Tag Archive | samsung

Samsung Accounted for a Third of Smartphone Sales Last Quarter, While Apple’s Share Fell

Samsung’s second-quarter smartphone shipments hit 76 million last quarter – up 56 percent from the prior year, and giving the company a 33 percent share of the global market.

china_smartphones

iStockphoto | aluxum

Apple, meanwhile, shipped 31.2 million iPhones, a 20 percent year-over-year rise, and good for second place worldwide. However, that trailed the overall smartphone industry, and meant that Apple’s market share fell to 14 percent – its lowest level since the second quarter of 2010, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.

“The current iPhone portfolio is under-performing and Apple is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between rival 3-inch Android models at the low-end and 5-inch Android models at the high-end,” Strategy Analytics’ Neil Mawston said in a statement.

Overall, smartphone shipments hit 230 million for the second quarter, up 47 percent from a year earlier, and representing 59 percent of all mobile phones sold.

“The smartphone industry’s shipment growth rate, which is higher today than a year ago, is being driven by surging demand for 4G models in developed regions like the US and 3G models in emerging markets such as India,” Neil Shah, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said in a statement.

Korea’s LG doubled shipments from a year earlier to 12.1 million units, enough to give it five percent global market share and the No. 3 spot, just ahead of China’s ZTE and Huawei, each of which shipped more than 11 million smartphones.

T-Mobile’s Latest Promo Offers Entire Lineup of Phones for No Upfront Payment

T-Mobile is continuing to shake things up.

t-mobile_iphone_ad

The No. 4 U.S. carrier on Friday announced a promotion that will offer its entire lineup of phones for no upfront payment. It isn’t really dropping the price of phones, just spreading the entire cost of the phone over 24 months instead of using a mix of an initial down payment and monthly payments.

Still, the move shows the flexibility T-Mobile has since moving to a model in which it separates the cost of the phone from its monthly service.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. “This is a fantastic offer and we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the latest amazing devices.”

Under the new promotion, which starts on Saturday, customers can get a 16 gigabyte iPhone 5, for example, for no upfront fee and 24 monthly payments of $27 per month. The Samsung Galaxy S4, BlackBerry Q10 and HTC One are all $25 per month, while the entry-level Nokia Lumia 521 is just $5 per month.

The device fee is then added to T-Mobile’s monthly service fees. Options range from a $50-per-month plan that includes unlimited talk, text and 500 megabytes of high-speed data to an option for $70 per month that includes unlimited high-speed data. Additional lines for family members cost $30 for the first extra line and $10 per additional line after that.

Though not cutting device prices, the move could nonetheless be attractive to those looking to get a new phone without a big initial cost.

Update: In a telephone interview, T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert said that the new option came in response to a move by AT&T to offer some devices for no money down.

“This is really about being fast and highly competitive,” Sievert said. “We aren’t going to cede one inch of the territory and of the momentum” it has gained from its “un-carrier” approach.

As part of its Next early-upgrade program, AT&T is offering a number of phones for no money down, with installment payments of $15 to $50 per month for 20 months. A Samsung Galaxy S4, for example, would cost $32 a month for 20 months under that program. (Customers would also pay AT&T’s standard monthly rates in addition to the device financing payment.)

Sievert did not give an end date for T-Mobile’s new offer, but said promotions such as these tend to run days or weeks, and not for months.

He also said this move was not the next step that Legere had hinted will come in the fall.

“Un-carrier 3.0 is still to come,” Sievert said.

Steve Wozniak opines on the ‘worthless’ Galaxy Gear, comments on wearables in general

Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, isn’t worried about letting people know what he thinks, as he’s done multiple times over the years — even when it’s not necessarily the best news for Apple’s devices. He’s also not afraid to try out other platforms and devices, but, as usual, it always comes along with his opinion.

In an interview with Xconomy, Wozniak opined on Samsung’s original Galaxy Gear, the manufacturer’s first real effort in the wearables space that was launched not too long ago (but was quickly replaced). Woz tried out the device for himself, but apparently it didn’t go so well.

From the interview, Wozniak had this to say:

That was the only technology I bought to experiment with that I threw out after half a day, sold it on eBay because it was so worthless and did so little that was convenient. You had to hold it up to your ear and stuff.

Harsh, for sure, but it’s probably not something that many people would argue. There’s a reason Samsung replaced the original Gear with the Gear 2 (Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit, too) so quickly. But, Wozniak also had some words on wearables in general, saying that he wants to see them feature larger displays, and stop being so dependent on our smartphones. Interesting additions, and something else many people would probably agree with.

Have you tried a wearable yet? What did you think?

[via BGR; Xconomy]

Samsung’s Profit Climbs 26 Percent

Samsung Electronics Co. said its third-quarter net profit rose 26 percent from a year earlier to another record as smartphones and its chip division helped drive earnings.

