Samsung and HTC unveil 2015 flagships, events ripe with Apple jokes and comparisons

From 9to5Google: 

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As Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona, Samsung and HTC have both unveiled their respective 2015 flagship devices. First off, HTC this morning unveiled the One M9. The device features a Snapdragon 810 processor under-the-hood with a 2,840mAh battery to go with it. HTC infamously ditched Megapixels with its One M8 flagship, but this time around, the company is touting that the One M9 feature a 20MP rear-facing shooter with a f/2.2, 27.8mm sapphire lens and 4k video recording.

Visually, the One M9 looks almost identical to its predecessor…

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The iPhone and iPad reportedly captured 93% of mobile device profits in holiday quarter, 79% across 2014

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Apple reported the largest profit ever recorded by a public company in the holiday quarter, mostly driven by sales of 74 million iPhones with an average selling price of $687. According to Cannacord, this meant Apple captured 93% of handset smartphone profits. Perhaps more staggering is that it claims Apple dominated on similar levels across the entire of 2014 — with 79% of mobile device profits.

The analyst expects continued growth for the iPhone for the next few users, with an estimated 650 million iPhone users by the end of 2018.

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Apple dominates holiday giving, iPhones & iPads making up more than half of mobile device activations

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Data from Yahoo-owned analytics company Flurry shows that iPhones and iPads comprised more than half of all mobile device activations between 19th and 25th December, at 51.3% – almost three times as many as second-placed Samsung.

Apple accounted for 51% of the new device activations worldwide Flurry recognized in the week leading up to and including Christmas Day (December 19th – 25th). Samsung held the #2 position with 18% of new device activations, and Microsoft (Nokia) rounded out the top three with 5.8% share for mostly Lumia devices. After the top three manufacturers, the device market becomes increasingly fragmented with only Sony and LG commanding more than one percent share of new activations on Christmas Day.

The company notes that while Chinese companies Xiaomi, Huawei and HTC didn’t reach 1%, this reflects the fact that Christmas is not celebrated in their home market …  Read more

Samsung appeal against Apple’s $930M award for patent infringement begins today

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with Samsung S3 and Samsung S4 smartphones in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica

The latest court battle between Apple and Samsung begins today, with Samsung appealing against the $930M it was ordered to pay Apple for patent infringement in the first trial between the two companies. Samsung is arguing that the amount awarded was “excessive and unwarranted.”

It’s of course not the first time that the sum awarded has been disputed. Apple was initially awarded $1B in damages, with $450M of that later cut and a retrial required to determine a revised sum. The retrial awarded Apple $290M instead for that element of the case, giving Apple a revised total award of $930M …  Read more

iPhone 6 (and 5s) found less bendy than iPhone 6 Plus

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Earlier this week it was revealed that if you bend your iPhone 6 Plus, it will bend. This shocking news took the world by storm, but left some people wondering if other phones would also flex under pressure. To answer the question, YouTuber Unbox Therapy attempted to repeat his earlier experiment with iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, HTC One M8, newest Moto X, and Nokia Lumia.

After applying roughly the same force to each of these handsets, he discovered that the iPhone 6 Plus was in fact more flexible than the rest. The Moto X ended up coming out top of the pack, with next to no flexibility at all. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was also found to be much less “bendy” than the larger model, though it did get a very small curve with enough force.

You can check out the video of all five phones being tested below:

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HTC reportedly working on an iOS compatible camera to compete with GoPro

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HTC is reportedly working on a new GoPro-like waterproof camera that can be used to capture footage of extreme sports and other activities, according to Bloomberg. Such a device would be the company’s first camera that’s not permanently attached to a smartphone. Little is known about the unannounced gadget, however it’s said to feature a wide-angle lens, a 16-megapixel sensor and compatibility with both iOS and Android.

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Apple and Google agree to settle patent litigation, but will not cross license

Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

According to a court filing discovered by Reuters, Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle their ongoing smartphone patent litigation battle against each other. In a statement, the two companies said that this agreement does not include the ability cross license each other’s patents, but rather the promise to “work together in some areas of patent reform.”

The two tech giants have been battling it out over various patents for several years now, both directly and indirectly. It’s important to note, however, that this agreement is solely between Apple, Google, and its Motorola Mobility unit. This does not apply to any lawsuits between Android device manufacturers, such as Samsung and HTC, and Apple. Although theoretically, it would apply to patents owned by Google that device manufacturers are licensing.

A verdict was reached in the latest Apple v Samsung battle just a few weeks ago, with Apple being ruled as the victor, albeit small. The court ruled that Samsung owed Apple $119 million, which is far less than the $2 billion it was seeking.

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Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Amazon reportedly announcing first smartphone in June, will feature glasses-free 3D

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is planning to announce its first entry to the smartphone market in June. The possibility of an Amazon phone has been a long-running rumor, but recently sources claimed that the company had partnered with HTC to finally produce the device.

Following the launch of the Fire TV earlier this month, the Amazon phone will mark the second of Apple’s product categories the online retailer hopes to invade in 2014. With its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon has been attempting to position itself to compete with the iPad for a few years.

The Amazon device will reportedly feature a display capable of creating 3D images without the need for glasses, according to the WSJ report:

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HTC unveils new One (M8) with dual-LED flash, Sense 6 software, Gunmetal design

HTC has just announced its 2014 flagship in New York. Dubbed the new HTC One (M8), the device is just as all the leaks have depicted it over the past few months. Most notably, HTC is touting the device’s high-quality metal construction, which it describes “like a premium watch.” (Remember when Jobs described the iPhone 4 as a “a beautiful old Leica camera”?) The device is  available in a new Gunmetal Gray Hairline Finish that makes it look significantly more high-end than its predecessor. Taking a page out of Apple’s book, the device features a dual LED flash on the back, much like the iPhone 5s.

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Should Apple open the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? [Poll]


With Touch ID in the iPhone 5s, Apple wasn’t the first to integrate a fingerprint sensor in a smartphone, but it certainly popularized the feature as other manufacturers race to build similar technology into their next-gen iPhone competitors. HTC is packing in fingerprint sensors in its latest flagship devices and Samsung announced its new Galaxy S5 earlier this week with finger scanning as one of the standout upgrades. The verdict is still out on how Samsung’s tech compares to Touch ID, but it is interesting to see how others are using fingerprint sensors while Apple keeps it closed to developers and offers very limited applications. With Samsung letting app developers access the new S5’s fingerprint scanner for mobile payments and more right out of the gate, should Apple open the fingerprint sensor to devs in iOS 8? Read more