Sprint to offer two Windows Phone 8 smartphones this summer

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Jan 102013

After teasing that Windows Phone 8 devices were coming soon, Sprint earlier this week shed more light on the launch. The company revealed that it would launch with two Windows Phone 8 devices, one from HTC and one from Samsung, sometime this summer.

“Sprint has had a strong relationship with Microsoft for many years so we are excited to reinforce our commitment to the Windows 8 platform by sharing the details and timing for our first Windows Phone 8 smartphones,” said Fared Adib, Sprint senior vice president, product development and operations. “These smartphones combine a robust new operating platform with the benefit of Sprint’s unlimited data plans. There is no doubt these phones will quickly become an extension of your PC experience right in the palm of your hand.”

While Sprint’s press release is light on details about the devices, Sprint’s director of device delivery Ryan Sullivan indicated that they would be new devices. “They’ll be current,” he said. “We’re working for current product launches, and not necessarily to launch on six-month-old hardware.”

Today, Sprint only offers Android, BlackBerry, and iOS devices. Sullivan hinted that Sprint could even offer devices powered by the Firefox and Tizen operating systems in the future.

Read more: Sprint and PCMag

Samsung unveils Samsung Galaxy S II Plus

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Jan 102013

Samsung Galaxy S II PlusThere is life yet in the venerable Samsung Galaxy S II. Samsung today unveiled an upgraded version called the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus. It features a few improvements (primarily on the software side) but is otherwise very similar to its older sibling. It “combines the performance that have made the GALAXY S II one of the world’s most recognized phones, together with nature-inspired user-interface and intuitive features that greatly boost its usability and functionality.”

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus specifications:

  • Processor: 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung TouchWiz
  • Cellular connectivity: HSPA+ (21Mbps)/EDGE/GPRS
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS/GLONASS, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (dual-band), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC (optional)
  • Display: 4.3-inch WVGA (800×480) Super AMOLED Plus
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 64GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with LED flash and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 2MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Battery: 1,650mAh
  • Dimensions / weight (NFC): 125.3 × 66.1 × 8.9 millimeters / 121 grams
  • Dimensions / weight (Non-NFC): 125.3 × 66.1 × 8.5 millimeters / 121 grams

There is no word yet on availability and pricing.

Read more: Samsung

CES 2013: Samsung shows off Youm flexible displays

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Jan 092013
Samsung Youm

Samsung today showed off its OLED Youm flexible displays at its second CES keynote. Brian Berkeley, Samsung Electronics senior vice president of their display lab, took to the stage to talk about the company’s Youm technology which allows displays to be able to be bent, rolled and even folded. Underlying how far this technology still has to go before we see it in our devices, there was more talk of concepts and the promise of what flexible displays can offer than actual devices.

Samsung did show off a smartphone prototype with a 5-inch display that wrapped around the sides. The idea is that short messages (like an SMS) and notifications could be displayed on the side. Nokia also presented a similar concept, the Nokia GEM, last year.

Samsung flexible display
Credit: CNET

Other screens were on display, further emphasizing the promise of this technology:

Samsung flexible display
Credit: CNET

Samsung has been working on flexible displays for at least a couple of years now. Samsung introduced the Youm brand name last year. Back in December 2011, it released a video showing its vision for the technology:

We may have to be patient a while longer but flexible displays do look to be on their way to a variety of devices.

Read more: CNET

Samsung expects record US$8.3 billion Q4 profit thanks to mobile phones

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Jan 082013

Samsung Electronics yesterday delivered its fiscal year 2012 Q4 earnings guidance. The company expects sales to reach 56 trillion Korean Won (about US$5.27 billion) with profits to come in at 8.8 trillion Won (about US$8.3 billion). This would be yet another record, the latest in a string of five record quarters.

Much of this success is attributed to mobile devices and components for these. Samsung said that it sold close to 500 handsets a minute during the quarter. If so, Samsung mobile phone (smartphones and feature phones) sales could top 65 million units for the quarter.

According to Reuters, Samsung launched more smartphone models than its competitors. It released 37 smartphone models (including variants for different markets). In comparison, LG launched 24, HTC a further 18, Nokia 9, and Apple only one, the iPhone 5.

Samsung has even more ambitious goals for 2013. It is looking to ship 510 million mobile phones in 2013.

Samsung will release its full earnings report by January 25.

