Samsung might finally put something other than bloatware on your next smartphone. According to 9to5Google, Samsung is planning to preload third-party apps on to devices sold at its retail locations based on the career, traits and hobbies of the buyer. A businessman might receive spreadsheet and finance applications, a teenager could get a Galaxy Note 4 tablet with several games installed and a runner can buy a Galaxy S5 smartphone preloaded with fitness apps.
It’s fairly safe to say that RIM (RIMM) won’t be inviting Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer to the grand BlackBerry 10 launch early next year. In an interview with Fortune on Tuesday, Mayer reiterated that her company is moving away from using BlackBerry devices. But she also went a step further to rub salt in RIM’s wounds by stating repeatedly that she wants her employees to move “from BlackBerries to smartphones,” with the implication that BlackBerry devices no longer count as smartphones.
Smartphones are where the money is at in the mobile industry right now, but growth is expected to decline again next year after having slowed in 2012. According to research from Digitimes, which can be more plugged in than some research firms thanks to its close ties with device manufacturers and parts suppliers, global smartphone shipments are expected to grow 30% to 865 million units in 2013. The site lists “relationships between platform providers and hardware makers, support from telecom carriers for new models, and key developments or decisions by some vendors” as factors contributing to the slowed growth. Approximately 665 million smartphones will have shipped in 2012 according to Digitimes’ estimates, representing annual growth of close to 40%. According to earlier figures from Digitimes’ research arm, smartphone shipments grew more than 60% annually in both 2010 and 2011.
Yet another app sale for the Thanksgiving / Black Friday weekend is SwiftKey. Both smartphone and tablet versions of the custom Android keyboard are half off – $1.99 a pop.
For those unfamiliar, SwiftKey is a highly respected Android keyboard replacement that emphasizes predictive suggestions based on Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail usage. There’s a really wide range of language support too, which is a must-have for many users. If you’re looking for something comparable to Swype with gesture-based typing, you’ll have to wait for SwiftKey Flow.
Sony (SNY) has had a tough run in the smartphone industry. Its feature phones were once highly sought-after thanks to sleek designs and class-leading cameras, but the company was never really able to carry its success over to smartphones. Its most recent handsets have clearly been a step in the right direction and yet Sony still can’t compete with industry leaders like Samsung (005930) and Apple (AAPL).
LG today officially launched the Optimus G, its newest flagship Android smartphone with specs that, on paper, should send even the most jaded smartphone nerd into a bit of a frenzy. It’ll be available in Korea as of next week, with announcements for the rest of the world to come later. Let’s recap, shall we?
Following Apple’s (AAPL) announcement of the iPhone 5, market research firm IHS iSuppli is predicting the company will post record fourth-quarter smartphone shipments. The iPhone 5 is expected to drive Apple’s smartphone shipments in 2012 to 149 million units, a 60% increase from 93 million in 2011. The research firm notes that users will be more inclined to upgrade because of the larger display and 4G LTE connectivity.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s (AAPL) senior vice president of worldwide marketing, described the iPhone 5 as the “world’s thinnest smartphone” during the company’s big press conference on Wednesday. But as research firm Strategy Analytics points out on its official blog, this is simply untrue as some smartphones on the market are currently thinner than the iPhone 5′s 7.6-millimeter frame. In fact, Strategy Analytics notes that Motorola has three smartphones that measure in at 7.1 millimeters thin: the Motorola RAZR XT909, the Motorola DROID RAZR and the Motorola RAZR XT910.
Bezels? Motorola doesn’t need any stinking bezels! According to Bloomberg, Motorola and Verizon Wireless (VZ) may surprise the tech world next week by unveiling a new smartphone featuring “an edge-to-edge screen” that would completely eliminate the black bezels that line the edges of most smartphones. Motorola is banking that the all-screen display, along with unique features such as its location-based Smart Actions multitasking app, to set itself apart in an increasingly crowded smartphone market. Both Motorola and Verizon declined to comment.
We Americans like thinking of ourselves as No.1 in everything, but there was simply no way we were going to stay on top of China as the world’s largest smartphone market. The latest research from IDC show that China will account for 26.5% of all smartphone shipments in 2012, up from 18.3% in 2011 and nearly nine percentage points higher than 17.8% of smartphones that will be shipped to the United States this year.
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