Sony is pulling out of the PC business and is selling the VAIO brand to Japanese investment fund Japan Industrial Partners (JIP). The announcement came after industry speculation about what might be happening in Sony's future after the company responded to rumors that it was in talks with Lenovo about a possible sale by saying that it was looking to "address various options for the PC business". No details about the fees involved have yet been revealed, but it is hoped that an agreement will be reached by the end of March.
Citing "drastic changes in the global PC industry", Sony's announcement came as the company revealed its financial results for Q3 2013. Analysis of the results showed that the "target of returning the TV and PC businesses to profitability will not be achieved within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014", hence the need for reform. This means that Sony will now concentrate "its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets". An estimated 5,000 jobs will be lost.
The Motorola Moto G is one of the most interesting smartphones launched in 2013. It comes with a powerful processor, large screen and, most importantly, a very attractive price. The base 8 GB model costs a mere $179 off-contract, while the 16 GB version can be had for $20 more. Users also get 50 GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.
But, there is another reason why the Moto G is interesting -- KitKat. Motorola has promised to update its entry-level smartphone to the latest version of Android, quickly rolling it out for the international version. Now, those who have the Verizon model can also experience what KitKat has to offer.
The success of a mobile app is closely related to its performance, including stability, responsiveness and load times. This is one of the key findings of a report released by mobile performance specialist Appurify, alongside the launch of a new performance optimization and testing tool.
According to the report over 90 percent of developers see a direct correlation between the performance of their apps and the reviews they receive in app stores. But it also warns that developers have become too reliant on user reviews to spot quality issues with 60 percent saying they check their reviews daily.
There's a new Nexus in town -- not a Nexus 7 or a Nexus 8 or a Nexus 10, but a slightly updated Nexus 5. The difference? This time around it is purely cosmetic. No hardware changes of any description, just a new coat of paint. The latest addition to the Nexus 5 range is the red variant -- but not just any red, a capitalized Bright Red, no less. This new release supplements the previously available black and white versions, bringing the color total to three.
As the only change that has been made is to the hue of the handset, it should come as no surprise that there has been no change to pricing either. The 16GB model can be picked up for $349, while the 32GB model will set you back an extra $50 at $399. The Nexus 5 is the phone that was eagerly anticipated, but proved to be slightly disappointing when it finally arrived on the scene -- to Brian, at least -- but it is still one that manages to pique people's interest.
As technology advances, so does the potential for its misuse. As smartphones gain better cameras and higher speed data connections, the likelihood of sharing naughty photos and videos increases. Sadly, this can end up harming both parties if it leaks online. The person in the photo or video can be embarrassed and the person that shares the content can possibly be charged with new "revenge porn" laws.
This risky behavior is becoming an epidemic, not only regarding sexual content, but other things too. With that said, McAfee announces the results of a recent survey, and they are quite troubling.
Even though more than one year has passed since Windows Phone 8 arrived, Microsoft has yet to officially take the wraps off the upcoming new version of its tiled smartphone operating system. This long release cycle is uncommon in this business, as more popular competitors boast two major iterations launched in the course of a year. Windows Phone 8.1 has a lot of catching up to do, giving us plenty of leeway to compile and compare our own wish lists before the grand unveiling.
The foundation that Windows Phone 8 has laid out for its successor, starting with the original release that was subsequently improved by three minor updates, is solid enough for Microsoft to build upon and launch something mind-blowing (whenever that happens). Nothing else will cut it, as the platform needs a big boost to overcome the paltry 3.6 percent market share from last year. And, it is about time Windows Phone gets a solid head start on the competition, that has created an unshakable duopoly in the market, responsible for 94.4 percent of smartphone shipments in 2013. What Microsoft decides to bake in Windows Phone 8.1 can make or break the operating system's chances of ever becoming that respected third player, that is taken seriously due to its traits not its incidental place on the podium.
Nexus smartphones and tablets have developed a cult following among enthusiasts mainly due to Google's ability to deliver updates to the latest versions of Android in a timely manner. The software also has little to no customizations over the code that is available in AOSP, unlike that of many devices that have been offered throughout the years by Android vendors, such as HTC and Samsung. Android enthusiasts often refer to Google's distributions as "pure Android", even though that is no longer the case exactly with the new Nexus 5, that has introduced a launcher not officially found on any of its siblings (or available in AOSP for that matter).
Nexus devices were also supposed to usher Android vendors into releasing smartphones and tablets that adhere to the design guidelines established by Google. This is one area where the search giant's brand has failed to become a trendsetter, as the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung continue to apply their own vision on how their Android handsets should look at the software and hardware levels. Remember how physical buttons were supposed to go away from the front of Android devices? Well, they are still alive and kicking even in 2014 and even on tablets (even though there were clear signs pointing to slates only adopting on-screen keys). It could, therefore, be argued that the Nexus ethos has already ran its course and it is time for Google to move on. So should Google move on?
If you've ever fancied becoming a gadget reviewer, then mobile provider EE along with tech website Gizmodo UK is offering you the chance.
Over three months of the Testmodo challenge three people will get to try out the superfast 4GEE service on one of the latest and smartest 4G handsets.
