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30 Dec 12 Samsung Year in Review: Galaxy Triumphs, Apple Losses


Samsung produces a number of products – from kitchen appliances to PCs – but it was the company’s mobile division that made the most headlines in 2012.

The Korea-based company dominated the mobile phone space, introducing several new Galaxy devices throughout the year. But it couldn’t shake one its biggest rivals, Apple, which proved to be a worthy opponent in the courtroom and in stores.

Still, despite all the hysteria surrounding the launch of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini, it was Samsung and its Android-heavy lineup of devices like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II that were the really mobile winners in 2012. Those two smartphones were only introduced in the second half of the year and they have already sold at least 30 million and 5 million worldwide, respectively.

Samsung didn’t fare as well in court, however. Though it nabbed a few patent victories here and there in its battle with Cupertino, it suffered a huge setback in August when a California jury handed down a $1.05 billion judgment; Samsung is appealing.

The Galaxy Train Steamrolls the Competition
The year opened with some hands-on time with the huge, 5-inch Galaxy Note “phablet” at CES. Samsung unveiled the massive smartphone/tablet at IFA several months before, and PCMag was a tad skeptical that it could succeed. But by March, Samsung announced that the Galaxy Note had been snapped up by 5 million consumers.

The first half of the year also saw an LTE-powered Galaxy Nexus for Sprint, the Galaxy Tab 2 with Ice Cream Sandwich, the rugged Rugby Smart, and the Galaxy Beam, a phone plus projector.

In late April, Samsung unveiled its new Exynos Quad 4 chip, which it said would power the next-generation of Galaxy devices. That included the much-anticipated Galaxy S III , which Samsung showed off during a London press event in May. It hit Europe later that month and the U.S. in June. It has been released for all major U.S. carriers and sold at least 30 million units worldwide.

Apple Patent Breakdown: Which Samsung Tech, Gadgets Infringe?





One hit smartphone was not enough, however, and Samsung followed up with the Galaxy Note II, which was even bigger than its predecessor at 5.3 inches. Despite its almost comically large size, shoppers were intrigued by the gadget and its built-in stylus, snapping up more than 5 million by the end of November.

Samsung also released the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, which included a split-screen mode, and the Android-based Galaxy Camera. The company will also try its hand at the Windows Phone platform with the Ativ S smartphone.

We’re already hearing rumblings about a Galaxy S IV, which could make an appearance at February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so stay tuned.

Patent Showdown at the Cupertino Corral
But despite all of Samsung’s successes with its Galaxy lineup this year, the company spent a good chunk of its time (and money) battling Apple over patents.

The two companies have been battling since April 2011, when Apple sued Samsung for “slavishly” copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad with its Galaxy lineup of devices. For the first half of 2012, there were a number of headlines about wins and losses in German and Dutch courts, but things really got rolling when Apple and Samsung faced off against a jury in a California courtroom this summer.

Following several weeks of sometimes intense and sometimes boring testimony, the jury gave Apple an early Christmas present in the form of a $1.05 billion judgment. The jury did, however, find that Samsung did not infringe on Apple’s iPad design patent, so the judge lifted a ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the U.S.

That’s not the end of it, of course. Samsung is appealing and the two companies have another, very similar case in the same court that will go to trial in 2014. Just last week, meanwhile, Judge Lucy Koh denied Samsung’s request for a new trial over juror misconduct and shot down Apple’s injunction demands.

Samsung did score a small victory in the U.K., when a court there required Apple to state publicly – on its website and in newspaper ads – that Samsung did not copy the iPad with its Galaxy tablets. An initial post on the Apple website did not satisfy the court, and Apple was forced to update its “noncompliant” message.

While it might seem like Apple is the bad guy here since it started things, Samsung hasn’t gotten off with some scrutiny of its own. Last week, the European Commission accused Samsung of patent abuse by not offering Apple fair and reasonable licensing terms for its 3G patents. The patents are considered “essential” for the operation of today’s most popular gadgets and Samsung, therefore, has an obligation to license them at a fair price, but Apple claims Samsung is asking for too much. Samsung, naturally, disagrees. Samsung now has a chance to respond to the EU’s charges and the commission will then decide what, if any, action to take.

