Smart connected devices surpassed 1 billion units for 2012 worldwide, smartphones and tablets grew exponentially


These numbers shouldn’t really surprise anyone, but a ton of people bought smart devices in 2012, according to IDC. They bought over 1 billion of those devices, actually. That includes, desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The leaders there were (obviously) Samsung and Apple, with Apple accounting for 20.3% and Samsung accounting for 21.2%. Pretty impressive for just two companies.

IDC also expects smartphone and tablet sales to surpass PC sales in 2013, which, considering how fast new phones and tabs seem to sell, isn’t all that surprising. They’re predicting PC sales will actually stall to no growth whatsoever by 2017. Four years is a long time, and things can change, but if the market continues on the trend it’s going now, I think that’s a very realistic result.

What do you guys think? Are you surprised that portable devices are eating into traditional PC market share? Do you think that’ll turn around in a year or two? Let us know in the comments.

New (believable) Google Babble mock-up shows up


We’ve seen some leaks lately regarding Google Babble, and we’ve seen many of those leaks debunked. This time, though, we’ve got a mock-up of Babble that actually looks believable. It was posted on a Dutch site called Skloink, so it’s not official from Google or anything, but it definitely looks like something we could actually see from Google in the future.

It takes on a very Google Plus-esque approach, which is something Google has been pushing hard for lately. There are also cards similar to what we see in Google Now and in the newer versions of the Play Store. So even though this isn’t definitely what Google Babble is going to look like, let’s hope Google sees this and takes notes. It looks like an extremely polished, extremely well done app.

source: Droid Life

via: Skloink

T-Mobile announces the launch details for the HTC One and Galaxy S 4 smartphones


Photo courtesy of Digital Trends

Hot off the heels of its newly-announced 4G LTE network, T-Mobile has finally given up the deets on the pricing and availability of its upcoming higher profile devices. It has announced it will launch the Galaxy S 4 on May 1st, while the One smartphone will launch at some point in April. Additionally, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier will offer each flagship device for the incredible price of only $99 on a 24-month contract. The best news is that T-Mobile has highlighted the 24-month contract for customers can be canceled at any point within the contract, so long as the device is fully paid for.

So now that the juicy details have finally been given up, you T-Mo customers can feel free to make the appropriate plans to grab one of the two awesome devices now.


T-Mobile formally announces its 4G LTE network



In a long-overdue announcement, T-Mo has officially unveiled its full-fledged 4G LTE network. Among the first customers to enjoy the speedy gains are those living in the following metro areas:

  • Washington-Baltimore
  • Kansas City
  • Houston
  • Las Vegas
  • Phoenix
  • San Jose

Don’t think T-Mobile is stopping there either. Complimenting the newly announced network is the announcement of the Galaxy S 4 and HTC One smartphones having full LTE support, while the Galaxy Note II is also slated to have support as well (but you knew that already). T-Mobile also pledges that it will expand its LTE reach later this year and well into next year… but again, you knew that already too.


Samsung Galaxy S 4 wallpapers now available to download


The Samsung Galaxy S 4 will launch towards the end of next month, but you don’t have to wait that long to enjoy Samsung’s newest wallpaper creations that will debut with the phone. There are seven in all, and they continue the Nature UX theme that started with the Galaxy S III. We have the full high resolution versions (1920 x 1920), so hit the break to grab them while they are hot.

Samsung sues LG for tarnishing brand image



Samsung has taken LG to court in a lawsuit claiming LG “tarnished its corporate image.” The accusation and lawsuit comes after LG ran a series of ads that Samsung says were incorrect and began when LG released a refrigerator claiming to have the world’s largest capacity. Samsung contradicted this claim in a YouTube video highlighting the differences. LG then sued Samsung for 10 billion Won, or $9027720, and began running ads against Samsung. As a result, Samsung is demanding a sum total of 50 billion Won, or $45 billion dollars, in damages from LG.

It will certainly be interesting to see if LG or Samsung will come out victorious in this latest edition of the advertising wars.

Source: SammyHub

Google’s LTE-equipped Chromebook Pixel to start shipping April 8th


Last month when Google announced the new Chromebook Pixel, they promised an LTE equipped model would be available in April. Google is on track to live up to that promise as they have updated the Play Store order page for the top of the line Pixel laptop. Priced at $1,449 for the LTE version, Google indicates units will ship by April 8th. Compared to the WiFi only version, the upgraded version has LTE service provided by Verizon and more memory, tilting the scales at 64GB available. The wireless plan provided by Verizon is included for two years for no additional cost and includes 100 MB/month of data service, with options available to upgrade to more robust plans.

To get more information or place your order, hit the source link.

source: Google Play Store

Google+ Now Allows Animated GIF Profile Photos


Google+ has supported animated gifs since the very beginning and along with its major app update, has also announced the ability to have animated profile photos. When you upload an animated GIF as your profile photo, it will animate on your profile page on both mobile and desktop. Fortunately, Google+ made it to where your photo will not animate within the stream, otherwise that could be incredibly distracting. If you aren’t sure how to go about making an animated GIF, simply doing a Google search for “How to create a gif” will point you in the right direction.

