Samsung and Apple to meet at mediation session before March court battle begins


The Samsung vs. Apple battle is truly never going to end until one of the two companies agrees to leave the tech industry forever. But this time, the two sides were able to come to a mutual agreement…to meet at a mediation session before battling in court once again in March over smartphone patents.

The session will be attended by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Oh-Hyun Kwon along with their in-house lawyers.

The past has been rough for these two companies, and don’t expect anything to clear up anytime soon either.

Source: Reuters 

Samsung issues guidance suggesting Q4 profits down sharply


Samsung Electronics issued guidance earlier this week suggesting operating profit fell a stunning 18 percent during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the third quarter. This is not the position the company wanted to be in, which sees two-thirds of its profits from smartphones, as it braces for Apple’s entry into the Chinese market. Rumors also abound that Apple is (finally) working on larger screens for their smartphones to be able to better compete in the market. Samsung suggested 2013 will go down as the year with the weakest profit growth for its smartphones since they started making them in 2007.

Samsung suggested at least part of the reason for the decreased profit is a special bonus paid to employees as part of the 20th anniversary of a “New Management” strategy implemented by Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Analysts suggest the payouts were much larger than anticipated, in the 300 to 700 billion won range ($282 – $658M USD). Increased marketing costs are believed to have also had a negative impact on smartphone profits.

Samsung is estimated fourth quarter sales will be 59 trillion won ($55B USD) compared to a forecast of 61 trillion won ($57B USD). Profits are now estimated at 8.3 trillion won ($7.8M USD) which would be the lowest level since the third quarter of 2012.

source: Reuters

Hisense announces series of Android-powered UHD televisions at CES


Yesterday at CES, Hisense announced a new line of Android-powered Ultra High Definition (UHD) televisions, including the H8c series and Hisense H9 3D series.

The H8c will be available in 65-inch, 55-inch, and 50-inch models, and the H9 will be available in much larger sizes, including 85-inches and 75-inches. The H9 also comes with Bluetooth 3D glasses, an RF remote with NFC, and Smart Interaction capabilities including voice/gesture controls.

Both televisions will ship with versions of Android 4.2 and will include features such as Netflix, Vudu HD Movies, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, Chrome, and YouTube. Best of all, the TVs are Google Play certified so you’ll be able to easily download other applications as well using your Google account.

A third television, the H8s, has a curved UHD display and a 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution. This TV has the same features as the other two series TVs, including built-in HDMIx4, 3 USD ports, the AirBridge Digital Media Player and Receiver, and the Merlin Air Mouse remote control.

Hit the break for the full press releases the new televisions for Hisense.

Modular phone from ZTE makes appearance at CES 2014


With Motorola manufacturing Moto X devices with a wide variety of customer-selected exterior options, it seems the door is cracked slightly to a future where the entire device is modular in nature. Motorola has even gone so far as to launch Project Ara, which it sees as the future of smartphones. Motorola is not the only company that is looking down that path. While they have only taken the first tentative steps, ZTE also has some ideas for a modular smartphone and tablet. At CES 2014, the company had on hand a model of the Eco-Mobius, ZTE’s take on a modular concept.

WWE to launch streaming subscription service for devices in February, announced at CES


Are you a WWE fan? You’re in luck.

Last night at CES, WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced that the company would be bringing a subscription streaming service to devices for $9.99/month.

Utilizing the same technology as the MLB At Bat application, users will be able to access content 24/7, and get all 12 monthly pay-per-view specials and a massive library of wrestling content. The service goes live on February 24.

On top of new content, you’ll get access to all previous PPV events from WWE, WCW and ECW. You’ll be able to view it from computers, Android/iOS devices, the Xbox 360/One, the PS3/4, and Roku.

This low-cost option is certainly something to look into for all wrestling fans, as the PPV specials used to cost $44.95 as opposed to the new price of $9.99. WWE will certainly lose some short-term revenue, but where it loses money it hopes to make up with new subscribers.

Be sure to check out all of our CES 2014 coverage here.

Source: The Verge


Snapdragon 805 on the way with possible May appearance


Qualcomm took some time during CES 2014 to show off the capabilities of their next processor, the Snapdragon 805, scheduled to be released some time during 2014. A new report out of Japan suggests the first device to be released with the Snapdragon 805 will surface in May although it is not clear what that device may be. Some folks are probably hoping the Samsung Galaxy S5 would come with the new chip, but May seems too late for that to happen. Reports have indicated the HTC One+ is supposed to ship with the Snapdragon 805 and a May time frame would be reasonable for that device.

The Snapdragon 805 will probably become the new standard for smartphone processors very quickly after it hits the market. With four Krait 450 cores running at up to 2.5 GHz and an Adreno 420 gpu, the Snapdragon 805 will be capable of handling 2160p video resolutions. Other improvements include faster RAM access speeds and a modem that can handle up to 300 Mbps, double the current level of Snapdragon chips.

The chip will help Qualcomm continue to compete with other chip manufacturers like NVIDIA and their line of Tegra K1 “super chips.”

source: Ringer’s Blue Men
via: G for Games

Samsung explains reason for lack of truly great smartwatch on the market



Samsung knows that its Galaxy Gear smartwatch will get beat out either by itself or another competitor very soon. Some may even argue that it isn’t or never even was the best smartwatch on the market.

But at least Samsung has provided an explanation.

