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.

…Developing.

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Google X founder shows Project Glass photo capturing capabilities on Charlie Rose

While we have not really received an example of what the Google Project Glass glasses can do, Google provided word on some of its features—specifically around augmented reality and other smartphone-like apps. In a new interview today, we got a closer look at the glasses. Google X (the team at Google who is working to develop these glasses among other products) founder Sebastian Thrun went on “Charlie Rose” last evening to discuss and show off the new prototype. During the show’s taping, Thrun posted a picture taken from the glasses. This is our first look at what the Glasses can actually do.

The Glasses were first noticed in the real world on Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s face at an event earlier this month. Brin was wearing a prototype of the glasses, which were said to look very lightweight. Brin made a comment at the time that the glasses were just rebooting and no actual features were working.

However, looking at last night’s post, Project Glass looks to be coming along quite nicely. As we reported a few weeks ago, Google is still up in the air about giving out pairs at Google I/O this summer. You can check out the interview here, where Thrun discussed more Glass features like composing email and having message read aloud.

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Kindle Fire now over half of Android tablet market, as Amazon reports blowout earnings

It is apparent over the last few months that Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire has been making rapid gains in Android tablet market. However, we did not think it was an all out domination. According to research firm ComScore, the Kindle Fire now makes up 54.4 percent of the total Android Market (as of the end of the month) after just six months on the market. Following behind is the Samsung Galaxy Tab series at 15.4-percent, Motorola Xoom at 7 percent, and Asus Transformer come at 6.3-percent.

The Kindle Fire has been selling very well on Amazon’s online store and at various retail stores. Priced at $199 and built on a custom version of Android 2.3, the Kindle Fire offers a tablet on the cheap for those looking to consume content. Of course, today’s news sounds a little better for Amazon than Google, as there is really no hint to the average consumer eye that the Kindle Fire is running Android. We are hoping Amazon will announce how many have been sold some day, but it hasn’t yet.

In further Amazon news this afternoon, the company just reported its Q1 2012 earnings. The Seattle-based company is reporting $13.18 billion in revenue for the first quarter, compared to $9.86 billion YOY, which blows out analysts’ expectations for the online marketplace. However, Amazon’s net income was down 35 percent to $130 million. You can read the full announcement after the break.

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Twitter for Android updated with enhancements to search and notifications

Twitter just announced on its blog that its Android client will get an update today with enhancements made to “discover, search and notifications.” The update does not appear to be live, but it will be available here when it is.

Included in the update is a new “Activity” stream within the Discover tab. The blog post explained:

With this update, you can see Activity on Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android. Activity is a stream of updates that shows which Tweets are favorited or retweeted by the people you follow and which accounts those people follow or add to lists… Activity appears below the redesigned stories in Discover. Now you can tap any story once to see Tweets about a particular trend or news article. You can then read the entire story or join the conversation by replying, retweeting or favoriting related Tweets.

Improvements to search include suggestions for spelling and related terms, and autocomplete for first and last names in the Connect tab.

The update also brings push notifications for Interactions like retweets, favorites, and follows, and settings to manage them. You will be able to get all these new features when the update lands on Google Play shortly. Read more

Hulu Plus hack makes Android app Samsung Epic Touch 4G-compatible (as well as other unsupported phones)

Hacker “ReActiveDisorder” posted, well, a hack on the XDADevelopers forum recently that allows the Hulu Plus app to work with the Samsung Epic Touch 4G without a root.

“I have a Hulu membership and was angry cause our device wasnt “Compatible”. Talk about a total rip off. So I modded the apk to work with our device. It is 100% Fully functioning. I hope to contribute more later down the road. Maybe an ICS Rom ;-),” explained ReActiveDisorder on the forum.

Directions:
1. Download the Modded APK at http://db.tt/sq1AjQQu 
2. Sideload APK—it installs like other non-market apps.
3. Sign into Hulu Plus (membership required).

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Verizon’s leaked roadmap shows Galaxy S3, HTC’s Note competitor, and new Motorola devices

While many of the devices on the list have rumored or leaked release dates already, BGR claimed to have Verizon’s summer/fall roadmap that details flagship smartphones being launched later this year.

According to the report, Verizon Wireless will offer Samsung’s highly anticipated and much rumored Galaxy S3, which the company confirmed yesterday will pack its new 1.4GHz Exynos 4 quad-core processor. The report does not give a release date, but it speculated a summer release based on the roadmap.

Also apparently on the roadmap are multiple Motorola RAZR devices and a new 5-inch HTC device that appears to be a Galaxy Note competitor…

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Google invests $300M in Iowa data center

Google is constructing a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which would bring the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s total investments in the town to nearly $1 billion.

According to the Associated Press, the search engine said the $300 million data center would add 50 new jobs to the area ranging from computer repair to logistics. Construction on the 1,000-acre project is slated to begin immediately; although, details regarding an end-date are not confirmed.

“Google’s secure data centers are some of the most energy efficient in the world,” explained Google on its Date Centers website. “Each year we save millions of dollars on energy costs, and we use renewable energy whenever we can.”

Google invested $600 million in another Iowa data enter three-years-ago to support an array of its services like Search, Maps, and Gmail. The technical plant spurred 200 new jobs, and Operations Manager for the Council Bluffs Google data center Chris Russell said Google intends to use its latest investment for the same purposes.

“We are glad to be in Iowa, and Google’s future here is very bright,” said Russell to the AP.

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Samsung announces 1.4GHz Exynos 4 quad-core processor for the Galaxy S3

Samsung provided official word this evening that its 1.4GHz Exynos 4 quad-core processor would be the powerhouse driving the upcoming Galaxy S3. The company announced in its press release: “Already in production, the Exynos 4 Quad is scheduled to be adopted first into Samsung’s next Galaxy smartphone that will officially be announced in May. Samsung’s Exynos 4 Quad is also sampling to other major handset makers.” Do you need more confirmation that this is going to be one rockin’ handset?

