Tag Archives: Report

Apple scores 100% clean energy score in Greenpeace cloud report

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Greenpeace has published a report on the renewable energy used by major internet companies, including those active in the mobile space. Topping the list is Apple, which apparently runs iCloud and iTunes on 100% green electricity. It’s got a massive solar farm powering its North Carolina data center, and plans for geothermal and solar power for its upcoming Nevada data center. Oregon and California data centers are already being powered through wind energy partners.

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Big improvements coming to stock Android camera app, sources report

Google Nexus 5 black aa 4

Google is reportedly preparing to push new features and improvements to the stock Android camera app.

According to “sources aware of Google plans” cited by Engadget, Google is currently testing the new app, which will eventually be offered as a standalone app in the Play Store, making it possible for Google to update it without a full system update.

Said sources claim the camera app will gain a refreshed user interface and that Google is going to fix framing, so the entirety of the shot is visible in preview mode when taking a picture.

Google is reportedly adding a mode that mimics a shallow depth of field lens to create a blurry background behind the subject. This feature is currently present on several OEM Android devices, such as the Xperia Z2, Galaxy S5, and the HTC One (M8).

Improvements are also coming to the panorama and Photo Sphere modes, which will be able to stitch imagery at higher resolution.

Interestingly, Google is said to be planning to open up the stock camera to third-developers, who will presumably be able to create custom filters for the app. Users will be able to import these filters, extending its functionality. It’s not clear if Google will only allow filters or if it will give developers more power to alter the user experience.

The new app is currently in testing and Google will “soon be ready to show off what it’s been working on,” says Engadget.

It’s not the first time we hear of Google’s efforts to improve the camera app in stock Android. Back in November, clues of a new and improved API were found in a code repository, suggesting that features like burst mode, RAW capture, and face detection would eventually land on stock Android devices. At the time, it was speculated that the API wasn’t ready for the spotlight, which was why Google opted not to deliver the update along with Android 4.4 KitKat.

At least when it comes to features, Google’s Android camera app is lagging behind the apps offered by OEMs like Samsung or Sony. This update could make it more competitive and allow Google to add new features at a faster pace.


    








Android Authority

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In “huge change”, Samsung to scale back its Android customizations, at Google’s request – report

Samsung Galaxy NotePro 12.2

Samsung has reportedly agreed to scale back its Android customizations and to give Google’s media offerings a central place on its devices, as part of “broad agreements” between the two giants.

According to Re/code’s Liz Gannes and Ina Fried, Google and Samsung have begun discussing an agreement back at CES, following the launch of the Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO tablets, which feature Magazine UX, a tile-based homescreen replacement. Google’s execs were reportedly “dismayed” by how radically Samsung departed from Google’s vision of Android with Magazine UX.

Citing “multiple sources familiar with the companies’ thinking”, the report says Google coaxed Samsung to “consider dumping or altering the Magazine UX interface” for upcoming devices. It’s not known yet what Google had to concede in order for the Korean company to accept such a radical change of strategy.

While details of the pact are fuzzy for now, its magnitude is reportedly momentous. One Re/code source calls it “a huge change, a sea change”.

Not only will Samsung give up promoting Magazine UX, but the company is also said to be culling some of its own media hubs and apps in favor of Google’s services. In other words, instead of duplicating Google’s offerings, Samsung will embrace Google’s apps and put them in the spotlight on its upcoming phones.

This is another change whose significance cannot be understated – Samsung has long worked to give users alternatives to virtually all of Google’s main apps, from the app store, to the media apps, to stuff like S Voice and S Translate. While many users simply ignored them, Samsung insisted on stuffing its devices with these apps, which many industry watchers perceived as a way to hedge bets against an eventual fracture with Google.

Now the mutual apprehension seems to have been put aside. So, what changed? It’s hard to know for sure, but this report, along the sweeping patent deal announced earlier this week, suggests the two companies will become closer than ever. The world’s largest internet company and the world’s largest consumer electronics company have joined forces long term, and the fruits of this alliance will shape the world for at least the next decade.

