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16 Dec 12 Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean reaching more users

Certain owners of the Samsung Galaxy S3 are still using the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system on their handset, while some others such as Verizon Wireless users have only just received the Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update. Almost two weeks ago though Samsung begun pushing out the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean operating system to owners, and now the software update has begun reaching some more users.

The company first began the staggered rollout of the new firmware earlier this month but there are still many users that have yet to receive the new software, but as SamMobile are reporting the update has now reached owners of the smartphone in Korea.

Owners that have the SHW-M440S, SHV-E210S, SHV-E210K and SHV-E210L models of the Korean Galaxy S3 can get the new software via the Samsung KIES desktop application or via the settings on the actual handset.

This latest version of the Android Jelly Bean software will again put US owners of the Galaxy S3 behind users in Europe and Korea, which brings with it a number of new features including some that are found on the Galaxy Note 2.

One of these is the Multi View feature that allows users to run two applications at once and split the display into two sections with each one running a separate application. Other new features will include such things as Page Buddy, customizable Notification panel, and a new keyboard that is similar to the Gesture controlled keyboard that is found in Android 4.2.

Hopefully more countries in Europe will also receive the update in the coming days but there is no telling how long it will take individual carriers to give the firmware update the ok and push it out to customers, as for the time being it seems only unlocked versions of the Galaxy S3 are receiving it.

At the time of writing I have again checked my own Galaxy S3 for the availability of the update without any success. Previously it has been suggested that the handset along with the Galaxy Note 2 will get Android 4.2 early next year, but how long it will take to reach users in the US is anybody’s guess. You would have thought though that the likes of Verizon will get the next update pushed out quicker than it did for the upgrade from Android ICS.

Has your Samsung Galaxy S3 received Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean yet?

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16 Dec 12 iPad mini, Nexus 7 to boost Malaysian tablet market: IDC – CNA ENGLISH NEWS

Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The launch of Apple Inc.’s iPad mini and the price cut in Asustek Computer Inc.’s Nexus 7 will help expand the market for small tablets in Malaysia, research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) predicted in a recent report.

“Appetite for smaller tablets is irrefutable and 2013 will see intensified competition in the smaller tablet space, during which Samsung Electronics Co.’s current dominance is set to be tested, particularly by Apple’s iPad mini,” said Ryan Lai, an analyst at IDC.

“The arrival of the iPad mini at a comparable price to the United States and a 100 Malaysian Ringgits (US$33) price drop for the Nexus 7 represents the beginnings of a more competitive 7-inch tablet space in Malaysia,” Lai wrote in a Dec. 13 report.

Samsung accounted for 85 percent of Malaysia’s tablet shipments with screen sizes between 7 and 7.7 inches during the first nine months of 2012, IDC said, adding that the South Korean firm had built its reign under market conditions where little competition existed.

The arrival of Apple’s much awaited iPad mini, starting at US$329 in the U.S., will be a game-changer for the Malaysian tablet landscape and boost the 7-inch tablet segment, the research firm said.

According to data compiled by IDC, the small tablet segment currently accounts for only 26 percent of the market but is expected to grow to 45 percent in 2013.

Sales of the Nexus 7 — a 7-inch tablet — that has been co-branded by Taiwan-based Asustek and U.S. search engine Google Inc., have been strong since its release in June.

The tablet’s popularity has provided a fillip for Asustek’s tablet shipments during the third quarter, which were pegged at 2.3 million or nearly 1.9 times more than the previous quarter, Asustek said.

The Taiwanese computer maker expects tablet shipments to touch 2.6 million units during the current quarter and 6.3 million units for the whole of 2012, owing to strong demand for the Nexus 7.

Google and Asustek unveiled the original Nexus 7 on June 27, which is the world’s first 7-inch quad-core tablet, priced at US$199. The product will help these companies break into the less expensive Android tablet market.

Google said on Oct. 29 that a new version of the Nexus 7, which has a larger storage capacity of 32 gigabytes and Wi-Fi connectivity, has been priced at US$249, while a model with 3G cellular connectivity will cost US$299.

Asustek shares rose marginally by 0.15 percent to close at NT$335 (US$11.5) in Taipei Friday.

(By Jeffrey Wu)

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16 Dec 12 Galaxy trades Buddle to Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – The LA Galaxy traded forward Edson Buddle to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a first-round supplemental draft pick in 2013 and allocation money.

