Author Archives: Chris Davies


Samsung smartphone sales tipped to beat iPhone and Nokia in Q2 2011

Samsung's Q2 smartphone sales could have exceeded those of either Apple or Nokia, the first time the Korean company would have managed such strong performance. Samsung's official figures for device sales are expected to come in at between 18m and 21m globally for the last quarter, research firm Strategy Analytics told Bloomberg, likely to best Nokia's 16.7m smartphone sales and Apple's 20.3m iPhone sales. The increasing demand for Samsung's phones - both regular handsets and smartphones - is expected to further narrow the gap between Nokia's first place position in the global market, and Samsung's number two spot. Nokia currently holds around 26-percent, while Samsung is expected to reach around 20-percent.
"Samsung’s Android portfolio is selling strongly in most regions. Samsung stands a reasonable chance of capturing the top spot on a quarterly basis if it can continue expanding its Android portfolio across high-growth markets like China and Brazil. Samsung and Apple will be at similar levels in smartphones by the end of the year" Neil Mawston, analyst, Strategy Analytics
Samsung's success hasn't been entirely down to Android - the company also sells "dumb" phones and handsets running its own bada OS - but the popularity of devices like the Galaxy S II has certainly put the Google OS at the forefront of its marketing campaign. The GSII is expected to make its US debut in August. The company is yet to confirm its official sales figures for Q2 2011.

Notion Ink promises Adam 2 tablet for December 2011

Can you handle the Notion Ink roller coaster for a second time? Having set the benchmark for Android tablet hype, then run head-first into the practicalities and issues around bringing products to market, Notion Ink has revealed plans to introduce the second-gen Adam 2 tablet in December 2011. Speaking to Light Reading India, Notion Ink CEO Rohan Shravan confirmed that "this December you should see Adam 2 if everything goes fine" and hinted that a CES 2012 presence was likely. No hardware details have been given, but with the original Adam an early adopter of NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Pixel Qi's sunlight-readable displays, there's already speculation that the Indian company will pair the Tegra 3 Kal-El chip with one of the new breed of Pixel Qi panels. Follow-up hardware to Adam has always been on the roadmap, and Notion Ink was confident that its customized software would populate a range of tablets. If the Adam saga taught us anything, though, it's that a solid spec-sheet isn't necessarily enough to make a convincing, best-selling product. [via Liliputing]

Viber VoIP hits Android: Free international calls and SMS [Video]

Free VoIP service Viber has launched its first Android app, allowing Android handset users to take advantage of free international calls and text messages. Already available for iPhone users, Viber differs from most VoIP services in that it doesn't demand registration; instead, it uses your own phone number. When installed, Viber searches through your phonebook and identifies which of your friends are also using the app. Calls and messages between you and those people are then routed via your phone's data connection - either WiFi or 3G - rather than via your carrier. It's probably best to have an unlimited data plan, however, since VoIP calls over 3G can get use up a lot of data. Obviously, the more people you know using Viber, the more calls and messages you can offload to the service; that seems to be the company's main growth plan. The app is a free download and there are no adverts. [youtube 0nQN5w5ct_E] [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

Sonos Controller for Android updated: SD install supported

Sonos has updated its Sonos Controller for Android app, adding in much-requested support for installing the software to your phone or tablet's SD card. There are also various new native languages supported, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Swedish. Otherwise functionality is much as it was before, which means the ability to remotely control one or multiple Sonos units around the home or office from your phone. Sonos supports either synchronized playback of a single track across all units, or different music playing in each zone. As well as accessing locally-stored content from a PC, Mac or NAS on the home network, it can stream music from thousands of internet radio stations as well as from digital jukebox services like Spotify. Sonos has also unveiled its new, entry-level streaming music speaker, the PLAY:3, priced at $299 (shown above). The Sonos BRIDGE network adapter has seen a price cut to $49.

Samsung disowns Anymode Galaxy Tab Smart Case, gets product pulled

Samsung has had the Anymode Smart Case for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 pulled from the accessory retailer's site, insisting that the product was not, in fact, granted "Designed for Samsung Mobile" certification. According to Samsung - which was roundly criticized after design similarities between the Anymode case and Apple's Smart Covers for the iPad 2 were noted - Anymode did not go through the official process of having the accessory approved before listing it. "As a general practice, Samsung Electronics reviews and approves all accessories produced by partners before they are given the "Designed for Samsung Mobile" mark" the company insists. "In this case, approval was not given to Anymode for the accessory to feature this official designation." Apple's own design inspiration for the Smart Covers has come under fire in previous months, over similarities between the official accessory and the InCase Magazine Jacket released for the first-gen iPad. Neither the Anymode nor the InCase versions can control the tablets' standby feature, however, unlike Apple's official Smart Cover. "We are working with Anymode to address this oversight and the product has already been removed from the Anymode sales website" Samsung concludes, pointing out that "the product has not been sold." [via SlashGear]