As smartphone margins plateau, Samsung is finding refuge from a cyclical upturn in memory chips. The division’s margins have nearly doubled from a year earlier. The importance of Samsung’s chip unit – composed of memory and logic chips – is being highlighted as it now accounts for roughly one-fifth of its total operating profit.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

When is it Time to Upgrade Your Mobile Tech?

iPad 2 vs iPad Air

I have an iPad 2. I don’t use it very much, but it’s there for me whenever a new game comes out … or whenever my Macbook is just out of reach.

The iPad 2 came out on March 11, 2011. In the grand scheme of things (and I’m not talking about the “cosmic calendar” from “Cosmos”), three years is nothing. But when it comes to consumer tech, my iPad is ANCIENT. If you count the two iPad mini models, five new iPads have launched since my iPad 2 first hit store shelves. Five! In three years!

Every time I look at my iPad, I think about how I want a new one. The new models are lighter, thinner and faster, and all have better screens. I haven’t upgraded from iOS 6 to 7 because I’ve heard it doesn’t play well on the iPad 2. But I’m not going to upgrade my iPad, because I don’t use it enough and it still works fine.

But that got me wondering: When is the right time to upgrade your mobile tech?

I like to buy a really good (but not usually top-tier) piece of tech, then run it into the ground before I upgrade. If you’re the type of person who needs to have the latest-and-greatest everything, this advice doesn’t really apply to you. But if you’re like the rest of us, and you just want to know when to pony up for a new gadget, read on.

Tablets

Tablets

Let’s start with tablets, since that’s what got me into this whole mess.

iPad: For new iPads, Apple usually tosses in a slightly more powerful processor and makes the device a little thinner. Sure, there are bigger changes from time to time – like adding a Retina display – but those are more uncommon than you might think. Plus, iPads are incredibly expensive (relative to most other tablets), so upgrading is more of a financial commitment here than in other instances.

  • Liberal Verdict: Every other generation. Got an iPad 2? Get a 4th-gen, then, too.
  • Conservative Verdict: Every three or four generations, or when a bunch of apps no longer support your device.

Android Tablets: To be honest, I’m not too familiar with the Android tablet landscape. I know it’s dominated by the Nexus 7, but that’s a relative newcomer to the field, and it’s hard to gauge just how much innovation Google’s going to throw at that line each upgrade. Android tablets are relatively inexpensive (especially when compared to an iPad), so upgrading is less of an investment, but there aren’t too many massive upgrades from one generation to the next, so upgrading isn’t a necessity.

  • Liberal Verdict: Every generation.
  • Conservative Verdict: When your device isn’t eligible for the newest major Android OS.

Kindle Fire Tablets: Like the Nexus line, the Kindle Fires are also relative newcomers to the tech scene. But Amazon has impressed me with how much it has added to each release. When you compare it to the latest Kindle Fire, the first-gen Fire I bought in the fall of 2011 is like a weird second-cousin that you avoid at family gatherings. Amazon’s added a ton of new software features – like FreeTime and Mayday – and has also launched tablets with bigger screens, which is an (obvious) big difference. At some point, though, Amazon will slow down its massive updates; until then, new Fire tablets seem like a reasonable investment.

  • Liberal Verdict: Every generation.
  • Conservative Verdict: When your toddler drops it one-too-many times and it doesn’t work anymore.

Phones

Phones

I think it’s a big lie that you need to upgrade your phone every two years. Just because your carrier gives you a big time discount to get a new device doesn’t mean you need to take them up on their offer. They’re only giving you that discount to lock you into another two-year deal; if you don’t upgrade (or buy your phone outright), you can opt out at any point with no penalty.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all recently introduced plans that let you upgrade your phone whenever the wind changes. But that program isn’t for us – that’s for the tech elite.

iPhones are like iPads – rarely does one generation to the next do much to wow me. The iPhone 6 will have a bigger screen, which is (arguably) the best improvement since Siri was added back with the 4S. But is it enough for me to upgrade just a year after I got my iPhone 5? Probably not.

Android devices can become obsolete much more quickly, especially if the manufacturer doesn’t get the latest version of Android to your device. Buying a Nexus will negate this problem, as will buying the top-tier devices, like the Galaxy S4 or HTC One M8. But if you’re buying mid-range, you might run into issues – and you’ll want to upgrade more quickly.

  • Liberal Verdict: As soon as you’re eligible for an upgrade.
  • Conservative Verdict: When your device won’t get the latest OS update, or when you drop it so many times that you can no longer read the screen.

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Report: Samsung’s Next Wearable is the Galaxy Band, A Fitness Tracker

Samsung

While smartwatches have already managed to have a profound impact on some users, they have largely been something of a disappointment thus far. And to be frank, Samsung’s Galaxy Gear might be the worst among them, at least where big-brand offerings are concerned. In our review we said that the device itself was probably among the best designs Samsung has ever released, but the product was obviously rushed and the user experience suffered tremendously as a result. A recent report suggested that Samsung knew it had some serious missteps with the first Gear and is rushing out a sequel in the first quarter next year as a result, but a new report suggests that Samsung’s upcoming new wearable computer might be a smartwatch at all. A new report from Korean-language Digital News Daily late last week states that Samsung’s next swing at the emerging wearables market will be a fitness tracking band called the Galaxy Band.

