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.
Case of rival-firm vandalism may impact LG's presence at CES
Samsung and rival Korean-based electronics manufacturer LG have clashed in the past over patents, and engaged in attempts at tarnishing each other's brands. This past September, an LG executive supposedly vandalized four Samsung washing machines in a Berlin mall. As a result, the head of LG's Home Appliance and Air Solution division has now been grounded by the South Korean government, potentially preventing him from attending next month's Consumer Electronics Show.
Curved monitor has 21:9 aspect ratio, picture-by-picture mode
Samsung has introduced another curved monitor, one that increases the size and resolution of the manufacturer's earlier release, the 27-inch SD590C in September. The SE790C curved monitor boasts a larger 34-inch size, combined with an Ultra WQHD resolution of 3440x1440, an aspect ratio of 21:9, and a contrast ratio of 3000:1.
ChatOn closing for majority of users from February 1, US users sometime in first quarter
Samsung is shutting down its ChatOn messaging service in the next few months, the manufacturer has announced. The cross-platform messaging service will go dark on February 1 for the majority of users around the world, though apparently users in the United States could have access to the service for a little while longer than everyone else.
Overall smartphone market shows growth, but top two leaders lose share
According to new quarterly figures from industry analysts Gartner, enormous growth by Apple's iPhone has eroded worldwide mobile phone share -- including both smartphones and feature phones -- from top seller Samsung and second-place Nokia, with Apple potentially taking the second spot from Nokia after this quarter's expected record-breaking iPhone sales are announced. For the most recent quarter, Apple was within one percentage point of matching Nokia in a market seeing strong overall growth.
Tech appears aimed directly at competing with Apple Pay
Samsung is in talks with a Massachusetts-based startup, LoopPay, with the hope of launching a mobile payment platform in 2015, sources say. Whether or not Samsung has reached a deal is uncertain, and indeed one source says that talks could still break down. A second source claims that a prototype version of the platform is already working on a Samsung phone.
Roadmap for processors unclear
Samsung has already started manufacturing Apple A9 processors at its factory in Austin, Texas, claims South Korea's Electronic Times. Production is fact said to have started just this Thursday, using the company's latest 14nm manufacturing process. The story is consistent with other recent reports suggesting A9 production would begin by the end of the year, and statements from within Samsung that it would be supplying Apple with 14nm hardware.
Virtual reality headset ships via Samsung, AT&T for $199, requires Note 4
Samsung has started to sell its virtual reality headset in the United States. The Innovator Edition of the Gear VR, a headset which requires the use of a Galaxy Note 4 as a display panel and for processing visuals, is the company's first virtual reality device being sold directly to consumers, alongside some demonstration programs and resources for coding VR content.
Lawyers say $930M award overblown compared to actual damages
The lower court -- and the jury -- "made a mistake" when it said that Samsung infringed design and trade dress patents with its smartphones, lawyers for the Galaxy maker argued during the first day of appealing Apple's $930 million trial win. One attorney, Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, noted that that the targeted Samsung phones didn't carry Apple logos, didn't have Home buttons similar to an iPhone, and also had speaker slots in different locations than Apple products. "Apple was awarded Samsung's total profits on those phones, which was absurd," she added, though Samsung's claims on "total profits" from the phones is considered highly suspect.
Apple, Samsung, HTC among identified parties
Taiwan's National Communications Commission has found 12 cellphone makers to be violating the country's Personal Information Protection Act, according to the Wall Street Journal. PIPA covers the "collection, processing and use of personal information"; the NCC has yet to say exactly how the companies broke regulations, but does explain that it discovered the issue while investigating charges that Chinese firm Xiaomi was collecting and transmitting user data without permission.
Both sides call on experts, supporters
Samsung's appeal of a 2013 US patent trial verdict - which, after more legal wrangling, finally awarded Apple $930 million -- is going to court today. Lawyers for Samsung are arguing that those damages were excessive, and that most or all of them should be tossed out, contrary to the jury's carefully-considered determination. A brief has been filed by 27 law professors in support of the company's position.
