The world's largest smartphone manufacturer is troubled. Overnight, Samsung warned that its third-quarter operating profit could fall as much as 61.8 percent because of weakness in its largest division, mobile, from which phones account for about 60 percent of company profits. Smartphone shipments are up slightly, but the money they generate is down substantially.
For Google, the news is a mixed blessing. In April 2012, I warned that "Google has lost control of Android" -- Samsung's dominance with customized versions of the mobile operating system being major reason. Big G effectively responded by separating core apps and services from Android, spreading them out across versions, and better unifying the user experience. Still, Samsung's TouchWiz UI is the main way tens of millions of people experience Android every day. The South Korean company's problems could eventually be good for Google, but will they benefit Android or pull it down?
Smartphone manufacturers like to attack Apple. Microsoft is currently running a series of ads in which Siri comes off very badly compared with Microsoft’s own voice assistant Cortana, and now Samsung has released a collection of commercials making fun of the recent iPhone 6 reveal.
In the series, titled "It doesn’t take a genius", two tech guys are less than impressed with Apple’s new iPhone 6 which is lacking and dated compared to the Galaxy Note 4. It’s a similar campaign in some ways to the "A fly on the wall in Cupertino" ads that Microsoft ran, and quickly pulled, a year ago. But while those ads were ill judged and unfunny, Samsung gets the humor just right.
Apple and Samsung are reportedly close to reaching an amicable conclusion in a long-winded patent litigation battle after the US firm lost another court case against its rival.
The familiar US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled against Apple's bid to impose a sales ban on some older Samsung smartphones in the US and it follows the decision to drop all suits against each other in a range of different countries in the past few months.
Apple and Samsung have been waging a global patent war since 2011. Apple famously won $1.05 billion in damages in an American court two years ago (a verdict still being challenged by Samsung), but the two companies have been continuing to sue each other since, including fighting a range of infringement cases in nine other countries.
Finally, though, it seems as if peace has broken out between the two smartphone giants, with news today that Apple and Samsung have agreed to end all patent litigation outside the United States.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear has been handed a rotten assessment by Apple’s gadget-loving co-founder Steve Wozniak.
The man who started up the technology behemoth with Steve Jobs complained that the smartwatch doesn’t offer the convenience he was hoping and within half a day it was up on eBay ready to be sold at a bargain price.
Speaking at a press event as part of Samsung's Business Discovery Day, Jae Shin, the vice president of Samsung's Knox mobile security business group, said that wearable devices will take off with or without Apple's help.
Historically, the hype surrounding the launch of a new Apple product has provided the kick-start for interest in a new type of technology. This has previously been the case for smartphones and tablet computers, thanks to the iPhone and iPad, respectively.
As the American tech press turns to San Francisco and Apple's developer conference, the real world looks to Taipei and Computex. There you see the Android Army's march against iOS. ASUS announces new Android tabs, HP takes the wraps off a laptop running the operating system, and Samsung serves up a phablet so large it crosses category boundaries. In literature, they would call this foreshadowing. Do you see how this story will unfold -- as Android manufacturers and Apple engage like factions from the Divergent series.
Android accounted for 39.7 percent of device shipments -- hybrids, PCs, phones, and tablets -- during 2013, according to Gartner. Apple's iOS and OS X: 10.4 percent. Forecast for this year puts Android at 47.2 percent and the fruit-logo platforms at 11.5 percent. That's context for today's announcements from the East and West. As I write, Apple's announcements dribble (iOS 8 and OS X 10.10) out of Worldwide Developer Conference 2014, so this post focuses on what the Android news means.
The more I ponder Apple's Beats acquisition, the less sense it makes. Buying big well-known brands that compete with yours is usually a bad idea -- worse when the acquirer owns no foreign brands. Extinguishing the big name, as Microsoft does with Nokia, is marketing murder. There's no place for the Beats brand in the Apple lexicon. The gun is drawn and ready to fire.
What I do see is another sign that Apple has lost its way. Tim Cook is a very able CEO, but as stated previously he is Star Trek's Spock without Captain Kirk (Steve Jobs). Cook's approach to business logistics, while brilliant, unmakes Apple. Beats is an acquisition that is off-key -- out of tune with the culture that made the fruit-logo company great. As such, on this Thursday in May, comes my confession. I was wrong five years ago in post "Why Apple succeeds, and always will". That company is gone.
