Samsung grabs lion's share of shipments, but Apple takes 90 percent of profits
Based on shipment data, analyst firm IDC has determined that Apple and Samsung have effectively gained full control of the smartphone market, splitting 96.3 percent of all smartphones shipped -- up nearly a full percentage point from the same period last year. All Android phones combined account for 81.5 percent in 2014, a slight increase from 2013. The percentages flip, however, when talking about money rather than units -- with Apple said to get 90 percent of the profits in the industry.
Glass front and back, metal sides expected with Samsung Galaxy S6
Images of what is believed to be one of the Samsung Galaxy S6 variants have leaked, giving what could be an early look at the smartphone before its expected launch on Sunday. Reports are also coming in that Samsung could also be having some trouble manufacturing one of its new flagship devices, with the curved-screen version apparently having yield issues with the display.
Apple tempting Samsung staff with greater independence, benefits
Apple has been accused of poaching employees from rival technology companies for the second time in a week, this time from Samsung. Unnamed officials at the electronics producer apparently claim Apple has headhunted engineers working in signal processing and visual processing management, bolstering its staff with experts in chip production and battery technology, potentially for its rumored electric car project.
Cross-platform LoopPay PIN-based; data stored locally, not in the cloud
Samsung Electronics today confirmed that it has agreed to acquire LoopPay, the mobile wallet solutions provider that turns existing magnetic stripe readers into contactless receivers. LoopPay's technology has the potential to work in approximately 90 percent of existing point-of-sale (POS) terminals, according to Samsung research, with no investment in new infrastructure required by merchants.
Company's iPhone 6 lineup took country by storm, reflecting other markets
Research firm IDC has reported that the established order of dominance in the Chinese smartphone market has crumbled, with Apple's iPhone 6 lineup pushing the Cupertino manufacturer into second place in the market, a doubling of its position from 2013. Low-cost Chinese maker Xiaomi took first place with just slightly better performance than Apple, while Samsung -- previously the unchallenged top seller -- fell to fifth place in marketshare.
Jury declares Samsung infringed on pair of modem patents
Samsung has lost a patent infringement lawsuit over Bluetooth 2.0, to a non-practicing entity called Rembrandt IP. A jury in an East Texas federal court ruled the manufacturer had infringed three claims on two patents, numbers 8,457,228 and 8,023,580, relating to modem compatibility, with Rembrandt being given $15.7 million in compensation and royalties on future Samsung devices using Bluetooth.
Exynos 7420 first release in new Samsung SoC range
Samsung has introduced its newest generation of Exynos 7 Octa processors for mobile devices, designed to take on Qualcomm's current flagship line. This time, Samsung is using a 14nm process with its processor line, which is said to provide a 20-percent performance improvement on the older 20nm manufacturing process, while lowering power consumption by up to 35 percent.
Attempt to offset poor smartphone sales with component sales
Samsung is planning to offset its falling smartphone sales from the last quarter's results by redoubling its efforts in OLED screen production. The South Korean electronics giant's display arm is planning to make an investment of 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) into OLED production, in the hope that its component sales to other manufacturers will go up in the next few years.
Smart TVs collect voice commands not conversations, Samsung advises
Deal likely reverts to 2011 patent agreement between MS, Samsung
Microsoft and Samsung have ceased the most recent round of legal hostilities over unpaid Android patent royalties due to the Surface maker. As expected, very few details are known about the deal, with both companies identically saying little more than "Samsung and Microsoft are pleased to announce that they have ended their contract dispute in US court as well as the ICC arbitration. Terms of the agreement are confidential."
Personal information overheard by smart TV may be transmitted to third party
Samsung brings Gear VR demonstrations to Best Buy stores
The Samsung Gear VR will be on hand to show to Best Buy customers from February 8. The Samsung virtual reality headset, used in combination with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, with SamMobile reporting it will be available in up to 100 stores as part of the Samsung Experience. A set of four demonstrations will apparently be available to try out, each for three minutes, including Samsung's Milk VR service.
