Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is among the most important new mobile devices to go on sale in the second half of 2014, alongside Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (which launched last week); the latter is a direct competitor. The Android phablet was slated to go on sale next month, but, in no small part thanks to the strong sales performance of the new iPhones, Samsung wants to get it in consumers' hands much sooner.
Samsung has announced that Galaxy Note 4 officially goes on sale this Friday, September 2014, in its home country of South Korea. There pre-orders started earlier this month, with consumers reportedly showing a strong interest in the device. But what if you live outside of South Korea?
Growing up, one of my favorite films was Back to the Future. Marty McFly was probably the coolest guy ever; he could skateboard, play guitar and oh yeah... travel through time! Sure, him making-out with his mom in the car was a little weird, but the protagonist was undoubtedly awesome.
While there are many memorable moments from the movie, one thing tends to resonate with movie-goers the most -- the Flux Capacitor. This cheesy-looking box was the technology behind time-travel, but most importantly, it looked super-cool (nerds and geeks love flashing lights). Today, ThinkGeek announces a USB smartphone and tablet charger for the car, which is modeled after the popular Flux Capacitor.
We all know that the majority of our technology gadgets are produced in China, but the supply and manufacturing process isn't quite as simple as it might appear.
Apple more than most is a master at using the supply chain to its advantage, sourcing suppliers that can turn out parts in the most cost effective way whilst still adhering to the company's quality requirements.
Seven years after its inception, online image editing service Aviary has been acquired by Adobe. The Photoshop stalwart is no stranger to the cloud, but this latest purchase seems to indicate that the company is looking to expand further in this arena. Pay a visit to the Aviary website and the Adobe branding is already in place -- there's also a new entry on the Aviary company timeline that has been updated to reflect the acquisition. The Adobe-branded Aviary website makes clear the thinking behind the move: "accelerating delivery of mobile apps that integrate with Adobe Creative Cloud".
It seems that the main reason for Adobe's interest in Aviary is the fact that the ornithologically-named firm has developed a number of mobile SDKs. Aviary is already a popular tool, and Adobe is understandably keen to monetize the popularity of cloud apps and mobile services: Aviary is a ready-made package that encompasses both of these ideas perfectly. An announcement by Adobe explains that "the acquisition accelerates Adobe's strategy to make Creative Cloud a vibrant platform for third-party apps, through a new Creative SDK".
Apple iPhone 6 Plus has the best smartphone LCD display, but Samsung Galaxy Note 4 still reigns supreme
The good news keeps on coming for Apple. After it announced that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales exceeded the 10 million units mark, therefore breaking the previous record established last year, DisplayMate, a company dedicated to testing the quality of displays, has proclaimed iPhone 6 Plus as having the best LCD screen that has ever crossed its labs.
Apple's other new flagship, the smaller iPhone 6, has also registered impressive results, but its 4.7-inch panel is let down by the low resolution of just 750 by 1,334, which is inferior to that of its bigger brother -- which boasts a 1,080 by 1,920 resolution with its 5.5-inch panel -- as well as competing flagships from other manufacturers.
Microsoft has announced that Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is now rolling out for Nokia Lumia 930, just shy of two months after it introduced the latest version of the tiled operating system. The flagship is the first Nokia-branded handset to be officially updated to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, and among the few that officially run this installment.
Even though, on Nokia's support forums, the software update is described as being "minor", it actually offers quite a few notable improvements over the previous firmware release. Contrary to expectations, it does not bring the Lumia Denim enhancements along with it.
Apple's longstanding perchant for secrecy is legendary. It's also a myth. Granted, the company has a strict no-comment policy about future products, which isn't so much about keeping information from seeping out but controlling who disseminates it. Something else: Secrets are impossible to keep when a company produces physical products overseas and depends on so many third-party suppliers. Controlled leaks, or strictly managing those that aren't, lets Apple maximize marketing advantage.
The value cannot be understated, because Apple's business model in 2014 isn't much different from 2001 or 1995: Reselling to the same core group of loyal customers. The Mac faithful mattered when the company struggled to survive against the Intel-Microsoft duopoly and made the majority of profits from selling computers. Cofounder Steve Jobs wisely chose to expand into new product categories -- iPod (2001), iTunes Music Store (2004), iPhone (2007), iPad (2010) -- that freed Apple from monopoly bondage. But the core philosophy of selling to loyal customers, even while trying to grow their numbers, remains the same.
