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Device operating systems

OS Watch: Samsung Humanizes the Smartphone

Samsung Corp. has packed some impressive software into its Galaxy 3, which it says was "designed for humans and inspired by nature." (See Samsung's New Galaxy: A Data Hog Approaches.)

The so-called human touch in the Android 4.0 device is S Voice, Samsung's voice control answer to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s Siri. But, more impressive (or creepy, depending on your point of view) is Smart Stay, an eye-tracking technology that adjusts the screen depending on how you are using the phone, preventing it from dimming if you're reading a book, for example. The phone also comes with Flipboard, a social media aggregation app that was once exclusive to iOS.

In other mobile OS news:

  • Android takes over CTIA: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) won't have a booth at next week's CTIA show, and BlackBerry had its big BlackBerry shindig this week, which means the show floor is Android's for the taking. Don't expect too much action from the little green guys, though. Since Samsung already did its big Galaxy 3 unveiling and none of the handset makers are planning press conferences, it may be quiet on the new device front. Instead, plan for lots of talk about the fourth iteration of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, and maybe some more color on carriers' Long Term Evolution (LTE) Android device plans. (See CTIA: Behind the Devices and CTIA: Where 4G Heats Up.)

  • RIM, Microsoft fight for third: Speaking of Microsoft and RIM, it's becoming increasingly clear that their only competition is each other. That's because Android and Apple are so far ahead, leaving the two companies to fight for that third ecosystem spot. The main difference between the two is that Microsoft can probably afford to fail with Windows Phone, while RIM desperately needs BlackBerry 10 to be a hit. And while initial impressions have been positive, most are wondering if RIM's efforts are too little too late. The doubt has driven its stock down 15 percent this week to a new eight-year low for RIM. (See BlackBerry 10: For the Data & Time Crunched and RIM Talks the Talk.)

  • End of the road for bada: Perhaps encouraged by its success with Android, Samsung is reportedly abandoning its own OS, bada. According to Mobile-Review.com Editor and rumor-monger Eldar Murtazin, Samsung is wrapping up work on the platform and plans to stop supporting it by the first half of next year. Developers that were working on the OS will migrate to Android, Murtazin suggests.
  • Tizen updates its source code: Tizen, the OS that superseded MeeGo, is already on version 1.0 of its source code, codenamed Larkspur. The update to the Samsung and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)-supported open-source OS includes stability and performance improvements, extra HTML5 functions and map and Wi-Fi updates. Developers will get their hands on a new software development kit to start building for the updated OS, which has been designed for connected devices like tablets.

  • Google grows its wallet: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is expanding its mobile Wallet service to three more Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) smartphones, as well as the unlocked Galaxy Nexus. That brings it total supported devices to five, but Sprint remains the only carrier to embrace the payment plan. (See Google Unlocks a Nexus Phone (Again) and NFC to Come Standard in Sprint LTE Phones.)

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

  • sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:34:05 PM
    re: OS Watch: Samsung Humanizes the Smartphone

    Google's new (sort of) strategy to do unlocked, direct-to-consumer sales online means it can put Google Wallet on all those handsets, but once a user puts a carrier SIM card in, I wonder if it'll effect the service. I think the app needs carrier support to work to its full potential.

    sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:34:05 PM
    re: OS Watch: Samsung Humanizes the Smartphone

    Samsung clearly focused on the software of its new handset, but I'm hearing the hardware design leaves a lot to be desired. Plastic, really?? Sounds cheap looking.

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