Verizon Wireless is the first major U.S. carrier to announce details on a data sharing plan. Verizon is calling theirs “Share Everything Plans”, which package shared voice minutes, text messages and data. Smartphones, tablets and feature phones are all eligible devices.
Share Everything Plans include unlimited minutes, unlimited texting, video and picture messaging, and a data allowance for up to 10 Verizon Wireless devices. In addition, the Mobile Hotspot service for all wireless devices is included.
Costs start at $30 per device for basic cell phones and $40 per device for smartphones. 1GB of shared data will run $50 per month and include unlimited voice calling and text messaging.
For $100 plus the monthly fees for each device, up to 10GB of data per month can be shared between devices. Unlimited voice and SMS are included.
“Customers asked, and today Verizon Wireless delivered an industry first,” said Tami Erwin, vice president and chief marketing officer at Verizon Wireless. “Share Everything Plans are the new standard for wireless service.” Verizon Wireless’s Share Everything plans become available on June 28th. Both existing and new customers are eligible.
Google’s Android director Andy Rubin knows and he took to Twitter to brag about it. Perhaps in an effort to take some of the attention away from Apple’s WWDC this week, Rubin decided to let his Twitter followers know that are more than 900,000 activations of Android per day.
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Rubin also used his Twitter message to deny rumors that he was leaving the company for the startup CloudCar. “No plans to leave Google,” he tweeted. “Oh, and just for meme completeness—there are over 900,000 android devices activated each day :-).”
According to a new study by ABI Research, the demand for handheld gaming devices has been on the decline since 2008. The numbers will probably be flat through 2017, but demand will continue for the devices, probably as a niche market. The study reports that both the Sony and Nintendo gaming platforms are losing ground as more gaming apps are developed for cell phones and tablets – devices with a growing market share.
Another report authored by NewZoo - Mobile Games Trend Report found that of 60,000,000... 49% of console gamers play games on their cell phone while 33% play on their tablets. The uptake of tablets is having its impact on games, from a consumer as well as a business perspective. Of the 60 million console gaming tablet users, an average 42% already plays games on mobile device screens. View an interesting Infographic on the usage of cell phones and tablets for gaming.
Fresh 2012 data
Number of Mobile Gamers jumps 35% in US year-on-year totaling 100 million
The US counts 21 million tablet gamers
Growth in EU, based on five countries is lower: 15% or 70 million mobile gamers
Share of in-game spending continues to rise: 90% in US, 79% in Europe for both iPhone and iPad.
4.2 million iOS games are downloaded per day in the US. 2.4 million in key EU territories. Review 2011 data
Share of mobile gamers that spends money is highest in Asia (47%) followed by the US (36%).
Europe and Emerging markets show lower “conversion” at 26%.
A slight majority of paying mobile gamers is male. 58% in US, 65% in EU.
22% of American mobile gamers use mobile games as extension of a game played on a different platform.
While both Sony and Nintendo are expected to ship more than 38 million handheld gaming devices in 2013, that’s significantly lower than the 47 million that were sold at the peak of their popularity in 2008.
Here’s what senior ABI analyst Michael Inouye said about the future of the gaming device market: “Mobile devices will compete with dedicated handheld gaming devices, but select consumer segments like core gamers and those individuals who do not want or have a smartphone or tablet will still provide some demand,” “The addition of mobile gaming is not necessarily a zero sum situation; in fact, many feel there is plenty of room in the gaming market for both portable and mobile gaming.”
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been an interesting one to watch. All the pre-market speculation and hype have rivaled what always ushers in a new Apple. Samsung is the leader in global smartphone sales, and, with the arrival of their Galaxy S3, they’ve proven they can create a device that is a serious Apple contender.
Let’s take an initial look at the Galaxy S3, and see if it lives up to the buzz.
The Galaxy S3 comes in two colors: marble white and “Pebble Blue” (although the blue has a distinctly blue-gray look). Its rounded-edges and HyperGlaze polycarbonate backing enhances the smooth (but not slick) feeling of having it in your hand. The Galaxy S3 is not a cheap-feeling phone. It's got a really solid Gorilla Glass 2 front, a well-packaged interior and a robust battery cover.
Samsung increased the screen size from the Galaxy S 2 ’s 4.3 to 4.8in for the S3. Its dimensions - 70 x 8.9 x 136mm - make it very slim. It weighs in at 132g, less than the Apple iPhone 4S. Compared to the weight of the One X, it’s almost identical. Overall, the S3 is nice to hold. Samsung has created a large device that doesn’t feel like one.
The display is a superb Super AMOLED with a 720x1280 resolution - identical to the HTC One X. The contrast is excellent and the screen looks very bright. Whites are more luminous. Animations look clean and crisp. You hardly notice the use of PenTile array technology.
