Foldable Samsung tablet/smartphone hybrid aka “smartlet” appears in patent filing

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 4, 2016

Last month, Bloomberg ran a high-profile story about Samsung’s alleged initiative, code-named Project Valley, that would bring a pair of fully bendable Galaxy phones to market in early-2017.

Subsequent supply chain reports have since backed the story partially as it became public knowledge that Samsung has allocated north of $7 billion into boosting production of flexible OLED panels.

As Patently Apple noted today, a new patent application sheds more light on the South Korean conglomerate’s interest in creating a technology that would allow a smartphone or tablet to fold in half when not in use. Read More


Long exposure and time-lapse photography made easy with updated Pocket Tripod

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2016

Pocket Tripod, a credit card sized phone holder that started as a Kickstarter project in 2013, has been updated to accommodate iPhones and Android smartphones of all sizes, with or without a case. Created by Geometrical Inc.‘s Rambod Radmard, this tremendously useful accessory fits in your wallet and unfolds into a phone stand.

More importantly, it doubles as a mini-tripod for times when you need your iPhone’s camera to be steady. The updated version is expected to ship in October. Read More


Bloomberg: Samsung to launch two fully bendable phones in early-2017

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 7, 2016

Samsung could release a pair of smartphones early next year capable of bending and folding in half “like a cosmetic compact,” without damage, and one of them should be a five-inch model that could be opened to an eight-inch tablet size, Bloomberg reported this morning, citing unnamed people familiar with the project. Read More


New software promises to bring 3D Touch to any smartphone, no special hardware needed

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2016

Apple brought 3D Touch into this world with the introduction of the iPhone 6s in September 2015. Fast forward nine months and Android competitors are still struggling to outfit their devices with an array of force-sensing display sensors.

We know that Google’s upcoming Android N will bring system-level support for pressure-sensing screens, but now folks at the University of Michigan have developed a technology that would bring 3D touch-like features to most smartphones, without making any hardware modification. Read More


Microsoft’s signals the end of its Nokia experiment

By Christian Zibreg on May 25, 2016

After iPhone manufacture Foxconn recently purchased Nokia’s feature phone business from Microsoft for a reported $350 million, the Windows maker followed up today with cost-cutting measures which signal its intent to exit the handset business and put an end to the failed Nokia experiment. As part of its “streamlining of smartphone hardware business,” which is corporate talk for layoffs, 1,850 employees will be let go.

Microsoft acquired Nokia’s phone business for $7.2 billion two years ago. Read More


Intel wants to replace the 3.5mm headphone jack with USB-C

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 27, 2016

Apple may not be the only company about to ditch the century-old 3.5mm analog audio connector with the release of the next iPhone this fall. AnandTech reported this morning that the semiconductor giant Intel is backing the industry’s “strong desire to move from analog to digital” by proposing that the 3.5mm audio jack be replaced with USB-C on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Read More


Samsung unveils Galaxy S7/Edge with Always-On Display, bigger batteries, better cameras & more

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 21, 2016

Sticking to its tradition, Samsung today officially announced its next-generation Galaxy smartphones, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. An evolution of last year’s Galaxy S6, the new phones retain Samsung’s quad HD Super AMOLED display while fixing some of the annoyances of the Galaxy S6.

Notably, this includes IP68 water and dust-proofing and support for microSD cards via a hybrid SIM card tray to boost storage capacity up to 200GB (in some select countries, the tray can be used with a dual SIM card).

The battery is still non user-replaceable, but the cameras have been improved. Yes, the camera hump is still present on the back, albeit much less pronounced than on the S6. The overall look and feel of the new handsets hasn’t changed much from the Galaxy S6’s seductive metal-and-glass industrial design. Read More


Sony readying interchangeable E-Mount lenses for pro mobile photography

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 2, 2014

The Japanese giant Sony is gearing up to unveil a number of new gadgets at the IFA press conference which kicks off tomorrow in Berlin. And with 24 hours until the presser, an ILCE-QX1 E-mount camera has conveniently leaked out.

