Grace Lei, HTC’s general counsel, said the company wants ownership of S3′s patents, in part, as a response to the 2011 U.S. International Trade Commission finding that Apple was in violation of various S3 patents (although this ruling was later overturned.) As Lei put it at the annual HTC shareholder’s meeting, “We think S3′s patent portfolio is valid and strong, and we have decided to complete the purchase of S3 after cautious assessment.” Lei also noted that S3 owns about 270 patents, including those licensed to Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.
HTC has been locked in a battle with Apple over its alleged infringement of Apple patents in its Android handsets. Apple had been able get U.S. Customs to delay shipments of the HTC One X smartphone to U.S. carriers, in effect delaying that device’s launch by two weeks.
U.S. Customs cleared the devices for shipment at the end of May. HTC is insisting that its technology does not infringe upon Apple’s patents.
Like Skype, Line provides free calls and messages all over the world, regardless of mobile network provider. Line is already being used in over 230 countries by 40 million people (18 million of these are in Japan).
This new version makes use of the unique Windows (R) Phone user-interface system, Metro UI, which increases user friendliness and promotes stress-free communication by arranging text for increased clarit. It further introduces sideways menu scrolling for ease of access, a distinctive characteristic of Windows (R) Phone. Although the release of this version will feature the all-important messaging function, it will not include the free-calling function. NHN Japan plans to add this function in the near future.
The Windows (R) Phone version is seen as a welcome addition to the current versions of LINE which are available on iPhone, Android, feature-phones and PCs as well as a browser version for smart-tablets. NHN Japan hopes to increase the strength of its mobile messenger service by making it available across all platforms and devices.
Line is downloadable, but currently the app has the free calling capability disabled. The company is working on fixing the call problem, but the service can be used for texting.
According to one intrepid member of Xda-Developers, the HTC One X has several wifi related problems that will either adversely affect the device’s battery life or prevent it from connecting to wifi networks.
The Xda forum member who goes by the name “Bigoliver” describes a simple procedure that he says can be used test for this wifi problem: gently squeeze the side back of your phone between the camera lens and the volume buttons. Watch for changes in the wifi signal. If you see the signal strength improve, only to drop back down when you stop squeezing, then your device has wifi connectivity problems. You should trade it in for a new one. If it’s too late for a no-cost exchange on your cell phone you’re hosed.
An HTC representative has posted in the Xda-Developers forums that the company is aware of the issue and is asking for feedback to help the company’s engineering team pinpoint the problem.
Thanks to Dustin Karnes at Android Guys for bringing this one to our attention.
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.
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.
Sony’s PlayStation Suite is now open to third-party manufacturers, and it’s got a new name: PlayStation Mobile. Sony wants its new name to reflect PlayStation’s new mobility that allows additional hardware manufacturers to bring PlayStation gaming to their platforms. Sony hopes that developers will use the SDK for the PlayStation Suite to design original content for PlayStation-certified Android devices.
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Sony was pretty pumped about its PlayStation Mobile news when it was announced at E3, but they’ve got some work to do to convince third parties and consumers that they’ve got a program that’s worth getting excited about. Past efforts like the PlayStation phone and subsequent PlayStation Suite were under-whelmingly received by fans.
The first wave of HTC devices to join the PlayStation-certified list is the HTC One line of smartphones - HTC One X, HTC One S and HTC One V. HTC gets to be the first partner whose smartphone customers will be allowed to download exclusive games. Sony said that some of these would be PlayStation 1 classics.
Sony promised more PlayStation-certified phones this year, which would mean they’re lining up other manufacturers. So far, they’re not giving any hints on who else will join the fold. Sony hasn’t revealed a timeline for the PlayStation Mobile rollout on HTC handsets either. Essentially, there are no details on what third party developers will mean to Sony’s PlayStation Mobile brand.
What advice would you give to Sony about rolling out PlayStation gaming for Android?
While cell phones are evolving to become one of our most valuable devices in our mobile lifestyle ... more and more cell phones are being damaged by water than any other way. To this end, user's have clamoring for a completely waterproof protective cell phone case.
Otterbox has responded to market needs with news of the June 24th release of their new Armor series cell phone case for iPhone 4S. This new Armor cell phone case is designed to be dust proof, drop proof, waterproof and crush proof, thus offering topmost protection.
