Sales of Microsoft's Surface line of slates are beginning to increase, where back in Microsoft's first quarter of FY2014, it sold $400 million worth. Compared to second quarter FY2014, where it sold $893 million worth - a nice increase in sales.
Microsoft didn't unveil how many units it sold, but even with the increased sales, the company is still at a $39 million loss on the Surface line. Amy Hood, Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer, said: "With Surface, demand continued to grow, benefiting from improved execution at retail and favorable reviews of the new Surface devices. Sequentially, both units and revenue more than doubled this quarter, with customers recognizing Surface's differentiated value proposition as one device for everything in their life. We feel good about the progress we have made over the past couple of quarters, and are enthusiastic about the overall opportunity ahead with Surface".
For the time it took smartphone displays to shift from 720p to 1080p - around 18 months - Qualcomm has now stated that it shouldn't be long before 4K smartphones are the norm.
Qualcomm's Vice President of Marketing, Tim McDonough, spoke with TrustedReviews and said: "I think 4K is one of the primary things you are seeing from us. 4K is pretty cool because it means that not only can you do 4K video, but once you can push that number of pixels and the chip has the ability to do 4K video, anything that is multimedia related - think about gaming - that gets better too".
McDonough teased that it shouldn't be long before we have full 4K smartphones, not just SoCs that are capable of driving 4K. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 is capable of driving Ultra HD, as well as shooting 4K video and playing it back. He adds: "It has already sampled and we said the first half of 2014 [for devices to launch]".
Late last year, Pete Lau, former VP of Oppo announced the formation of a new company aimed at disrupting the current smartphone arena. He named the company OnePlus and set out to build the highest quality smartphone in the world. With just over a month in the books, OnePlus has just released a statement that says its first phone will make it to market by June of this year.
OnePlus has officially named its first foray into the smartphone world, the OnePlus One, and says that it will be "Built using only the best components and 2014 flagship specs, both inside and out." While I am sure that statement made HTC take notice, I am quite excited myself to see what this phone may include both hardware and software wise. As far as aesthetics, the OnePlus said the folowing about the phone: "Industrial design wise, we're confident our phone is more attractive than just about any other on the market."
While no official specs have been released, we expect the phone to feature a screen size greater than 5-inches with a resolution of 1080p or 1440p. Ram should be in the 2-4GB range while the processor is most likely Qualcomm's flagship chip. Storage would be set between 64GB and 128GB, with expansion via microSD card built-in. We do know that CyanogenMod will be serving up the Android-based operating system for the device, and believe it to be Android 4.3 or 4.4.
Owners of HTC's flagship, the One, will be happy to hear that the company has just announced that it has released its Android 4.4, KitKat, update to carrier level testing. This means that each service provider who carries the HTC One will now begin testing the update with their devices, and if everything passes, the updates should begin rolling out shortly.
There is no set time limit on carrier testing, and any one of them could reject the update if it does not play well with each network in question. HTC says that certification could come as early as next week, but even so, it could take weeks before the carriers stage an OTA update roll out. Unfortunately, European HTC One owners will have to wait longer for their 4.4 update as HTC had no comment on when it may roll out.
Around 53 percent of workers recently surveyed said they would rather telecommute from home two or three days per week instead of receiving a 10 percent pay raise, according to a new study shared by network hardware company Aruba Networks.
As more consumers, especially those in the 18 to 35 age demographic own at least three connected devices, mobile working is something many workers are increasingly comfortable with. Almost half of employees claim they work efficiently outside of a typical eight-hour workday, preferring to break up work throughout the day - and 79 percent of workers say they believe they work better when at home.
In Silicon Valley and among many companies located in metropolitan areas, telecommuting for at least one day per week is on the rise - among other perks - aimed at wooing young, tech savvy people into the workplace. There are ongoing research studies trying to determine if employees work better in the office, at home, or a mix of both spread out evenly throughout the work week.
The once failing smartphone giant, BlackBerry, may have just been bailed out by US Taxpayers in a deal that will see The Pentagon purchasing more than 80,000 handsets from the Canadian manufacturer. The purchase comes as the US Department of Defense begins staging the roll out of a massive new wireless network which will primarily use BlackBerry handsets.
