Samsung touts cutting-edge marketing campaign for converting iPhone users to Galaxy S III [Photos]

Samsung let New Yorkers experience the all-new Galaxy S III today at a release event in Manhattan, while the company reiterated its goal to “win over” the competition’s user base (ahem, iPhone 4S users) with this latest Android offering.

Chief Marketing Officer Tom Pendleton and Chief Product Officer Kevin Packingham were on stage this afternoon to celebrate the S III’s launch on all the major U.S. carriers. They also unveiled their marketing strategy, with a few numbers on mobile sales. The executives revealed that Samsung sold 61 million devices in the United States—just add another 80 million for the worldwide sales. They further pinpointed the S III as the fastest-selling pre-order smartphone in the company’s stateside history.

The Galaxy-branded smartphone boasts many impressive features, such as Ice Cream Sandwich OS, but the South Korea-based manufacturer focused on the S III’s uniqueness, 2100 mAh battery, 4.65-inch high-definition screen, 2 GB of RAM, LTE capability, and integrated sharing options.

“We want to show you five things no other phone can do,” added Packingham, while touting the S III’s bevy of highlights.

The chief explained how the Galaxy Nexus successor packs an “All Share Group Cast” feature for sharing documents and media anytime or anywhere. Meanwhile, the “Share Shot” tech specifically—and automatically—streams photographs to friends, but “S Beam” is available for those who want to send large video files or even contacts with just one tap. Next up is the “Smart Stay” feature, which maintains screen brightness, so users are never again interrupted by a dimming display. The last showcased feature is the “Pop-up Play” that allows S III owners to do multitask such as watching video and texting simultaneously.

A gallery of the event is below.

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Nuance overhauls Swype for Android with word prediction, letter tracing, and Dragon voice-recognition [Video]

Nuance just released a significant update to its Swype keyboard software that it acquired last year.

The entire UI is revamped. Users can still quick-swipe for input, but the keyboard now offers multimodal support with the option to press keys and initiate Nuance’s “Next Word Prediction” technology. Swype’s built-in dictionary actually learns over time and crops words from emails and texts for easier communication. Users also have the ability to handwrite or trace letters, words, or symbols, or they can click the Dragon Diction button to launch integrated voice-recognition.

The latest version of Swype is now in beta, but it is not compatible with all Android devices.

Visit beta.swype.com for more information.

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Google Offers app now available on iPhone for US users

Google just announced on the official Google Mobile Blog that it is releasing a Google Offers app for iPhone. The app is available on the App Store now for United States users, which is just in time to take advantage of today’s Netflix deal that offers movie theatre tickets for $1 to new subscribers (free one-month trial available here). Google outlined the available cities and some features for the iPhone app below:

Cities available (US only): Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, NYC, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Oakland / East Bay, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Paul, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington D.C.

  • Instant savings, just around the corner: Quickly discover offers near you in map view or search for deals by category to easily find the right deal for you.
  • See & use the deals you want, when you want them: All of your purchased and saved offers are tracked in “My Offers,” for easy access from your iPhone or online.
  • Savings made simple: Instantly redeem most offers with your iPhone, without having to print vouchers.
  • Never miss a great deal: Get notifications when new deals are available or when a deal that you’ve purchased or saved is about to expire.

USPTO grants Project Glass trackpad patent for Google Glasses [Video]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just granted Project Glass a patent that protects the trackpad feature of Google Glasses.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin appeared with his wife, Anne Wojcicki, on California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Current TV show last month to briefly let the politician demo a pair of Google Glasses. During “The Gavin Newsom Show” interview (above), Brin gave the world a glimpse as to how the space-age spectacles work.

Viewers immediately noticed a trackpad-like control on the right side of the augmented-reality glasses, but the USPTO just protected the feature by granting Project Glass a patent for the trackpad. The patent covers a sensor device, for either side, that tracks gestures and finely controls the heads-up display. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company also detailed several gestures that work with the trackpad—such as scrolling, tapping, or flipping—to provide visible, semi-transparent options.

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Report: Google warns legal action against YouTube-MP3.org, blocks website’s access to YouTube

Google wants to stop YouTube-MP3.org from ripping audio within YouTube’s videos.

