Phandroid » Industry News Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google adds 40 new partners for Android for Work, including all major US carriers Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:33:49 +0000 google android for work partners

Android for Work is ramping up, and Google has been hard at work to get everyone on board. The company today announced that 40 new partners have signed up to be a part of Android for Work, including all major Canadian and US carriers.

Alongside carriers, Google has some of the biggest Android device manufacturers in HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, Huawei and ZTE. They’ve even gotten some of the smaller guys to come along like Silent Circle (whose Blackphone 2 will come with proper Android for Work support out of the box).

The rest of the partners are comprised of security solution companies, such as Cisco for VPN, Blackberry and SAP for remote device management, and Adobe, Box and Citrix for enterprise applications and deployment.

All of this may not sound important to the common user, but Android deserves a place in enterprise, and the only way it’s going to get that spot (and hold it) is if everyone’s working together to make it more secure and make it easy for businesses to adopt it.

[via Google]

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Sony wants to show us a “new way to capture split second photos” August 3rd Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:11:32 +0000 sony camera teaser

We haven’t heard much from Sony’s camp as far as their plans for the second half of 2015, but the company is teasing a new announcement for August 3rd. They did so on Twitter, with a post teasing that they’ll be showing us “a new way to capture split second photos.”

The teaser doesn’t give much on its own, so we’re left to our own guesses. It’s possible Sony could be announcing some new software feature or app they’re working on, especially since they’ve been testing concept software in recent times.

We could also get a new smartphone with some sort of unique camera feature. Instantly taking photos with a hardware button without having to turn the phone on, anyone? That would be gin, but we’ll have to wait a few more days to see what exactly they’re bringing to the table.

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Samsung to make the Galaxy S6 more affordable after another disappointing quarter Thu, 30 Jul 2015 12:31:09 +0000 Samsung Logo DSC08668

Samsung today unleashed their full earnings report for Q2 2015. It looks good from our end, with revenues of $41.5 billion and profit of $5.9 billion. The mobile division even had a good chunk of that profit at $2.4 billion.

But from Samsung’s perspective, things could be much better. That $2.4 billion is down from $3.8 billion the same year ago, but up 3% from the previous quarter. That still isn’t enough for the South Korean company.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge DSC09237

Like everyone else has done this year, they partly blame the stagnation on the huge successes known as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It was Apple’s first release that featured massive displays of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and consumers responded by giving Apple the best performing quarter in the history of business. Samsung also had a bit of a misstep of their own doing as they misjudged the demand for the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and suffered big supply constraints because of it.

So what next? For starters, Samsung says they’ll look “adjust” the prices of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and since they’d be crazy to increase the price we’re going to say it’s a sure bet they’ll look to get cheaper. How much cheaper? Probably not Motorola-like price tags, but enough that they can still make their smartphones look like an attractive buy at retail.

Let’s also not forget that Samsung has an event coming up on August 13th where they’re rumored to unveil Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (a bit sooner than they’ve normally unveiled this line in the past), as well as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. There’s bound to be room for at least another decent couple of quarters riding on the back of those 2 releases alone, though with Apple also looking to have their device out this fall we can’t imagine it’ll be easy to trump them.

[via Samsung]

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LG made just 1.2 cents per phone in Q2 2015, chalks it up to the iPhone Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:23:22 +0000 LG logo DSC08660

LG didn’t lose any money in Q2 2015, but no one’s exactly breaking out the champagne for the result they mustered up. The company pulled in 12.69 billion across all its businesses last quarter, which is a 7.6% decline year-on-year but close to the same compared to what they did the previous quarter. The company made just $222.25 million on all that revenue.

While the mobile division wasn’t the biggest to blame — TV revenue was down over 22% quarter-over-quarter thanks to waning interest in LCD — it still wasn’t great. The company shipped 8.1 million smartphones and grew 1% in revenue overall. They achieved their goal of establishing a bigger presence in North America by increasing revenues by as much as 36%, largely thanks to the performance of the mid-range market.

It’s the high-end segment that the company struggled with. The iPhone isn’t leaving much room for many competitors, LG included, and it caused the South Korean company to make just 1.2 cents (US Dollar) for every phone sold. That’s literally pocket change in their world, so you can see why they’d be a bit upset.

That said, things are bound to improve, even if only a little bit. The LG G4 will enjoy its first full quarter of being on the market in Q3, and LG is expected to release a couple of more high-end handsets, including the LG G Pro 3, by year’s end to help compete with Apple’s forthcoming options.

