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.
Chip segment strong, but not enough to make up for lagging smartphone segment
Samsung released its Q4 and FY 2014 results today, and as expected, the news was not good. The past three years have resulted in growth for the company, but fiscal 2014 shows an annual earnings decline, in spite of strong performance by the company's chip division. The earnings from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices fell to 1.96 trillion Korean won ($1.8 billion), a 64.2 percent decline from the year-ago quarter. The news comes on the heels of a record-shattering report from its main rival, Apple.
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.
Smartphone or nearby mobile device replaces extra passwords and dongles
According to digital security provider SAASpass, a requirement to possess a separate physical device as part of accessing digital data -- for example a fingerprint reader or separate dongle -- helps prevent nearly all hacking attacks on computers. To that end, SAASpass has recently unveiled its "Computer Connector" apps to provide on-the-fly two-factor authentication, rather than passwords, using smartphones or mobile devices.
Prototype LG smartphone includes extra displays on side edges
LG's fixation with using flexible displays in its smartphones does not stop with the G Flex 2, as the company has reportedly been showing off another mobile device behind closed doors at CES. A prototype device using an "Active Bending" display panel has been quietly demonstrated, one which appears to take after Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge.
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.
Un-jailbroken iOS devices safe from attack; Android, Windows smartphones at most risk
Beginning in Russia and spreading quickly to other countries, a new variation on the formerly-dormant Red October malware has been detected by security firms such as Blue Coat and Kaspersky this week. The new version -- which is notably targeting smartphones of diplomats, military leaders and business executives -- contains a level of sophistication in the function and code that suggests a rogue state, which would have the resources to assemble the talent, is backing the attack.
Security concern based on apparently false newspaper article
A member of the center-left Fair Russia party and State Duma lawmaker is proposing a bill that would recommend that all Russian parliament members stop using iPhones and iPads to protect themselves from foreign eavesdropping, based primarily on what appears to be a false report that the Russian military has done the same. The Defense Ministry has since denied the report from the newspaper Izvestia, but the bill has again opened the question of whether foreign-made smartphones and tablets are secure.
Leadcore 2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 720p display touted in claimed cheap Xiaomi smartphone
Mid-range Android smartphones with entry-level price tags may be on the horizon, as Chinese smartphone producer Xiaomi reportedly plans to launch a cut-price device in China in the near future. The manufacturer is said to be preparing a device with a 2GHz Cortex A7 processor from Leadcore, with the unnamed device expected to be priced at 399 yuan ($65).
Front cover panel of LG AKA leaves gap for eyes, notifications
LG is trying to appeal to younger smartphone users in its home country, South Korea, by giving smartphones a face and personality. The AKA consists of a mid-ranged smartphone combined with four different colors of case, with each color representing a different character, and a front section which partially covers the display, leaving a gap for animated eyes to appear.
Mid-range metal Samsung Galaxy smartphones based on earlier Galaxy Alpha
Samsung has unveiled two smartphones with metal unibody construction, following in the footsteps of the Galaxy Alpha. The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 are mid-range offerings, with the A5 packing a 720p 5-inch Super AMOLED display into a case measuring 6.7mm thick, while the A3 opts for a 4.5-inch qHD screen in a 6.9mm-thick body.
Honor 4X smartphone includes 64-bit Qualcomm processor
Huawei has introduced one of its smartphones to Europe, at the same time as unveiling another in the same product line. The Honor 6, originally launched in China four months ago, is making the trip to European markets, while the Honor 4X boasts a 64-bit Qualcomm processor alongside a claimed usage time of up to 72 hours from a single charge.
New company to launch under new brand in 2015, focus on Internet-based sales
Lenovo is taking a new approach to its mobile strategy ,according to a statement it released today. The PC and mobile communications company has indicated that it is creating a new device company and brand for the emerging market in China. The unnamed company will operate separately from Lenovo, focusing on Internet-based sales. The new brand is being positioned as a direct competitor for Xiaomi, a startup that has rapidly grown its market share since its entry into the device market in 2010.
Researchers put 40 students in driving simulator to simulate speech-to-text distractions
In a joint study between the University of Central Florida and Air Force Research Laboratories, researcher Ben Sawyer found that drivers wearing Google Glass are just as distracted as those using smartphones to text. The study attempted to discover the level of driver distraction using Google Glass, a hands-free device that many claimed offers no or a lesser degree of distraction than other in-car devices.
Senate passed the bill earlier this month, office announces bill signed today
The office of California Governor Jerry Brown announced that bill SB 962 was signed today, making cell phone "kill switches" mandatory in the state. While the bill won't go into effect immediately, manufacturers must have the kill switches in place for all smartphones made after July 1, 2015. It was widely believed that Governor Brown would sign the bill after it was sent to his office after passing through the Senate on August 12.