Read more: Samsung and Reuters

Samsung Galaxy S IV not coming before May according to Samsung Lebanon (or not)

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Jan 052013

That Samsung will release a successor to its very successful Galaxy S III is a near certainty. That it will be known as the Galaxy S IV is also very likely. As for what its specifications will be or when it will be released, that’s where things get murkier. Past rumours have suggested that Samsung could unveil its next flagship smartphone as early as next week’s CES 2013 or in late February at Barcelona’s MWC. Others have pointed to a later release, perhaps in April. Now Samsung Lebanon may have given us our best clue yet in response to a question about availability. It replied that “The Galaxy SIV won’t be released before May 2013.”

Samsung Galaxy S IV availability according to Samsung Lebanon?

It quickly added a clarification later: “What we said is only trivial since all Galaxy S series are released between late April and Early May, yet there’s no way for anyone to know the exact release date.”

Samsung Galaxy S IV availability according to Samsung Lebanon?

Did someone let the cat out of the bag a bit early? Or was it a genuine mistake by someone who is not aware of Samsung’s product roadmap? For the record, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S III last May. A successor a year later is not implausible. We’ll know when Samsung decides to tell us…

Read more: Samsung Lebanon [via Facebook] (Source: BriefMobile)

Samsung confirms multiple Tizen smartphones coming this year

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Jan 032013

Rumours that Samsung would launch at least one Tizen-powered smartphone in 2013 have been confirmed by the company itself. “We plan to release new, competitive Tizen devices within this year and will keep expanding the lineup depending on market conditions,” Samsung today told Bloomberg in a statement. One of the first could be headed to NTT DoCoMo in Japan.

Samsung’s decision appears to have been at least in part to Google’s acquisition of Motorola last year. It is hoping to use Tizen to reduce its own dependence on Google’s Android mobile operating system as it expects that the Google-Motorola merger may weaken its position as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer.

Samsung did not provide any details on when specifically this year it will launch its first Tizen-powered smartphones. Specifications and pricing also remain unknown at this time. There have been rumours of such devices in the past including a Tizen-powered Galaxy smartphone and the Samsung GT-I9525.

The announcement will be welcome by Intel which has been looking to grow its market share in the mobile processor market. Given that it is a Tizen backer, it is likely that its processors will make their way into Tizen-powered devices.

Tizen is a Linux-based open source software platform backed by Intel, the Linux Foundation, LiMo Foundation, Samsung and a number of carriers. First announced in 2011, it is designed to support a variety of devices ranging from smartphones to in-vehicle infotainment devices and televisions.

Read more: Bloomberg

SaskTel launches Samsung Galaxy Discover

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Jan 032013

Samsung Galaxy DiscoverWe’re only days into 2013 but new smartphones are already hitting the carriers. First out of the gate is SaskTel with the Samsung Galaxy Discover, an entry-level smartphone. “Stay social wherever your day takes you. The Galaxy Discover is the perfect mobile device to keep you in the loop with all of your friends.”

Samsung Galaxy Discover specifications:

  • Processor: 800MHz single-core Cortex-A5
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE/HSPA+/GSM
  • Other connectivity: A-GPS, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480) LCD
  • Input: Touchscreen
  • Memory: 600MB RAM
  • Storage: 4G onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 3.0MP
  • Front-facing camera: None
  • Battery: 1,300mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 127.9 x 67.4 x 12.7 millimeters / 122 grams
  • Colours: Black

SaskTel offers the Samsung Galaxy Discover for CA$29.99 with a three-year contract, CA$49.99 with a two-year contract, CA$79.99 with a one-year contract, or CA$149.99 outright.

Read more: SaskTel (Source: MobileSyrup)

Samsung to address Galaxy S III mainboard failures with software update

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Jan 022013

Samsung Galaxy S IIISamsung has acknowledged to Dutch site Tweakers that the Samsung Galaxy S III can abruptly die to a mainboard failure. The issue is apparently limited to “a very limited number” of the 16GB model, according to spokeswoman Anne ter Braak. While this would suggest to most that a hardware issue is the culprit, Samsung has identified the root cause and promises to resolve it with a software update.

Users reporting the issue indicate that the smartphone will randomly fail after between 150 and 200 days of use. It affects both stock and rooted devices. To date, Samsung has been replacing affected handsets under warranty.

