has these things called retail stores as well as an online store. I know that whenever you want something Apple that is in short supply your chance of getting at an Apple store is much higher than another location. Second, even if it was "shipped" instead of "sold", when something is in short supply like most new Apple launches, shipped = sold. I don't know about you but I can't remember the last time people lined up for a Samsung Galaxy

        • I don't know about Samsung but when the HTC Desire HD came out, the stores DID run out of stock where I lived (Western Europe for what it's worth).
          • In that case HTC can rightly say the number shipped = number sold for that model. It was the same way when the Wii first came out and they couldn't make enough.
        • "I don't know about you but I can't remember the last time people lined up for a Samsung Galaxy phone unless Samsung bribes them. [mobilemag.com]"

          Good for them. That's not bribing that clever marketing.

          Anyone, the reason people don't have to line up for Samsung stuff might be because they actually make sure they have enough of them in stock and enough production capacity to make more. And the reason they do that might be because they actually make the hardware themselves, as opposed to Apple, who are depend

          • Apple has millions of iPhones available in select markets on launch date (for example, 4 million iPhone 4S sales first weekend), and rolls out later to other markets to soften the first-day hit. And still there are lines around the block. Samsung has to practically give away phones to get a short line in front of one store.

            And the reason they do that might be because they actually make the hardware themselves, as opposed to Apple, who are dependant on ... guess who ... Samsung to make some really important

          • by teg (97890)

            Anyone, the reason people don't have to line up for Samsung stuff might be because they actually make sure they have enough of them in stock and enough production capacity to make more.

            Hardly. The reason is that Samsung doesn't have anywhere the the demand spike Apple does. Apple has one phone a year, which results in massive media attention and a big demand spike at launch. Samsung continually releases new models in different markets throughout the year, and thus gets less media attention and no similar demand spike.

        • by znerk (1162519)

          From the article you linked:

          the first ten people each day at the temporary Samsung store can buy the Galaxy S II for just two bucks. This is a $600+ smartphone

          Are you just mad that you weren't first in line? Or are you mad that you didn't know that they were practically giving the phone away to the first ten customers each day? Perhaps you're mad because you paid through the nose for an iPhone instead of getting an arguably better phone right next door?

          Also, your claim that Samsung doesn't have a store is kinda broken when you link to an article indicating that they have a store.

          • bribe [reference.com]: (2) anything given or serving to persuade or induce

            I guess then I used the word bribe exactly as the definition states.

            Are you just mad that you weren't first in line? Or are you mad that you didn't know that they were practically giving the phone away to the first ten customers each day? Perhaps you're mad because you paid through the nose for an iPhone instead of getting an arguably better phone right next door?

            Hmm. So in a discussion about whether shipped = sold for Apple, the OP stated that most iPhones sold at telcos ignoring that Apple has a huge retail advantage in that they have their own stores. And your response is to levy insults. That adds a lot to this discussion.

            Also, your claim that Samsung doesn't have a store is kinda broken when you link to an article indicating that they have a store

            You should read that article again. This time look for the words "temporary" and "pop-up".

            • by znerk (1162519)

              You should read that article again. This time look for the words "temporary" and "pop-up".

              You should read that article again. This time, look for the word "store", since you stated:

              Unlike Samsung and HTC, I believe Apple has these things called retail stores as well as an online store.

              Note: no mention was made of "temporary vs. permanent".

              As for your opposition to Samsung's "bribe" of offering steep discounts to the first 10 people to purchase a phone:
              I'm assuming you never use coupons, and you always pay full price even if the item you are purchasing is on sale? Either your moral indignation over discounts, special offers, and incentives dictates that you never take advantage of them... or you're

              • You should read that article again. This time, look for the word "store", since you stated:

                May be this is way over your head but in the larger scheme of retail it is hard to sell things out of your retail store for any measurable amount of data when your store only lasts for a short time.

                As for your opposition to Samsung's "bribe" of offering steep discounts to the first 10 people to purchase a phone

                In the context of the discussion, does Samsung have people lining up to buy their products? I don't think those people would have lined up and waited if there wasn't the deal offered. They may have bought a Samsung regardless but the deal was too good not to pass up the offer.

                I'm assuming you never use coupons, and you always pay full price even if the item you are purchasing is on sale? Either your moral indignation over discounts, special offers, and incentives dictates that you never take advantage of them... or you're a hypocrite.

                Wow more insults instead of actual

                • by znerk (1162519)

                  I feel like I'm feeding a troll, here, but I'm going to try one more time to explain my position.

                  You stated that Samsung did not have a store, then provided a link that showed that they did, in fact, have a store.

                  You then attacked me for pointing this out.

