Month: November 2013

IDC: More than 1 billion smartphones to be shipped in 2013

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While 2013 has just a bit more than a month remaining, there will still be plenty of smartphone buying over that time period. Tomorrow’s Black Friday sales ‘holiday’ will see plenty of handsets rung up while we still have a tad more than three weeks left until Christmas. In other words, a disproportionate number of smartphones will be sold over the next few weeks.

How successful was 2013 for smartphone manufacturers? According to analytic firm IDC, by the time the bean counters stop counting the beans, more than 1 billion smartphones will have been shipped for the year. This represents a 40% increase from 2012. IDC sees the number continuing to grow, reaching 1.7 billion units shipped by 2017. That works out to an 18.4% compounded annual growth rate from 2013-2017.

One factor leading to the higher shipping numbers is the lower average selling price for smartphones. For the third quarter, IDC saw smartphone prices sliding 12.5% to $317 on average, and their forecast shows smartphone prices continuing to drop. By 2017, the average selling price is expected to be $265.

IDC says that Android continues to dominate globally with 81% of phones shipped in Q3 powered by Google’s open source OS. Apple’s iOS was next, responsible for 12.9% of smartphones in transit during the third quarter. While Windows Phone had “only” a 5% share of smartphones shipped in Q3, that was a hefty 156% increase year-over-year. And that is before the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, first to ship with the GDR3 update, was released. The update now allows OEMs to produce Windows Phone powered handsets with specs equal to the mightiest of Android flavored phones. BlackBerry’s share of smartphones shipped in the third quarter was a puny 1.7% compared to the previous year’s 4.1%

Those figures confirm an earlier breakdown of Q3 market share released at the end of October by ABI Research. That data also showed Android with an 81% share, and awarded 14% to iOS, 4% to Windows Phone and 1.5% to BlackBerry.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 may come without OIS camera module after all

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The Korean media has been literally buzzing with Samsung-related news as of late, spitting out report after report. What binds these all together, apart from their target topic, is the fact that we are fed information by our all-time favorite person – Mr. Anonymous industry source.

Yet we are no strangers to rumors, and we’ve witnessed their increasing reliability, at least the ones that have some basis in reality. Such is the case, precisely, with the report from Korean ET News. Citing an unidentified source from the industry, the new intel points towards the quite unlikely prospect of an Optical Image Stabilization module in the upcoming Samsung flagship – the Galaxy S5.

According to the report, the issue pertains to a lack of a scalable supply, considering the volume at which the Galaxy S line usually sells in. As has become usual, we’re once again given to understand that OIS module yields are once again at the core of this, as these need to be both power-efficient, compact and up to Samsung’s standard. How high of a standard that one is, we have no clue, though if it’s anything alike to Apple’s, we certainly can imagine this being rooted in fact. What’s more, while the latest Galaxy S5 specs leak notes a 16MP camera unit, there’s no mention of an OIS actuator.

Now, while still considered an extra, OIS can be said to be slowly morphing into something a tad more tangible, especially considering the splendid jobs it does stabilizing snaps and videos. What’s more, it doesn’t take an industry genius to figure out that cameras have become a component threatening to overshadow everything else inside of a smartphone, at least for the increasingly diverse clique of photography buffs. This makes an OIS module a sought-after commodity that Samsung is surely trying its darnest to obtain, as we expect the Galaxy S5 to be every bit of a hardware powerhouse as the ones before it.

LG G Flex may be launched globally at Hong Kong event in December: Report

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LG seems all set to release its first curved display smartphone, the G Flex, at an event in Hong Kong next month. LG’s vice chairman Koo Bon-joon had previously mentioned that the company was in discussions with global telecommunications firms to launch the phone, and that Europe and the US were probable markets.

Now, Chinese publication 3G.CN has published an invitation from LG for a G Flex event scheduled on December 3 in Hong Kong, where the company may announce global availability details, apart from Hong Kong launch details.

LG has already confirmed that it will launch the G Flex in France via mobile carrier, Orange, in December. However, no pricing details were revealed for France.

The South Korean manufacturer can also be expected to rollout the G Flex smartphone in more markets sometime later, as it could help the maker gain lead in nascent curved display smartphone market.

Recently, a report claimed that LG has been working on a successor to the G Flex curved display smartphone, one that would sport better bendable features. The report revealed that the alleged G Flex successor, thought to be dubbed G Flex 2, would come with special hard rubber body allowing it to bend up to a 90 degree angle.

