Android still top smartphone platform in US with 52.4% market share in May

Research firm comScore is out today with its usual report covering U.S. smartphone subscriber market share for the three month period ending in May. Over the last three months Apple has gained in both categories including ‘top smartphone OEMs’ and ‘OS usage’, continuing its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer and growing its share of the market by platform.

The previous three month period had Apple at 38.9% of the market, making it the number #1 smartphone vendor in the US over second place Samsung. In May, Apple continues that lead by increasing its share 0.3 percentage points to 39.2% of the market. That’s significantly higher than the 23% Samsung grabbed despite growing 1.7 percentage points during the quarter. In a close race for third place is HTC with 8.7%, Motorola with 7.8%, and LG with 6.7%, all of which dropped less than a percentage point since last quarter.

When it comes to the market by OS usage, Android is still on top, growing 0.7 percentage points to 52.4% this quarter. Apple experienced slightly less growth at 0.3 percentage points to capture 39.2% of the market up from its 38.9% share last quarter. That means the majority of the growth, once again, comes at the expense of BlackBerry and Microsoft. Read more

BlueStacks announces the GamePop Mini, a free subscription-based Android gaming console

Earlier this month, our sister site 9to5Mac reported on a new technology from BlueStacks called “Looking Glass” that brought iOS games to your big screen via a subscription-based console. On Friday, however, the company announced another new console with that technology, but the big selling point here is that it is free and incredibly small. In fact, the company says it is about the size of a pack of gum. Just like with the company’s other Cube console (which isn’t yet released), the BlueStacks Mini does require a subscription commitment, which will run you $7 a month for a year.

It’s worth noting that the BlueStacks Cube is also free with a subscription, but that offer expires on July 1st. The company says that its goal is to always offer a gaming console for free.

“We have always planned on having a free console option,” said BlueStacks CEO, Rosen Sharma. “The biggest value of the GamePop service is its content – not the box. Hardware costs have come down so fast that we’re able to undercut the rest of the market. With the free promotion we’ve been doing in June we’re already seeing a ton of adoption. That volume then attracts more developers and therefore more and better content. It’s building momentum.”

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Google adds Gmail contacts to Search Field Trial, Google+ profiles coming soon

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Those currently singed up for Google’s Search Field Trial, a program that lets users test out new, yet-to-be-released features of search, will now have the ability to search for Gmail contacts. Google announced on its Google+ page that the feature is available now and will also work with its new Voice Search functionality. Asking for a person’s address or phone number will display any relevant Gmail contact results directly within Google’s search results.

The Contact results will include maps with built-in turn-by-turn directions, as well as links to phone numbers allowing users to place calls with a single tap: Read more

Samsung S4 wins both fastest smartphone and best battery-life in UK consumer group’s tests

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Which?, a highly-regarded UK consumer research organization, found the Samsung S4 to be both the fastest smartphone on the market, and the one offering the best battery-life – a pretty impressive combination.

Using the industry-standard Geekbench 2 software, the S4 comfortably came out on top with a score of 3,188 against the 2,798 of the second-placed HTC One. Graphics for both speed and battery-life after the break …  Read more

Huawei Ascend P6 Google Edition reportedly coming soon

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In wake of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google editions going on sale this week, Huawei now says it is working on a stock Android device. According to Kevin Ho, Huawei’s handset product division president, speaking to Pocket-Lint, the company is working with Google to create a Google Edition variant of the Ascend P6. Just like the other variants, this device would run stock Android Jelly Bean.

“We are working with Google to analyse the possibility of bringing out a Huawei Ascend P6 with Google Edition,” Ho told the blog.

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Leaked Android 4.3 build now available for Google Play and European Galaxy S4 variants

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Earlier this week, the Google Play edition Galaxy S4 was finally released to the public, and while it isn’t in the hands of any consumers yet, Android 4.3 is now available for it. Fansite SamMobile has gotten its hands on a leaked Android 4.3 build for the Google edition Galaxy S4 and put it up for grabs. Within a very short amount of time, the ROM was ported to the European GT-i9505G Galaxy S4, as well.

The screenshots published by SamMobile don’t show any notable changes in Android 4.3 over Android 4.2.2. As more and more people install it on their Google edition and European Galaxy S4 variants, however, we can expect a few differences to be noted. For the time being though, it looks like Android 4.3 is a very minor bump from Android 4.2. Read more

A first look at Google’s planned new London HQ

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AHMM, Google’s London architects, have submitted plans for Google’s proposed new $1.6b London HQ, to be built alongside St Pancras International station which serves as the Eurostar terminus for high-speed rail services to Paris, Brussels and Lille. Google bought the 2.4-acre plot back in January.

The artist impressions of the building look surprisingly conservative given the client and a city that has approved some pretty funky buildings, among them the Gherkin and the Shard, though AHMM’s description of the vision for the building does make it sound more interesting than it appears.

Google’s new workplace sits upon a retail plinth punctuated by three generous light filled volumes. These entrance halls serve up and into a looped three dimensional promenade that wraps its way along, around, through and up the building’s six to ten office floors, connecting cycling ramps, cores, workplaces, major shared amenities and a large roof garden in an easy and enjoyable journey that encourages encounter.

More photos below …  Read more

Google developing gaming console, wristwatch, TV products as it eyes hardware competition from Apple

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The Wall Street Journal has issued a large report today that details several new hardware products that Google has in the pipeline. According to the report, Google’s latest hardware efforts are being developed in order to match rumored upcoming hardware offerings from Apple (like new entries into the TV and wearable computing spaces). Some future Google hardware, according to the report, includes:

Also in the cards is a next-generation of the Android OS that is designed to appeal to low-cost devices for emerging markets. As for Apple, the Cupertino-based company is shipping a redesigned iOS 7 this fall and is also rumored to be working on a lower-cost iPhone. The WSJ report also notes that this new version of Android could appear in new devices like notebook computers and home appliances such as refrigerators. Google is said to also be working on various other hardware, though this will be separate from the Google-owned Motorola Mobility.

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T-Mobile sends out invites to July 10th press event, teases its “boldest moves yet”

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T-Mobile has just sent out an invite to a July 10th press event in New York City. The invite doesn’t offer many details as to what we can expect, but the carrier does tease that we will see its “boldest moves yet.” It could be that announcement has something to do with its Uncarrier plans, as we’ve heard whispers of a “phase two” happening on July 14th, but it seems unlikely that an event would be held for just that. It’s also possible that the company will simply be formally announcing the Xperia Z, which we’ve heard will come on July 17th.

We’ll be sure to let you know whatever T-Mobile announces that day, no matter what it is.  Read more

Google announces new BYOD features for Android devices

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As more and more companies start allowing employees to bring their own smartphones and tablets into work, Google is obviously looking to capture a portion of that enterprise market. The company on Thursday announced several new features for the growing bring your own device, or BYOD, market.

Comprehensive mobile device management is included with Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Organizations large and small can manage smartphones and tablets – including Android and iOS – right from the Google Apps Admin console, with no need for special hardware or software.

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