Samsung is just weeks away from the release of the Galaxy S 4 and thanks to strong mobile sales, increased its first quarter profit by 53 percent to 8.7 trillion won or $7.7 billion. These numbers were released ahead of full first quarter results on April 26 and beat analyst estimates by 400 billion won or $353,466,000. Samsung’s mobile division continues to grow with this being the fifth straight quarter in a row with record-breaking profits. As far as how many smartphones were sold, the South Korean company estimates anywhere between 68 and 70 million. However, Samsung isn’t planning on stopping there. According to a report from Digitimes, Samsung has set a goal of 500 million handsets shipped in 2013.
Facebook Home was announced yesterday and will be launching on select Android devices April 12. With the social network heavily monetizing its mobile app, many are wondering if Home will also feature ads. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Home will not launch with ads, but they will eventually make their way to Cover Feed. Cover Feed is basically the home screen and you’re able to swipe left-to-right through updates from your friends. Ads are a necessary evil in order for Facebook to keep the social network alive and continue to grow. Amazon for example offers cheaper Kindle tablets that are ad-supported and feature home screen ads. For Facebook, Home isn’t just a new mobile experience, but also a new data resource that can be tapped into to help them better target ads to users.
Source: The Next Web
Samsung announced today the availability of the Galaxy Note 8.0 at the Samsung Experience Store in Westfield Stratford City. More locations will follow, but at least for today this is the only location where you can grab the new 8-inch screen device. The WiFi only version is selling for £339.99 ($517 USD). To help entice buyers, Samsung is pre-loading the devices with some special offers and apps including AVG Anti-Virus Pro, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2, and limited-time access to The Times newspaper, Samsung Music Hub, and 50GB of DropBox space. This special offer will be available through April 15th.
In case you missed the specs for this latest Galaxy Note device, it comes with a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of memory that can increase with a microSD card, and a 5MP rear-facing and 1.3MP front-facing camera. The tablet will come loaded with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
Hit the break to read the full press release.
HTC announced via their Twitter account last night that they would start taking pre-orders for the HTC One Developer Edition today. The Developer Edition comes with 64GB of memory, an unlocked SIM and bootloader, and comes in silver. The special edition version of the HTC One will be available for $649 and can only be purchased by customers with a US Zip Code. According to HTC’s site, the Developer Edition will be ready to ship on April 18th, the day before the new device is scheduled to be available from both AT&T and Sprint. If you are ready to try to grab one of these limited quantity versions of the HTC One, head over to their pre-order page at http://htconeprereg.com/brands/HTCPreReg/homebrands/index.htm. As a bonus, HTC is throwing in a free case and free shipping.
Android is still the king when it comes to OS market share in the U.S., but all indications show that it has peaked since the last few comScore reports show Apple gaining slightly at the expense of Android. For February 2013, Google’s Android came in at 51.7%, which is down from 53.7% from November 2012. Last month Android came in at 52.3% so you can see they are dropping a little each month. Even so, they are still the dominate OS as Apple came in at 38.9%, up from 35% 3 months ago. The rest of the pack includes the usual suspects, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Symbian.
In the U.S., the HTC First is an AT&T exclusive, but in the UK it’s going to be EE. No word on pricing or availability, but we are assuming it will become available soon after the U.S. April 12 launch.
The HTC First is the first and only phone to have the complete Facebook Home experience out of the box. Of course, people can still enjoy Facebook Home on other phones by downloading the app (starting April 12), but it will only be available on the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S 4, the One X, and the One X+, at least for now.
Last month we told you about a Google Glass presentation at SXSW in which they showed early stages of popular apps designed for Glass. The presentation was called “Building new experiences with Glass”, and it just became available for all to see. It’s about 50 minutes long so you will want to make sure you set aside some time for this one. The presenter was Timothy Jordan, who is a developer advocate at Google on Glass. He gives a sneak peak at the Google Mirror API, which is what developers will use to build apps for Glass. He walks through the building blocks as well as show early builds of Evernote, The New York Times, Path, and Gmail.