On the downside, the auto-brightness setting makes for awkward transitions. The screen will notably dim and then brighten again despite there being no change in external lighting. The screen is readable in bright light, although not great in direct sunlight.
It’s nice to see a raised rather than recessed physical home button, though its short-and-wide, making it a bit more difficult to consistently activate. It might take some getting used to.
Sitting on either side of the home button are capacitive touch buttons for the menu and back functions. These are very sensitive. You might find yourself frequently backing out of apps by accident.
You can tell that Samsung really focused on optimizing the Galaxy S3 for performance.
The North American version of the device features a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC and 2GB of RAM. These specs ensure that the S3 will be LTE-compatible. By contrast, the international S3 has a quad-core Exynos processor and 1GB of RAM. Storage wise, there are 16GB and 32GB models available. Word has it that there’s a 64GB on its way.
It remains to be seen how performance is affected by the extra gigabyte of RAM. Samsung says that the extra memory won’t affect battery life. In a perfect world, more storage will improve app performance, load times and overall multitasking, but not draw a lot of juice.
While the Adreno 225 GPU inside the Snapdragon S4 SoC trails that of the Mali-400 that powers the international Galaxy S3’s Mali-400, CPU-based performance is still incredible. Single-threaded performance is a vast improvement over the Cortex-A9 of the quad-core Exynos 4212. The sacrifice is gaming performance.
Turn on the screen and swipe through the seven home screens. You’ll find that the swiping action is smooth in a way that no other Android handset has been able to achieve. Just looking at overall performance, Galaxy S3 is comparable to HTC One X, with the exception of a perceptible improvement to the smoothness of Android operation on the Galaxy S3.
The camera system has an 8MP rear lens as well as a front-facing camera. From a subjective viewpoint, the rear lens took some nice pictures, but that’s just an initial impression. There’s a burst mode and a “best picture” function that will nominate what the software regards as the “best shot” from a group. Video can be taken at 1080p and the macro functions were very impressive.
The Android 4.0.4 with TouchWIZ Nature UX software makes the camera easy to operate with Android. For instance, it’s very cool when you can swipe your palm over the screen to take a screenshot.
It’s too bad there isn’t a dedicated camera shutter button. Still, the interface is nicely updated and shutter performance is significantly improved.
The Snapdragon S4 SoC is a very efficient chip and based on early tests of the international version, Samsung has done a great job designing in features that maximize battery life. The Galaxy S3’s hefty 2100mAh battery is impressive. The North American Galaxy S3 should stay charged longer than the European quad-core Exynos processor, but it hasn’t lived up to the claims that it has double the life of the One X battery. In fact, we found the two to be almost identical. Take note that the Galaxy S3 has a removable battery. The HTC One X does not.
This version of S Voice is supposed to allow for greater voice control than previous iterations, but in testing, its performance was patchy. For instance, waking up the phone using spoken commands didn’t always work.
The Smart Stay function allows you to continuously read a screen without worrying about the backlight dimming. This is possible because of the impressive front camera.
A motion control feature allows you to automatically dial your contacts by raising the phone to your ear. Neither the Smart Stay nor the motion control functions were enabled by default, so you’ll have to dig through the settings on your phone.
Polaris Office is a nice feature for business users. It allows you to open Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your phone.
Well done, Samsung. Despite the company’s pre-market theme describing a design “inspired by nature”, they’ve created a functional and fun smartphone that may have attracted a long-term following.
Serious competition among smartphone makers is always good for us users. It gives us more choices. Samsung’s Galaxy S3, the HTC One X and even the HTC One S might mean you’ll have a tough time going with only one new smartphone.
It’s nice to know that regardless of carrier or network speed, all S3 models are identical on the outside. The difference is on the inside. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, you might just want to wait until the Galaxy S 3’s June 20th release to make your decision.
During the keynote at the WWDC Apple showed off the next-gen MacBook Pro with Retina display and the updates for others in the Pro family. Because we know you won’t want to wait till the end for this, prices for the MacBook Pro start at $2199. It’s available immediately. Prices for the other models follow at the end.
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The most impressive thing about the new MacBook Pro is the brand new high-density display. The display has four times the number of pixels as the previous model at 220 pixels-per-inch or 5,184,000 pixels. It’s 15.4 inches across, but its pixel density is 2880 by 1800.
If that’s not enough for you, here is a summary of the features sported by the new MacBook Pro:
A 178-degree wide viewing angle that has 75 percent less reflection and 29 percent higher contrast than the previous generation
A 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM, a GeForce Gt 650M with 1GB of VRAM, 256GB of flash storage, and up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM
Up to seven hours of battery life and 30 days of standby. (The battery takes up most of the interior.)