Source: Google+ Page

HTC to get help from Qualcomm to market the HTC One


Even though HTC has recently been engaged in a bit of guerrilla marketing directed at Samsung, some help for the sinking smartphone manufacturer is on its way thanks to Qualcomm. Citing HTC’s close partnership with Qualcomm and their willingness to be one of the first manufacturers to adopt the new Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor, Qualcomm has agreed to produce some advertising films that highlight the HTC One. The choice to highlight the HTC device was made even though other devices from LG and Samsung use the same chip. The promotional videos will be presented during the Game Developers Conference 2013 according to Shen Jin, vice president for Qualcomm Greater China.

This partnership between HTC and Qualcomm should help HTC a bit with their bottom-line as they can shift some advertising costs off their books. The major benefit though will result from increased interest in the HTC One due to this selection, which HTC hopes will translate into greater sales. Although this move doesn’t display the antagonistic nature of some more recent HTC moves, it is consistent with what appears to be a new strategy to expand their marketing reach.

source: DigiTimes

When To Expect Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 Accessories And For How Much


Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 will launch towards the end of April and with that comes a number of different accessories. Most accessories will be out before the S 4, though the Game Pad won’t hit the market until July. Here are all the details:

  • S View Cover – $69.99 (April 1-6)
  • Flip Cover – $34.99 (April 1-6)
  • Protective Cover+ – $19.99 (April 1-6)
  • S Band – $129.99 (TBD)
  • Pouch – $59.99 (April 7-13)
  • Headset – $29.99 (April 7-13)
  • Body Scale – $129.99 (April 7-13)
  • HRM – $79.99 (April 7-13)
  • Wireless Charging Pad / Cover – $49.99 (April 21-27)
  • Game Pad – $99.99 (July)

HTC Butterfly to get successor, could this be the DLXPLUS for Verizon?


The HTC Butterfly (aka J Butterfly and DROID DNA) is an incredible phone and it looks like HTC wants to build upon it. Focus Taiwan is reporting that they are working on a successor, and it will be marketed under the Butterfly name. Apparently HTC wants to capitalize on the growing consumer interest for larger screens, but the original Butterfly is only .30 inches larger than the HTC One.

Nothing was mentioned on what the next generation Butterfly display size will be, but I can only assume it will be a little larger for better differentiation. What surprises me is that they would go with the “Butterfly” name again. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the name to have “HTC One” in it? It’s okay to have a second major phone that’s larger (like Galaxy Note and Galaxy S), but the naming scheme should be unified. Let’s hope they will call it the HTC One Butterfly. I’m not sure if I love the name, but at least it keeps the brand unified.

It also raises the question on if this updated Butterfly will be the DLXPLUS for Verizon that we reported on a couple of weeks ago?

source: Focus Taiwan

Lockscreen security flaws seem to be contagious as Sony Xperia Z becomes next victim


Up until now, the majority of lockscreen security issues regarded Samsung phones, but it seems as though the Sony Xperia Z is suffering from something similar. With a few simple steps, you can bypass the lockscreen on any Xperia Z and get full access to the phone. From what I saw at CES, the Xperia Z is a really nice phone, but this is now the second major issue. Many users have reported their Xperia Z would suddenly die with no way to turn it back on. Sony did issue and update for European owners for that last week, but it looks like Sony software engineers will be hard at work again for another update to rectify this situation. Hit the break for the step by step video tutorial of how anyone can bypass the Xperia Z lockscreen.

HTC One to get software update in April to improve camera performance in lighted conditions


When HTC announced the One, they touted how their new UltraPixel technology would dramatically improve the camera in lower light situations. They hit that one out of the park, but most reviewers are complaining about the quality when taking photos when light is sufficient. Thankfully it isn’t a hardware issue as HTC will update the camera software in April.

HardwareZone in Singapore was able to get their hands on the official update and it looks like their is a dramatic improvement. However they did notice some inconsistencies with different ISO settings. It’s uncertain whether this leaked update will be the final update. Most likely not, which means we can expect more improvements. Hit the break for some before and after examples.

HTC Desire P and Desire Q Images and Specs Leak


Although the HTC One has been hitting the spotlight lately, HTC has not lost sight of upgrading its low to mid-range smartphones for those of us with shallower pockets. Examples of these are the HTC Desire P (pictured above) and Desire Q (pictured below), which are rumored to be just over the horizon. Thanks to leaked images we get a good look at the overall design and specifications.

The Desire P (T326h) will be released in China, and will have:

  • A 4.3-inch WVGA display
  • Beats Audio Technology
  • 8MP rear camera/Front-facing camera (Unknown MP)
  • Dual-core 1GHz processor
  • MicroSD card support
  • Available in Red and White
  • Price: ~$365

Digg Outlines Focus on Creating an Improved Google Reader Replacement


In answer to Google’s latest decision to drop the Google Reader, Digg has announced their efforts to replace it with a reader of their own.  In a recent outline released by Digg, they hint at what their new RSS feed reader design goals will be.  According to Digg there are four “key points” behind the basis of the design:

  1. Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)
  2. Make it fast (lightning fast!)
  3. Synchronize across devices (the more, the merrier)
  4. Make it easy to import from existing Google Reader accounts (key to a successful replacement for sure)

Although Digg gives Google’s product props for being a solid reader, they claim it left some definite “room for meaningful improvement.” They claim the improvements they bring to the antiquated reader will be “clean and flexible…blending easily and intuitively to the needs of different users.”  Which is exactly what Google Reader’s followers really need, a new twist on an old classic!