[via LG]

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Moto X Pure Edition will get lightning fast updates thanks to lack of carrier input Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:23:41 +0000 moto2015-any-carrier-lte (1)

Yesterday Motorola unleashed their top handset for 2015. It’ll be known as the Moto X Style across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but it’ll be known as the Moto X Pure Edition right here in the good ol’ US of A.

That comes with some upsides and downsides. The one downside, it seems, is that no carrier is looking to offer this thing, at least not subsidized. Wireless carriers tend to flock to announce that they’ll be carrying a device shortly after it’s announced, but not a single one of them have said a word, if you haven’t noticed.

But the upside is tremendous: you get a device that doesn’t come with the usual carrier-imposed pitfalls, such as stringent and lengthy testing periods for new software updates. Wouldn’t it be cool to get Android M nearly as fast as Nexus devices do?


Of course, Motorola isn’t making that promise. They still have a quality assurance procedure to adhere to, and they’re never going to push out an update without proper testing. But being able to bypass the carrier when said update is ready probably shaves weeks off the process, and that in itself is going to be huge.

Motorola is taking a big step with this new direct-to-consumer sales approach. It’s what allowed them to stick an attractive starting price tag of $399.99 on a great phone that would typically be a minimum of $550 to $600 through a carrier. It’s what’s going to allow them to deliver fast updates. And hopefully it’s going to turn out to be a great success so as to entice other manufacturers to go this route in the future.

[via Engadget]

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Qualcomm’s wireless charging solution is better, faster, stronger, than Qi – and now it goes through metal Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:06:43 +0000 Qualcomm WiPower metal wireless charging

While convenient for consumers, one of the bigger challenges OEMs face when building phones with wireless charging is that they’re limited to using either glass or plastic on the backs of their devices. Wireless charging standards like Qi and PMA don’t exactly play nice with metal, which is why you wont find wireless charging on an aluminum clad phones like the HTC One M9 or iPhone 6. But that could soon change.

Qualcomm’s been developing their own wireless charging solution for awhile now. Dubbed WiPower, we first saw it almost 2 years ago. Today, they’ve made a new development that makes it even more convenient than ever before — WiPower can finally go through metal. Although you wont find WiPower on any current devices, it’s sure to come bundled inside premium smartphones looking to take advantage of the tech in the near future. Steve Pazol, General Manager of Wireless Charging, Qualcomm Incorporated had this to say:

“Today, more device manufacturers are choosing to utilize metal alloys in their product designs to provide greater structural support and, of course, aesthetics. QTIs engineering advancement eliminates a major obstacle facing wireless power and opens up the continued adoption of this desirable feature to a much wider range of consumer electronics and use cases.”

Based on Near Field Magnetic Resonance technology, WiPower is designed to be Rezence compliant and although it wasn’t mentioned in their press release, doesn’t sound like it will support Qi or PMA charging methods. On the upside, WiPower is faster and far more convenient than current wireless charging solutions by being able to charge devices quicker (it can pump out up to 22 watts of power), and offers more flexibility by eliminating the need for precise alignment and/or physical contact with a receiving device. It’s basically what wireless charging always should have been.

In their demo video, you can Qualcomm haphazardly throw a pile of smartphones retrofitted with WiPower onto a charging plate. No need to line up devices perfectly, and it doesn’t even matter that they’re not in direct contact with the surface. Wow. Qualcomm also mentions that it can even charge multiple devices even if they require different power requirements) and uses Bluetooth Smart to further help minimize hardware requirements.

OEMs can begin licensing the new tech now, with a full suite of WiPower reference designs available to them. We’re sure we’ll see more about WiPower in the coming months, be it the next big trade show or otherwise. We want this, like, yesterday.



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Major Android vulnerability lets hackers take control of your phone with Just 1 MMS message Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:57:34 +0000 malware

Talk about scary. A security researcher at Zimpirium has uncovered a major vulnerability in Android that would allow a no-gooder to take control of your phone by simply sending you an MMS video message.

For apps such as Hangouts, the vulnerability completely bypasses the need for user input because Hangouts automatically “opens” your video when it comes in to buffer it up for fast playback, meaning you won’t even need to so much as click a link or press play for your phone to be exposed.

Other messaging apps which don’t touch the video until you press play might be at less of a risk, but it’s still something to be wary about. It’s also worth noting the vulnerability affects a long line of Android versions, from 2.2 Froyo all the way up to the current Android 5.1 Lollipop.

