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Earlier this month an official test build of the Android 4.3 update for Samsung Galaxy S3 was leaked online, it was said back then that the company was in the process of testing the update and ironing out bugs. A short while after the leak, Samsung started rolling out the same build for international variants of the Galaxy S3. It appears that there might be a few problems with said update, seeing as how most users who have installed it are now complaining about various issues. The issues seem to be quite major, users are noticing reduced battery life, performance lags, app crashes, Wi-Fi connection drops and even lockups of the device on the lockscreen which are only fixed by removing and reinserting the battery.

In light of all of these issues, it is possible that Samsung might have halted the rollout of Android 4.3 for Galaxy S3. Phones Review reports that the update was previously available for their device, but they initially ignored the notification to install it. They attempted updating today only to be told by the device that all of the latest updates are installed. Judging by this, it would be safe to assume that Samsung has halted the rollout. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the same has been done with Android 4.3 for Galaxy Note 2, given the fact that both devices are almost identical in hardware and software. It would be best to hold off on updating the Galaxy S3 to Android 4.3 right now, even if you’re able to, until word from Samsung comes in.



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Earlier today Motorola finally unveiled the Moto G smartphone. Its a mid-range Android device that has a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and a 4.5 inch HD display. Motorola has competitively priced the Moto G, offering the 8GB variant for $179 off contract. The 16GB model will be available for $199, SIM-free. Verizon has confirmed that it will carry the device for its prepaid customers. The carrier announced via Twitter that it will have the Moto G available for prepaid customers in Q1, 2014. That’s quite a vague timeframe, but one that rests between the first few months of next year.

Motorola has launched the device already in Brazil and the U.K. The Moto G will be available in Canada and additional regions in Europe in the coming weeks. U.S. and India are slated to receive it early next year. Even Motorola has not provided a concrete release date for the Moto G in the U.S. Moto G will run Android 4.3 Jelly Bean out of the box, but the company says that Android 4.4 KitKat will be rolled out for it in the first few months of 2014. Customers looking to switch to Verizon without having to sign a contract will have an enticing option in the shape of the Moto G, which will be a relatively affordable prepaid option.



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Samsung’s numerous manufacturing plants are more than capable of manufacturing its own smartphones as well as components for other OEMs. Though it appears that the company might be shifting its strategy. Local media reports coming in from Korea suggest that Samsung will accelerate outsourcing production of low-end and mid-range smartphones to Chinese subcontractors, whereas it will use its own facilities to handle premium smartphone production.

The Galaxy Trend Duos is the most successful outsourced smartphone that Samsung sells, production has exceeded 10 million units. Zhonghuan Telecommunication, an outfit based in Tianjin, manufactures the Galaxy Trend Duos. A number of Samsung low-end and mid-range devices often become a hit, particularly in emerging markets. By outsourcing production, the company will be able to relieve pressure on its own plants without having on compromise on sales and profits brought in by these smartphones. Samsung is already rumored to focus more on low-end devices next year, apparently the company believes that the premium market is quite saturated right now, so in the coming years substantial growth will be driven by the low-end devices. It remains to be seen if Samsung will opt to outsource production to joint ventures it is a part of, like Zhonghuan, or if it will hand over production to totally independent subcontractors.


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Just last month Google announced a new Chromebook, the HP Chromebook 11. It has an 11.6 inch IPS display, dualcore Samsung Exynos processor, 2GB RAM and a price tag of $279. Google touted the product as an ultra-affordable laptop which is also small and light. Powered by Chrome OS, it came with 100GB of Google Drive storage for two years, which would have been a life saver given the fact that the laptop only has 16GB of local storage. Sales of the Chromebook have apparently been stopped and no reason has surfaced as yet. The Verge reports that Best Buy has ordered employees to remove the Chromebook 11 from shelves, and that stores should stop selling it “effective immediately.” Best Buy has also removed the listing from its website without giving a reason.

The HP Chromebook 11 is also sold by Google and HP through their stores, but it is no longer available at either store. Amazon has stopped directly selling it as well, saying that customers have told them that “there may be something wrong” with their inventory of the HP Chromebook 11. Google, HP or Best Buy have yet to comment on why the Chromebook has mysteriously been made unavailable for purchase. We’ll update you when word comes in.


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For the past few months there have been a lot of rumors about the iTV making the rounds. Apple’s much rumored full fledged HDTV set is nowhere to be seen, the company itself hasn’t detailed its TV plans as yet. Recently we picked up on an analyst prediction that the iTV isn’t going to be released in 2014 as originally anticipated, and that the company will focus on wearable devices instead. Today, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has weighed in on the iTV debate, predicting that Apple might have delayed the TV’s launch to “end-2015 or early 2016 at the earliest.”

Kuo says that the reason behind this delay might be the costs associated with establishing a supply chain for the iTV as well as the challenges Apple faces in integrating TV content and services. It has already been rumored that the iTV has been delayed due to content securing problems, something which Apple has to work around if it aims to make its offering different from the other smart TVs out there. So instead of a full fledged HDTV, Kuo expects the company to launch a refreshed Apple TV set-top box with an A7 processor in 2014. Whatever the case may be, its always best to take these predictions with a grain of salt. For all we know, Apple may never enter the TV market.