The latest addition to its QX-branded smartphone and tablet camera accessory lineup, the forthcoming ILCE-QX1 E-mount camera reportedly won’t have a fixed lens and instead will let you use any of Sony’s E-Mount lenses, the oft-reliable SonyAlphaRumors blog reported Tuesday.

As if that wasn’t enough, the ILCE-QX1 is said to feature a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and a built-in flash. That being said, compatibility with the E-Mount lenses is bound to strike a chord with iPhone photography fans. Read More


Samsung’s troubles prove Apple knows exactly what it’s doing with its iPhone business

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 31, 2014

Samsung’s co-CEO and mobile chief J.K. Shin is in the hot seat as the company posts its third straight quarter of operating-profit declines.

It’s fascinating to watch how quickly things are turning for the conglomerate responsible for nearly one-fifth of South Korea’s Gross domestic product.

Operating profits were down sharply, decreasing a whopping 25 percent year over year. More importantly, Samsung’s favorite business metric – the market share – is under pressure, too: its worldwide share of smartphones slipped to 25 percent in the second quarter from 32 percent a year earlier.

This is bad news considering that 76 percent of the firm’s profit comes from smartphones. What gives? Read More


Amazon announces June 18 launch event for new device

By Cody Lee on Jun 4, 2014

Amazon has just announced that it will be hosting a ‘launch event’ on June 18. The company doesn’t offer up a whole lot of details, other than founder Jeff Bezos will be on hand, and a new device will be shown off.

In addition to sending out invitations, and tweeting about the event, Amazon has also posted a cryptic video of people trying out the device. They don’t say way it is, or show it, but it sounds like the rumored smartphone…

Read More


Alleged internal slide reveals Amazon’s upcoming smartphone

By Cody Lee on May 1, 2014

Amazon is expected to unveil its first smartphone in the not-so-distant future, and according to a new report from BGR, this is what it’s going to look like. The site says the image on the above slide was created for internal use by graphic designers at Amazon.

Note that the handset looks quite different than the prototype we saw last month—BGR explains this is because that device was housed in a protective casing. The actual phone’s design resembles that of the iPhone and other smartphones currently on the market… Read More


Samsung profits fall in Q1 on slowing high-end smartphone sales

By Cody Lee on Apr 29, 2014

Samsung said profit fell for a second straight quarter as sales in its smartphone division continued to dip. The South Korean electronics giant announced its earnings for Q1 2014 this morning, and its operating profits for the period fell 3.3% from the year-ago-quarter.

Investors are particularly concerned with the growing trend of slumping handset sales—Samsung’s mobile division is also down 1.2% year-over-year. The just-released Galaxy S5 is expected to give its Q2 numbers a boost, but the future beyond that is less than certain… Read More


Amazon’s smartphone said to feature unique, tilt-based gesture interface

By Cody Lee on Apr 22, 2014

According to a bevy of recent reports, Amazon is preparing to launch a smartphone. It’s a tough market to try to bust into this late in the game—with Apple and Samsung taking home a large share of the profits already—but from what we’ve heard, the e-commerce giant is going to try to differentiate itself with unique features.

Today, following up its report from last week on a purported prototype of the Amazon phone, BGR has offered up some new details. Apparently, in addition to glasses-free 3D and head-tracking tech, the handset will also feature a number of motion-based gestures that can be activated by tilting the device in various directions… Read More


WSJ: Amazon preparing to launch 3D smartphone in September

By Cody Lee on Apr 12, 2014

The Wall Street Journal added its weight to speculation that Amazon is preparing to launch a smartphone. The outlet reported late yesterday that the e-commerce giant has been showing off prototypes of the handset to developers, and it plans to take it public later this year.

