LG is flexing its muscle in smartphone technology with a new handset that boasts a curved touchscreen, along with a special "self healing" technology that the company claims can prevent scratches on the phone's casing.
The South Korean electronics vendor unveiled the new phone on Monday, calling it the LG G Flex. Digital renderings of the handset were leaked earlier this month. But in its Monday announcement the company offered further details on the phone, showing that it contains a few new technologies, along with its curved display.
The G Flex is the second phone to feature a curved display, the first coming from Samsung Electronics with its Galaxy Round handset. The top and bottom of the G Flex's 6-inch screen are curved towards the user, while on the Samsung phone it is the sides that are curved towards the viewer.
This makes LG's handset closer to the curve of a traditional fixed-line phone handset, a design choice LG said is optimized for the contours of a face. Users can more comfortably hold the phone to their mouth and ear, improving its voice and sound quality, according to LG. Read more...
With its apps, sensors and devices, Nike is increasingly becoming a technology company.
It has developed running apps for Apple and Android devices, and Kinect training video games for Microsoft's Xbox. The company needs app developers, and like many companies, it has turned to offshore outsourcers for help.
But Nike found that offshore outsourcer developers don't understand some of the products that Nike is trying to produce.
The idea of wearable technology, having your active life recorded in one place, "didn't make sense to the people doing the work," said Christopher Davis, engineering director at Nike+ Running. The developers "didn't fit into the Nike culture."
This culture problem, as it is known in offshore outsourcing circles, was impeding Nike's agile development work, so the company shifted gears. It hired a small onshore developer, Catalyst IT Services, which has development centers in Baltimore Md., and Beaverton, Ore. Read more...
Apple's iOS mobile platform and the iPhones that run it are gaining smartphone market share in the U.S., according to a newly released report -- reversing the gains made in recent years by chief competitor Android. But the data does not necessarily mean iPhones and iOS will soon dominate the rest of the world, too.
ComScore's August market share report, based on user surveys and monitoring of Web traffic sources, has Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., based on number of subscribers. Apple was followed by Samsung, HTC, and Motorola in number of smartphone subscribers.
The iOS platform, meanwhile, had a 40.7 percent market share -- an increase of 1.5 percent over ComScore's May report, when Apple's mobile operating system had a 39.2 percent market share. Apple still trailed Google's Android platform, which had a 51.6 percent share, but iOS's gain from May was countered by Android's loss of 0.8 percentage points in the same period. Read more...
Microsoft has asked HTC to install Windows Phone as a user-selectable option on its Android handsets, according to a recent report.
The news comes from Bloomberg, which has been chatting to the omniscient "people familiar", who reckon Redmond was prepared to sacrifice its licence fee if HTC would include the OS as an option on its flagship hardware.
Microsoft is struggling to match the breadth of Google's offering and needs to work hard to convince the world that Windows Phone isn't just a Nokia thing.
HTC launched its last Windows Phone in June, and is expected to have another Redmond-mobe-OS-running handset on the shelves later this year, but it’s the Android-based HTC One which remains HTC's flagship. It's also the kind of kit which Microsoft execs would like to see running Windows Phone. Read more...
BlackBerry has reportedly asked Cisco, Google, SAP, Intel, LG and Samsung separately to consider buying all or parts of its embattled company.
According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, BlackBerry has asked each of the six companies for preliminary expressions of interest by early this week.
Potential buyers would be most interested in BlackBerry's patents and its secure network -- not its smartphone business, the sources said.
If BlackBerry finds any takers from among the six companies, it would come in addition to the preliminary deal the company already has with Fairfax Financial Holdings. Fairfax wants to take BlackBerry private for $4.7 billion. Read more...
BlackBerry this weekend defended its ability to continue serving enterprise customers with smartphones and secure mobile management software, responding to a Gartner report recommending that its corporate clients stop using the Canadian vendor's products.
"We remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the most secure and powerful mobile management solutions and smartphones to our customers," BlackBerry said in a statement emailed to Computerworld on Saturday.
The BlackBerry statement called the conclusions by Gartner analysts in the report "purely speculative."
In the eight-page report released on Friday, Gartner urged its enterprise clients to find alternatives to BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers within six months. Read more...
Touch-enabled Windows notebooks and Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks contributed to better-than-expected PC sales during the back-to-school period and may hint at a less dismal holiday-selling season than once thought, a retail analyst said today.
"The trajectory of the numbers means that the holidays should be more aligned with back-to-school than with the [gloomier] projections of earlier this year," said Stephen Baker of the NPD Group.
This wasn't a turn-around, Baker cautioned, not by a long shot, but things could have been much worse. "The point we would make is that the talk that no one wants PCs and that they're on a road to ruin is not what we see in the sales numbers," Baker said. "This is a mature market struggling to find its place in a changing industry, but it still has a pretty solid base."
Even so, the back-to-school stretch in the U.S. -- from June 30 to Sept. 7 -- saw PC sales down 2.5% compared to the same period in 2012. But the decline was slightly better than the 4% drop that NPD measured in the U.S. retail market during the first half of 2013. Read more...
Respected analyst firm Gartner is set to recommend that all BlackBerry enterprise customers find alternatives to the struggling vendor's smartphones and enterprise management software over the next six months.
Garner's advice to users comes after BlackBerry today confirmed that it expects to lose $965 million in the second quarter amid slow sales of its Z10 smartphone since its release in March.
On Monday, BlackBerry had announced plans to sell the company to Fairfax Financial Holdings of Toronto for $4.7 billion. That came just days after BlackBerry disclosed plans to lay off some 4,500 of its 12,500 workers.
