Apple explains how iPhone 7 Home button/trackpad works, screwing capacitive glove owners
Sep17

Apple explains how iPhone 7 Home button/trackpad works, screwing capacitive glove owners

I am seeing reports coming in that the new iPhone 7 Home button does not work with capacitive touch gloves or if your finger is covered with any kind of material. I think I know the reason. From what I remember about Tim Cook introducing iPhone 7, he said that now Home button works kinda like a track pad. You can swipe on it, and it does things depending on which way you swipe. Well, Apple did describe the process of turning a Home button into a track pad years ago in a patent application. And the way to do it – is to track the movement of a pictures TouchID generates real fast and infer an actions from that. Pretty cool, no? But, it means that for all the new iPhone 7 owners those capacitive touch gloves won’t work as intended on iPhone 7 for that additional trackpad stuff. iMore says it works OK for the old things. Btw, there are also tons of hints in that Apple patent article about what the next year’s iPhone may bring, and how the whole thing may work. Do check it...

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Lenovo CEO: We tried to buy Motorola in 2011, but got the wrong guy– Moto Solutions Greg Brown
Feb03

Lenovo CEO: We tried to buy Motorola in 2011, but got the wrong guy– Moto Solutions Greg Brown

Last week Lenovo finally bought Motorola. It was a deal the Chinese company wanted to do for years. After getting back to China, Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang revealed more details about how the purchase went down during press conference earlier today. He said that Lenovo wanted to buy Motorola’s mobile business way back in 2011, after company was split into two units – Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Mr. Yang and Lenovo CFO Wong Wai Ming flew to United States, went to Motorola headquarters and asked to talk to the CEO. Unfortunately, they’ve asked for the wrong guy – Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown, instead of Moto Mobility’s CEO – Sanjay Jha. Since Brown had nothing to do with mobile, Lenovo team only met with some of his staffers, exchanged some platitudes and  were kept in the dark about the pending Google deal. After  Lenovo CEO learned about $12.5 billion offer to buy Motorola, he invited Google’s Chairman Erick Schmidt to his house for dinner to discuss possible cooperation.  Yang introduced some company products, and told Schmidt that if Google ever decided to sell Motorola, Lenovo will be happy to buy it. Two months ago he got an e-mail from Eric Schmidt, called him back and heard a question: “ Are you still interested in Motorola?”.   The deal still has to get regulatory approvals, but given what a small player in smartphones Motorola is today, that should not be a problem. Lenovo CEO also told the press that he is happy with current Motorola product portfolio, and will keep all three main lines – Moto X, Moto G and Droid Ultra. Source: Sina...

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Google and Samsung are working on Wintel like alliance to dominate mobile computing
Jan30

Google and Samsung are working on Wintel like alliance to dominate mobile computing

There is something huge happening in Android world. Two key platform players – Google and Samsung – are working on a broad set of agreements to align their interests and activities for the future development and promotion of Android. Things under discussion right now include Samsung scaling down its UI and app store/content developments in favor of Google Play, revenue sharing for all apps and content sold through Google Play on Samsung phones, joint Google Samsung development of certain features for Samsung flagships, that will later be integrated into Android, closing of Nexus program in 2015 and more. The discussions, first reported by Mobile –Review’s Eldar Murtazin and now partly confirmed by Re/Code, are in the very early stages and haven’t progressed much beyond the broad outlines. But if both companies succeed to come to terms, the result may be the creation of an alliance similar to Wintel, that could dominate the mobile computing for many years. The sale of Google’s Motorola unit to Lenovo is probably the part of the strategic shift in Google’s thinking about the future of Android that brought about the alliance discussions with Samsung. The first tangible result of Google/Samsung alliance, now confirmed both by Murtazin and Re/Code, will be the gradual shutdown of Samsung app store on Android, including its movie, music and other content offerings in favor of Google Play. In exchange, according to Murtazin, Google will now offer Samsung branded section in Play for special deals, features and promotions. And, most importantly, the revenue share for all apps and content sold through Google Play on Samsung devices. The companies are now negotiating exact amounts of Play income that Google will share with Samsung. After the deal is done, it will serve as a blueprint for Play Store arrangements with other Android vendors who are investing in their own, or third party app stores and content offerings. Also, confirmed both by Murtazin and Re/Code, Samsung’s will significantly scale down its TouchWiz and Magazine UX Android skin  development efforts. According to Murtazin, neither TouchWiz nor Magazine UX will be cancelled outright anytime soon. But Samsung will gradually reduce the amount of time and resources it allocates for Android UI, while expanding the line-up of Google Play Edition devices. Then it will watch the market reception and will decide how to proceed further, depending on results. Instead of investing heavily in its own Android user interface, Samsung will focus on creating the unique features to differentiate its smartphones and tablets. The examples of such features shipping already are advanced multitasking, enhanced pen/stylus functionality, multi-window support, etc; available only on Galaxy Notes. Furthermore, Google and Samsung are discussing ways to incorporate Samsung innovations directly...

