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Court in California Bans Checking Maps on Smartphones While Driving Court in California Bans Checking Maps on Smartphones While Driving

April 10, 2013 - Drivers in California beware; police can now stop them for using their onboard GPS while driving their vehicle. The new law extends the current law that bans texting while behind the wheel. The decision came in appellate court in the case California vs. Spriggs. The court ruled that a distraction is present whether a wireless phone was being used, or a GPS, clock or device for receiving or sends test messages.

These aptly dubbed distracted driving laws are mixed when it comes to efficacy. A 2010 study said that any reduction in the number of accidents following the banning of texting is only short-lived however, accident shave returned to close to their former levels over a period of months.

However, a more recent study found that these laws are at least moderately successful, but just if they are enforced on a strict basis. This study only looked at cases that the blame could be placed squarely on the distracted driving due to using a device: single occupancy, single-vehicle crashes.

In some of the states across the country, police are not allowed to pull over a driver for sending texts while driving, but can only add that to a citation for another violation. In the states where there have been strong laws put in place banning the use of these devices, driver fatalities only fell by 8%.

In the appellate court ruling, the judge left open whether the ban should include checking things such as an email or if drivers could use a GPS version that was hands free. Regardless, the National Safety Council says there is no evidence or research that shows that voice activated forms of technology eliminate or lower the distraction level in the mind of the driver.

Blackberry both Realistic and Optimistic about Launch in U.S. Blackberry both Realistic and Optimistic about Launch in U.S.

March 22, 2013 - On Friday, Blackberry will be facing many jaded customers upon its launch in the U.S. of its new generation smartphone. The launch is the company’s final effort to show after many product delays and subpar performances that the mobile device makers can be competitive.

The CEO of the company, Thorsten Heins said the company would fight to regain each customer. In January, the company changed from Research in Motion, to Blackberry to reflect its focus on the company’s most important and primary product.

The new phone, the Z10 is a capable performer, but many wonder if it is strong enough to help Blackberry make a comeback, but observers say that will not be an easy proposition. The handset once was the dominating phone in the global smartphone market. However, it lost ground to competitors such as Samsung, which uses the Android operating system by Google and Apple that uses its own iOS.

In 2011, Blackberry had only 10.3% of the world market and that dropped to only 4.6% during 2012.

The company is betting nearly everything on the two models that will be released of which the Z10 is one and will be available starting Friday. Those who have reviewed the phone called it smooth, stylish and sleek but said it lacks one feature that stands out above the rest.

Investors are hoping the new Z10 makes a splash in the market as they have helped push the stock up more than 150% in just six months.

Heins said his expectations are simple on the Z10 launch: maintain the current customer base the company has, acquire some converts or try to persuade formers owners or users of Blackberry to return to the fold.

However, the CEO would not set any targets for sales for the launch of the phone. He said the company’s object was not take the lead in the smartphone market from Apple of Samsung, but to maintain the share Blackberry has while making modest gains to secure a strong third place.

Samsung designing wristwatch similar to Apple Samsung designing wristwatch similar to Apple

March 19, 2013 - Samsung Electronics, the South Korea based electronic giants, is developing a digital device that resembles a wristwatch, said a source with knowledge of the situation. That means the electronics maker is joining its biggest rival Apple in developing the new product as smartphone growth in sales begins to slow.

The device being developed by Samsung will do a number of the tasks the smartphone does, said the source, without going into actual details. The source would not be identified because Samsung was not ready to reveal the plans to the public about its new product.

Samsung was not willing to discuss at detail about what products were in its pipeline but said it was constantly exploring and developing new technologies into various form factors.

The New York Times released a report last month that said Apple had been experimenting with a device that was similar to a watch, would have the same operating platform as the iPhone, and would be made out of curved glass.

Stock values for both Apple and Samsung have been hit hard of late, as the two top mobile device makers in the world are releasing products that have not overwhelmed consumers as of late.

Following the launch of its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4 last week, shares of Samsung fell close to 5% or approximately $10 billion in only two trading days. That was partly due to concerns that its newest flagship product does not contain the “wow factor” that many had hoped and expected.

The Galaxy S4 was unveiled with huge fanfare last Friday in New York as the newest challenger to the iPhone by Apple. It offers some improvements to its predecessor but media reports suggest the new features might not be enough to excite consumers in the tech industry that lives and dies through innovation.

Samsung Out Spends Apple in Smartphone Advertising Samsung Out Spends Apple in Smartphone Advertising

March 13, 2013 - New research that was released Tuesday says that Samsung spent over $401 million on print, billboard, internet and television advertising during 2012. The South Korea-based electronics giant passed HTC and Apple, its biggest rival in advertising. In 2011, Apple outspent Samsung by a margin of three to one.