Built around flash storage, users can configure their models at up to 768GB of internal flash storage
The fastest graphics on a Mac laptop—Nvidia GeForce GT 650M
A FaceTime HD camera
Dual mics using beam-forming technology
An SD card, HDMI out, USB3/USB2 ports on either side, two Thunderbolt ports, and a headphone port
Fan blades asymmetrically spaced so that the fan noise is not a uniform sound, but more dispersed
A new, thinner MagSafe 2 power port
Glass Multi-Touch trackpad
A backlit keyboard
At 4.46 pounds, the new Pro is heavier than an Air, but comparable to the 13-inch MacBook Pros. Like the new Air, it has no optical drive. Closed, it’s about as thick as the base of the old MacBook Pro but about as thin as an Air, at 0.71 inches.
Apple has made their MacBook Pro as environmentally friendly as an electronic device can get with an Energy Star 5.2 rating. It’s arsenic-free, BFR-free and PVC-free. It’s also highly recyclable, and has mercury-free glass.
New specs for the rest of the MacBook Pro family :
Along with the MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple revealed other news on updates to the current MacBook Pro line.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro has a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and 500GB hard drive and starts at $1,199. With a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 750GB hard drive its prices start at $1,499.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro has a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics, and a 500GB hard drive starting at $1,799. With a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics, and a 750GB hard drive it starts at $2,199. Faster quad-core processors up to 2.7GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 1TB, up to 8GB of memory, and solid state storage up to 512GB are available options.
Apple didn’t share any news on the 17-inch MacBook Pro.
The business networking website LinkedIn has confirmed reports that some of its users’ passwords have been stolen and leaked on the Internet. According to Finnish security firm CERT-FI, a forum member in Russia has claimed responsibility for stealing 6.46 million encrypted LinkedIn passwords and posting them online. In fact, with the quad processing power provided by today top brand cell phones and tablets like the:
could have easily been used by the hacker to perpetrate the cybercrime.
It is recommended that all LinkedIn users change their passwords as a precautionary measure. If you use that same passwords on other sites (as most people do), you should change it on those sites as well.
We want to provide you with an update on this morning’s reports of stolen passwords. We can confirm that some of the passwords that were compromised correspond to LinkedIn accounts. We are continuing to investigate this situation and here is what we are pursuing as far as next steps for the compromised accounts:
Members that have accounts associated with the compromised passwords will notice that their LinkedIn account password is no longer valid.
These members will also receive an email from LinkedIn with instructions on how to reset their passwords. There will not be any links in this email. Once you follow this step and request password assistance, then you will receive an email from LinkedIn with a password reset link.
These affected members will receive a second email from our Customer Support team providing a bit more context on this situation and why they are being asked to change their passwords.
It is worth noting that the affected members who update their passwords and members whose passwords have not been compromised benefit from the enhanced security we just recently put in place, which includes hashing and salting of our current password databases.
A new report suggests that the popularity of Google’s Android OS is due to peak in 2012. The market will begin a major shift towards a strong Microsoft Windows platform.
The market research firm IDC just released the details of its latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report. The firm predicts that, while cell phone shipments will reach 1.8 billion units this year (compared to 1.7 billion in 2011), the numbers reflect stalled growth when compared to previous years. The major cause seems to be the beginning of a rapid decline in sales for feature phones. The IDC forecasts the lowest annual growth rate in their sales since 2009.
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IDC analyst Kevin Restivo was quoted as saying, “The smartphone parade won’t be as lively this year as it has been in past. The mobile phone user-transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.”
The smartphone market is expected to continue growing over the next five years, but IDC sees 2012 as the start of a major shift. Android has a big lead in the number of devices sporting its popular OS – predicted to be a 61% share by year-end. Apple’s iOS takes second place with 20.5%, one-third the size of Google’s market. The upstart Microsoft Windows/Windows Mobile will probably end 2012 with a 5.2% share of the market, less than one-tenth the size of Android. By 2016, the IDC says the numbers will look significantly different.
They predict that smartphone shipments will continue to grow through 2016, but this timeframe will see a big decline in Android OS use. It will probably peak in 2012 and then begin to lose significant market share to the Windows Phone platform. Apple’s iOS will probably see some decline as well.
Here are the IDC’s predictions. Between 2012 and 2016, Android’s share of the global market will decline more than 7% - from 61% to 52.9%. Apple’s iOS will become slightly less popular, going from 20.5% to 19%. Microsoft will be the big winner, with a quadrupling of its market share from 2012’s measly 5.2% to 19.2% in 2016. This obviously surpasses iOS as the No.2 smartphone platform in the world, not to mention ought to cause Google execs some sleepless nights.
