Tag Archive | Samsung

Kanye West performs at Samsung Galaxy Note 2 launch party

Samsung took a stop in New York City last night to launch the Galaxy Note 2, complete with a performance by Grammy award-winning artist Kanye West.

Like many other tech journalists in New York City, Tuesday was an average day filled with Apple iPad mini announcements, quirky science news about a talking Beluga whale, and some new Windows 8 laptops and tablets. Then, this came in the mail.

Good Afternoon, 

Thank you for RSVPing for the Samsung Galaxy Note II event on Wednesday! We wanted to invite you to stay after the press conference for a special performance by Kanye West.

Although we’ve already reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, our New York staff had planned to attend the event in case anything new would be announced. But after this email was sent out, tech media flocked to Moynihan Station in midtown New York to prepare for the long wait for Grammy award-winning artist Kanye West to drop a surprise performance slapped in the middle of the week.

What made Kanye Jesus Walk his way into the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 World Tour event is beyond us, but by 9 p.m., some members of the public also joined the party, filling the room with an energy and noise totally unexpected for a phablet launch party. Also in attendance were also some of New York’s finest gossip bait, including fashion editor Nina Garcia, Jersey Shore‘s Pauly D, and the New York Giants star wide receiver, Victor Cruz.

In a quick set that lasted just over an hour, Kanye West performed classics like “Heartless,” “Runaway,” “All of the Lights,” and “Through the Wire,” while bringing in a special guest of his own, 2 Chainz, to accompany a recent hit, “Birthday Song.” The set ended with a new record, “Clique” before West disappeared behind the stage without an encore. While the concert was certainly memorable and intimate (all things considered, the room was pretty small), did the crowd leave with an impression of Samsung and the Galaxy Note 2 in mind, or were they overwhelmed with the presence of the one and only Yeezy? I guess we’ll find out when the phone-meets-tablet hybrid becomes available this November.

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Samsung To Cut The Cord, End LCD Panel Supply Relationship With Apple

Samsung told The Korea Times on Monday that it will end its LCD panel supply relationship with Apple as of next year. That’s according to a “senior Samsung source” who declined to be identified, citing insufficient margins owing to Apple’s supply pricing strategy. Samsung’s role in Apple’s LCD supply chain has dwindled, with the Korean company reportedly cut out of iPad mini production, but Samsung’s decision to pull the plug may have been a pre-emptive strike by the parts manufacturer owing to a declining relationship between the two.

Samsung is said to be fielding more orders from its consumer electronics division, as well as from Apple competitor Amazon, in volumes that could make up for the loss of Apple as an LCD component customer. Apple was Samsung’s top customer according to NPD DisplaySearch for the first half of the year, but Apple began cutting its LCD orders back in September and was reportedly shifting order volumes to LG and Sharp, as ongoing patent disputes worsened.

Pricing on Apple’s latest iPad display had caused Samsung to earn only half as much per pixel on its production compared to previous models, so narrowing margins clearly had an impact on the decision, but this also can’t help but look like a case of Samsung ending a relationship that was already on the rocks to begin with. Apple was already clearly trying to reduce its reliance on its rival’s component supplier arm, as indicated by changes to the way it designs its processor andsources RAM and NAND flash chips, but this may accelerate Apple’s intended timeline.

Apple is a massive customer of LCD panels, and is set to become an even more demanding customer with the impending probable launch of the iPad mini. Earlier, there were concerns about whether or not Samsung’s display supplier competition could produce adequate volumes to satisfy its needs, butSharp seems to have recently gotten its act together, and others like Sony have reportedly joined Apple’s stable of potential supply sources.

The question will be whether or not the timeline Samsung gave of next year will give Apple enough time to stabilize its alternate source. Still, it looks like both have been preparing for this moment for a while, so we could see each walk away relatively unscathed.

Top 5 iPad Mini competitors

Here are the five tablets with the best chance of keeping the rumored iPad Mini from taking the 7-inch tablet crown.

