Sunday, May 24, 2015

Galaxy S6's Sales Disaster, New Samsung Galaxy Launch Date, Xperia Z4 Tablet Review

Galaxy S6's Sales Disaster, New Samsung Galaxy Launch Date, Xperia Z4 Tablet Review

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Taking a look back at seven days of news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including the low sales of the Samsung Galaxy S6 family, the early arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, early reviews of the Sony Xperia Z4 tablet, Microsoft Office preview for Android, the new OnePlus 2 handset is benchmarked online, Android Wear updates, MixRadio arrives on the platform, and the release of AdBlock’s Android browser.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can read the weekly Apple news digest here).

Galaxy S6 Sales Disaster

While there are no confirmed numbers (and Samsung’s comment is “no comment”), the reporting of the first month of sales on the Galaxy S6 is not what the South Korean manufacturer would have been hoping for. Ten million is not just on the low-end of expectations, it’s crashing through the floor and have a serious effect on the finances of the parent company.

Korean news agency Yonhap reports that it has taken a month for sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to reach 10M. Speaking to Yonhap a ‘high-ranking Samsung official’ confirmed this figure for the first time. Trying to put a positive spin on it the official said: “The sales of the Galaxy S6 series have already surpassed 10 million.”


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (image: Ewan Spence)

Forbes’ Gordon Kelly expands on the detail behind that number, especially with Samsung’s focus on selling 70 million S6 branded handsets this year:

Notably the Galaxy S4 shipped 10M units in 27 days while the much criticised Galaxy S5 took 25 days to ship 10M units. In fact it was the lack of growth from the Galaxy S5 that inspired the radical reboot of the line seen in the S6es.

Consequently for combined sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to only pass 10M in a similar timeframe to the S5 and S4 represents a disastrous return. This is particularly true for the cheaper Galaxy S6 given Samsung has already confirmed demand for the Edge variant has been unexpectedly high.

All of which poses the obvious question: if Galaxy S6 Edge sales are performing above expectations, just how bad are Galaxy S6 sales?


I’ll be keeping a close eye on the numbers around the Galaxy S6 family. Given the crash in profits and revenue during 2014, right now Samsung’s Mobile Division looks to be a huge fiscal drag on the company’s bottom line.

Is The Galaxy Note 5 Arriving Early?

Will Samsung reveal the Galaxy Note 5 ahead of the expected annual schedule? Traditionally Berlin’s IFA event has seen the South Korean company refresh its phablet line, but sources in the supply chain point to a potential earlier release.

…Samsung is also apparently preparing to release its Galaxy Note 5 in late July, according to WhowiredKorea. It is claimed Samsung has already confirmed the final specification of the phablet and shown prototypes to global telecoms partners… For Samsung bringing forward the Galaxy Note 5 launch would make sense. Samsung Pay is set to launch in July which would unite it with the new phablet and it would also give Samsung the drop on Android rivals expected to launch their devices at the IFA tech show which is held in Berlin in September.


Given Apple’s tendency to release devices in September, Samsung may also have thought this would give it the drop on the new iPhone 6S Plus. If I was looking for an easier answer, I’d suggest Samsung want far more units available at launch than in previous years to get an immediate ‘hit’ phone.

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Reviews

The Guardian’s Samuel Gibbs has been taking a look at a pre-release version of Sony’s latest tablet. The Xperia Z4 Tablet doubles up as an ultraportable laptop with the keyboard cover, and continues to push the idea of a high-specification waterproof tablet:

The Xperia Z4 Tablet will be familiar to anyone who has laid eyes on a Sony smartphone or tablet made in the last couple of years: a thin, waterproof body, black bezels and a brilliant LCD screen.

The big change for the Z4 is the size of the housing. The screen is the same 10.1in, now quad HD with a pixel density of 299 pixels per inch, but the bezels around the screen have shrunk – the tablet is 12mm shorter and 5mm narrower, making it one of the smallest 10in tablets available.


While the future of Sony’s mobile division is still unclear, the hardware that is being manufactured continues to impress. We’ll have the Z4 Tablet to review on Forbes when it is released to the public.