Battling for the Smartphone Crown
Many of the Samsung-related headlines this year, meanwhile, touched on Samsung’s domination of the mobile phone market. The success of the Galaxy lineup even helped Samsung best Nokia, which had been the biggest phone maker for the last 14 years.

The Galaxy S III gave Samsung a boost in smartphones earlier this year, a lead that closed a bit with the release of Apple’s iPhone 5, but was not enough to give Cupertino the crown.

For more, see PCMag’s year in review for Apple, Google, Intel, Facebook, HP, and Amazon.

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

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413529,00.asp

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25 Dec 12 Samsung Galaxy Camera Review: Android Meets Point-and-Shoot Camera


PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.

A couple of years ago, if you went digging through a purse or a backpack, you’d likely find a point-and-shoot camera. Now you’ll find that most people instead use the cameras built into their smartphones. Not only have camera phones improved, they let you instantly share photos with family and friends.

Samsung has a new idea — to bring together the best of the standalone camera and the smartphone. Its new Galaxy Camera is what you’d get if a point-and-shoot camera were crossed with an Android phone — it promises to take better photos than most phones but has built in sharing capabilities. But can it do it all? Is it the best of both worlds?

WATCH: Samsung Galaxy Camera Video Review

A Camera with a Big Touch Screen
The Galaxy Camera looks like a regular camera from the front, but flip it around and it looks like a big-screen Android phone. It has a 4.8-inch HD Super Clear Touch display, which looks and acts very much like Samsung’s Galaxy S 3 phone. It is powered by Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean. You can navigate through the operating system just as you would on a phone. Yes, you can surf the Web, even check your email and download and use apps from the Google Play Store thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi radio and the built-in LTE. (There are Verizon and ATT versions of the camera — more on the pricing soon.)


PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.

PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.













You can’t text message or make calls on the camera (that’s not a complaint — holding a camera up to your ear doesn’t look all that cool) but you can easily snap photos and upload them to Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or other sites. And snapping pics and sharing them is really a cinch. While Wi-Fi-enabled cameras are a dime a dozen, the Android operating system is easy to navigate, especially when it comes to adjusting settings and selecting photos to share. If you’re an Instagram fan, this is the ultimate Instagram camera. And your shots will look better than most of the others in your feed.

A Good Camera with Great Features
That’s because 16.3-megapixel camera has a 21x optical zoom and takes very good still shots. Shots in natural lighting were well balanced, and while low-light performance wasn’t spectacular, it was acceptable for the specs. However, the photos I took were not as good as shots I take with a $600 Canon DSLR (I’ve got the Canon T2i) or a micro-four-thirds camera. They were better than photos taken with the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S 3, but about the same as what you get from an average point-and-shoot.

However, where the camera does stand out as a camera is in its “smart” shooting features. Samsung has matched the hardware with some interesting software features, including a “best photo” mode that will select the best of eight shots for you. There is also a “continuous shot” mode, which captures a series of moving photos. While some of the images I took of my cousins playing football suffered from motion blur, others were clear.

You can also shoot 1080p video and take still shots while you are shooting. Oh, and you can apply Samsung’s own filters and effects, in case you don’t want to use a third-party app. Samsung has brought most of its great Android photo features to the camera. On top of that, there’s an “Expert” mode for those photographers who want more manual controls for adjusting aperture, ISO, shutter speed and more.

A Camera With Battery and Size Sacrifices
With all those features come some major sacrifices. First, the camera is bulky for what it is. Yes, it has a 21x zoom lens, but the camera is almost an inch thick, 5 inches wide and weighs 11 ounces. That doesn’t make it large, but it’s much larger than the average point-and-shoot. It’s closer in size to micro-four-thirds or mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PL5 or Panasonic GX1, which take noticeably better photos.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/samsung-galaxy-camera-review-android-meets-point-shoot/story?id=18055760

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25 Dec 12 Galaxy Camera Review: Android Meets Camera


PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.