The iPad Mini has yet to be officially announced, but it’s kind of the worst-kept secret in tech right now. There’s a very good chance it’ll be revealed later this month (although what its final name will be remains to be seen) and even if you’ve no plans to purchase it, you’ll likely want to know what it has to offer anyway.

The Mini is rumored to sport a 7.85-inch screen at a price of at least $299. But when and if it debuts, it will not enter a vacuous 7-inch tablet market. Its opponents will compete on price, ecosystem, performance, and features. Each offers something unique and Apple’s new tablet will have to be an amazing piece of kit to answer the challenge.

Without further lollygagging, let’s get to the list.

The most expensive tablet on the list is the only device to include dual cameras, an IR blaster, and microSD storage expansion.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0
The most expensive tablet on the list also includes the most physical features. Given its IR blaster, dual cameras, and microSD expansion, $249 doesn’t look so bad. In performance it’s probably the weakest of the five, however.

The newly upgraded Kindle Fire gets the Fire HD’s software features and a price slash to $159.

Kindle Fire (2012)
The 2012 update to 2011’s Kindle Fire sports an identical design, but gets a few internal upgrades: twice the RAM, a faster processor, and an update to the latest version of the Kindle Fire OS. It may not seem like much compared with others on the list, until its $159 price smacks you across the face, waking you from your apathetic stupor.

The Nook HD will sport a higher ppi than either the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD when it debuts in late October or early November.

Barnes & Noble Nook HD
It won’t be available until later this month, but I got some hands-on time with the new 7-inch Nook HD a few weeks back and was impressed by its redesigned interface, extremely light weight, microSD storage expansion, 1,140×900-pixel-resolution screen, and the inclusion of the fastest processor yet in a 7-inch tablet, the 1.3GHz OMAP 4470. At $199, the Nook HD will clearly make its case. Too small? The 9-inch Nook HD+ debuts at the same time for only $269.

Amazon Prime members and media-consumption hogs need look no further than the beer-reflecting Kindle Fire HD!

Kindle Fire HD
If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a penchant for watching books, movies, TV shows, and music, the Fire HD should definitely be in your crosshairs. At only $199, the Fire HD sports an amazing-looking screen, a 720p front camera, Bluetooth, and the best speakers you’ve ever heard on any tablet. If you like what you hear, but still feel 7 inches is too small, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (in Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions) launches on November 20.

The Nexus 7 is currently the ultimate 7-inch power in the universe.

Google Nexus 7
The current king of 7-inch tablets wins its crown by offering Tegra 3-induced performance, NFC communication, and the latest version of the Android OS, Jelly Bean. Not to mention its extremely comfortable design and $199 price. The iPad Mini will need to offer a very good features-to-price ratio if it hopes to become the best 7-inch tablet yet.

Google working with Samsung on ‘high-end’ 10.1-inch Nexus tablet

Google is reportedly working with Samsung to develop a co-branded high-end Nexus tablet featuring a 10.1-inch screen, moving into an area of the tablet market dominated by Apple with its 9.7-inch iPad.

While Apple appear to be about to go small with its enormously popular 9.7-inch iPad device, a new report suggests Google is soon to go big with its 7-inch Nexus tablet.

According to a Cnet report, the Mountain View company is busy developing a 10.1-inch tablet with Korean electronics giant Samsung.

The information comes from Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch, who said that supply chain activity indicated the new tablet was on its way, though a time frame for its launch wasn’t given.

Shim said the new tablet will have a screen density even higher than that of the third-generation iPad. Apple’s newest iPad has a 2048 x 1536 screen resolution (264 PPI), whereas Google’s offering will reportedly have a 2560 x 1600 display (299 PPI).

Google partnered with Taiwan-based Asus to produced its well-received 7-inch Nexus tablet, however, it appears that Samsung has been chosen to work on the larger device. The Korean company currently produces Google’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, released late last year.

Buoyed by the success of its Nexus 7 tablet, which launched in the US in July, Google appears to be looking to try its luck in the 10-inch tablet market, currently dominated by Apple with its iPad. And, according to Shim, the co-branded device won’t be a cheap alternative to the Cupertino company’s big seller, with the analyst describing it as a “high-end device.”

