The NPD Group States Apple Lead Mobile Handsets In Q4, But First Time Smartphone Buyers Leaned Towards Android

In a report ran by the The NPD Group, the marketing research company found that in Q4 Apple glided past Samsung and LG in best handsets sold during the quarter.  This is mostly due in part thanks to the launch of the iPhone 4S as well as adding the device to Sprint’s lineup allowing the handset to tackle 43 percent of the market in the U.S.  I wonder how many Apple employees were wondering why they didn’t do this from the start instead of having such a long exclusivity with AT&T?  Nonetheless, the new Siri based iPhone 4S attracted a significant crowd to take the lead:

“Attracted by a faster processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent, most iPhone buyers paid a premium for the iPhone 4S, making it the top-selling handset in Q4,” said Ross Rubin, executive director, Connected Intelligence for The NPD Group. “The iPhone 4S outsold the iPhone 4 by 75 percent, and outsold the iPhone 3GS, available for free on AT&T, five to one.”

However, Android still held on to 48 percent of the smartphone market during the quarter largely in part because “Android devices performed better among first-time smartphone buyers“.

Based on the latest data from The NPD Group’s monthly Smartphone Track service, among the first-time smartphone buyers in Q4, 57 percent purchased Android phones compared to just 34 percent who purchased iPhones. 

So why was Android able to pull the reigns overall in the smartphone market?

“Android has been criticized for offering a more complex user experience than its competitors, but the company’s wide carrier support and large app selection is appealing to new smartphone customers,” Rubin said. “Android’s support of LTE at Verizon has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier’s fastest network.”

It’s no great surprise that Android is extremely open as well as offers more devices to choose from.  And though some might tend to focus on the “fragmentation” part of the platform, I like to think that more is better.  There are more devices for most to choose from.  Does one want a physical keyboard or a virtual one?  Do you want a 3.5-inch screen or a 5.3-inch screen?  How about LTE?The possibilities are limitless and I personally love the option base.  What’s your take on this?  Feel free to let us know in the comments below.  Hit the break for the full press release by The NPD Group for more details.  
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Google Chrome Beta Released for Android, Finally!

Google has finally release its long-wanted Chrome browser for Android roughly a few minutes ago. In order to run the app you must have Android 4.0 installed. It’s in beta right now so expect a few bugs and while we haven’t had a chance to play with it yet you can expect a review from us here in the next few days or so. According to Google the Android version has the following features:

- Browse fast with accelerated page loading, scrolling, and zooming,
- Search and navigate directly from the omnibox,
- Open and switch between unlimited tabs in an easy-to-view stack,
- Sign in to Chrome to sync your bookmarks and view tabs you have open on your computer,
- Send pages from desktop Chrome to your smartphone or tablet with one click and read them on the go, even if you’re offline,
- Browse privately in Incognito mode,

You can check to see if it is available in your country by going here. Hit the break below to for the QR code, market link and marketing video. It is certainly a great day for Android users and Chrome fans everywhere! Again, look for our review of the app shortly. Enjoy!
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Motorola and Verizon officially announce the DROID 4

It’s hard to believe the 4th version of the original DROID is here. I remember buying the original the day it launched, November 6, 2009, which was the beginning of my love for Android. A little over 2 years later – Motorola and Verizon just made it official that the DROID 4 will indeed launch this Friday, February 10.

The keyboard was the biggest complaint with the original DROID, but it has improved with each version. The DROID 4 is no exception with its laser-cut 5-row QWERTY slider keyboard. I played with it at CES, and trust me it’s beautiful yet functional. As far as the specs go, the DROID 4 comes with a 4-inch qHD (960 x 540) display, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8MP rear camera (with 1080p video recording), 1.3MP front camera, 16GB internal storage, microSD for additional 32GB, 1785mAh battery, and Android 2.3.5.  Because of the QWERTY slider, this won’t be the thinnest phone as it comes in at 12.7mm, but feels solid.

Full press release after the break

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Rogers Shakes Up 4G Pricing, Launches LTE Rocket USB Dongle and Mobile Hotspots

For those of you in Canada that are on Rogers networks get ready for a shake up as the Canadian company is looking to add its Flex Rate pricing schemes to its LTE network. They are also bringing out some brand new LTE devices that include: the AirCard 330U LTE Rocket and AirCard 763S LTE mobile hotspots. Developed by Sierra Wireless, these 4G cards support 1700MHz, 2100MHz and even 2600MHz bands. While real-world speeds will be around 40Mbps we could theoretically see peak downloads of around 100Mbps.

The dongle and hot spot are the first devices that work on all three bands and boast the claim that they are the fastest devices on the network. As for the shake up in pricing, Rogers is looking to extend its HSPA+ pricing scheme to its LTE network. The Flex Rate plan will for the Rocket USB dongle and hotspot will start at $22.93 per month. Tablets will be able to join in on the fun for only $7.93. If you’re interested in reading more check out the press release below the break. Enjoy!


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Verizon Set To Bring Promotion Party Starting February 10th, Includes BOGO Deal For DROID RAZR

Verizon is set to make February a month of promotions galore beginning Friday, February 10th. The first major story involves the formal availability of Verizon’s most popular unreleased slider phone. Verizon will finally unleash the phone and will sell the phone for $199.99 on a 2-year contract. More big news follows with the MOTO DROID RAZR and DROID RAZR MAXX phones. Verizon will be offering both the DROID RAZR/RAZR MAXX as well as the different color combinations at as a BOGO deal. Yup, you read that correctly— two of the hottest phones out there are now available as a Buy One, Get One Free deal starting this Friday.