A couple of years ago, if you went digging through a purse or a backpack, you’d likely find a point-and-shoot camera. Now you’ll find that most people instead use the cameras built into their smartphones. Not only have camera phones improved, they let you instantly share photos with family and friends.

Samsung has a new idea — to bring together the best of the standalone camera and the smartphone. Its new Galaxy Camera is what you’d get if a point-and-shoot camera were crossed with an Android phone — it promises to take better photos than most phones but has built in sharing capabilities. But can it do it all? Is it the best of both worlds?

WATCH: Samsung Galaxy Camera Video Review

A Camera with a Big Touch Screen
The Galaxy Camera looks like a regular camera from the front, but flip it around and it looks like a big-screen Android phone. It has a 4.8-inch HD Super Clear Touch display, which looks and acts very much like Samsung’s Galaxy S 3 phone. It is powered by Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean. You can navigate through the operating system just as you would on a phone. Yes, you can surf the Web, even check your email and download and use apps from the Google Play Store thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi radio and the built-in LTE. (There are Verizon and ATT versions of the camera — more on the pricing soon.)


PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.

PHOTO: Samsung's Galaxy Camera brings the connectivity and sharing features of Android to a point-and-shoot camera.













You can’t text message or make calls on the camera (that’s not a complaint — holding a camera up to your ear doesn’t look all that cool) but you can easily snap photos and upload them to Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or other sites. And snapping pics and sharing them is really a cinch. While Wi-Fi-enabled cameras are a dime a dozen, the Android operating system is easy to navigate, especially when it comes to adjusting settings and selecting photos to share. If you’re an Instagram fan, this is the ultimate Instagram camera. And your shots will look better than most of the others in your feed.

A Good Camera with Great Features
That’s because 16.3-megapixel camera has a 21x optical zoom and takes very good still shots. Shots in natural lighting were well balanced, and while low-light performance wasn’t spectacular, it was acceptable for the specs. However, the photos I took were not as good as shots I take with a $600 Canon DSLR (I’ve got the Canon T2i) or a micro-four-thirds camera. They were better than photos taken with the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S 3, but about the same as what you get from an average point-and-shoot.

However, where the camera does stand out as a camera is in its “smart” shooting features. Samsung has matched the hardware with some interesting software features, including a “best photo” mode that will select the best of eight shots for you. There is also a “continuous shot” mode, which captures a series of moving photos. While some of the images I took of my cousins playing football suffered from motion blur, others were clear.

You can also shoot 1080p video and take still shots while you are shooting. Oh, and you can apply Samsung’s own filters and effects, in case you don’t want to use a third-party app. Samsung has brought most of its great Android photo features to the camera. On top of that, there’s an “Expert” mode for those photographers who want more manual controls for adjusting aperture, ISO, shutter speed and more.

A Camera With Battery and Size Sacrifices
With all those features come some major sacrifices. First, the camera is bulky for what it is. Yes, it has a 21x zoom lens, but the camera is almost an inch thick, 5 inches wide and weighs 11 ounces. That doesn’t make it large, but it’s much larger than the average point-and-shoot. It’s closer in size to micro-four-thirds or mirrorless cameras like the Olympus E-PL5 or Panasonic GX1, which take noticeably better photos.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/samsung-galaxy-camera-review-android-meets-point-shoot/story?id=18055760

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18 Dec 12 What the Galaxy Camera should have been


What would a full HD display on a smartphone look like? When will the wait for affordable 1TB solid state drives come to an end? How about a super zoom camera in a smartphone, or the other way around? Such are the topics that we often discuss while we are sipping on steaming hot chai at the stall right outside our office, so it wasn’t all that surprising to see Samsung come out with the Galaxy Camera. On the day it arrived in our test lab, I couldn’t wait to unpack it and try all the features.

