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20 Dec 12 Google planning cheaper Nexus 7, report claims

Google may be aiming for a Nexus 7 that is priced below $149 and eventually as low as $99.

Google may be aiming for a Nexus 7 that is priced below $149 and eventually as low as $99.


Google is planning low-ball itself with an even cheaper
Nexus 7, according to an Asia-based report.

Google and Asus wowed consumers with the $199 Nexus 7 and now they’re aiming at price points below $150, ultimately going as low as $99, according to Taipei-based Digitimes, citing sources at display component maker O-Film Tech.

The lower-priced Nexus 7 should be released by the second quarter of next year, said the technology site, which covers device manufacturers and component suppliers in Asia.

O-Film started shipping components for the lower-priced Nexus 7 in December, the report said. The company’s touch-screen glass-glass film technology will contribute to lower production costs and make it thinner, Digitimes said.

The cost-reduction measures could eventually lead to a $99 Nexus 7 but this may not happen initially. The cheaper Nexus 7 may first be priced in the $129 to $149 range, according to the report.

Shipment estimates of the new Nexus 7 are in the range of 500,000 to 600,000 in the first quarter of shipments.

Needless to say, a Nexus 7 priced below $150 and eventually going to $99 would make Google’s
tablet even more competitively priced against the $329
iPad Mini — even allowing for the high-quality build that Apple typically achieves with its tablets.

And, as always, this Digitimes report is coming from the supply chain, which can be very unpredictable. Orders for an unconfirmed new component or new product can be canceled at any time.

Also note that there are rumors already about a $99 Asus tablet that could be a forerunner to an upcoming Nexus 7.

Google and Asus are currently shipping about one million Nexus 7 devices per month, according to recent statements from Asus executives.

A cheaper Nexus 7 might give consumers pause when considering the iPad Mini.

A cheaper Nexus 7 might give consumers pause when considering the iPad Mini.


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17 Dec 12 Oppo debuts premium Android phone

(Credit: Oppo)

The Oppo Find 5 was teased several months ago, but recent news from Beijing has made the device official, and revealed some truly impressive specs.

A 5-inch, 1080p display is probably the most noticeable feature of the phone, but this is backed with a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 chip.

The primary camera is 13MP with a host of intriguing software features, including super-slo-mo recording at 120fps. The front camera is 1.9MP and there’s the usual array of near-field communication (NFC), Wi-Fi direct and more, all running on Jelly Bean, specifically Android 4.1.2.

It’s 8.8mm thick, but this also allows the Find 5 to accommodate a 2500mAh battery, along with Dolby 3D sound, for some reason.

In fact, probably only the big downer is the lack of a microSD slot, meaning that you’re stuck with the default 16GB of memory.

The Find 5 is definitely getting a US release, although Oppo phones haven’t made it to some countries in Asia before. The specs for the spectrum tech used in the phone are GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz and UMTS 850, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100MHz, so parallel importing may be an option for some users.

Via CNET Australia

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23 May 12 Google Chrome Becomes World's Most Popular Web Browser


Google Chrome overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to become the world’s most popular web browser for a full week for the first time in its history.

The Chrome browser enjoyed a weeklong surge in use between May 14 and 20, according to StatCounter.

Asia and South America contributed heavily to Chrome’s traffic boom, with Internet Explorer and Firefox remaining North America and Europe’s dominant web browsers.

In India, Chrome held an 8 percent lead over Firefox, the country’s second most popular browser.

Chrome briefly surpassed Internet Explorer for weekend usage in the past, but the new surge is the first time it has taken the world’s top spot for a full week.

Chrome overtook IE in early May and unlike previous occasions, has yet to cede top spot back to Microsoft’s browser, StatCounter reported.

StatCounter’s findings are based on analysis of 3 million websites, with the company analyzing 15 billion page views each month.

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18 May 12 Samsung Smartphones Represent 40 Percent of All Android Sales: Gartner

Samsung, as Apple and
Nokia are all too aware, is on a hot streak. During the first quarter of 2012,
Samsung’s smartphones accounted for 40 percent of all Android-based phones sold
globally, while no other Android-supporting vendor achieved better than a 10
percent representation, according to a May 16 report from Gartner.