Flip-up Super AMOLED display, motion-based Auto Shot included in NX500
Samsung has launched a new camera that effectively upgrades the NX300 with some of the specifications from the NX1. The mid-range NX500 houses a 28-megapixel back-side illuminated APS-C sensor with the DRIMeV processor, allowing it to record 4K footage, but Samsung manages to pack it all inside a compact casing.
Samsung hints at next flagship reveal ahead of Unpacked event
Samsung has teased its next flagship, due to be unveiled at the Unpacked event on March 1 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The teaser, posted to Twitter as well as sent to the media, cryptically shows a metallic curved line, which could signify either the expected Galaxy S6 will have a wrap-around side display similar to the Galaxy Edge, or Samsung is planning a second Edge device launch alongside a more conventional Galaxy S6 design. Earlier rumors suggest Samsung is planning to use a fixed battery and a glass-covered metal casing in the smartphone.
Amazon shipments fall nearly 70 percent
The global tablet market shrank year-over-year for the first time during the most recent quarter, according to new estimates from IDC. The market dipped 3.2 percent, from 78.6 million units to 76.1 million -- driven in large part by declines at Apple and Amazon. Apple's iPad shipments fell nearly 18 percent, from 26 million to a little over 21.4 million; Amazon, meanwhile, plummeted almost 70 percent, from 5.8 million units to 1.7 million. Also contributing, however, were drops at Asus and Samsung. The former slid from four to three million tablets, while Samsung went from 13.5 million to 11 million.
Giants cross paths with different trajectories
The timing of Apple's surge during the last quarter and Samsung's respective slump has put the two corporations in a dead heat in terms of smartphone marketshare, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm estimates that the companies each shipped about 74.5 million smartphones worldwide; while only Apple has announced that figure specifically, Samsung says that of the 95 million handsets it shipped in total, the number of smartphones went into the "high 70 percent range." That could mean anything between 71 and 75 million units.
Trial to run for three months, feedback sought on options
Qantas announced on Wednesday a trial entertainment service utilizing Samsung Gear VR headsets. The trial will make a limited number of headsets available in the Qantas First Lounges at the Sydney and Melbourne International airports, as well as on select A380 flights in first or business class.
Remarkable reversal in Korean maker's fortunes benefitting Apple
On Tuesday, Apple will reveal its latest figures on its overall sales and general health, but analysts will again focus on one key segment -- Apple's best-selling device, the iPhone -- as the only metric that matters. Two key aspects of that metric, however, may have larger implications than just the quarterly revenues, or a temporary change in Apple's stock value. According to analysts, it is now likely that Apple is selling more iPhones to China now than it is in the US market (where it is market leader by a long way) -- and even more remarkably, that Apple is close to rivaling the total smartphones sales of rival Samsung.
TSMC will presumably fill in remaining 25 percent
Samsung will indeed be the chief supplier of processors for Apple's next iPhone(s), according to South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. The company is expected to take about 75 percent of CPU orders. The paper doesn't mention how much the deal is worth, or who else will be producing chips, but Samsung's manufacturing will reportedly take place at its plant in Austin, Texas, the original home of Apple's A-series processors.
Alleged leaked document suggests Samsung considered BlackBerry purchase for months
Samsung is still interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to rumor. A document allegedly created by investment bank Evercore Partners for Samsung seems to suggest Samsung has been mulling over a purchase of the competing smartphone producer for some time, and according to sources, is still very much interested in the prospect despite denials from both BlackBerry and Samsung.
Qualcomm chips dropped due to over-heating issues found in testing
A new report citing unnamed sources has claimed that Samsung will discontinue use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the forthcoming Galaxy S6 due to quality control issues. The Snapdragon 810 reportedly overheated in testing by Samsung, prompting the switch to the company's own Exynos line of processors, which it has used for certain editions of the flagship phone in the past.
Apple leaps ahead of LG in latter's home market
Apple has seen significant surges in the Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean smartphone markets since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, according to a study by Counterpoint Research. The most significant performance is reportedly in South Korea, where in November Apple leapt from under 15 percent marketshare to 33 percent. That put the company ahead of LG, slotted at just 14 percent, and significantly closer to Samsung, which dropped from 60 to 46 percent. LG and Samsung are both local to Korea, and have traditionally enjoyed a homefield advantage.
