Google Android tablets saw 127 percent growth in 2013 and reached the No. 1 position, as consumers and businesses embrace the mobile technology, according to the Gartner research firm.
Tablet sales saw a 68 percent growth in 2013 when compared to the year before, selling 195.4 million units. Although iOS tablet sales grew during 2013 Q4, Apple's share of the market dropped to 36 percent - and will continue to battle against Android-powered devices.
The tablet market continues to mature, and the emergence of lower-cost models from well-known electronics brands will continue to put pressure on Apple.
"In 2013, tablets became a mainstream phenomenon, with a vast choice of Android-based tablets being within the budget of mainstream consumers while still offering adequate specifications," said Roberta Cozza, Gartner research director, in a press statement. "As the Android tablet market becomes highly commoditized, in 2014, it will be critical for vendors to focus on device experience and meaningful technology and ecosystem value - beyond just hardware and cost - to ensure brand loyalty and improved margins."
With Samsung's Galaxy S5 having very little "WOW" factor everyone's eyes have now turned to HTC in hopes that the upcoming refresh of its flagship will raise the bar to something worth upgrading to. While several leaks have appeared in recent weeks, today is the first time we have seen an actual side-by-side comparison video of the new HTC One and its predecessor that was released last year.
The video shows the slight size difference with the new HTC One being 5-inches, as well as an aluminum bezel now wrapping the screen on the sides. Additionally, the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom of the phone, and a microSD slot is now present. The leakster in the video says that the new BlinkFeed is now "actually really cool," and he also calls the camera spectacular. From previous leaks, BlinkFeed does appear to be more refined, and since the update back in December, I actually like the current BlinkFeed. While I would prefer a pure Android experience, at least HTC is listening to its customers and tailoring its Sense UI to feature better functionality.
A new flaw was recently found in the Google Android Jelly Bean and Kit Kat OS flavors, with the "critical flaw" compromising the virtual private network (VPN) in the Android OS.
Compromised devices allow cybercriminals to monitor communication after VPN traffic is sent to a different network address.
The flaw, which was found in India, can be successfully remedied by installing updates from OEM manufacturers, the CERT-In team says. Installing anti-virus and anti-malware protection on the device should help add additional layers to prevent Android exploits from causing problems.
The new Nokia X smartphone has already been rooted using the Framaroot app, with the root providing Nokia's new smartphone with the ability to add other apps to the system. This includes Google's own closed-source apps, which should have people paying attendion.
Nokia X owners can now have Google services on their Android smartphones, even if a company didn't want you to have them on there in the first place. The application framework was untouched, which lent a hand toward the rooted Nokia X being so capable. With Nokia letting you do this, it even allows you to install apps from Amazon, or other sources.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 wont be available for several more weeks, but today we got a glimpse of what it could retail for. Thanks to a leak from the UK's Clove Technology, one of the EUs largest online suppliers, it appears that the Galaxy S5 will cost around $920 USD for the 16GB model, which escalates it into a pricing category higher than Apple's iPhone 5S.
A second leak from Amazon's spanish division has listed the Galaxy S5 on pre-order for $729 euros, putting it right in that $920 USD price range. The site is also listing the 32GB model for just over $1000 which prices the phones higher than ever before. Hopefully these are highly inflated prices designed to get the most out of early adopters. If not, then Samsung may have shot themselves in the foot as the Galaxy S5 is not much of a departure from the Galaxy S4. It does have new features like a fingerprint reader, better screen, and a heart rate monitor, but none of that garners a 50-percent price increase.
Mobile banking users looking to access bank accounts from smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly sophisticated and demand intuitive banking services. Mobile banking adoption also continues to see strong growth, so banks now have the ability to embrace customers across a variety of platforms.
In Europe, customers are twice as likely to log into mobile banking apps while using a tablet over a smartphone, though financial institutions must cater to both market segments.
"Mobiles and tablets offer banks a variety of benefits but in different ways," a recent Forrester blog claims. "While widespread mobile and smartphone adoption presents banks with a large opportunity to engage consumers today, surging tablet ownership rates over the next few years will demand a robust tablet banking platform as well."
As banks and other financial institutions prepare for increased mobile use from customers, there are glaring security issues that must be properly addressed. Sophisticated malware open the door to security threats that many banks are struggling to try and keep up with, and security experts continue to call for banks to boost mobile security.
BlackBerry didn't have much success with its PlayBook tablet when it was released, but it looks like the company could revisit the tablet market in the new future.
Pocket-lint talked with BlackBerry's Vice President of Global Product Management, Francois Mahieu, who revealed that the company is considering stepping back into the tablet market. He told Pocket-lint: "Would BlackBerry consider one day re-entering the tablet market? Yes. Will BlackBerry do it in the coming months? No".
BlackBerry released the PlayBook in May of 2011, but it didn't sell anywhere near the numbers that Apple and Samsung see. Mahieu added: "When we launched PlayBook, beyond the fact that everybody knows that PlayBook was no a huge success, everybody loved it. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a meeting one day and I show you a tablet. We have equity in that space, but we're not ready. We need more time".