 

 


    








Android Authority

Report: Samsung could launch “Galaxy Glass” smart glasses at IFA

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Samsung is reportedly developing smart eyewear, with a target launch at the IFA Berlin show in September.

According to an unnamed company official cited by the Korea Times, Samsung hopes to benefit from an early mover advantage in the budding wearable devices industry and is currently developing a Google Glass-type device. The smart eyewear is tentatively dubbed Galaxy Glass, the official said, and Samsung is aiming for a release at IFA 2014 at the earliest.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy Gear smartwatch at IFA last year, and said it would release a second generation of the device along the Galaxy S5 this spring.

Samsung realizes that wearable devices will require long term investment, according to the Korea Times’ source, but the company is betting on the category as the next big thing:

The new smart glass to be introduced by Samsung is a new concept of wearable device that can lead to an exciting culture of communication. The smart glass will present our aim to lead the new market with proven capability. Wearable devices can’t generate profits immediately. Steady releases of devices are showing our firm commitment as a leader in new markets.

Back in October, the Wall Street Journal uncovered a patent application showing Samsung’s take on a smart sports glasses device (pictured below). Presumably similar in functionality with Google’s Glass, the device would connect to the user’s smartphone and display information for things like incoming phone calls, location, or fitness tracking.

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Samsung has been rumored to work on smart glasses since May 2013, just months after Google released Glass to developers. The two companies announced yesterday a sweeping deal to cross-license their existing patents, as well as new patents for the next ten years. At least in theory, that means Samsung should be safe from IP attacks from Google related to upcoming Glass-like devices.

Besides Google and Samsung, a host of smaller players are developing smart glasses, including Epson and Vuzix, which we recently got to see at CES 2014. The wearable market as a whole is exploding, though until now most companies have focused on smart watches, rather than other types of wearables,


    








Android Authority

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What I think about the very bullish Citron report on BlackBerry

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This morning I had a chance to sit down with a hot cup (ok, several cups) of coffee and read the recently-published and very bullish report on BlackBerry by Citron Research.  I have a feeling most of you haven’t ever heard of Citron before, but neither had I. That said, I’ve become a big fan of them.

Who is Citron? If you read most of the stories that reference their BlackBerry report from Friday and today, you’d think they were a huge firm. Instead, they’re just private investors who publish really interesting and well-researched reports. They write reports that I wish Wall Street had the nuts to write. The main man behind the brand is Andrew Left. I’m not sure if it’s a one man shop or if he hires research help, but it’s clear from the website that Left is in charge of publishing stuff and he is a private investor not a Wall Street research firm. All of his reports are freely available.

As you might have guessed from the name, “Citron” (French for lemon) tends to focus on what it feels are broken, fraudulent or overvalued businesses. In other words, they write about stocks that they think are lemons. Occasionally they write about stocks that are no longer lemons as was the case with their BlackBerry report last Friday.

It’s worth reading the 12-page report that Mr. Left published. He makes a very strong case for the strength of BlackBerry’s balance sheet and the transformation of the business towards enterprise software and services. Importantly, he spends ample time discussing John Chen and the new management team members that have come in under Chen’s leadership. He points out that BlackBerry’s mobile device management solution is earning much better feedback (in the Google Play store) versus the competition, and he spends ample time ripping other analysts to shreds.

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Sony Xperia Z1 users report cases of bent units

It seems that some users of Sony‘s flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z1, are getting a curved smartphone experience, but not in a way that anyone would desire. A number of users are sending in complaints of some amount of bending with the smartphone’s frame.

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To be fair to those users, they claim that no external force of any strength have been applied to the device. It just inexplicably came to be that way. The result is that the frame of the Xperia Z1 has become so uneven that it can no longer lie on a flat plane without some section of it sticking up.

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As of the moment, there is no known explanation yet or cause that would trigger this somewhat rare occurrence. It could be related to the phone’s aluminum body, though Sony is hardly the first nor the only one to use such a material. It could also be a side effect of the phone’s very thin profile. If that were the case, this might be an argument against those vying for the title of world’s thinnest smartphone.

