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Apple leads U.S. smartphone manufacturers in customer satisfaction, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Apple iPhone Tops J.D. Power and Associates

It’s the sixth time in a row the Cupertino giant has topped this survey. Apple scored 838 points with great marks in all areas, particularly ease of operation and features.

HTC came in second, followed by Samsung, Motorola and RIM. With only 721 points, Nokia’s performance was particularly poor, even finishing behind the now defunct Palm.

The report reveals customers have a sweet spot for almost every physical characteristic of their smartphone. For example, smartphones under 5 ounces are preferred over heavier ones. Overall, the key factors for evaluating smartphones are performance (35%), ease of operation (24%), features (21%) and physical design (20%).

The study also points out customers’ appreciation of 4G connectivity.

It looks like Apple’s patent spat with Samsung has now reached the land of the rising sun. Reuters is reporting that Cupertino is taking the Korean manufacturer to court in Japan, over alleged patent violations pertaining to the iPhone and iPad.

Japan’s Kyodo news agency first reported the news, citing unnamed insiders who claim that Apple is looking to halt sales of Samsung’s allegedly patent-infringing Galaxy S smartphones, while seeking ¥100 million (about $1.3 million) in damages. 

Apple iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy S

According to the sources, the first hearing was held in a Tokyo District Court on Wednesday, though a court spokesman would not comment on the pending case. Neither Samsung nor Apple have commented on the suit and details on the patents in question remain unclear, but we’ll keep you posted as we find out more.

Update: Ryuji Yamada, CEO of Japanese provider NTT DoCoMo, is now saying that Apple’s lawsuit will not have any effect on next month’s Galaxy Tab launch. “We have heard from Samsung that there will be no obstruction to sales,” Yamada confirmed.

What’s the worst thing about your TV? If you said “opaqueness,” boy have we got the set from you. This is a 22-inch transparent organic TV from the folks at Haier. It’s a slim display with a metal bezel that has a clear OLED at its center with a 1680 x 1050 resolution. The images appeared pretty sharp on screen, though the colors didn’t particularly pop.

Haier's transparent organic TV

And really, this thing isn’t likely headed to any living rooms in the near future — Haier sees it more as an advertising tool, letting shoppers see its images from both sides. The display in its demo form was actually hooked up to a Windows PC, running video through a media player, making this not too unlike that 14-inch Samsung laptop that we saw at CES last year.

The TV is still in its early demo stages, so pricing and availability are a ways off. 


Honestly, it never made much sense to begin with. Between Android, Windows Phone 7 and Bada, what could Samsung possibly want with another mobile OS? Yet, the rumors persisted that Sammy was going to snatch up, or at least license, HP’s recently quasi-retired tablet and smartphone platform. 

Samsung will not buy HP

Well, the speculation can officially be put to rest — Samsung CEO Choi Gee Sung told a group of reporters at IFA that the company would “never” pursue a webOS deal, and bemoaned the trend of “acquiring an operating system.” Of course, things could change, but we wouldn’t count on it — sounds like the company’s developers already have plenty on their plate.

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, rejected speculation it may buy Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)’s WebOS software used in handsets and tablet computers.

The South Korean company will “never” pursue such a deal, Chief Executive Officer Choi Gee Sung said in Berlin, where he’s attending the IFA consumer electronics fair. The comment, made to reporters in response to questions about analysts’ speculation of a possible purchase, was confirmed by Nam Ki Yung, a spokesman for Samsung in Seoul.

“It’s not right that acquiring an operating system is becoming a fashion,” Choi said. Samsung, which has its own mobile operating system called Bada, is working to boost its software capability “harder than people outside think.”

Industry researchers including IDC had said Samsung may be interested in acquiring WebOS to boost software assets, after Hewlett-Packard announced a decision last month to stop making products using the operating system. HTC Corp. (2498) and Facebook Inc. may also be interested in buying the software, according to an Aug. 22 note from research firm Ovum Ltd.

Both HTC and Facebook declined to comment in e-mailed responses to queries. Clare Wareing, a Singapore-based public relations official at Hewlett-Packard, wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Hewlett-Packard’s plan to stop using WebOS in its products is part of a shakeup that includes a possible spinoff of its personal-computer division. The announcement fueled speculation that Samsung may seek an acquisition of the PC business, which the South Korean electronics maker also denied last month.

Licensing Deals

Hewlett-Packard gained WebOS in last year’s $1.2 billion purchase of Palm Inc. The company plans to produce a final run of its TouchPad tablet computer after a price cut to $99 from $499 led to a surge in demand.

Hewlett-Packard is still considering partnerships and licensing deals with manufacturers that may use the WebOS software in their devices, Senior Vice President Stephen DeWitt said last month. Samsung Electronics held talks to use WebOS in its smartphones, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

The U.S. company probably won’t find a partner because the software offers little benefit compared with rival operating systems, Ovum said.