The concept behind Google Glass is giving you information when you need it, and Timothy said this regarding current tech vs Glass:
“It feels like tech is often getting in the way more than it needs to and that’s what we are addressing with Project Glass. It’s so that you can still have access to the technology that you love, but it doesn’t take you out of the moment.”
Hit the break for the full video.
Recent reports from service providers in Canada and Australia revealed release dates for the HTC One are just around the corner. Canadian and Australian subscribers can expect to see the handsets in their areas on Apr 19th and 23rd respectively. Although pricing has not yet been released, buyers can expect to pay a slightly broader price range than those being charged in the US .
We are still waiting for updated release dates for Europe, and should expect to hear announcements trickle out from that region over the next few weeks.
Hit the break for the announcements.
Patent suits involving Motorola and Apple have been relatively quiet lately, but that doesn’t mean they’ve ceased entirely. The latest comes from a German court that has ruled Apple’s infamous slide-to-unlock patent invalid in their case against Motorola. Apple tried to show 14 different amendments to the patent to keep it valid, but the German court disagreed.
While this is technically a win for Motorola, most Android manufacturers have put workarounds in place to avoid infringing on Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent. Had Apple been able to continue using that patent, it wouldn’t have given them any notable advantage over other manufacturers. Still, we can chalk this one up as a win for common sense and call it a day.
source: FOSS Patents
Now that the dust has settled over Facebook’s big announcement, we can get into the nitty gritty details about Facebook Home. One such detail comes from Qualcomm, makers of the insanely popular Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm has said that they’ve been working with Facebook to improve user experience on Android devices using Facebook Home or the Facebook application, claiming “better overall performance, lower power consumption and improved data efficiency.” Those are three big improvements that you’re never going to hear anyone complain about. Cristiano Amon, executive vice president of Qualcomm, said they’ve been working to make the enhancements available to existing and future Snapdragon-powered devices, so if you’re one of the many who own a Snapdragon device, you’re in luck.
Qualcomm has fine tuned system performance in the CPU, GPU, and 3G/4G modems, so this should make a noticeable difference. Facebook is definitely starting off on the right foot by getting a major player like Qualcomm on board, so hopefully this little experiment goes pretty well. Hit the break below for the full press release.
Owners of Google TV platforms have a nice addition to the Google TV Remote app in an update that was released yesterday. The app runs on a user’s Android device and when the device is connected to the same WiFi network that a Google TV is connected to, it gives the user remote control capabilities.
With T-Mobile generating buzz after announcing its new Simple Choice Plans, it appears other wireless carriers are taking notes. During a company event Wednesday in New York City, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he’s open to the idea of ditching contracts. McAdam has been monitoring what T-Mobile customers have been saying and even said that if Verizon customers started asking for no-contract plans, he’d consider getting rid of them. However, as the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words”. While no-contract plans sound great, there is a potential downside. With T-Mobile’s new plans, removing contracts means customers have to pay anywhere from $5 to $20 per month per device over 24 months to make up for the lack of a contract.
Earlier today Facebook announced their new “Facebook Home” launcher app that will be available for most Android devices and the HTC First, a new smartphone that will be loaded with Facebook’s new launcher out of the box. If you were not able to watch the live announcement while it was streaming, it is now available for review. In addition to getting more insight from Zuckerberg on Facebook’s reasoning for pursuing this path, the video includes lots of screencasts of the new features and functions of the launcher. Along with Zuckerberg and other Facebookers, Ralph De La Vega, President of AT&T Mobility, and Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, also make appearances to showcase the new HTC First smartphone. If you want to see how the Coverfeed or Chat Heads will work, hit the break to view the whole 40 minute video of the event.
As expected, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the HTC First Facebook phone today, but he also introduced a complete home replacement for many popular Android phones (and eventually tablets). It’s called Facebook Home, and according to Zuckerberg, “It sets the tone for your whole experience.”
Although the new launcher will work with all the apps that are installed on your phone, it changes the focal point to people as opposed to apps. The Coverfeed allows you to scroll through updates with large photos. You will be able to quickly see all the comments and respond inline. You will also find a notification pane that includes SMS messages and other important posts.