So what could a hacker do if they happen to be able to use this exploit? One could go as far as taking complete control of your phone, installing spyware or malware, and removing any evidence that they were up to no good.

That’s the bad news. The good news — if you can believe there is such a thing in this story — is as follows:

  • The researcher has notified Google and even supplied a patch as early as April and May.
  • Said patch has been accepted by Google, and has already been sent to OEMs for their next critical security patches.
  • There doesn’t appear to be any known malware out there using the vulnerability, and unless a blackhat hacker happens to figure the vulnerability out it will probably never surface.

nexus google stock

Google’s official response also seems to suggest that the patch can be applied to “any” phone:

The security of Android users is extremely important to us and so we responded quickly and patches have already been provided to partners that can be applied to any device.

And that’s that. So what next? We’re going to need updates, and those will have to come from the OEMs and carriers responsible for the phones out in the world right now.

You’d think they’d want to make sure their customers have the most secure devices possible, but the sad reality is that there is little incentive for OEMs and carriers to keep older devices updated with the latest security patches, and Google actually can’t do much about that if the WebView vulnerability debacle is anything to go by. There’s a chance your phone could miss an update if your OEM has retired it from their list of supported devices, and that’s a real shame because this has the potential to be very dangerous.

Unfortunately that’s all the detail we’re going to get in the here and now, though the exploit is set to be discussed at a major security conference taking place next month, and we’ll be sure to bring you all the latest that comes out of it.

[via NPR]

[Update]: Cyanogen, Inc. has already chimed in to let us know that fixes for Stagefright have been in nightly builds of CyanogenMod 12 and 12.1 for as many as two weeks now, with CyanogenMod 11 “out of band” (weekly) releases getting it as soon as this weekend.

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LG confirms “super premium phone” launching later this year after G4’s less-than-stellar performance Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:55:35 +0000 LG logo DSC08660

It looks like LG will want to join the club of manufacturers who prefer bringing out 2 high-end devices each year. The company has revealed to Korean outlet ET News that they’re gearing up to release a “super premium phone” in the second half of this year. They’re also looking to make “derivatives” of the LG G4, which isn’t all that surprising considering the company’s history of releasing Mini variants and other quirky versions of their flagship.

Even more interesting, though, is their admittance that this is all to counterbalance the LG G4’s faltering sales. The phone did well enough for them, we imagine, but not as well as they would have hoped. It’s no surprise, then, that they weren’t willing to share hard numbers.

Another interesting move is that they’re looking to accelerate plans to get these phones out in time to compete with upcoming devices from Samsung and Apple, namely the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the iPhone 6S. Samsung also reportedly looked to use such a tactic to better compete in the 2nd half of 2015.

We’re not sure if that’ll be detrimental to their QA process, but if they feel like they have to move faster to avoid being forgotten at retail then we wish them all the best. For now, we’ll continue enjoying the LG G4.

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OnePlus One sold over 1.5 million units in its first year Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:50:00 +0000 OnePlus One DSC06079

OnePlus doesn’t often talk about sales numbers, but the company’s cofounder Carl Pei was happy enough to share some in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The big takeaway is that the OnePlus One sold 1.5 million units within its first year, with 1 million of those coming within the first 6 months.

Of course, that doesn’t sound as gaudy and cool as some of the big guys who reach for 10 million units within a few months’ time, but OnePlus is still a very new company, and the small capital they had to work with — plus the lack of brand awareness and a meager marketing budget — certainly excuses them for not being able to reach those numbers.

In fact, it’s surprising that they were even able to hit 1 million units at all, especially with the pitfalls that came with the invitation system and the controversy surrounding their marketing tactics and the Cyanogen Mod breakup. OnePlus had quite a few chips stacked against them, and yet they’re about to hit the ground running with their second smartphone release which they anticipate will outpace the OnePlus One by a crap ton.

You can read the interview with Pei for yourself if you’re more interested in the man himself and how he came to realize his dream in Shenzhen.

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Google, Facebook and more are on Samsung’s side in war against Apple Tue, 21 Jul 2015 17:28:12 +0000 Samsung-vs-Apple

Believe it or not, Samsung and Apple are still duking it out in the courtrooms despite the two sides calming down over the years. Apple still wants its cut, though, and they probably aren’t going to stop until they’ve won.

