Google's Motorola buy could spell trouble for Android partners

By on August 15, 2011 at 1:01 PM.

Google's Motorola buy could spell trouble for Android partners

By now, you’ve no doubt seen the news: Google intends to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. What this will do is not only give Google access to Motorola’s vast patent library consisting of nearly 25,000 patents, but it will also give Google an end-to-end hardware and software strategy with smartphones, tablets and even with Google TV. The thing is, Google didn’t need to buy Motorola. Google could have just licensed the patents from Motorola. Google bought Motorola because it felt like control of the Android experience was slipping away. It’s apparent that one Nexus-like device from Google a year won’t be enough — MOTOBLUR has probably given Andy Rubin ulcers — and it’s apparent that a company that’s leading in many areas of the smartphone arena wants to control that entire experience. Open or not, it is Google’s, after all. Smartphones and tablets are also going to be the biggest categories in technology for the foreseeable future, and if you think Google is just going to play around with that, well, you obviously haven’t seen the company’s recent moves. Read on for more. More →

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HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson sound off on Google's Motorola acquisition

By on August 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM.

HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson sound off on Google's Motorola acquisition

Early Monday morning, Google announced that it will acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion. Google CEO Larry Page explained the acquisition will help bolster the tech giant’s patent portfolio and that his company will continue to “work with all [of its partners] to deliver outstanding user experiences.” While it may seem that Motorola will now have the upper hand in creating Android smartphones, execs from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, and LG have all issued statements in support of the acquisition. “We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem,” J.K. Shin, president of Samsung’s Mobile Communications division said. “I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners,” Sony Ericsson president and CEO Bert Nordberg said. “We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem,” HTC’s CEO Peter Chou added. “We welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners,” LG’s president and CEO Jong-Seok Park said. The deal should certainly help Google defend Motorola, Samsung and HTC in their ongoing patent battles with Apple and other companies, though it remains to be seen how the acquisition might affect the Android ecosystem in the long run.

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BGR and Qualcomm's Snapdragon™ giveaway, week 2: EVO View 4G, Xperia PLAY, Inspire 4G!

By on August 10, 2011 at 1:01 PM.

BGR and Qualcomm's Snapdragon™ giveaway, week 2: EVO View 4G, Xperia PLAY, Inspire 4G!

You thought we’d be done after three devices? Not a chance. Following week one of Qualcomm and BGR’s Snapdragon giveaway, we’re back with three more awesome devices to send out to three lucky BGR readers absolutely free of charge. Last week’s handsets fell into Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon System 1 category, and this week’s devices are powered by beefed up System 2 chipsets, which offer up to 1.4GHz of processing power, an Adreno 205 GPU, stereoscopic 3D support and plenty more. In store for week two winners is a brand new HTC EVO View 4G tablet (Sprint), one HTC Inspire 4G (AT&T) and one Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY (Verizon Wireless). Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment below explaining why you want to win — be sure to use your real email address, Twitter account or Facebook account when commenting so we can contact you if you win
  • Follow @BGR on Twitter and retweet this post

Readers may enter this portion of the giveaway up to twice, once by commenting beneath this post and once by following @BGR on Twitter and retweeting this post. Readers who enter week two of the giveaway are still eligible to enter week three. The second leg of our three-week giveaway will run from now through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on August 16th, and then the last leg will begin on August 17th. The giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States only, and you must be at least 18-years-old to enter. No purchase is necessary, and all devices and shipping costs will be free to contest winners. Winners will be selected randomly, contacted directly by BGR staff, and devices will be paired with winners at random. Phone service is not included.

Good luck! And feel free to follow individual BGR staffers on Twitter, too (@boygenius@zacharye and @robotodd).

UPDATE: The AT&T device available to win is the HTC Inspire 4G, not the Samsung Infuse 4G as originally stated.

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On Jumptap's network, Android dominates more U.S. states than iOS or BlackBerry

By on August 5, 2011 at 8:02 PM.