Buddle is a World Cup veteran with 93 career goals in Major League Soccer. He appeared in two matches for the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in 2010, when he was the runner-up for the MLS Golden Boot

Buddle started his MLS career in 2001 in Columbus, where he played for five seasons. He also played for the New York Red Bulls in 2006, Toronto FC in 2007 and with the Galaxy from 2007-10 and in 2012. In 2011, he played for FC Ingolstadt of the German second division.

More newsImage: Liverpool v Aston Villa - Premier LeagueGetty Images

EPL wears armbands for victims

PST: It’s a very classy and poignant touch from the world’s most watched soccer league.

Wambach scores twice, US women beat China 4-1

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – Abby Wambach scored twice to help the United States close out the season with a 4-1 exhibition victory over China on Saturday night.

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15 Dec 12 Nexus 4 Google Play stock exhausted again » Phone Reviews

It has been around a month now since Google treated the Android world to some new Nexus branded hardware that included the hugely popular Nexus 4 smartphone manufactured by LG. The popularity of the handset with its competitive pricing and high end specs has seen the device becoming hard to get hold of from certain channels, and especially Google Play. It now seems that stock via this method has been exhausted again with no word when it will be available.

As soon as Google first launched the Nexus 4 onto the Google Play Store both storage versions of the device quickly sold out, and when pre-orders then started again for the device consumers were left with rather long wait times for their handset to arrive.

Now at the time of writing both the 8GB and 16GB versions of the Nexus 4 have sold out in the US and UK Google Play Stores. The 8GB model was the first to sell out recently but has now been joined by the 16GB model and just before this the shipping time for the device was showing up to a nine week wait time.

LG has spoken about the stock shortages of the Nexus 4 recently and basically said it was down to the huge demand, but those desperate to get hold of the device can decide to purchase it from a number of carriers or third party retailers.

Trouble is though this is a much more expensive option as for instance the US Amazon online store has the 8GB nexus 4 listed at a massive $559.99, which compares to $299 via Google Play when there is stock. OK Google will charge you for delivery of your handset but that’s a big difference in price for the same product.

For those of you that were lucky enough to recently get an order accepted by Google for the Nexus 4 it could be almost February before you even see your device. For UK consumers the handset is now available via carrier Three, which first revealed some pricing for the handset last month, but at the time of writing the only option available is getting the device on the One Plan over two years at £35 per month, and a £29 up front cost for the 16GB model.

If stock issues are not quickly resolved many potential buyers of the Nexus 4 may look elsewhere, as next month we have the CES event in Las Vegas that is followed in February by the Mobile World Congress, and we are likely to see a whole host of desirable new hardware being announced.

Have you managed to get hold of the Nexus 4 via Google Play?

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14 Dec 12 Bango adds operator billing support for Google Play

Bango’s partnership with Telstra to offer carrier billing, follows similar moves made by US and European network operators. Telefonica’s BlueVia platform has provided operator-billing for Google Play in Spain and Germany since Q3 2012. Telenor has also partnered with BlueVia to provide further support for operator billing. Verizon Wireless also recently became the last of the top four US operators to launch its carrier billing when its service went live on 31 October 2012 on Google Play.

The rise in operators offering carrier billing services underscores a growing effort from both application store owners and mobile network operators to offer alternative payment options, increase conversion rates, and utilize new billing platforms to monetise and enhance the end-user experience. Globally, payment providers and application store owners (Bango, RIM, Nokia) report 1x – 3x times revenue growth with carrier billing versus credit cards. With carrier billing platforms in place, the role of network operators shifts to address the larger connected mobile ecosystem of merchants, developers and customers.

The move is a positive one for Google, which has been improving its ability to monetise Android content throughout 2012. IHS research indicates that while Google Play still generates lower content revenue per addressable device, it is starting to close the gap on Apple’s iOS App Store. Verizon’s recent move to support billing for Google Play at the same time as it announced the closure of its own application store, illustrates how in many countries operators are recognizing the reality of their new role in the mobile content ecosystem. As operator’s own content services decline, the ability to provide billing support for other stores will be a key way for them to retain some stake in the mobile content business.

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13 Dec 12 Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos, Galaxy S II Plus possibly spied in Chinese …

Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos, Galaxy S II Plus possibly spied in Chinese certification

Samsung has been pushing an ever-growing number of its mid-tier phones to larger screen sizes, and there’s further evidence that it’s not about to stop. Following some rumors, both the Galaxy Grand Duos and Galaxy S II Plus appear to have been spotted going through China’s TENAA certification process. The Grand Duos seen here isn’t likely to reach the US given its lack of compatible 3G, but it looks to have a Galaxy S III-based design that’s still relatively fresh for the category. Claims have it mating its namesake dual SIM slots with a 4.5-inch (if just 800 x 480) screen, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and cameras similar to its bigger cousin.

