China’s technology ministry warns country is too dependent on Android

android-china

Google has been accused today of having too much power with the Android operating system in China, according to a white paper published by a group from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Reuters reported today that the technology ministry said “Google had discriminated against some Chinese companies developing their operating systems by delaying the sharing of codes.”

The white paper also claimed the country’s R&D in the mobile operating space is “too dependent on Android” and that there is an opportunity for China to develop its own operating systems.

The paper pointed to Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group, and Huawei Technologies as companies developing their own operating systems and claimed that Google has deals in place that “restrain the business development of mobile devices of these companies.”

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Report: Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will include ‘Eye Scroll’ feature

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According to a report from The New York Times, citing ” a person who has tried the phone,” Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S4 will include a new “eye scrolling” feature that tracks the user’s eye to determine where to focus and when to scroll on the page:

The phone will track a user’s eyes to determine where to scroll, said a Samsung employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text.

As noted in the report, Samsung actually filed for a trademark in Europe for “Eye Scroll” in January and again in the United States for “Samsung Eye Scroll” in February.

Apple and other companies have filed patents for similar technology that tracks the movement of a user’s eyes to zoom, scroll, and manipulate the elements on a display without physically touching it. Read more

Samsung teases Galaxy S4 with new ad campaign, new specs leak

Samsung does some great ads. This is not one of them.

Samsung teased last week that the upcoming event would live streamed to Times Square and beyond.

Specs for the device seem to be a 4.99-inch 1080p display, quad-core Exnos 5410 1.7GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, and a PowerVR SGX 544 MP GPU. Add to that a 13-megapixel shooter. We heard these specs before—and having a 5-inch 1080p display seems to be what 2013 is all about.

https://twitter.com/Faryaab/status/308204123877154816

We’ll be on-hand at the event in a few weeks. In the meantime, we have these commercials to get us by.

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Samsung officially unveils Samsung Wallet, a ‘Passbook-inspired’ digital ticket app

Samsung is today officially unveiling its “Samsung Wallet” mobile app solution, and it is quickly gaining attention for similarities to Apple’s iOS 6 ticket, card, and coupon solution known as Passbook. For those familiar with Apple’s app, Samsung Wallet appears to work much the same way. The app will allow users to store event tickets, membership cards, coupons, and boarding passes in one central app. From there, users will be able to present the digital passes and companies supporting the standard can scan a barcode included for each digital ticket.

Samsung has already posted a developers document for the app to outline how devs can implement support for the app using an API (via The Verge). The document also explained how the app works and noted that users will also receive real-time notifications related to their tickets, just as Apple does with Passbook.

Passbook-vs-SamsungWallet

As for the Apple influence, aside from the look and feel of the app and icon (pictured above), the Samsung Wallet app doesn’t seem to offer any additional functionality above and beyond what Passbook already offers. The company confirmed to TheVerge that the app will initially not be integrated with NFC wallet solutions (despite a new partnership with Visa), but it did confirm partners for the app’s launch include: Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.  Read more

Former Apple ad man Ken Segall says Apple’s advertising has lost momentum to Samsung

In the video above, Bloomberg West speaks with 72andSunny’s partner and creative director Jason Norcross about the thinking behind some of Samsung’s latest campaigns. 

If there is one person qualified to discuss the state of Apple’s current marketing efforts, it’s Ken Segall. Working alongside Steve Jobs’ creative team for more than a decade, Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac, served as creative director at ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He created some of Apple’s most iconic ads such as the legendary Think Different campaign. Segall took some time on his Observatory blog today to share his thoughts on how “momentum has been lost” for Apple’s marketing department at the hands of none other than the company’s biggest rival, Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising…The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung…Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

According to Segall, the two big reasons Samsung’s advertising has eclipsed Apple’s is due to Sammy’s massive advertising budget and willingness to “bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.” Specifically, Segall pointed to Samsung’s decision to run creative new ads at the Super Bowl and Oscars:  Read more

WSJ: Google execs worried by Samsung’s success with Android

Samsung-Galaxy-S3While Google might be happy with the mobile ad revenue Samsung brings in shipping roughly 40 percent of the devices running Android, The Wall Street Journal said Google execs worry behind closed doors that Samsung could use its dominance to renegotiate its cut of revenue from mobile ads and search:

Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google’s lucrative mobile-ad business, people familiar with the matter said.