TorrentFreak obtained a June 8-dated letter where the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company threatened to take legal action against the conversion website, which, according to Google’s numbers, rakes 1.3-million daily visitors.

Google’s video-sharing platform is free and provides content that is embeddable or accessible through its API, while YouTube-MP3.org is free, pulls audio from YouTube videos, and then converts those files into downloadable MP3s. Apparently, despite the API that gives developers access to many features, pirating any sound directly violates YouTube’s Terms of Service agreement.

The leaked letter addresses the website’s owner, Philip. In the warning, YouTube’s Associate Product Counsel Harris Cohen cited the platform’s terms for API, where he maintained that separating, isolating, or modifying “the audio or video components of any YouTube audiovisual content made available through the YouTube API” is strictly prohibited.

Cohen threatened “legal consequences” for YouTube-Mp3.org, and he gave the website a week to comply. TorrentFreak spoke with Philip, who said YouTube does not want to negotiate. He also mentioned Google immediately blocked his website’s servers from accessing YouTube.

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Google’s VP of Product talks Flipboard integration and enterprise, demos Hangouts on iPad [Audio]

Google’s Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz announced a Google+ partnership with Flipboard and teased an enterprise version of the social network at Le Web 2012 in London this morning, but he also demonstrated Hangouts…on an iPad.

According to TheNextWeb, the Flipboard partnership will stream Google+ feeds into the app as part of the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s new Google+ APIs that now sport limited availability for developers. The integration will also allow Flipboard users to get access to posts, media, and other data without visiting Google+ directly. Other social networks on Flipboard include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

Horowitz further demonstrated Google+ Hangouts at the conference with an iPad. TheNextWeb’s Jamillah Knowles was on-hand to ask the executive why he chose Apple’s tablet over an Android device for the conference, but his response was vague (as heard in the audio clip above).

The Googler was also obscure in regards to numbers. He noted the 170 million-user base for Google+ as a “stale” estimate, and he would not give specific stats on whether Google+ apps prod interaction. He did mention, however, that Google has dreams for its social network in the enterprise.

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WSJ: Google accelerating development of Siri competitor for Android devices

We heard several reports in the past that Google was working on various evolutions of its Voice Actions platform for Android. We heard of “Project Majel” in December, which, according to reports, is the codename for a new voice-controlled assistant app similar to Siri. In March, TechCrunch reported on a similar project dubbed “Google Assistant.” According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is accelerating its plans to launch a competitor to Apple’s Siri:

Google, meanwhile, has accelerated plans to launch its own Siri competitor that would work on Android-powered devices, people familiar with the matter have said.

The report does not offer any additional details on the project, but it noted: “In coming weeks, Google is expected to unveil a lower-priced Android tablet that it developed with Asustek Computer.” Google recently acquired Clever Sense, the makers of popular local recommendations app Alfred, and some have speculated the technology could be included in Google Siri competitor. Many expect the Google tablet, mentioned by WSJ, to unveil later this month at Google I/O, where we could also possibly see some of Jelly Bean and this rumored assistant feature.

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Frog to design Sharp’s Android phone overlays

From the wires:

“To capture the expanding market of smartphone users, we wanted the new Sharp AQUOS handsets to be a unique kind of Android experience, to look and feel different and standout from competitors,” said Paul Pugh, Vice President, Creative, Software Innovation at frog. “By simplifying the interaction model and reducing clutter through a more curated experience, it will be immediately apparent to customers how to use the phones and make them more personal. In addition, the design caters to current Android users by giving them new tools to organize and optimize their handsets, while personalizing the phone in ways not previously possible.”

I wonder what would happen if a major Android manufacture went with this strategy: Save tons of money and use stock Android. Push updates faster than anyone else by reallocating overlay resources to porting new versions of Android as quickly and reliably as possible.

Perhaps that will be Motorola’s new game. Read more

New Samsung patent showcases a ‘multidisplay’ smartphone with advanced hinge [Photos]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office first published Samsung’s patent about a dual-display smartphone in September 2011, but now a second patent application on the subject recently surfaced that advances on the previous design.

