Sony to reduce its smartphone efforts in hopes of cutting costs

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Sony’s diverse product portfolio is about to lose a little weight. Despite the company’s popularity and historical success the Japanese corporation is going to be cutting down its TV and mobile lineups to cut costs. Over the past few years Sony has steadily lost its wireless momentum to rival companies like Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi. The outfit’s new focus will be for its struggling TV and mobile divisions to simply turn a profit.

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Samsung reports 74% drop in mobile profits as Galaxy sales continue to decline

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After warning investors that its third-quarter financial results will once again miss analyst expectations, Samsung on Wednesday reported a 74% drop in mobile profits during the three-month period ending September. The reason behind the significant decline: not as many people are buying the latest Galaxy smartphones as they used to. Read more

Sony announces latest Xperia smartphones: Z3, Z3 Compact, & E3

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Taking stage at IFA 2014, Sony is showing off its latest Xperia gadgets with the new Z3, Z3 Compact, and E3 smartphones. The flagship Z3 is a 5.2-inch “dust-tight and waterproof” aluminum framed device that ships in black, copper, silver green, and white. Included is a feature called PS4 Remote Play allowing you to game on the device with the PS4 controller.

Next up is the Compact Z3, a 4.6-inch device (compact, huh?) that’s also dust-tight and water proof with options in black, green, orange, and white. The Xperia Compacy Z3 also enjoys PS4 Remote Play support (as does the tablet version). Last is the Xperia E3, a 4.5-inch device with a 5 megapixel camera available in black, copper, lime, and white. (Oh, and there were also wearables, of course.) Press releases for each follows…

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Samsung & Apple lose share to smaller Chinese OEMs in Q2 smartphone shipment numbers

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Following releasing its second quarter data for tablet shipments worldwide, IDC today released its Q2 2014 report for smartphone shipments during the three month period that ended in June. The numbers line up with Apple’s fiscal Q3 earnings call that took place earlier this month where the company reported iPhone sales of 35.1 million units for the quarter. With 295.3 million units shipped total during Q2, IDC notes that both Samsung and Apple lost share to the smaller Chinese manufacturers: Read more

Report: Google planning to add smartphone kill switch in next Android version

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According to a report from PC World, both Google and Microsoft are planning to announce plans to add a smartphone kill switch to their mobile software in an effort to combat device theft. The feature would allow users with stolen devices to report their device as missing and disable it from being used without specific credentials in an incident of theft. This feature has already proven to deter theft of iPhones as iOS recently introduced a similar functionality.

The news comes after The New York Times released data from the city’s police pointing to a 19 percent decline in iPhone thefts in 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 which considers Apple’s Activation Lock feature introduced to the public last fall with iOS 7. The report from PC World notes that thefts of Samsung devices have risen by more than 40 percent.

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The iPhone forced Google to start over … or not, depending who you believe

The HTC Dream: the first Android handset to go on sale
The HTC Dream: the first Android handset to go on sale, a year after the iPhone

A pithy quote from a Google engineer working on Android on the day the iPhone was launched has been doing the rounds today.

As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.

The quote, attributed to Google engineer Chris DeSalvo, appears in Chapter 2 of Fred Vogelstein’s Dogfight: How Apple and Google went to war and started a revolution. It suggests that Google had to abandon a Blackberry-style smartphone in favor of a touchscreen one in direct response to the iPhone. This is seemingly supported by Android boss Andy Rubin reportedly saying in response to the webcast of the iPhone launch: “Holy crap, I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

There’s just one small problem with this version of events – it may not be entirely accurate …  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Drop smartphones, not bombs

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

Eric Schmidt revealed today that he has figured out how to end war and conflict across the globe. His solution? Drop millions of smartphones into other countries instead of going to war. Nope, really, that’s his plan.

According to the executive, raining down smartphones on Iraq or Afghanistan could have dramatically altered the course of history and prevented war in both countries. He suggests that the United States “could have airdropped a million into Afghanistan or Iraq as a thought experiment.”

We can only thank Eric Schmidt for selflessly suggesting a deep, thoughtful solution to global conflict, which could in no way financially benefit his company (which holds a smartphone OS marketshare majority). Yeah… we’re not really expecting the Department of Defense to offer Schmidt a job anytime soon.

Android now powers almost 60% of smart mobile devices

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Research firm Canalys is out today with its latest report tracking worldwide smart mobile device shipments for Q1 with Android accounting for almost 60% of smart mobile devices shipped by OS. That’s compared to a 19.3% share for Apple and approximately 18.1% for Microsoft. Keep in mind Canalys’s report also includes notebooks, in addition to tablets and smartphones, which account for the majority of Microsoft’s share. When looking at tablets alone, Apple continued its lead with 46.4% share in the quarter, although Canalys warned Apple “lost share to its Android-based rivals for the third consecutive quarter.”

‘Spearheaded by Google and Amazon, the commoditization of the tablet market has happened far quicker than that of the wider PC market,’ said Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Coulling. ‘Profit margins are being squeezed and vendors without a low cost structure will find it hard to compete. A solid range of must-have accessories and a software and services strategy are vital as vendors will increasingly need to make revenue around their devices.’

When it comes to smartphones, the report has Android at roughly 75.6% of shipments with around 32% of those shipments coming from Samsung. We know Apple sold around 37 million iPhones in the quarter but, as always, we warn that the stats from Canalys don’t include shipped vs sold data.  Read more

Want a Verizon Galaxy S4? You’ll need to wait until May

Spint and T-Mobile showed their hand earlier this week. Verizon’s isn’t looking good but they do have more LTE than everyone else combined so good things come to those who wait.

Motorola and Google to release stock Android phones with less overlay and smaller form-factor in second half of 2013

via skattertech.com

via skattertech.com

Since acquiring Motorola for $13 billion last May, Google has been expected to launch a Motorola smartphone running stock Android, but the most recent Google-branded Nexus 4 device was made in partnership with LG.

Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks tells PC Mag, though, that Google and Motorola have been working closely during that time on multiple devices running stock Android with less overlay that we should expect later this year.

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Google picks up talent from Behavio, a company that uses sensors in smartphones to learn about users

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Update: Google has confirmed to us that it has not acquired Behavio, but rather just picked up some talent from the company that will now be joining GOOG.

Behavio, a software company that uses sensors in mobile devices to compile data how users live and interact with one another, announced today (via TheVerge) that it has joined Google. The company will work on building its platform at Google while shutting down its current closed alpha and continuing to run its open source Funf project for Android that allows developers to take advantage of the technology. No word on whether or not Google has big plans for the technology or if the move was simply an “acquhire,” but Behavio’s statement noted it “couldn’t be happier to be able to continue building out our vision within Google.”

Behavio doesn’t just use traditional sensors in smartphones to learn more about its users, the software also utilizes data such as if a phone is turned on or off, what apps are installed on a device, or if a phone is currently charging or not.

There were no financial details disclosed in Behavio’s press release, and Google is yet to make an official announcement. Below is an interesting interview with Behavio co-founder from Nadav Aharony where he explains how the software works and the MIT project where Behavio was first developed: Read more