Citing its usual “people familiar with the matter,” WSJ claimed executives at Google are betting on companies like HTC and HP to release compelling Android devices that compete with Samsung. According to the report, Android chief Andy Rubin discussed the situation at a recent event for Google executives. He described Motorola as “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.” Read more

Samsung and Visa announce deal to preload Visa payWave on future Samsung devices

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Samsung and Visa today announced a deal that would see future Samsung devices preloaded with the Visa payWave applet, allowing consumers to “wave and pay” through Visa’s contactless payment terminals. The Visa payWave service will of course only come preloaded on select Samsung devices, but rumor has it that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the first to receive the functionality. While Samsung and Visa were showing off the technology with existing NFC-enabled devices at MWC this week, CNET and others have apparently confirmed through sources that the S4 will indeed be the first device to get the applet preloaded.

  • Global Strategic Alliance
    Visa and Samsung have agreed to work together to enable the next generation of Samsung mobile devices with Visa payment technology, and to partner with financial institutions to accelerate the availability of mobile payment solutions globally.
  • Samsung to Connect to Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service
    In order to enable financial institutions to launch large scale mobile (NFC) payment programs, Samsung will offer banks the ability to load payment account information over-the-air to a secure chip embedded inSamsung devices, using Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service3 which is linked to Samsung KMS (Key Management System) – a service that creates secure data storage domains for issuers.
  • Samsung Awarded Global Visa payWave License
    The Visa payWave mobile applet will be preloaded onto selected next-generation Samsung mobile devices featuring NFC technology and an embedded secure element. Off the shelf, these devices are ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information – a simple step that consumers will be able to initiate using a mobile payment application provided by their financial institution.

Visa also noted that the partnership, which isn’t exclusive with Samsung, will allow financial institutions with mobile payment programs to “use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices.”
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The year of the tablet phone continues with the 7-inch Asus Fonepad & new HD Padfone hybrid

Following the official announcement of Samsung’s 8-inch Galaxy Note smartphone and tablet hybrid, Asus today made things official for its own 7-inch tablet with built-in 3G calling capabilities. We’re not exactly sure if consumers are asking for a 7-inch or larger device for making calls, but the addition of an HSPA+ radio is on top of otherwise decent specs compared to its competitors. Dubbed the FonePad, Asus said the device includes a 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1,280-by-800 HD display, and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Fonepad also packs a 4,270mAh battery that Asus said should bring around 9 hours of battery life.

As for availability, Asus said the Fonepad would arrive to customers in the U.K. sometime in late Q2 of this year with prices starting at £179 (inc VAT) for the 16GB variant.

The company also announced another phone/tablet hybrid today, the next-generation PadFone. Asus has released previous generations of the device including a smartphone and tablet dock that allows users to quickly switch from the tablet form factor to a smartphone. It announced it is upgrading the smartphone portion to a 5-inch, 1080p display, while the 10.1-inch tablet gets a new 1,920-by-1,200 display and upgraded internals (via Engadget):

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Galaxy Note 8.0 launched, takes Apple’s iPad Mini head on

After lots of leaks, rumors and outright company forecasts,  Samsung today announced the Galaxy Note 8.0, an 8-inch iPad Mini competitor. The 1280×800 pixel display will have a slightly better PPI of 189 than the Mini and match camera specs and a quad core processor. Samsung’s Note 8.0 will also double up the Mini with 2GB of RAM and add an S-Pen for those who need/want it as well as expandable storage via the Micro-SD card slot. Just like the Galaxy Tab 7 2 it has an IR blaster with a rebranded Peel station navigation. On the down side, it won’t have LTE (only HSPA+) and it will run a slightly out-dated 4.1.2 version of Android Jelly Bean. It also weighs almost an ounce more than the iPad Mini.

Oh and it can make calls like a huge phone.

Will this go head to head against the Mini? My gut reaction is no. Samsung’s Touchwiz overlay and pen will keep these out of the hands of mainstream users. No price or launch date is yet planned but the specs tell me (720P TFT display) that Samsung is aiming for a low price. I’d expect to see this at $250 in the US probably just after it launches in the 2nd quarter in a number of Asian and EU territories.

Press release follows:
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Motorola offering $50 Google Play app credit with purchase of a new phone

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 1.26.30 PM

With so much mobile competition, companies are always trying to get you to buy their phone, today, Motorola has decided to join in on the fun. In an announcement made online, Motorola is offering a $50 dollar Google Play gift card to use on anything available in the app store. You’ll only get the gift card though if you purchase one of the eligible phones Motorola is promoting such as the Droid Razr Maxx or HD. The sale ends on March 4th, so if you want in on the deal you’ll have to act fast. The full list of phones is available below.

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