Huawei filed a lawsuit against Samsung back in May, accusing the Korean corporation of infringing on some of its 4G-related patents. Now, it’s Samsung that’s on the offensive: according to Reuters, it has filed a lawsuit of its own against Huawei for a very similar reason. The Korean chaebol sued Huawei in its home country (China) a couple of weeks ago for allegedly infringing on six of its patents. A spokesperson said the company tried to “resolve this matter amicably” but didn’t elaborate on the nature of the affected intellectual properties.
Huawei didn’t demand money when it filed its lawsuit and asked for a cross-licensing deal instead. Analyst Lee Do-hoon told Reuters that Samsung probably isn’t looking to be paid either. He said both sides might have ulterior motives: Huawei’s is to boost its reputation. “If you look at the patent battle with Apple and Samsung… it ultimately created a lot of benefits for Samsung in a kind of an advertisement,” he explained. Samsung’s motive, on the other hand, might be to compel Huawei to settle as soon as possible.
It’s official: the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active isn’t quite as rugged as it was originally advertised. Well, it wasn’t, but it is now. Following failed underwater tests from both Consumer Reports and CNET, Samsung looked into the phone’s production process and found manufacturing problems that were compromising its water-resistance. Fortunately, the issue has been resolved. From here on out, the Galaxy S7 Active is expected to be sufficiently water-tight.
Although the production process is fixed now, there’s no real way to tell how many units in the wild are effected, though Samsung told Consumer Reports that “compared to the total number of devices sold, it was tiny.” Even so, the company says it will replace any S7 Active with water damage through the warranty period, or up to one year after the device is purchased. Unfortunately, this replacement does not apply to phones that haven’t been damaged, making it difficult for current S7 Active owners to know if it’s safe for them to take their phones in the water.
It’s never good when you have to treat your rugged phone with kids gloves.
Source: Consumer Reports
Until now, the smartwatch market had seen year-over-year growth each quarter since the devices made their debut. For Q2 2016 though, that wasn’t the case. Global smartwatch shipments were down 32 percent, totaling 3.5 million gadgets during the period. That figure is down from 5.1 million of the wearables shipped during the second quarter of 2015. Apple still led the pack with 1.6 million units, but it was the only top-selling company to experience an annual decline. It’s worth noting that Q2 2015 was when the Apple Watch launched and there hasn’t been an updated model yet.
Speaking of new devices, the lack of updated hardware is a key reason the for the drop in numbers. Improvements to Apple’s watchOS were announced back at WWDC, but they won’t arrive until this fall. There’s a new version of Android Wear on the way as well. Combine that with no new model from the top company and buyers are waiting to nab a wearable if they haven’t done so already. As IDC points out, Apple’s share of the market is nearly half (47 percent), so when it sees a decline that shift significantly impacts the entire segment of devices.
IDC also notes that only a select few traditional watchmakers have delivered a more modern spin on the timepiece. The likes of Casio, Fossil and Tag Heuer have done so, but the analytics company expects the smartwatch market stands to benefit if more of those companies join the tech OEMs that are cranking out the devices at a solid pace. A little brand recognition goes a long way.
That 32 percent figure may also seem like a significant drop, but that has to be considered alongside the overall size of the smartwatch market. 3.5 million total units shipped in a quarter for all vendors is still quite small when compared to other gadgets like phones. Sure, smartwatches have yet to take hold like handsets have, but the comparison shows that those wearables continue to be a niche item. In terms of other top-5 companies, Samsung still ranks number 2 behind Apple thanks to the Gear S2 and its ability to function without being tethered to a phone. Lenovo sits in third after nabbing Motorola as the Moto 360 continues to be a top choice for Android Wear fans who prefer a circular display.
Source: IDC (Business Wire)
The latest data from market research firm IDC reveals that Apple Watch sales totaled an estimated 1.6 million units in the second quarter, for an industry leading 47 percent market share, compared to Samsung’s estimated 600,000 smartwatch sales and 16 percent market share during the March-June period.
The numbers suggest that the Apple Watch remains nearly three times as popular as Samsung Gear smartwatches, nearly fifteen months after launching in the U.S. and eight other countries. Nevertheless, Samsung did close the gap with strong 51 percent year-over-year growth and a 9 point rise in market share.
Apple, meanwhile, experienced a 55 percent year-over-year decline, but the year-ago quarter encompassed the Apple Watch’s launch and is thereby an unfair comparison. Apple Watch market share has dropped substantially, however, from an estimated peak of 72 to 75 percent following its launch quarter.
