Samsung loses $10B market value due to Apple order rumor

Samsung’s shares dipped more than 6 percent yesterday, erasing $10 billion from the manufacturer’s market value, due to a rumor that claimed Apple ordered large amounts of chips with rebounding Japanese chipmaker Elpida.

According to Reuters, Taiwan tech website DigiTimes reported that the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company requested huge orders for dynamic random access memory chips with Elpida’s Hiroshima, Japan plant. Unnamed industry sources said the order fastened about 50 percent of the factory’s total chip production.

Samsung is the world’s foremost DRAM manufacturer, but its shares subsequently fell 6.2-percent to around $1,100 USD after the piping hot rumor circulated the blogosphere. The abrupt plunge is the stock’s 9-week low and sharpest daily fall in almost four years. SK Hynix is the second-largest memory chipmaker after Samsung, and its shares closed at 9 percent, which is a 20-week low and steepest slump in nine months.

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LG flaunts Optimus UI 3.0, an ‘unobtrusive and simple’ overlay for ICS devices (Photos)

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LG announced this morning that it developed a new LG Optimus 3.0 overlay.

The press release claimed Optimus UI 3.0 is “unobtrusive and simple” to use, and its primary design function has speed in mind. For example, a new memo function called “Quick Memo” allows users to jot notes on the screen in a “more convenient” method, and then users can share the scribblings through text messages, email, or social networks.

“With smartphone hardware becoming more and more similar, it’s important for manufacturers to differentiate their products from the competition through the user interface,” said President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company Dr. Jong-seok Park in the presser.

Other features include: an unlock function that allows users to drag anywhere on the screen; a preset Pattern Lock that enables the most frequently used function to automatically open; an easier method for organizing the primary applications, a new Voice Shutter for capturing images through voice commands; a camera feature for shooting the best picture within multiple images; an Icon Customizer that allows users to set their own images as icons and shortcut; and a Download category for the main menu.

The Optimus UI 3.0 is initially slated for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, because it debut on the LG Optimus LTE II that unveiling this week in Korea, and then it will roll out to the LG Optimus 4X HD in June.

LG’s full press release is below.

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Apple gets US Customs to block imports of HTC One X and Evo 4G

United States customs delayed the import of the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE due to patent issues with Apple, according to The Verge. This is the first type of delay of this nature that we have seen, and it is definitely very interesting. Customs is holding back the handsets while the agency investigates outstanding patent issues currently raised with Apple. During December of last year, the International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and ordered a ban on a number of HTC products. The import ban went in place on April 19, 2012, which was supposed to give HTC time to fix the issues. According to the ruling, HTC was breaking a so-called “data tapping” patent. Google Patent Search described Patent 5946647:

A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure.

HTC’s CEO Peter Chou quickly told Reuters in April that the company already began testing new devices to work around the patent issue before the April 19 ban went into effect. The ban was set in place even before the announcement of HTC’s latest One X device; however, the new device still falls under the ban, as The Verge pointed out.

Even if HTC fixed the issues, U.S. Customs is still reviewing if the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE are violating the patent that HTC is accused of breaking by the ITC. Until then, shipments of the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE are at a stand still, which could affect device sales. Many AT&T stores across the U.S. are currently sold out of the HTC One X, and AT&T is out of stock on its online store.

I do not think it would be too far-fetched to say this is something Apple wants—especially because the HTC One X at AT&T and Evo 4G LTE at Sprint are two hot devices that could cut into iPhone sales. We reviewed the HTC One X over at 9to5Google, where we called it “one giant leap for HTC.” Today’s stop on importing definitely does not help HTC, which recently reported some not-so good-looking Q1 2o12 earnings. The company reported only $2.3 billion in quarterly revenue, which was a drop of 35 percent year-over-year. I am sure HTC is looking for the One X and Evo 4G to help bring back /quarterly revenue. HTC issued a statement:

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Chrome Stable release will make tabs, browser preferences accessible everywhere

This morning’s Stable release of Chrome will soon allow access to open tabs across multiple devices in different locations.

The feature has been available in Chrome Beta since early April. It enabled users logged into Chrome to open browser tabs on one device while permitting access to them on separate devices from within the “Other devices” menu on the New Tab page.

“Say you’ve found an awesome recipe on your work computer while… ahem… working hard at the office. But when you get back home, you can’t quite remember if it was two teaspoons of baking soda or two teaspoons of baking powder,” wrote Software Engineers Raz Mathias on the official Google Chrome Blog while detailing the latest feature. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could pull up the same recipe on your home computer with one click?”

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A ‘First Look’ at the HTC Desire C [Video]

Smartphone manufacturer HTC unveiled its latest mobile market contribution, the HTC Desire C, along with an official promotion video this morning.

The reel, dubbed “First Look,” only gave a brief glimpse of the device’s HTC Sense 4.0 interface, while this morning’s presser and website addressed a few of the informational gaps. The handset highlights Beats Audio technology, Sense integrated with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a “powerful battery.” It also boasts a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, and 25GB of Dropbox for two years, and will sell alongside a second, NFC-capable variant.

The HTC Desire C will debut in red, white, and black through T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Three, Vodafone, Orange, O2, Phones4U, The Carphone Warehouse, and Tesco Mobile in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Engadget got ahold of T-Mobile UK to confirm pricing details: Pay-monthly users can have the handset free as long as they pay £15.50 a month for two years, and Pay-As-You-Go users can get the Android smartphone for £169.99. Both options become available in early June.

The full press release is after the break.

