Smartphone Stories November 20, 2015

moto x 6s plus wp

Apple got in to the high-end phablet game for the first time last year. And just a couple of months back, it released its follow up to the 6 Plus just as Motorola turned its Moto X into a giant. Can the X Pure compete with what many consider to be the best phablet around?

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Smartphone Stories October 14, 2015

T-Mobile brings back its 4 for $120, 10GB-per-line deal

T-Mobile is bringing back one of its most popular promotions by — once again — offering four 10GB data lines for $120 total. The offer is available for a limited time from today, and is ideal for data-hungry families needing multiple lines. With no overages, you know exactly what your bill’s going to be every month too.

If you don’t need four lines, you can get two 10GB lines at $50 each:

With #10Gigs4All, two people can get up to 10 GB of 4G LTE each – no sharing required – for just $100 a month. Then, each additional line is just $20 more per person – also with 10 GB of T-Mobile’s blazing-fast 4G LTE. Now, with this promotion, that 4th line is free, bringing the total cost to just $120 per month for a family of four.

As with every Simple Choice plan, customers signing up get access to a host of awesome offers including rollover data for up to 12 months, Wi-Fi calling, unlimited music streaming and unlimited in-flight texting with GoGo. Customers also get unlimited calls to and from Mexico and Canada, as well as the ability to use 4G LTE data from their plan allowances in those countries, unlimited data and texts in 140 countries abroad and unlimited international texts from the US. Compared to the other three carrier options, it looks a fantastic deal:

This news comes just weeks after the carrier announced some killer iPhone deals, where customers were offered the new iPhones for $5 per month if they trade in their old ones.

Smartphone Stories October 6, 2015

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From 9to5Google:

Synaptics has today announced the ClearPad 3700 force-sensing touchscreen controller, which the company hopes will be packed inside many a 2016 flagship Android smartphone. This comes just about a month after Apple’s September 9th event, at which the Cupertino company announced the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, both packing “3D Touch” as a headline feature… expand full story

Smartphone Stories August 31, 2015

T-Mobile to clamp down on network abusers, booting them down to lowest Simple Choice plan

T-Mobile has announced that it’s going to seriously clamp down on any users using unauthorized methods to get around its tethering cap. Those caught using more data than they should be on the highest tier, unlimited Simple Choice plan will be warned to stop, before being moved down to the entry-level plan. This move is aimed specifically at smartphone users who deliberately break T-Mo’s terms and conditions using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage.

The magenta carrier published an updated FAQ page on its support site stating that some customers have been blowing way past the 7GB tethering limit on the highest Simple Choice plan, some using as much as 2TB (2000GB) of data on their mobile plan. Its biggest concern is the experience created for others. With people using the network so heavily, it can ruin the network performance for everyone else. The carrier has developed software to detect those using workarounds and will initially warn users. If they carry on abusing the network, then they get moved on to a plan with just 1GB data (including tethering).

We’re first warning these customers that they’re illegally using more data than they bought. We hope folks will stop on their own so they can keep their current plan. These customers are on an unlimited 4G LTE smartphone plan that includes a set amount of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot data, but they’re using workarounds to make their tethering look like smartphone usage which helps them use significantly more 4G LTE tethering than their plan includes.

Once they’re on a plan with a set amount of 4G LTE data, it won’t matter what method they use for Smartphone Mobile HotSpot. Once they use their 4G LTE data bucket, they’ll continue to be able to use data at reduced speeds and still never worry about overages.

T-Mobile will start communicating these changes with its customers from today and notes that only a very small percentage of its customers have been discovered to be concealing their tethering. Despite it being a very small fraction of the customer base, it has a “disproportionately negative impact” on the experience for everyone else.

Smartphone Stories August 27, 2015

82% think it’s rude to use a smartphone at a social gathering, but 89% do it anyway

A Pew study on mobile etiquette found that 82% of Americans think it hurts the conversation when people use smartphones at social gatherings, but 89% did so anyway at the most recent one they attended.

When asked for their views on how mobile phone use impacts group interactions, 82% of adults say that when people use their phones in these settings it frequently or occasionally hurts the conversation […]

In spite of this […], 89% said that they themselves used their phone during their most recent time with others.

Many do at least have the excuse that some of the smartphone use is related to the gathering, 45% posting a photo or video taken there, 41% sharing something that happened there and 38% getting information they thought would be interesting the group.

The majority thought it was fine to use a smartphone while walking down the street, on public transport and while waiting in line – but not at a restaurant, at a family dinner or during a meeting. The worst places to use a smartphone were said to be a movie theater and a church.

Photo: Samsung

Smartphone Stories August 20, 2015

gartner

New data from Gartner suggests that iPhone sales grew 36% year-on-year, while Samsung’s sales fell 5.3% in the same period. Apple’s market share climbed from 12.2% in Q2 2014 to 14.6% in the same quarter this year. Other winners were Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi.

Gartner said that while overall smartphone growth was sluggish, Apple continued to dominate the premium end of the market, with other vendors struggling to compete.