Bad news for Microsoft today, as a new report that was just released by research firm Strategy Analytics places its smartphone operating system, Windows Phone, at less than 4 percent market share in 2013. It may be in an honorable third place, but, by contrast, Apple's iOS, which ranks second, had a market share of 15.5 percent in the same period, while Android, the most popular of the bunch, dominated the landscape from afar with 78.9 percent market share in the past year.
In 2013, shipments of smartphones running Windows Phone reached just 35.7 million units, leading to a low market share of 3.6 percent. Overall, a previous Strategy Analytics report released earlier this week places smartphone shipments in 2013 close to one billion units (990 million, to be exact). The tiled mobile OS grew in both shipments and market share compared to 2012, from 18.8 million and 2.7 percent, respectively, but has yet to reach a threatening position to its more popular rivals, even for iOS which has been losing market share in major markets across the globe.
Even though Gingerbread's days of glory have long passed, the three-year old distribution is still running on more than 20 percent of all Android devices accessing Google Play. Those are smartphones actively used by people across the globe, which will not receive an upgrade to a newer version of the mobile operating system.
This presents a problem for BlackBerry. The Canadian maker wants to increase the user base of its BBM service, but the app available on Google Play is only compatible with smartphones that are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and newer. BBM for Android does not even work on tablets, unlike its iOS counterpart. Luckily for those stuck on Gingerbread that is shortly set to change.
You would think that after Apple delivered fiscal first quarter record results -- we're talking $57.6 billion revenue and $13.1 billion net profit -- that investors would be happy. But, no-o-o! Apple shares sank more than 8.5 percent in after-hours trading last night. They are down about 8 percent in midday trading. That's what happens when perceptions about the future, rather than present performance, define a company.
But the problem is bigger than just Wall Street analyst or investor fear frenzy. There's an echo chamber bellowing this fine Tuesday, as bloggers and journalists stumble over one another to sound the loudest alarm. After seeing the headlines on Yahoo Finance -- like "New Apple looks like the old Microsoft", "Cure to what ails Apple can be found in the margins", or "How does Apple get its mojo back?" -- I realize someone needs to do a reality check. Geez Louise, Apple had a fantastic quarter. The apocalyptic reaction is nothing less than insanity.
BlackBerry's new smartphone lineup may not be as popular as the Canadian maker would have wanted it to be, with sales of the latest models unable to top those of legacy devices. Despite the poor performance, BlackBerry is not giving up (not yet anyway) as it is frequently launching updates for the BB 10 operating system, with a new version announced today.
BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1 starts to roll out across the globe, with users from US, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and Latin America set to receive the latest update, starting today, on their devices. There is no word on which BlackBerry 10 OS smartphone will get the new software version first, nor whether the first stage includes mobile operator-branded models. Now let us take a look at the (major) changes.
In 2013, for the first time, yearly smartphone shipments topped one billion units, according to IDC. Rival firm Strategy Analytics, though, begs to differ and says the milestone has yet to be reached in the past year, with only 990 million units being shipped. Regardless of the number, this market continues to show strong gains year-over-year, as shipments increased by over 34 percent (according to SA; IDC says 38.4 percent) compared to the previous year (for 2012, IDC says 725.3 million units, while SA estimates 700.1 million units).
Apple and Samsung remain the market leaders, according to both firms. The South Korean maker continues to be the largest smartphone vendor, shipping in excess of 310 million units in 2013 (IDC -- 313.9 million units, SA -- 319.8 million units), which represents a healthy increase over the 2012 results (IDC -- 219.7 million units, SA -- 213 million units). Its share of the market also increased, slightly, to 31.3 percent from 30.3 percent, according to IDC, or to 32.3 percent from 30.4 percent, according to SA.
The underwhelming Nokia Lumia sales from Q4 2013 have put a damper on Windows Phone's momentum, as, for the first time last year, the Finnish maker moved less units compared to the previous quarter. Growth was already slowing down, as I pointed out three months ago, but a decline in moved units was unexpected, potentially leading to irreparable damage, in the short and the long run as well, for the market share of the tiled smartphone operating system.
Lumia sales are extremely important for the growth of the platform because Nokia's Windows Phone market share has been holding steady around the 90 percent mark for a very long time. This means that if the Finnish maker has a great quarter, in regards to Lumia sales, the tiled smartphone OS has a better chance of holding its own against Android and iOS, and increasing its market share. Luckily, we do not have to wait any longer to find out how the Lumia sales from Q4 2013 have impacted Windows Phone, as Kantar Worldpanel ComTech just released a report for the respective quarter.
Patent litigation seems to have become part and parcel of handset and tablet releases recently, but at least one battle appears to be coming to an end. Samsung and Google have signed a patent agreement, ending years of legal wrangling. An announcement on the Samsung Tomorrow blog goes into little detail about what the deal entails but a global patent cross-license agreement has been signed which covers both existing patents and those filed over the coming decade.
Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google said: "We're pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung. By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation". While both companies will undoubtedly be pleased that a deal has been struck, ultimately it is consumers who will benefit from what should turn into more collaborative ventures in the future, with both side gaining access to the other's technologies.