Apple, meanwhile, is expected to launch a smaller, 7.85-inch version of the iPad this month, with a price tag of between $300 and $350. The new tablet could well damage sales of Google’s cheaper Nexus 7 tablet, as well as the latest versions of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. Whether a 10.1-inch co-branded tablet from Google and Samsung can tempt buyers away from Apple’s iPad is another question, and one we may be able to answer once more details of the device come to light.

This James Franco Samsung Ad Is Indescribable

Earlier today I was showing a friend this spectacular Oregon Duck Gangnam Styleparody video and saw a two and a half-minute ad in which James Franco displays the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.

My first reaction was: how have I not heard of this before?

The ad is almost two weeks old, but I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about it. It is absolutely absurd.

0:02 “Oh, hi.” Franco looks like he’s either incredibly high or hasn’t slept in weeks. Maybe both.

0:06 Nice v-neck, Harry Osborn.

0:14 Oh good! The tablet has a stylus. What better way to look into buying Enron stock, pull up directions on MapQuest or try to watch a trailer for Titanic on dialup Internet?

0:38 Tiger humor peaked with the Hangover, James. Everyone knows that, gosh.

0:54 Now Franco can add “directing a porno” to his list of credentials.

0:55 “Lots of rest, lots of fluids. Make sure she does, ladies.” That one’s pretty self-explanatory.

1:26 I wish this happened in my spacious two room double at Stanford. Maybe James Franco should come over…

1:43 This feature would have been so helpful in Mr. Rainey’s 8th grade algebra class. Ugh.

2:06 Are vampires known for their productivity?

2:11 That’s not how eggs work!!! My breakfast never goes that smoothly!

2:37 OH NO YOU DID NOT JUST DO THE FERRIS BEULLER ENDING. YOU ARE NOT MATTHEW BRODERICK SIR!

Whew. So many impressions. I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear a deeper V-neck than Franco and drink a $6 latte.

I’m really not sure why you would buy the Galaxy Note 10.1 over an iPad or Nexus 7. But Franco’s still cool (albeit a poor man’s Rip Empson). The ad is…memorable. There we go! I finally described it, 300 words later.

Man, I really hope Franco doesn’t Yale Daily News me.

Here’s how Samsung flew bloggers halfway around the world, then threatened to leave them there

Let’s pretend that you’re a blogger. You’re given the chance to review new, hot hardware from a major company. All that’s required is that you participate in some tasks, but these tasks would fit into your coverage so you agree. In return you get to be one of the first to go hands-on with devices and give your opinion on them. Sounds like a good deal? Well that’s what a couple of Indian participants in Samsung’s Mob!ler program thought too, until Samsung threatened to leave them stranded in Berlin, Germany.

First let’s start with the facts. Programs such as Mob!lers (or Mobilers, for my sanity) are in place by many companies. In fact, I’ve even participated in one, for a company called STI, where I’ve done reviews of Kia and Mazda cars. But there’s one factor that differentiates programs such as STI from Mobilers – Only one of them expects you to become a shill for the company.

The story that follows is one of those that’s going to be hard to believe. We’ve done our very best to verify the facts, and we’ve heard the same tale from multiple sources and the end result has been the same in each case. That said, let’s go back in time a few weeks.

Samsung launched its Mobilers program in India. Clinton Jeff of Unleash the Phonesand another blogger who asked to remain unnamed were two of the ones who were chosen as winners of a contest and given Mobiler perks. Now before you go calling foul, bear in mind that programs like this are imperative in some countries. Without them the bloggers will often not get early access to devices, or in some cases will be among the last to see them. Engaging with the programs means that they get access and they get to bring news to their respective audiences.

7352689988 a6505f53fe z 520x259 Heres how Samsung flew bloggers halfway around the world, then threatened to leave them there

Jeff, however, reports that they made it abundantly clear to Samsung that they were first and foremost independent bloggers and that they had no intention of acting as brand ambassadors for the company. Even with this restriction in place, the two were invited by Samsung to attend this year’s IFA conference in Berlin, a large trade show that’s important to European and Asian mobile device coverage. Though surprised by the invitation, they took up Samsung on its offer to fly them to the show and to cover their hotel.