Overall, consumers still prefer smartphones under five inches in size
In less than eight weeks, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus has already grabbed a 41 percent share of all US "phablet" (5.5 inches or larger in display size) sales, and is continuing to struggle to meet demand. A new study published by Kantar World Panel reveals that, despite much more publicity, phablets continue to make up only a small minority of smartphone sales -- but the category is growing fast. The finding is another blow for the struggling Samsung, whose Galaxy Note phablets now account for only five percent of such sales in the US, and only eight percent of phablets in China.
Metal-clad Samsung smartphone shown with octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon processor
Samsung is preparing to launch another device in its Galaxy A-series, following the A5, A3, and the original Galaxy Alpha. A filing at the Chinese regulator TENAA shows the Galaxy A7 as a device which weighs 133 grams (4.7 ounces) and measures just 6.3 millimeters thin, just 0.4 millimeters thinner than the Galaxy A5, making it the thinnest mobile device the company has ever produced.
Shin keeps position as mobile division CEO, other mobile executives leaving roles
Samsung is taking a different path than previously thought during its yearly management shuffle, as the South Korean electronics manufacturer is keeping Head of Mobile Communications and Co-CEO Jong-kyun Shin in his post for the time being. However, during the company's yearly management change, at least three other executives in the mobile division will be removed from their positions.
Walmart deals on electronics available now
Black Friday sales have gone live at Walmart.com; however, if you plan on getting a head start on the deals at your local store, keep in mind it will be opening its doors tonight at 6PM. The company is offering three different door-buster events, which are outlined below. If you don't want to wait for the door-busters, or would just prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of your own home, we have highlighted a selection of deals that are available now.
iPhone's RAM, storage, and batteries could come from one supplier
Apple may be turning to Samsung for more parts in future production runs of the iPhone 6, sources tell Business Korea. Beginning this week, new runs will reportedly use batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI. More significantly, though, Apple is said to be considering replacing Toshiba TLC NAND flash storage with a Samsung equivalent. Toshiba NAND is currently believed to be the only kind used in 128GB iPhones, and some reports have linked it to occasional device crashes. Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix are allegedly producing the storage for 64GB models.
Restructuring of subsidiaries, share acquisition announced by Samsung
Samsung is preparing to buy back $2 billion in shares, the first scheme of its kind since 2007, the electronics manufacturer has announced. At the same time, reports claim the company has also revealed it will be drastically changing its holdings, selling stakes in its defense and chemical subsidiaries to raise funds for new investments, among other costs.
Apple not given what it wanted; Samsung appeals, Apple filing shortly
Judge Lucy Koh, overseeing the myriad Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials, has partially granted a motion by Apple. The ruling would allow the Cupertino manufacturer to collect post-judgement royalties on ongoing sales of some Samsung devices -- but the amount received will be less than Apple wanted. The motion, filed for the second Apple versus Samsung trial, covers two patents -- data detectors and "slide to unlock" -- and specifically covers 10 products and other devices that infringe on the patent or are not "demonstrably different" than the infringing products.
Home appliance, television Co-CEO could take over mobile, Shin might lose CEO role
The sharp decline in smartphone sales appears to be taking its toll on Samsung, as sources say the South Korean company is considering a management shake-up at the very top. A plan under consideration would see current head of the mobile division Jong-Kyun Shin replaced, and possibly losing his co-CEO role within Samsung.
Samsung NX1 with 28.2-megapixel sensor available to pre-order.
Samsung is finally releasing the NX1 mirrorless camera in the United States, one which is capable of recording 4K-resolution content. Launched in September, the NX1 has a 28.2-megapixel BSI APS-C sensor, with the updated NX AF System III's autofocus capabilities offering 205 phase-detection points and 209 contrast AF points, and a focusing speed of 0.055 of a second.