iPhone Loses Ground to Galaxy Lineup on Customer Satisfaction
Satisfaction with the wireless phone industry is making a comeback this year, gaining 2.9 percent after a two-year decline, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
Satisfaction with wireless service landed at 72 on a 100-point scale, and while that was an improvement, it's still "well below" the national ACSI average.
"Barriers to switching, including contracts with cancellation fees, make the wireless industry less competitive," ACSI director David VanAmburg said in a statement. "ACSI research shows that customer satisfaction is almost always lower when consumers have less choice and more headaches when it comes to switching to another seller."
Verizon was the top provider at 78, followed by Sprint (71), AT&T (70), and T-Mobile (68).
According to the ACSI, the aggregate of smaller carriers — Tracfone, Cricket, and MetroPCS (acquired by T-Mobile after the index research was completed) — tops the four national companies, rising 3 percent to a score of 78. Their secret: They don't lock customers into contracts, and therefore are perceived as being a better value.
Apple continued to dominate the smartphone scene with a score of 81, but it still dropped 2 percent despite the iPhone 5. On PCs, Apple was at 86.
The opposite is true for the impact of the Galaxy S III for Samsung, the ACSI said. After launching last year, the smartphone helped push the company's score up 7 percent to 76 — the largest improvement for any cell phone manufacturer.
Samsung Unveils Massive, 6.3-Inch Galaxy Mega Phablet
How big is too big when it comes to a smartphone? Samsung is pushing those limits with the introduction of the aptly named Galaxy Mega, a new phablet with a massive, 6.3-inch display.
The Korean phone maker also has a more "compact" version of the Galaxy Mega, which comes in at 5.8 inches.
For comparison, Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch screen, while the Galaxy S III sports a 4.8-inch display. The Galaxy Note phablet lineup starts at 5 inches for the original and comes in at 5.3 inches on the Galaxy Note II.
At this point, the Mega will only be available in Europe and Russia, starting in May, so U.S. consumers will have to make do with the Galaxy Note II.
According to Samsung, the Galaxy Mega "combines the portability and convenience of a smartphone with the power, multitasking capabilities and extensive viewing experience of a tablet." The display might be enormous, but Samsung claims the Mega is thin enough to put in your pocket and hold with one hand.
"We are aware of a great potential in the bigger screen for extensive viewing multimedia, Web browsing, and more," JK Shin, CEO and head of Samsung's mobile business, said in a statement. "We are excited to provide another choice to meet our consumers' varying lifestyles, all while maintaining the high-quality features of the award-winning Galaxy series."
Samsung Unveils 5-Inch Galaxy S4, Set for April Release Date
Samsung on Thursday officially took the wraps off the Galaxy S4, a 5-inch smartphone coming to all the major U.S. carriers during the second quarter.
Journalists packed Radio City Music Hall tonight for the big reveal, which – as expected – was brought on stage by Samsung's pint-sized pitchman, Jeremy. Samsung's mobile chief, JK Shin, touted the Galaxy S4 as "a life companion for a richer, simpler life."
"We are committed to innovation, we are always listening to learn from people around the world about what kind of progress they really want," Shin said. The smartphone will roll out with 327 mobile operators around the world in 155 countries starting at the end of April, he said.
The revamped smartphone, which follows last year's Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II is "slimmer yet stronger, less to hold yet more to see, [and] it is simply amazing," according to Shin.
Samsung Releases New Galaxy S IV Teaser Video
Samsung is making a big push for its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, and today it released a new teaser video ahead of the March 14 reveal.
The spot (below) features Jeremy, a pint-sized protector of the Galaxy S IV. He's called into the Samsung offices, where an overexcited exec gives Jeremy a quick peak at the new smartphone before instructing him to guard the Galaxy S IV with his life before next Thursday's event.
The teaser suggests that the launch event will feature an apperance by Jeremy, a la Microsoft spokeschild Kylie at the Windows 7 launch. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than the dance numbers that often crop up at Samsung events, but we'll find out soon enough.
The video comes as a few more details about the Galaxy S IV are cropping up on the Web. Italian site Androidiani.com on Sunday posted what it claims are benchmark tests from the new device.
The post tips an Exynos 5 Octa chip, which Samsung first debuted during its CES keynote. There's also the expected 4.99-inch HD display, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 2.1-megapixel front-facing one. The Galaxy S IV will run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, according to the blog.
Judge Cuts Damages, Orders New Trial in Apple, Samsung Patent Case
Apple was dealt a major setback in its patent battle against Samsung today when a California judge ordered a new trial on 14 Samsung products and dropped more than $450 million in damages from the $1.05 billion the jury awarded to Apple last summer.
California district court Judge Lucy Koh found that the jury awarded damages "based on a legally impermissible theory," so Samsung is entitled to a new trial on more than a dozen of its gadgets.
That includes the Galaxy Prevail, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, AT&T Galaxy S II, Captivate, Continuum, Droid Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Galaxy Tab, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, and Transform.
"This amounts to $450,514,650 being struck from the jury's award," Judge Koh said.
However, Samsung is still on the hook for almost $600 million in damages related to the Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S (i9000), Galaxy S II i9100, Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi, Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G LTE, Intercept, Fascinate, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II Showcase, Mesmerize, Vibrant, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, and the T-Mobile Galaxy S II.
