Archive for April, 2013

Samsung announces world first mobile LPDDR3 RAM

Samsung recently claimed that it makes so many smartphones, its components divisions can’t keep up. However, that isn’t stopping Samsung from pushing to bring new technology to the fray.
Today, Samsung Electronics announced the world first, ultra-high-speed four gigabit (Gb) LPDDR3 mobile RAM, manufactured at 20 nanometer class process node. The new technology is claimed to bring the performance levels of mobile devices closer to the standard DRAM found in computers, a feat worthy of praise.

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LG Electronics forecast to ship over 50 million smartphones this year

LG Electronics’ smartphone unit has been struggling in the red for the past three years, only turning its first operating profit this decade at the end of last year. LG might not be the largest or most popular smartphone manufacturer, but it has definitely been pulling out some top quality products recently, that are helping to turn the company’s fortunes around.
This recent success has caught the eye of a few investment firms, who are all fairly bullish on the company’s sales prospects for this year.
Last year LG pushed its way closer to third place in the smartphone market after managing to sell around 26.3 million handsets in 2012. Backed by this recent confidence, LG itself stated an ambitious 2013 sales target of 40 million units back in February which equates to a substantial 52% increase on the previous year’s performance.

However Korea Investment & Securities, Hyundai Securities, and KB Investment & Securities have each stated today that this target isn’t good enough, throwing in their own forecasts of 53.29 million and between 50.3 and 52.3 million respectively. It’s not often that 3rd party forecasts trump that of the actual business by such a margin, but strong demand for LG’s flagship Optimus G line-up, as well as mid and low-end smartphones, and a record breaking first quarter performance seems to have caused a bit of a stir.
LG Electronics sold a total of 10.3 million smartphones in the first quarter of this year, doubling the 4.9 million units sold over the same period last year. But Korea Investment is particularly keen on the Optimus G Pro, LG’s latest premium smartphone, projecting that it would sell more than 1 million units in every quarter of the year.
Hyundai Securities on the other hand praised LG Electronics on the variety of its smartphone line-ups which are seeing a sales boost across the world, especially in mid and low-end smartphone markets.
It certainly seems to me that LG has everything it takes to produce another excellent year: a great line-up of phones covering a wide range of markets, a new flagship model which expecting to sell well across the world, although the rollout could be faster, and don’t forget that all important deal with Google regarding the Nexus 4. I’m hoping that LG can continue this success, after all, Samsung could certainly use some competition.
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Google Glass ‘significant’, privacy concerns ‘just didn’t show up,’ says Robert Scoble

Over the past two weeks, developers have been receiving their pair of Google Glass after nearly a year of wanting. One of the most vocal supporters of Glass has been Robert Scoble. Glancing at Robert’s Google+ profile, there is no shortage of posts with the hashtag #throughglass. After using Google Glass for two weeks, he posted a review sharing his thoughts.

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HP Slate 21 AIO shows up in benchmark, powered by Tegra 4 processor and Android 4.2.1

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. No one seems to take this old adage to heart more than HP, at least when it comes to tablets and smartphones.
The HP TouchPad might have been brilliant for its time, but the tablet never really lived to its full potential. HP has also had limited success with Windows tablets, and even the HP Slate 7 is receiving modest levels of interest. So what’s next? Take the “bigger is better” attitude and apply it to the tablet, apparently.

A new AnTuTu benchmark score has shown up for the HP Slate 21 AIO, a previously unknown device running on Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean and powered by a 1.8GHz Tegra 4 processor.
First thought: This is crazy. Second thought: Maybe they are on to something?
HP has long been the master of the PC world and knows what it takes to do well there. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 8 only seems to be driving more folks away from HP’s main money maker, desktops and laptops.
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Google Now available on iPhone and iPad, no longer an Android exclusive

Google on Monday announced that its Google Now search feature, previously available only on Android devices running Jelly Bean, will now also be available on the iPhone and iPad.
Google Now for iOS doesn’t come as a standalone application, instead it is included in the Google Search application for iPhone and iPad, which needs to be updated in order to show Google Now functionality.

A variety of reports suggested that Google Now was indeed heading to the App Store culminating in mid-March Google’s with Eric Schmidt sort-of acknowledgement of the app. Back then, he said that it’s up to Apple to approve it, with Apple promptly responding that a Google Now app was not in the app approval process. Now, the fact that Google Now is a feature of Google Search for iOS seems to clear up that particular opinion exchange. In their own ways, both Schmidt and Apple were right.
Getting back to Google Now for iOS, iPhone and iPad users should know that not all Google Now features for Android will be included in this first iOS version. As Engadget points out, some cards are missing including “boarding passes, activity summary, events, concerts, Fandango and Zillow,” although they may be offered down the road.
Also missing from the app are notifications and alerts, but at least Google Search users on iOS will still get to perform voice-based searches on their handset and/or tablet.
Google Now may have been a reason to choose Android over iOS for some smartphone and tablet buyers, but keeping it an Android exclusive would not make much sense for Google, which is making most off its money off of Search and ads. Google Now is basically an advanced Search feature which the company will surely want to push to multiple platforms, including iOS.
Recent rumors have also suggested that Google Now is heading to Chrome and Chrome OS, a move that made even more sense than seeing the feature on iOS. In fact, considering that Google Now has hit iOS first, we should see Google Now hit Chrome in the near future.
Oh yeah, and remember that leaked, then pulled, YouTube Google Now for iOS video reportedly posted by Google by mistake? It turns out it was showing us the real deal, as it has just been officially published by the Search giant (see it above) on its YouTube channel.
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HTC One 1.29 update online in the UK

It might have been a bumpy, drawn out launch for the HTC One, due mainly to those infernal component shortages, but at least HTC is on the ball when it comes to software updates for its new flagship handset.
The 1.29.401.12 update is now ready for download in the UK for customers with unlocked HTC One’s; other customers will have to wait for their carriers to update their own handsets. The update brings with it a number of stability fixes and tweaks some of HTC’s software as well.