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At the moment, there has been no report of other negative repercussions of the bending, though we wonder if the situation could potentially get worse. We also wonder if there will be reason for concern that this incident will also happen to the Xperia Z1S and Xperia Z1 Compact unveiled recently at CES 2014, both of which share similar builds with the flagship.

VIA: Xperia Blog

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Insider iBook Report Reveals What’s New in the Burgundy Wine World

London, United Kingdom – The wines of Burgundy are enigmatic, at times maddening, but can be the source of sublime enjoyment. With this eBook on their iPad or Mac, winelovers gain an inside edge.

Wine expert Jasper Morris has chosen iBooks on the iPad and Mac as the vehicle for his latest insider’s report on the great – and the emerging – wines of Burgundy. Morris, who is based in that French vineyard region and has been studying its wines for 30 years, is the author of the acclaimed reference book Inside Burgundy.

Key sections of his book are published as innovative, interactive eBooks for iPad and Mac. And each year, Morris distils the latest news, updates on vintages and hundreds of his own tasting notes for Inside Burgundy: The Annual Report.

The 2014 edition of the Annual Report is just out. In it, Morris gives us the lowdown straight from the vineyards on the talking-points in Burgundy. With his unrivalled contacts among winegrowers and merchants, he can see beyond the ups and downs of vintages and can pinpoint the important trends, both in winemaking and the marketplace.

Winelovers can read 1,500 tasting notes on burgundies new and old, famous and undiscovered, taken direct from Morris’ notebook. They can sit with him at some of the most famous tastings of the last few years and learn what he has to say about the great wines of Montrachet and similar storied vineyards.

What is more, readers can personalize their copy of Inside Burgundy: The Annual Report with their own notes, adding their impressions on wines to those of the author, and can even turn their notes into study cards – making the eBook a personal reference or learning tool. The iPad’s portability makes the eBook a superb companion on visits to the Burgundy region.

With Morris’s expert appraisal of burgundy’s famously variable vintages, winelovers can decide when, and whether, to buy, cellar or drink wines from this fascinating region.

Elegant, usable design and typography are a trademark of BB&R Press eBooks. Stunning photographs and two interactive maps of top vineyards, complete with lists of who owns which parcels of land, add to the enjoyment.

The 2013 Annual Report was recognised by the French Gourmet Awards as the year’s top eBook on wine.

The original hardcover book, which is still in print and on sale for /GBP50, has been acclaimed as the definitive reference on this subtle and complex region.

The eBook is built using Apple’s iBooks Author program. It can be previewed, downloaded, read and enjoyed in iBooks on any iPad or iPad Mini – or on a Mac running OS X 10.9. Priced at .99 USD/GBP9.99, it is listed on the iBook stores in 51 markets worldwide: search for Inside Burgundy.

Key features and contents:
* 336 pages
* Zoomable, interactive maps
* Note-taking facility to create a personal reference
* Vintage appraisals back to the 19th century
* Tasting notes on 1,500 wines
* First report on the 2013 harvest
* expert essay on Burgundy’s premature oxidation controversy
* Despatch with the latest news from vineyards, tastings rooms and cellars.

Minimum Requirements:
* Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later running OS X Version 10.9 Mavericks or higher
* Or iPad/iPad Mini with iBooks 3 running IOS 5.1 or later

Pricing and Availability:
Inside Burgundy: The Annual Report 2014 is .99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Beverages category.

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Berry Bros. and Rudd Press was formed by Simon Berry, Chairman of Berry Bros. and Rudd, and Jasper Morris MW to publish ‘necessary books’ on wine and kindred subjects. Completing the team are wine-book editors and publishers Chris Foulkes and Carrie Segrave and art director Lizzie Ballantyne. London’s oldest wine firm: Over 316 years ago, Berry Bros. and Rudd opened its shop at 3 St James’s Street, opposite St James’s Palace, London, where it still stands today. Members of the Berry and Rudd families continue to own and manage the family-run wine merchant, providing the closest link between those who make the wine and those who drink it. The firm may be over three centuries old, but it is at the forefront of e-commerce, having produced the first (1994) and award-winning wine website, an online one-stop shop which includes expert advice from Berry’s own wine advisors, and the first wine app. Copyright (C) 2014 Berry Bros. and Rudd Press. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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Report shows just how little money Motorola makes off the Moto G

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The Moto G brings Motorola an operating profit margin of less than five percent, say analysts interviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

Technology research firm TechInsights conducted a teardown of the Moto G and found that the costs of its components add up to 3. Considering other costs, such as manufacturing and other overhead, analyst Mark Newman from Sanford C. Bernstein estimated for the WSJ that Motorola generates an operating profit margin of under five percent off the device.