As for the Galaxy S II Plus? While it should have 3G that works with ATT and Canadian carriers, we’re not anticipating much pressure to bring the S II Plus to North America when the device at TENAA closely resembles the 4.3-inch original, especially if talk of a modest 1GHz dual-core chip proves true. We’ll need an official announcement, or further leaks, to know whether the S II Plus or the Grand Duos are enough to lure in new buyers.

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16 Jun 12 Why Android’s Greatest Threat Isn’t Apple – It’s Microsoft

There’s little denying that Apple rules the smartphone world. The company sells just one phone model, yet that sole model constitutes 8.8% – or roughly 1 in 11 – of all worldwide smartphone sales and 73% of profits. iOS is the second most popular smartphone OS in the US after Android with 31.4% of the market (Android has 50.8%). Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, has just 4% of the US smartphone market, yet it’s Microsoft that we have to worry about. We’re witnessing a Kansas City Shuffle; while everybody is looking left, Microsoft is going right.

Microsoft is a lot like a freight train: it may be fat, bloated, and heavy, but once it finally gets up to speed, it’s a force to be reckoned with. There’s certainly something to be said for a company that commands about 90% of the US PC market and 40% of the US console market at a time when consoles are becoming less gamey and more comprehensive-entertainment-centery. That’s without touching on Microsoft’s impending entrance in the tablet game and the upcoming release of Windows RT and Windows 8, nor the early 2013 release of the Xbox 720.

By now, you can probably see where I’m going with this. Odds are very good that your home and work computers both run Windows, and I’m going to guess you use Office on both. Roughly 30 million Xbox 360s have been sold in the US, so I’m going to guess that a fair number of readers may have one of those too. That’s our foundation: the company already has a commanding presence in many corners of consumers’ lives.

But it’s still a bit of a mess. Sure, the 360 has some networked PC integration built in, but any UI or UX consistency between the two is an afterthought, not a perfect fit. Yes, you can use Office on your Windows Phone, but it’s not a great experience. What happens when it all comes together, as the company is doing with its next wave of devices? Windows Phone looks like Windows RT, which looks like Windows 8. I’ll eat my shoes if the 720 doesn’t share the same design language.

wp7-people WinRTTab Win8pc

Left to right: Windows Phone 7, Windows RT (tablet), Windows 8 (PC). Without the subtitle, would you know which was which?

All three of the above, as well as the Xbox 720, show extreme promise. Now stop and consider: what can be done if virtually every internet-connected aspect of your life shares the same platform? Apps can easily be ported, streaming/transferring/syncing could be a breeze, the cloud could be more powerful than ever, and your portable devices can be windows (hah!) into a bigger screen. Your phone and tablet can act as seamless companions to your TV or PC, becoming a complementing screen for auxiliary information or a unique controllers. It’s a lot more fun to play a racing game on your phone or tablet than it is on your PC because you actually have to interact, but you’re still limited to a small screen. Imagine that same interactivity but on your PC or TV screen. The Wii U is child’s play by comparison.

Obviously, there’s a big catch here, and it’s one of MSFT’s most infamous weaknesses: they have to follow through. A lack of corporate focus has often resulted in poor quality for the company in the past, and products/services with a world of potential have been absolutely ruined by a lack of attention to detail. Bill Gates famously sent an email to his senior people absolutely slamming Windows Usability – seriously, it’s like 2 pages long and describes how excruciating Microsoft can make user experience.

Lately, though, the company has been doing pretty damn well, and as previously mentioned, their upcoming products and services show a world of potential. While I don’t think Microsoft’s next wave will be perfect out of the gate, I think they will be impressive enough to drive growth across the board.

Google and Apple offer fantastic products and services, but they don’t command your den, your office, your living room, and your productivity. That’s Microsoft’s Trojan Horse, and that’s why it’s the biggest threat to Android.

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07 Jun 12 Samsung Galaxy S3 to ship soon on all 4 big US carriers

The Galaxy S III is soon to land in our solar system — the American part of it, that is.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET)

Samsung’s Galaxy S III
Android 4.0 phone is generating so much buzz, you could almost forget the Olympics are being held this summer.