Microsoft Office Preview App Released For Android

Following on from successful release of OneNote and Outlook, Microsoft has rolled out Office for Android as a preview application. Tony Bradley takes a look at the strategy behind Microsoft’s next encroachment into the Android world:

Initially Microsoft worked to just get some version of the Office apps out there for competing platforms like iOS and Android. The focus lately has been on ensuring the look and feel are consistent across all of the different devices and operating systems. It’s nice to be able to use the same basic tools on different devices but users shouldn’t have to re-learn how to use Word, Excel or PowerPoint depending on which device they choose. It should be simple and intuitive to use a Microsoft Office app no matter which platform it’s on.


Microsoft’s move to a cloud-based strategy has an impact on how the mobile Office app earns money. While it works as a viewer for free, the single sign-up to Office 365 will open up all the features in the application.

Microsoft has made the basic functionality of viewing and editing Microsoft Office files free for everyone. You must subscribe to Office 365, though, if you want the full range of features and capabilities. That shouldn’t really be an issue for most people—Office 365 is a much better value than buying Microsoft Office the old-fashioned way.


Next OnePlus Handset Shows Up In Benchmarking Tests

Shenzhen-based manufacturer OnePlus is expected to release its second handset by the end of the year. Named the OnePlus 2, it appears that some handsets have browsed to the online benchmarking sites to see how they compare to the competition. 9to5Google has the details:

Rumors regarding the successor the popular OnePlus One smartphone began emerging earlier this year and now a mysterious device from the company has appeared in GeekBench test results. While the results don’t reveal much, the show what is likely the OnePlus 2. The device appears to be running Android 5.1 and features an 8 core processor, likely in the 4+4 setup, clocked at 1.55GHz.

The processor is most likely the Snapdragon 810,which has been said to suffer from overheating issues since its launch. The test results show the device as carrying the model number A2001. The original OnePlus One carried the A0001 model number.


The OnePlus 2 is expected to arrive during Q3 2015, and a potential budget-priced model may appear before the end of 2015.

Google Sends Out Android Wear Update

Paul Lamkin details the changes and additions in Google’s latest release of Android Wear. Taking the platform up to Android 5.1.1, the wearable OS with a large smartwatch footprint now features improvements in the app launcher UI, connecting directly over Wi-Fi to the internet, gesture control, and emoji support.

Rather than an awkward list of task-specific commands, Google has gone back to smartphone-esque basics with a simple, icon-heavy, app launching page – easily reachable with a simple tap of the home screen. From this apps list you can scroll left for your contacts (nicely sorted with your most popular first) and, from here, you can send a text or email; or kick-start a call to start on your synced smartphone.

When you do fire up an app you’ll also notice that, much like the watch face, the display will be blacked out after a short period of time. This ‘always-on’ app feature is very handy for things like shopping lists and will help to preserve battery power.


Android Wear interaction (photo: Ewan Spence)

MixRadio Launches On Android

While Microsoft is promoting the ability for Android (and iOS) developers to port apps to Windows Phone, it is busy porting apps the other way with MixRadio the next app to jump out of the silo towards the major platforms in the market (reports The Next Web). The ad-supported streaming music app is free of charge, and while there some restrictions in place (much like any other nine streaming application, e.g. limited skips per hour, and limited number of repeating artists per hour) it’s an interesting choice to help you explore the music:

MixRadio’s expansion comes amid a hotbed of activity in the genre. A Spotify event tomorrow will likely reveal news about that service, while listeners anticipate more information about Apple’s new Beats music service. MixRadio, which is ad-supported, is free of charge.


And Finally…

AdBlock has entered the browser wars on Android with the launch of a new browser that blocks advertising on your handset. The Next Web looks at the tech behind the browser:

ABP’s developers have launched Adblock Browser for Android, which is basically Firefox 37 for Android with ABP baked in. The app is currently in beta, and you’ll need to sign up to ABP’s Google+ community to download it… Adblock Browser for Android looks and feels about the same as Firefox’s mobile browser, but it doesn’t support other add-ons or Firefox’s Sync feature. ABP claims that users will enjoy increased battery life, save on data usage and avoid malware injected into ads.


‘Android Circuit’ will round-up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple LoopLast week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch.

About the Author

Prejeesh Sreedharan

Author & Editor

I am a Biotechnologist very much interested in #SciTech (Science And Technology). I closely follow the developments in medical science and life science. I am also very enthusiast in the world of electronics, information technology and robotics. I always looks for ways to make complicated things simpler. And I always believes simplest thing is the most complicated ones.

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