With the smartphone market shrinking, Samsung has been feeling the pinch. Profits for the 3rd quarter were the worst in three years (49% drop), and it can only continue to deteriorate unless drastic changes are made. Apple introduced iPhones with bigger displays, which was probably the biggest differentiating factor for the past couple of years. That, and the fact that cheaper phones were being launched in India and China, have made it difficult for the Korean tech giant.
During an earnings conference call, Samsung investor relations head Robert Yi said they were “not quick enough” to the changing market conditions. Now they seek more efficiency in their product portfolio, which can be translated to a lower number of handsets. Samsung has always offered more handsets than any company, but that needs to be changed immediately.
9 months ago, Google shocked the world by announcing they had sold Motorola to Lenovo for just under $3 billion. As per all deals like this, it takes time to pass through all the regulatory approvals, and today the deal is final. We can now officially refer to Motorola as a Lenovo company.
The plan is still to keep Motorola as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and their headquarters will remain in Chicago. Whether all 2,800 employees out of that headquarters are safe remains to be seen though. And if you remember, Google retained Motorola’s deep collection of patents.
The Microsoft Band leaked earlier when the company posted details about its companion apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. It’s a complete fitness band that’s similar to the Samsung Fit.
It has 10 sensors, which include heart-rate, UV, and even a galvanic skin response for detecting stress. Microsoft will also offer Microsoft Health, which is a cloud-based service for tracking and analyzing the data from the band as well as other devices. Companion apps are available for Android (screenshots below), iOS, and Windows Phone.
We saw glimpses of this at Google I/O, and developers can now make their apps searchable through Google Voice Search. It only takes a few lines of code. Once added, apps can receive the SEARCH_ACTION intent containing the SearchManager.QUERYextra with the search expression.
Examples of such searches might be “Ok Google, search pizza on Eat24” or “Ok Google, search for hotels in Maui on TripAdvisor.” Imagine the possibilities.
YouTube announced the WatchMe for Android project that allows developers to integrate YouTube live streaming into their Android apps. It’s already being utilized by HTC with the Re and Sony with the Live on YouTube app.
It’s an open-source project that uses the YouTube Data API v3, YouTube Live Streaming API, Google Play Services, and Plus API. It’s available on Github and can be customized. It’s still experimental, but you can make sure to keep up with the progress if you subscribe to the YouTube for Developers channel.
Next year could bring the birth of the modular smartphone with Project Ara, which is developed by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team. The latest working prototype, the Spiral One, is being built by a team at NK Labs in Boston, and Phonebloks put together a video showing us the device along with the background from the development team.
One thing to note is that the Spiral One uses off-the-shelf chips, so developer functionality is limited. The Spiral Two will feature custom chips made by Toshiba, thus improving developer function. That device will be shown in January at the next Project Ara developer conferences. They will take place in the U.S. and Europe on January 14th and in the Asia Pacific on January 21st.
The video after the break not only shows you the phone, but a decent amount of the development background with NK labs.
After yesterday’s DROID Turbo unveiling, many people felt left out in the cold since it’s not only exclusive to the U.S. but it’s also on one carrier, Verizon Wireless. Have no fear because it looks like Motorola will release a variant of the phone for the global market.
Turns out Motorola is sending invites for an event in Brazil on November 5. Taking a look at the back of the phone in the invite, it looks just like the same ballistic nylon that the DROID Turbo sports.
Well it looks like the G series for LG is starting to pay off. The company just announced that their operating profit doubled during the third quarter. Looking at the mobile division, LG shipped a record-breaking 16.8 million smartphones during the quarter and enjoyed their best operating income (KRW 167.4 billion) since 2009.
That’s now two consecutive profitable quarters, and LG expects even better numbers even though the smartphone market might be saturated.
These numbers are no doubt from the success of the G3. We reviewed it and think it’s a strong candidate for the smartphone of the year.
You can see the full presser after the break.
After announcing the N3, Oppo had something else up their sleeve. The Oppo R5 is not only their first 64-bit smartphone, but it’s also the world’s thinnest phone. Coming in at 4.85 mm, you won’t find anything close.
The frame is made of hand polished reinforced industrial grade aluminum alloy micro-arc. I have no idea what the hell that is, but it sounds cool.