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Google patents design for Project Glass(es)

Patents recently published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (via Engadget) show Google successfully patented at least the ornamental design of its “Project Glass” augmented reality glasses unveiled last month. It does not look exactly like the prototypes shown off in the concept videos, nor the pair worn by Sergey Brin, but we expect the design will be altered somewhat before it eventually hits the market.
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Google follows an email’s epic journey with ‘The Story of Send’ [Video]

Google released an animated video today that explores what happens to an email once the “send” button is clicked in Gmail.

The cartoon visually depicts a digital message’s journey as it travels past servers, cables, hard drives, even underground pathways equipped with vampires, from a user’s inbox to another’s mobile device.

The interactive timeline, dubbed “The Story of Send,” is meant to detail Google’s safety, security, and low energy footprint within its data centers as they handle billions of emails each day. While the HTML 5-based documentary provides an illustrated, advertised view of the process, visitors can get a more in-depth look by clicking on the informational tidbits, promotional videos, and photos embedded within the animation.

Check out the feature’s advertisement reel above, or just visit the website. You can even take a peak at 9to5Google’s video screen capture below.

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Google reportedly close to buying social startup Meebo for roughly $100M

Google is reportedly close to buying social startup Meebo at roughly $100 million, AllThingsD reported this evening. Citing “two sources familiar with the matter,” the publication said the deal is close to going down.

Meebo launched in 2005 and has had many products over the years like a web-based and smartphone-based IM client and a tool bar that can be loaded on websites to provide readers with social links. These types of toolbars can be found on TMZ, TV Guide, and more. Most recently, the startup launched a new homepage that lets you “create an interest profile to get new and timely information about the things that matter to you.”

Over the years, the Mountain View, Calif.-based (how fitting) startup raised $60 million in funding to date. It most recently raised a monster round of $25 million from Khosla Ventures in 2010.

If the acquisition goes through, Google will most likely use the team and technology to boost its social network/heavy Facebook competitor Google+. More recently, Google bought out Digg-founder Kevin Rose and his team of employees from their endeavor called “Milk.” Rose and his former team are currently assigned to work on Google+, which we expect to be the same fate for the Meebo team.

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Bing launches final redesign, says users prefer site over Google

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new style that looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface, but today the Redmond, Wash.-based Company branched from the design and announced a host of new features.

The redesign is still very Google-esque, but the notable aspect to this change is that Microsoft is continuing to make jabs at its primary competitor all the while conducting an obvious rip-off. The Windows-maker even detailed to users in a Bing blog post that its search relevance and quality surpassed Google’s when all signs of branding were removed from the search engines’ homepages:

From the outset, we knew that serving relevant results that were equal to or better than the other guy was table stakes. To track our progress, we conducted tests that removed any trace of Google and Bing branding. When we did this study in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google. The same unbranded study now shows that Bing Search results now have a much wider lead over Google’s. When shown unbranded search results 43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results. What this means is that in 3 years we’ve made some real progress in core relevance and search quality, and while search is becoming so much more than just web results, having a rock solid foundation is important for the future of Bing and search more generally.

Screenshots are available below.

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Google plans to develop Game Center-like app

Apple introduced Game Center, an online multiplayer social gaming network, in 2010 that allows app users to invite friends, start multiplayer games, track achievements, and compare scores on a leader board, and now reports claim that Google is looking to develop a similar system for Android.

While not naming any sources, Business Insider claimed Google is developing a native Android app similar to Game Center, but the publication detailed Apple’s offering as “an app on the iPhone that connects players in most of Apple’s iOS games.” However, that description is selling the network short. Game Center comes standard with the current iOS, and Apple announced in February that the service would soon integrate with Mountain Lion, which is set for a late summer 2012 release (image, above).

Google’s flavor will allegedly include a social-based achievement system, as well as a leader board. The similar client would poise Google as a legitimate contender in the exploding mobile games market. Developers who build Android games use a variety of third-party solutions, like the iOS-compatible OpenFeint, but Google wants to create its own native app in the wake of Apple’s popularity with gaming.

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Facebook announces App Center for all platforms and devices

Facebook just announced that it is launching a new App Center—but it is not just for Facebook apps.

9to5Mac reported for months that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company were planning a web-based alternative store to Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play dubbed “Project Spartan.” Speculation said the project is a framework for apps that would use social hooks, while working inside of Facebook’s ecosystem.

It seems those reports are ringing true, because the highly-anticipated HTML 5-based App Center will give Facebook users access to iOS, Android, web, mobile web, and desktop apps. Interestingly, Facebook reiterated that it is not competing directly with Apple or Google, because the App Center will send users to both the iOS and Android platforms. For example: If you are visiting Facebook’s App Center on an Android Device, and then enter Words with Friends, or one of the many Facebook-compatible games, you will soon beam to that app’s Google Play page for installation. The same holds true for iOS users.

“In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch,” explained Software Engineer Aaron Brady in a Facebook Developer’s blog post.

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Google purchases iconic Gold’s Gym in Venice, Los Angeles for new SoCal campus

According to a report by Jason Stern at MuscleWeek, the iconic Gold’s Gym in Venice, Los Angeles is set to close in 2014 after 45 years of operation. This would normally not be reported; however, Stern confirmed with the gym’s former owner, Ed Connors, that “Google has bought the building and the surrounding real estate and Los Angeles DUI attorney businesses with grand designs on walling off the streets and creating a SoCal campus to rival its Mountain View ‘university’.”

The worst-kept secret at Gold’s Gym in Venice is that the gym is closing its doors for good when its lease expires on June 30, 2014… Publicly, the gym management continues to emphasize (perhaps ‘misrepresent’ is a better word choice) that Gold’s Gym isn’t going anywhere, but for those in the know, it has become painfully clear that the clock is ticking down to zero…The result: Google Plus. Gold’s Minus.

Google has not confirmed its plans, but there were rumors last year that the company purchased the building home to the landmark Gold’s Gym location.
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