Samsung reportedly rushing to dismantle TouchWiz as it feels heat from Apple in Q4

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TouchWiz has long been known as being far too full of bloat and unnecessary software, but the real problem with Samsung’s version of Android is that these added features come with a hard hit on performance. According to a report this morning from SamMobile, the Korean company might be going as far as to remove all features from the OS that can possibly be downloaded—and this just so happens to coincide with today’s market share numbers showing that Apple and Samsung were neck-and-neck in Q4.

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Google Wallet expands cash sending through Gmail to the UK

UK Send Money Gmail Google Wallet

Starting today, Google is rolling out the ability for Gmail users in the United Kingdom to send cash as an attachment using Google Wallet, the company announced on its commerce blog.

Send Money in Gmail first rolled out in the United States after Google I/O in 2013, allowing Gmail users to send money as an attachment using Google Wallet without even requiring the recipient to be a Gmail user. Recipients just need a Wallet account, and the balance can be used on the Play Store or transferred to a connected bank account. Read more

IDC and Strategy Analytics show that Apple and Samsung were in a dead heat for Q4 2014

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Both IDC (above) and Strategy Analytics (below) produced their smartphone maketshare numbers for Q4 and both show Apple and Samsung in a neck and neck race for total Smartphone sales for the holiday quarter. Notably Samsung’s numbers are down 11% while Apple’s are up 46% in year over year. Android folks shouldn’t be too alarmed however because the smaller Android makers are more than making up for Samsung’s demise with Lenovo/Motorola up 78%, Huawei up 42% and Xiaomi up a whopping 178%. Even the ‘others’ which include a rising LG were up 30% year over year. Read more

Rolling Stone magazine archives coming to Google Play Newsstand tomorrow, initially free

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Rolling Stone magazine is making some of its archived issues available in the Google Play Newsstand app, with three or four major stories from each issue available for free. The move is being made in partnership with Google as a means of promoting the app, reports Fast Company.

Google Play’s global head of marketing Brian Irving says he views the Rolling Stone partnership as a way to demonstrate the possibilities of Google Play’s Newsstand, which he argues is better suited for content discovery than Apple’s Newsstand, due to features like customizable themes and key word searches.

Gus Wenner, son of Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, said there was enormous interest in archived stories when properly promoted …  Read more

LG posts 78% smartphone growth in US holiday quarter over last year

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LG posted its quarterly earnings numbers today and boasted  impressive numbers in its smartphone group. Globally, Smartphone sales were up 24% but in the US alone, smartphones shipments were up 78% for the quarter year over year. LG ended the year having moved 59.1 million smartphones, bolstered by its popular G3 flagship. Those aren’t Apple numbers by any stretch but still very solid.

LG also posted growth in its home entertainment sector but a net loss overall for the quarter mostly due to charges related to shutting down its Plasma business.

SEOUL, Jan. 29, 2015 ― LG Electronics Inc. (LG) today announced net profit of KRW 501.40 billion (USD 474.81million) for full-year 2014, an increase of 125 percent over 2013 net profit. Operating profit increased significantly in 2014 to KRW 1.83 trillion (USD 1.73 billion) from KRW 1.25 trillion (USD 1.14 billion) in 2013, an increase of 46 percent. Full-year consolidated revenue of KRW 59.04 trillion (USD 55.91 billion) was mainly boosted by a 24 percent increase in smartphone shipments.

The LG Mobile Communications Company reported a 16 percent increase in annual revenue to KRW 15.06 trillion (USD 14.26 billion) with help from North America, where shipments increased 78 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014 from the previous year. Fourth-quarter revenue of 3.78 trillion (USD 3.48 billion) was 5 percent higher than the same period in 2013. A total of 59.1 million smartphones were shipped in 2014, an increase of 24 percent from the previous year, among 78.2 million mobile handsets sold last year. Expecting a challenging year ahead with greater competition globally from various manufacturers, LG will concentrate on improving its brand power, operating more efficiently, and focusing on selective key markets.

Microsoft launches preview of revamped Outlook mail app based on Acompli for Android (Video)

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Microsoft announced today a new app for its Outlook email service on Android. The app [Google Play, Free] is based on the Acompli software that the company purchased in December for $200 million. The app includes “email triage” features found in the old app as well as new features to help appeal to a wider audience, such as the ability to toggle threaded conversation views.

The Outlook Android app will also support mail from third-party services beyond Microsoft’s. Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo email accounts can be plugged into the app, and attachments can be added to messages from cloud services like Google Drive and Dropox. Check out the video below …

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Jawbone introduces marketplace for partner apps and hardware

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Fitness gadget maker Jawbone announced today that it has launched a new “partner marketplace” for third-party apps and hardware that work together in an attempt to embrace the “Internet of Things.”

The new store features “smart home” products like Google’s Nest Learning Thermostat and other automation tools, such as Automatic’s driving assistant. Software, like the Sleepio app, are also available.

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Qualcomm says Snapdragon 810 chip has been dropped from an upcoming flagship, likely the Galaxy S6

Qualcomm-Snapdragon-8101Rumors regarding overheating issues with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor have plagued the chip since it was introduced last year. A report back in December claimed that the issues of the Snapdragon 810 could cause delays to the Galaxy S6, LG G3, and Sony Xperia Z4. In its earnings report today, Qualcomm has seemingly confirmed issues with the processor, adding that it has lowered its outlook for the second half of 2015 because of the problems.

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Google defends itself, says it fought WikiLeaks gag orders

We told you earlier this week about a letter sent from WikiLeaks to Google, asking why it took so long for the Mountain View company to notify them of federal warrants for their personal data. Google apparently stood up against the gag orders preventing them from doing so (via The Washington Post), saying it “challenged the secrecy from the beginning.”

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