Thursday, August 9, 2012

Led by Samsung, Android smartphone shipments in 2012 Q2 surge to 68% of market

“Android continues to fire on all cylinders,” notes IDC senior research analyst Ramon Llamas in IDC’s just released report on smartphone operating system market share for the second quarter of 2012. The report reveals Android powered smartphones accounted for 68.1% of all smartphones shipped during the second quarter. Year-over-year numbers reveal the number of Android smartphones shipped in the second quarter doubled from 2011 to 2012, with more than 100 million units shipped this year during the second quarter.

Leading the way for Android powered devices was Samsung which accounted for 44.0% of Android smartphones shipped during the second quarter. Meanwhile, Apple’s share cooled to 16.9% of the market on shipments of 26 million iOS powered units. Although the growth in Apple’s numbers compared to a year ago would normally seem strong, iOS shipments are not keeping pace with the explosive expansion for Android smartphones.  This probably explains why Apple is fighting so hard in litigation against Android’s current flagship manufacturer, Samsung.

Meanwhile, stalwarts Blackberry and Symbian both saw their market share slip below the 5.0% level at 4.8% and 4.4% respectively. Market share for Windows based phones crept up slightly and Microsoft may not be far off from taking over third spot in the near future. It would be a distant third though as Android and iOS now command 85.0% of market.

View the original article here

Verizon Discretely Offers 5 Additional Shared Data Plans for Heavy Users

Verizon Wireless recently got rid of the traditional individual data plan offerings in lieu of their new “Family Share” data plans. The Concept is simple, pick your device and the amount of data you and your family will consume. The plans come with unlimited minutes, text messages and allow the user to have up to ten devices to share the data. The new plans originally consisted of only six data tiers to choose from, ranging from a base of $50 a month for 1GB to $100 for 10GB. Heavy users will most definitely end up paying more, while the light user will save money. What about those who use more than 10GB? Verizon has an answer for them too.

On Tuesday, Verizon Wireless confirmed with ComputerWorld they have five additional unpublicized tiers available for their heaviest users, unpublicized until today that is. If you are on a Share Everything plan you can now choose from one of the five additional data tiers: 12GB for $110 a month, 14GB for $120 a month, 16GB for $130 a month, 18GB for $140 a month and 20GB for $150 a month. In terms of devices it’s the same as adding to the lower six tiers; $10 per tablet, $20 per Jetpack/USB dongle/notebook, $30 per basic phone and $40 per smartphone. So, if you and your spouse will consume 20GB in one month, figure $40 per smartphone and $150 for the data, you will get unlimited talk, text, and 20GB of data for $230 for two lines.

AT&T already announced their very similar program called Mobile Share. Their plan will be consistent with those of Verizon Wireless ranging from $40 per month for 1GB to $200 per month for 20GB and $10-$45 per device added. The biggest difference is AT&T will continue to offer their traditional data plans, which Verizon has done away with.

Say what you will about these plans, for the lighter user, they present a good value. I personally favor T-Mobile’s offerings (unlimited with no overages) as compared to going over my data and paying dearly for it. So what about you guys? Anyone going to take advantage of the new additions?

View the original article here

Voice-based search, answers coming to Google Search app for iOS devices

Readers who are fortunate enough to have spent some time using Android 4.1 Jelly Bean are familiar with the Google Now app for conducting searches. The Google Now app lets users speak a question and then get an answer spoken back to them. Basically, the app is a voice-recognition interface similar to the Siri functionality Apple shows off in their commercials for iOS devices. Google has announced that some of the functionality present in the Google Now app will be ported over to the Google Search app for iOS devices, specifically the Voice Search capabilities.

Scheduled to be available in the App Store within a couple days according to Amit Singhal, SVP Google Search, the Google Search app will run on iOS 4.2 or higher. Using their ubiquitous vanilla white interface, users can tap on the microphone icon, then speak their question. The app will return a page of search results and if the answer is fairly straightforward, will “speak” the answer. In some cases, like searches for images or videos, the app will go straight to a tab in the app showing a video or photos. The app is aware of who you are, as in “when is my flight?” will return results for you specifically. Search results can also factor in contextual and location awareness, especially useful when inquiring about locations

Google is stressing that the iOS app is not the same as the Google Now app available for Android devices. Results are not returned using “cards.” The only function being ported is the Voice Search portion of the app. Check out the video below for a demonstration of how the new app works on iOS devices.

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Latest Reports Indicate Upcoming HTC “Endeavor C2″ Smartphone Is Possibly The Successor To The One X

Well friends, it looks like we’re about to see another HTC device arrive sometime later this year. While many of you are thinking this will likely be a brand-new device, it’s looking more and more like a refresh of a really good device already on the market. Reports are indicating the new device will be codenamed “Endeavor C2? and will include a faster Tegra 3 processor clocked at 1.7GHz, better battery and urBeats headphones. Additional leaks include the upcoming body of the device being identical to existing HTC devices, which also includes the ability to use current accessories as opposed to launching new accessories. Sound a little familiar to you? Well it should— the original HTC One X smartphone was codenamed “Endeavor”, before its unveiling at MWC earlier in the year. All in all with a fairly similar profile as the original, this upcoming device points to what looks to be a supercharged version of the One X that will be called the One X+ and similar to HTC’s strategy in the past with its Sensation and Sensation XE devices.

The device won’t skimp on software either. Stuff
reports the “Endeavor C2? will utilize HTC’s brand new ClearVoice technology to improve call quality and will also be the first phone to run HTC Watch 2, the latest version of HTC’s video-on-demand offering. Sounds like those two features will compliment the rumored Sense 4.1 and quite possibly, Jelly Bean mighty well upon the device’s release— which should be around the beginning of October in the U.K. if all holds up.
Try to contain your excitement there folks. Try to contain your excitement there.

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Google launches trial to include Gmail messages in search results

Google announced today a new experiment with their search results. In addition to the results brought up from the web, users can now receive results from email messages in their Gmail account. The results will show up in a sidebar set apart from the normal web results. It remains unclear exactly how this new functionality may be useful to end users, though I have no doubt someone will figure out a way to make it meaningful.

Along with the inclusion of Gmail results being served up, Google also announced some other features they are working on as part of this experiment in improving search results. They revealed an option for entering a string like [my flights] to produce a nicely formatted page showing flight data. The ability to search Gmail messages is probably integral to being able to then build this kind of functionality. Seeing Gmail results along with web results may just be a consequence of Google’s efforts to build some of these other search capabilities.

Participation in the experiment is only available to users who sign up for it. Two hurdles have to be overcome. First, it can only be used with accounts. Second, only English language accounts can join. Assuming you meet those requirements, you can sign up and at some point Google promises to notify you if you have been accepted and have access to the new search functions. Follow the source link if you are interested in giving the Google Search experiment a spin.

View the original article here
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