Despite a down quarter, Apple remains far and away the market leader in smartwatches. Apple faces the same challenges as other OEMs, but the pure exposure of the device and brand through tactical marketing gives it a leg up on the competition. Watch 2.0, along with updates to watchOS, could help drive existing user refresh and more importantly, a new wave of first-time buyers.
The overall smartwatch market experienced its first-ever decline as shipments fell 32 percent in the second quarter, totaling an estimated 3.5 million units compared to an estimated 5.1 million units in the year-ago quarter. Lenovo, LG, and Garmin rounded off the top five smartwatch vendors in the second quarter, but the trio combined to sell only 700,000 units. All other vendors sold a combined 600,000 units.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the so-called Apple Watch 2 will debut in the third quarter, setting the stage for a possible launch alongside the next iPhone in September. The next-generation Apple Watch could feature a FaceTime video camera, expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, cellular connectivity, and other internal upgrades, while new models and bands are always possibilities.
Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2, watchOS 3
Tags: Samsung, IDC, smartwatch
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
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If you’re more into real-life superheros than fantasy ones, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge Olympic Games Limited Edition is now available at Best Buy for $850. Like the Batman Edition, this is a standard Galaxy S7 Edge on the inside, but the outside is another thing. There, you’ll find a unique “black onyx” body replete with Olympic colors: A yellow-trimmed fingerprint sensor and speaker, red and green buttons and the iconic rings and camera tinted in blue. It also includes the Rio Olympics 2016 app with schedules, venue info and real-time updates and results.
Samsung said that it would only sell 2,016 of the devices around the world, including in the US, so you may need to act quick if you want one. At $850, the device is a $100 premium over the regular Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. We originally thought it may come with a Gear IconX wireless Bluetooth earbuds, but Best Buy’s listing doesn’t mention those, so they may be reserved for the 12,500 Olympic athletes getting the phone for free.
Source: Best Buy
Now that the smartphone market is cooling off, Samsung needs another way to keep raking in cash… and it’s going in an unusual direction to make that happen. The tech giant is buying a stake in Chinese automaker BYD that, at least at first, will help boost the two companies’ businesses in parts for electric cars and smartphones. What’s next may be more important, however. Samsung says that the two will talk about possible partnerships in “various businesses” — don’t be surprised if they work closely together.
Samsung has yet to reveal the size of the stake (BYD shot down rumors that it was 4 percent), so it’s not certain just how much of a commitment it’s making. Suffice it to say that the company stands to profit if everything goes to plan, though. The electric car market is quickly heating up, and Samsung could ride the bandwagon by supplying BYD with everything from batteries to processors. As it stands, Samsung might not want to sit on the sidelines when its big rival Apple is reportedly designing an EV of its own.
Last week we reviewed (and accidentally damaged) Samsung’s newest rugged phone, the Galaxy S7 Active. Though we learned the hard way not to push the envelope with drop tests, we were impressed that the S7 is every bit as high-end as the regular S7. We say that because many of the rugged phones on the market make do with lesser specs. Here, though, you get the same great camera set up as on the standard Galaxy S7, along with fast internals and a capacious battery that’s actually bigger than on the original. And, despite, the fact that we cracked the screen, we were grateful that the phone at least worked normally afterward — not something we’d expect from most devices. All told, the main caveat isn’t that its screen isn’t crackproof: It’s that it costs a hefty $800, and is exclusive to AT&T. Focus to recommend this, then, you better be OK with that carrier, and probably have a serious case of butter fingers too.
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
Street price: $100; MSRP: $100; deal price: $75
Here’s a great drop on an item we rarely see on sale. This is only the second sale we’ve seen, with the first being around a week ago for $82.
The Nespresso Inissia is our fully automatic pick for the best espresso maker. Cale Guthrie Weissman said, “If you want a decent espresso drink at home, but don’t have the time or patience to practice and learn the ins and outs of making espresso, try Nespresso. Machines start at just over $100 and you can pay more for features like faster preheating, and built-in milk frothing—but they all share the same brewing mechanism and produce the same decent-tasting coffee.”
In terms of the value, “The coffee pods themselves cost about 70¢ a shot (it works out to about $50/pound), which isn’t bad for a consistently decent espresso (with crema!) that tastes as good (or better than) Starbucks, yet requires almost no effort on your part.”
Dell XPS 13 Touch 256GB Laptop
Street price: $1,400; MSRP: $1,400; deal price: $920
This is the best price we’ve seen on the Dell XPS 13 Touch, $80 below the previous low, which we haven’t seen since February. We’ve noticed that the Touch model of the XPS 13 sometimes has huge discounts, while the non-Touch version rarely goes on sale at all. This deal is almost a full $500 below the usual price, and almost $200 under the non-Touch version with these specs. You take a hit on battery life, but you do get a higher-res touchscreen.