And while Apple does have the advantage in all these patent lawsuits, Samsung has everyone rooting for them. A collective of Silicon Valley tech companies — including Google, Facebook, eBay, Dell, HP — have all cosigned a “friend of the court” document informing the courts of their thoughts on some of the dangerous precedents they could be ready to set in the world of patents.

It’s not the fact that Apple is able to win lawsuits based on some of the frivolous patents they own, such as the shapes of icons, that has everyone worried. A patent is a patent, and we should be blaming the current broken system for the pitfalls it’s created instead of Apple for exploiting it.

silicon valley

Instead, their fear is that a ruling which would force Samsung to fork over 100% of the profits from infringing devices if even just one patent is violated can lead to an “absurd” future for tech patents. Here’s an excerpt from the document:

Under the panel’s reasoning, the manufacturer of a smart television containing a component that infringed any single design patent could be required to pay in damages its total profit on the entire television, no matter how insignificant the design of the infringing feature was to the manufacturer’s profit or to consumer demand.

Software products and online platforms face similar dangers. A design patent may cover the appearance of a single feature of a graphical user interface, such as the shape of an icon. That feature—a result of a few lines out of millions of code—may appear only during a particular use of the product, on one screen display among hundreds.

But the panel’s decision could allow the owner of the design patent to receive all profits generated by the product or platform, even if the infringing element was largely insignificant to the user and it was the thousands of other features, implemented across the remainder of the software, that drove the demand generating those profits.

They aren’t wrong, either. Why should a company win 100% of your profits if all you “stole” was an icon shape, or some other insignificant element of device or user interface design? Where does one even begin to quantify the value of that sort of patent up against the hundreds of other components and innovations stuffed into these devices?

100% is the easy way out for the courts who have to mediate these talks and rule on these cases, but the other tech companies have no sympathy for the plight of these judges and they’ll do everything they can to make sure this precedent is never set. Let’s hope they’re successful in that quest.

[via Inside Sources]

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Qualcomm breakup: company might split business units to improve performance Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:00:50 +0000 Qualcomm Chips

Qualcomm hasn’t had the best 2015 so far, with the company losing a lot of business from Samsung and a wave of bad press affecting perception of the heat-laden Snapdragon 810. They also aren’t happy with their revenue outlook, according to the Wall Street Journal, and they’re currently exploring strategies to help get them moving in the right direction.

The outlet reports that one route on Qualcomm’s list of considerations is a company breakup not unlike the one Motorola performed a few years ago. The split would probably result in no more than two companies:

  • The chipset manufacturing side responsible for the Snapdragon line of products and network modems
  • The patent side, which makes money by licensing patented technology to other companies

Such a breakup is often designed in a way that will cut costs and reduce overhead, which would in turn make for smoother operations and better performance overall. A separate report also suggested Qualcomm is preparing to cut 10% of their workforce, which is no small amount for a company which employs 30,000 people.

Movement for change was supposedly sparked by a spirited shareholder who expressed dissatisfaction in Qualcomm’s current state of affairs, and for the company to respond — even if just for an investigation — they had to either be very influential or, well, had a whole lot of money poured into it.

Either way, they listened, and we imagine whatever they decide will be discussed during the company’s quarterly financial call taking place Wednesday. We’ll be tuned in to see what happens ourselves so be sure to circle back!

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Toshiba fakes $1.2 Billion in profit, CEO resigns Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:21:43 +0000 toshiba logo

Welp, you can probably count this as the biggest corporate scandal of the year. Toshiba has come forth to admit that their CEO — Hisao Tanaka — and his immediate underlings were involved in a book-fixing scheme that showed more than $1.2 billion fake profit over the course of several years.

As a result, the CEO and the two other executives — vice chairman Norio Sasaki and adviser Atsutoshi Nishida — have resigned from their positions.

According to USA today, Toshiba was pressured as far back as 2008 to turn the company around after their core computer businesses started falling short of expectations. The company’s leadership set unrealistic earnings expectations, which is probably what moved their employees (who supposedly acted without Tanaka’s knowledge) to start juking the stats.

It’s said no personal gain was achieved as a result of this scandal, with motives being more about saving the company from impending doom more than trying to line one’s own pockets. Regardless, it’s a pretty big violation of the trust their investors and shareholders had, and the little bit of trust left will have to be repaired with honest plans to reform the company going forward.