Sony S1/S2 tablets teaser three released: Movies, Ereading, Gaming

Sony's teaser campaign for the S1 and S2 tablets continues, despite the slates having shown up in the wild on several occasions now. After parts one and two comes video three, sticking with the Rube Goldberg theme and now focusing on entertainment uses for the Android pair. As well as audio and video, with the single-screen S1 shown playing back The Green Hornet as well as offering various music tracks, an ereader app is briefly demonstrated. The S2 is shown displaying two pages at once - doing a decent job of resembling a traditional book, in fact - and then there's a brief glimpse of PlayStation gaming. "To be continued" the teaser concludes, which certainly implies we have at least one more segment to go until Sony hopefully decides to tell us something concrete. Still up in the air are the tablets' official names, their prices and their release dates, though recent rumors have suggested that the S1 at least will hit pre-order in September. [youtube vI9TZ6yTU44] [via Twitter]

AT&T HTC Status on sale for $50

The HTC Status has officially gone on sale at AT&T, the carrier's branded version of the HTC ChaCha. The QWERTY-toting Facebook phone has a compact touchscreen, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with a custom version of HTC Sense on top, and has a dedicated Facebook button for sharing photos and other updates to the wildly-popular social network. In addition, there's a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and a flash, a front-facing webcam for video calls, and 3G connectivity. Elsewhere there's WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth and GPS, together with a microSD card slot that comes with a 2GB card pre-loaded (but which can support up to 32GB). AT&T is asking $50 for the Status, which makes it one of the cheaper Android devices around; obviously you'll also need a new, two-year agreement with mandatory data plan. More details on the Status in our hands-on and unboxing; we'll have a full review very soon!

$400 Motorola XOOM tablet is today’s Woot deal

As the first Honeycomb tablet to hit store shelves, the Motorola XOOM perhaps lacks some of the glamor of its more recent Android slate siblings; however, it's still a solid option as long as the price is right. Woot's deal for today is a $399.99 XOOM WiFi, a saving of $100 versus other retailers. Now, it's a refurbished unit, not brand new, but we imagine there are plenty of people who will look past that for the sake of $100 left in their pocket. It's also not the Verizon 3G model, so there's no WWAN connectivity and no 4G LTE upgrade on the horizon; still, you also don't commit yourself to a data plan. In fact the biggest issue might be low-cost rivals. Amazon is currently asking the same price for a brand new Acer Iconia Tab A500, which we reviewed back in April, with similar performance but a metal casing.

ASUS confirms Eee Pad Transformer power fix incoming

ASUS has admitted to an issue with the Eee Pad Transformer's power management settings, which could see users of the keyboard dock experience problems with power drain and how well the attachment recharges. According to ASUS, the fault is down to how the company chose to configure the power management around sleep mode; however, there's also a fix promised. The exact nature of that fix has not been explained, though ASUS says it will be announcing details "shortly" on how it intends to resolve the situation. Most likely, however, is a firmware update that will change the power management configuration based on the feedback ASUS has received from owners.
"Apologies to anyone who has encountered issues with their Transformer keyboard dock (power drain and charging). The issue is related to the way we configured the device’s power management in/out of sleep mode. We will shortly be announcing details on how this will be resolved for our customers" ASUS
Despite the issues, the Eee Pad Transformer has reportedly been a significant sales success. ASUS claimed it was the best-selling Android tablet recently, with the production line unable to keep up with demand for the low-cost Honeycomb slate. More information in our full review.

Motorola XT316 aka SPICE Key and FIRE gets official: Cheap Android QWERTY

Motorola has given the green light to its latest Android smartphone, a QWERTY-blessed candybar with low-cost ambitions. The Motorola XT316 - which will launch as the Motorola SPICE Key in Latin America, and as the Motorola FIRE in Europe - follows in the footsteps of the DROID Pro, offering a 2.8-inch QVGA touchscreen above a keyboard; on the back there's a 3-megapixel camera. There's also WiFi b/g/n, dual-band HSDPA and quadband GSM/EDGE, along with a microSD card slot, FM radio, GPS/A-GPS and a digital compass. A 3.5mm headphone jack, the usual sensors for ambient light, proximity and orientation, and a 1420 mAh battery good for up to eight hours of talktime or 30 days of 3G standby round out the key specs. Already on sale in China (as the XT316) running Android 2.2 Froyo with Motorola's various social networking integrations and Moto Switch UI, the smartphone will arrive in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Latin America sometime this month. It'll hit the rest of Asia and Europe later in the Summer, with the SPICE Key and FIRE running Gingerbread out of the box; those handsets running Froyo will get a 2.3 update sometime in the fall. No word on pricing, nor on whether the XT316 will make it to North America, though we have seen it cross through the FCC. [gallery]