Samsung fails to obtain Presidential veto from Obama for Apple/ITC import ban case

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With a U.S. import ban previously issued by the ITC set to lock out certain Samsung devices at midnight last night, Bloomberg reports that the company has failed to obtain a veto from President Barack Obama:

The Korean company had argued that the ban should be overturned on public policy grounds, especially since a similar order it won against Apple was vetoed by the administration in August. Samsung can now seek a delay in the ban from a U.S. appeals court that will consider the entire case on legal grounds.

“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban to proceed, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, said in a statement today.

In August, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and issued a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices in a long-running case that stemmed from a countersuit originally filed by Apple back in 2011. The news came shortly after the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. Like Apple, Samsung was going to attempt to get a veto on the decision by the US President, the only person with the power to overturn ITC import bans.  Read more

KitKat to drop Messaging app, integrate SMS and MMS into Hangouts?

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Android Police has screenshots suggesting that both SMS and MMS messaging are being integrated into Google Hangouts, with the standalone Messaging app likely to be dropped from KitKat (Android 4.4) – first on Nexus devices and later on others.

The screenshots claim to be from Hangouts 1.3. It’s just speculation that this will ship with KitKat – it’s possible that it may be released before or after. We have recently seen claimed screenshots of KitKat that include the Messaging app, but that isn’t inconsistent with the idea that it would be dropped from the Nexus first …  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google Chairman says Android is more secure than the iPhone

During a Q&A session at the Gartner Symposium, Eric Schmidt was asked for his response to people who say that Android’s security is lacking compared to competitors such as Apple’s iPhone. Schmidt’s answer was straightforward:

“Not secure? It’s more secure than the iPhone.”

This response understandably elicited laughter from the audience.

Sure, Google has created software to ensure that Android is more secure than it used to be, but that hasn’t stopped malware creators from exploiting holes in the operating system’s Play Store or creating fake apps for the purpose of phishing user information. Yes, Apple has had their share of security issues as well, but Schmidt’s assertion that Android is more secure than the iPhone seems just a bit on the ridiculous side.

Skype for Android updated to version 4.4 with a new tablet interface

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Hot on the heels of an iOS update this morning, Skype has just updated its Android app to version 4.4. Most notably, the update brings an all new interface to tablet users that “puts conversations first” by prominently displaying your most recent calls and chats. Tablet users should also see significant quality and performance enhancements, as well.

Skype is also touting that the video call quality has greatly improved in version 4.4 of the app. In “good network conditions”, you should experience up to four times the resolution of previous versions with improved clarity and frame rates. The update is also available to Kindle Fire HD and HDX users, who will be able to enjoy hardware accelerated video.

Other enhancements include: Read more

Google adds public Transit directions to Glass for Android users

Google announced today that its latest update to Glass (XE10) includes a few new features with the most notable being the addition of Transit directions. Now, Google Glass users paired to Android device will be able to see public transit directions in addition to other related information, like when to change trains for example, on their Glass display:

We have loads of great updates every month, but there’s one we’re particularly jazz hands about — Transit. Explorers who have paired Glass to their Android phones will now have the option to see public transit directions when navigating on Glass. When you get directions and select transit, you’ll be able to see all sorts of helpful info, like where to change trains, how far you have to walk to the bus stop and how long it should take to reach your final destination.

Google has also added the “ability to tap to select links in notifications.” Read more

Boeing prepares to move its 40,000+ smartphone users to Android if/when BlackBerry shutters

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It’s no secret that BlackBerry is currently amidst a downward spiral that will either land the company in bankruptcy, or more likely, to be acquired or end up as a privately-owned-firm. Unsurprisingly, the uncertain fate of the once Canada-based technology superstar is causing concern from companies and employees of firms that have relied on BlackBerry’s secure devices, enterprise software, and emailing/messaging functionality for many years.

