Samsung Galaxy S III screams in initial benchmarking

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AnandTech did some benchmarks on Samsung’s new little puppy today and got some pretty impressive results. Almost across the board, the Samsung Galaxy S III bested or matched the fastest phones out there with its quad core Exynos 1.4GHz processor and Mali-400/MP4 GPU. It did especially well in browser .js tests with the stock browser (assuming it isn’t Chrome, which could make it even faster).

Go to AnandTech for all of the juicy details.

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Samsung launches S-Pebble MP3 player and Scan and Match music service

Alongside the introduction of its new Samsung Galaxy S III, the company briefly talked about a music player accessory/companion product called the “S-Pebble.” The device is a refresh of Samsung’s old pebble MP3 player line, and it apparently has a 17-hour battery life and 4GB of built-in memory. However, it is not really an accessory for the Galaxy other than its pebble-blue and marble-white hyper glaze color schemes.

The S-Pebble will go nicely with Samsung’s new Scan and Match feature baked into its Music Hub service offering over 17 million songs. We do not have all the details on the feature, but it certainly sounds a lot like Apple’s iTunes Match service that matches your personal library of songs with songs stored in the cloud. The feature appears to be included in the cost of Samsung’s $10 per month fee for access to the Music Hub streaming service.
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Google Play rolling out direct carrier billing for movies, music, and books

For quite a while, Android users on many carriers in a handful of countries have had access to direct carrier billing for apps. Google is rolling out the option today to all content available through Google Play including music, movies, and books to certain carriers in the United States and Japan. While direct carrier billing is available to AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (everyone but Verizon who operates its own Android store), Google’s announcement seems to indicate the expanded service will launch first on T-Mobile in the United States with Sprint coming soon. It will also roll out to Softbank, DoCoMo, and KDDI customers in Japan. You can check out a full list of countries and carriers that support direct billing here.

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Microsoft ordered to remove Xbox 360, Windows 7 from German market in Motorola patent dispute

According to a report from Reuters, a judge in Mannheim ruled against Microsoft today in an ongoing patent dispute with Motorola Mobility by ordering the company to remove its Xbox 360 and Windows 7 products from German retailers. In response, Microsoft claimed that Motorola is unable to enforce the court’s decision due to a prior ruling granting Microsoft a preliminary injunction in a U.S. court:

“Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”

Today’s ruling means Judge Holger Kircher has decided Microsoft broke contracts by using video-compression software covered in Motorola patents in its Xbox and Windows products. As noted by Reuters, the ITC last week ruled that Microsoft infringed on different Motorola patents covering both video compression and wireless technologies. European Union regulators have apparently started several investigations on how much Motorola charges competitors to license its patents because of the court’s decision and previous complaints from Apple, Microsoft, and others.

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Android gets ported to C#, ditching Java

 XobotOS running on a Linux workstation

The team over at Xamarin has worked hard to port the Java part of Android to C#, setting way for a new OS called “XobotOS.” The team announced the news in a blog post this evening and uploaded the code onto Github to be used and modified by fellow developers. The team explained the technical aspects:

Android’s core codebase contains over a million lines of Java code, and we knew we wanted to be able to stay up to date with new releases of Android — in fact, we started with the Android 2.x source code back in 2011, and then upgraded XobotOS to Android 4.0 when Google open sourced Ice Cream Sandwich earlier this year. So for us, the only reasonable option was to do a machine translation of Java to C#, building and maintaining any necessary tools along the way.

XobotOS offers a version of Android without any Java whatsoever, and it was achieved through a machine translation to C#. You can read the team’s full post for more details, and check out the project on Github.

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Ice Cream Sandwich doubles to 5 percent of all Android devices

Last month, at this time, Android 4.0 ICS hovered at under 3 percent of all machines hitting Google Play (or “Android Market,” as it was called then). Today, Google posted numbers that are impressive for just one month later. The company said 4.4-percent of machines are on the latest version of Android and another 0.5-percent are just an update behind, which totals 5 percent of devices overall.

See the baby bump in the graph below:

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BlackBerry 10’s best feature is actually a third-party camera app, integrated?

Update: Scalado won’t confirm publicly what partners use its technology, but we’ve managed to confirm with a source close to the situation that RIM is using Scalado’s Rewind technology in BlackBerry 10.

If you happened to catch the highlights from RIM’s unveiling of BlackBerry 10 this morning, you probably noticed that slick new camera app with the ability to “rewind” time and capture the perfect expression of each person in the image. If you thought it looked familiar, it was probably because it looks almost identical to the Rewind technology from Swedish mobile imaging company Scalado.

The company has been showing off its tech on Android and other platforms from partners such as Qualcomm and Intel for over a year. A video of Scalado’s Rewind tech is above, and BlackBerry 10’s is in the video above at the 8:30 mark or below at 1:15. Scalado appears to have already partnered with at least HTC for some of its other tech and works specifically with OEMs and developers to implement its apps.

It looks like RIM may have partnered with Scalado to implement its tech, which would mean BB 10’s coolest new feature is likely headed to Android and other platforms soon. We reached out to Scalado and will update if we hear back.