“Underpinning the smartphone market is the constantly shifting OS landscape,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said. “Android will maintain leadership throughout our forecast, while others will gain more mobile operator partnerships (Apple) or currently find themselves in the midst of a major transition (BlackBerry and Windows Phone/Windows Mobile). What remains to be seen is how these different operating systems – as well as others – will define and shape the user experience beyond what we see today in order to attract new customers and encourage replacements.”
IDC expects RIM’s smartphone market share to stay relatively flat for the next few years. It will probably hold steady at around 6%. Other smartphone platforms can only expect a mere 3% of the market by 2016, down from 7.2% in 2012. Samsung’s Tizen platform makes up the majority of that 3%. Sorry Samsung. Maybe you should concentrate on Galaxy S IV and beyond.
Leaked images of what is supposedly the housing for Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone hit the Web last week. They show a taller, thinner aluminum case than the one currently used by the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. The case could accommodate a larger display – perhaps even one that measures a little over 4-inches diagonally.
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In a note to clients, Ming-Chi Kuo, a KGI Securities analyst with a good reputation for getting his facts correct, outlined what he knows about Apple’s iPhone 5 plans. Here’s a summary of his knowledge of the iPhone 5 specs:
A 4.08-inch in-cell IPS panel screen with a display resolution of 1,136 x 640 and 500-nit brightness
A display that measures 50.9 millimeters wide by 90.3 millimeters tall
In-cell touch elements in its display.
An impressively- thin 7.9 mm case (the iPhone 4S's 9.3 mm)
A battery that is roughly the same capacity as the one found in the iPhone 4S
An HD-capable front-facing camera that has been moved from the left side of the earpiece to the center
An 8 MP sensor and a 5 element lens for the back camera that is similar to the 4S but with a larger aperture of f/2.2 (currently f/2.4) to improve the low-light performance
Some of this information was confirmed in previous reports by that The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.
Dispelling previous rumors about the display size, Kuo notes that Apple chose not to use a larger 4.3-inch display because it would require a larger battery and wouldn’t support comfortable single-handed operation. Apple has contracted Toshiba Matsushita Display, LG Display and Sharp to supply the new panels.
We’re only a week away from the WWDC conference in San Francisco, so we don’t have much longer to wait for a glimpse from Apple’s view of the world. Recent reports suggest Apple’s next iPhone will launch in September or October along with a new iPad mini.
Google unveiled its Google Maps upgrade a week before Apple is expected to announce its own default mapping technology for its iOS. It looks like Google is telling Apple “Bring it on.”
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View this insightful video on Google Maps
Google has a new life planned for its Google Maps service:
Realistic 3D mapping that utilizes “fly-over technology”, allowing users to navigate through a 3D cityscape while detailed buildings remain accurately to scale. This feature will be completed in metro areas first.
The new Tour Guide service available offline for Android devices. If you're in an area without an internet connection, you'll be able to save a map on your Android device and zoom in and out as you navigate.
Google Maps is the default map service in iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S as well as the iPad 2 and iPad 3. The company said that 3D maps will be coming to both Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks. Apple plans to debut its own 3D maps service at its World Wide Developer Conference that begins June 11th.
With six consecutive months of record revenue in 2011 HTC cell phones and HTC tablets seemed to be having a great run. Now it looks like the Taiwan-based manufacturer has run off the road. HTC just reported May sales figures that are down roughly $1 billion, or 26.13% from the same month a year ago.
With to the launch of its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC One X, HTC was expecting better results. HTC reduced its second quarter revenue target by 13.3% to $3.03 billion. The company’s original forecast had predicted second quarter 2012 revenue of $3.5 billion, up from $2.2 billion in the first quarter.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley summed up the situation to investors on Wednesday: “While our checks indicated positive sales trends for HTC’s new One series smartphones, overall weaker sales in Europe, a charge to clear older inventory, and U.S. Customs delays led to softer Q2 sales. With our checks indicating strong initial HTC EVO sales at Sprint, we anticipate an improving One Series sales mix in Q3/12 that should have a positive impact to gross and operating margins.”
Walkley still assigns HTC stock a “Buy” rating with a price target of NT$503. “Due to our lowered HTC smartphone estimates for 2012 and 2013, primarily for the Europe market, we are lowering our 2012 EPS estimate from NT$44.90 to NT$34.75 and our 2013 estimate from NT$55.10 to NT$50.32.”
HTC ‘s future looks bright. The company’s new One S smartphone is getting good reviews. T-Mobile’s version of the One X launched in April, and now that the phones have cleared a hang-up in U.S. Customs, One X will soon be available from AT&T. The One X is also in Sprint stores as the EVO 4G LTE.