U.S. fans of the Galaxy S series have been closer to the back of the line this go-round, as the flagship Android phone is rolling out elsewhere across the globe while we twiddle our thumbs over elder-generation smartphones. Finally, the picture is becoming a little less cloudy as to when the S III will finally land stateside.

We already know that T-Mobile and Sprint will start selling the thin taste of Ice Cream Sandwich on June 21, but now it appears that ATT is telling customers who preorder the Galaxy S III that they can expect it to ship on June 18, according to droidmatters.

As for Big Red, Droid Life says Verizon customers who preorder are seeing messages that the phone will ship by July 9th, but there’s also evidence from Best Buy that it could be as soon as June 28.

There could be another bit of good news for current Verizon subscribers who are on one of those grandfathered unlimited data plans. Folks who preorder the Galaxy S III are being given the option to port that unlimited data plan over to the new phone without any hassle. Verizon had previously said it would begin moving off those unlimited plans as it updated to 4G plans, but it seems that may not always be the case, especially when you’re trying to push a cherry phone like the Galaxy S III. Sprint will also be offering an unlimited data option for the GS3.

Then again, these are the carriers we’re talking about, and the sweetest deals can sour pretty quickly. In fact, there’s one pretty big wild card out there right now threatening to keep our galaxies and the Galaxy S III from colliding — Apple has requested an injunction that would keep the Samsung phone from hitting U.S. shelves, claiming it infringes on two of Apple’s patents.


(Via Boy Genius Report)

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04 Jun 12 comScore: Android US sales slow. The iPhone holds steady

New subscriptions for Android phones have been falling in the U.S. for four months

Click to enlarge. Source: Asymco from comScore data.

FORTUNE — Drilling down into data released Friday by comScore, Asymco‘s Horace Dediu spots two interesting trends:

  • The rate at which mobile phone owners are switching from feature phones to smartphones in the U.S. has fallen off dramatically, to 300,000 per week in the three-month period ending in April from 1.5 million per week in the November survey.
  • The chief reason seems to be a slowdown in Google (GOOG) Android adoptions. As the chart above shows, Apple (AAPL) iPhone adoptions have continued to grow year over year, but Android in the April survey registered its slowest user growth since 2009. (As indicated by the height of the gray bar in the rightmost column.)

“It’s perhaps too early to suggest that we’re seeing a slowdown in the US for Android,” Dediu writes. “Perhaps there will be a return to growth in the fall. The concern has to be that rather than seeing the net adds growing — as they have for two years with only two contiguous months of decline — Android net adds have been falling for four months.”

See Trouble with the robot? for more charts and the rest of Dediu’s analysis.

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04 Jun 12 Samsung Galaxy S III landing on 5 US carriers in June, without quad-core

Samsung Galaxy S III

Coming to five carriers, starting at $200, Samsung is pushing its flagship phone hard.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET)

Samsung means business. The consumer electronics giant has just announced sales of its Samsung Galaxy S III flagship
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone for five U.S. carriers starting in June.

Verizon, ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular will all receive variations of the Galaxy S III this month, but Samsung isn’t sharing the exact pricing and release date for each carrier just yet. What we do know is that $200 is the lowest price of the bunch.

What’s incredibly interesting (and what CNET had predicted) is that the U.S.-based version, like its HTC One X rival, will carry a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor as opposed to the 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s used in the global release.

The “downgrade” is likely due to a current incompatibility between the quad-core chip and LTE data networks, just as with the HTC One X, which forewent the Nvidia Tegra 3 processor that was used in the global version of its hero device.

If you’re tempted to get huffy over your quad-core loss, keep in mind that Qualcomm’s dual-core chip is plenty fast, and that quad-core performance claims aren’t always what they seem.

The Galaxy S III is a slim handset with a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display. It supports 4G LTE and HSPA+ 42 speeds, has an 8-megapixel camera (hands on) with 1080p HD video capture and playback, and a bevy of software features to complement and enhance Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Samsung has also given the Galaxy S III 2GB of RAM and a very large, removable 2100mAh battery. There will be support for 16GB or 32GB of expandable memory, depending on the carrier, it seems.

Another nice touch, the Galaxy S III is topped with Gorilla Glass 2.0, a stronger, thinner type of the premium glass brand that Corning, Gorilla Glass’ maker, unveiled this past January at

Read CNET UK’s full review here, or my in-depth hands-on.

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