Former head of Ive studio hiring may hint at new wave of Apple copying
Rumors about the upcoming Galaxy S6 continue to abound as Mobile World Congress -- the annual conference in March where the Korean manufacturer is likely to debut its flagship model -- approaches. In addition to previous rumors, new information suggested by the often-unreliable Korean site Ddaily suggests that the Galaxy S6 may sport an iPhone 6-like all-metal body, and may further copy Apple in making the battery of the unit unremovable.
New Samsung design lead former co-president of design consultancy Tangerine
Samsung has named its new vice president and global design chief as Lee Don-tae. The new lead is notably the former co-president of Tangerine, a London-based design consultancy which once employed Jonathan Ive before leaving for Apple, with the appointment said to indicate an overall design shift at the South Korean electronics producer.
Samsung allegedly adding wireless charging to rumored smartwatch
Samsung may be preparing to launch a round-faced smartwatch in March, according to rumors. The alleged launch at Mobile World Congress may take place alongside the expected next installment in the Galaxy S flagship smartphone line, with the Galaxy S6 reportedly using glass on the rear as well as the front and a metal construction.
Purchase could cost $7.5B, provide Samsung with BlackBerry patents
[Updated with BlackBerry denial] BlackBerry could possibly be the target of an acquisition, with a report claiming Samsung may be looking to buy the Canadian smartphone producer for a hefty sum. Details from a source, along with documents, were allegedly provided to Reuters, suggesting Samsung may be willing to pay as much as $7.5 billion to take control of the company.
Samsung Z1 has dual-core 1.2GHz processor, runs Tizen 2.3
Samsung is attempting to push forward with its plan to sell Tizen-powered mobile devices, following the ill-fated Samsung Z, by launching its rumored smartphone in India. The Samsung Z1 is an entry-level mobile phone with fairly typical specifications, all backed by a mobile operating system spearheaded by Samsung and Intel as a light-weight, open-source alternative to Google's Android.
Samsung Galaxy J1 may be first of budget J-series device range
A new budget smartphone from Samsung using a 64-bit processor is on the way, according to leaked images. Using a similar naming convention to the flagship Galaxy S-series, and more recent Galaxy A-series and Galaxy E-series smartphones, the Galaxy J-series appears to be a new entry-level collection, starting with the Galaxy J1 and its 4.3-inch 800x480 display.
Lighter TouchWiz could increase usable space in Samsung smartphones
The next iteration of Samsung's Android overlay may include smaller changes to the mobile operating system's appearance and functionality than previous versions, according to rumors. Keeping the TouchWiz user interface closer to stock, and without adding Samsung's extra software features, could help users by taking up less of the internal storage space, granting more user-accessible free space in its future flagship devices.
Galaxy A7 has 5.5-inch 720p display, octa-core processor
Samsung's Galaxy A-series of smartphone has been joined by a new larger model, just as expected. The Galaxy A7 is a mid-ranged Android device with a 5.5-inch 720p Super AMOLED display housed in a metallic frame similar to its stablemates, but Samsung has managed to squeeze the device down to a thickness of just 6.3mm and a weight of 141 grams (141 ounces).
ASE allegedly providing SiP modules
Samsung is set to build the processor for the S1 chips in the Apple Watch, which should ship in March, say sources for DigiTimes -- a Taiwanese trade paper with a mixed track record on predictions. The company has reportedly received orders for 3,000 to 4,000 12-inch wafers per month, manufactured using its 28nm process (how many S1 chips are included on a wafer has not been revealed). Another firm, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, is slated to provide system-in-package modules.
Virtual Reality immersion from Samsung
When it comes to augmented reality, there is no doubt that one of the biggest players in the field is Oculus. Its Rift headset was a huge Kickstarter success, pushing the VR headset market forward. Thankfully, Oculus hasn't tried to lock down its technology, and instead has teamed up with other companies in an attempt to push their vision forward. One of these partnerships led to the creation of the Samsung Gear VR, an augmented reality headset powered by the Galaxy Note 4. While the Gear VR has been available since early December, it has remained nearly impossible to actually find one for sale. Electronista navigated our way through Samsung's crowded booth at CES, and got a chance to sit down with the Gear VR.