News of this injection of cash has been rumored for weeks and as a result, the company stock has more than doubled from its low of $5.75 per share just six weeks ago. This massive purchase from the US Government helps to further push the return to its enterprise roots that John Chen, the company's new CEO has been pushing for since taking the position late last year. No word has been released on how much the deal is worth, but you can imagine that it is in the $800 million to $1.5 billion range.
ADATA has launched the Elite CE700 wireless charging stand for smartphones and mobile devices, supporting both flat and stand-based charging modes. The device also will automatically stop charging if there is a metallic object between the phone and charging stand, along with overheat protection to prevent damage to the device and CE700 unit.
Although there are a number of charging stations available, ADATA created a slim-profile with sleek curved edges. ADATA promises faster charging times, even for Android devices, as wireless charging isn't limited to USB-based charging bottlenecks.
The device supports charging a variety of devices from 14 different manufacturers, though the Apple iPhone was unfortunately left off the list. Manufacturers supported: Nokia, HTC, Google, Panasonic, Sharp, Fujitsu, Samsung, LG, Kyocera, Philips, Motorola, BlackBerry, Pantech, and TecHDY.
We know that Samsung is preparing something special with its upcoming Galaxy S5, but what should we expect exactly? According to two concept devices that have recently popped up, we could expect a buttonless smartphone from the company.
Some new designs have shown up, which feature an unidentified object on the top right side, that could be... shock: a fingerprint scanner. We've heard that the Galaxy S5 will indeed feature an iris scanner, and we've also heard the teases of a smartphone from Samsung with a fingerprint scanner - maybe we'll see the blending of both technologies, too.
We have been told to expect big things from Apple's iPhone for the past quarter, where it is expected to have sold some 55 million units over the three-month period. But what about the iPad?
Fortune reports that from data collected from 45 Apply analysts, that we should see 25 million iPads sold for the quarter - up 10% from the same quarter last year. The estimates vary from 21 million to 28 million, so we should expect something right in the middle of that.
Hardware manufacturer Foxconn has more egg on its face after the Taiwanese police have arrested at least 12 current and former Foxconn executives for bribery-related charges. Companies interested in becoming a Foxconn supplier, all iPhone parts suppliers were required to offer up at least 2.5 percent in bribes to secure the deal.
CEO Guo Taiming launched an investigation which led to police investigations in China and Taiwan, with executives leaving China and heading back to Taiwan.
"Foxconn holds our company, our employees, and our suppliers to the highest standards in responsible business practices and the results of our internal audit have driven a number of enhancements to our company's procurement process policies to ensure to ensure that such violations cannot be repeated," a Foxconn spokesperson told the media.
Foxconn produces products for Apple, BlackBerry, Sony, Nintendo, and other major electronics manufacturers - and has been plagued by issues relating to employee pay, poor work environment, and mass suicides in its factories.
BGR is reporting from "a number of different sources in recent months" that Apple will use a much bigger display in its upcoming iPhone 6. We know this will happen, but just how big will Apple go?
According to DisplaySearch, we should expect 4.7 inches, with a resolution of 1600x900. Apple analyst Peter Misek, thinks we'll see 4.8 inches, and KGI Securities analyst, Ming-chi Kuo, who is usually on-point with Apple rumors, thinks we'll see the iPhone 6 measure in between 4.5 and 5 inches. AppleInsider is reporting on the iPhone 6 too, with Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri chiming in saying that all the testing for the iPhone 6 is complete.
During Arcuri's note with clients, he said that the iPhone 6 design had been "locked down" and that the new smartphone from Apple would feature a 4.8-inch display. We should also expect the new iPhone 6 to feature 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and "key software innovations" in iOS 8 that will be a big part of the new iPhone.
Samsung continues its Galaxy rampage, announcing two new handsets in its Galaxy Note 3 range of phablets. The two new models are the Galaxy Note 3 Olympic Games Edition, and then we have the Verizon-exclusive Rose Gold version.