                  You went on to complain about the "bribe" inherent in a steeply discounted price. I countered that your stated viewpoint indicated that you would never use coupons or accept sale prices on anything, if "bribery" insults you so much. Your response that I wa

                  • Your first post:

                    Are you just mad that you weren't first in line? Or are you mad that you didn't know that they were practically giving the phone away to the first ten customers each day? Perhaps you're mad because you paid through the nose for an iPhone instead of getting an arguably better phone right next door?

                    Was there any point in there other than a personal attack?

                    You stated that Samsung did not have a store, then provided a link that showed that they did, in fact, have a store.

                    Perhaps instead of getting upended, you might have looked at the bigger discussion of what metrics are used and how they are derived. If you read the details of the article instead of going off, you might have noticed that it was a temporary store which doesn't really change the metrics in that it doesn't add much to the shipped vs sold debate for Samsung.

                    You went on to complain about the "bribe" inherent in a steeply discounted price. I countered that your stated viewpoint indicated that you would never use coupons or accept sale prices on anything, if "bribery" insults you so much. Your response that I was suggesting you fly to Australia is... well, a bit odd, to say the least.

                    Are you offended that I used the word that I felt best described the situation?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cryacin (657549)

        At some point you fanboys will have to admit that Android is outselling Iphones.

        Never underestimate the power of denial.

        • Are we measuring denial at retail or wholesale?

        • I'm not sure that anybody denies that Android is outselling iPhone. The issue is whether that's a fair comparison. It's akin to saying that all Chevrolet vehicles outsell the Toyota Camry. They certainly do, but does that mean anything? If you want to do that comparison, you need to compare Android-based devices against iOS-based devices, including the iPad and the iPod touch.

          That said, what's sticking in their craw is that the fanbois have always said that comparison should not be between Apple and And

        • Way more Android models, and they give the things away. And yet, Apple looks to be passing Android [statcounter.com].
      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        At some point you fanboys will have to admit that Android is outselling Iphones.

        Does anyone question that? For me it was clear from day one that Android would outsell iPhones, and I am actually surprised it took that long. Which doesn't really say anything over the quality of each platform.

        But the sheer strategy of Apple, with its walled garden, closed platform, and "one phone to rule them all" strategy makes them by definition unable to grab a majority of the market. Now if they keep the quality of their product on par (and that's a big IF) they'll probably end up at 15-20% of the mar

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by maccam (967469)
        Since iPhones, whether sold in an Apple Store or via a Telco, are activated via iTunes, I would suspect that Apple has pretty accurate units-sold numbers.
    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      You sound fanboi.

    • Note that Apple always lists its sales in its SEC statements. And these are sales figures to the end consumer, not shipments.

      Apple does projections too in its quarterly reports.

      For instance, this last October it projected it was going to sell 22 million [businessinsider.com] iPhones, and it only sold 17 milllion. In any case, everybody publishes their sales figures to their investors. It's just that most of us don't care about last October Sales figures, we care about future sales (or at least current sales), and that kind of information is hard-to-come by if we need it to be reliable.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Always in motion is the future.
      • by Karlt1 (231423)

        For instance, this last October it project yed it was going to sell 22 million iPhones, and it only sold 17 milllion. In any case, everybody publishes their sales figures to their investors. It's just that most of us don't care about last October Sales figures, we care about future sales (or at least current sales), and that kind of information is hard-to-come by if we need it to be reliable.

        Apple didn't miss their estimates. It missed analysts estimates. For the past four years, iPhone volumes have alway

      • by Swampash (1131503)

        Apple does projections too in its quarterly reports.

        For instance, this last October it projected it was going to sell 22 million [businessinsider.com] iPhones, and it only sold 17 milllion.

        ANALYSTS predicted 22 million iPhone sales. Not Apple. Because Apple doesn't play that game.

        All Apple predicted was "revenue of about USD 25 billion" and it came in at just over USD 28 billion.

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      No apple says sales but they are shipments...shipments are really a business to business sale. Not that you should CARE.

      Seriously I do wonder who posts on Slashdot. A shelf stacker knows not only is Shipments of an *Established* product a good "as is"metric, its probably a better "to be" metric. Its only a poor metric for gauging the "long term" success of a launch product, but then initial sales is not always a good indication either. Businesses unlike consumers have no brand loyalty, and will only buy pro

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      We have to use some numbers to see what's happening. If you don't like these numbers, what have you got that's better?
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:00PM (#37903406)

      Then these other companies (Strategy Analytics and Canalys) step in with their own estimates that are dodgy at best.

      It's a mistake to group these two companies together. I too am suspicious of Strategy Analytics. I'm unaware of any history or reputation they have in this field. Canalys on the other hand has been putting out mobile phone market share studies every quarter for about 10 years. They are a reputable research company, and have charted the highs and lows of many manufacturers and mobile OSs. I've never known them of having unrealistic estimates by anyone in the industry.
      There's also Gartner that do them, and they are credible too, though I'd suggest Canalys is better.