In a recent interview with Re/code, Samsung Design America studio chief Dennis Miloseski said that the whole concept of the smartwatch is still a work in progress.

Gmail update hits Google Play with Auto-Show Images feature


Google has updated the Gmail app in Google Play to version 4.7.2. The big news with this update is the ability to toggle images to display automatically instead of having to tap the “show pictures” link. For users worried about potential security problems, Google claims this new method is safe because they are pulling down images to their own servers and scanning them before serving them up to users when they check their email. Users will still be able to disable this functionality at the account level.

Google has not yet updated the description in the Google Play store, so we don’t know whether there were any other changes of note included in this update. In normal Google fashion, the update is rolling out in phases so it may be a few days before it shows up as available for your device. If you just cannot wait, below are a couple download links to the APK.

Download Link 1, Download Link 2

source: Android Police

Samsung to Launch Galaxy S5 and Second Generation Galaxy Gear by April


Even with current rumors pegging the Galaxy S5 as releasing in late April, Samsung is looking to launch both the smartphone and second generation Galaxy Gear before then. The new devices would, of course, be paired with each other. Regarding the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is planning on adding more functionality while reducing the bulky design. The Galaxy S5 will also be getting new features.

Galaxy S5 May Feature a Stainless Steel and Plastic Combination


One of the biggest complaints in regards to devices made by Samsung is the use of plastic and just how cheap it feels. While it appears that Samsung is listening to the people in build quality, it appears that they’re not too keen on giving up on the plastic just yet.  As rumors suggest, there will be both a premium (Galaxy F) and regular (Galaxy S) model of the device. The regular model will be made of plastic and according to these latest rumors so will parts of the Galaxy F.

Hands on with Archos Connected Self and Connected Home accessories at CES 2014


Home automation and fitness monitoring are going to be huge over the next few years, and Archos wants in on the action. They unveiled Connected Self and Connected Home accessories at CES 2014, and we had a chance to learn more about them.

Connect Self includes an app that tracks key health metrics for up to 8 different users. Some of the accessories include a Connected Scale, an Activity Tracker wristband, and a blood pressure monitor. They will retail for no more than about $100 each.

Connected Home includes a custom tablet and app that serves as the guts of the system. Then you can add various accessories including a Smart Tracker (GPS tracker with 3G capability), Weather Station, camera, motion ball, movement tag, weather tag, and smart plug. The Connected Home tablet station will cost $199 and will include a camera and motion ball.

Hit the break for a look at both the Connected Self and Connect Home accessories and how they work.

A look at new Qi wireless charging applications for the automobile from the Wireless Power Consortium at CES 2014


Wireless charging is something consumers want, but the manufacturers continue to take their time agreeing with a standard. We have the Alliance 4 Wireless Power and the Wireless Power Consortium. Both include partners such as Qualcomm and Samsung that are members with both organizations. A little messed up to say the least.

Last year at CES, I met with the Alliance 4 Wireless Power, and this year, I met with the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), WPC is committed to Qi technology, which seems to be the most logical since that is pretty much all we see in the wild. Now if manufacturers would stop fooling around and implement it in their devices, we might start seeing the benefits of wireless charging.

Charging pads at home is just one aspect, but charging pads in the car and commercial establishments is where the future is. WPC showed me a couple of new products for the automobile, so hit the break for a quick hands on video.

Hands on with ZTE’s concept smartwatch, the BlueWatch

ZTE BlueWatch

ZTE is demoing their first stab at the smartwatch market with a proof-of-concept device, the BlueWatch. It’s got an LCD screen (not a touch screen) that’s controlled by buttons on the side of the watch. Those buttons will allow you to navigate between apps, including a camera app, music player, weather forecast, and a find my phone app. The BlueWatch is also waterproof up to 10 meters.

Right now, the device isn’t in a final state that’s ready to be released. ZTE plans on adding several more apps and features to the device, including ways to connect to social networks. The BlueWatch looks like it’s going to be a more simple take on the smartwatch design, which probably means it’ll be less expensive than some of its competitors, too.

The BlueWatch is slated for a 2014 release in China, but you can get a glimpse at it in our hands on video below. For the rest of our CES coverage, click here.

Hands on with the ZTE Nubia 5S LTE and Nubia 5S Mini

ZTE Nubia 5S LTE Mini

Two of the many devices ZTE is showing off at CES this year are the Nubia 5S LTE and Nubia 5S Mini. The naming conventions and design of both phones might be a little Apple-esque, but they have some really unique features on them, especially in the camera department. The Nubia 5S LTE is the higher end of the two, featuring a Snapdragon 800 and a ton of camera tweaks. The device is unique in that it will allow you to change where your focus point is on your pictures as well as adjusting where your source of light is coming from. This should make for some pretty fantastic photos from the device. On the video side, the 5S LTE is capable of recording 4k video at 32 frames per second, which is very impressive for a smartphone.

The Nubia 5S Mini is a slightly smaller version of the 5S LTE with no LTE, obviously, and a smaller screen. It also only has a Snapdragon 600 CPU and it’s missing a few of the camera features that its bigger brother has, but it is available in several different colors. It looks like it could definitely be one of the nicer mini phones we’ll see this year.

You can check out our hands on video of both devices below where you can see some of the awesome camera features in action. For the rest of our CES 2014 coverage, click here.