Samsung and Apple don’t have to worry about users defecting to each other after a new survey suggested that other manufacturers like HTC and Huawei could take advantage of the gap.
Qriously, a London-based startup, surveyed a sample of 2,440 existing iPhone owners and the same number that own Samsung smartphones in order to ascertain how loyal the two sets of consumers are to the respective brands.
I owned an iPhone 3GS for a couple of years, and loved it. But when the time came to replace it, instead of upgrading to an iPhone 4S, I decided to go for Samsung’s new Galaxy S II instead. The S II’s reviews were glowing -- many calling it an iPhone 5 killer (suggesting it was already way better than whatever Apple did next) -- and having played around with it in store, I was sold. Apple was the past, Samsung was the future, and this was the phone for me.
When the S III came out, I duly upgraded to that -- well, why wouldn’t? I’ll be honest, the beefed up size was a little off-putting at first, but the phone was great; a truly worthy successor. Recently though the device has started to misbehave, turning itself off without warning, and requiring constant charging, clear signs it was time to upgrade again. Going for the Galaxy S4 would have been the obvious choice, or maybe -- like many of my colleagues here at BetaNews -- I could have switched to a Windows Phone. The Lumia 925 is certainly appealing. The truth though is there was only one phone I really, really wanted and yesterday it arrived. A shiny new iPhone 5s in Space Gray.
Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukah, a rare occurrence they overlap. We reflect on the things we feel -- or should be -- grateful. Ahead of the holiday meal I served up "13 things for which Google gives thanks" and colleagues Wayne Williams and Alan Buckingham "5 things to be thankful for in Windows 8.1" and "5 products I'm thankful for", respectively. I would be remiss ignoring Apple.
The fruit-logo company is unique in techdom, inventing or reinventing several hugely successful product categories. Most companies have one- or two-hit wonders. Apple has a string of smash hits, like the rarest of iconic musicians. The Beatles come to mind, because of their 50th-anniversary and name shared -- you know, Apple Records. The many things for which the company should be thankful are obvious, so let's just dispense with those and get to items other list-makers, if there are any, likely will overlook. I present Apple's thankful things from least to most important.
Sony PlayStation 4 hit the stores and Brian not only took a look at the brand new console, but also cracked open the case and slipped a larger hard drive inside. Brian wasn't alone in his love of the PS4, more than a million people also bought a console on the day of launch. But not everyone was happy as many units were found to suffer from a Blue Light of Death problem that rendered them unusable. Raspberry Pi was also celebrating its sales figures as more than two million were shifted since its launch last year.
In a rare show of unity, Microsoft and Google joined forces to help tackle the problem of online child pornography. At the same time, Microsoft took its Scroogled campaign to a new level by releasing merchandise (although Joe was impressed). Elsewhere online, Twitter introduced Twitter alerts to the UK and Ireland to help provide people with critical information in an emergency.
One year ago, Apple was awarded a whopping $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung after the South Korean company was found guilty in a US court of copying elements from the iPhone and using them in some of its own handsets. Infringed features included how the devices displayed text and icons, the bounce-back response found in iOS, and the tap-to-zoom, one-finger-to-scroll, two-to-pinch, and zoom navigation features. The award was so high because the jury found that Samsung had willfully stolen design elements from Apple.
Earlier this year the US District Judge who presided over the trial, Lucy Koh, upheld close to $640 million of the damages that Apple had been awarded, but said that calculations made by the original jury had errors in it and ordered a retrial for the remaining amount.
Two days ago IDC released its latest Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report, showing growth for both Android and Windows Phone and drops for iOS and BlackBerry.
Today Gartner provides details on worldwide mobile phone sales to end users, with the big news being that smartphones accounted for 55 percent of all mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013.
The Apple and Samsung battle continues to rumble, and less than a week after a proposed ban on the sale of iPhones and iPads was overturned, another ruling has -- at least for the time being -- gone Apple's way. The US ITC has upheld a previous ruling dating back to 2011 that found Samsung has infringed various Apple patents, potentially leading to a US ban on various devices from the South Korean company.
The ruling found that Samsung had violated two patents relating to Apple's iPhone. The first patent (often referred to as the "Steve Jobs patent") relates to the use of a touchscreen interface as means of interacting with a device using one or more fingers. The second patent relates to the design of an audio socket that can determine the type of microphone or headset that has been plugged into it.