We’ve learned that the concern over BlackBerry’s fate is definitely causing talk internally at one major firm: Boeing, the global aviation and space-based technologies company. According to a source, Boeing currently has just under 41,000 employees using BlackBerry smartphones, and Boeing is not sitting still on the possibility of service interruptions due to BlackBerry’s uncertain fate. We’re told that Boeing has conducted meetings in recent weeks with BlackBerry about this topic. A summary of the meeting was sent via email to Boeing employees:

Read more

Samsung tries to establish itself as company that brought the fabled smartwatch to life with new ads

Despite the device’s universally-abysmal reviews, Samsung is continuing to market its Galaxy Gear smartwatch as the wave of the future—and the past—with two new TV ads. The first, titled “A Long Time Coming,” Samsung uses clips from some of the most popular TV shows of decades past to set the Galaxy Gear up as the long-awaited wrist-mounted computer from Dick TraceyThe Jetsons, Knight Rider, and more.

The ad has a similar feel to Apple’s “Hello” TV spot, which it launched with the iPhone 5c last month, but rather than featuring customers using the advertised product, Samsung’s ad shows fictional characters using Hollywood’s various conceptions of the smartwatch.

Read more

Photos and tech specs of next-generation Nexus phone appear in leaked service manual

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Android Police has tracked down a leaked instruction manual for servicing what appears to be an upcoming Nexus phone. The handset is designated LG-D821 and looks to be the next device to support the pure Android experience. The manual contains instructions on servicing the unreleased phone, and includes detailed descriptions of the device’s internal components and photos of the phone itself.

According to the document, the phone will feature… Read more

Review: Samsung Galaxy Mega – Carrying around a 6.3-inch tablet as your phone isn’t as crazy as it seems

Size comparison between Nexus 7, iPhone 5s and Galaxy Note 2 and S4

“Is that a Samsung Galaxy Mega in your pocket?”, is how the joke usually starts.  Samsung, never content with having the biggest phone out there, released its crazy ‘Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3‘ contraption with a whopping 6.3″ display on AT&T customers in the US recently and I wanted to see if I could actually get by with it, and it alone, as not only my “Internet Communicator” but also my phone.

I should probably preface this with the fact that I’m a very sparse phone user. I rarely give my number out and even when I get a call, I rarely answer it. When I’m at my desk, I use Google Voice, Hangouts, Skype and iChat for voice communications. When I’m on the road, I’m on a cheap unlimited data plan which affords me 100 minutes of talk time a month. I usually use about half of that IYSWIM.

So with that in mind, how were my few weeks with the Mega?

Read more

AT&T Moto X users getting the camera improvement firmware update

Beginning today, AT&T Moto X owners will be able to download the camera improvements that debuted a few weeks ago. According to AnandTech, this update greatly improves the quality of images taken with the Moto X camera.

There are some other improvements in this update from AT&T that focus on Touchless control accuracy, updates to Motorola Migrate and finding lost phones functionality.

  • Camera enhancements:
    • Enhanced camera auto-white balance performance and color accuracy.
    • Improved exposure when taking photos outside or backlit, and improved clarity in low light.
    • Faster touch-to-focus time and reduced unnecessary refocusing in low light or scenes with continuous motion.
  • Faster response and improved accuracy when using Touchless Control and easier set up and training of the “Ok Google Now” trigger.
  • Enhanced transfer of content from old phone to new phone using Motorola Migrate.
  • Fine-tuned feature that allows you to find phone when it is lost that sometimes prevented a lost phone from reporting its location.

More at AT&T. Read more

Samsung predicts record profits as HTC reports first ever loss

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Samsung is predicting a record $9.4B profit for Q3 in its latest earnings guidance, on estimated revenues of $53.9B. While both figures are estimates rather than confirmed results, Samsung’s earnings guidance is usually pretty much spot-on. If confirmed, this will build on the company’s record numbers in Q2.

HTC, in contrast, reported its first ever loss, as it warned back in July. Its revenue of $1.6B was lower than even its lower-end forecast, and it lost $101M – the company’s first ever loss in its 16-year history.

Bloomberg attributes the wildly differing performances to sales of mid-market handsets in growth markets like India and China.

While HTC has focused a revival on its flagship One handset and $12 million marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., Samsung has expanded its range of mid-priced smartphones such as the Galaxy Golden and S4 Mini to capture sales in China and India …  Read more