Samsung reportedly rushing to dismantle TouchWiz as it feels heat from Apple in Q4

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TouchWiz has long been known as being far too full of bloat and unnecessary software, but the real problem with Samsung’s version of Android is that these added features come with a hard hit on performance. According to a report this morning from SamMobile, the Korean company might be going as far as to remove all features from the OS that can possibly be downloaded—and this just so happens to coincide with today’s market share numbers showing that Apple and Samsung were neck-and-neck in Q4.

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Samsung brings in new design chief from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

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Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.

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Play Store reportedly topped App Store in total apps and developers for the first time in 2014

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The latest numbers from app metrics tracking firm AppFigures reveal that Google’s Play Store topped Apple’s App Store based on total number of apps and developers for the first time in 2014. Google moved ahead of Apple with 1.43 million Android apps in the Play Store, compared to 1.21 million on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Read more

Gartner: Samsung continues to slow amidst Xiaomi growth in China

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Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.

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AirDroid 3 is a third-party Android solution for Apple’s ‘Continuity’ features

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AirDroid is a well known Android app that has long allowed you to remote-control your Android phone from a Windows or Mac OS X machine. But with the countless updates that Apple brought to iOS this year and the continuity features that tie the iPhone and Mac OS together seamlessly, Android users were left with much to desire. The latest version of AirDroid makes an attempt at filling that hole in Android users’ hearts with its latest release, bringing tons of features that make using your phone from a desktop environment easier than ever.

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Google sold more Chromebooks to US schools than Apple did iPads in Q3

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According to the latest data from IDC, Google, for the first time ever, has overtaken Apple in United States schools. The research firm claims that Google shipped 715,000 Chromebooks to schools in the third quarter, while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads to schools. Chromebooks as a whole now account for a quarter of the educational market (via FT).

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Google Android Auto vs Apple CarPlay — full comparison (Video)

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Apple and Google are back at it again and attempting to bring a safe and friendly mobile experience to your car. Android Auto and CarPlay are the two company’s re-imagining of mobile user interfaces for the car and both are gearing up for a major rollout over the next year.

Each system is designed to work with its respective native mobile platform, but there are differences between the two that may appeal to different people. Today we’re comparing Apple’s CarPlay to Google’s Android Auto using the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. This car comes packed with both systems, so you won’t have to compromise either way, but there are some important differences between the two…

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Xiaomi thinks it can top Samsung and Apple as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

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Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Samsung and Apple to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Samsung announces Flow, offering the ability to seamlessly work between devices [Video]

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Samsung has announced Flow, providing seamless transfer of content, work in progress and phone calls between different Samsung devices.

People today use multiple devices in their daily activities: phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, TVs, and more. But the way we work is still device-centric. We still use one application, within one device, with data that is tied to that application and device.

Samsung Flow is a platform that enables developers to create seamless transitions across devices, so that people can change devices in the midst of an activity and continue right from where they left off.

Flow is compatible with anything that works with Android’s Share feature: if content can be shared with other apps, Flow can be used to to hand it off to other devices …  Read more

Samsung announces location-based alerts service, competing with Apple’s iBeacon

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Samsung has announced its own location-based alerts system, designed to allow businesses to send alerts to your smartphone. These highly-localized messages could range from offers on products in the section of the store you are in, to directions to your seat in a stadium or theater.

Called Proximity, the service is based on Bluetooth LE beacons and will work in a similar fashion to Apple’s iBeacon service already in use in stores like Macy’s, American EagleThe Bay, Lord & Taylor and Walmart – along with such diverse locations as MLB stadiums and airports …  Read more

Google Hangouts scores poorly in EFF’s study of most secure messaging services

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today released a report examining three dozen messaging services and ranking them based on what it deemed are seven “security best practices.” While Apple scored the best among what the EFF called “mass-market options”, it along with Google and others didn’t do as well when compared to all 36 messaging services included in the report. Specifically, EFF noted Google’s services “lack the end-to-end encryption that is necessary to protect against disclosure by the service provider.” Read more