Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

With a few weeks to go until the release of Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S9+, its camera just earned the top spot on DxOMark (a site that tracks and rates camera sensors, lenses and smartphone cameras). The S9+ received a score of 99 — the highest for any handset to date — with a review indicating the camera has no “obvious weaknesses.” The score is one better than the Pixel 2’s camera and two better than the iPhone X camera. The biggest addition to the S9+ camera is a dual-aperture for low light shots and a zoom lens.

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Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

According to Gartner’s Q4 sales report, the global smartphone market saw a dip in shipments for the first time. The world’s top vendors (besides Huawei and Xiaomi) experienced declines. Overall, there was a 5.6 percent slide compared to the previous year, representing 24.29 million fewer phones. Gartner research director Anshul Gupta cites “a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones.” Additionally, “replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones.” Continue reading Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

BlackBerry to Acquire Secusmart for Encryption Technology

BlackBerry’s deal to acquire Secusmart, a German security vendor known for its voice encryption technology, was recently approved by the German government. Secusmart’s tech will offer BlackBerry users the ability to encrypt voice and data communication. Given that Secusmart is a company used by the German government, the deal went through a careful assessment process. BlackBerry first announced its plan to purchase the company in July and was only recently granted approval to move forward. Continue reading BlackBerry to Acquire Secusmart for Encryption Technology

Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Microsoft has unveiled its first Android smartphone, the mid-range Nokia X2 Dual SIM, and has made Opera the handset’s default Web browser. The $135 Linux-based device features a 4.3-inch WVGA display, 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash and autofocus), 1GB of RAM and a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. With a tiles-based home screen similar to Windows Phone, the X2 comes with preloaded services such as Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, HERE Maps and the ad-free MixRadio. Continue reading Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

In order to accommodate consumers’ increasing desire to shop on mobile devices, home shopping pioneer QVC plans to launch a new tablet app that will feature content related to its television broadcasts. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching television. Leveraging this trend, QVC’s app will accompany its TV programming in order to help drive sales.  Continue reading Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

Apple won a minor victory in its ongoing software patent dispute with Samsung Friday when a federal court jury decided that some Samsung devices infringed on two Apple patents. As a result, Samsung was ordered to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages. However, the jury also found that Samsung did not infringe on two other patents in question, and Apple would not receive the $2.2 billion it was seeking. The jury also awarded Samsung $158,400, the result of Apple infringing on a Samsung patent. Continue reading Samsung Ordered to Pay Apple $119.6 Million in Patent Case

Samsung Works to Stay Atop Competitive Smartphone Market

Top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics lost global market share for the first time in four years, falling to 31.2 percent of the market. Samsung’s profit margin on smartphones remained at the same 19.8 percent from last year, but the rising costs of smartphone component parts will make it difficult to maintain the same profits. Meanwhile, Apple’s market shares are also slipping, as affordable alternatives from Lenovo and Huawei are on the rise in the smartphone market. Continue reading Samsung Works to Stay Atop Competitive Smartphone Market

Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Dolby plans to introduce a surround sound experience for tablets and smartphones. During last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company detailed how algorithms running on an audio processor chip or ARM processor core could simulate Atmos-like surround sound by essentially tricking the user’s brain into thinking the audio is 3D. While it is not clear when the tech might become available to consumers, Dolby says the first iteration will be ready for hardware partners by the end of this year. Continue reading Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Lenovo Expands its Mobile Patent Assets with New Purchases

In January, PC maker Lenovo announced it would expand its mobile efforts with the proposed acquisition of Google’s Motorola Mobility for $2.9 billion. Now the Chinese company plans to spend $100 million on patents related to 3G and 4G tech from U.S.-based Unwired Planet. Already one of the biggest smartphone vendors in China, Lenovo plans to use the 21 patent families from Unwired Planet to grow its smartphone and mobile business in new markets. Continue reading Lenovo Expands its Mobile Patent Assets with New Purchases

Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

Samsung has become the largest smartphone maker worldwide without having many of its own retail stores. Since its growth has slowed while faced with a variety of cheaper models from rivals, Samsung is looking to expand its retail presence in North America and Europe. In the next few months Samsung is planning to open around 60 stores in Europe, and 90 kiosks in Canada. The company has no independent retail stores in the U.S., but teamed up with Best Buy last year to create 1,400 “store-in-store” kiosks. Continue reading Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

Following a 3 percent drop in market value, Verizon has hinted at plans to get competitive in pricing, which customers will likely appreciate, but investors might not. The telco lost about $4 billion of its value, and some say it’s directly related to the competition among telcos to be the most aggressively priced. T-Mobile has been most notably aggressive in its pricing strategies, attracting new customers and possibly forcing Verizon to lower its fees as well. Continue reading Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

Engadget Announces the Best of CES 2014 Awards Winners

As official partner to the Consumer Electronics Association, senior editors from Engadget selected finalists for this year’s Best of CES awards. At the end of the week, they had selected winners across 13 categories, in addition to a ‘Best of the Best’ winner — the Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype. Engadget also announced that the People’s Choice Award went to Razer for its first wearable device, the Nabu, which registered nearly 50 percent of the more than 54,000 reader votes. Continue reading Engadget Announces the Best of CES 2014 Awards Winners

Mobile Forecast: Will Phablets Outsell Small Tablets in 2014?

According to Bob O’Donnell, founder of TECHnalysis Research, demand for phablets (larger smartphones approaching tablet dimensions) is growing so quickly in parts of Asia, Europe and Brazil that the odd-sized devices are expected to outsell traditional smaller tablets in 2014. O’Donnell forecasts that 175 million phablets will be sold worldwide next year, as compared to an estimated 165 million smaller-sized tablets (featuring screens that are 8 inches or less). Continue reading Mobile Forecast: Will Phablets Outsell Small Tablets in 2014?

Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator

Motorola Mobility has announced that animation veteran Glen Keane will work on the third installment of Motorola’s “Spotlight Stories” series, which features short, interactive projects designed specifically for smartphones. The longtime Disney animator’s credits include “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Pocahontas,” “Tarzan” and the Oscar-winning short “Paperman,” among others. The Motorola projects are being made available via the built-in Spotlight app on Moto X phones. Continue reading Motorola Plans Interactive Short Film with Disney Animator