Japanese carrier SoftBank has granted Sprint a waiver allowing it to consider Dish’s $25.5 billion bid for the company. The waiver gives Sprint permission to disclose non-public information and engage in negotiations with Dish regarding its buyout proposal. The Sprint Board of Directors has the right to terminate the existing merger agreement with SoftBank to accept a superior offer, however it has not yet changed its recommendation. SoftBank offered to pay $20.1 billion for a 70% stake in the wireless provider last October. Sprint will conduct due diligence with Dish and make a final decision in early June when shareholders vote to approve or reject SoftBank’s offer. Sprint’s press release follows below. More →
In effort to curb ongoing market loss to Qualcomm and Samsung, NVIDIA has continued to aggressively upgrade its quad-core Tegra 4 mobile processor. The company on Tuesday announced that its Tegra 4i CPU, a variant of the Tegra 4 that includes an integrated LTE modem, has been updated to support LTE-Advanced networks with speeds of up to 150Mpbs, an increase from traditional LTE speeds of 100Mbps. NVIDIA notes that because of its “software defined radio technology” it can add support for new technologies with a simple software update, making the chip more future-proof than its competitors’. In the future, the company is also planning to update the processor to be compatible with voice-over-LTE technology. NVIDIA’s press release follows below. More →
Sprint will launch the BlackBerry Q10 this summer as its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Lois Eichelberger Fagan, director of product portfolio for Sprint, revealed in an interview with CNET that the company had originally planned to launch the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 together earlier this year, however the plan was abandoned after BlackBerry delayed the Q10 until June. The company decided the timing wasn’t right for a Z10-only launch and felt more confident in the Q10, which it believes will sell better among BlackBerry users because of its QWERTY keyboard. The executive noted, however, that the carrier isn’t done with BlackBerry and plans to release a second smartphone later this year. Fagan didn’t go into further detail about the device, only saying that there is “more to come.”
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a redesigned Kinect motion sensor at its Xbox One press event in Redmond, Washington. The accessory comes bundled with the new gaming console and delivers faster performance, improved gestures and voice recognition, and more. The sensor will allow for gamers to use a variety of voice commands to control the console, such as turning it on, watching tv, listening to music or searching the Web. Users can also navigate the Metro interface with pinch and swipe hand gestures. The Kinect can analyze a whopping 2GB of data per-second and is now equipped with a 1080p camera, a significant boost from the VGA sensor in the original model. Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console is expected to be available this holiday season.
It has been reported that Apple’s next-generation MacBooks will support gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity, evidence of which was discovered in a recent OS X developer build. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, also known as “5G Wi-Fi,” is capable of delivering theoretical speeds of up to 1.3Gbps and is considered a major leap forward. An earlier report claimed Apple was teaming up with Broadcom to bring the technology to its 2013 Mac lineup, and now Tonymacx86.com points us to a leaked image of a Broadcom BCM94360CD PCI-E mini custom combo WLAN and Bluetooth card that supports IEEE 802.11ac, the same standard Apple is reportedly looking to incorporate into future computers. The card is similar to those found in current Mac models and is expected to be the one Apple uses in its upcoming computers. Apple is expected to announce new Mac computers at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 10th in San Francisco. Images of the Broadcom card follow below. More →
Sprint on Tuesday announced a revised offer for wireless broadband wholesaler Clearwire. The carrier is looking to acquire the remaining Clearwire shares it does not already own for $2.97 per share, or $2.2 billion, valuing the company at $10 billion. Sprint has now increased its bid $3.40 per share, upping Clearwire’s value to $10.7 billion. The revised offer represents a 14% premium over the company’s earlier bid and a 162% premium over Clearwire’s closing share price in October when it was rumored to be part of the Sprint-SoftBank merger discussions. Sprint notes that the offer is the best and final offer it will propose. The company’s press release follows below. More →
Google took the wraps off of its subscription music streaming service last week at its I/O Developers Conference. To the dismay of many, Google Play Music All Access was only available for Android smartphones and tablets. This isn’t the first time Google has initially ignored iPhone and iPad users — the company’s music upload service, known as Google Listen Now, was also never officially made available on iOS. Luckily enough, third-party developers are creating applications to access the services on Apple devices. More →