First quarter results from reveal boost in movile devices, desktop computers
Device maker Lenovo has released its financials for the first quarter ending June 30, revealing revenues of $10.4 billion. While the company posted a year-over-year increase in overall revenues, figures from the smartphone sales shows a more revealing number, with sales tallying more than 15.8 million units, an increase of 39 percent. Income increased to $214 million, a 22 percent increase, while earnings grew 23 percent to $214 million. Gross profit increased 13 percent, to $1.3 billion.
Android overall inching forward, but top two take 78.7 percent of traffic
A new study of North American smartphone share by mobile ad platform Chitika shows that some 78.7 percent of all smartphone web traffic in the region is run off just two brands of smartphones: Apple and Samsung, with the former's share being roughly double that of the latter (52.3 percent versus 26.4 percent). Korean manufacturer Samsung saw a higher percentage growth between February and July of this year, at 1.2 percent, but the figure shows how little volatility there remains in the mature NA market.
Five-year deal starts with October release of Vertu smartphone
Smartphone manufacturer Vertu has signed a five-year exclusive partnership with luxury car manufacturer Bentley. The partnership will see the companies work together on a line of five "Vertu for Bentley" phones, with the devices set to include handset designs worked on by engineers from both companies, and provide Bentley-related services to phone owners via a pre-installed dedicated Bentley app.
Entry-level Moto E aimed at emerging markets
Motorola has launched a pair of budget smartphones at its London launch event. The Moto G has been upgraded to include 4G LTE connectivity instead of 3G, while the rumored Moto E has been unveiled as an even cheaper entry-level option with slightly lower specifications to the Moto G, but still manages to offer a considerable list of specifications for the price.
First L Series III device to ship with Knock Code security
LG is rolling out its previously-announced L90 smartphone this week, with the first devices heading to Russia and other nearby countries. Revealed before Mobile World Congress, the LG L90 will be the first L Series III device to be sold with the manufacturer's new Knock Code security system, one which requires the owner to unlock the device by tapping the display using one of over 86,000 combinations.
Earlier reports misquoted, Kutcher work on tablets continues
Lenovo is not working with Ashton Kutcher on new smartphones, the company has revealed. Following reports that the actor was expanding his design remit at the manufacturer from tablets to smartphones, a Lenovo executive has clarified that Kutcher's work is still concerns just tablets, indicating earlier comments from another executive were potentially misquoted.
ZTE Firefox OS device is massive improvement from last year
At last year's Mobile World Congress, ZTE launched its first attempt at a smartphone running Firefox OS. This year, the company is following up on the ZTE Open with the ZTE Open C, a similarly-styled device that is also aimed at emerging markets. This time, the smartphone arrives with a fair number of improvements over its debut. Electronista took the budget Firefox OS device for a spin to see what's new.
Mid-range Alcatel smartphones tried out before Mobile World Congress
Earlier today, Alcatel launched a number of Android smartphones, including two new additions to its OneTouch Idol range of devices. At a pre-Mobile World Congress event, the manufacturer offered the media the chance to try the OneTouch Idol 2 and OneTouch Idol 2 Mini before the show formally opened. Electronista spent some time with both of the smartphones earlier this evening.
Low-end smartphone segment expected to boom in 2014
A new Gartner report summarizing the state of the smartphone industry at the end of 2013 notes that sales of smartphones finally overtook sales of "feature phones" worldwide, accounting for 53.6 percent of all mobile phone sales. The total number of smartphones sold to retailers was 968 million, and of that figure some 150 million were iPhones, by far the largest "single brand." Samsung, however, is believed to have sold just under double that figure across all its brands.
Portable Puku S8 charger offers 900 hours of smartphone standby time
Puku has announced its new portable charger, the Puku S8. Featuring a powerful rechargeable battery, the S8 provides three to five full charges for an average smartphone in a small form factor. Compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices that charge through a micro USB cable (or adapter for micro USB), its compact design allows for easy carrying while travelling. One charging of the S8 can power up to 900 hours of standby time, 36 hours of talk time and 153 hours of media play time. The Puku S8 is available in six colors, and is priced at $100.
Users must be allowed to delete unwanted apps already installed on devices
Owners of smartphones in South Korea will be able to delete pre-installed apps from their devices in the future, the country's government has ruled. From April, carriers will be required to allow users to uninstall software placed onto the device before purchase, in an effort to let device owners make better use of a device's storage, as well as to improve its battery life.