Starting with the new Galaxy Note 3 Olympic Games Edition, which comes with special retail packaging, and a nifty cover - but it is exclusive to the Netherlands for the moment. The Olympic Games Edition also includes free skating tickets for the local Amsterdam Olympic Stadium, and with every phone purchased, buyers are thrown into the raffle for a trip to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
The second Galaxy Note 3 version released is the new Rose Gold model, which is exclusive to Verizon in the US. Verizon will sell the Galaxy Note 3 Rose Gold version for $299.99 on a two-year contract.
LG really is at the forefront of flexible technology, with the South Korean giant launching its flexible 'G Flex' smartphone in the US later this month. LG's G Flex will launch at Sprint on January 31, featuring a curved 6-inch Plastic OLED (POLED) screen.
We talked to LG Australia's Head of Public Relations, Phillip Anderson, where we asked what LG thought about the G Flex smartphone, and why people should buy it over the $350 Nexus 5 smartphone, that LG also makes. He said:
"LG constantly strives to provide consumers with the latest and greatest technology and the G Flex is fantastic example of smartphone innovation that is designed to meet the needs of the user. LG has spent an extensive period of time developing its curved technology and from CES 2014 we have seen that the future definitely has 'curves' in it. The 'curve' provides consumer benefits such as a reduced distance between your mouth and the microphone when the device is held against the ear to deliver improved voice and sound quality. The Curved 6" Plastic OLED (POLED) screen has to be seen to be believed - it makes watching video content on LG's G Flex a very enjoyable and immersive experience. The G Flex is a step in to the future and we anticipate the early-adopter as well as intrigued consumers will be eager to get their hands on it".
Patriot has just unveiled its new FUEL Active line of portable batteries, destined for the outdoors. Patriot's new line of FUEL Active chargers come in two styles.
Starting with the FUEL Active 6000, which features a 6000mAh battery, a dedicated 2.5A port, and integrated micro USB cable that provides 1A of current. The Patriot FUEL Active 6000 is also protected from the harsh environments of this world, with it arriving in a sturdy plastic housing, with integrated dust caps that cover the included connectors.
Moving onto the FUEL Active 2000, which is built-in a high impact element-resistant housing, and a bright LED flashlight that will help you out when you're camping, or out in the dark. The FUEL Active 2000 comes in a choice of four colors, too.
Patriot are selling the new FUEL Active line of portable batteries, with an MSRP of $19.99 and $69.99 for the FUEL Active 2000, and FUEL Active 6000, respectively.
Fortune has collated some serious information on unit sales estimates from 44 professional and amateur analysts, which makes it believe that Apple has just had its best quarter for the iPhone.
An average of 44 estimates provides a number of astounding proportions: 55.3 million iPhone sales in fiscal Q1. This is a 16% jump from the same quarter of last year. Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt says that the range from highest to lower estimate is 9.7 million, where in the same quarter of last year, it was closer to 20 million.
We will hear more on this, with exact numbers, in just a week's time on January 27 when Apple reports its latest quarter financial results.
The last time we heard the codename "Sirius", it was in association with the Nokia S tablet. Sirius is back again, but it is on Sony's side this time, with it being the codename for its upcoming Xperia Z2 smartphone.
The current Sirius prototype, according to XperiaBlog and XDA forums, features a Qualcomm MSM8974AB CPU at 2.3GHz, which is a faster version of the already fast Snapdragon 800, but this new SoC supports DDR3 RAM. We have 3GB of RAM, a 5-inch (or so) 1080p display, a 20.7-megapixel rear-facing snapper backed up by a 2.1-megapixel shooter on the front.
Mobile World Congress is just a month away, where we should see the phone properly unveiled by Sony.
If anything is certain in the world of mobile devices, 2014 will be the year of the 1440p screen, and 1080p will mostly be found on mid to low-end phones. Flagship models sporting resolutions of 2560x1440 will become the norm, and LG is leading the way with two new devices set to debut next month at the 2014 Mobile World Congress.