According to ComScore, out of the 82.2 million people in the US with a smartphone (up ten percent from last quarter), Android came in first as the biggest platform yet again, capturing a whopping 41.8 percent of the market like a boss. In a not-so-close second, Apple was able to snag 27 percent, followed by RIM in the third place spot with 21.7 percent — down 4 percentage points from last quarter.

comScore Android Apple RIM Blackberry

Pulling up the rear is Microsoft with 5.7 percent, and lastly Symbian with a grim 1.9 percent — both down when compared to the previous three months. As far as US hardware manufacturers goes, Samsung is still on top with 25.5 percent of the market, while LG got 20.9 percent and finally Motorola with 14.1 percent, down 1.5 percentage points from before. Apple was able to snag some standing in the OEM space with a 9.5 percent share, while BlackBerry-maker RIM only captured 7.6 percent.

As the battle wages on, looks like Androids, iPhones, and BlackBerrys (oh my) are still on top — at least for this quarter. Check out the PR after the break for the full scorecard.

RESTON, VA, August 30, 2011 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from the comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending July 2011. The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.5 percent market share. Google Android continued to gain ground in the smartphone market reaching 41.8 percent market share.

OEM Market Share
For the three month average period ending in July, 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.5 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 1.0 percentage points), followed by LG with 20.9 percent share and Motorola with 14.1 percent share. Apple strengthened its position at #4 with 9.5 percent share of mobile subscribers (up 1.2 percentage points), while RIM rounded out the top five with 7.6 percent share.

Smartphone Platform Market Share
82.2 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in July 2011, up 10 percent from the preceding three month period. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 41.8 percent market share, up 5.4 percentage points. Apple strengthened its #2 position with 27.0 percent of the smartphone market, up 1.0 percentage points from the prior reporting period. RIM ranked third with 21.7 percent share, followed by Microsoft (5.7 percent) and Symbian (1.9 percent).

Mobile Content Usage
In July, 70 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 1.2 percentage points. Browsers were used by 41.1 percent of subscribers (up 2.0 percentage points), while downloaded applications were used by 40.6 percent (up 2.8 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 2.1 percentage points to 30.1 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 27.8 percent of the mobile audience (up 1.6 percentage points), while 20.3 percent listened to music on their phones (up 2.3 percentage points).

Television prices have fallen so much that a typical set will soon cost less than an Apple Inc. iPad that’s less than a tenth the size.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows average prices of 42-inch liquid-crystal-display TVs in the U.S. will probably fall 10 percent to $599 this quarter from a year earlier, and slip to $578 by the end of the year, according to Santa Clara, California-based research firm DisplaySearch. IPad tablet computers are sold for $499 to $829 in the U.S., with Apple offering the Wi-Fi only, 32-gigabyte version for $599.

The price drop illustrates why none of the industry’s five largest producers, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Corp., have managed to generate even a nickel of profit for every dollar in sales from their TV divisions since last year. Falling prices will likely continue pressuring earnings, said Jeff Loff, a Tokyo-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd.

“The value consumers ascribe to a TV set is lower than most manufacturers’ costs,” Loff said in a phone interview. “Even incremental features like 3-D, Internet connectivity and enhanced motion processing do not generate enough of a price lift to turn TV sets profitable.”

In the U.S., the first color RCA-brand TV with 12-inch screen was offered at $1,000 in 1954. Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung, now the largest TV maker, began offering 40-inch LCD sets for about $8,000 in 2002. Sharp Corp., Japan’s largest LCD maker, retailed the company’s first 45-inch sets in 2004 at 997,500 yen ($13,000).

Apple, whose co-founder Steve Jobs resigned last week as chief executive officer, has kept iPad prices unchanged since it introduced the first model in January 2010.

It looks like Samsung is about to dip its toes in the mobile messaging market, with a new service called ChatON. Slated to debut at this week’s IFA, the app brings texting, group chat and image / video sharing to not only Samsung’s Bada OS, but to iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, as well.

Samsung ChatONAccording to the Korean manufacturer, the new client will be available in two versions: a basic one for feature phones and another, more complex variation that allows smartphone users to comment on other profiles, send animated messages and visualize their most frequently contacted friends, as displayed above.

The company is also planning to release a web-based version that would bring similar functionality to PCs. ChatON is slated to go live next month (in more than 120 countries and 62 languages), but you can find more information in the demo video and translated PR, after the break.

Mobile Messenger More than that, Samsung ChatON (chaeton)

Samsung Electronics, a global communications services for the coming September ‘ChatON’ (hereinafter chaeton) start the service. The world and provides services to more than 120 countries, up to 62 languages ​​that you’d support. This world of mobile phone users to communicate beyond borders and languages, is expected to be enabling.

Chaetoneun simply is not just talking to pass the mobile messenger. Trunk (Trunk), such as sharing content through the box and profile comments to share with your friends lives the concept of micro-community is a global SNS. In addition, allowing users to communicate more effectively with a wide variety of message types, and many more platforms and is designed to be in terminal.

From now on, Samsung’s ambitious, let’s look chaetone.

Generation and space to support a variety of platforms can communicate beyond!