Apple’s double-digit growth in the high-end segment continued to negatively impact its rivals’ premium phone sales and profit margins. Many vendors had to realign their portfolios to remain competitive in the midrange and low-end smartphone segments. This realignment resulted in price wars and discounting to clear up inventory for new devices planned for the second half of 2015 … 

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Smartphone Stories August 3, 2015

iphone 6s leaks CAD We’re ramping up to iPhone launch season and — as expected this time of year — the web is inundated with purported leaks of components, renders and images of Apple’s next smartphones. Over the weekend a couple of new, interesting leaks surfaced purportedly confirming a couple of rumors we’ve already heard. Check out our coverage of the iPhone 6s chassis from earlier in the year.

First up is arguably the most important: A display panel which seemingly adds at least a little credence to the rumors of an iPhone with Force Touch capabilities. On the surface, these screen leaks don’t look overly different to the current iPhone’s display. Look underneath and we see a small rectangle purposefully cut out from the thin metal plate which traditionally separates the screen from the other internal components.

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Smartphone Stories July 30, 2015

sa-market-share

Strategy Analytics has issued its latest estimates of global mobile phone shipments, and reports that Apple’s market share climbed from 8.2% in Q2 2014 to 10.9% in the same quarter this year. Apple revealed in its latest quarterly earnings that it saw iPhone sales climb 35% year-on-year to 47M units.

The research firm said that Apple’s dramatic growth in iPhone shipments contrasted strongly with an overall industry growth rate of just 2% …  expand full story

Smartphone Stories July 27, 2015

iphone-thefts

While Activation Lock has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in some cities, with reductions as high as 50%, police data collated by the WSJ shows that the effect isn’t as great as expected in others. iPhone thefts fell by only 11% in Oakland, by 17% in Austin and actually increased by 32% in Seattle …  expand full story

Smartphone Stories July 23, 2015

Worldwide Smartphone Market Posts 11.6% Year-Over-Year Growth in Q2 2015, the Second Highest Shipment Total for a Single Quarter, According to IDC - prUS25804315 2015-07-23 11-00-04

IDC has just released its smartphone market share data for Q2 2015, and at least one thing is clear: Samsung is still struggling, and Apple is still doing really well. The Korean company’s smartphone market share dropped from 24.8% to 21.7% year-over-year, a 3.1 percentage point drop. Conveniently, while other manufacturers made gains as well, Apple’s numbers are up about the same number — 2.4 percentage points year-over-year to 14.1%… expand full story

Smartphone Stories July 13, 2015

Android may have the market share, but it’s an entirely different story when it comes to profit share: the latest estimates from Canaccord Genuity indicate that Apple takes 92% of the profits for the entire smartphone industry despite accounting for only 20% of sales.

Or, as the WSJ puts it:

Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one reaps nearly all the profits.

Samsung took a further 15% of the profits – and if you were wondering how that rather odd math works, it’s because most of the other players make a loss, so the two companies make more profit between them than the smartphone industry as whole …  expand full story

Smartphone Stories May 27, 2015

bluelink

Meet BlueLink, a Hyundai cloud-connected service that provides cool remote access features for select vehicles. I recently had a chance to test BlueLink with the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In, and now I’m convinced that connected cars are the future.

BlueLink links up to your vehicle using its VIN number, using the Internet to relay information to and from the car, wherever you may be. Connected apps for cars, homes, and other smart accessories are cool and all, but what if you could start your car or unlock your doors from an Apple Watch, without taking a step? Welcome to what’s next…

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Smartphone Stories May 11, 2015

China approaches smartphone saturation point, shipments fall as penetration hits 90% – IDC

China – long viewed as one of the key growth markets for smartphones – is now approaching saturation point, according to data being released today by IDC. The WSJ reports that smartphone shipments fell for the first time in six years, 4.3% down year-on-year in the previous quarter. Other sources say sales are still growing, but at a much-reduced rate.

Experts say the slowdown is largely driven by the disappearance of China’s first-time buyers. Smartphones now have a more than 90% penetration rate in China, said Tom Kang, research director with market-research firm Counterpoint, meaning just about everybody in China who wants a smartphone already has one. “China is now a replacement market,” Mr. Kang said.

While the news may be bad for many smartphone manufacturers, Apple is less likely to be affected as existing owners upgrade from low-end and mid-range handsets to premium ones.

Apple now sells more iPhones in China than in the US, Kantar putting the company’s market share there at 26%. Tim Cook stated in the most recent earnings call that revenue was up 58% year-on-year in emerging markets, Apple also revealing that Chinese App Store sales doubled in 12 months, while online sales in China tripled in the same time.

The company this morning announced a number of new environmental initiatives in the country.

Photo: Darley Shen/Reuters

Smartphone Stories April 14, 2015

watchteeninterest

According to the latest data from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, interest in the Apple Watch among teens remains low. An October 2014 survey showed that only 16 percent of teenagers planned to purchase an Apple Watch, and now, a more recent survey shows that interest has dropped to 11 percent among the age group.

