iOS & Android increase duopoly on smartphone market to 96%, Apple beats market in Q4

IDC just released its latest numbers on the top smartphones by operating system showing iOS and Android continue to collectively dominate the market with both experiencing growth during 2014. Together, iOS and Android grabbed 96.3% of all smartphone shipments, which IDC points out is up from 95.6% in 4Q13 and from 93.8% in calendar year 2013.

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The Next Episode: Apple’s plans for Beats-based music service revealed

CueBeats

Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.

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Kantar: iPhone beats Android in US/Japan/Australia in Holiday quarter, iPad ‘most gifted’ tablet

Kantar World Panel’s Carolina Milanesi has crunched the numbers and notes that iOS beat Android in the US in the holiday quarter with a hefty .1% margin — iOS devices accounted for 47.7% of sales, Android devices accounted for 47.6%. Apple’s iOS beat Android in other key markets including Japan and Australia but still trailed in others in Europe and China. Read more

Samsung brings in new design chief from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

Glam_Galaxy-S5_Group

Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.

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Xiaomi aims to take on the iPhone 6 Plus with new 5.7″ Note phablet

Image via @DarthMowl

Image via Darth Mowl

After teasing a super-thin new smartphone earlier this week, smartphone maker (or, maybe more accurately, “smartclone maker”) Xiaomi revealed its 2015 flagship model, the Note. Just to be clear, this is an entirely new device, and doesn’t seem to be related to the company’s existing “Redmi Note” smartphone.

It’s also not related to Samsung’s similarly named devices, though it hardly seems unreasonable to think that Samsung’s execs aren’t exactly pleased with the name. iPhone users may detect quite a bit of irony (karma, perhaps?) watching the Korean company squirm as it gets ripped off by a competitor, though.

The 5.7-inch phone is positioned as an iPhone 6 Plus competitor. It features a 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization—a far cry from Apple’s 8 MP shooter—and a 4 MP front-facing camera.

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EFF takes issue with Apple’s developer agreement, refuses to launch mobile app for iOS

EFF app for Android

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released an app for Android devices, but announced today that it has no plans to bring the software to Apple’s iOS platform. The reason, the organization said, is that it simply cannot agree to Apple’s developer agreement.

The EFF specifically called out six points in the document that it took issue with, although it noted that there were even more problems it didn’t have the space to mention. The complaints aren’t new—many of them date back to 2010—but it seems the foundation is determined once again to make its points heard.

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Gartner: iPhone sees growth while Samsung continues to slow, Apple to have record Q4

iPhone 6

Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.

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Apple CarPlay vs Google Android Auto — full comparison (Video)

autovs

Apple and Google are back at it again and attempting to bring a safe and friendly mobile experience to your car. Android Auto and CarPlay are the two company’s re-imagining of mobile user interfaces for the car and both are gearing up for a major rollout over the next year.

Each system is designed to work with its respective native mobile platform, but there are differences between the two that may appeal to different people. Today we’re comparing Apple’s CarPlay to Google’s Android Auto using the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. This car comes packed with both systems, so you won’t have to compromise either way, but there are some important differences between the two…

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Xiaomi thinks it can top Apple and Samsung as world’s largest smartphone maker within a decade

Xiaomi Mi2

Just weeks after Xiaomi overtook Huawei and LG to become the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, The Guardian reports that the Chinese handset maker’s chief executive and founder Lei Jun is out with a bold prediction that his company could move past Apple and Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker within the next five to ten years. Read more

Google reaches agreement to settle patent litigation with Apple-backed consortium Rockstar

google

Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.

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Samsung’s not done with its ‘me too’ act yet: announces Continuity clone, Flow

flow

Not content with being a ‘fast follower’ of HealthKit and HomeKit with its Digital Health and Smart Home platforms, and iBeacon with its Proximity Service, Samsung has just announced a Continuity clone, Flow.

People today use multiple devices in their daily activities: phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, TVs, and more. But the way we work is still device-centric. We still use one application, within one device, with data that is tied to that application and device.

Samsung Flow is a platform that enables developers to create seamless transitions across devices, so that people can change devices in the midst of an activity and continue right from where they left off.

Flow is compatible with anything that works with Android’s Share feature: if content can be shared with other apps, Flow can be used to to hand it off to other devices …  Read more