What’s really interesting about the device is that The Journal says its screen is capable of displaying three-dimensional images without the need for special glasses. And it accomplishes this by using retina-tracking technology that’s embedded into four front-facing cameras… Read More


Meet Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 4, 2014

Last October, Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, then a subsidiary of Google, announced an interesting partnership with PhoneBloks with the goal of creating highly modular smartphones that customers could build and update themselves much like LEGO bricks.

Basically a free, open hardware platform, Project Ara calls for a structural metal endoskeleton frame designed to hold a bunch of different items in place.

Swappable parts would include commonly used phone components like a display, keyboard, battery, electrical components, cameras and custom 3D-printed module enclosures. The audacious idea behind Project Ara is to allow folks to easily swap out malfunctioning modules or replace components with better parts as technology evolves.

Those who custom-build PCs will know what I’m talking about. It’s interesting that the 100 engineers strong ATAP group, led by former DARPA director Regina Dugan, was not included in Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo and instead got folded into Google’s Android team to work under the direction of Android’s new head, Sundar Pichai.

Today, Google posted a video providing a glimpse into the DIY smartphone project, ahead of the first Ara Development Conference which runs April 15-16 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California… Read More


Amazon said to be launching smartphone with 6 cameras soon

By Cody Lee on Mar 20, 2014

With Amazon set to unveil its set-top box next month, the e-commerce giant is approaching full-on Apple competitor. It has the tablets, and the ecosystem, all it needs is a smartphone. And according to a new report, that could be arriving soon as well.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid reputation for accurately predicting tech company product plans, says Amazon is preparing to launch its long-awaited handset within the next 3 months. And get this: apparently it’ll have 6 cameras… Read More


Apple picks up ground on rivals in US smartphone race on strong Christmas quarter iPhone sales

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 16, 2014

Although we won’t get to see some cold, hard numbers in terms of the iPhone’s market performance until January 27, when Apple is scheduled to deliver its earnings results for the calendar 2013 holiday quarter, it already looks like the “disappointing” dual-iPhone launch has altered the landscape in the United States in Apple’s favor.

Research firm NPD on Thursday published its survey of U.S. smartphone ownership, showing the Apple handset growing its share of domestic customers to 42 percent, a notable jump from the 35 percent share in the year-ago quarter… Read More


Apple-Samsung smartphone duopoly to continue into 2014

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 17, 2013

The smart device duopoly of Apple and Samsung is set to continue into 2014, new research finds. Although growth is slowing amid lack of ‘wow’ factor, smartphones will account for three-quarters of the 2.5 billion devices expected to sell next year.

In other words, smartphones will comprise an astounding 1.9 billion handsets sold next year.

Google’s Android mobile software will have 42 percent of the market with Apple’s iOS garnering fourteen percent in 2014. Microsoft is predicted to become the #2 platform with a fifteen percent share of next year’s market, according to Gartner… Read More


The problem with smartphones: they’re losing their cool and wow factor

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 17, 2013

It has been six years since Apple introduced the original iPhone. The event was likened to a seismic shift that ignited the push to adopt smartphones in the United States. Now with up to 70 percent of subscribers owning smartphones, the big three carriers are searching for ways to encourage upgrades.

However, the push comes as consumers complain the ‘wow’ factor is missing from the industry. The slowdown in smartphone upgrades – evident in Samsung and Apple’s sales – fell nine percent in 2012 with 68 million U.S. subscribers upgrading their devices, according to a Wednesday Wall Street Journal report… Read More


On average, an iPhone is used an hour and 15 minutes per day

By Ed Sutherland on May 29, 2013

As the world migrates from dumb feature phones to more powerful smartphones, there are a greater number of options available beyond just talking and texting. What features are most used by smartphone owners and is the pattern different based on whether the handset is powered by Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android? To start, iPhone owners tend to spend more time with their smartphone compared to Android users, new marketing research indicates.

The typical iPhone owner spends one hour and 15 minutes using the Apple smartphone – 26 minutes more than owners of Android handsets, according to Experian Marketing Services. Additionally, Android owners typically make voice calls while iPhone owners are busy texting, emailing and taking photos… Read More

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