RSA 2014 - RSA chairman Art Coviello wants increased global cooperation and governance for the security industry, especially after widespread NSA spying was revealed by Edward Snowden.
EMC-owned RSA also was accused of receiving a $10 million payment to create a backdoor into its software for use by the US government - though Coveillo also expressed anger over the accusations - and said the RSA-NSA relationship was a matter of public record.
Coviello hopes additional governance will give security experts the chance to develop next-generation platforms with less worry the tools will be used for inappropriate purposes.
HTC is continuing its campaign to hype up its next-generation flagship the HTC M8 before its launch next month on March 25th, and today the company has posted a new video teasing us about the next-generation of Boom Sound, the audio system featured on the HTC one. Alongside this video's launch new images have surfaced online that give us more conformation on what the new HTC One will look like.
The video does allude to the M8 as the "New HTC One" and says that the audio quality will be even better and more rich than its predecessor which featured "Beats Audio" technology. As an owner of the current HTC One, I can not imagine how they will be able to stuff any more audio quality into the new device, but I can not wait to see if it truly is any better than before. The video is the first in a new series called "HTC Technical Translations" and should see more episodes launch before the March 25th unveil.
Earlier this week we mentioned that a smartphone from aerospace firm Boeing had crossed the FCC. We didn't have much in the way of specifics on the device when it was spied at the FCC. All we really knew was that it had dual SIM slots and would operate on GSM, WCDMA, and LTE networks.
Boeing has now gone official with the Black smartphone giving up a bit more detail about what the device offers. We know the smartphone runs Android, exactly what version of Android is unknown. Boeing is keeping back some of the specs still. Presumably, this is an attempt to make the device more secure.
We know it has a 4.3-inch 540 x 960 resolution screen. The phone weighs 960g and has a 1590 mAh internal battery. It features built-in Bluetooth v 2.1 and there is no mention of Wi-Fi.
With a slew of new phones announced at Mobile World Congress 2014 this week, new rumors about the iPhone 6 have surfaced. Apple is rumored to unleash the new, bigger iPhone 6 in July, much earlier than expected.
Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba delivered some research to clients yesterday, which said that the iPhone 6, as well as a new phablet, will be launched by Apple in July, instead of September or October, like usual. Lamba says that he has checked with Apple's suppliers in Japan and throughout Asia, who suggest things are ramping up much earlier than expected.
Lamba said in his note: "Recently, the company has been introducing new lineup in September time frame whereas the next generation phones could come out in July this year. The earlier launch will be helpful for Apple as it will ensure significant availability and distribution of the new device during the holiday season".
Within days of the massive iOS security flaw, Apple has come out defending the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S, stating that it keeps users' personal data secure.
Apple released an updated version of its iOS Security white paper - something you can read here - which explains what happens to your fingerprint data after you tap the Touch ID sensor. Each A7 processor has a unique secure space that Apple says it, nor can the A7 read, with each and every authentication session being encrypted end-to-end.
The company is also offering a detailed explanation of what it does with each of your fingerprint images, stating that the image of your fingerprint only lasts in memory until it is turned into a decryption key. There are also safeguards, which have been known, where after 48 hours of inactivity, it will wipe your key away, with a reboot or five failed login attempts performing the same action.
Back when Google owned Motorola, it talked about a modular smartphone that it was working on, known as Project Ara. Well, the company has just announced it is hosting the first Ara Developers' Conference in April.
It will be the first of three conferences where the Mountain View-based giant will show developers what they'll be able to do with Ara. The first conference will be held over the Internet through a live webstream, with an interactive Q&A session hosted to a select few people able to attend in person at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
The conference itself will be focused around an alpha release of the Ara Module Developers' Kit, which will provide developers with all of the information requires to make an "Ara module". The company will also walk through the existing and future features for the Ara platform, with prize challenges for module developers.
Today the US House of Representatives passed a bill that makes it legal for consumers to unlock their cell phones if they wish to take it to another carrier. The bill passed with a vote of 295 to 114, and is now headed to the Senate where it is also expected to pass. If the bill does make it through congress, then it will let consumers unlock their phones without fear of legal ramifications, something that has been illegal since a supreme court ruling in 2012.
The practice was deemed illegal based on wording in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prevents circumventing of content protection systems, something that was intended to protect DRM on music, video games, and other digital media. Unfortunately the supreme court and lawmakers twisted these words around to include cellular phones under the DMCA's "protection." If passed, this bill could set precedence on who legally owns the cellphone, and if subsidization of devices can legally ban the use of that phone on a network it was not subsidized for.
Unfortunately this bill, even if passed and signed into law, will have to be reexamined in just two years, and it also includes an add-on bill that would limit the bulk reselling of any smartphones that have been unlocked. This makes it hard for aging smartphones to be recycled back into the market as cheaper alternatives to those who want a phone but not necessarily an expensive flagship.