An important point – In the invitation email, Jeff reports that he was asked whether he’d like to attend as a reporter or as a promoter. He was insistent that he would only accept the offer if he was allowed to do so as a reporter.

Screen Shot 2012 09 02 at 2.19.37 PM 220x183 Heres how Samsung flew bloggers halfway around the world, then threatened to leave them there

Again, a reminder – Behavior such as Samsung’s is not uncommon in the world of tech coverage. It’s perhaps considered morenormal in some parts of the world, but even we here at TNW are regularly offered to have our travel and accommodations covered in hopes that we’ll write about a specific brand during our overall coverage of an event.

Now back to the bloggers — In the days and weeks leading up to the IFA trip there were a couple of things that happened which should have raised flags, but the preemptive, no-compromises statement about the two refusing to be brand ambassadors should have kept them covered. One such flag, for instance, was Samsung contacting Jeff and asking for his clothing measurements.

“What? A uniform? A quick call to Samsung India to find out what was going on. Oh it’s just for a closed door event? No proper answer, I sent my sizes wondering what was going on.” – Clinton Jeff

Jeff tells me that there were a couple of other clues as well, such as Samsung insisting that they record themselves dancing in front of landmarks, a la “Where the Hell is Matt“, as well as encouraging them to bring a local gift that would be exchanged with other Mobilers. But Jeff went along with the requests, thinking that it would perhaps be a fun activity that he’d be doing with others in the Mobiler program. It wasn’t until after a 12-hour day of flying that the alarm bells went off.

“As soon as we stepped in [to the hotel], there was a Samsung Mobilers booth waiting for us. They gave us our key, a Samsung shirt that we’d have to wear for “orientation” the next morning, and we’d have to be down in five minutes to go for the uniform fitting.” – Clinton Jeff

They were instructed that they were to arrive at 8 AM the next day to sign an NDA. While this isn’t an uncommon ask, it’s the kiss of death for a tech reporter who’s hoping to break news about new devices. But what’s more, the 8 AM session was for “orientation”. Samsung told them that, over the course of the event, they’d “have to be in uniform, in the Samsung booths, every day. Showing the products to members of the press.”

“This was really a shocker. For a month before departure we were continuously reminded that we were being sent to IFA to cover the launch of the Note 2, every little detail was taken care of and we were even updated on a daily basis with the situation of the stay , tickets etc.”

Screen Shot 2012 09 02 at 2.33.44 PM 220x161 Heres how Samsung flew bloggers halfway around the world, then threatened to leave them there

The red flag just became a stop sign.

Jeff told Samsung again, in no uncertain terms, that they were not there to be product demonstrators for the brand. They reiterated that they had agreed to the trip so that they could cover Samsung, but also the other brands that were launching products. They were shuttled off to a meeting where they once again stated ,this time to a stern-faced PR person, that they had no interest in playing Samsung’s employee for the event. They were told that they had some free time while the company made its decision, so they headed to the local Starbucks to grab a pre-show coffee.

Then things got nasty.

“We got a call from Samsung India saying ‘You can either be a part of this and wear the uniform, or you’ll have to get your own tickets back home and handle your hotel stay from the moment this call ends…

A few minutes later, we got a call from the Samsung India guy who said that our flights on the 6th have been cancelled, and that they’re bringing us back on the 1st instead. But this is only if, and only if, we agreed to wear atleast the samsung branded shirt at the unpacked event, and not blog about any of this incident.

None of this should leave Berlin. Or Reach India” – Clinton Jeff

This might come as a surprise, but we blogger types aren’t exactly rolling in cash. Jeff tells me that he’s no different. His weak local currency, combined with high rent in South Delhi, has prevented him from saving much money. In short, they were trapped and their tickets were essentially being held for ransom. In fact, emails between Jeff and I were exchanged prior to his return home and he practically begged me to not run the story until he returned, stating without any uncertainty that he’d be trapped in Berlin.

