Samsung has become that one friend you've got who suddenly decides he wears a fedora. No matter how many times you tell him that he looks less like a debonair time traveler than a guy who raided his grandfather's closet, he just won't take it off. Russian blog Hi-Tech Mail spotted the new Galaxy S4 'Black Edition' on Samsung's Russian page this morning, and a similar variant of the S4 Mini was later found.
Can you hear that? The growing din of excited Samsung fans is rising as we move ever closer to the announcement of the company's new flagship device. Samsung is rumored to be giving its UI a facelift on the Galaxy S5, and that may extend to the S Voice app. A pair of leaked screens show what appears to be the new UI for Samsung's voice assistant.
Ready for yet another Samsung-exclusive app to dot the screen of the latest Galaxy device? Ready or not, it looks like Samsung's supply of custom software isn't running out any time soon. SamMobile got their hands on a leaked APK for "Samsung Life Times," a new app that will presumably debut with a future smartphone.
The app is a sort of life logger, collecting data from various apps and presenting them in a personal digital history.
Not content with being the world's biggest phone manufacturer, Samsung has decided to break into the retail space in a big way. The company already has three stand-alone Samsung stores in Spain, operated by the established retailer Carphone Warehouse. Now the two companies have announced that Samsung will expand the program, completely converting over 60 existing Carphone Warehouse retail locations into Samsung-excusive stores.
Samsung already operates "mini stores" inside many Best Buy retail locations.
Diversify and fill all niches. Samsung seems to have learned its basic sciences, because they're applying a naturalist approach to the tablet market: a ton of models for consumers, new specialized versions for professionals, and now a tablet made just for the lucrative education market. Today Samsung announced a new Galaxy Tab especially for K-12 schools. It's only new in a technical sense - the hardware is clearly a black 10-inch Galaxy Tab 3.
If Samsung has not yet scared you away with its recent indiscretions, the new NotePRO 12.2 can be pre-ordered in the UK. You won't even have to wait very long for this stylus-friendly monster to ship. Samsung expects the NotePro (Samsung usually leaves the screen size off) to hop a truck to your home on February 4th.
The NotePro is very similar to the previously announced 2014 version of the Note 10.1, except for the size, of course.
Through its official global blog, Samsung today announced a new patent licensing deal reached with Google, whereby both companies will have access to each other's existing patents and those filed over the next ten years, covering "a broad range of technologies and business areas."
The cross-licensing agreement is described by Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents, Allen Lo, as one that will help the two giants "reduce the potential for litigation, and focus instead on innovation." Indeed that has been a popular refrain as both Google and Samsung have historically faced (and continue to face) patent challenges from various other companies on various grounds.
Samsung is slowly but surely sending its Android 4.4.2 update out to more and more regions and variants of the Galaxy Note 3. This morning SamMobile reports that both the LTE Snapdragon (SM-N9005) and the 3G Exynos (SM-N900) versions of the Note 3 are being updated over-the-air on networks in India, South Korea, and Switzerland. As usual, the rollout is staged, but users in these countries can try a manual update check via the Settings menu.
We heard rumors a number of months ago that Samsung was mulling a plan to begin restricting the functionality of uncertified accessories like cases and chargers on its devices. It seems that the company has started doing just that with the Android 4.4.2 update for the Note 3. Users who have updated are reporting that third-party S-View cases, like the one sold by Spigen, are no longer working.
Samsung includes a small identification chip in the official S-View case that allows it to work properly with the phone.
The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 currently has a starting price of $549.99 at most retailers, making it a relatively pricey tablet. Yet with its 2560x1600 10-inch display, 3GB of RAM, and quirky S Pen functionality, there's a lot to like here. So if you have your heart set on this device, and you aren't above picking up a refurbished model, then you can currently get one on Groupon for just $389.99.