On Jumptap's network, Android dominates more U.S. states than iOS or BlackBerry

Jumptap recently released a report that separated the 50 states by mobile operating system. It mapped out which states are prominently iOS users, which use Android the most, and which states use BlackBerry smartphones based on 83 million users on its ad network. New England and the Midwest represented the largest pockets of iOS users while Texas, California and much of the West were Android users. New York is primarily a BlackBerry state, perhaps due to the number of corporate users in New York City. Alaska was neutral and Hawaii had more iOS users than Android or BlackBerry. Jumptap collected its data from its mobile advertising network, so the data doesn’t represent sales or market share of course. Read on for more findings from the report. More →

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Telus roadmap reveals release dates for BlackBerry Bold 9900, Torch 2, SE Urishi, more

By on August 2, 2011 at 12:00 PM.

Telus roadmap reveals release dates for BlackBerry Bold 9900, Torch 2, SE Urishi, more

In addition to the possible Apple iPhone 5 launch date, our source at Telus has shared an internal document that reveals a slew of release dates for some of the most hotly-anticipated handsets on this side of the equator. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 — what’s sure to be RIM’s finest Blackberry ever — should be available for purchase starting around August 15th in North America. Holding out for the upgraded BlackBerry Torch 2? The follow-up to the original model should be available around August 15th as well, in Canada at least. The BlackBerry Torch 9860 (full touchscreen version) is slated to touch down on or around August 22nd with the BlackBerry Curve Apollo bringing up the rear on August 29th. Hit the break for more.

More →

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Apple's iPhone accounted for 66% of Q2 smartphone profit among top vendors

By on July 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM.

Apple's iPhone accounted for 66% of Q2 smartphone profit among top vendors

With just two smartphone models available for sale, Apple took in two thirds of profits from smartphone sales in the second quarter among the top eight vendors in the world. The news comes following Strategy Analytics’ confirmation that Apple is also the world’s top smartphone vendor by volume. Four of the eight major smartphone vendors were profitable in the June quarter — Samsung, Apple, RIM and HTC — while Nokia, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson all reported losses. Total profit from sales of smartphones among these eight companies declined overall in the second quarter, but Apple’s profit share jumped from 50% in the second half last year and 57% in the first quarter of 2011 to 66.3% this past quarter. Samsung’s profit share hit 15% in the June quarter, RIM stayed level at 11% and HTC grew from 6% in the first quarter to 7.4%, a new high for the company. Another graphical representation of smartphone profit can be seen below.

Read

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40% of Android phones are returned? ‘Absolutely ridiculous’

By on July 28, 2011 at 1:30 PM.

40% of Android phones are returned? ‘Absolutely ridiculous’

TechCrunch on Wednesday published a report claiming to reveal “Android’s dirty secret,” and quite a secret it was. According to the report, which cited a person familiar with handset sales for multiple manufacturers, between 30% and 40% of many Android handsets are returned by consumers. “Plainly put, these figures are absolutely ridiculous,” a source told BGR. We spoke to multiple well-placed sources following the publication of that story, but in reality we didn’t have to know the claim was ridiculous. If return rates were in fact “approaching 40%” as the report suggests, vendors wouldn’t just be bailing on Android, they would be going out of business. Handset returns are a huge deal in the wireless industry because every single device returned by a customer costs the manufacturer money. It also costs the carrier money in the event the device was sold through a carrier, and it costs the third-party retailer money if the device was sold through a third-party retailer. Read on to find out how many Android devices are really being returned. More →

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IMS: Annual smartphone sales to reach 1 billion units by 2016; Apple, Samsung winners so far

By on July 27, 2011 at 5:01 AM.

IMS: Annual smartphone sales to reach 1 billion units by 2016; Apple, Samsung winners so far

More than 420 million smartphones will be sold around the world in 2011, accounting for 28% of total cell phone sales according to market research firm IMS Research. The firm sees the recent surge of more affordable smartphones as playing a major role in the continued growth of the market, and IMS analysts estimate that global smartphone sales will reach 1 billion devices by 2016 thanks to entry-level smart handsets. In recent months however, IMS’ data shows that Apple has made some of the largest gains in the space, accounting for 19% of global smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 16% in the same quarter last year. Of course Apple’s share continued to climb in the second quarter as well, as the company reported industry-leading sales of 20.4 million smartphones. The only company that made more impressive unit sales gains year-over-year in the first quarter was Samsung according to IMS; the South Korea-based vendor accounted for 13% of smartphones sold in the first quarter compared to just 3% in the same quarter in 2010. The biggest losers in the first quarter were Nokia, which slid from a 40% share in the first quarter last year to 24% in Q1 2010, and RIM, which dropped from 20% to 15% over the same period. The firm’s full press release follows below. More →

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Verizon Wireless Sony Ericsson Xperia Play now just $99.99

By on July 21, 2011 at 2:02 AM.