In short, their hands were forced. They attended the event, in the Samsung shirt, but did opt to not stand and demonstrate the phones “while getting dirty looks from some of the other Samsung mobilers who were present in their white pants, Samsung shoes and the Samsung shirt, all stationed next to a device, presenting it to press. And presenting it to us.”

But the hits just keep on coming. The next morning, Jeff awoke to the following email:

Screen Shot 2012 09 02 at 3.07.09 PM 520x205 Heres how Samsung flew bloggers halfway around the world, then threatened to leave them there

Instead of being in Berlin until September 5th, covering the rest of IFA, they were to be shuttled home as soon as possible. They had only been in country long enough to cover Samsung’s Unpacked event, but missed almost everything else from the show. They didn’t have tickets in hand, and had no assurance that they’d get them. The only confirmation that they had was that their initial return tickets had been cancelled.

In the end it’s a cautionary tale – There were a few instances in which the bloggers perhaps should have seen too many flags raised and backed out of the event. But when the bloggers had been covering bases and stating their position time and again, Samsung had every opportunity to explain its position and cancel the trip as well. Instead, it opted to play hardball, threatening to leave two bloggers stranded thousands of miles from home, in a foreign country.

So take care, bloggers and those hoping to be. The next time that you’re offered a trip in exchange for coverage, you might find yourself being fitted for a uniform, signing NDAs and demoing products upon which you’re supposed to be reporting. While this will hardly be the end of the Mobilers program, in India or elsewhere, Samsung’s scummy tactics should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks the Korean manufacturer is playing fair.

We’ve emailed representatives from Samsung, and told them the story that we are working on. It’s been a few hours, as of the time of this publishing, and we’ve still not gotten a reply. We’ll update this story when or if we do. But for now, Jeff tells me that another company has offered to fly him home and get him to a hotel, so he’s still able to cover the event as it should be.

Dell & Samsung Join Parade of Windows 8 Convertible Laptop/Tablets

The launch of Windows 8 may still be two months away, but the tide of new hardware releases is beginning to swell – including hybrid notebook/tablet devices from Dell and Samsung.

HP just announced a convertible Windows 8 notbook tablet (see HP Envy x2 Tablet/Laptop Combo Cuts Across Categories), while Dell used the IFA show in Germany to announce its first Windows RT device as well as a convertible notebook/tablet.

Not quite a convertible, Samsung debuted its Series X5 ultrabook, which looks exactly the same as the previous model, but adds a capacitive touch screen to the 13.3-inch display. Lenovo also debuted a series of Android tablets – including one with a detachable keyboard, following itsearlier launch of the ThinkPad Tablet 2.

The message? Windows 8 is making touch more important than ever, and is driving a move toward tablets and convertibles that combine an ultrabook with touchscreen functionality to be both content creation and consumption devices.

Samsung

Take the new Series 5 notebook from Samsung. Like its rivals, the new Series 5 will be released about the time of Windows 8, on Oct. 26. Starting at $799 with an Intel Core i5 processor, the real innovation is adding touch to the notebook screen to take advantage of Windows 8’s new user interface. But Samsung also said that those who don’t love the new Modern UI, (formerly known as “Metro”) will also be able to take advantage of a proprietary widget that replicates the “Start” button and control panel familiar from Windows 7 and Vista.

Dell

Dells new products include the XPS 10 (a 10-inch, ARM-based tablet running Windows RT) and the XPS Duo 12 convertible.

Dell had already said it would build a a Windows RT tablet, so the XPS 10 comes as little surprise. (Others promising RT tablets include Samsung and Lenovo.) Windows RT, as you might recall, is Windows 8’s little brother, a new version of the operating system that runs on ARM processors, rather than the X86 chips that power regular Windows 8 hardware.

Unfortunately, the release of a Windows RT tablet didn’t offer any peeks at the mysterious Windows RT operating system. But that wasn’t the case. The the XPS 10 was released under glass, blocking efforts to explore the interface, and how apps interacted with the RT interface. So we still don’t really know whether you should buy Windows 8 or Windows RT.

Dell also didn’t release the price of the XPS 10, the other major question surrounding Windows RT tablets.