      3. What is counted as a smartphone? Phone manufacturers are cramming more smartphone features into low-end devices; remember that even the most basic Symbian phone was counted by Nokia as a smartphone, and look how those ostensibly great sales turned out for Nokia.

      There's much confusion about what constitutes a smartphone. You rarely see it defined anywhere. But it's essentially this:

      1) A smartphone is a phone which can run third party apps, written with the same APIs as the built in apps. Such that third party apps can be indistinguishable from the built in apps. They are "first class citizens".

      2) A featurephone is a phone which can run "applets". WAP, J2ME and such like. They are add on apps, but they limited compared to the built in apps.

      3) A dumb phone is a phone which doesn't qualify for either of the above.

      The very first Symbian phone, the Ericsson R380, wasn't a smartphone. I don't recall if it qualified as a feature phone or just a dumb phone. But it wasn't a smartphone. Other than that, every Symbian phone was a smartphone. Just because it was 10 years ago and the apps were less flashy doesn't mean they weren't smartphones.

      • Just like the initial release of the iphone was NOT a smartphone either.

        • That's true. For the first year the iPhone didn't qualify as a smartphone. And Apple were careful not to call it one. For example they set a target of capturing 1% of the phone market, rather than say 5% of the smartphone market. IIRC they slipped up in just one press release, where they mentioned the smartphone market. But they never called iPhone a smartphone in that period.

          iPhone because a smartphone with the release of iPhoneOS 2.0. All those original iPhones could be upgraded. And that was a couple of

      • by Carewolf (581105)

        In that case every $1 phone I have had the last 8 years have been smartphones. I still consider them feature-phones or dumb phones, because those 3rd-party applications were rare and not very convenient.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday November 01, 2011 @12:29AM (#37903892) Homepage Journal

      I don't understand the relevance of these estimates of Samsung and HTC shipment figures, for three reasons:

      Don't worry, nobody's going to take away your iPhone just because some other phone manufacturers are having some success.

      Believe it or not, the smartphone market is not middle-earth and it's not the forces of good against the forces of evil. If a day comes, and it may never come, when there is a phone that sells better than the iPhone, it will not reduce one bit the meaning of your long devotion. You will still receive your reward in the next life when you meet Steve Jobs at the pearly gates and blow him.

  • It's all in how you play with the numbers

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They have been making phones for longer than most of the other guys mentioned

  • by Algae_94 (2017070) on Monday October 31, 2011 @08:18PM (#37902078) Journal
    I'm sure lots of people will bring up the fact that shipped phones does not have a 1-to-1 correlation to sold phones. They may not sell and be returned to the manufacturer. That being said, how many times could HTC or Samsung or any other company get away with over shipping devices that don't sell before retailers stop ordering as many devices? I seriously doubt HTC is shipping vast quantities of phones in these numbers that didn't sell. This isn't a failing product like the TouchPad prior to the fire-sale, or the Playbook. These are just commodity smart phones.

    Whether you love or hate Apple, the important point to debate is not exactly who is king of the hill in smart phones, but the fact that it is not just one player that rules it all any more. Anything can change as time goes on and no major handset manufacturer can let up or they might fall hopelessly behind.
    • by jrumney (197329) on Monday October 31, 2011 @08:28PM (#37902152) Homepage
      Apple can only give "units sold" figures for phones sold from the Apple store. That might work for the US market, but in many other countries they are doing the same as every other vendor and quoting figures for what they have shipped out to distributors, because those are the only figures they they can get.
      • I wonder about this...

        I know that, way back when, Apple used an "agent" model for selling it's hardware via CompUSA. So Apple might ship x units to a store, but they retained ownership of the items. It was always a joke because Apple would have the new machines selling for the same price as the previous generation machines for the first few weeks until someone at Apple says, "Hey, what do you want to do with all this inventory sitting in a CompUSA store someplace?"

        So the computers in the stores belong to

      • by Relayman (1068986)
        [citation needed]
      • by sribe (304414)

        Bullshit. Every single one of those phones is sold with a contract, and Apple most certainly knows how many phones the carriers are selling.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)

          Bullshit. Every single one of those phones is sold with a contract, and Apple most certainly knows how many phones the carriers are selling.

          Oh really? I am sure you will show me in the fine print where places like expansys provide these mythical contracts then? http://www.expansys.com.au/store/apple-iphone-4/ [expansys.com.au]

        • by sunfly (1248694)

          Only in the US are most phones sold on contract. North America is only about 5% of the world population.

          Carriers certainly know what is on their networks, but the only people publishing numbers are analysts who have a very poor record of accuracy.