Google appears to be working on a sequel to its ill-fated Nexus Q streaming device. The Nexus Q debuted at last year’s I/O Developers Conference with limited capabilities and a premium price tag that eventually led to Google postponing the project. But a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission has revealed a mysterious Google-built device that “functions as a media player” and could be a revamped Q. Little is known about the device, although it is equipped with support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and was connected to a Dell 24-inch monitor for testing, giving further evidence that it is a potential Nexus Q sucessor. The device is known as the “H840 device” and features the model number H2G2-42, a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Samsung is rumored to be preparing a new Galaxy Tab tablet to debut in the coming months. Earlier reports claimed the device would be equipped with a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 pixel resolution display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 3-megapixel camera, a 7,000 mAh battery and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Recently discovered benchmark results, however, suggest Samsung may turn to Intel to power the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. Results from the GLBenchmark database reveal that the upcoming tablet is equipped with a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor with a PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 GPU. Samsung has traditionally relied on ARM-based processors such as its in-house Exynos line or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips to power its devices. A deal with Samsung, the world’s largest mobile vendor, would greatly benefit Intel as it attempts to increase its share in the mobile market. The most recent rumors claim the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 will launch in late June or early July.
Flexible displays are set to become the next big thing in mobile technology. LG previously confirmed that it will release a smartphone with a flexible display later this year, while unbreakable handsets from Samsung and Motorola are also said to be in the pipeline. LG on Monday announced that it plans to demo a 5-inch flexible and unbreakable OLED display for the first time this week at the Society for Information Display’s (SID) annual trade show. The company will also showcase a new 5-inch HD display with a 1mm wide bezel, which will allow for the “production of borderless smartphones that are lightweight and emit significantly less heat.” LG plans to release a smartphone with a flexible OLED display in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company’s press release follows below. More →
Google announced a special edition Galaxy S4 smartphone running stock Android at its I/O Developers Conference last week. The device will be sold directly through Google Play for $649 in June and won’t run Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. There was some speculation that other manufacturers may also release a “Google Edition” variant of their flagship devices. Although HTC confirmed that it has no plans for a stock HTC One, a well-connected developer and HTC insider reports otherwise. Twitter user “LlabTooFeR,” who has gotten accurate scoops on HTC in the past, said this week that he knows “for a fact” that a “Senseless” HTC One will be released at the end of the summer. HTC’s flagship smartphone has been praised for its metal design and front facing speakers, however some critics have argued that the company’s Sense user interface is holding the device back. The HTC One is equipped with a 4.7-inch 1080p full HD display, a 1.7Ghz Snapdragon 600 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 4.3-ultrapixel rear camera.
AT&T has always been hesitant to allow customers to use video chat applications on its cellular network. The company previously blocked Apple’s FaceTime service from iPhone devices, only recently allowing customers on a tiered data plan to use the feature. AT&T further angered customers when it blocked Android users from using the video chatting feature in Google’s new Hangouts application unless connected to a Wi-Fi network. In a statement given to The Verge, the carrier confirmed that it will update its controversial policy later this year and will enable preloaded video chat applications over its cellular networks for all customers, regardless of their data plan or device. AT&T’s statement follows below. More →
Apple’s retail stores continue to outsell, on a sales per square foot basis, all other retailers by a large margin. Horace Dediu of Asymco found that the number of Apple Store visitors grew 7% last quarter and helped Apple’s in-store retail revenue reach a record $57.60 per visitor. Each store is now averaging sales of $13 million per quarter, the highest level for any non-holiday quarter. The average number of visitors per store was said to have reached 250,000 per quarter in the past 12 months, up from 170,000 per store per quarter between 2009 and 2010. Dediu speculates that the jump in visitors could be from more space in new stores and renovations in older stores. Apple’s retail stores now outsell No.2 Tiffany & Co two-to-one and No.3 Lululemon Athletica three-to-one.