Tag Archives: Samsung

Foursquare’s Time Machine is awesome!

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Foursquare has partnered with Samsung to deliver a really slick animation of your history on the service.  It’s really beautiful to watch and fun to consider the travel I’ve had over the past 4 years on the platform as well.  I particularly enjoyed the transitions when I traveled via plane or road to the various cities in which I’ve checked in.  Get yours here.

 

 

Samsung Develops Wallet Platform

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So Samsung is finally showing some cards around mobile payments and it looks like they’ve developed a full-up wallet system rather than simply utilize an existing method.  This certainly aligns with their desire to control more of the ecosystem and looks like a strong contender assuming they are able to deliver carrier partnerships as well to enable access across their installable base.

Samsung’s Wallet looks a lot like Apple’s Passbook and that’s a good thing.  While it’s capable of incorporating NFC, the initial proximity solution will be based on scannable codes … just like Passbook.  Again this is a good thing as merchants and brands will (hopefully) only need some slight modification (if any) to enable a second set of passes.

Currently, Wallet is only available as a preview for developers, who can download the SDK and API guides for it now, and the app itself will be available in the near future. Samsung says that it has lined up partnerships with Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa for the app’s launch, but it won’t be integrated any NFC payment features into Wallet, despite its new partnership with Visa’s PayWave service. When we asked why this was the case, Samsung said retailers prefer barcodes over NFC because they don’t have to install any new infrastructure to support it.  via The Verge.

Given the imminent launch announcement of the Galaxy S IV, the likely sales of millions of devices (much like the S III and Note lines) this could and should get some immediate attention.  Developers can start here.  Earlier this week, MLB (also a Samsung partner) announced support for Passbook at 13 ballparks … with the intentional similarities here from Samsung, perhaps we’ve got a real chance at a standard for how payments get presented.

Samsung’s HomeSync

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This is a rather interesting development from Samsung… It’s not GoogleTV, but it is an Android powered STB.

The device features WiFi, Bluetooth and Ethernet support, 2 USB 3.0 ports for peripherals, a micro USB port for connecting to a PC, and HDMI output for hooking up a TV or monitor. Under the hood, the HomeSync is running software based on Google Android Jelly Bean, which means you can use it to watch movies on the hard drive or stream videos from YouTube, among other things. It also includes access to the Google Play Store, which should let you download additional apps such as Netflix or Vudu to turn the HomeSync into a pretty powerful media center for your TV. via liliputing

Standardizing the Second Screen Experience

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I love hearing that there’s a new industry standard being sorted by YouTube and Netflix to promote a more open second screen experience. Right now it’s a bit of a mess and you either go all in with Apple (AppleTV + Airplay + iOS) which only works in certain instances – though absolutely works, or you’ve got a set of considerably more limited options. The DIAL Protocol could really offer a very new opportunity for enhanced viewing and app utilization in the living room which is very exciting.

But there are other areas where DIAL actually goes beyond AirPlay’s capabilities. First, the obvious: AirPlay can’t launch any apps on your Apple TV. DIAL will also be able to detect whether an app is installed, and redirect a user to a smart TV’s app store in case it’s missing. Also cool: DIAL will be able to launch web apps on your TV, if the device supports it, which should add a whole lot of new functionality to connected devices.via GigaOm.

Even more interesting is that it’s apparently already out in market, though quietly and waiting to be awakened … I’m surprised there wasn’t more (or any) noise at CES this year … Sony, Samsung, GoogleTV, YouTube and Netflix are a strong start.

Samsung’s New Smart TV

Stunning screen resolution … the real trick is how it works with your craptastic cable box. I’m still holding steady for the hopeful Apple TV, but this sounds really, really good.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what Samsung’s Smart TVs can do:

The menu is divided into five panels for live TV, movies or TV shows, your personal photos/videos/music, social content recommendations from services like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, and apps.

The interface recommends what to watch based on what’s stored on your mobile devices and what your friends like.