        • by jrumney (197329)
          In some countries, tying a phone purchase to a contract is illegal. So no, not all of those devices sold are tied to a contract, even if you discount all the WiFi only iOS devices that are sold.
      • by demonlapin (527802) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:32PM (#37903610) Homepage Journal
        iPhones don't work until activated with an iTunes account. They can't say "units sold" for most outlets, but since an iPhone is useless without activation, it's a pretty safe bet that they know almost exactly how many phones have been sold.
    • ....but the fact that it is not just one player that rules it all any more. Anything can change as time goes on and no major handset manufacturer can let up or they might fall hopelessly behind.

      Hopefully that means we get better products and cheaper prices - Now THAT is what I consider to be win-win.

    • by sribe (304414)

      I seriously doubt HTC is shipping vast quantities of phones in these numbers that didn't sell.

      Right, for a new product, especially one where the chances of success are questionable for some reason, there can be a huge disparity. For a successful product from an established vendor, they're eventually the same--the only disparity is then timing, in other words, don't confuse shipments spiking in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season with sales spiking in the off season...

    • 'm sure lots of people will bring up the fact that shipped phones does not have a 1-to-1 correlation to sold phones. They may not sell and be returned to the manufacturer. That being said, how many times could HTC or Samsung or any other company get away with over shipping devices that don't sell before retailers stop ordering as many devices? I seriously doubt HTC is shipping vast quantities of phones in these numbers that didn't sell.

      Well, it doesn't reach 1:1 mostly because you'll get some that are def

  • HTC are not new..... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Monday October 31, 2011 @08:27PM (#37902142)

    They have been making phones for years.. starting way back in the windows mobile days. Granted, they were mostly OEM for other brands, but they are not new.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This. As a former UTStarcom PPC-6700 and HTC Branded PPC-6800 I can say I was down with HTC before it was the cool thing to do! Had the HTC Eris not been such a weakling compared to the OG Droid at launch I'd still undoubtedly be an HTC Phone owner. The HTC Thunderbolt may still sway me back. But with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus around the corner along with my contract expiration, and having bought a Samsung Vibrant on Craigslist to see how I liked the Samsung way I think I know what my next smartphone purchas

  • I've seen only 2 HTCs in the wild.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      I've seen only 2 HTCs in the wild.

      Looking around my office, 4 HTC's, 2 Samsungs, 1 Iphone (work phone that's treated like a red headed step child no-one wants).

      In the US, HTC phones aren't branded as HTC, they're branded as Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint et al. In Australia and Europe I see heaps of HTC Desire's, Desire HD's, Sensation's, Legend's and a few Desire Z's. All of these phones have different names in the US due to your woeful patent minefield.

    • by SBJ95 (992570)

      I've seen only 2 HTCs in the wild.

      My carrier (U.S. Cellular) has several HTC phones, including the one I have (HTC Merge). So far, my experience with it has been great! Sturdy as a rhinoceros...

      But at least in the Midwest, HTC phones seem to me to be wildly popular.

    • > I've seen only 2 HTCs in the wild.

      I suspect you live in an iCave, or under an iRock.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Wow, I see 5 HTCs just in my own home, and there are only three of us. HTC's are everywhere.
    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      And yet, i own one.

      I spent 6 years looking for the perfect phone + plan. I have been looking for the perfect TV product (satellite or cable or whatever and haven't bought one in ...ever). I bought DSL out of necessity, because cable doesn't run here. And yet...

      I got Sprint unlimited everything, with an HTC device, because everyone else was clamping down. And the device was free with rebates, which I already got credited (next month was free, no bill last month).

      Make no mistake, I bought sprint unlimited

    • Hipster!

  • This news, more than anything else, makes me question again the wisdom of Google purchasing Motorola (Mobility). Either Motorola performs well, and shows up in stories like this (thereby irritating Google's Android OEM partners), or Motorola underwhelms, making most of those billions of dollars as a patent investment only (waaay too much money for that, even in today's litigious environment).
  • I'm in training the past week or so with some not so cery technical people. All if them but me have Android, but today they were all talking about how they never bought apps and never used the smart-phone features. From what I can tell, the "I" device app market us still far ahead if droid, no matter how many devices they sell. Also, you can call me a fan-boi all you like, but I actually had a droid for a while (2 separate droits actually) and hated the platform even more than I hated Apples censorship of
    • by znerk (1162519)

      As of 6 months ago, your assumption that Apple has more apps is false.

      Here [makingmone...ndroid.com] is a link for you.

  • > So, how soon will we start seeing other smartphone vendors bid for secure-communications-devices contracts?"

    Was at the N.S.A. Trusted Computing Conference last month in Orlando. Saw at least one vendor with smart phones for secure use. I'm not going to dig out the paperwork to find names right now, but one company is offering secure and rugged phones. A lot of other interesting stuff there, as well -- multi-domain systems in the same box with full RF shielding between compartments, "cloud" printing

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