In another example of how the user experience should be on the forefront of importance in terms of buying a phone and that specs are a thing of the past; it has come to light that Samsung is not the only one to pad their britches in terms of Benchmark scores. For those that don’t know, Samsung was again, caught boosting benchmarks of their latest flagship device the Galaxy Note 3, much like that of the Galaxy S 4. There’s been back and forth to the relevance of such scores as all companies on one level or another do this. For those that want to put their money where their mouths are in such an argument can now do so with evidence to back it up. The folks at AnandTech put together a report showcasing all the OEMs that do and don’t do this.
Yesterday, Android 4.3 test firmware for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 managed to leak, and today we have 4.3 test software for the Galaxy Note II. Posted on the XDA forums, firmware N7100XXUEMI6 is still extremely premature, as Samsung just began testing it a week ago. With 4.3, the Note II gets core UI elements to look more like Galaxy S4/Note 3′s interface, including the tabbed settings. In addition, Samsung Knox and Wallet are present in 4.3.
There are probably going to be a few bugs being so early, so if you’re planning on trying it, download at your own risk. Head to the source link for instructions.
If you own a Galaxy Note II or about to buy a Galaxy Note 3, you might want to check out PEN.UP. This app is essentially a social network for S Pen creations. Categories range from animals to characters to food and more. Now you can not only share your works of art, you can check out what other Note owners are creating.
PEN.UP comes pre-installed on the Note 3, but if you have a Note II, you can download it now from the Play Store. Hit the break for screenshots and links.
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Samsung is known to take some time to prepare their latest version of Android before releasing a very stable version to the public. While the HTC One Developer Edition already has Android 4.3, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to receive the software sometime later this month or next month. SamMobile’s insider has you covered. They have received Android 4.3 test software for the Galaxy S4, which seems pretty stable at this point.
SamMobile actually says that the test software runs faster and is more lag free than 4.2.2. Samsung Knox and Wallet are present in this software, as well as a new Reading Mode and an improved keyboard. If you’re interested and want to try out the test software, head to the source link for instructions on how to download, at your own risk.
Back in July, it was uncovered that Samsung was artificially inflating their benchmark scores on the Galaxy S 4, and it looks like they are up to the same old trick again, this time with the Galaxy Note 3. Arstechnica found that the Note 3 “blows the doors” off LG’s 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800. That would be fine if Samsung was using a different processor, but they aren’t. They are using the same exact Snapdragon 800 clocked at the same speed. There has to be something going on right?
It appears Samsung has a special high-power CPU mode on the Galaxy Note 3 that kicks in when it runs popular benchmarking apps. This is very similar to what was going on with the Galaxy S 4, but that involved the GPU and it was only on the international version. This time, it’s the U.S. version. In this special high-power mode, all cores are active and none of the cores are allowed to shut off like when other apps are running. It’s triggered by package names from the most popular benchmarking apps, so if Geekbench is loaded, the mode will kick in.
Last month, Samsung released a short film called “Dreams”, which is based on a girl using her Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear to create a spectacle in front of closed toy shop. She uses My Magazine, Action Memo, and Smart Relay and the Eurythmics song, “Sweet Dreams” is featured. It’s a strange video, but not strange for Samsung if you know what I mean. Today, Samsung released a shorter 60-second version for TV. I am not going to say anything more about either of them. Just hit the break for both videos and let us know what you think of them.
Samsung released the firmware for the Galaxy Gear (SM-V700), but what’s surprising is that it appears to be based on Android 4.2.2. One of the reasons why the Galaxy Gear is “only” compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 is because of Android 4.3′s Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) compatibility. Now I put “only” in quotes because it was found that the Galaxy Gear is somewhat compatible with the Galaxy S 4 even though that’s not supposed to happen till later this month. We couldn’t understand why, but this probably explains it. Interestingly enough, The Galaxy S 4 has built-in support for Bluetooth LE and that is why it will connect to the Gear.
Wireless charging is still a mess since there continues to be no standard, but that hasn’t stopped companies from making moves. Samsung (Samsung Ventures Investment Corporation) just made yet another move by investing $4 million in PowerbyProxi, which supports the Qi standard. Both companies are also part of the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). On the surface, this sounds like we are moving closer to unification, but lets not forget that Samsung is also a member of the Alliance For Wireless Power (A4WP), which uses a completely different standard.
While all these companies try to figure it all out, yet another option is gaining traction which utilizes Cota technology. It allows for devices to be charged remotely with no wires or pads up to 30 feet away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that we will have a standard anytime soon.
Sure, the potential of BBM on Android was a pretty big deal, but BBM certainly isn’t the only popular instant messaging service available. Samsung has just announced that their in-house instant messaging solution, ChatOn, has just hit 100 million registered users, adding 50 million of those in the last four months. Comparatively speaking, BBM has 75 million users. Samsung does measure total registered users as opposed to BBM’s daily active users, but since users aren’t forced to use ChatOn on any of Samsung’s product, it’s still impressive that 100 million people at least gave the app a test drive.
Of course, it’s not a clean comparison, as ChatOn is available on many feature phones as well as Android and iOS, while BBM is stuck
in the dark ages on BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry’s numbers may grow once the availability of its app grows, but I’m not sure they’re still popular enough to be able to match 50 million new users in four months. Even if they do have an influx of new users, Samsung’s solution is gaining steam and doesn’t appear to be letting up. It probably won’t even surpass WhatsApp’s 300 million users, but it’s a good place to be regardless.
We already know that Samsung will unveil a limited edition Galaxy Note 3 with a flexible (curved) display next month, but according to the Korea Herald, LG is going to offer something similar next month as well. As previously reported, Samsung and LG are going to start mass production in November, but it appears Samsung has the upper hand. Over the next year, Samsung’s flexible panel capacity will hit 1.5 million per month, but LG’s capacity will hit only 35,000 per month.
Also interesting to note is the display sizes that both companies will produce. Samsung is going to offer a 5.5-inch display, which means this limited edition Note 3 will have a smaller display. LG, on the other hand, is going to offer a 4.5-inch display.