Overall, smartphone sales
rose 45 percent year-over-year, with 144.4 million units shipping during the
first quarter of 2012. Lagging feature phone sales, however, caused the overall
mobile phone market to decline by 2 percent—its first decline since the second
quarter of 2009, according to the firm.

Samsung overtook Nokia for
the No. 1 spot, as IHS
iSuppli said in an early estimate in April
, shipping 86.6 million units
to Nokia’s 83.2 million. Apple followed the pair, with shipments of 33.1
million iPhones, and behind it came ZTE, on shipments of 17.4 million units,
and LG, with 14.7 million units.

BlackBerry maker Research
In Motion finished in seventh place, behind Huawei but ahead of Motorola and
Sony Mobile Communications, respectively.

While Android-running
phones accounted for 56.1 percent of all smartphone sales, Gartner analysts
believe that differentiation is becoming a challenge for manufacturers. Motorola
CEO Sanjay Jha
among other executives, has spoken to this point,
saying Motorola plans to release fewer but more differentiated devices. Likewise,
a spokesperson for ATT, at the launch of the HTC
One X
, said a focus on design, a strong camera and the collaboration
with Beats Audio were ways HTC had looked to differentiate that device.

“This is particularly true
for smartphones based on the Android OS, where a strong commoditization trend
is at work and most players are finding it hard to break the [mold],” Anshul Gupta,
a Gartner principal research analyst, said in the report.

“At the high end, hardware
features coupled with applications and services, are helping differentiation,
but this is restricted to major players with intellectual-property assets,”
Gupta added. “However, in the mid- to low-end segment, price is increasingly
becoming the sole differentiator. This will only worsen with the entry of new
players and the dominance of Chinese manufacturers, leading to increased
competition, low profitability and scattered market share.”

Strong Apple iPhone
sales—shipments increased by 96.2 percent year-over-year—came with, thanks to China,
Apple’s No. 2 market behind the United States. China accounted for sales of 5
million iPhones.

Additionally, Gartner added,
“On top of the sales through official carriers’ channels, there was an increase
in transshipments from Hong Kong, where volume has been growing over the past
year, to reach a sell-in of more than 3 million units.”

With China Mobile, the
world’s largest carrier, in talks with Apple to officially
offer the iPhone
, the importance of China to Apple, and the mobile
industry on the whole, is likely to intensify.

Again showing their
impact, China, and the Asia-Pacific region on the whole, were also contributors
to the quarter’s overall lackluster results. While Chinese
New Year generally helps to make the first quarter the strongest in Asia

(again, a boon for the world market, which usually experiences an aggressive
dip after the high of the fourth-quarter Western holidays), a lack of new phone
launches from leading manufacturers caused users in Asia to delay upgrades,
said Gartner, “in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year.”

Follow me on Twitter: @eWEEK_Michelle.

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17 May 12 Samsung Dominates Global Android Smartphone Sales

Approximately 40 percent of the Android-based smartphones sold during the first quarter were produced by Samsung, according to new stats from Gartner. No other vendor nabbed more than 10 percent of the global market.

Overall, some 81 million Android-based smartphones were sold during the quarter for 56.1 percent of the market, up from 36.4 percent during the same time period last year. Apple’s iOS came in second place with 22.9 percent of the market, up from 16.9 percent last year.

Symbian held on in third place with 8.9 percent, but that was a drop from 27.7 percent last year. RIM also took a dip, from 13 percent in 2011 to 6.9 percent in the first quarter. Samsung’s bada platform bested Microsoft, with 2.7 percent to 1.9 percent, respectively.

In terms of overall cell phone sales, Samsung topped Nokia with 86.6 million units shipped and 20.7 percent of the market, a 25.9 percent year-over-year increase. Nokia sold 83.1 million for 19.8 percent of the market, down from 25.1 percent last year.