Convertibles Are Hot

Given the launch of the rival HP Envy X2 a day ago, however, it seems fair to say that PC makers believe convertible ultrabook/tablets will be the most popular new form factor.

Both the Envy X2 and the XPS Duo 12 combine a tablet with a keyboard unit that allows them to function as either a tablet or a notebook computer. The two aren’t exactly alike, however; the Envy X2 actually includes a detachable tablet, while the Duo 12 simply uses a screen that flips back and forth on a hinge, tucking the keyboard behind it.

Dell isn’t commenting on the exact specifications, even whether or not the “12” stands for a 12-inch display. The company did say in a press release that the tablet supports full HD resolution, however, and uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass for toughness.

“We haven’t disclosed full specs on the XPS Duo 12 and will be providing further info as we get closer to availability,” a Dell spokeswoman said in an email. “It does meet the Ultrabook specifications, so is based on Intel technology, and will run Windows 8.”

Dell clearly designed both the XPS 10 and the Duo 12 as devices that could be brought from home into an enterprise environment. “The XPS 10, XPS Duo 12 and XPS One 27 represent the culmination of a deep understanding of the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ movement and insights gained from both our consumer and business customers,” said Sam Burd, global vice president, PC product group at Dell, in a statement.

That combination of business and consumer uses is what Microsoft hopes will be Windows 8’s special sauce in a wide variety of devices including Microsoft’s own Surface. And it now looks like there will be plenty of choices in this new cross-over genre.

Of course, Microsoft isn’t the only company hoping to ride the convertible bandwagon: Lenovo introduced the S2110, a  10.1-inch tablet that can plug into an optional keyboard dock that gives it a 20-hour battery life. It includes both 16 GB and 32-GB storage options.

Apple loses Samsung patent infringement lawsuit in Japan

While Apple has scored a big patent judgment on its home turf, it hasn’t been so fortunate overseas.

After winning a lopsided $1 billion damages award against Samsung last week from a jury in the U.S., Apple lost a case Friday in Japan when a Tokyo judge ruled that its South Korean rival’s smartphones and tablet computers don’t infringe on the iPhone maker’s patents, the latest legal decision in the international struggle between the two companies over intellectual property.

Specifically, Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji found Samsung did not infringe on patents related to synchronizing music and video data in devices to servers, according to a Bloombergreport.

CNET has contacted Apple and Samsung for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

The ruling comes a week after a Seoul court issued a split decision that found both Apple and Samsung violated each other’s patents and prohibited the companies from selling the infringing devices in South Korea. The three-judge panel in the Seoul Central District Court rejected the notion of “consumer confusion” and awarded both companies fairly insignificant damages.

However, Samsung still faces hefty damages and possible injunctions as a result of last week’s verdict in the U.S. On December 6, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh, the presiding judge in the closely-watched trial, will hear Apple’s motion for an injunction against eight Samsung mobile phones, as well as the South Korean electronics giant’s expected motion to have the jury’s verdict set aside. She will also consider modifications to the damages award that could triple the amount that Apple receives from Samsung.

 

Two Ways Samsung’s Court Loss To Apple Is Actually Good For Google

In the wake of Samsung’s $1.05 billion punch in the nose from Apple in their high-stakes patent trial, the general reaction seems to be that Samsung’s loss is also a major setback for Google and Android. That’s not necessarily the whole story. In some ways, Apple could actually be doing Google an unintended favor.

For the most part, Google’s statement to the press issued Sunday has been portrayed as if Google is running for the hills. But there is another way to interpret Google’s statement. Google is also sending a clear message to the Android community: it’s our way or the hard way.

What Google Said

Google’s statement is brief and to the point:

“The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players — including newcomers — are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.”

The emphasis about the core Android operating system is important, because it highlights the fact that many the features that were found to infringe on Apple’s iOS patents in the trial were features added by Samsung. That means they are not Google’s problem.

Google appears to be trying to walk a tightrope: support its stalwart vendor Samsung while not getting directly involved and possibly implicating Android itself as a patent violator. The end result is a statement that is predictably weak on both points.

