Galaxy S4 Stories October 2, 2013

Report finds almost all Android OEMs, not just Samsung, cheat on benchmarks

When Apple SVP Phil Schiller pointed us to a story earlier this week that Samsung was artificially inflating benchmark scores for its new Galaxy Note 3, many were quick to point out it wasn’t the first time Samsung had been caught engaged in such a practice. The same issue was discovered by AnandTech for the Galaxy S4 back in July, and today the site has an extensive report showing that almost every Android smartphone manufacturer is shipping devices that do the same.

As pictured in the chart above, that includes the HTC One, HTC One mini, LG G2, Galaxy Tab 10.1, and many others. In fact, the only companies that appear to not be using the method is Apple and Motorola, as well as Google with its Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices:

We started piecing this data together back in July, and even had conversations with both silicon vendors and OEMs about getting it to stop. With the exception of Apple and Motorola, literally every single OEM we’ve worked with ships (or has shipped) at least one device that runs this silly CPU optimization. It’s possible that older Motorola devices might’ve done the same thing, but none of the newer devices we have on hand exhibited the behavior. It’s a systemic problem that seems to have surfaced over the last two years, and one that extends far beyond Samsung…  None of the Nexus do, which is understandable since the optimization isn’t a part of AOSP. This also helps explain why the Nexus 4 performed so slowly when we reviewed it – this mess was going on back then and Google didn’t partake.

As noted in the report, the gains that OEMs are experiencing from the inflated scores are probably not worth the press they’ve been receiving. AnandTech points out that most of the inflated scores provide under a 10% increase in GPU and CPU performance benchmarks:

The hilarious part of all of this is we’re still talking about small gains in performance. The impact on our CPU tests is 0 – 5%, and somewhere south of 10% on our GPU benchmarks as far as we can tell. I can’t stress enough that it would be far less painful for the OEMs to just stop this nonsense and instead demand better performance/power efficiency from their silicon vendors.

You can check out the full report here, which offers in-depth analysis on the optimizations it found for several devices across various benchmark tests.

Galaxy S4 Stories September 23, 2013

One area that Moto X beats out new iPhones: Durability

From 9to5Google:

We’ve enjoyed seeing the new iPhones get smashed to pieces in the inevitable drop tests that followed the launch of Apple’s two new smartphones this month, but what we really want to know is how it holds up against some of its Android competition. SquareTrade has just completed a durability test (via AllThingsD), and found that not only are the new iPhones not performing as well as last year’s models, the new 5s and plastic-backed 5c were both beat by Motorola’s new flagship Moto X:

“We were expecting that at least one of the new iPhone models would up its game but surprisingly, it was the Moto X that proved most forgiving of accidents,” SquareTrade marketing chief Ty Shay said in a statement. “This is the first time we’ve tested the breakability on a Motorola phone, the only phone we’ve ever tested that’s made in the USA. We were pleased to find that it withstood our drop, slide and dunk test with only the slightest dent. It looks like Google is giving Apple and Samsung a run for their money.”

The new iPhones did, however, beat out Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which was also included in the durability test.

Galaxy S4 Stories June 27, 2013

Back in May, Apple was attempting to add Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 as an infringing device in its ongoing, second major patent dispute with Samsung in California. It was also claiming that Samsung infringed two Siri related patents with the device’s Google Now voice assistant feature. Now, according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has been denied its request to add the device with  U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal claiming it would be a “a “tax on the court’s resources”:

Adding another product to the case is a “tax on the court’s resources,” Grewal said in the ruling. “Each time these parties appear in the courtroom, they consume considerable amounts of the court’s time and energy, which takes time way from other parties who also require and are entitled to the court’s attention.”

Apple lawyer Josh Krevitt claims that denying to add the device in the ongoing patent suit would force Apple to “‘file a new lawsuit’ because the Samsung products covered by the case will be out of date by trial next year.”  expand full story

Galaxy S4 Stories May 22, 2013

Earlier this month we noted that Apple was asking courts to add the Galaxy S4 as an infringing device in its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung in California. Now, Apple has officially filed a motion (via FossPatents) outlining five patents infringed by the Galaxy S4 and another two Siri related patents infringed by the device’s Google Now voice controlled search feature.

Apple had previously claimed that the Android Google search box feature on Samsung devices infringed the same patents, but is now moving to have Google Now included alongside the S4. Excerpt from Apple’s filing below: expand full story

Galaxy S4 Stories May 17, 2013

Update: Apple provided the following comment to AllThingsD on the approval:

“With iPhone and iPad being tested or deployed in almost every Fortune 500 company, Apple continues to scale across enterprise with nearly 30,000 companies globally developing and distributing iOS apps for corporate use by their employees,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “The FIPS 140-2 certification and STIG approval demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver a secure platform to our enterprise and government customers around the world who deploy iOS devices on their networks.”

Following reports earlier this month that the Defense Department was in the process of approving iOS 6 for nonclassified communications and widespread use by government agencies, Bloomberg reports today that Apple has officially been granted approval for use on U.S. military networks.

The Pentagon already approved Samsung devices powered by the company’s Knox security software and BB10 ahead of today’s approval of iOS 6.

In February the US Defense Department confirmed plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year. At that time the Pentagon said its networks had about 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple products, and 8,700 Android devices.

A number of U.S. agencies switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year, while earlier reports indicate Samsung is attempting to attract more government and corporate customers with a new team of security experts and former RIM employees as well as a water and dust proof variant of its flagship S4 dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active. Today’s security approval will increase the number of agencies allowed to deploy iPhone and iPads on government networks for nonclassified communications.

expand full story

Galaxy S4 Stories May 14, 2013

In its ongoing second major patent trial against Samsung, Apple yesterday filed a statement with the US District Court in California claiming that after examining the recently released Galaxy S4 it has “concluded that it is an infringing device and accordingly intends to move for leave to add the Galaxy S4” to its long list of 22 infringing products. Apple is hoping Judge Lucy Koh allows the S4 to be added, but in line with the court’s request to reduce the number of infringing devices ahead of a trial scheduled for spring 2014, Apple has also agreed to remove without prejudice one of the other 22 infringing devices from Samsung it currently has listed.

Apple’s current list of infringing Samsung products include Admire, Captivate Glide, Conquer 4G, Dart, Exhibit II 4G, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Player 4.0, Galaxy Player 5.0, Galaxy Rugby Pro, Galaxy SII, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 2 10, Illusion, and Stratosphere.

The filing also highlights a disagreement in which Samsung believes each carrier variant of a specific device should be counted separately. For example, “the Galaxy Nexus activated on Sprint must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus activated on Verizon; and the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint running Android version 4.0 must be counted separately from the Galaxy Nexus operating on Sprint, but running Android version 4.1.” Apple, however, claims that Samsung has not itself applied this logic: expand full story

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