Semiconductors are saving Korean powerhouse as smartphone sales plummet
Earlier today, Samsung released its pre-earnings guidance for Q4 2014. While the company showed a drop of 11.83 trillion Korean won ($10.7 billion US) in sales and a 4.25 trillion won ($3.9 billion) drop in operating profit compared to Q4 2013, its profit of $4.7 billion (5.2 trillion won) for the quarter did beat analyst estimates. Sales totaled about $47.4 billion (52 trillion won), a 12 percent decline from a year ago, as sales of smartphones shriveled up.
Aluminum unibody construction, AMOLED displays used in Galaxy E5, E7
Samsung launched two smartphones away from CES yesterday, devices that appear to be targeted at emerging markets. Unveiled in India, the Galaxy E5 and Galaxy E7 are mid-ranged Android smartphones which seem to be marginally cheaper versions of the recent Galaxy A-series devices, sharing a similar physical style and aluminum unibody construction, albeit slightly thicker at 7.3mm.
Small but powerful SSD from Samsung
While Samsung is generally known for its lavish TV announcements during CES, one of the more interesting products it presented during yesterday's keynote was a portable SSD. Dubbed the Portable SSD T1, Samsung's new drive has been designed with a very specific market in mind. Following Samsung's event, Electronista met up with a rep and spent a little bit of time talking about the brand new SSD.
Audi is evolving tech interface with the help of Samsung, Qualcomm, Nvidia, LG
After the smoke cleared, strobe lights dimmed, and high-energy music stopped at Audi's morning press conference at CES on Tuesday, the German automaker promised evolutions of its in-car tech, going as far as to introduce a concept that would drive and park itself, with no occupants at all. To drive the point home, Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, the Board Member for Technical Development of AUDI AG, started the company's updated, 690-horsepower Prologue concept with an LG smartwatch, pressed another command, and the car drove itself onto the stage.
Nano-crystal semiconductors used in higher-tier Samsung televisions
Samsung has outlined a new higher tier of Ultra HD televisions for 2015, which it is giving the SUHD designation. The JS9500, JS9000, and JS8500 ranges each include televisions in nine screen sizes ranging from 48 inches to 88 inches, with the screens said to be using Samsung's nano-crystal semiconductors to produce a higher-quality image.
Speedy external comes in up to 1TB capacity, based on 3D V-NAND
At Samsung's pre-Consumer Electronics Show announcement battery, the semiconductor giant unveiled the Portable SSD T1. The new encapsulated USB 3.0 SSD is aimed at business travelers, creative professionals, and content creators with a need for secure local storage. AES 256-bit hardware encryption is included, with the use of just one user password on Windows-based PCs. The drive comes pre-formatted in exFAT, for best OS X 10.9 (or later) and Windows cross-platform compatibility.
Tizen to run on all Samsung smart TVs, offers live broadcast streams to mobile devices
All smart TVs from Samsung shipping in 2015 will use Tizen, the manufacturer has advised. Teased before it is expected to show off its upcoming television range at CES next week, Samsung has revealed the new user interface for its smart TV software, along with a slew of updates also arriving to the living room displays this year.
New curved display all-in-one desktop and ultrabook models to be shown at CES
Two new computers from Samsung will be making their debut at CES next week, but all the details are available now. The offerings include an all-in-one desktop model with a curved display, and a super-thin ultrabook. The desktop Ativ One 7 marks the first all-in-one from Samsung (or any other firm) equipped with the company's new favorite technology, a curved 27-inch display. If you're looking for something more mobile, the new Ativ Book 9 (2015) promises to be the thinnest ultrabook from Samsung yet, at 2.09 pounds, and slightly less than half-an-inch thick.
