China-based consumer electronics firm Xiaomi, known for its Apple ( AAPL ) copycat smartphones, has come out with a low-cost flying camera drone that could shake up the nascent market. On Wednesday, Xiaomi, roughly pronounced “show me,” introduced its first drone, the Mi Drone, which costs about $380 for the entry-level model with a 1080p camera. A higher-end model with a 4K camera costs about $450. The Xiaomi drones will be sold in China, at least initially, TechCrunch reported . Camera drones from market leader DJI start at $500, with 4K drones starting at $800. And those prices are after recent discounts. Action camera maker GoPro ( GPRO ) is expected to enter the drone market in time for the holiday shopping season. Pricing has not been announced for its Karma drones. U.S. Drone Sales Skyrocketing Retail tracker NPD Group reported Wednesday that drone sales in the U.S. have grown 224% year over year to nearly $200 million in the 12 months ending in April. Drones with 4K cameras accounted for more than one-third of dollar sales in that period, while drones with built-in GPS accounted for 64% of revenue. The average drone sold for more than $550 in April, NPD said. “It’s not surprising that drones were highly sought after during last year’s holiday season,” NPD analyst Ben Arnold said in a statement. “But even after the holidays, NPD’s consumer research indicates drone purchase expectations remain high, especially among younger consumers. This points to continued growth and healthy demand for the category.” China-based DJI was the top U.S. drone vendor in terms of dollar sales. French company Parrot was second, followed by Protocol, Yuneec and 3D Robotics, NPD said. RELATED: Red Bull Gives GoPro Wings, But Camera Maker Still Low-Flier Drone Market Positive For AeroVironment, Not GoPro, Piper Says
E-payments giant PayPal ( PYPL ) announced Wednesday that it will release an updated mobile app for the Apple ( AAPL ) iOS and the Alphabet ( GOOGL ) Google Android operating system next month But it also offered further evidence that also-ran mobile operating systems from Microsoft ( MSFT ), BlackBerry ( BBRY ) and Amazon.com ( AMZN ) are obsolete. PayPal said in a blog post that users of its Apple iOS and Android OS mobile apps must update to version 6.0 between June 3-30. As for Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Amazon Fire, there’s no app upgrade. In fact, PayPal will discontinue apps for those services as of June 30, though they can still access PayPal via browsers. Windows Phone and BlackBerry have seen continued market share losses, with Windows Phone market share falling below 1%. Amazon, which uses a modified Android, killed its ill-fated Fire Phone, though its Kindle tablets remain numerous. “It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms, but we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers, wrote Joanna Lambert, PayPal’s vice president of consumer product. Microsoft announced plans Wednesday to cut another 1,850 smartphone jobs.
One week after Microsoft ( MSFT ) sold its low-end feature phone business, the company on Wednesday announced plans to streamline its remaining smartphone business and take a $950 million impairment and restructuring charge. Microsoft expects to cut up to 1,850 jobs as part of the realignment. It will record the financial charge in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends June 30. “We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement . “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.” Microsoft acquired the feature phone and smartphone businesses from Nokia ( NOK ) for $7.5 billion in April 2014. Microsoft wrote off the entire value of the deal in July 2015 when it recorded an impairment charge of $7.6 billion related to the Nokia assets. At the time, it also laid off 7,800 workers from those operations. On May 18, Microsoft announced it is selling its entry-level feature phone business for $350 million to FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Foxconn, and HMD Global, a newly created company in Finland that has licensed Nokia’s brand and intellectual property. Microsoft has had a tough time competing in the mobile phone market against Apple ‘s ( AAPL ) iPhone and handsets using the Android operating system from Alphabet ‘s ( GOOGL ) Google. Microsoft’s Windows phones accounted for less than 1% of smartphone sales to end users worldwide in the first quarter, research firm Gartner said. Microsoft shares rose 1% to 52.12 on the stock market today . RELATED: Microsoft Stock Oversold, Gets Upgrade On Cloud Prospects