Smartphone manufacturers are conservative when it comes to form factors. Virtually every new handset is of the bar (slate) type. That is because this allows the shell to maintain a thin profile and the touchscreen to take up most of the space on the front panel. Both are features relevant today. Unsurprisingly, clamshells and smartphones do not ever go hand in hand. But there are exceptions.
Among the few smart flip phones, or flip smartphones, is the newly-unveiled LG Smart Wine. The device runs Android 4.4 KitKat and packs decent hardware specifications for what could very well be the ultimate niche smartphone.
Expectations always run high when it comes to sales of new iPhones during launch weekend. There's an incredible frenzy in the media fueled by loyalists, long lines form outside Apple stores (immediately followed by the first inadvertent drop caught on camera), the reviews are raving across the board (and why wouldn't they be when only loyalists get review units?) and, finally, on Monday, Apple gives its fans the much-awaited reason to celebrate -- a new first-weekend sales record.
Needless to say, the 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units that Apple managed to sell during the first weekend exceed the 9 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units sold a year ago. Barely. Considering the appeal that larger iPhones seem to have -- we've been waiting for them for a couple of years, after all -- 10 million sounds a tad short. It really does.
Launch day is over, and now the weekend warriors descend on Apple and cellular carrier stores looking to buy iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Expect mayhem everywhere. Not since 2010 has there been such long lines for or insanity about a new "i" device. I expected nutsville, even with preorder option, but nothing like this.
To be honest, the frenzy defies logic and there must be some kind of mob mentality driving it. I am reminded of Windows 95's nearly 20 years ago. Some people will point to past iPhone launches as being as big or bigger. No. iPhone 4 was the last gigantic debut weekend, before Apple started taking preorders, a mechanism that shifted sales away from the big day. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are much larger when factoring in those 4 million first 24-hour preorders (and others) ahead of September 19 store openings.
With the arrival of the iPhone 6 (and 6 Plus), this may be a good time to review smartphone market share and usage share trends around the world. As these data points reflect the tail end of the iPhone's product cycle, we should expect a market share bounce over the coming months. On the other hand, movements in usage share are unlikely to be as sharp.
Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.
And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.
Moto X should be one of the most hotly-demanded smartphones on the planet. But Motorola lacks Apple's skill cultivating core groups of bloggers and journalists who swoon ecstatically and influence others to do the same. For example, I thought Stephen Fry's outrageously over-the-top adjective-rich iPhone 6 review was hilarious until reading The Register's parody, which is almost believably genuine.
Motorola bets on voice interaction over touch, making Moto X more like a device from Star Trek than the early 21st Century. Touch is oh-so 1980s -- what Apple pitched with the Macintosh 30 years ago -- whereas touchless is the next big thing. For people queuing up for iPhone 6 on September 19, welcome to the past. You should consider second version Moto X, which is available for preorder, if reaching to the future.
When it announced Galaxy Note 4 in early-September, Samsung revealed everything we wanted to know about its new phablet, except the date of availability and price. The two missing pieces of information would tell prospective buyers when to prepare for its arrival and how much they should expect to shell out for it, and help paint the full picture about how Galaxy Note 4 stacks up against its biggest rival, Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus, which goes on sale tomorrow.
Those who were hoping to find out what Samsung left out weeks ago are in luck, as US mobile operator T-Mobile has announced when Galaxy Note 4 will officially hit its store shelves, and, just as importantly, also at what price.
Apple might be hoping to make big inroads in China with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it has some stiff opposition standing in its way.
Xiaomi is a Chinese smartphone maker known for producing powerful yet affordable handsets. While its name might mean little to you, Xiaomi is now the world’s fifth largest smartphone vendor and the company’s devices are so popular in China that they account for 14 percent of the smartphone shipments in that country, easily beating the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, and Huawei. One of its handsets, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, is so successful it now ranks as the world's 4th best-selling smartphone.