Apple landed at number three thanks to sales of its iPhone 4S. Cupertino sold 33.1 million smartphones during the quarter for 7.9 percent of the cell phone market, up from 3.9 percent last year.

Gartner said Apple sales were particularly strong in China, where it sold more than 5 million units to become the company’s second-biggest market after the U.S.

RIM sold 9.9 million handsets in the first quarter, with its global share dropping over the last year from 3 percent to 2.4 percent. “RIM desperately needs to deliver winning BB10 products to retain users and stay competitive,” Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. “This will be very challenging, because BB10 lacks strong developer support, and a new BB10 device will only be available in the fourth quarter of 2012.”

Overall, cell phone sales dropped 2 percent during the quarter, the first time Gartner has seen a decline since the second quarter of 2009. The firm attributed the drop to lackluster sales in Asia, where the first quarter normally sees a pickup thanks to Chinese New Year. This year, however, there was “a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year,” Gupta said.

Things were a bit brighter on the smartphone front, where overall sales jumped 44.7 percent year-over-year.

Samsung’s next big release will be the Galaxy S III, which hits Europe later this month and the U.S. this summer. For more, see PCMag’s hands on with the device and the slideshow below. There are rumors, meanwhile, that Apple is prepping a 4-inch iPhone for a late 2012 release.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

View Slideshow
See all (19) slides

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III Home

Samsung Galaxy S III Back

Samsung Galaxy S III Top

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

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04 Apr 12 Chrome beats IE on any given Sunday

Across the globe, more users are firing up Chrome instead of Internet Explorer when they aren’t at work

Follow @tsamson_IW

Over the past three weeks, Google Chrome has beaten out Internet Explorer as the No. 1 browser in the world — but only on Sundays. Monday through Saturday, IE has remained the browser with the highest worldwide market share, although its lead is slipping.

That bit of trivia, which comes via StatCounter, may not bode well for Microsoft, though the company claims StatCounter’s data is flawed. It suggests that users are increasingly turning to Chrome on their home machines, even if they’re still required to use IE on their work machines during the week. If we’ve learned anything from the consumerization-of-IT trend, it’s that users do hold some sway in getting their preferred technologies adopted at the office.

Desktop browser market share

Chrome’s first moment of top-spot glory took place on Sunday, March 18: It held 32.71 percent of the browser market share that day, compared to IE’s 32.5 percent share, according to StatCounter. The following Sunday, Chrome controlled 33.02 percent of the browser market, whereas IE held 32.13 percent. Finally, Chrome secured 32.52 percent of worldwide browser market share on April 1 (no foolin’); IE’s share was 32.48.

In general, going by StatCounter’s numbers, Chrome has consistently seen its popularity spike on weekends over the past five weeks, while IE usage has dropped. Monday through Friday, Chrome has had an average worldwide market share of 30.16 percent; in that same period, IE’s weekday’s market share has averaged 35.55 percent. On the weekends, however, Chrome’s average market share has increased to 32.45 percent, whereas IE’s has dropped to 32.97 percent.

“The trend toward Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable. At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen after Chrome’s first Sunday win.

Geographically speaking, Chrome has been enjoying momentum in regions around the globe, often at IE’s expense. Perhaps most notable, in Asia, Chrome has supplanted IE as the top browser since the start of 2012, up from 32.82 percent market share to 36.52 percent. IE’s share fell from 38.4 percent to 34.2 percent.

In North America, meanwhile, IE’s market share at the beginning of the year was 44.96 percent. At last week’s end, that figure was down to 41.26 percent. In that same time period, Chrome’s share rose from 20.97 percent to 23.68 percent; Firefox’s inched up from 20.61 percent to 20.95 percent.

In Europe, Internet Explorer started out the year with a market share of 31.01; at the end of last week, the number was 30.03. Chrome, meanwhile, gained ground, increasing from 26.39 to 28.51 percent. Firefox dipped from 31.62 percent to 30.62.

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15 Nov 11 Firefox 10: Can Mozilla Afford To Miss Silent Updates?