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Gartner: 443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China in 2014. 90% of them will be smartphones
Jan21

Gartner: 443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China in 2014. 90% of them will be smartphones

Gartner is doing a media blitz today in China, highlighting some interesting numbers about the biggest smartphone market in the world. Among the highlights – China now has more than 1 billion of mobile phone users. Which is a bit strange number to focus on, since Chinese government announced as much 8 months ago, last May. Another interesting number is the mobile sales forecast for 2014. According to Gartner’s chief analyst Lu Jun,  443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China this year. 400 million of them will be smartphones. With new smartphone penetration rate in the Middle Kingdom reaching 90%, it is no wonder Nokia is thinking about scrapping its faux-smart Asha OS and switching to Android. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft will follow through with the Ashadroid, or will simply let Nokia feature phones wither and die after the acquisition. Gartner also sees some serious growth in the high-end of the market in China for the next few years. According Lu Jun, high-end devices will make up 20% of overall mobile phone sales in 2014. By 2017 their share should increase to 32%. Now that iPhone is on all Chinese carriers, this sounds like a great news for Apple. Talking about the specific companies with good prospects, Gartner analyst mentioned all the usual suspects – Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, etc.  But he also suggested that we pay close attention to TCL, selling their smartphones under the Alcatel brand worldwide. They have shipped only 16 million mobile devices last year, which is not much. But TCL’s growth doubled through 2013, and they have a very interesting year ahead of them. Source: Sina Tech,...

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Samsung may launch Galaxy S5 on February 23d, a day before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Jan21

Samsung may launch Galaxy S5 on February 23d, a day before Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

We have some good news for those you who have been waiting for Samsung Galaxy S5. According to Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin, who correctly predicted SGS4 launch date last year, Samsung has decided to forgo the traditional big March launch event for its flagship, and will announce it on February 23d, a day before on Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But you’ll still have to wait several weeks before you can get your hands on it – the new device is scheduled to ship only in the second half of April. Murtazin implies that most of the specs for Samsung Galaxy S5 are out there already. And there indeed were a lot of things leaked about SGS5. Here is a list of most likely things that will be part of the new Samsung Galaxy S5: Completely new design Plastic chassis, with premium metal version released later Qualcomm Snapdragon 805  and new Exynos (could be 64-bit) CPUs 3 or 4GB of RAM New TouchWiz UI 5.2” 2560x1440px display 16 megapixel camera Fingerprint sensor ~3000 mAh battery With falling profits and failure of Galaxy S4, Samsung has a lot riding on its new flagship. Lets hope it does not...

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Samsung Galaxy S5 will only have fingerprint ID. Iris recognition technology is too immature
Jan20

Samsung Galaxy S5 will only have fingerprint ID. Iris recognition technology is too immature

Samsung Galaxy S4 was a big disappointment to Samsung. Its Executive VP Lee Young Hee admitted as much in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month. S4 looked too similar to its predecessor – Galaxy S3, and the bump in specs was simply not enough for many potential customers. So this year Samsung is going to change that. Among the rumored improvements coming to Galaxy S5 is major redesign, a metal chassis, 2K display and 64-bit Exynos CPU. And biometric identification. There were some rumors based on recently discovered patent, that Galaxy S5 may get an Iris recognition tech for biometric ID. And Samsung execs confirmed that they are looking into it. But, according Korea Herald, S5 is only getting fingerprint scanner this year. Iris recognition technology is simply too immature. Korea Herald sources had quite a rant about the iris recognition biometric ID tech: “Who would want to put their handset up close to their eyes for authentication in places like movie theaters and bed, or even while they are driving?… In order to enable iris recognition on a smartphone, an extra camera designed specifically for the identification technology should be installed, which will make the smartphone bigger since there will be three camera modules. And since iris recognition requires a long range camera, the smartphone, if fitted with the camera, needs a completely different design from previous models…” There you have it. No Iris recognition in Galaxy S5. But Samsung is indeed working on it, and may figure something out in time for Galaxy S6 or S7. Source: Korea...