Today reports have been coming in from Korean sources that state that LG will be unveiling the G3, its successor to its flagship G2 smartphone at MWC 2014 and the device will feature a 1440p display. At the same time, LG is expected to debut its new LG G Pro 2 which will also sport a 1440P display. The G Pro 2 is expected to now sport a 5.9-inch screen while the G3 may be enlarged to a 5.5-inch display. Keep in mind that these are just rumors, but the sources are considered reliable.
While Samsung's Galaxy S4 was one of the best smartphones of 2013, its TouchWiz interface left a lot top be desired and often received harsh criticism from industry analyst and consumers. With the Galaxy S5 quickly approaching, Samsung appears to have taken the TouchWiz criticism quite seriously and has redesigned the phones UI to better align with current trends in the smartphone world.
Today everyone's favorite leakster, @evleaks, released what is said to be actual screen captures of the new UI that will be featured on the Galaxy S5. The images show off what appears to be a UI that has been designed from the ground up and features many elements inspired by Google Now as well as Microsoft's Metro UI. The app features metro-like tiles that display a wealth of information including maps, sports stories, and images from friends.
Sharp has just announced a new tablet that is destined for the business and professional world, the RW-16G1. Sharp's new slate features a 15.6-inch display, with a 3200x1800 resolution.
The new slate will feature a dual-core Intel Core i5-4200U processor - 1.6GHz/2.6GHz, 3MB of L2 cache, 15W TDP, and Intel HD 4400 graphics. We have 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 128GB SSD, and that gorgeous 15.6-inch display which is based off an IGZO panel. We have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC for wireless technologies, a 2-megapixel webcam, SD card reader, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and three USB 3.0 ports.
Sharp's RW-16G1 also features a stylus, accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, and more. As for its operating system, we have Windows 8.1 Pro, which makes this new, massive, high-res slate like a much better, more expensive Surface Pro 2.
As for the physical side of things, it is 12.5mm thick, 1.25kg, and can work for up to 9 hours from its built-in battery. Sharp will only be making 3000 of these tablets per month, so it will be a very limited edition slate when it arrives in Japan in March.
Apple is rumored to be working on a 12.9-inch iPad, that would arrive as the iPad Pro. Apple is now reportedly accelerating the development of this larger iPad, because Samsung is already in the larger slate game with two 12.2-inch tablets.
DigiTimes' sources are claiming that Apple's new iPad Pro would launch in Q3 2014 at the earliest. It would seem doubtful that Apple is feeling threatened by Samsung, as the Cupertino-based iPhone giant is usually relaxed with its releases. But, increased competition in the market could be forcing Apple to work on products it normally wouldn't (a larger 'Pro' aimed iPad) and competing with Samsung.
The same sources claim that Apple is working on two new iPads that will replace the current Retina iPad mini and iPad Air. These new models would most likely debut at the same time as the iPad Pro.
The Apple iPhone and Samsung Google Android-powered smartphones both grew their respective market shares in the United States during Q4 2013, according to The NPD Group. iPhone ownership increased from 35 percent up to 42 percent year-over-year, while the Android smartphones jumped from 22 percent up to 26 percent during the same time frame.
The top five music apps used on smartphones during the fourth quarter of 2013: Pandora, iHeart Radio, Spotify, TunIn Radio, and Slacker Radio. As more consumers use smartphones with unlimited data - and Wi-Fi-supported devices - there is a huge demand for streaming music and other connected services. Music streaming rose 11 percent up to 52 percent, and that number will likely increase even higher.
"Considering the increase in prominence of smartphone music apps, it's not surprising that hardware manufacturers such as Betas are leveraging partnerships with carriers, like AT&T to break into the streaming music market," said John Buffone, NPD Executive Director of Connected Intelligence, in a statement. "This allows AT&T to offer subscribers more of what they want in the way innovative music apps and provides Beats a partner capable of driving trial in a market where consumers already have an affinity for the music services they use."
As consumers look to upgrade their devices - and switch wireless carriers - there will be a fierce battle among handset manufacturers and carriers trying to provide cost-effective devices and subscription plans.