Mozilla released the downloads of Firefox 9 Beta, which will be released just before Christmas as final, as well as Firefox 10 Aurora, the developer version of Firefox. But even with six new versions within one year, Mozilla may not have accomplished what the rapid release process promised: Most notably, Mozilla released substantial memory improvements this year, but it will miss some features it so desperately needs to compete with Chrome.

mozilla firefoxMozilla announced the availability of Firefox 10 Aurora a bit earlier today and those who are following Firefox development may have been surprised by the feature set that is currently laid out. The details are mentioned here and there are plenty additions in this release, albeit not those the average user may get excited about. So, the explanation is that Firefox 10 focuses on HTML5 enhancements, which would include the HTML5 Visibility API as well as 3D Transforms as well as WebGL anti-aliasing (which is not part of HTML5). Despite those 40 or so additions and modifications, I am not sure if it will be enough.

What surprised me quite a bit is that silent updates is not part of the list. Perhaps it was just an accidental omission, but, strangely enough, silent updates have been marked as “at risk” for deployment in the release tracker for Firefox. One critical feature – the removal of the security dialog in Windows – depends on the resolution of a critical bug, and the actual background updates are generally “at risk” as well. As controversial as the silent updates are, it is somewhat obvious that they have been working very well for Google and Chrome and enabled Google to transition more than 90% of its user base from one version to another within a week, while Mozilla and Microsoft rely on users to actually make a choice for an update and actively initiate it or grant permission. Common sense would suggest that silent updates are more convenient for browser users and would make them stay with Mozilla.

Missing silent updates and moving them to yet another version is a big risk for Mozilla in a time when Chrome will be overtaking Firefox in market share. Mozilla simply can’t afford such delays and needs to stay nimble and execute perfectly if it wants to compete effectively.

For the first 13 days of this month, Chrome has passed Firefox market share at 25.47% versus 25.32%, according to StatCounter. Over the past weekend, Chrome climbed to 27.22% market share, while Firefox dropped as low as 25.05%. Over the past weeks, Mozilla has lost its #2 position in Asia to Chrome, it is about to lose #2 to Chrome in North America and Oceania, while Chrome has climbed to become the #1 browser in South America. There isn’t much Mozilla can do to change this situation now, but there needs to be a strategic feature plan and those features will need to arrive in time.

The current problems do not end with Firefox 10 and silent updates. It appears that Firefox 11 will get the much anticipated new tab page, but Mozilla just listed the home tab as well as Chrome settings migration “at risk”. Firefox 11 is scheduled for release on March 13, 2012. However, by that time, Mozilla may have fallen into the 22% neighborhood and Chrome may be at 28%, if the current trend holds up.

What do you think? Can Mozilla afford to miss those features?

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09 Oct 11 Chrome Steals Second Continent From Firefox

Google’s Chrome browser now owns the spot of the second most popular browser in two of seven continents.

During the first week of October, Chrome surpassed Firefox market share in Asia for the first time. Chrome’s advantage is 26.59% versus 25.35%, according to StatCounter. IE has still the lead with 43.62%, thanks to the popularity of IE6 in Asia.

Browser market share for Asia, October 2011

Browser market share for Asia, October 2011

However, Chrome is now approaching the market share of IE in South America. In October, Chrome has accounted for 37.28% of browser usage in South America, just behind IE with 38.53%. Firefox is third with 22.34%, preliminary data published by StatCounter suggests.

Browser market share for South America, October 2011

Browser market share for South America, October 2011

On a global basis, Chrome will post close to 25% market share this month, while Firefox seems to have stabilized in the just-below-27% neighborhood. October isn’t shaping up to be a good month for IE, as the browser’s share is only at 40.05% so far, more than 1.5 points lower than last month. On weekends, IE is now well below 39% market share.

Browser market share global, October 2011

Browser market share global, October 2011

For those who keep count, IE fell below 50% market share for the first time in September of 2010, which means that IE is currently surrendering 10 points of market share approximately every 14 months.

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