In addition to all the behind the scenes tweaks and patches, this update focuses on improving the HTC One’s location service, HTC Zoe, tweaks the camera’s “parameter tuning”, and also fine-tunes the Beats Audio software. Sadly the update doesn’t bring Android 4.2 to the party, we’ll just have to sit tight a little longer for that.
The download comes in at quite a hefty 229Mb, so there has obviously been quite a bit of work done. If you haven’t already received an automatic prompt to update then remember that you can click on over to Settings > About > Software updates to manually check for version 1.29.
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Rumor: Asus and Acer are launching new Chromebooks in the second half of 2013

According to the rumors, 2013 is the year Google focuses on the desktop. Although Chrome OS has been chugging along mildly, it has yet to set the world on fire. Some have claimed that it is just a little ahead of its times, while others say that it needs to merge with Android to gain mainstream notice (Google says this won’t be happening, at least not soon anyways).
According to upstream sources, Digitimes is reporting that Acer and Asustek definitely believe Chrome OS has a future and as such have planned Chromebooks for release in the second half of 2013. The publication also says that Google will be ramping up its advertising for Chrome OS at the same time.

Acer has already made a Chromebook, one that proved so popular that at one time it accounted for 5-10% of Acer’s American computer shipments. However, it appears that interest died down soon after, prompting Acer to reconsider its support of Chrome OS:
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The thinnest smartphone in the world is now the Huawei Ascend P6-U06

If thinnest smartphone are the two words that define what you’re looking for in a phone, the news you’re about to read will most certainly make you very happy, and if they’re not, well, the Huawei Ascend P6-U06 is still a pretty interesting smartphone.
The device, which has made its way through the Chinese version of FCC (the Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center MIIT), has taken the honors reserved to the thinnest smartphone in the world from the Alcatel One Touch Idol Ultra. If the Idol Ultra was 6.45mm thick, the Huawei Ascend P6 has, according to the documents, a thickness of 6.18mm.

That would make it officially the thinnest smartphone in the world (a record that Oppo was said to be trying to beat, too, with the R809T, which it has recently announced), provided it comes out before a thinner model does. You can get an idea about how thin it is (it also weighs just 120 grams) from the images below.
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Paranoid Android shows off multi-tasking functionality [video]

Multi-tasking on small devices can be a hassle usually resulting in flipping backwards and forwards between various apps. That is unless you’re device has some more advanced built-in multitasking functionality like Samsung’s split screen option available in the Premium Suite or the CyanogenMod/Google pop-out notifications.
But Paranoid Android aims to take multi-tasking on smartphones and tablets up a notch, by building an all new in-app, multiple-window approach to the problem. In fact the developers really don’t care very much for the current implementations from their rivals, they had this to say about the state of multi-tasking:

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Galaxy S4 design story posted by Samsung [video]

A video telling the design story of the Galaxy S4 has been posted on Samsung Tomorrow’s YouTube channel, revealing some of the design principles behind the company’s flagship device.
Just like with the Galaxy S3 about a year ago, Samsung decided to release a Galaxy S4 design video, but this time around it posted it a lot closer to the handset’s launch. In it, you’ll hear Samsung designers talking about Galaxy S4 design lines, but also about some of the new software features part of Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface.
In addition to all the new information provided by the company on the design process of the Galaxy S4, we will notice some inconsistencies between what designers say.

When talking about the motif of the phone, Product Designer Hyoungshin Park says that “while Galaxy S3 has natural elements as a motif, in Galaxy S4, the form factor was designed with a more rational approach and the CMF [it most likely stands for “Color, Material, Finish,” as Samsung doesn’t say in the video] was created with more emotional elements in mind,” suggesting that Samsung moved from nature to emotional elements.
But then, in the following shots, Product Designer Jongbo Jung says that the Galaxy S4 is inspired by nature after all, comparing it with a “precious stone glittering in the dark, or countless stars sparkling in the night sky” revealing that Samsung designers were “inspired by these kinds of elements in nature” after all when making the Galaxy S4.
Park also says that the Galaxy S4 is “not a radical difference, but more of an evolution,” presumably from the Galaxy S3. That’s basically what anyone would notice when comparing the Galaxy S4 with the Galaxy S3, and it shouldn’t be perceived as a bad thing.
But then other Samsung designers keep asking us, or themselves, the following question: “Like nothing you’ve ever seen before?” The question appears a couple of times in the almost 4-minute video, which makes us wonder how can something be “like nothing you’ve ever seen before” while being “more of an evolution” at the same time?
At the end of the video, Vice President of Product Design Minhyouk Lee says that Samsung tries to create something completely new with every smartphone, Galaxy S4 included:
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