The advertising data showed that Samsung boosted its spending in the U.S. on advertising by over $323 million from 2011 to 2012. Apple, which was the second biggest spender in advertising dollars, increased its spending from 2011 to 2012 from $253 million to over $333 million.

Contrary to Apple and Samsung, HTC, which was the third largest spender in advertising, cut its budget from $124 million to $46 million between 2011 and 2012. The other three companies in the top five in advertising dollars spent were Blackberry followed by Nokia. Both Blackberry and the Finnish smartphone maker Nokia cut their advertising in the U.S. between 2011 and 2012.

Even though there was a huge influx of advertising spent in 2012 by Samsung that was used to promote products such as the Galaxy S III, the electronics giant still could only manage second place behind the iPhone from Apple as the most effect smartphone brand in the United States. However, Samsung was named the overall top tech brand for 2012.

Samsung has spent a great deal of its advertising budget on poking fun at the ongoing litigation Apple has worldwide due to lawsuits regarding patents. Currently Samsung leads the worldwide sales of smartphones and at this point the race involves only the South Korea based giant and Apple.

For this year, industry experts believe Samsung will continue a huge marketing and advertising blitz in the U.S. as this week it will be unveiling its latest smartphone the Galaxy S4, which is expected to happen in New York at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday March 14.

LG to introduce Optimus G Pro 5.5 Inch in U.S. during Second Quarter LG to introduce Optimus G Pro 5.5 Inch in U.S. during Second Quarter

February 18, 2013 - LG Electronics has released the full details of its new Optimus G Pro Smartphone with an Android platform. The phone is a high-end model and comes with a screen of 5.5 inches, a 1.7GHz processor that is quad-core and LTE networking.

Often times the electronics giant, based in South Korea, sells its products first at home and that seems to be the initial plan for the Optimus G Pro as well. However, it will be available in other areas of the world, including the United States and Japan during the second quarter of this year.

This news came a week before the Mobile World Congress, which is where LG will show off its new phone. LG also announced another three Android phones that are lower end, the Optimus L3 II, L5 II and the L7 II.

The G Pro series is a model with a large screen that makers of Android smartphones such as Samsung and HTC have embraced as a well to separate themselves from the iPhone, which has a smaller screen. The 5.5-inch screen on the Optimus G pro is 1920×1080 pixels and a 400 pixels per inch linear resolution.

Add that to the large battery of 3,140mAh and users can watch complete HD videos for hours and hours, said LG. The processor is the 1.7GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon and the smartphone comes with a RAM of 2GB.

A rear facing camera of 13-megapixel has a LED flash. There is also a front facing camera of 2.1-megapixel. VR Panorama a feature on the phone can construct a panorama of 360-degrees out of a number of vertical and horizontal views around the user. Both the front and rear cameras have video capabilities and can be used simultaneously for a unique experience.

Apple and Samsung Account for over 52% of All Sales of Smartphones Apple and Samsung Account for over 52% of All Sales of Smartphones

February 14, 2013 - Apple and Samsung sold more phones than any other company did in 2012 accounting for over 52% of the worldwide sales. Huawei, the Chinese mobile device maker was in third place for smartphone worldwide sales for Q4 of 2012, for just the first time.

For the entire year of 2012, the Chinese smartphone maker sold more than 27.2 million units, which was a 74% increase for the company from 2011 sales. However, the gap between the two top Apple and Samsung and third place is enormous.

Industry insiders said the strength of the Apple and Samsung brands have given them the success in sales as much as the quality of their products. Direct competition to the two includes products that are comparable in quality, but the competition struggles to achieve brand appreciation like Samsung and Apple.

Sales worldwide of mobile phones continue to drop, down over 1.7% in 2012 from sales in 2011. Smartphones are driving the overall sales of mobile phones, with sales of smartphones during just the fourth quarter of 2012 exceeding 207.7 million units, which was 28% higher than the same quarter a year earlier.

In Q4 of 2012, Apple and Samsung accounted for over 52% of all smartphone sales, which increased from 46% during Q3 of 2012. The electronics giant was first in sales for both smartphone and overall mobile phones worldwide for 2012.

Samsung has gone through huge growth acceleration. During Q4 of 2012, the South Korea based company sold more than 64.5 million smartphone units, which was an increase of 85% from their fourth quarter sales in 2011 for smartphones. For the entire year of 2012, Apple had sales of 130 million smartphone units.

During Q4 of 2012, Apple had 43.5 million units sold which was an increase of over 22% for the Cupertino, California based tech giant.

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