Entries with tag smartphones.

New Panasonic Hybrid Devices Combines Smartphone, High-End Camera Functions

Panasonic has debuted a product that combines the features of a smartphone and an expensive, stand-alone camera. The Android-based Lumix DMC-CM1 has a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor—typically found on stand-alone cameras—that enables users to take photos in low light and high-definition video. The lens, made with Leica optics, lets users manually set variables such as shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Limited quantities of the CM1 will be available in Germany and France starting in November 2014 for €899. Panasonic did not indicate whether the product will be available in other markets later. (BBC)(PC World)

Apple iPhone 6 Pre-Orders Set Record

The 4 million pre-orders for Apple’s recently announced iPhone 6 established a first-day record 12 September 2014 for the first 24-hour sales of an iPhone, doubling the previous record set by the iPhone 5. Apple will probably sell 9 to 10 million phones during the first weekend of sales, according to market analysts; however, Apple has yet to release its sales figures. Apple says demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is outpacing supply, meaning some customers must wait until October for the devices. Deliveries of pre-ordered phones will begin 19 September. “We believe significant demand will even spill into the March and June quarters [of 2015],” Barclays analysts wrote. (Reuters)(Bloomberg)(Computerworld)

Court Denies Apple’s Request to Bar Samsung’s Infringing Smartphones in US

A US federal judge has rejected Apple’s request asking for her to ban the domestic sale of nine Samsung smartphones—most in the Galaxy line—that Apple claims infringed on its patents. Apple sought a permanent injunction after a US jury found in May that Samsung, which is appealing the finding, infringed on three of its patents and had to pay $120 million of the $2.2 billion in damages sought. In a 42-page ruling, US District Judge Lucy Koh contended that Apple did not prove that “it suffered significant harm in the form of either lost sales or reputational injury.” Additionally she said Apple had not “satisfied its burden of demonstrating irreparable harm and linking that harm to Samsung's exploitation of any of Apple’s three infringed patents.” Earlier this month, the companies agreed to end their patent battles outside the US. (Tech Spot)(The San Jose Mercury-News)(The Wall Street Journal)(Ars Technica)

Apple, Samsung Drop All Pending Patent Cases Outside US

In a joint statement, leading smartphone makers Apple and Samsung Electronics have announced they will drop all patent-related suits outside the US against each other. They are currently embroiled in patent cases in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the UK. Apple has contended that Samsung copied its iPhone designs, while Samsung says Apple uses its wireless-transmission technology. The companies are not completely abandoning their patent-related claims and have not reached any agreements for licensing each other’s intellectual property. In a statement, the companies said, they “are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.” Apple won two California-based suits—a $930 million verdict in 2012 and a $120 million verdict in early 2014. (Bloomberg)(Reuters)

Two Threats Place Most Smartphone Users at Risk of Data Theft, Hacking

Security researchers have revealed two threats that could put up to 90 percent of the world’s smartphone users at risk for problems such as having hackers take over their devices or steal their passwords or data. One threat is related to how device makers have implemented an obscure industry standard in smartphone management software, according to researchers with security firm Accuvant. The researchers found they could use a third-party vendor’s device management tool for remote configuration as an entry point into a cellular network. Hackers could change the functionality of the network and firmware updates as well as execute malicious code and install malware. The other threat, which Bluebox Security discovered, leverages malicious applications disguised as trusted software that are able to gain access to secured areas of Android devices without issuing any user notification. This Fake ID vulnerability affects Android systems starting with version 2.1. Google says it has already issued a fix for the Fake ID flaw. (Reuters)(The Daily Mail)(Dark Reading)(Wired)