Simply put, it's the Samsung Galaxy S II with a huge lens popped in minus support for making calls

Simply put, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S III with a huge lens popped in, minus support for making calls

 

 

I clearly remember Shayne’s expression when I asked him how he found the Galaxy Camera after he had come back from the launch event. “It’s oversized,” he insisted. At that time, I thought he was exaggerating, but on unpacking it, I felt even that was an understatement. At 129 x 71 cm, it’s a lot broader and taller than most travel zoom digital cameras or even compact mirrorless cameras. And on top of that, the massive 21x zoom lens that sticks out about half an inch from the body reduces portability even further. In no way is it designed to be carried in the pocket! Samsung should have provided eyelets on the sides to attach a neck strap, but that too is missing. A 4-inch display (Super AMOLED would have been nice to have) and a completely retracting lens would have gone a long way in shrinking the design and making it pocketable. But then, it would be challenging to offer a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, graphics processor, 8GB of on-board storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G capabilities along with the guts of a super-zoom camera in a compact package.

Still, I imagined that there would be limitless possibilities with such a lavish feature set. It’s clear that Samsung wants to offer a camera that goes beyond just allowing you to share your photos wirelessly and upload them on social networks—something that doesn’t require the specifications of such a high-end smartphone. To me, the Galaxy Camera comes across as a super-zoom camera jammed into the body of the Galaxy S III. The functionalities of the camera are delivered by the camera app, which when run is supposed to give users the feel of a high-end camera. Instead, it actually feels like a high-end smartphone running a camera app, even if the user interface of the camera is top notch.

Virtual dials in the manual and semi-manual modes

Virtual dials in the manual and semi-manual modes

 

 

Now, at Rs 29,900, for which you could buy a DSLR or an enthusiast-class super-zoom (such as the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS), it’s fair to expect stellar photo quality. But sadly, the Galaxy Camera doesn’t deliver on its core functionality—the quality of photos it takes isn’t impressive at all. It’s incredible as a mobile Internet device and portable media player—I feel the latter should have been the secondary aspect and not the other way around. If you ask me which device comes closest to or is better than the Galaxy Camera, I’d say it’s the Nokia PureView 808. It takes much better photos, and more importantly, it fits in the pocket!

From a technological standpoint, the Galaxy Camera is by far the smartest camera available. It was only possible for Samsung to conjure it up because it knows how to build high-end smartphones and digital cameras—it’s just a matter of converging technologies. It’s an over-enthusiastic concept, and the need to go in for it isn’t justified unless you’re a social networking or a photo sharing buff—it’s certainly not for enthusiasts, or for that matter, even amateurs. Things would have been different had the price been under Rs 20,000 or if the quality of photos was DSLR-like. For me, a better balance would have been a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with some of the features of Galaxy Camera (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G support, GPS, social networking and at least 8GB of built-in storage), all built around a regular camera interface. Rather than the awkward Galaxy Camera, this fantasy device could make waves in the market.

Article source: http://tech2.in.com/opinions/point-and-shoot/what-the-galaxy-camera-should-have-been/645992

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14 Dec 12 Verizon gets Samsung Galaxy Camera with cheaper data plan


Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, a point-and-shoot that runs the Android OS, has made its way over to Verizon after launching on ATT last month.

At $550, Verizon’s Galaxy Camera is $50 more expensive than ATT’s version, but it does have a couple advantages: A data plan for the camera only costs $5 per month on Verizon if you’re on its Share Everything plan, compared to $10 on ATT (although Verizon says this is a “promotional price”). Also, the data itself is faster, because it uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network, whereas the ATT version only connects to slower HSPA+ networks.


Otherwise, both cameras have the same specs. There’s a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 21x zoom lens, an aperture of F2.8 to F5.9 and optical image stabilization. Video records in 1080p at 30 frames per second, or in 720p at 60 frames per second.

Around back, the Galaxy Camera runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on a 4.8-inch 720p display, and it has full Google Play Store access for downloading apps such as Instagram and Facebook. Other specs include a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for up to 64 GB of additional storage.


Verizon’s cheaper data plan makes the idea of a connected camera a bit more palatable, but it still seems like a lot to pay if you’re not constantly uploading photos on the road. Keep in mind that Verizon’s Share Everything plans allow your smartphone to serve as a wireless hotspot at no extra charge. Most users should just skip the data plan altogether and connect the camera to their phone’s hotspot to share and upload photos.

The Galaxy Camera is available now through Verizon’s Website.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2020457/verizon-gets-samsung-galaxy-camera-with-cheaper-data-plan.html

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