LG’s new 3D Google TVs set to launch in early May

It is no secret that the first launch of the Google TV platform was a bit of a bust, but that is not stopping the folks in Mountain View from giving it another shot. Google TV and a few OEMs debuted new Google TVs at CES 2012 in January, and it looks like the first of those TVs are set to ship sometime this month. PaidContent reported that LG is set to ship two of its 3D TVs later in May, in a 47-inch model priced at $1,699 and 55-inch model priced at $2,299, dubbed the “G2 series.”

Both TVs will pack a 1.2GHz dual-core Marvel chip and will play 3D content. Of course, it will also feature Google TV, which allows users to browse the Play store for apps, watch videos from YouTube, and surf the Web from their couch. Sony, Samsung, and Vizio are also expected to roll out similar televisions later this year.

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Gmail update adds automatic translation, smart mute, and tab title tweaks

Gmail just received three handy improvements, while killing off some aging features, but the most notable update is automatic message translation.

According to the Official Gmail Blog, Google pushed Gmail Labs’ automatic message translation to everyone today after receiving overwhelming positive feedback on the feature from Google Apps for Business users:

We heard immediately from Google Apps for Business users that this was a killer feature for working with local teams across the world. [...] Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email.

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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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NYT: ‘Hacker’ Marius Milner identified as Google’s personal data cropping engineer

Google is embroiled in a hullabaloo over allegations that it cropped personal data from millions of people during its Street View project, and while the Federal Communications Commission ended its 17-month investigation into the matter, with a partial exoneration for the Internet giant, The New York Times is claiming to have found the culprit at the center of the case.

Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and has expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. The project ambitiously maps the world’s streets with photographs while accumulating data about local wireless networks to bulk location-based searches.

It eventually became apparent that Google’s Street View vehicle also gathered unencrypted information like emails and Internet searches beamed from personal computers from within homes. When this came to light, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company fingered a nameless engineer as being solely responsible for the action, which resulted in a F.C.C. inquiry. The search engine did not break any laws, the regulatory body found, but it did obstruct the investigation.

Although Google and the F.C.C. refused to confirm, the NYT published a lengthy piece yesterday that named Marius Milner as Google’s scapegoat. A former state investigator involved in another inquiry into Street View identified Milner as the engineer responsible. He is a programmer with an extensive background in telecommunications and Wi-Fi networking. As the publication discovered, Milner listed his occupation as “hacker” on his LinkedIn page (not working now), and wrote, “I know more than I want to about Wi-Fi” under the profile’s “Specialties” category.

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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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Verizon’s ‘Droid Does’ campaign is back (Video)

Verizon’s “Droid Does” campaign is back, but now the carrier has ditched the tentacle robot arm and synthesized automaton voice for a wholesome commercial that features a soothing voiceover with cute and giggly kids in the introduction, which is soon followed by panning scenes of hard-working and cheeky folks, who find Droid devices ever-so useful in their pleasant, daily lives.

The original “Droid Does” campaign launched Motorola’s first Droid and helped move Android into America’s mainstream vernacular in 2009. Check out the latest advertisement above for the Droid 4, Droid Razr, and Droid Razr Maxx, and then compare it to the old plugs hosted on this YouTube playlist (videos also below).

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Former Google employee and ‘Father of Java’ James Gosling says ‘Google slimed Sun’

James Gosling has had quite the run-around since he left Sun after Oracle bought the company. Never one to mince words, he set the record straight on his view of Google’s use of Sun’s Java:

Just because Sun didn’t have patent suits in our genetic code doesn’t mean we didn’t feel wronged. While I have differences with Oracle, in this case they are in the right. Google totally slimed Sun. We were all really disturbed, even Jonathan: he just decided to put on a happy face and tried to turn lemons into lemonade, which annoyed a lot of folks at Sun.

Interesting perspective and interesting timing for the guy who went to work for Google after he left Sun with some hinted harsh words for Oracle. Gosling then left Google just a few months later for an Ocean robotics startup, but he never hinted at any ill will.

He told eWeek in 2009 that leadership was needed at the Android division (although, I can think of a lot of people who would disagree).

And what’s going on in the Android world is there’s kind of no adult in charge. And all these handset manufacturers are doing whatever they damn well please. Which means that it’s just going to be randomness. It could be let a thousand flowers bloom, but it also could be a dog’s breakfast. And I guess having been around the track a few times, it feels like it’s going to be more of a dog’s breakfast.

Barnes and Noble and Microsoft ‘Nook up’ for digital joint venture

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This is big news: Until now, Barnes and Noble was at odds (lawsuits) with Microsoft over its Android-based Nook software. Today, the two companies announced a Digital Joint Venture. While the press release does not say so specifically, it would appear that Barnes and Noble might abandon Android as its future eReader OS. Moreover, this would seem to put the previous patent litigation behind the two companies.

Barnes and Noble announced its intentions to spin off its digital arm in January.

BKS doubled in pre-market trading:

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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 Chomp.com 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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