As for the technical terms of the processor, the Exynos 4 rocks a 32nm HKMG low-power process and power-saving design, which provides 20 percent lower power consumption over the last dual-core version.

The Galaxy S3 is not set to be officially unveiled until May 3 at a London press event. You bet we will cover the event in full, because Samsung is sure to announce one of the hottest smartphones of the summer. We posted the full press release and video teaser for the processor after the break for you to check out.

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Google vs Oracle bits: Original Google Phone, Android revs, and $10 data plan

There is a lot of interesting news coming out of the Google v. Oracle Java trial today. Yesterday, former CEO Eric Schmidt gave his testimony to the court, and today Andy Rubin took the stand where he revealed a slide deck with Google’s ambitions to sell 10 million Android tablets during 2011 and other pieces of information related to Android revenue.

On-hand reports from The Verge point us to a few of the more intriguing statements made by Rubin and others today:

Google Phone:

The image above is of the “original Google phone” concept presented to carriers almost two years before Google finally launched the first Android handset, the T-Mobile G1. The images of the device came up in the trial due to references to Java in the designs. A year later, in May 2007, almost a year after iPhone, Google was still designing Android with a physical keyboard in mind—as noted in Android specification documents during the trial.

Android Revenue:

First, we get a close look at Android revenue numbers for the first time. The numbers come from a quarterly report given by Rubin and others in 2010 that show the company expected revenue from Android to reach $278.1 million during the year.

The forecast was based on increasing the roughly 20 million Android phones in the market at the time to 40 million by the end of the year. Google was also expecting to pull in $158.9 million in Android ad revenue and just $3.8 million from its 30 percent cut of app sales. According to the report, Google forecasted bringing in $840.2 million from Android ads and $35.9m from app sales in 2012.

Subsidized unlimited data plans:

Another interesting document that emerged from the trial shows Google suggested to T-Mobile in 2006 that it would give up its finder’s fee commission for new customers in order to provide Android phones with $10 monthly unlimited data plans. Of course, that plan was never carried out, and the original Android T-Mobile G1 launched with the conventional $25+ plans.

T-Mobile HTC One goes on sale today. Go buy it (for fee with a trade in?)

I’ve had my HTC One S review unit for a week and can say that what I found before still stands. Without a doubt (O.K., one little one), this is the phone to get if you are on T-Mobile. In fact, there are few phones available from any carriers that can stand with this device. Here’s why:

  • The screen is beautiful. The not too big, not too small, 4.3-inch diagonally 540-by-960 display is not the monster that most high-end Androids tout today, but it is well big enough for just about anything you could throw at it. It is bright, vibrant and stands its ground to direct sunlight. Pixels are not discernable in normal use.
  • The phone is thin, light, and strong. At under 8mm thin, you will not find a thinner phone anywhere. At the same time, it has a beautiful unibody aluminum construction. It feels great in the hand and is relatively unnoticeable in the pocket.
  • Sense 4.0, while still an overlay, is an improvement from HTC. I really liked the camera software, as well as the some of the little weather, Stock, Sense Widgets, etc. I also like T-MobileTV, which broadcasts some good live and other content over the mobile network or Wi-Fi.
  • The experience is polished all around. Fast processor, ample battery time and great Beats sound.

To make the deal sweeter, T-Mobile started trade-ins today, which means you could get the One S free. Get the HTC One S for $199 on a two-year plan now.

Not quite: Google will sell 10M Android tablets in 2011, says Andy Rubin in 2010

The ongoing Oracle v. Google trial is churning up some doozies regarding the history of Android, and this latest one is almost unbelievable: Google projected to sell roughly 10 million Android tablets a year for 2011 and 2012 while seizing a third of the marketshare.

A presentation by former Android Inc. CEO Andy Rubin in July 2010, exhibited during the trial, revealed those hefty figures. Obviously, Google’s view was a little optimistic, especially because the search engine also expected Android tablets to reap $110 million in search revenue for 2011 and $220 million for 2012.

The company’s ballpark figures derived from a then-current Morgan Stanley estimate that placed the tablet market around 46 million units for 2012. Needless to say, Google missed its target. Rubin admitted last February that only 12 million Android tablets sold in the previous two years. Apple, on the other hand, has a stronghold on the market with over 67 million iPads sold, of which 11.8 million moved in Q2 2012 alone. 

Today’s two-year-old slide deck is significant, because it unearthed the first-ever Android revenue numbers, as well as early user-interface designs for Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

The gallery of slides is below.

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Google Ideas helps launch counter-radicalization ‘Against Violent Extremism’ network

Today, on the Official Google Blog, the company unveiled its next step for the Google Ideas think tank run by former ‘Twitterer in Chief” of the State Department Jared Cohen. In the post, Google announced it would support the Against Violent Extremism, a new online network created by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The project aims to bring awareness to the issue of counter-radicalization while forming a “global network of formers, survivors of violent extremism, NGOs, academics, think tanks and private sector execs.” Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen explained:

This is the first time that former extremists, survivors, nonprofits and private sector leaders from around the world are combining forces and using online tools to tackle the problem of violent extremism… Until now, there has never before been a one-stop shop for people who want to help fight these challenges—a place to connect with others across sectors and disciplines to get expertise and resources.

The AVE network will consist of various resources such as videos, literature, online tools and forums, and information about projects related to the network. The website also includes an interactive map highlighting people, events, and resources for specific locations. The network will “spotlight formers as positive role models for youth” and provide a tool for the public to tackle radicalization issues that many rely on government to fix.

Cohen elaborated by outlining the focus for Google Ideas going forward:

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