Samsung has now identified the issue as a firmware bug. This will allow it to fix it with a firmware update rather than having to modify its manufacturing processes.

Samsung has yet to provide a specific schedule as to when it will provide the update but it promises that it will be done as soon as possible.

Read more: Tweakers (in Dutch) [Google translation] (Source: Phandroid)

Samsung Galaxy Note II shows up in red and brown

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Jan 012013

Last week, a rumour popped up indicating that the Samsung Galaxy Note II would soon be available in matte black. It was quickly dismissed but not before sparking a “I want” reaction from many. New images have now surfaced that indicate that two new colour variants are indeed on their way. Sadly black is a no-show although it could still be offered sometime in the future. For now, the new colours coming are red and brown or Ruby Wine and Amber Brown as Samsung refers to them.

Red and brown Samsung Galaxy Note II variants

The image above is from a magazine ad from Korea. It’s likely to be released there first and make its way to other markets later. Like other model colour variants, not all will make it to every carrier. For example, Canadian carriers don’t offer the Amber Brown variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Anyone going to hold out a bit to see whether the red and brown Galaxy Note II variants make their way over to North American shores?

Read more: UnwiredView

Samsung to launch Tizen-powered smartphone in 2013?

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Dec 312012

Rumours that Samsung will launch at least one Tizen-powered smartphone in 2013 continue to gather steam. According to Japanese Daily Yomiuri, the smartphone will be sold through Japanese carrier NTT Docomo Inc. which is also getting involved in the development of the Tizen mobile operating system. It could also also make its way to Europe although it’s not clear whether it would reach North American shores.

Samsung and NTT DoCoMo are hoping that they will be able to establish Tizen as an alternative to industry heavyweights Android and iOS. NTT DoCoMO is also hoping that Tizen will allow it to reverse subscriber losses caused by the fact that it is the only Japanese carrier not to offer the iPhone.

There have been a number of rumours about a Tizen-powered smartphone in the past year. There were rumbles about Tizen-powered Galaxy smartphone last September and the Tizen-powered Samsung GT-I9525 popped up on a benchmarking site in November.

Tizen, first announced in September 2011, is a Linux-based open source software platform backed by Intel, the Linux Foundation, LiMo Foundation, Samsung and others. It builds upon older platforms such as LiMo and MeeGo and is designed to support multiple device categories ranging from smartphones to netbooks and in-vehicle infotainment devices.

It appears that 2013 will see a number of mobile operating systems do battle to establish themselves as a credible third option. Windows Phone 8 debuted earlier this year, BlackBerry 10 will launch on January 30th, and now Tizen is jumping into the mix. It will be interesting to see which remain standing a year from now.

Read more: Daily Yomiuri (Source: CNET)

Samsung Galaxy S IV to launch with S Pen stylus in April?

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Dec 282012

If the latest rumour out of Korea turns out to be true, the S Pen currently found on the Galaxy Note devices will make its way to the next-generation Galaxy S flagship smartphone. An anonymous Samsung executive allegedly explained that the move is part of the manufacturer’s plan to unify its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note sub-brands. It would also allow Samsung to differentiate its next flagship smartphone from the large number of 5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) competitors that are coming.

Supporting earlier rumours, the report adds that the Samsung Galaxy S IV will come with a 5-inch Full HD AMOLED display. It will be powered by Android Jelly Bean and come with a rear-facing 13MP AF camera and a front-facing 2MP camera. It will be about 9.2 millimeters thick, making it slightly thicker than its predecessor.

On the processor side, things look to be somewhat undecided. It could use a quad-core Samsung Exynos 5440 chipset or an ARM big.LITTLE architecture-based one that would pair an energy efficient Cortex A7 processor with a more powerful Cortex A-15 one for additional power when needed.

The report also indicates that the Samsung Galaxy S IV will launch in April.

Read more: Enuri (In Korean) (Source: PhoneArena)

Samsung aiming to ship 510 million mobile phones in 2013

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Dec 262012

2012 has not quite wrapped up but Samsung is already looking ahead to 2013. The company has set some lofty sales targets for itself according to a report by The Korea Times citing “an executive from one of Samsung’s key suppliers.” It may be looking to ship 510 million mobile phones in the next year. This would be a 20% increase over the estimated 420 million devices it expects to ship this year.

