September could really be the month of the year to remember for technology. The sector has outperformed others this year, and will likely receive even more attention as several major companies are set to launch new gadgets in time for the holiday season.
Since 2000, the tech sector has been the second worst performer in September. However, the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLK) has surged nearly 20 percent year-to-date, and the momentum could easily carry into September. On Wednesday, Windows Phone 8, the latest mobile operating system from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), is expected to be rolled out by Nokia (NYSE:NOK). The launch is important for both companies, but is widely considered as Nokia’s last chance to capture a significant amount of the smartphone market.
“This is a make-or-break moment for Nokia,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at the technology research firm Gartner in California, according to Post Gazette. “Everything is resting on Windows Phone 8. If that doesn’t work, it will cause an existential crisis for the company.” According to Gartner, Microsoft and Nokia have only captured 3 percent of the smartphone market to date.
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Just one day after the Windows Phone 8 debut, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the world’s largest online retailer, is expected to unveil a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet at a media event in Los Angeles, California. Recent speculation has been building that Amazon will offer an advertising-supported tablet that will be priced lower than competing gadgets. The company also started buzz after announcing last week it completely sold out of its Kindle Fire tablet, which has been Amazon’s best selling product since its launch last November. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also said the 7-inch tablet held 22 percent of U.S. tablet sales, although the company does not officially release its sales numbers.
“We have an exciting roadmap ahead,” Bezos said in a news release. “We will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”
Speaking of ecosystems, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil its latest iPhone on September 12 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. On Tuesday, the tech giant sent an email inviting press to the event, which contained an image of 12 as the date and a shadow of the number 5, leaving little doubt about the iPhone 5 being announced. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray believes a new Apple iPhone could sell between 6 million and 10 million units in the final week of September, and push total sales to as high as 28 million in the September quarter.
Rounding out the month, Motorola Mobility, which is a subsidiary of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), will reveal its first smartphone based on Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Atom Z2460 system-on-chip and Android 4 operating system at a London event on September 18.
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