"Gartner recommends that our [BlackBerry enterprise] clients take no more than six months to consider and implement alternatives to BlackBerry," said Gartner analyst Bill Menezes today. "We're emphasizing that all clients should immediately ensure they have backup mobile data management plans and are at least testing alternative devices to BlackBerry." Read more...
BlackBerry said it will be at least next week until it relaunches the BlackBerry Messenger service for Android and iOS.
The delay comes amid some drastic problems that are hitting BlackBerry, including slow smartphone sales, layoff plans and an offer by an investment firm to take the company private.
In a blog post late Monday, BlackBerry Messenger head Andrew Bocking said workers are now trying to completely block an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app that first appeared on Saturday.
The unreleased app "resulted in volumes of data traffic orders of magnitude higher than normal for each active user and impacted the system in abnormal ways," he said.
About 1 million active users of the unreleased app suddenly appeared on Saturday, and BlackBerry quickly realized that the "only way to address the issue was to pause the rollout for both Android and iPhone." Read more...
When Apple announced the iPhone 5s would be powered by a new 64-bit processor, the A7, many responded with a shrug. Conventional wisdom had it that 64-bitness in a mobile processor had no particular advantage.
But then the first real-world performance benchmarks came in, and soon most everyone changed their tune -- including the manufacturers of chipsets for competing devices. Samsung, which manufactures the A7 for Apple, recently said it would have 64-bit dices.
64-bit processors are generally compared against their 32-bit counterparts in terms of the amount of memory the processor can address at once. The original hedging of bets about the value of 64-bitness in mobile revolved around this: What mobile device would need to access more than 3GB of memory? Read more...
Finnish smartphone startup Jolla has announced that its Linux-based Sailfish OS mobile platform will be both software and hardware compatible with Android.
Sailfish OS will be able to run unmodified Android apps alongside native Sailfish ones, the company said in a press release on Monday. In addition, Sailfish will be installable on existing hardware, provided it is Android compatible.
So far, Sailfish OS has only been demoed running on Jolla's own homegrown handsets – the first batch of which is sold out, despite not being scheduled to ship until the end of the year. But the company said on Monday that the OS would be installable on a range of popular Android smartphones and tablets, too.
"Vendors interested to utilize Sailfish OS are now able to develop phones and tablets based on many different chipset and hardware configurations," Jolla's release said. "This new level of compatibility will enable device vendors who use Sailfish OS to fully utilize the existing Android hardware ecosystem." Read more...
The jarring combination of Microsoft's radical reinvention of Windows with old-style hardware caused the average satisfaction score of PC makers to slip in the last year, a pollster said today.
Meanwhile, Apple again took top honors by tying its own 2011 record in computing device customer satisfaction as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a consumer survey that's tracked opinions on technology for 18 years.
Apple's score of 87 -- out of a possible 100 -- was up one point from 2012 and seven points higher than its closest competitor.
The ACSI survey polled more than 2,700 Americans in April and May, asking them to rate their experiences with recently purchased devices -- desktop and notebook personal computers, as well as tablets -- sold by Apple, Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba. The rest of the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) were lumped into a secondary "All Others" category in ACSI's results.
With a score of 80, HP was Apple's nearest rival; other OEMs collected scores between 76 and 79. Read more...
The 64-bit smartphone clash has been joined between rivals Apple and Samsung. But will everyday smartphone buyers even care, much less notice?
Not in the short term, but then technology is often ahead of buyer awareness or popularity.
Samsung this week confirmed it will have ARM-based 64-bit processors in its next top-line Galaxy-branded smartphones. That move came almost immediately after Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 5s, saying it will ship Sept. 20 with a 64-bit A7 processor. The iPhone 5c and the older iPhone 5 use a 32-bit A6 chip.
Down the road, a 64-bit processor would be able to handle code for more demanding high-end games or health-related apps using bio-sensors that spit out tons of data. It could help in data-intensive video editing or for playing ultra high-definition 4K video, which has potential for businesses as well as consumers. Read more...
Tablet shipments will surpass desktop and laptop PCs in the fourth quarter of 2013, IDC predicted Wednesday.
The outlook for PC's has been lowered by 10% by IDC for all of 2013, highlighting the tablet dominance in the fourth quarter, IDC said in a statement.
For all of 2013, PCs will still out-sell tablets, but IDC said tablets will surpass PC shipments for a full year by the end of 2015.
In the past few years, tablets have cannibalized PC sales. But IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell said smartphones 5-inches and bigger (sometimes called phablets) will start to eat into the smaller-sized tablet market -- those in the 7-in. to 8-in. range -- over the next 12 to 18 months. Read more...
New Chromebooks announced this week signal Intel's willingness to broaden its horizons and work with companies like Google, at the expense of its long-standing Windows partnership with Microsoft.
Three new Chromebooks from Hewlett-Packard, Acer and newcomer Toshiba with Google's Chrome OS were shown on stage during this week's Intel Developer Forum. The sub-$299 laptops will run on Intel's Haswell chips, and executives from Google and the chip maker said they worked closely to tune the OS at the kernel and driver levels to work with Intel's chips.
A tighter Chrome alliance with Google is just another example of how Intel, which has been largely left out of the tablet and smartphone markets, is spreading its wings to succeed in the PC, mobile and emerging markets like wearables. In an interview with IDG News Service, Intel president Renee James said the Microsoft-Intel alliance is alive, but the chip maker wants to offer choice beyond Windows.
"Microsoft [Windows] is not the only client operating system anymore. The same way for years and years Microsoft balanced between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, we're in the same situation now. Our customers want choice, and we offer choice," James said. Read more...