Further, the report mentioned that the alleged G Flex 2 would include a flexible battery inside, although there was no word on the removable battery. The report also speculated that LG might launch the second smartphone in its G Flex series in Q2 2014.

LG unveiled the much-anticipated G Flex smartphone in October this year. It announced the pricing of the G Flex for the Korean market shortly after, which translated to roughly Rs. 59,000.

The Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean-based phablet is powered by a quad-core 2.26GHz Snapdragon 800 (MSM8974) processor, an Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. It features a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 2.1-megapixel rear camera. The G Flex is backed by a 3,500mAh battery, weighs 177 grams, and is 7.9mm at its thinnest, while being 8.7mm at its thickest. As for the 6-inch curved display, it comes with Plastic OLED display (P-OLED), which is supposedly ultra-light, ultra-thin and flexible.

ZTE India reveals plans for big smartphone push in 2014

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Chinese telecom equipment major ZTE says it is targeting a revenue of USD 800 million for the year 2014 from India as telcos are likely to spend more on the back of growth revival in the sector. The company, which has already clocked USD 400 million in revenues till October this year, is hopeful of increasing that figure to USD 500 million by the end of this year.

“Telecom companies expect clarity (in rules) after the elections and by then, the auction would have also been completed. Telecom companies have already started preparing and we expect next year to be good,” ZTE India CEO Xu Dejun told reporters at a press event in New Delhi on Friday.

ZTE India already manages the 4G network of Bharti Airtel in Kolkata and Chandigarh and select circles of Sistema Shyam for its CDMA network. The company is also likely to bid for Bharti Airtel’s 3G service network upgradation deal.

Xu Dejun added that refarming would also help the company as telecom operators look at revamping their networks to better utilise the available spectrum.

Of the targeted USD 800 million revenue in 2014, the company expects the telecom business to contribute around USD 500 million, with the rest coming from its terminal (handsets and data cards) business. In May this year, ZTE had partnered Pune-based Calyx to enter the handset market in India. Since then, it has introduced a slew of smartphones, including the ZTE Grand X Quad Lite and the ZTE Blade G2.

ZTE, which is already the leader in the data card segment with over 60 percent marketshare in the country, aims to grab a bigger pie of the smartphone market in 2014. The company hopes to ship at least two million smartphones in India next year.

Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2 leaked in images, specifications

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Samsung seems all set to release a new affordable smartphone, the Galaxy S Duos 2, the successor to the Galaxy S Duos in India. The rumoured Galaxy S Duos 2 has been leaked in full via leaked images, prices and specifications.

Hungarian Tech 2 site has published some images of what is being called the Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2, revealing the handset in its full glory. As per the leaked images, the dual-SIM Galaxy S Duos 2 will come with identical design as seen in the original Galaxy S Duos.

Further, the site has leaked some specifications of the Galaxy S Duos 2, which include a 4-inch display with a resolution of 480×800 pixels; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor (with no word on the chipset); 5-megapixel rear camera; expandable storage support (microSD card), and 1500mAh battery. The site claims that the Galaxy S Duos will run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The site has also leaked a promotional material of the Galaxy S Duos 2 which shows that the smartphone would feature Multi-Window feature, generally seen on premium smartphones and tablets.

In addition, a Twitter user named Manish Khatri, who is a retailer in Mumbai, has posted the price of Galaxy S Duos 2 on Twitter. Khatri writes, “#Samsung New launch: Galaxy S Duos 2: MRP Rs. 11,230 Best buy price Rs. 10990/-(stocks in few days).” The tweet clearly suggests that the smartphone would be launched in India soon, however does not mention the exact price of the smartphone. The tweet was first spotted by Android OS blog.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S Duos in India in September 2012 at a price of Rs. 17,900.

Earlier this week, Samsung announced the successor to the Galaxy Grand, the Galaxy Grand 2. The South Korean handset maker did not reveal the price for Galaxy Grand 2 and did not announce the availability details for the smartphone.

HTC launches Desire 601 dual-SIM, Desire 700 dual-SIM and Desire 501 smartphones

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HTC has expanded its Desire range with the introduction of new mid-range smartphones, the Desire 700 dual-SIM, Desire 601 dual-SIM and the Desire 501. HTC announced the new Desire smartphones in Taiwan at a press briefing and also revealed the prices for the new phones, although it has not detailed the global availability of the Desire smartphones.