You can control the TV with your voice or motion gestures.

If you have a Samsung smartphone or tablet, you can beam video content to and from your Smart TV. It’s similar to Apple’s AirPlay.

via Business Insider.

Samsung’s Likely Big Year

MG Siegler has solid POV on the potential for Samsung this year. I don’t normally quote this much, but for context …

Not only is it bigger than Apple from a revenue standpoint, it’s almost twice as large as the three other “horsemen” combined ($190 billion versus what should be about $100 billion for Amazon, Facebook, and Google in 2012). And unlike Amazon and Facebook which make little or no profit, Samsung is hugely profitable. $12 billion in profit for 2011 should move closer to $20 billion in 2012. That’s not a ton compared to Apple ($55 billion in profit in 2012), but it should be roughly twice as much profit as Google pulls in for the year.

But let’s forget the money and go back to Android. Samsung is so important and deserves a place with the other horsemen because it is the most important piece of the Android ecosystem beyond Google. And it seems that the company is at least exploring the possibility of taking a step back from that ecosystem, or hedging its bet. That could be the story of 2013.

Imagine Samsung, with 40 to 50 percent of the Android market, breaking away to focus on Tizen. Or perhaps more realistically, imagine Samsung forking Android for its own purposes while exploring the Tizen possibilities. Not only can the company afford to do it, there may be several incentives to do so.

Amazon is closing in on its own phone running a forked version of Android in a similar manner to its Kindle Fire tablets. The first iterations of that tablet weren’t great, but they’re getting better. And because it now has its own forked Android app store, Amazon is going to be in control of the entire ecosystem. Samsung has no such control if it remains a loyal Android partner.

Maybe it’s okay with that, but Samsung must be looking at how profitable Apple is as a result of its total control. Shitty mobile skins only give the illusion of control, Samsung needs to control the full stack. And given its position of power, the company has the leverage to do that if it chooses to.

And it’s not just an offensive imperative, it’s a defensive one too. Google continues to say the right things publicly about maintaining distance from its Motorola unit with regard to Android. Of course, it says this with the Google X phone project well underway. A true Google phone.

Perhaps it’s a project meant less to scare Samsung and more to fight back against Google’s true bane: its carrier partners. Or maybe it’s Google hedging against Samsung’s position of power. It doesn’t matter. The Google/Samsung relationship is starting to show signs of strain, and they’re only going to get more pronounced — exhibit A.

Beyond mobile devices, the hot topic for 2013 is the future of television. Most of this is focused around Apple with a little bit reserved for Google’s TV projects. But it’s once again Samsung that is already the leader in the space. Sure, it’s the old school (shitty margin) television space, but why doesn’t anyone think that Samsung can translate its success in smartphones here as well? It simply hasn’t really tried yet.

Perhaps that’s another part of the Tizen equation. Or maybe a forked Android will find its way here as well. But Samsung has a huge head start on Apple, Google and everyone else.  via TechCrunch.

Bloomberg’s report on Samsung’s desire to launch Tizen-based handsets to push away from Android is definitely interesting.  The initial product is apparently going to NTT Docomo in Japan which means we’ll have to wait here in the US.  Should Samsung decide to release a Tizen varient of the Galaxy IV later this year, most (Samsung) consumers would probably consider it the next generation Galaxy rather than focus on the operating system.  If Samsung can successfully migrate their existing apps and deliver against some of the core Google bits they are going to have a winning hand.  This is far from simple or a sure thing …

The future of TV is a big deal. While everyone is waiting for Apple to reveal their solution, Samsung already has massive scale, huge profits to accomodate risk (like Apple) and an existing ecosystem of devices along with a brewing selection of branded apps.  Now, it’s been pointed out more than a few times, that the current Smart TV market is a complicated mess and it’s also likely to be massively expensive to get the ala carte services we all want.

This week CES will reveal some likely candidates … let’s hope they aren’t just based on speeds and feeds … we need some connected systems here to make it all work and work well.