Japanese carrier claims market cannot support third mobile operating system
The first consumer Tizen device release has been stalled by Japan's largest carrier over concerns that the Japanese smartphone market cannot sustain a third mobile operating system. Plans by NTT DoCoMo to launch a device in March will now not take place, with the carrier citing a significant lack of overall growth of the market in Japan.
High-end Android phone for Asian markets
Although Lenovo is known in the US as a computer brand, the company has continued to release smartphones in China and other Asian markets. One of the latest devices, the Vibe Z, continues the company's move into the high-end phone market, with a 5.5-inch display and 13-megapixel camera. Wondering if the company may be closer to considering a US launch, we checked out the Z at CES to see how it stacks up against the global competition.
First LTE devices from Archos to be shown at CES next week
Archos is using CES to launch two more mobile devices in its smartphone range, with the pair of phones being the first from the manufacturer to offer 4G LTE connectivity. Joining the wearable devices and network-connected home monitoring sensors the company has already teased will be the 45 Helium, with a 4.5-inch 854x480 IPS display, and the 50 Helium with a 5-inch 1280x720 IPS version.
New Lenovo smartphones include metal trim on casing, similar internals
Lenovo is launching a trio of new smartphones, at the same time as bringing the LTE-equipped Vibe Z out of China and into new markets. The S930 and S650 are said to take some of the design aspects of the Vibe Z, though with more restrained specifications, while the A859 appears to be a budget-friendly offering that retains similar internals to the other two releases, but opts for a cheaper external casing.
Apps to keep you beholden to no tech master
(This is the fifth in a series that showcases apps the staff at MacNN and Electronista use and recommend. The first installment, discussing media streaming and playback apps, is here. The second covered photo-editing apps, the third looked at music apps, and the fourth focused on board game conversions.)
One of the biggest perks of being a technology writer is getting to play with a bunch of the latest toys from lots of companies, sometimes before they come out. At any given moment, my house holds maybe four tablets, three to five smartphones, and two or three notebooks and desktops, including my own personally-owned tech, of course. In order to work across these multiple devices, I've had to develop a healthy agnosticism when it comes to platforms. This article on My Five Apps, then, will be an attempt to convert you to that view: The One True Tech Faith of No True Tech Faiths.
Trial in April follows change in UK banking legislation
Banks and building societies in the United Kingdom are considering allowing customers to pay in checks using smartphones, the UK Treasury has announced. The change, which would involve bank customers to photograph a check using a smartphone instead of taking it to branch, could be implemented as part of a new Check 21 law, with the first trial of the system set to begin in April.
In discussions with four more manufacturers for Ubuntu mobile OS
A smartphone running on Ubuntu Touch will be available in 2014, according to Canonical founder and product strategy leader Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical has signed an agreement with an unnamed manufacturer to have the Linux distribution put onto high-end smartphones, with other manufacturers also apparently in talks to do likewise.
Big Cyber Monday deals found from TigerDirect, Best Buy
Cyber Monday has finally arrived, and online shoppers can take advantage of big sales this holiday season. We've gathered up some great deals on a variety of electronics, including TVs, smartphones, e-readers, tablets and hard drives.
One of three HTC-Amazon smartpones said to be in advanced development stage
HTC could be working with Amazon on a number of smartphones, according to a report. The two are apparently in "an advanced stage of development" on the mobile devices, and while a total of three smartphones are claimed, one of the devices is said to be close to completion, though it is unlikely to be released anytime this year.
Free service offers 200 minutes, 500MB, 500 texts each month
Mobile data provider FreedomPop has launched its free cellular service for smartphones, one it revealed in July. The service, which provides a free allocation of data, voice minutes and text messages each month, similar to its existing free Internet hotspot service, with the carrier using Clearwire's WiMax 4G phone network for coverage.
BlackBerry smartphones in website sales supplied unlocked
BlackBerry is attempting to improve the sales of some of its smartphones by making them available directly. The manufacturer is selling the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 through its website, with the incoming BlackBerry Z30 also being seen at the FCC ahead of its expected release on networks in Canada in the near future.
More evidence iOS share climbing, barely trailing Android's 28 percent share
On the heels of recent reports that saw Apple growing its share of the US smartphone market, Pew Research has released a new study that looks at the entire US cellphone industry instead of just smartphones. The poll shows that smartphones are now dominant, with 58 percent of the US market. While Android remains the most popular platform with 28 percent of the overall cellphone market, Apple's iOS and its recent growth have nearly caught up, with 25 percent of the market -- a rise of six percent from a year ago.
Pico Projector, e-ink cover offered as accessories for new phablet
Alcatel has revealed two new additions to its One Touch line of smartphones. The One Touch Idol Alpha is a mid-ranged smartphone which uses light-up edges, while the One Touch Hero offers a large display, a substantial battery, and a number of accessories including an e-ink cover and a Pico Projector made specifically for the big-screen smartphone.