The HTC Desire 700 dual-SIM will be available at 13,900 Taiwan Dollar (Rs. 29,200 approximately), the HTC Desire 601 dual-SIM will be available at 10,900 Taiwan Dollar (Rs. 22,900 approximately) and the HTC Desire 501 has been priced at 9,900 Taiwan Dollar (Rs. 20,800 approximately). All the three newly launched Desire smartphones have been listed by HTC Taiwan’s official site and was first reported by Android Community.

The HTC Desire 700 and Desire 601 dual-SIM run Android Jelly Bean OS with HTC Sense UI on top featuring BlinkFeed, while the HTC Desire 501 runs Android Jelly Bean with Sense UI, but does not feature BlinkFeed. However, it’s not clear at this stage whether the OS version in all the three Desire smartphone is Android 4.2 or Android 4.3.

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The HTC Desire 501 comes with a 4.3-inch WVGA (480×800) display. It is powered by a 1.15GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone sports an 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and BSI sensor. It also includes a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. There is 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD card. There is 2100mAh battery and includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA, Micro-USB and built-in NFC as connectivity options.

On the other hand, the HTC Desire 601 dual-SIM is a variant of the Desire 601 which was announced in September this year. The HTC Desire 601 comes with a 4.5-inch qHD display with a 540×960 pixels resolution. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (unspecified chipset) along with 1GB of RAM. It sports a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and also includes some HTC One camera goodies like Sequence shot, Always Smile, Object Removal and HTC Zoe. It also sports a VGA front-facing camera.

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The device comes with 4GB of inbuilt storage which can be expanded up to 64GB via microSD card. The HTC Desire 601 also features dual-front stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers. Connectivity options on the device include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G. The Desire 601 dual-SIM includes a 2100mAh battery that the company claims can deliver up to 12 hours of talktime and up to 582 hours of standby time.

The HTC Desire 700 dual-SIM as the name suggests is a dual-SIM smartphone with support for GSM+GSM. It’s worth pointing that the smartphone supports both micro-SIMs instead of the regular SIM size. The HTC Desire 700 features a 5-inch qHD (540×960 pixels) display. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor alongside 1GB of RAM, although the chipset has not been revealed, yet. It comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage, which is further expandable up to 64GB via microSD card.

The Desire 700 dual-SIM sports an 8-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash and also houses a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera with BSI sensor. Much like the flagship smartphone HTC One, the Desire 700 dual-SIM features HTC BoomSound dual-front stereo speakers with built-in amplifier. It includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DLNA, GPS/AGPS and 3G connectivity options. The smartphone packs a 2100mAh battery which can deliver up to 11.6 hours of talk time and up to 582 hours of standby time.

Nokia Lumia 525 budget Windows Phone with 1GB of RAM unveiled

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After weeks of speculation, Nokia’s new budget Windows Phone, the Lumia 525, is now official. Unfortunately, there is no word on the availability and pricing of the Lumia 525 for various markets. However, Engadget notes that the Lumia 525’s official listing includes three regions – Africa, Asia Pacific and Middle East.

The major highlight of the Nokia Lumia 525 is that the smartphone features 1GB of RAM, which is double than the 512MB RAM found on other budget Lumia smartphones (Nokia Lumia 520, Nokia Lumia 620 and Nokia Lumia 625). Other specifications of the Lumia 525 are identical to the Lumia 520.

The Nokia Lumia 525 runs Windows Phone 8 with the Lumia Black update. It features a 4-inch WVGA (480×800) IPS LCD display, translating to a pixel density of 235ppi. The Lumia 525 is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor alongside 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of inbuilt storage, which can be expanded up to 64GB with microSD card.

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The Lumia 525, much like other Nokia Lumia smartphone, comes with 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage. It sports an 5-megapixel rear camera with no flash or front-facing camera. The primary camera on the Lumia 525 features Nokia Smart Camera Cinemagraph lens, Panorama lens, and Bing vision with other image tweaking options namely touch to focus, landscape orientation, auto and manual exposure, and geo-tagging.

The Nokia Lumia 525 packs a 1430mAh battery which according to the company can deliver up to 17 hours of talktime and up to 336 hours of standby time. Connectivity options on the smartphone include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, A-GLONASS and 3G. Much like other Nokia Lumia smartphone, the Lumia 525 also includes popular location and navigation apps such as HERE Drive, HERE Maps, and HERE Transit.