According to PatentBolt, the two patents detail the device’s functionality by describing how both screens can display several apps simultaneously, such as showing a picture on one screen and chatting in a window on the other panel. The device could further feature capabilities for “television (TV) watching, on-line game service and on-demand video service are communications or applications that may be provided to users,” or even voice communication, SMS, and mobile banking. The dual screens could also seamlessly join to create one larger display.

Samsung’s older patent explained many of the above functions, but a problem with manufacturability weighed down the likelihood of this product ever becoming known. One of the main drawbacks to the original design is its hinge, but a large part of Samsung’s newer patent concerns a better hinge solution.

The strength of the new hinge will allow the unit to stay in place, so the user can consume content while recharging (and without the need for a separate docking station). The entire concept provides “the plurality of display units which rotate stepwise,” according to PatentBolt, by way of an advanced multi-axis hinge. Moreover, Samsung now uses the term “multidisplay” instead of “dual display.”

The South Korea-based manufacture apparently believes consumers need a portable communication device with a “multidisplay.” Its latest patent application for the device filed in Q4 2011 in the U.S., and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it in Q2 2012.

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Google details energy efficiency of Google Apps and the cloud

Google’s reduction of energy use for servers and server cooling.

Google wants businesses to make Google Apps their primary productivity suite, so the company is recruiting at full swing today with a new blog post that discloses a few stats about its energy efficiency.

Google Apps is a Google service that features several Web applications like traditional office suites. The services vary per edition but generally include Docs, Gmail, Calendar, Talk, Sites, Groups, Video, and Marketplace. Its popularity among businesses and academicians is rapidly increasing due to enhanced sharing features, accessibility, and cost.

According to Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure Urs Hoelzle on the Official Google Blog:

At Google, we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers that enable cloud computing. Besides helping you be more productive, cloud-based services like Google Apps can reduce energy use, lower carbon emissions and save you money in the process. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that Gmail is up to 80 times more energy-efficient than running traditional in-house email. We’ve sharpened our pencils again to see how Google Apps as a whole—documents, spreadsheets, email and other applications—stacks up against the standard model of locally hosted services. Our results show that a typical organization can achieve energy savings of about 65-85% by migrating to Google Apps.

Hoelzle further explained how lower energy use equals less carbon pollution. The executive supported this statement with an anecdote about the U.S. General Administration. It switched to Google Apps for Government to save $285,000 annually at a 93 percent cost reduction, and it reduced energy consumption by 90-percent and carbon emissions by 85-percent.

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Google updates Transparency Report with government requests for blog post removals and user data

As noted in a recent post on the Official Google Blog, Google recently made changes to the Transparency Report that launched a couple of years ago to report data on “government requests.” The interactive reports, which are available here, already included user data requests from courts and government agencies, real-time and historical traffic from various Google services worldwide, and removal requests from both governments and copyright owners. Google is adding data related to government requests today for user information and the removal of blogs posts and videos made from July 2011 to December 2011:

Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011… Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers. We noticed that government agencies from different countries would sometimes ask us to remove political content that our users had posted on our services. We hoped this was an aberration. But now we know it’s not… For the six months of data we’re releasing today, we complied with an average of 65% of court orders, as opposed to 47% of more informal requests.

An example of some of the requests is outlined by Google’s Senior Policy Analyst Dorothy Chou:
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J&R outs Sony’s Next Generation GoogleTV: Gesture enabled remote and voice actions for $199

We know Sony was picking up the Google TV set-top box baton that Logitech ceremoniously dropped, but we were expecting to hear more about it at Google I/O later this month. Thankfully, J&R is giving us a heavy spoiler of the $199 device:

Sony expands home-entertainment choices with the NSZ-GS7 Media Player with Google TV. Boasting a host of features including Web browsing and picture-in-picture, the media player’s real strength lies in the impressive Google TV remote. Equipped with a full QWERTY keyboard, a Touchpad that supports gestures, and a Microphone for voice commands, the Google TV remote may be a Streaming accessory to be reckoned with.

The Google TV difference starts with the cross search functionality, which crawls all content sources available from Broadcast providers and the Internet to deliver customized Video results on demand.

The $200 price does not bode well as Google tries to compete with Apple for the set-top box market, even though Google adds a different subset of features including a much smarter remote. I imagine the market for this will be Android device owners who can use their devices to control the TV just as Apple TV owners use their iOS devices.

via Engadget