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During the second quarter of this year, the global smartphone market surpassed the 300 million units shipped, a major milestone as more entry-level devices are released. Google Android and Apple iOS market share accounted for 96.4 percent of the market, with Android capturing 84 percent of the market. A full 301.3 million smartphone units were shipped during the extremely busy second quarter.
The iOS market share dropped from 13 percent down to 11.7 percent year-over-year, as iPhones tend to be more expensive than Android phones. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Windows Phone still can't muster up a real challenge to its rivals, but is the No. 3 smartphone platform with 2.5 percent market share.
"With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets," said Ramon Llamas, IDC Mobile Phone team Research Manager, in a press statement. "During the second quarter, 58.6 percent of all Android smartphone shipments worldwide cost less than $200 off contract, making them very attractive compared to other devices."
Following a public investigation and pressure from activist groups, Apple has banned the use of two dangerous cleaning chemicals linked to leukemia and potential nerve damage. The use of benzene and n-hexane in its Chinese facilities drew anger from groups such as China Labor Watch and Green America - 18 of the company's factories weren't using the chemicals, while four were. However, the four factories were reportedly using the chemical solutions within safe limits, but decided to impose the ban anyway.
Apple was called out in the past when a factory used N-hexane, which evaporates faster than alcohol, reportedly led to 137 employees being hospitalized.
"This is doing everything we can think of to do to crack down on chemical exposures and to be responsive to concerns," said Lisa Jackson, Apple VP of environmental initiatives, in a statement to the AP. "We think it's really important that we show some leadership and really look toward the future by trying to use greener chemicals."
Sprint will reportedly cut prices with an announcement set for next week, as the No. 3 wireless carrier tries to catch up to Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son recently tasked new CEO Marcelo Claure with pointing the company in the correct direction following a failed bid for T-Mobile.
Claure replaced Dan Hesse last week, and is interested in dropping prices, boosting the company's wireless network, and trying to cut operational costs.
"In the short term, our success will come from our focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace," Claure recently said. "The management team has been working closely with the board to outline the future strategy of the company."
The latest leak on the upcoming Nexus 6 is that it will feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 805 processor, which will provide users with a quad-core CPU with a clock speed of 2.65GHz. Better yet, the Nexus 6 will reportedly feature 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 420 GPU.
Which display will Google opt for? The Nexus 6 that was found on AnTuTu shows that it will feature a 5.2-inch QHD panel, with a 2560x1440 resolution. Another thing to note, is that we can see 'Android L' listed there, so we should expect Google to unveil the Nexus 6 alongside the release of Android 5.0, or Android L.
To go alongside the Snapdragon 805 processor, we have 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera backed up by a 2.1-megapixel camera for selfies. We should hopefully hear about an announcement event for the Nexus 6 in the coming weeks, something I'm sure will be close to the iPhone 6 event on September 9.
Google Android and Apple iOS are clearly dominating the smartphone market, with very little room for the Microsoft Windows Phone. Microsoft has added 11 additional OEM partners, and has attracted new developers, but Microsoft is still losing ground. There are more than 300,000 Windows Phone apps, but that greatly trails the 1 million+ Android and iOS apps already available.
Windows Phone devices dropped from 3.4 percent down to 2.5 percent year-over-year during Q2, according to the IDC research firm. Microsoft has tried to heavily promote its Windows Phone OS to users and developers, but it has been nearly impossible to steal attention from Google and Apple. Android has around 84 percent of the market, available on a host of different OEMs, such as Samsung, LG, and others.
"It's been an incredible upward slog for other OS players," said Melissa Chau, IDC senior research manager, in a statement. "Windows Phone has been around since 2010 but has yet to break the 5 percent share mark ... the biggest stumbling block is around getting enough partnerships in play - not just phone manufacturers but also developers, many of which are smaller outfits looking to minimize development efforts by sticking to the two big ecosystems."
Johannes Knapp is back again today with another hands-on video for our viewing pleasure from Gamescom 2014 in Cologne, Germany.
This time he spends some time with NVIDIA's new 8-inch gaming tablet, featuring its new Tegra K1 mobile processor. The Shield Tablet is given a look at its modified Android operating system, and then we see the controller, and a bit of gameplay action towards the end of the video.
What are your thoughts on NVIDIA's Shield Tablet? Are you thinking of buying one?
LG has unveiled a version of the G Pad 8.0 tablet that packs LTE mobile web connectivity. With LTE connectivity, data connectivity while away from a Wi-Fi network is much faster allowing users to access video and other content on the go. The tablet has a sync feature that provides connectivity with other Android devices via QPair 2.0.
The users can connect their smartphones via Bluetooth and answer phone calls, text messages, and get notifications on the tablet. The tablet also includes other features from LG with Touch & Shoot letting users touch anywhere on the tablet to activate the camera. Gesture Shot makes it easy to take selfies by opening and closing the hand in front of the lens to get a three second count down.
LG uses an 8-inch IPS screen with 1280 x 800 resolution. The tablet has a 1.2GHz processor and 16GB of storage onboard. A microSD card slot is available for expansion and the tablet has 1GB of RAM. Power comes from a 4200 mAh battery and the rear camera is a 5MP unit with the front having 1.3MP. Pricing is unannounced and the tablet will ship in Europe this week before heading to other countries later.
No. 1 global PC manufacturer Lenovo saw its first quarter net profit climb 23 percent as the company's smartphone and mobile sales surge. The smartphone sector ramped up 39 percent, while tablet and other mobile devices have seen impressive sales for the company.
Revenue increased from $8.79 billion up to $10.4 billion during the first quarter, also boosted by PC shipments continuing to outsell Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and other rivals. The Chinese company will continue to look to diversify its product offerings for its customers.
"We believe Lenovo's PC business will remain solid given the better global PC outlook," said Ric Cheng and Kirk Yang from Barclays, in a recent report. "Its smartphone shipment momentum is likely to pick up."
Google Android 4.4 KitKat continues to gobble up the market, now accounting for 20.9 percent of total market share, a jump from 17.9 percent from July. The 4.4 version rolled out in October 2013 and wireless carriers have been excited to include the latest and greatest version to customers.
The continued fragmentation of Android, with five different codenames running different versions, however, is seen as a security issue that must be addressed. In addition, there is complexity of Google creating an update or modification, and then phone manufacturers also needing to conduct their own tweaks.
Android Jelly Bean 4.1 still leads with 26.5 percent market share, but KitKat is quickly working to overtake that number in the future. Developers are always excited to get their hands-on newer versions of Android, and app development continues to evolve with each new version.
It was only last month that we reported on Samsung's 'wall hugger' advertisements, that took a stab at iPhone users. The South Korean giant has now pushed this 'wall huggers' advertising campaign into airports, where it reiterates the battery life of its latest Galaxy S5 smartphone.
Samsung points to the fact that the Galaxy S5 has an 'Ultra Power Saving Mode' but the ad itself says: "So you have the power to be anywhere but here", and I wonder what Samsung means by that. Apple will most likely fire back in the coming months when it launches its new iPhone, which should feature a larger screen, and a better battery.