Android 79 percent of smartphone market, iOS 14.2-percent share
Research by Gartner suggests that sales of smartphones have exceeded those of feature phones for the first time. While global smartphone sales have increased by 3.6 to 435 million in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year, according to Gartner's own figures, smartphones make up 225 million of the total, a year-on-year increase of 46.5 percent, with feature phones seeing a 21-percent year-on-year decline to 210 million units.
Oddly, iPhone 4S and 5 also drop slightly in resale value
Analysts at investment firm Piper Jaffray, after monitoring online auctions for Apple and Samsung smartphones, have found that the three-year-old iPhone 4 has actually gained in resale value by just over 10 percent, while the later iPhone 4S and 5 models dropped in resale value -- but nowhere near as much as Samsung's former flagships the Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II. A similar study conducted in China looking at resale auctions there saw similar results, with the iPhone 4 gaining resale value while newer iPhones and Galaxy products dropped.
Possibility Android 4.3 will pull share from other Jelly Bean versions
Android Jelly Bean, the most recent version of the mobile operating system, has surpassed the 40-percent install base milestone. Android version 4.1 makes up 34 percent of the Android device share, with version 4.2 reaching 6.5 percent, an improvement from the last report when Jelly Bean became the dominant version, with 4.1 and 4.2 scoring 32.3 percent and 5.6 percent respectively.
Android Device Manager will track devices, remotely ring, wipe data
Google will be helping owners of Android smartphones and tablet find their lost or stolen mobile device in the future, by releasing a new app. Android Device Manager will provide users with the location of the lost device, along with details for when it was last used, and the option to remotely trigger its ringtone at maximum volume, even if it has been silenced.
Exploits, malware, tools purchased by FBI for remote surveillance hacks
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is able to listen into and record conversations through microphones connected to computers, as well as through Android smartphones, according to a report. The bureau is said to have used hacking tools, including spyware and other malware, that it has purchased from individuals and hacker collectives to gain access to mobile devices, in order to eavesdrop.
Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 2 tied for first place; iPhone second
A new study focusing only on smartphones by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has ranked two premier Samsung smartphones -- the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note 2 -- ahead of Apple's iPhone various iPhone models in a new survey of 2,500 buyers. The results have a number of odd notes to them, giving high scores to mostly older models and entirely omitting recent entries such as the HTC One, BlackBerry Z10 and Samsung Galaxy S4; ranking all three iPhone models as essentially equal when the iPhone 4 is now three years old; and using the exact same vaguely-defined methodology as a recent Korean study, suggesting a possible agenda (though the Korean study actually gave the crown to the iPhone).
Verizon Edge to allow six-month upgrades for half cost of phone, trade-in
Verizon has joined the push to provide options for earlier upgrades, following on from similar plans revealed by AT&T and T-Mobile earlier this month. Verizon Edge will allow customers to upgrade their phone after six months of ownership, provided they pay a monthly fee and trade in their existing mobile device at the same time.
Launch of T-Mobile Jump forcing other carriers to offer similar plans
The new T-Mobile Jump plan to allow for phone upgrades twice a year appears to have forced the hand of AT&T and Verizon into offering their own variants of the scheme, departing from the typical 24-month lifecycle. AT&T announced a new plan to provide new smartphones and tablets on a yearly basis, something it teased about last week, while Verizon is said to be working on its own plan.
Poorly-worded bill was intended to outlaw Internet cafes, slot machines
The state of Florida, already the butt of many jokes because of its penchant for news-making citizens, reviled governor and incompetent state government has taken another one on the chin with the news that a poorly-worded law intended to ban Internet cafes and slot machines has overreached and declares any electronic device capable of playing a "game of chance" on the Internet to be illegal. The law is being challenged in court by an Internet cafe owner who was forced to shut down her business following a scandal involving the lieutenant governor.
Alcatel One Touch Fire, ZTE Open to initially launch in limited markets
The first two smartphones running on Firefox OS will soon be available to purchase by end users, with customers of Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica being among the first to get the devices. The ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire, both running Mozilla's open-source mobile operating system, will go on sale in Spain later this week, with the ZTE Open being sold by Telefonica for 69 euro ($90) tomorrow.
Dust, waterproof smartphone uses echo cancellation, noise suppression
AT&T has added a ruggedized smartphone from NEC to its business-oriented range of smartphones. Combining a 3.1-inch display with a QWERTY keyboard, the NEC Terrain is claimed to be waterproof and dustproof, uses a Gorilla Glass screen, and exceeds military specifications for shock distribution, as well as having mid-range smartphone features.