Otterbox has built a solid reputation for providing the safest cell phone cases on the market, their Defender and Commuter series of cases have won wide acclaim for delivering superior protection against the elements of the daily hustle and bustle. The Otterbox Armor series is the pinnacle of protection, as demonstrated in the following video:
A strong competitor, Lifeproof also offers cell phone cases designed on their trademark 'Four Proofs' - that is waterproof, dirtproof, snowproof and shockproof. You can rest assured that the Lifeproof cases are designed to be a total solution for protecting your iPhone 4S from the elements as can be seen in the following video:
The race is now on... which of these two top brands will be first to market a waterproof/shockproof cell phone cases for the BlackBerry and Android smart phones such as:
Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G LTE smartphones have been sprung from U.S. Customs. Sprint announced it will immediately begin shipping HTC EVO 4G LTE pre-orders to customers who placed their orders through the Sprint website. Sprint announced in a forum post this week that the phones should be in these customers’ hands on or around May 24th.
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According to Sprint, the EVO 4G LTE was originally slated to be released on May 18, but was delayed in U.S. customs due to a “review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order.”
The exclusion order resulted from a court ruling handed down last year. HTC was accused of violating 10 patents held by Apple. The judge ruled in favor of Apple in the case, and required HTC to make changes to the software in its EVO 4G LTE and HTC One X devices that were headed to the U.S. (HTC’s violation specifically involved the process of tapping a phone number in an email to launch the phone’s dialer to call a number.)
The exclusion order went into effect on April 19. U.S. Customs finally pulled both the HTC One X and EVO 4G LTE for inspection last week. HTC had acknowledged the review, and issued a statement reading in part, “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with customs to secure approval.” Approval apparently has been granted, at least for the EVO 4G LTE device. No word on the status of the HTC One X, but we’ll keep you posted.
Customers will be sent a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number as soon as their devices ship. Check the status of pre-orders on Sprint’s website.
HTC and Sprint aren’t saying when EVO 4G LTE devices will be available in retail stores. Those who snapped up pre-order deals from Amazon or Best Buy will most likely have to wait a few extra days before their handsets are delivered, too.
For all you fellow you gamers have been patiently awaiting Ubisoft’s release of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Commander since it was announced back in April. hold on to your game/console controller … a ready to play Ghost Recon Commander is now available on Facebook.
Unlike its console and PC counterpart game, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (which is also launching this week), Ghost Recon Commander is not a 3D first person shooter but a 2D version of the series.
Watch the following short debut trailer :
Ghost Recon Commander has an overhead viewpoint with social elements like players being given the option to team up with their Facebook friends to form alliances and complete missions. The Facebook game is also integrated with the console game, allowing players to unlock characters, and earn points and currency that can be used in both games.
The Ghost Recon Commander screen features ten “re-playable missions, three difficulty levels and lots of weapons to for carrying out missions. Other features and weapons become available as you progress in the game. Unlocks and other features that are provided in the Facebook environment can be used to unlock features within console and PC versions.
Games aren’t new territory for Facebook. The site is filled with social and casual games like AngryBirds and FarmVille. While Facebook followers have made these games incredibly popular, there haven’t been any titles to attract the hardcore gaming crowd. With the release of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Commander, Ubisoft wants to change that.
Android 4.0 was first seen on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus six months ago. Still, millions of Android device owners are waiting for their Ice Cream Sandwich. Thanks to the folks at Engaget, we have a list of the official downloads for the most popular legacy devices that have ICS, as well as those that the manufacturers have promised updates for in the future.
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Samsung has done the best job so far at adding Ice Cream Sandwich to many of their unlocked devices -- the Samsung Galaxy S 2 in particular. Samsung’s list shows a lot more on their way, but updates to branded devices seem to stall in carrier-specific testing. Galaxy Tab users outside of Canada are still waiting for ICS.
HTC offers two different versions of Sense on ICS: Sense 4 for phones natively supporting ICS, and another for legacy devices. If you own one of the devices listed below, you'll have Sense 3.6, the "lighter" iteration that stays true to the UI's older look.
Motorola has a forum page for progress on each device. A large number of phones and tablets not on this list are still in "evaluation and planning" stages. By that, Motorola means they are under consideration for receiving ICS, but not all of them will see it. The devices below will get an upgrade.
LG is taking its time getting ICS to its legacy devices. The company has plans for most of its latest handsets, but only a few phones will get ICS before the end of June. The rest will have to wait until the third quarter.