Samsung is looking to ship 390 million smartphones to capitalize on the growing worldwide appetite for such devices. While the company does acknowledge that smartphone growth could slow down compared to past years, it expects “new demand for devices using Long Term Evolution (LTE),” according to company executive Kim Hyun-joon.

Samsung may also diversify its smartphone and tablet portfolio in 2013. Along with the expected Galaxy smartphones (including the Galaxy S IV) and tablets, it is planning to launch Windows Phone 8 smartphones (likely under the ATIV brand) as well as devices powered by Tizen.

Most of Samsung’s mobile phone production will come out of Vietnam where it will also invest US$2.2 billion over several years to build up production capacity. Some 240 million devices will be manufactured in Vietnam with another 170 million to come from China, 20 million from India, and 40 million from its Korean factory in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.

Samsung is set to become both the top cellphone and smartphone manufacturer in the world in 2012. Its goals for 2013 are even more impressive when you consider that the company shipped a “mere” 600,000 smartphones only four years ago, back in 2009.

Read more: The Korea Times

Motorola nabs key Samsung marketing executive?

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Dec 222012

Motorola MobilityEarlier this week, we got our first sign that Google has some big plans in 2013 for its recently acquired Motorola business. The rumoured Motorola Phone X is meant to take on flagship devices from other smartphone manufacturers. But an impressive device alone is likely not enough. A strong marketing campaign will also be needed to make sure that the Phone X is not drowned out by the hype and media attention that will follow the launch of new flagship devices from smartphone business heavyweights Apple and Samsung. Who better to lead this effort than one who has already done this for one of these two companies.

According to AllThingsD, Google has hired Brian Wallace who was Vice President for Strategic Marketing at Samsung Telecommunications America to take on a similar role at Motorola. While many may not be familiar with his name, they are familiar with the famous campaign that poked a good deal of fun at Apple and its devoted customers. The last such ad was the following:

Wallace was with Samsung for about a year. Before that, he was RIM’s Vice President, Global Digital Marketing and Media.

Will we now see Motorola ads poking fun at both Apple and Samsung in the near future?

Read more: AllThingsD

IHS iSuppli: Samsung to become top cellphone manufacturer in 2012

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Dec 182012

Samsung2012 may not be over yet but it appears that the fat lady has sung her tune. According to IHS iSuppli, Samsung will displace Nokia to become the top mobile phone manufacturer for 2012. It will be the first time that the South Korean manufacturer will take the spot that Nokia has claimed as its won since 1998. Much of Samsung’s success can be attributed to its smartphone business.

“The competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone; die by the smartphone,’” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market—and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012. Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.”

The top five cellphone manufacturers in 2012 are as follows:

Rank Company 2011 2012
1 Samsung 24% 29%
2 Nokia 30% 24%
3 Apple 7% 10%
4 ZTE 6% 6%
5 LG 6% 4%
Source: IHS iSuppli December 2012

In the smartphone space, Samsung is expected to consolidate its lead over Apple thanks to its diversified smartphone lineup that covers everything from the entry-level space to the flagship market. The top five smartphone manufacturers are expected to be the following:

Rank Company 2011 2012
1 Samsung 20% 28%
2 Apple 19% 20%
3 Nokia 16% 5%
4 HTC 9% 5%
5 RIM 11% 5%
Source: IHS iSuppli December 2012

IHS iSuppli expects that smartphones will account for 56% of the mobile phone market in 2013. Whether the top five will remain as they are remains to be seen.

Read more: IHS iSuppli

Samsung Galaxy Camera now available at TELUS

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Dec 182012

Samsung Galaxy CameraThe Samsung Galaxy Camera landed in Canada earlier this month. Initially available only from Black’s Photography stores and The Samsung Storein Burnaby, B.C., it is now also available from TELUS (which happens to own Black’s).

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is first 4G camera powered by Android 4.1 Jellybean. Combining photography and an ultra sleek tablet design, the revolutionary 16MP Samsung Galaxy Camera offers the best of both worlds. Take pro-like pictures with its 21x super long zoom and 1/2.3” BSI CMOS image sensor. The 4G connectivity allows you to share memorable pictures and videos anywhere and at any time on the TELUS 4G Network.

If you’re curious about this hybrid point-and-shoot camera Android device, Samsung has just released an ad starring it and James Franco:

The Samsung Galaxy Camera is now available from TELUS for CA$599.99.

Read more: TELUS (Source: MobileSyrup)