Sure, some last minute leaks may have ruined Samsung’s big surprise, but that doesn’t mean that there still won’t be plenty to talk about when the Korean electronics titan shows off its flagship Galaxy S IV later tonight.
As usual, Samsung will be streaming the event (both online and in the heart of the city), but Jordan Crook, Michael Seo, and I will be liveblogging the event too in case you aren’t set up for video or would prefer to digest the night’s events with a heaping dose of personality.
In case you’ve somehow missed the deluge of Galaxy S IV information that has inundated the geekier districts of the web, here’s a quick rundown of what we expect to see tonight. If a slew of recently leaked photos are any indication then the Galaxy S IV won’t stray very far from the design language Samsung has grown fond of with devices like the Galaxy S III and Note II, and the love-them-or-hate-them plastic bodies don’t seem to be going anywhere. Meanwhile, people’s eyes will likely gravitate toward a 5-inch Super AMOLED screen and one of Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa chipsets (though it could be swapped for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 when the device makes its way Stateside).
And of course, new hardware is only going to be part of the equation — Samsung appears to have baked nifty software features like Floating Touch and Smart Pause into its highly customized Android build. It won’t be long until we finally see how the device matches up to the rumors, so stay tuned.
DoubleTwist, an iTunes alternative for the Android ecosystem, has teamed up with chipmaker Qualcomm on the release of “MagicPlay,” which the two companies are describing as an open source media streaming platform meant to challenge Apple’s AirPlay. The technology is built on Qualcomm’s AllJoyn protocol, a mesh networking platform that has been in development for several years, but which has yet to achieve serious OEM or consumer adoption.
AllJoyn, for those unfamiliar, works with specific Qualcomm chipsets to enable proximity-based, peer-to-peer networks. The company has previously stated that AllJoyn is not meant to replace either WiFi Direct or Bluetooth, but rather live alongside those technologies as a way to make it easier for devices to talk to each other. So yes, it’s an idea that falls into the “Internet of Things” space, which envisions a world where all our devices can share data between each other. Some potential use cases for AllJoyn include mobile games which could immediately switch into multiplayer mode when near other gamers, or photo or file sharing without using NFC or Bluetooth. Qualcomm also recently invested in a contextual personal search/assistant app called Friday, which plans to integrate the technology in future builds.
But while a network of smart devices communicating with each other is representative of Qualcomm’s larger vision, the company still needs an angle into real-world adoption first. On that note, it has partnered with doubleTwist on MagicPlay, an open source protocol that will allow any Android device, smartphone or tablet, to wirelessly stream media to any device with a Qualcomm chip running the AllJoyn protocol.
The platform will allow smartphones and tablets to connect with speakers, including those both in the home and in the car. It can also enable connecting devices via Wi-Fi as an alternative to Bluetooth – a fact that goes against Qualcomm’s earlier positioning as to where this protocol fits in in comparison with similar technologies. In this case, it’s not “complementing” Bluetooth, for example, it could replace it – at least in this particular use case. App developers can also add MagicPlay to their mobile apps, allowing them to stream content to speakers, TVs, cars and more.
Well…they could if it Qualcomm can get consumer electronics makers to commit to integrating the technology in their products as well. Notably absent in the two companies’ announcements today was any sort of mention of which OEMs are planning to support AllJoyn more directly – something that’s a necessary part to any sort of grand scheme to launch any AirPlay “killer,” so to speak. Being an open source technology, of course, is a good first step, but it still needs to be ubiquitous to really take off. Apple’s AirPlay is easy because you know if you have only Apple devices in the mix, it will work. But look at something like NFC, which has been baked into various Android devices (and those from others) over the years – because it’s not everywhere, it hasn’t become a daily habit, or a standard way that consumers think to share files or photos (e.g. with Android’s SmartBeam) or make payments at point-of-sale.
Another obstacle for Qualcomm’s AllJoyn is that it competes with a standards-driven AirPlay alternative known as Mircast, which builds upon Intel’s earlier efforts with WiFi Direct. Samsung’s Mircast-based “AllShare Cast” platform is already built into the Galaxy S II, Note 10.1, Note II and others. Other CE and chip companies supporting the platform include LG, Marvell, Nvidia and Sony.
DoubleTwist’s MagicPlay integration will be available this spring, and the MagicPlay source code will become available in Q3 2013.
Go here to see the original: DoubleTwist Teams Up With Qualcomm On Open Source AirPlay Alternative, “MagicPlay”
Galaxy Note clone forthcoming flagship, the 5.5 inch Optimus G Pro, has been confirmed for the U.S. market. Writing in a release on its website (translated from Korean by Google Translate), LG said the device will be released in international markets including North America and Japan in the second quarter of this year. Pricing has not been confirmed.
Phones that are large enough to act as small tablets — hence the phone+tablet ‘phablet’ portmanteau — were popularised by Samsung’s original Galaxy Note — and now its successor, the Note II. Back in November Samsung announced it had pushed past five million channel sales of the Note II in around two months since the device went on sale. Analyst iSuppli is predicting phones with screens of more than five inches will more than double their share of the smartphone market this year, with 60.4 million units forecast to ship in 2013 as big phones carve out a larger niche for themselves.