Amazon Launches Smartphone

Amazon is releasing its first smartphone, which offers features such as 3D effects; a new navigation approach; and image, text and audio recognition. The Fire Phone, which will retail for $199 with 32 Gbytes of memory and $299 with 64 Gbytes, is scheduled to ship 25 July 2014 and will be available only on the AT&T network with a two-year contract. The device will have four face-tracking cameras and gesture controls that let users view objects in 3D and from different perspectives when they move their heads. Another feature lets users tilt the device to scroll or navigate pages on the device. However said Francisco Jeronimo, a mobile devices analyst at market research firm IDC, this isn’t new and hasn’t been very popular on phones on which it appears. The Amazon phone also offers Firefly, an image-, text- and audio-recognition technology designed to facilitate instant Amazon purchases for users. The application can evaluate physical and e-mail addresses, QR and barcodes, audio clips, and other information.  Amazon claims Firefly can recognize 70 million products, 35 million songs, 245,000 movies and TV episodes, and 160 live TV channels. Analysts don’t think customers are likely to move to the Fire Phone. James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester, told CNBC. “I think Amazon will have to offer more than just a year of free Amazon Prime service” to attract consumers. The phone is unlikely to make a dent in Apple’s market share, but could “have a minor impact” on Android smartphone vendors says Brian White, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. (BBC)(Bloomberg Businessweek)(CNN)(PC Magazine)(CNBC)(The New York Times)

Global Smartphone Shipments Surpass 1 Billion Units

New data shows that worldwide smartphone shipments passed 1 billion units for the first time in 2013, according to market-research firm IDC. Sales increased to just over 1 billion units, rising 38.4 percent from 2012and representing 55.1 percent of all mobile-phone shipments. Samsung Electronics continues to lead the smartphone market with 31.3 percent of all shipments, while second-place Apple’s share eroded from 18.7 percent to 15.3 percent, noted IDC. The next three biggest vendors were Huawei Technologies Co., LG Electronics, and the Lenovo Group, each with a bit less than 5 percent of the market. (Reuters)(ZD Net)(IDC)

Privacy-Enabled Phone to Launch

A new joint venture, led by cryptography expert and privacy advocate Phil Zimmerman, has created a privacy-enabled phone. Zimmerman’s Silent Circle, an encrypted-communications services provider, and smartphone maker Geeksphone formed a Switzerland-based joint venture to develop Blackphone, which enables secure calls, text messages, storage, and file transfers. The phone will run a secure version of the Android-based PrivatOS. Zimmerman, perhaps best known for the creation of Pretty Good Privacy, told TechWeek Europe, “What we’re trying to do is to make a smartphone whose whole purpose is to protect users’ privacy.” The joint venture will start taking orders for the device—set to debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February—on 24 February 2014. (SlashDot)(TechWeek Europe)(Geeksphone)

Apple, Samsung Reportedly Preparing Patent Negotiations

Apple and Samsung are trying to reach an agreement on royalties that would end the companies’ long-term patent dispute, according to a report in the Korea Times, which attributed the information to a Korea Fair Trade Commission official. Samsung’s current proposal focuses on a cross-licensing agreement with Apple, which has accused Samsung of violating some its smartphone-related patents. The exact terms Samsung has proposed are not clear, but it may involve the payment of a flat licensing fee. Apple, on the other hand, wants Samsung to pay a fee of at least $30 per device for every device violating its patents. The two companies have been in court throughout the world repeatedly on mobile-device patent disputes in the past two years. Apple recently won a US court case yielding damages of $890 million. This case reportedly encouraged Samsung to return to the bargaining table. (Mac Observer)(CNET)(The Korea Times)

Wireless Carriers Reject Smartphone Antitheft Technology

The nation’s largest mobile carriers have rejected an offer by Samsung Electronics to install technology designed to make its smartphones inoperable if stolen or lost. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said that AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, United States Cellular, Sprint, and T-Mobile US declined Samsung’s proposal to preload its phones with Absolute Software’s LoJack antitheft software. Gascon is the latest US public official to demand such technology as a deterrent to smartphone theft. Wireless carriers claim hackers could use kill switches to disable phones. However, the problem is too significant to ignore, say Gascon and other law enforcement officials. The US Federal Communications Commission says about 1 in 3 robberies in the country involve phone theft, which—along with lost handsets—cost consumers roughly $30 billion in 2012. After reviewing e-mail provided by Samsung, Gascon said, “These emails suggest that the carriers are rejecting a technological solution so they can continue to shake down their customers for billions of dollars in (theft) insurance premiums.” “I’m incensed.” CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group for wireless providers, says it is working on a national stolen phone database that would prevent stolen phones from being reactivated within the US. Apple offers its Find My iPhone application, which lets consumers locate and remotely wipe their phones. (Tech Crunch)(Associated Press @ SF Gate)

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