What Google Meant: “Stay Closer To Android”

But the broader message for smartphone vendors – and consumers – is that the Google way for Android is the best way to avoid further litigation woes. Google seems to be saying that if the Android vendors stick closer to the core Android operating system – and not try to add on so many of their own bells and whistles, they’ll be more likely to avoid the kinds of disasters that sliced 7% off Samsung’s market cap on Monday.

That’s not really altruism for Google: a more unified Android ecosystem would be a big win for the search engine giant. And this position is not without precedent; Google has been explicit about restraining vendor modifications to Android, even if its suggestions have fallen on deaf ears. According to a trial brief filed by Apple, Google had apparently warned Samsung that the design specs for “Samsung’s ‘P1’ and ‘P3’ tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were ‘too similar’ to the iPad and demanded ‘distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.’”

Samsung apparently didn’t listen or didn’t care. If the jury’s findings are upheld, they just got smacked in the face for their lack of attention to Google’s heads up.

Fighting Fragmentation 2 Ways

Android has often been criticized for the fragmentation the open source platform undergoes every time a hardware vendor makes modifications to the core Android platform in order to differentiate itself from the vendor’s competitors. In addition to confusing Android users who switch brands, such modifications have made it difficult for application developers to write apps that work on all Android device/OS combos.

In the past, Google has had to shrug its shoulders and point to the openness of the Android platform as the cause. But now two factors are helping Google control such fragmentation.

First is Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Having a “home” platform for Android gives Google the ability to firmly call the shots for Android development on at least one major player in the mobile device market. Given past patent and copyright lawsuits, Google will work very hard to ensure that Motorola’s version of Android is as bulletproof as possible against such challenges. That design mission, coupled with Motorola’s own rather healthy patent portfolio, should be enough to hold off all but the biggest litigants.

Motorola’s “safe” platform could also serve as a beacon for other Android vendors: a version of Android that’s less vulnerable to lawsuits could be very attractive to Motorola’s competition, even if it means working more closely within Android’s core look and feel.

Second, while Google can’t be thrilled with Android’s name being dragged through the mud in various court cases, the payoff could be worth it. Android device vendors will either learn to conform more closely to the core Android design or risk finding themselves on the receiving end of Apple’s legal stick.

When Trials Give You Lemons…

That makes Apple’s court victory a potential win-win for Google. Getting more core Android-compliant devices on the market should make the mobile operating system as a whole more attractive to app developers, which would make the overall ecosystem that much richer. And when Android vendors don’t play ball, they run the risk of being sued by a very aggressive Apple, while Google doesn’t have to say a word.

Sure, court battles embroil Android in more mud-slinging – at least by proxy. But they’re less likely to affect Motorola products, which can be expected to use core Android.

Obviously, Google would rather see Apple back off and compete in the market rather than in the courtroom. But if court cases hand you lemons, getting a more unified Android vendor community out of this situation would definitely be a sweet glass of lemonade.

Top image courtesy of Pamela Robinson.

Lemonade image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 specs reportedly leaked online

How will Samsung top its current 5.3-inch Galaxy Note?

Samsung is due to unveil its Galaxy Note 2 at this week’s IFA show in Berlin, but purported details about the tablet have already surfaced online.

The follow-up to the current 5.3-inch Note will reportedly offer a 5.5-inch, 1,280×720-pixel, super AMOLED display, according to a Seoul newspaper (English translation).

Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy Note 2 will be powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor and offer 4G LTE connectivity, the newspaper added. An 8-megapixel camera will grace the rear. Consumers can also choose between 16GB or 32GB of storage.

Rumored specs about the larger and faster Galaxy Note 2 initially spilled in June, matching a few but not all of the features leaked by the Korean paper. The earlier report claimed the tablet would come with a dual-core processor and offer a screen resolution of 1,680×1,050-pixels.

The world will have the officially released details by next week when Samsung unwraps the Note 2 at IFA 2012, the tablet’s first public appearance. IFA 2012 officially kicks off this Friday and runs until September 5. But special press events will be held this Wednesday and Thursday. Samsung’s press event is scheduled for Wednesday and will be live streamed.