Verizon isn’t stopping there either. They are set to bring back their popular double data promotion. In case you’ve forgotten, this promotion involves Verizon offering a double amount of monthly data for the price of a standard amount of monthly data for its 4G LTE customers. In this case, Verizon is offering a 4GB data for a mere $30 per month– normally it is 2GB of data for $30 per month. Another promotion involves Verizon giving customers $100 off any 4G LTE tablet with the purchase of any phone and 2-year contract of course. Finally, Verizon is offering a trade-in deal where they will give you a $30 Verizon gift card for your old basic model “dumbphone”.

If you’re in the market for a new phone and/or tablet today, this Friday might be as good a time as any to finally pickup a new device especially with Verizon’s great offerings.

source: BGR


Top 5 Free Apps for Android Beginners

So you got yourself a new Android smartphone on the recommendations of fellow work nerds, your nerdy brother, or the resident Best Buy sales clerk who just loves Android! You take it out of the box, give it a nice wipe with your hand, turn it on….and now what? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

There’s so many different things about an Android device that sets it apart from the iPhones and BlackBerrys out there, and you’ll soon find out just how versatile it can be. We’ll tell it like it is here, it can be a challenge for Android beginners to figure their way around the operating system. So what we’ll do is look at the best apps to get you rolling the fastest with anything you’re likely going to want to do, like say…tell all your friends and followers on facebook and twitter that you just got the latest Android! They will be jealous.

See the Top 5 apps below.

Google Glasses On The Way

Google is looking to bring cool to heads-up display glasses. 9to5Google reports an anonymous individual has seen a prototype which looks similar to a pair of Oakley Thumps sunglasses. While it features a HUD display… keep in mind the HUD will be for one eye, not both. However, don’t let it stop you from drooling as it has some innovative features. Can you imagine being able to scroll and click in a UI just by moving your head around and nodding? It will be a reality as Google is implementing the feature into the cool pair of glasses. Moreover 9to5Google reports it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.

The HUD unit also features some impressive specs as well rivaling that of some smartphones. Speculation has it the glasses will feature a possible 1GHz ARM A8, 256MB RAM and 8GB of storage. Moreover, the I/O includes voice input and output, meaning you’ll likely be able to connect a mic or bluetooth-type device in order to give commands. Oh and there’s a front-facing camera too to put the cherry on top.

Google is tight-lipped about the uber-interesting project. Stay tuned with Talk Android for any further developments or news regarding this potentially breakthrough device.

source: 9to5Google

AT&T Throttles on a Curve, Punishing Low Data Usage

What can a carrier do to keep their data networks running smoothly when the appetite for bits keeps growing? One method is called “throttling”. This simply means slowing down a user’s access to the network when that user passes a certain threshold of data used. The theory behind this is that heavy data users, once throttled, cannot continue to consume massive amounts of data when the pipe is made narrower, leaving more bandwidth for everyone else.

Last summer, AT&T announced new restrictions for users on their unlimited plan. The restrictions look at the top 5% of the heaviest data users who are grandfathered in to the plan, and throttle them for the rest of the billing month. The problem is that the amount of data used by the top 5% changes every month. So, for example, if the top 5% all used around 2GB of data, that’s where they set the threshold. Any user approaching that threshold would be warned, then throttled once they pass it.

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Prepare for Facebook Ads on Your Smartphone and Tablet

After filing for an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this month, Facebook is looking to generate more revenue from its mobile audience, which comprises nearly half of their traffic. According to the Financial Times, Facebook plans to start displaying ads in their mobile app and the mobile version of their web site by early March. The Facebook IPO filing states that the company isn’t making any “meaningful revenue” from mobile, but it seems that this is about to change.

The First Round of Mobile Ads
Facebook’s IPO filing hinted that it is considering rolling out mobile Sponsored Stories, which launched in 2011 on the desktop version of the site. These are ads that use your friends’ likes, check-ins,  and comments to determine what ads to display for you. From the IPO filing (emphasis mine):

Mobile Advertising. The global mobile advertising market was $1.5 billion in 2010 and is expected to grow at a 64% compound annual rate to $17.6 billion in 2015 according to an industry source. According to a third-party report published in September 2010, the Facebook app is the most frequently downloaded app across all major smartphone platforms in the United States. We had more than 425 million MAUs who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011. We currently do not show ads or directly generate any meaningful revenue from users accessing Facebook through our mobile products, but we believe that we may have potential future monetization opportunities such as the inclusion of sponsored stories in users’ mobile News Feeds.

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Get Your Wallpaper Into The Season With KF Hearts Live Wallpaper For Android (Video)

Like getting all lovey-dovey around this time of year?  Want to make a statement on your smartphone?  Well, this Valentine’s Day we have just what you’re looking for.  KF Hearts Live Wallpaper for Android offers all the gushy and gooey one can swallow as you configure drifting hearts across your desktop that are interactive to the touch.  The developer, Kittehface Software, is offering a donation version of the application which gives you the ability to change quite a number of features.  You can alter the appearance of the hearts, camera speed, background images, add hearts that allow you to input a photo of someone and more.  Ready to give it a go?  Head on over to the Android Market or check out the QR code below as well.  Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the app in the comments below.  Pics and video after the break.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

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