The Dell XPS 13 Touch 256GB Laptop is our upgrade pick for the best Windows ultrabook. Kimber Streams wrote, “If you need an ultra-high-resolution touchscreen, don’t mind the extra cost, and can live with a few hours less battery life, you should get the touchscreen configuration of the Dell XPS 13.”
Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S7 Verizon Smartphone
Street price: $680 (new); MSRP: $680 (new); deal price: $430
We haven’t seen many decent deals on the S7, with most of the price drops being on import models without a warranty or questionable open-box sales. This $430 refurbished deal comes with a 90-day warranty through Best Buy, and their return policies tend to be fairly liberal if you run into any issues. Keep in mind, this is a Verizon model.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is our pick for the best Android phone. Ryan Whitwam said, “The Samsung Galaxy S7 has the best screen and camera of any Android phone we’ve tested. It includes a larger battery and a microSD card slot (which last year’s Galaxy lacked), but the UI remains somewhat cluttered.”
Vornado VH10 Heater
Street price: $80; MSRP: $80; deal price: $24
This is the best price we’ve seen on this space heater to date. The price has continued to fall steadily since mid-June but the incremental drops have started to taper off, and we can’t imagine the price getting significantly lower than where it is now. So if you know you’re going to be needing a space heater in a few months when it starts getting chilly, buy it now while it’s cheap.
The Vornado VH10 Heater is our runner-up pick for small rooms Space Heater. Seamus Bellamy wrote, “The Vornado VH10 was the fastest heater we tested this year, raising the temperature of our test area higher than any other heater could manage in the same amount of time.”
In terms of heating capabilities and features, the VH10 has, “blisteringly-fast heating capabilities, eight different temperature levels, quieter operation than our main pick, and a casing that stays surprisingly cool to the touch (considering how much heat it generates). Plus, it comes with a five-year warranty—that’s two years longer than the coverage on our main pick.”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
Other than size difference, most televisions on the market today look practically the same. With Serif TV, a sleek set that’s designed to blend in with your furniture at home or office, Samsung wanted to take a different approach. Earlier this month, the company announced that Serif TV would be coming to the US in August, after making its debut in Europe last year. We had the chance to see it ourselves at a launch event in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, and walked away rather impressed.
The first thing that stands out from Serif TV is how it doesn’t look like any of the latest televisions. Rather than sporting a thin bezel, the Serif TV features a thick plastic frame that drew inspiration from the typography in the serif fonts. More specifically, a capital letter “I.” Serif TV was designed by the Bouroullec brothers, a pair of French designers who are known for their high-end furniture creations.
Naturally, the user interface had to be different than the one on Samsung’s other smart TVs. While it’s still based on Tizen OS, meaning it can run applications such as Netflix, the UI is much simpler here. As you turn the Serif TV on, you’re greeted with these options: TV, apps, speaker, photos and clock. Everything looks extremely sharp, thanks to the screen’s 4K resolution. Samsung says it is the best picture quality it’s ever put in a 40-inch TV.
What’s more, the TV has a removable back that’s made out of fabric, which is intended to keep the cables coming out of it relatively hidden. Speaking of, the Serif TV comes with three HDMI inputs and two USBs. For the US version of the TV, Samsung went with a 40-inch model, though we’re told the company could introduce larger models in the future, depending on how this one plays out. In Europe, for instance, Samsung also offers 24- and 30-inch variants.
It’ll be interesting to see people’s response to Serif TV in the US, but chances are it will definitely appeal to some. The Serif TV will be available next month for $1,499, with pre-orders for the white version now open on Samsung’s online store. Meanwhile, the blue one is being sold exclusively thorough the Museum of Modern Art.
In March, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Samsung’s appeal of a lower court decision that ordered the Korean-based company to pay $548 million to Apple. The Supreme Court’s website was updated with its October 2016 term today, noting that the appeal hearing will take place on October 11, 2016. The hearing will be the first of the day.
Samsung plans to appeal what it believes are “excessive penalties” for allegedly “copying the patented designs of the iPhone.” Specifically, Samsung’s petition asks the court to hear two questions: the scope of a design patent and whether patent infringement damages should be based on profits for infringing components or total profits.
The Korean electronics maker has already paid Apple the $548 million settlement, but Samsung can get reimbursed should the Supreme Court reverse or modify the original judgment. Apple had urged the Supreme Court to deny the appeal as it felt Samsung was raising issues that did not “deserve review” in an effort to prolong proceedings.
Tags: Samsung, patent trials
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