Read the full story at Boy Genius Report.

Former Googlers’ Cover App Makes Android Lock Screens More Useful (Video)

We smartphone users have all developed our own tricks for quickly swiping through pages and folders of apps to find what we need. But the reality is, even if Waze has home-screen placement, you have little reason to use it while not driving. And you’re unlikely to watch Netflix at work. Or to check the weather after you get dressed in the morning.

Cover co-founders

Cover co-founders Edward Ho, Todd Jackson and Gordon Luk

An Android app called Cover has developed a new version of the Android lock screen that adjusts based on each user’s habits around time, place and other factors.

With permission, Cover monitors users’ daily activity. Then it picks the six apps it thinks users are most likely to want at any one moment, and lines them up on the left side of the phone.

If you plug in your headphones, for example, the six will likely include your favorite music-streaming apps.

Cover also loads the apps in the background, so users can swipe each icon to enter directly into the app – to see the latest photo in your Instagram feed, perhaps, or the current entry on your calendar.

At the moment, there’s no way to edit Cover’s choices manually, so, if there’s some app you use all the time but don’t want people to see, or some app you really should use all the time but forget to, you’re out of luck.

Cover establishes three different modes – home, work, driving – with their own associated wallpaper and ring volume, which users can set themselves.

There’s also a quick way to multitask by swiping down a drawer of most frequently used apps from the top right.

When you go through all its gestures and adaptations, Cover sounds like a whole new UI for Android, and in some ways it is. But, from what I saw in a demo, this doesn’t seem to be new feature overload, just a few carefully selected tweaks.

You’ll have to try it for yourself to see – but that likely won’t be today. Cover is accepting signups on its website, and will gradually invite new users. It should be available to everyone “within a couple months,” said CEO and co-founder Todd Jackson.

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Jackson and his two co-founders have the kind of resumes that seed investors love. Jackson was the lead product manager of Gmail, and also did a stint at Facebook; co-founder Edward Ho was an engineer at Google for five years, and before that, he worked on a small but influential tool called Yahoo Pipes; Gordon Luk worked on Yahoo’s Upcoming and Brickhouse back when those were hip, and had his own game studio. (Jackson and Ho worked together on the ill-fated and much-maligned Google Buzz … but that’s bygones in tech time.)

As such, they’ve raised $1.7 million from First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, Max Levchin, Scott Banister, Charlie Cheever, Keith Rabois, Dave Girouard and Alex Franz.

The question is, what is the opportunity for an independent app maker to change the core user interface of the phone in a way that mobile operating systems should probably be doing themselves?

And another thing: While the Android opportunity is clearly huge, it’s not always the cleanest – given the mess of older versions, and the often-clunky preloaded apps and interfaces from different handset makers. That seems problematic for a UI overhaul.

For starters, Jackson said, Cover is made to work all the way back to Android 2.3, a.k.a. Gingerbread. He shrugged off compatibility problems, saying they just take a little work.

Jackson defined success for Cover as “if we can sprint over the next year or two, and get a million people, or five million people to love Cover. If when you switch from HTC to Samsung, the first app you add is Cover, and the phone knows you immediately. Like SwiftKey. They’re doing great, have millions of users in their own right, and deals where they ship with the device.”

For a tour of the app and more on Jackson’s perspective, here’s a video interview with AllThingsD‘s Ina Fried:

Samsung Galaxy Gear Return Rate at Best Buy is More Than 30%

Samsung Galaxy Gear

When a Samsung exec reportedly admitted that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch “lacks something special,” he wasn’t kidding. Leaked sales documents obtained by Geek.com show that the return rate for the Galaxy Gear “is trending above 30%” in Best Buy stores, an alarmingly high rate for a device that Samsung had hoped would give it an early edge in the smartwatch wars with Apple, Google and other major tech companies. The leaked memo also shows that Samsung is asking retail employees to get a better handle on why the Gear has such a high return rate. Although the Gear is a first-of-its-kind smartwatch that’s been given a terrific ad campaign, it has been widely panned by many reviewers as not delivering much of value to its users.

Read the full story at Boy Genius Report.

Report: Galaxy Note III, Galaxy Gear to Ship Shortly After Unveiling

Samsung

On September 4, Samsung is widely expected to debut the Galaxy Note 3 and possibly a smartwatch called the Galaxy Gear. Introducing a product isn’t the same as offering it for sale, however, so how long will consumers have to wait for the new products? Not long suggests one site. SamMobile, which generally has good Samsung sources, reported on Monday that the two devices will launch very soon after their introductions. According to the site, shipping of the Galaxy Note 3 is planned for week 36 of the year – the same week of Samsung’s press event for the device – while the Galaxy Gear watch is slated to arrive on sale just four weeks later. Samsung is likely to announce official availability dates by region when introducing both products. The site also suggests that the Galaxy Note 3 will start in a 32 GB version to provide more free space to device owners.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

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