Verizon Wireless Sony Ericsson Xperia Play now just $99.99

Verizon Wireless has cut the price of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play to just $99.99 with a new two-year contract. The Xperia Play was announced in February and is the first smartphone to offer access to games from the PlayStation Suite. It runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and packs a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 4-inch 480 x 854 resolution display. It also features a full slide-out gamepad with PSP-style gaming buttons. In our recent review we called the Xperia Play “one of the most enjoyable game-focused smartphones we’ve ever used.” More →

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Sony Ericsson posts Q2 loss, blames Japan earthquakes

By on July 15, 2011 at 7:40 AM.

Sony Ericsson posts Q2 loss, blames Japan earthquakes

Sony Ericsson on Friday posted a net loss of €50 million in the second quarter of 2011, blaming supply constraints resulting from devastating earthquakes that shook Japan earlier this year for the difficult quarter. The steep loss was not expected by the Street, and it is down from a profit of €12 million in the second quarter of 2010 and €11 million last quarter. Sony Ericsson’s shipments fell 31% from the same quarter last year to just 7.6 million units, while analysts expected shipments ranging from 8 million to 11 million handsets. Revenue for the quarter totalled €1.19 billion, down from €1.76 billion in the same quarter a year prior. “Sony Ericsson’s second quarter profitability was affected by the March 11 earthquake in Japan. We estimate that the impact of earthquake-related supply chain constraints on our portfolio was close to 1.5 million units, with most of the effect in the early part of the quarter,” said Sony Ericsson President and CEO Bert Nordberg in a statement. “Our shift to Android-based smartphones continues with smartphone sales accounting for more than 70 percent of our total sales during the quarter. We have shipped more than 16 million Xperia smartphones to date. We have introduced eight new Xperia smartphones this year and we continue to see strong consumer and operator demand across the Xperia smartphone portfolio.” The struggling phone vendor did say it expects business to improve in the second half of 2011, and it forecasts modest industry growth for the full year. Sony Ericsson said is share of the global Android smartphone market during the second quarter roughly 11%. The company’s full press release follows below. More →

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Skype for Android updated with video calling support [video]

By on July 1, 2011 at 1:00 AM.

Skype for Android updated with video calling support [video]

Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →

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Google now activates 500,000 Android devices each day

By on June 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM.

Google now activates 500,000 Android devices each day

Google announced at its annual Google I/O conference last month that as of the beginning of May, the tech giant was activating 400,000 Android new devices each day. That amazing pace seemed almost impossible to keep up, but fast forward to Tuesday and Google’s Android boss shared a new stat. “There are now over 500,000 Android devices activated every day, and it’s growing at 4.4% w/w,” Andy Rubin posted from his Twitter account. Compared to the rest of the market, Android’s explosive global growth slowed recently. In the U.S., Android even lost share last quarter for the first time since 2009 according to IDC. Activations certainly aren’t slowing down though, and we expect Android to be the dominant mobile OS in terms of market share for years to come. More →

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Sony Ericsson Xperia duo leaked

By on June 21, 2011 at 4:51 AM.

Sony Ericsson Xperia duo leaked

An image of the unannounced Sony Ericsson Xperia duo has been leaked in what appears to be a Sony Ericsson promotional poster. While most of the specs remain unknown at this point, as its name implies, the device is largely expected to pack a dual-core processor. The image also indicates that the phone may feature a forward-facing camera and more subtle menu buttons below the display than most other Android phones. There’s no word on just how big the screen is, either, but it looks like it’s definitely bigger than 4.3-inches. HTC, Motorola, LG, and Samsung all have dual-core smartphones on the market, too, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony Ericsson try to get this out the door quickly. More →

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