And, for what it’s worth, there is a sliver of hope that Toshiba can right the ship. The company’s stock actually rose 6% following the revelation of the scandal, which is seen as a sign that the situation can be repaired with the right plan, foundation and — by extension — CEO.

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Under Armour readies Fitbit competitor, full collection of HTC-made wearables for this holiday season Fri, 17 Jul 2015 13:52:06 +0000 HTC Grip and HTC One M9

We found it strange HTC hadn’t gotten their fitness band, the HTC Grip, out to market by now, and now we know why. The company has announced that they have suspended plans to launch the fitness band. Sad funeral time? Not quite.

The move was made because HTC feels they can do better than a simple band, especially considering there are already some pretty neat options on the market right now. Their new plan? To launch a whole fitness platform with a wide range of products with Under Armour’s help.

HTC logo DSC08945

HTC said as much in a statement issued to press:

Through our partnership with Under Armour, we have continued to refine our vision and approach to the health and fitness category. Our goal is to offer best-in-class products for our customers and partners.

After extensive wear testing and user feedback,  we have decided to align GRIP with the entire product portfolio for health and fitness launching later this year. This will be a state-of-the-art comprehensive portfolio of products for this category powered by UA RECORD.  We are excited to launch this new comprehensive product suite and will share further details as we get closer to launch.

Unfortunately that’s all the detail we’ll get on this new direction by the Taiwanese company, with the only expectation for release being this holiday season. It’d be irresponsible to peg the Grip as a failure on their part, not only because they have plans for a much more ambitious undertaking than they originally thought, but because they’re still relatively new in any space that doesn’t involve making smartphones.

HTC doesn’t just want to have another product on store shelves. They want to make a splash, and they want that splash to be one fit for the likes of a prestigious name such as Under Armour’s. We’re willing to give them all the time they need to make that happen. In the meantime, this amazing little thing is probably a bit higher on their list of priorities right now, and for good reason.


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Apple and Samsung could be working together to kill the SIM card Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:25:25 +0000 droid-turbo-sim-volume-rocker

SIM cards are annoying, and I think that’s something we all can agree on. But it looks like two of the biggest mobile companies in the game could be looking to help rid us of a future where these archaic slivers of plastic are still needed to provision cellular service.

Financial Times reports both Samsung and Apple are in talks with the GSMA — a company who governs many wireless standards — to work on an “e-SIM” technology. Such a technology would allow your phone to have a permanent “electronic” SIM card that can be instantly and effortlessly “changed” at the press of a button.

Currently, folks wanting to use different service in the same smartphone or the same service in different smartphones have to swap SIM cards in and out, or be lucky enough to own a phone that has dual-SIM capabilities. The idea here is that the swap never has to happen.

But contrary to how others might be seeing this development, the lack of a physical SIM card for service won’t necessarily spell the end of carrier lockdown. Phones still have to not only be compatible with a network, but also be approved by certain carriers (namely CDMA users Sprint and Verizon, among others).

Even GSM carriers like AT&T would likely still employ SIM-locking practices with this technology in their phones. It should be a great benefit for those in Europe, though, where you’re quite free to jump from carrier to carrier without having to get a note from mommy.

Regardless, it’s exciting to imagine a future where we no longer have to keep up with tiny electronic cards that are no bigger than our thumb, and we hope Apple and Samsung can come up with a solution that benefits everyone the world over.

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Watch out GrubHub: Groupon just acquired food ordering/delivery service OrderUp Thu, 16 Jul 2015 23:57:12 +0000 OrderUp Groupon acquisition

We knew Groupon had plans to launch a sort of food ordering/delivery service called “Groupon To Go,” but details surrounding it were kept under wraps. Today, we now have a better idea of what they have planned, with Boston-based food delivery service OrderUp announcing that they’ve officially been acquired by Groupon. Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky had this to say about the acquisition:

“Online food ordering and delivery represents an untapped opportunity for Groupon and serves as a natural extension of our local marketplace. The potential in delivery and takeout is apparent — especially with the growth of mobile — and OrderUp’s operational ability, coupled with Groupon’s engaged customer and merchant base, bring tremendous scale to the space.”

According to OrderUp, not much will change if you’re already one of OrderUp’s 25 million North American users except maybe having a greater range of food options thanks to Groupon. In fact, the website — which offers on-demand online and mobile food ordering — will remain active and OrderUp will continue expanding to midsized markets across the US. If nothing else, the move will give users an even better food ordering and delivery experience than ever before.

[Press Release]

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