It's only been two days since Samsung's Galaxy S5 was unveiled at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, but that has not stopped the phone from being ripped off by the infamous copycat smartphone manufacturer, Goophone. The device appeared on the company's website this morning bearing the overly obvious name Goophone S5.
The Goophone S5 copies the Galaxy S5 ascetically down to the last dimple on the rear and even appears to include a similar heart rate monitor to the one featured on the new Samsung flagship except this one is just a LED flash for the camera with no heart rate monitoring functionality. Hardware wise, the two phones are world's apart with the Goophone featuring a 5-inch 1080p display, 13MP rear camera, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-board. A 2GHz MTK MT6592 octa-core processor, and 2GB of RAM are featured as is 32GB of on-board storage. No fingerprint scanner is present either, making this purely a look-alike copy and not a full on duplication.
This is not the first smartphone that Goophone has copied either, the company has knocked off everything from the iPhone 5S and 5C all the way down to the Galaxy S4, and the Galaxy Note 3. Tablets are not immune either with Goophone making a iPad mini knock off, as well as the Galaxy Gear and another smartwatch / fitness band. The Goophone S5 is out of stock at the moment, but will retail for $299.99.
Gionee isn't exactly a household name in the smartphone market. We have talked about the company before. That was last year when it unveiled the Elife E7 smartphone that had nice hardware inside. The company is on hand at MWC 2014 this week and it has unveiled what it claims to be the world's slimmest smartphone.
The smartphone is called the Elife S5.5. While numbers in the name of a smartphone often tip screen size, in this case the 5.5 stands for the thickness of the phone. The device is only 5.5mm thick. It has a 5-inch full HD resolution Super AMOLED plus screen. It also has an octa-core 1.7GHz processor under the hood.
The camera on the rear of the smartphone is a 13MP unit. It has a 5MP front camera with a 95-degree ultra wide-angle lens. The front camera wide-angle lens makes it easier to take selfies with a group of people.
Say the name Boeing to ten people and nine of them will probably think about aircraft first. Boeing does build a lot of aircraft for commercial and military uses, but it also has its fingers into more than the aviation pie. A new smartphone has crossed the FCC looking to provide secure communications made by Boeing.
It might sound odd that Boeing is looking at making a smartphone. Considering that the US government prefers homegrown tech to items supplied by foreign firms when it comes to security for government projects and the Boeing Black might be a success.
We don't know all the details on the smartphone right now. What we do know from the FCC filing is that the device will support dual microSIM cards. The filing also says that the phone will work on GSM, WCDMA, and LTE networks.
MWC 2014 - SlimPort is one of those technologies that change up the game in a very good way, and now Analogix has raised the bar even more. At the 2014 Mobile World Congress, Analogix demoed its new SlimPort 4K line of devices that lets you take a 4K enabled phone like the Google Nexus 7 and stream the display onto a 4K TV in real-time with no apparent latency at all. This makes for a seamless gaming experience, something no one else has been able to do until now.
Johannes Knapp was on hand today to take a first hand look at the new SlimPort 4K technology, and as you can tell from the video above, SlimPort 4K is no joke. Over the years, many have tried to bring a latency free smartphone gaming experience to the big screen, but no one has managed to nail it as perfectly as Analogix has.
This also allows users to stream 4K video from their phone or tablet directly to their 4K TV, a handy feature for someone without a 4K streaming device. This video marks the end of our on-site MWC 2014 coverage, but Johannes will be back in a few weeks with live coverage from CeBIT, so stay tuned to TweakTown for that!
MWC 2014 - We haven't heard much about the next-gen Moto X smartphone lately, but Motorola did take some time at Mobile World Congress 2014 to tease its upcoming refresh to the Moto X.
Motorola responded to a question on Twitter asking "When is the next version of Moto X?" to which Motorola responded with "A: Keep posted - hint - late summer". We didn't know until now that it was being worked on, but it's great to know that it's coming. Are you holding off for the refreshed Moto X smartphone?
MWC 2014 - Motorola had something quite surprising to announce at Mobile World Congress 2014, that its Moto G smartphone has been "the most successful, highest-selling smartphone in Motorola's history".
The statement came from Motorola's Senior VP of Product Management, Rick Osterloh, while talking about the company's commitment to Android, the current merger with Lenovo, and the future of Motorola. Osterloh added that the company is making profit on each sale, and will make even more money after teh acquisition by Lenovo is complete.
Broadcom introduces BCM435 SOC which is the first 5G Wi-Fi (802.11ac) 2x2 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) SOC for smartphones. This will allow manufacturers to provide twice the Wi-Fi performance of a single MIMO enabled devices while improving the power efficiency of up to 25% while using wireless applications.
This chip also supports Rezence wireless technology which is developed by the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). This chip will work for Android, Windows and Chrome based systems. It was reported earlier that Dell recently joined the alliance to get the wireless charging technology for its devices.