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Smartphone Stories February 12, 2015

Visa hopes to track smartphone locations to prevent credit card fraud for travellers

Currently most of us have to inform our bank by phone when we’re travelling to avoid purchases in other countries appearing as red flags for fraud and being declined. That could soon change as Visa looks to track smartphones with a service called Mobile Location Confirmation in order to help their security systems become smarter and reduce declined purchases by as much as 30%.

Smartphone Stories February 11, 2015

iPhone and Galaxy smartphones more reliable than current wearable fitness devices at measuring activity, finds study

If you were thinking about buying a fitness band, a university study suggests you probably shouldn’t bother: it found that the iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S4 measure activity more reliably than most current fitness bands.

The study by the University of Pennsylvania (via EurekAlert!) tested the ability of the phones to measure steps on a treadmill and compared the results to six dedicated fitness bands. The two smartphones had a margin of error of 12.9%, while the error rates of the fitness bands ranged up to 22.7%.

The study tested the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4 against the Nike Fuelband, Jawbone UP24, Digi-Walker SW-200, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip. Only the FitBit One and Zip performed significantly better than the two smartphones. While the iPhone apps all delivered similar levels of accuracy, Health Mate out-performed the others.

Tim Cook took a dig at existing smartwatches at yesterday’s Goldman Sachs conference, saying that “there are several things that are called smartwatches, but I’m not sure you could name any.” The Apple Watch would, he said, “change the way people live their lives.”

Via Gizmodo

Smartphone Stories January 27, 2015

samsung

If Apple does indeed report iPhone sales in line with analyst expectations of 66.5M units, the company could be closing in on the market share lead Samsung has held in the smartphone market since 2011, reports the WSJ.

Research company Canalys notes that Apple’s anticipated growth in iPhone sales coincides with a dramatic drop in sales of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

While that still leaves Samsung well ahead for now, it’s a trendline which could see Apple regain the lead it once held …  expand full story

Smartphone Stories January 12, 2015

roundupmac

If you’ve somehow missed the overflow of coverage from CES 2015 last week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. During the show we took a look at the latest devices and accessories that are expected to be released throughout 2015. The show was packed with new smartphones, home automation tools, cases, and some unexpected surprises. If you didn’t catch all of the coverage from the show, check out the roundup below with links to everything that we found interesting…

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Smartphone Stories December 4, 2014

iphone-6-plus

Kantar data shows that the iPhone 6 Plus managed to take a 41% share of all US phablet sales for the August to October quarter, despite only being on sale for a little over one of those months and significant supply constraints.

Unsurprisingly, the smaller iPhone 6 also outsold the iPhone 5s in the same period, taking 33% of all iOS device sales against 26% for the 5s, 18% for the 5c and 10% for the 6 Plus. This is line with multiple sources suggesting a 3-to-1 ratio of iPhone 6 vs 6 Plus sales …  expand full story

Smartphone Stories November 20, 2014

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. expand full story

Smartphone Stories November 9, 2014

bobine

There are a lot of options for mounting your iPhone in your car. I’ve relied on the highly-rated Kensington suction cup windshield car mount for a few years without too much incident. However, I’ve never been too pleased about how it blocks a bit of my driving view and requires a non-elegant wire to go up my dashboard.

Today I’m looking at the Fuse Chicken Une Bobine (pictured above) and MONTAR by WinnerGearexpand full story

Smartphone Stories October 31, 2014

iOS and Android combine to capture 96% global market share in Q3

The latest numbers from Strategy Analytics reveal that iOS and Android combined to capture 96% global market share in the third quarter. iOS and Android accounted for 12.3% market share and 83.6% global market share respectively for the three-month period ending September. Those figures arrive just one day after the research firm reported that Chinese company Xiaomi has become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world.

Android continued to be a dominant player in global smartphone operating system market share, increasing its lead over iOS by three percentage points compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple’s mobile operating system held 12.3% market share during the third quarter, trailed by Windows Phone (3.3%) and BlackBerry (0.7%). Other mobile platforms accounted for less than 0.1% market share.

Smartphone Stories September 20, 2014

Casey Neistat’s latest video isn’t really news to anyone nor does it appear that Apple can or will do anything about the problem but perhaps this years delayed launch in China has exacerbated it even more.  What can Apple do in this situation?

Another video of the 5th Avenue line below:

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Smartphone Stories September 9, 2014

iphone6

Last time we asked you, back in April, we’d seen only reports and alleged molds for the two different sizes of iPhone 6. At that stage, 60 percent of you planned to buy the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, with just under a third eyeing-up the 5.5-inch model. A further 8 percent were planning to stick with existing models, and two percent expecting to get a Droid.

Since then we’ve of course seen a huge number of leaked parts, and even what appear to be working versions of the 4.7-inch model. Both models are now expected to go on sale on 19th September, so we thought it would be interesting to see if and how your plans have changed

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