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Samsung remains top OEM in March, as Android and iOS capture 80 percent of US market

Following IDC’s report this morning that highlighted Apple’s continued growth among mobile phone marketshare worldwide, while coming second to Samsung in global smartphone marketshare, research firm comScore just released its numbers for United States mobile subscribers for the three-month period ending March 2012.

According to comScore, Apple posted impressive growth during the quarter with 30.7-percent marketshare among smartphone platforms in the U.S (up from 29.6-percent). Increasing from 47.3-percent in December 2011 to 51 percent in March 2012, Android was able to grab the top position for platforms during the quarter. Growth for Android and iOS continues to come at the expense of RIM. The company grabbed just 12.3-percent of the platform market in March, which is down from 16 percent in December 2011. Microsoft also lost marketshare with 3.9-percent, which is down from 4.7-percent…
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IDC: Samsung takes top smartphone marketshare position in Q1, overtakes Nokia for mobile phones

Today, research firm IDC published its Q1 2012 report of top mobile phone and smartphone shipments worldwide. While Apple was able to post impressive growth with a high of 8.8-percent of the total mobile phone market (up from 4.6-percent a year ago) and 24.2-percent of the global smartphone market (up from 18.3-percent), Samsung was able overtake Apple for the top spot with a year-over-year change of 267 percent and 29.1-percent of the total smartphone market. Samsung also took the top spot of global mobile phone marketshare from Nokia for the first time since 2004.

Meanwhile, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5% year over year in 1Q12, as Samsung overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position. Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones in 1Q12 compared to 101.7 million units in 1Q11. The 42.5% year-over-year growth was 1% higher than IDC’s forecast of 41.5% for the quarter, and lower than the 57.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2011

In terms of shipments among smartphone vendors, Apple took the second spot behind Samsung up from 18.6 million units in Q1 2011 to 35.1 million in Q1 2012. Apple was only behind Samsung with 42.2 million units shipped, up from just 11.5 million a year ago.

The company does not publicly release shipments from Samsung, and IDC’s number of 42.2 million smartphones shipped during Q1 is significantly more than the 32 million estimated by IHS iSuppli just days ago. If IHS’s estimate were correct, it would put Samsung much closer to the 35.1 million devices Apple confirmed it shipped sold during the quarter.

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Apple axes Chomp for Android following acquisition

We reported on 9to5Mac in February that Apple acquired discovery app Chomp and was thought to be using the company’s technology to help improve the App Store and iTunes experience. We later confirmed Chomp’s CEO Ben Keighran and CTO Cathy Edwards already started working at Apple on the iTunes teams. Today, it appears Apple has shut down Chomp for Android with Chomp’s website now only listing links to iOS versions of the app, as noted by GigaOM.

The “Download Chomp” tab in the upper right corner of the now leads directly to the iTunes download page and only iPhone and iPad options are available for searching online. However, when searching for apps on the website, changing the platform to “Android” in the URL still allows you to view Android apps. As we noted earlier, Chomp helps power Verizon’s Android market, so it is unclear what will happen with that partnership going forward.

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Samsung confirms next Galaxy device to be dubbed the Galaxy S III

I feel like we know these already…but then again, there are rumors contradicting it. One of Samsung’s executives dropped word on the company’s Q1 2012 earnings call this evening (via The Verge) that the name of the next Galaxy device is indeed “Galaxy S III.” Samsung is set to launch the Galaxy S III at an event in London on May 3 as the successor to the popular Galaxy S II. According to Samsung’s earnings announcement this evening, the Galaxy S II helped lead to strong revenues for the January to March quarter. The company said that the Galaxy S III would see similar sales during the summer.

Samsung confirmed in a press release Wednesday evening that the Galaxy S III would feature the company’s all new 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core processor. Other rumored specs for the device include a 4.6-inch display, 1GB of RAM, 8-megapixel camera, 16GB of storage, and a 2,050mAh battery. It is unclear if Samsung will elect for Galaxy S III or Galaxy S3. I am hoping for the former.

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Samsung reports Q1 earnings: $5.16B in operating profit, $39.9B in revenue

Samsung just announced its Q1 2012 earnings this evening and reported revenues of 45.27 trillion won (roughly $40 billion USD), which is up 22 percent YOY, and a record operating profit of 5.85 trillion won (roughly $5.1 billion), and a consolidated net profit of 5.o.5 trillion won. Samsung saw “an increase in profitability in display panels and mobile phones pushed up quarterly operating profit margins by 1.7 percentage points to 12.9 percent,” according to the press release. The South Korea-based company also saw strong Galaxy Note and Galaxy S II sales, which contributed to high profits for the quarter. However, many potential customers are most likely waiting for the release of the Galaxy S III set to be launched at a London media event May 3. Samsung announced yesterday that the S III would be the first handset to pack the company’s all new 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor.

Samsung should have another strong Q2 lead by the Galaxy S III. We will hop on the company’s call with investors to hear more details about Q1 2012 and hopefully (although unlikely) something about the Galaxy S III. You can read the full press release after the break.


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