Cellphone makers asked to make data more secure regardless
Taiwan's National Communications Commission has issued a report clearing a variety of companies of breaking local data privacy laws, according to Reuters. The organization says that all 12 of the previously-implicated cellphone brands -- including Apple, Huawei, Samsung, LG, Sony, ZTE, and Xiaomi -- are in the clear, despite Xiaomi being the impetus for the investigation. In August, Xiaomi apologized and promised to make changes after a Finnish security firm discovered Xiaomi software was collecting address book data without permission.
Milk VR provides Gear VR owners with 360-degree videos
Samsung has released its companion service for the Gear VR headset. Milk VR, in the same range as Samsung's music and video services, will provide 360-degree videos and other content to owners of the virtual reality headset, as the manufacturer attempts to make the Gear VR useful to potential users looking at competing VR systems.
Futuristic-looking 'Ring Radiator' audio devices to debut at CES
Samsung has announced some details about the audio products it will be showing at CES later this week. An expanded line of their curved soundbars is included, as well as their brand new WAM7500/6500 360-degree speakers. Samsung introduced their curved soundbars earlier this year, and are looking to expand the line to four devices. The new "ring" speaker, by contrast, offers a slick, futuristic design.
Samsung releases third installment of phablet; no US release data planned
Samsung announced on Monday a third variant of its Galaxy Note 4 5.7-inch smartphone. This new version includes a number of improvements over the present model, including a new Snapdragon 810 processor and a peak download speed of 300Mbps, thanks to the incorporation of LTE-A technology (up to 4x faster than current LTE rates). The unit also features the debut of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 64-bit processor, but there is a catch -- the unit is presently expected to only be available for sale in South Korea, with no US release currently planned.
South Korean release of Galaxy A5 allegedly followed by end of Galaxy Alpha manufacturing
Samsung is discontinuing a metal-clad smartphone it launched in August, according to a report. The Galaxy Alpha will apparently cease production soon after the Galaxy A5 goes on sale in its home country of South Korea, expected to take place in late January, and will form part of the company's ongoing reorganization of its smartphone arm.
Flagship Westfield Stratford location closed, slow sales and costs to blame
One of the ten Samsung Experience stores run by Carphone Warehouse in the UK has closed. London's location, in the Westfield Stratford City mall, has shuttered with little warning to customers or employees. Today, a sign posted on the entry of the store directs shoppers to a Samsung support center in the nearby Surrey Quays shopping district, or a similar Experience store.
Samsung Smart TVs to gain PlayStation Now in 2015
Sony's PlayStation Now is heading to new Samsung smart televisions. The game streaming service, which allows gamers to play hundreds of PlayStation 3 games without the console, will be available on "select" Samsung TVs arriving in the first half of 2015. Samsung has yet to state which sets will receive PlayStation Now, but more details are likely to surface during CES next month.
New LPDDR4 modules will be used for 4GB RAM modules for smartphones next year
Samsung is paving the way for smartphones to have higher capacities of RAM, by starting the mass production of 8-gigabit low-power DDR4 (LPDDR4) mobile DRAM. Originally hinted at by the manufacturer this time last year, the new mobile DRAM production is being used for the creation of mobile DRAM modules of up to 4GB in capacity.
Will collect royalties from parties such as Cisco and Google
(Updated with correct purchase price, lawsuit settlements) A subsidiary of San Francisco-based RPX Corporation, RPX Clearinghouse, is buying patent assets held by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium, according to an announcement. Rockstar was formed by Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Microsoft, and Sony in 2011 in order to buy some 6,000 patents in the wake of Nortel's bankruptcy. Although roughly 2,000 of the patents have already been separately distributed, RPX has entered into a deal in which it will receive license payments from a syndicate of over 30 companies, such as Cisco and Google.
Tizen-based Samsung Z1 claimed to be an entry-level device
The rumors of a Tizen-powered Samsung smartphone launch continue, with reports suggesting another attempt at a launch is impending. The manufacturer is said to be preparing an entry-level device for an unveiling in January, with Samsung apparently aiming to fend off Xiaomi, a major competitor of the company who is dominating the budget smartphone market in some regions.