Multi-platform support chaetoneun smartphones, as well as the general consumer with a mobile phone is a characteristic that can be used deulkkaji. ‘Chaeton’ Galaxy of the Samsung products and its own sea-based platform offers new features, starting with phone services, also for third-party’s main platform is expected to expand in stages. Mobile phone users worldwide smartphone, feature phone to break into the ‘chaeton’ will communicate through the mornings I’m not that far!

Micro-community-oriented mobile communication services

Chaetoneun various user groups to community-based micro-oriented. Contact with the balloon that displays the frequency of conversations with the number of ‘intimate position’ feature can be a simple social networking. In addition, the ‘word to your friends’ with the ability to determine a group of friends might like to comment briefly.

Support for multimedia content to communicate emotion.

In addition to the chat room, you do not need to find each other, sharing content. Group-based content storage space of ‘trunk’ through to see at a glance because you can find. In the trunk of your photos and videos can also leave a brief moment.

1:01 chaetoneseoneun chat and group chat, group message (bulletin), and the dialog is available in a variety of ways. In addition, photos, videos, voice message, location, contacts, calendar, and supports a wide variety of multimedia content. Specifically, the background music, photos, handwritten cards and make it yourself with the ability to send animated messages can be an emotional communication.

Samsung Media Solution Director yihosu vice president, “chaetoneun Samsung’s service technology created a global mobile communications for the core services,” said “consumers want and social networking needs to meet the service to become a future sustainable performance upgrades to introduce new features,” he said.

Apple's ground breaking technology and its uncanny ability to understand what consumers really want has propelled the firm founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and his buddy Steve Wozniak to stratospheric heights.

Apple built its business on its highly desirable but niche Macintosh computer range. But Apple’s invention of the iPod, the iPhone, and now the iPad, has changed the way consumers interact with technology and given Apple unprecedented mass market appeal.

Apple’s share of the smart phone market has grown from 0% to 20% in only a few short years, putting it significantly ahead of rivals like Nokia, Samsung, and HTC.

The iPad has become a must have accessory — at least for those that can afford one. Last year it was responsible for 90% of tablet sales worldwide.

Just how far the company has come became clear over the summer when commentators calculated that the company had more cash reserves than the US government.

Will Apple be OK without Jobs? Apple after Steve Jobs Wozniak: Jobs was always one step ahead Working with Steve Jobs

But with success has come criticism. Like Microsoft before it, Apple has been accused of exploiting its position in the market, and not always for the benefit of consumers or society.

Apple is certainly a shrewd operator. It has used its financial muscle to sign exclusive deals, buying up innovative technology, ensuring that rivals cannot use them in rival products.

And it has used that muscle to extract heavy fees from organisations that want to make their content available on the iPad.

Its plans to charge publishers 30% of subscription sales made through iTunes caused an uproar. Apple’s unwillingness to share the details of subscribers with consumers — effectively cutting off publishers from their core audience — was seen as a step too far.

Questions have also been raised about some of Apple’s suppliers. Its Chinese subcontractor Foxconn hit the headlines last year following a series of suicides among its workforce. Labour rights groups raised concerns about the working conditions at the plant.

And Apple revealed that 137 workers at its Chinese supplier Wintek suffered health problems following exposure to a chemical cleaning agent.

Apple maybe attracting more cynicism now and has certainly faced some negative publicity, but when it comes to having a monopoly, it is far from a Microsoft. There are too many rivals biting at its heels.

The Android mobile phone platform, backed by the financial resources of Google, is a real threat to Apple’s dominance in smart phones.

The platform is open source, making it easier for programmers to develop new applications, without the restrictions imposed by Apple on iTunes.

And it is not limited to a single handset manufacturer. Rivals are stepping in with phones that not only rival the capabilities of the iPhone, but come with a significantly lower price tag.

The past few months have seen a slew of tablet PCs to rival the iPad. By next year analysts predict that Apple’s market share will have fallen from 90% to 70% of the tablet market — still very healthy but a fall nonetheless.

If anything, it is in Apple’s interest to ensure that it does not have a monopoly. Microsoft positioned itself as the default supplier for PC applications and operating systems. Its software may not be the best, but it is used everywhere.

That’s not where Apple wants to be. Apple sees itself as an innovator, offering fantastic technology that will leave the competition struggling to catch up — for a price.

And to be an added value supplier means that Apple will always need other companies around to deliver the cheaper alternatives. Apple will always play hard ball, but it is not in its interests to have a monopoly.

Publicly, Samsung and LG tersely supported Google's union with Motorola (which we’ve taken to calling Moogle) — privately it appears the South Korean giants aren’t as thrilled to be at the mercy of Mountain View’s whim. Imagine their predicament if they were frozen out of Android tomorrow — which is why the Korean government has stepped in to create its own OS. Kim Jae-hong, deputy minister from Seoul’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy, thinks that American dominance in mobile software is generally a bad thing.

South Korea Samsung LG

The minister said that the country would “foster a habitat” for the open-source OS, which might mean incentivized pricing on these devices, and we’re hearing a cloud-based Chrome OS is also in the offing. The biggest news Jae-hong slipped is that Samsung had been very dismissive of a Korean OS until it heard about the Google / Motorola deal. What a difference a Moogle makes, eh?