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Apple may start 4.7” iPhone 6 mass production in May, lauch in June. 5.7” iPhone scheduled for later
Jan20

Apple may start 4.7” iPhone 6 mass production in May, lauch in June. 5.7” iPhone scheduled for later

Apple may launch 4.7” iPhone 6 this summer, with bigger 5.7” version coming later this fall. According to Chinese analyst Sun Chyang Xu, who was pretty spot on about Google X phone developments last year, Apple may start the trial production of 4.7” iPhone 6 as early as next month. Then, if things go as planned, it will begin a full scale mass production in May. Which is about right for iPhone 6 announcement during Apple WWDC conference on June 10th. According to Chyang Xu, the 4.7” iPhone will keep the 1136×640 pixel screen resolution of its predecessor. With higher resolution displays reserved for the bigger 5.7” iPhones later. With the addition of Japan’s NTT Docomo and China Mobile, Apple more or less exhausted the easy growth avenues through iPhone distribution expansion. In fact, most of distribution growth potential was used up already a year ago. To keep up with competition, Apple had to move away from its 1 iPhone launch a year product cycle, which it did with the introduction of iPhone 5S and 5C. The next logical step – is to have two big iPhone launch events a year for 2 very distinct iPhone models. Which seems the direction Apple is headed in right now. Source:...

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Huawei Ascend Sx – the new high-end S Series will merge design of P6 with the power of D series
Jan19

Huawei Ascend Sx – the new high-end S Series will merge design of P6 with the power of D series

Even though they failed to achieve 60 million smartphones goal, Huawei did pretty well in 2013. They shipped 52 million smart devices last year, became world’s  #3 smartphone vendor and created one of best selling Android handsets of the year – Ascend P6. But there’s still something missing in Huawei’s device portfolio. A highly desirable top of the line device. They do have D series with top of the line specs, but those lack good design and marketing push. Huawei also has a highly popular and well marketed P series, with Ascend P6 among the best designed smartphones in 2013. But it comes woefully underpowered. What the Chinese company needs is a smartphone with P series design and D series specs. And that’s exactly what they are planning to do this year. According to sources in China, Huawei is now working on  the new S series device that will combine the best from its P and D series handsets. The phone is developed by the  “dream team” Huawei recently set-up under direct supervision of its CEO. Only 6.9 mm thick, Ascend Sx will come equipped with Huawei’s own new 64-bit CPU,3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 2560×1440 display, 16 megapixel camera and 3050 mAh battery. It will cost more than 5000 Yuan, which puts it firmly into the  iPhone and Galaxy S5 price range. Source: Weibo via...

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NTT Docomo abandons its Tizen smartphone launch plans for now
Jan16

NTT Docomo abandons its Tizen smartphone launch plans for now

Samsung’s own smartphone platform effort, Tizen,  can’t seem to catch a break. Its biggest supporter among mobile carriers – NTT Docomo – just officially announced that they are delaying Tizen smartphone launch plans indefinitely. Samsung and Intel unveiled Tizen OS way back in September 2011, with first devices scheduled to ship in late 2012. That got pushed to spring 2013, then summer 2013, then again- to Q4.  And, obviously, nothing happened. Samsung now has a big Tizen coming out party scheduled for February 23 in Barcelona. So we will see some  handsets there. But a truly commercial carrier device, ready ship in a few weeks, should have been the highlight of the day. NTT Docomo’s Tizen smartphone, launching in March, was that device. And now its gone. It is unclear why NTT Docomo abandoned its Tizen plans for now. There were some reports that Samsung’s new OS is still too buggy. Others say that between a huge demand for iPhones in Japan and renewed focus on profitability via device portfolio optimization, NTT Docomo simply ran out of space for an unproven OS. Be it as it may, this is a huge blow to Samsung’s own OS ambitions and makes Tizen future in mobile even more uncertain than it was before. Source: Blog of Mobile, RB Men,...

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Microsoft confirms it pays OEMs to promote Windows Phone, calls rumored $2.6B number “complete fiction”
Jan16

Microsoft confirms it pays OEMs to promote Windows Phone, calls rumored $2.6B number “complete fiction”

Yesterday we told you about Eldar Murtazin’s claims that Microsoft will pay $2.6 billion to OEM partners to make and promote Windows phones. Today Microsoft’s communications lead Frank X. Shaw responded to Eldar’s info with a tweet: As you can see, Mr. Shaw vehemently disputes Murtazin’s numbers. However, he seems to confirm that at least some money will change hands between OEM partners and Microsoft to promote Windows Phone. I asked for @eldarmurtazin ‘s  comment on this. Here is his take: So what should we make of this? For me, it is pretty clear that Microsoft will pay quite a lot of money to its OEM partners to promote Windows Phone this year. As they should. There is little else they can do to wean smartphone OEMs from their Android addiction. The money will be sent to WP vendors in the form of co-marketing funds, not as Nokia like “platform support” payments. But we are playing with semantics here. In the end – cash is cash, no matter what you call it for  accounting or PR purposes. The only questions that remain are – “How much?“, and “Will those payments lead to WP success?“...

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