How goes the competition between Samsung, the biggest Android device vendor, and Apple? Well, in May, the iPhone 5S outsold the Galaxy S5 by 7 million units to Samsung’s 5 million. To counter Apple’s Beats offering (which Khoi Vinh suggests is about being able to offer well-made and fashionable audio accessories at scale), Samsung launched their “Level” family of high-end headphones and speakers. To counter Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s Nest, they’ve been talking to SmartThings about acquiring them.
After the announcements about the upcoming Android L (the next version of Android; the current one is K) and the Material design language, Google have been busy. They’ve spending several hundred million dollars in a big marketing push to sell Android One phones in India, adding support for Android Wear custom watch faces, designing fonts that look good and are readable on all manner of devices, and updating the Google Play Store with a beautiful new UI that’s a little closer to the specs in the Material design language.
In non-Samsung Android news, LG announced the G3 Beat, a mid-range version of its flagship G3 smartphone.
How about that Amazon Fire phone? It seems to be an Amazon shopping device that just happens to act like a smartphone, and its first ad seems to have confirmed many suspicions:
BlackBerry are saying “better late than never” with the announcement of their assistant technology for Blackberry 10.3: BlackBerry Assistant. Even Microsoft’s Cortana shouldn’t worry about this one.
And finally, on the general mobile accessories front, there’s GoTenna’s messaging gadget, which works even “in the middle of nowhere” where you can’t get a signal. In New York magazine, Kevin Roose asks an interesting question: Does anyone outside Silicon Valley even want a smartwatch? Keep in mind that once upon a time, mobile phones — never mind smartphones — seemed frivolous, not vital.