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Speculation about BlackBerry’s future has finally died down. The board announced recently that its no longer actively seeking a buyer and that it has received a $1 billion investment from various institutional investors. The investment was closed today, and as a result, Thorsten Heins is no longer the CEO. The new BlackBerry CEO John S Chen today penned his first letter to the company’s fans, saying that they’re “excited for the future and you should be too.”

He assures the world that while a lot has been said about the company and the precarious situation it finds itself in, the management is not dwelling on the past, its looking towards the future. Chen says that they’re committed to reclaiming success, and that the company has now begun moving to adopt a multi-platform BYOD management platform and a new device strategy. There has been a lot of talk about the company’s financial health, and seeing how it burned almost $1 billion in operating loss last quarter, analysts fear that it might burn through its entire cash pile in the next few quarters. Chen says that BlackBerry has “significant financial strength for the long-haul.” It remains to be seen how the company’s device strategy changes under the new management. This year BlackBerry launched four BB10 devices and they failed to make a substantial mark in the global smartphone market. Chen has already said that there are no plans to shut down the hardware division, but what we can expect from division in the coming year, still remains a mystery.


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At Nokia World last month, the company unveiled its Lumia 1520 smartphone and also showed off its new Refocus app. The app does what its name says, it allows users to take advantage of multiple levels of focus in one single image. Nokia has now released the Refocus app for existing Lumia PureView smartphones, which includes the Lumia 920, 925, 928 and the 1020.

The app has been designed for scenes with great contrast in the depth of field. To obtain the best results, users are advised to first focus on the object that’s closest to them. Once the closest object is in focus, tapping the screen starts the capture process which will take a few seconds, having a steady hand will definitely be a plus. Basically it captures 2-8 images depending upon what’s in view, each image is at five megapixels at a different focus, they’re all aligned and combined into a single image in which objects can be refocused. Tap any part of the finished image to shift focus on it. Color pop, a feature in the Nokia Creative Studio, has been added to the Refocus app. The feature allows users to retain color in the section they want to shift the focus to, while the rest of the image turns black and white, with contrast being slightly adjusted on the way.


iwatch-potential

Apple is yet to make its entry in the wearable device market, it is expected to do so next year by launching its smartwatch called iWatch. The company has obviously not confirmed anything at this point in time, all we have on the iWatch currently are rumors. There’s another one making the rounds today, this one comes courtesy of David Hsieh, the vice president of Greater China Market at DisplaySearch. He reportedly said at a conference in Taiwan today, citing Apple sources, that the iWatch will come in different display sizes for men and women, 1.7 inches and 1.3 inches respectively.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month that the company is going to break into new product categories next year, based on that, quite a lot of people are of the view that the wearable device category is one of them. Another recent report from DisplaySearch claims that Apple has put its iTV plans on hold and that it will focus on wearable devices next year. Rumor has it that LG will be supplying the OLED displays that Apple will use in the iWatch, it is not known for sure whether or not these displays are going to be flexible. The Korea Herald cites sources who say that it is a possibility since Apple might want the iWatch to “upstage” the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch.


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There aren’t a lot of smartphones out there right now that have flexible displays, the trend hasn’t caught on yet. LG has already announced its contender, the “self-healing” G Flex, but it is yet to be released globally. It was initially believed that LG might only launch the smartphone in select markets in Asia and Europe, but the company did hint recently that it is working on plans for a global launch. Trusted Twitter leaker @evleaks “confirmed” through his usual medium that the LG G Flex will be making its way stateside, and that it will be offered by three major national carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

No release dates or pricing information has been provided as yet. Verizon is missing from the list, and it is not known right now if the carrier will offer the device later than its rivals or if it won’t carry it at all. The G Flex packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor under the hood which is aided by 2GB of RAM. It has a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 3,500mAh battery. The defining feature has to be the curved 6 inch 720p AMOLED display. That’s not all, the smartphone also has “self-healing” powers, check out this video to see what they really are.


panonoDo you love throwing things? Well, you might want to check out the Panono throwable ball camera which will definitely let you place more thought before you let loose this particular camera. The Panono is capable of taking a 360 degree panoramic photo as it traverses through the air, and it will become a reality for the masses should it receive the necessary funds required for development and manufacturing over on Indiegogo. The Panono is a spherical camera that measures 11cm in diameter, tipping the scales at 300 grams.

Just how does it work? For starters, it comes with three dozen small cameras affixed onto it, where all of them would do their bit to contribute to the final image that has a total resolution of 72 megapixels. Whenever the Panono is thrown into the air, there is a built-in accelerometer which will detect such a situation, and the camera will then gauge the launch acceleration in order to figure out just when it reaches the highest point, which is where it will be nearly still. It is at this apex in its “flight” that all of the 36 cameras will snap a photo at once, resulting in a 360 degree panorama. Since it comes encased in a tough case, you need not fret about it cracking like an egg upon landing on the ground.

Should it achieve its funding goals by January 4 next year, the Panono will then be available by September 2014. Pre-orders can be placed for $499 a pop.