"The total award for these 14 products is $598,908,892," the judge said.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Ban Lifted in U.S.
The move comes after a jury found that Samsung did not infringe on Apple's iPad design patent with its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.
"The public has no interest in enjoining a non-infringing product, and thus any market disruption caused by dissolution would be insignificant compared to Samsung's interest in restoring its product to market," Judge Lucy Koh wrote in her Monday decision.
Judge Koh, however, declined to award Samsung the $2.6 million bond that Apple was required put up in order to impose its injunction against Samsung. She found that a final decision about those funds is "intertwined with the Court's resolution" regarding Samsung's appeal in the overall patent case, and will be decided at a later date.
"We are pleased with the court's action ... which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple's design patent and that an injunction was not called for," a Samsung spokesman said in a statement.
AT&T Adding New 4G LTE Galaxy Smartphones, Tablet to Lineup
AT&T today announced that it will start selling two new Samsung Galaxy smartphones, as well as the previously revealed Galaxy Note II and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, later this year.
The Samsung Galaxy lineup will gain the 4G LTE Express and Rugby Pro. Samsung is touting the Galaxy Express as the perfect match for first-time smartphone users. The Android 4.0-based device boasts a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus touch screen and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and runs a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor and 2000 mAh battery.
For users with a more active lifestyle, the Rugby Pro "can handle whatever life throws at it," Samsung said in a news release. The phone – built to military specifications – is waterproof, shock resistant, and dust-proof, with a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display and a 5-megapixel rear camera that records HD video in 720p. The device will also have access to Enhanced Push-to-Talk.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Coming Aug. 16
Samsung announced today that its Galaxy Note 10.1 will be available in the U.S. on Aug. 16.
The tablet will come in 16GB and 32GB flavors for $499 and $549, respectively. It will be available in white or dark gray from retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, Tiger Direct, HH Gregg, CDW, BrandSmart, Conn's, and Fry's.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 expands Samsung's Galaxy Note lineup. The original Galaxy Note is a 5.3-inch smartphone that has been dubbed a "phablet" thanks to its category-straddling size. The Galaxy Note 10.1 is not a phone, but like the smaller Galaxy Note, the 10.1 version comes with an S Pen, a built-in pressure-sensitive stylus.
That S Pen can be used for the Galaxy Note 10.1's Multiscreen feature, which lets users view apps or websites on one side of the screen and scribble notes with the S Pen on the other. There's also the option to crop and capture images on one side and drag to the other, Samsung said. Multiscreen is supported on the Microsoft Office-compatible Polaris Office, S Note, the video player, the photo gallery, email, and the Web browser.
The S Pen is embedded into a slot on the Galaxy Note 10.1. When removed, it activates a taskbar for quick access to S Pen-optimized apps like S Note, Polaris Office, and Adobe Photoshop Touch.
The $9.99 Photoshop Touch comes pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note 10.1. Files can be synched to Adobe Creative Cloud, which provides up to 2GB of free storage space, and opened on the PC.
Report: Samsung Galaxy S III Shipments Hit 10 Million
It appears Samsung has reached its lofty sales goal for the Galaxy S III, according to a new report.
Korea's Yonhap News, citing Samsung's president of information technology and mobile communication, Shin Jong-kyun, reported on Sunday that the firm has shipped 10 million Galaxy S III units since launching the flagship smartphone less than two months ago. Jong-kyun did not provide specific numbers, but the news outlet pointed out that this translates to about 190,000 Galaxy S III smartphones being sold every day.
For comparison's sake, it reportedly took the Galaxy S III's predecessor, the Galaxy S II, five months to reach the 10 million mark. A Samsung spokesperson did not respond to several requests for comment on Monday about the report.
JK Shin, head of Samsung's mobile division, back in June predicted that Samsung would sell more than 10 million Galaxy S III smartphones by July. Samsung is experiencing a "huge surge of momentum," thanks in large part to its latest smartphone, though not to the same degree as Apple is expected to see for its next-gen iPhone, according to a just-released survey from ChangeWave Research.
The Galaxy lineup has been a huge success for Samsung. In February, Samsung announced that it had sold 20 million Galaxy S II devices since its April 2011 launch. In October, Samsung said it had sold more than 30 million Galaxy S devices overall.
Earlier this year, Samsung bested Nokia as the top phone maker in the world for the first time in 14 years. The Galaxy S III boasts a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED 1,280-by-720 display, and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It features an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing one.
U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Ban
A U.S. federal appeals court on Thursday denied Samsung's request to stop a ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the country.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Samsung's motion to delay an injunction until the appeals process is complete and refused to expedite the appeal.
"Regardless, we will continue to pursue a request for an appeal of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 preliminary injunction," a Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 ban went into effect on June 27 after Apple posted a $2.6 million bond. Should a higher court reverse the ruling down the road, that bond money will be used to compensate Samsung for the losses it sustained during the ban.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh approved the ban in late June. Her decision stemmed from a December ruling that denied Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against four Samsung products that Cupertino claimed infringed upon its patents. In June, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded a design-related patent back to the district court, and ordered Koh to reconsider a ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab. She did, prompting the ban.