Microsoft’s Snap Attack word-building game will stretch your vocabulary

Snap Attack Microsoft recently released Snap Attack, a word-building game for Android that places players against each other in a beat the clock tournament challenge. Games consist of two and a half minute rounds, where players from across the globe compete with each other using colored movable word tiles to “snap” together words on fixed black letter tiles across the game board. Read more

LG G Vista now available from Verizon for $100 on a two year service agreement

LG G Vista

After weeks of leaks and tips, the LG G Vista has officially landed on Verizon. Priced at $100 on a two year service agreement, this handset is a case of a big screen and not so big hardware. The G Vista packs a robust 5.7-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter and Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Samsung hints at upcoming smartphones including one w/ “new materials”

galaxy-alpha-6

During its earnings call with investors where Samsung announced a 31 percent drop for its profits in its mobile division, the company also slipped in a small announcement about upcoming smartphones to reassure investors going into the next quarter. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Samsung executive Kim Hyun-Joon told investors that the company would launch a new model with a large screen and another that will be made with “new materials.” Read more

As expected, Samsung Mobile profits slump 31 percent as Chinese competition bites

Trial Begins In Apple-Samsung Patent Battle

Samsung has announced a 31 percent drop in for its mobile division, broadly in line with its earlier guidance, when almost 200 managers “voluntarily” handed back 25 percent of their bonuses. Year-on-year operating profits fell from 6.43T won ($6.28B) to 4.42T won ($4.32B).

Chinese competition in low- and mid-range handsets was cited as one of the key reasons for the slump, with Samsung Mobile’s SVP Kim Hyun-Joon promising that the company would address this.

We will respond more aggressively to meet demand in the Chinese market [...] in the latter half of this year by introducing more products with better specification as well as better price competitiveness …

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Google once again facing anti-trust investigation in Europe over Android marketshare

Android-L-Preview-Nexus

Google is no stranger to anti-trust lawsuits—especially when it comes to the popularity of its Android platform and the first-party app installation requirements to which it holds third-party handset makers—but European anti-trust regulators are preparing to bring a case against the search giant over that very issue.

It’s already been established in previous cases that in order to use the latest version of Android on their handsets, manufacturers must agree to also install a set of Google-branded apps, such as YouTube and Gmail. The European anti-trust regulators argue that this is an abuse of Google’s 80% marketshare that should be stopped.

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Samsung scores a trio of patents for smartwatches with round faces

samsung-round-smartwatch

A lot of Android Wear enthusiasts are holding out for the Moto 360 strictly because of its casual appearance. So far most smartwatches have square faces that make them look more like a gadget and less like a fashion statement. While that may work for some people, others are looking for a timepiece that compliments their wardrobe, hence the Moto 360’s popularity. However, some recently awarded patents suggests that Motorola’s forthcoming smartwatch may eventually receive some round competition from Samsung.

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FreedomPop brings its free voice, text & data plans to tablets including a $199 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3

FreedomPop-Galaxy-tab-3

FreedomPop, the carrier offering free and cheap data plans on Sprint’s network, today announced that it’s bringing its free voice, data, and text plans to tablet users starting with the iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3. Since LTE iPads only support data over their cellular connection, the carrier provides iPad users with Apple headsets with mics for making calls and an app that routes calls/texts through its own VoIP platform.

While there are competitors like Skype that enable VoIP calling on iPads already, FreedomPop has a couple things going for it. The company’s CEO Stephen Stokols notes that “unlike some apps, we actually provision a new unique phone number and enable voice mail, number porting, etc, on it” …  Read more

Samsung & Apple lose share to smaller Chinese OEMs in Q2 smartphone shipment numbers

IDC-smartphone-shipments-worldwide-Q2-2014

Following releasing its second quarter data for tablet shipments worldwide, IDC today released its Q2 2014 report for smartphone shipments during the three month period that ended in June. The numbers line up with Apple’s fiscal Q3 earnings call that took place earlier this month where the company reported iPhone sales of 35.1 million units for the quarter. With 295.3 million units shipped total during Q2, IDC notes that both Samsung and Apple lost share to the smaller Chinese manufacturers: Read more

SwiftKey updated with performance improvements and new themes

SwiftKey

SwiftKey received an update today that resolves some of the keyboard app’s recent performance issues. According to the software’s changelog, users should experience improved typing, loading times, translations, and several other bug fixes for glitches that caused force closes. In addition to some much needed technical improvements, SwiftKey announced the availability of five new themes: Spotlight Purple, Edge Green, Pulse Yellow, Pulse Pink and Hazy Pink.  If you’re interested in upgrading the look and feel of your keyboard, the outfit is holding a special summer sale that discounts prices on select themes by up to 33 percent.

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NVIDIA’s Shield Tablet is now available, but is it worth your $300?

tablet-controller-pair-1280

After a thick layer of rumors, NVIDIA finally announced its Shield Tablet, which is now available today starting at $300. The chip maker’s new portable gaming device features an 8-inch 920×1,200 display, a Tegra K1 GPU, a 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex A15 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 4.0 and 16GB of storage space. There’s also a 32GB LTE variant of NVIDIA’s new gaming slate, which bumps the device’s price up to $400. Focused on gamers, the device also has an optional $60 controller that is somewhat reminiscent of the Xbox 360’s gamepad.

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Amazon Fire Phone teardown analysis reveals how dynamic perspective killed the phone

fire

The reason Amazon’s Fire Phone has failed to impress is that it spent so much on the “gimmick” of dynamic perspective that it only had enough cash left to build an otherwise mediocre phone – the conclusion of a component analysis of a teardown of the phone.

Dynamic perspective allows the phone to detect and respond to head movements when viewing the phone’s display, but has been widely seen by reviewers as a novelty or gimmick.

Following iFixit’s earlier teardown of the Fire Phone, re/code has been given sight of a component costing following a separate teardown by research form IHS. This reveals that the total component cost of the Fire Phone is around $205 – more expensive even than Apple’s flagship iPhone 5S. The cost of the dynamic perspective technology left little room for anything but mid-range specs in the rest of the handset, says IHS …  Read more