The Moto G is selling in the United States for 9 for the 8GB version and 9 for the 16GB version. The device earned widespread acclaim (including in our own review) for its low-cost price tag and high-quality components, including a 4.5-inch HD LCD display and a Snapdragon 400 processor.

Newman compared Motorola’s margin on the Moto G with other devices, both in its price range and higher-end. Samsung generates a profit margin of roughly 20 percent on the Galaxy S3 Mini, and about 28 percent on the Galaxy S4. According to TechInsights, the components in the Galaxy S4 cost about 4, while Samsung currently sells it for 0-0 unlocked. Apple, well known throughout the industry for its high margins, collects an estimated 30 to 35 percent profit margin on the iPhone 5s and 5c.

Motorola didn’t comment on the report, other than to say that it makes money on every device it sells.

The TechInsights report confirms what many market watchers have speculated – that the Moto G is a gambit for Motorola, which is more interested in putting pressure on competitors and improving its brand image than in immediate profits.

Android Authority

New report claims that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will arrive in late April, contradicts previous GS5 rumors

Samsung Logo

Earlier today we reported on a new claim from Korean publication ETNews that suggested Samsung may be launching the Galaxy S5 in the first quarter of next year, alongside as many as four other new Galaxy devices. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard rumors about a Q1 launch for the Galaxy S5 either.

What’s interesting though is that we are now hearing a very different story from Elder Murtazin, a man with a reasonably decent record when it comes to leaks. According to Murtazin, the Galaxy S5 isn’t coming in Q1 at all, and is instead scheduled for a late-April launch.

Holy contradictions, Batman! So who should we believe? Short answer: trust no one.

Until Samsung makes it official or we get some very solid leaks, everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S5 is nothing more than speculation. Fun and exciting gossip yes, but not much more than that.

For what it’s worth, Murtazin doesn’t make mention of any of the other alleged Galaxy devices rumored by ETNews to be coming in Q1 of 2014, but he does mention that Samsung is actively working on a premium Galaxy F series — though it’s unclear when exactly this line will be launched.

Bottom-line, while it is still possible that the Samsung Galaxy S5 could be arriving in Q1 with several other new Galaxy family members, you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up one way or another. 

What do you think, would it make sense for Samsung to release the Galaxy S5 early in order to get the device out around the same time as the HTC M8? Or do you think it’s more likely that Samsung will target an April release?

Android Authority

Half of iPhone 5C customers in UK migrated from Android, according to report

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The iPhone 5C might seem like a gimmick, but gimmicks often work wonders. According to [#protected_0#] about half of new iPhone 5C owners in the UK migrated from LG and Samsung. If you’re thinking it’s a matter of the younger audience being fickle, think again: the average age for the iPhone 5C owner is 38.

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While about 80% of 5S customers were simply upgrading, 5C represents a new market segment for Apple. Prior to the dual-device offering, Apple was left to discuss one device — their newest — leaving the former model as the bargain device. Already discussed the previous year, there was no reason to discuss anything but the pricing moving forward. With the 5C, Apple created buzz that wasn’t there before.

They also stole the mindshare of many Android customers. With the 5C, Apple had a new design to discuss, and a niche that the Moto X finds popular: colors. For the OS agnostic user, there is no reason not to move to the 5C.

Sounds troubling, but one thing is missing. We still don’t know how many iPhone 5C devices have been sold. If half of 5C customers came from Android, it would be more interesting to hear how many devices have been sold. We don’t know if this refers to five thousand or five million devices. Until we hear some official numbers from Apple, we’ll hold our alarm. For now, it seems Apple has found a much needed avenue to drive interest in their brand again.

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