On paper, the LG Optimus G Pro is a specs-busting affair — packing in a full 1920 x 1080 HD display, with screen resolution equating to 400ppi. Under the hood the 4G phablet is powered by a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, which LG claims offers improved performance — including lower power consumption — than Qualcomm’s S4 chip. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, skinned with an updated version of LG’s UI.
On the back there’s a 13 megapixel camera, while the front facing lens is 2.1 megapixels. The removable battery is a whopping 3,140mAh. There’s also NFC on board. Device thickness is 9.4mm.
The forthcoming phablet will make its debut in LG’s domestic market later this month, and will doubtless also be on show at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow next week — so stay tuned for hands-on.
Apple, Microsoft, HP, Samsung, D-Link, Parrot and Logitech have been included in a patent lawsuit by non-profit research institution — the Washington Research Foundation (WRF) — over claims that they are infringing on wireless radio patents with chipsets they use in their mobile and computer products.
According to the lawsuit (which is embedded below), the seven companies are accused of infringing at least one of six patents (from a set of 14 subject patents) registered by the WRF. They include Patent numbers: 6,427,068; 6,631,256; 7,116,963; 7,606,542; 7,853,225 and 7,925,238 – all of which cover a ‘Simplified high frequency tuner and tuning method.’
The patent describes a technology that “tunes a signal from a channelized spectrum having a predetermined channel spacing. A signal of interest having a predetermined maximum bandwidth is mixed with a local oscillator signal, which has a frequency that is an integer multiple of the channel spacing or one-half of a channel spacing displaced from an integer multiple of the channel spacing.”
All the parties involved appear to have been named in the lawsuit because they use radio chipsets manufactured or sold by Atheros, Qualcomm, or Qualcomm-Atheros (the latter of which is the merged company the acquisition by Qualcomm).
Apple is accused of using such chipsets in its 27” iMac EMC 2309 and 2374 (late 2009 models), as are D-Link’s DIR 600 range of wireless routers, HP’s DV5-2040BR Pavilion Entertainment and ProBook 4520s notebooks, Logitech’s Revue Google TV set-top box and Microsoft’s Zune HD music player.
Parrot’s AR Drone (remote control WiFi quadricoptor) and Samsung’s Series 5 3G Chromebook are also named as infringing products.
When the WRF started flexing its patent muscles, many of the accused companies believed they were protected by indemnity agreements with their radio chipset suppliers and didn’t intend to license them directly.
As a result, a number of chipset suppliers contacted the WRF in order to license its patents, to ensure its partners were protected. The organisation lists Airoha Technology, Broadcom , CSR, Ericsson (including National Semiconductor and Winbond), Infineon, Marvell, Silicon Laboratories, SiTel Semiconductor, ST-Ericsson and ST-NXP, Toshiba and NXP Semiconductors as licensees.
Other companies including Cisco, GN Netcom, Harman International Industries and VTech also licensed the patents to cover sales of their wireless products.
While Qualcomm has been engaged in negotiations with the WRF, it has “failed to take a license on terms that are consistent with WRF’s prior licenses and that would cover the past and present infringing activities.” This has meant that Apple (and the other six companies named) have been asked to license the patents directly, with the WRF explaining that it has attempted to license its patents to Apple, D-Link and HP as far back as September 1, 2005.
The WRF was assigned the portfolio of patents relating to radio frequency (RF) receiver technology used in Bluetooth, FM, GSM, Wi-Fi, and other communication systems. Using its existing portfolios, it has been able to “provide support, through gifts and grants, for scholarship and research” worth more than $344 million.
The organisation seeks confirmation that the companies involved have infringed on its patents, an award of damages and adequate compensation for past infringement of its portfolio.
Image Credit: Atheros
Best Buy started accepting pre-orders today for the AT&T Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC 8X Windows Phone devices. Pricing details are also now available, with the Lunia 920 available for $149.99 on a new 2-year contract, and $599.99 without commitment. The 8X is $99.99 on contract, and $599.99 without, meaning those interested can get on board with Windows Phone 8 for $50 less with HTC, albeit with some trade-offs.
Those looking for color choice will want to opt for Nokia, however, as the HTC 8X is only available in purple through the current pre-order process, while the Nokia Lumia 920 (an AT&T exclusive for 6 months, according to reports) comes in your choice of cyan, yellow, red, white and black. Also, the 8X has only 8GB of internal storage, while the Lumia 920 offers 32GB built-in. Both devices offer an 8 MP rear camera, but the HTC’s front facing one is 2.1 MP while the Nokia’s is 1.2. The 8X has a 4.3-inch, 1280 x 720 display with pixel density of 342ppi, vs the Lumia 920′s 1280 x 768, 332ppi screen. Both use the same 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with 1GB of internal RAM. In terms of physical dimensions, the HTC smartphone is smaller and lighter.
Ship date is still unknown, since all of the devices still say “Reserve today. Will ship when available” on Best Buy’s website.