Tech News: Proof LG's Curved Smartphone Is Real? And 'Microsoft Glass' May Be Next
Plus, some people are wondering if the BlackBerry Messenger app is really as popular as it appears to be.
The Verge has exclusive photos and video of LG's previously unseen G Flex phone with curved OLED display thanks to Argentinian broadcaster Telefe, who's managed to obtain the unannounced device. The report flags a November release for the phone exclusively in South Korea, with no known plans for US, Europe, or a Latin American release. However, there has been no confirmation from the company of the phone's existence.
The leak comes weeks after Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) announced the Galaxy Round, the world's first commercially available curved smartphone. It's currently retailing in South Korea for $1,000. There are no plans to sell it in other markets. Samsung's Q3 earnings report, released today, showed net profits soar 25% despite slowed smartphone sales due to competition.
Curved smartphones follow the latest trend of curved TVs. Both Samsung and LG began selling curved OLED displays this summer, for $10,000 and $9,000 respectively. Sony (NYSE:SNE) has just revealed a cheaper competitor, priced at $4,000, that should be available by month's end. All of these products are available in the US.
'Microsoft Glass' Currently Being Tested
An anonymous source has told the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is currently testing a Google Glass-style device. The move positions Microsoft to join Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and others in the wearable computer market. The source indicated Microsoft has kept a close watch on the wearable computer market, and that Microsoft is determined to "take the lead in hardware manufacturing to make sure the company won't miss out on the opportunities" in the space. It's still uncomfirmed whether Microsoft is actually planning on producing a competing product to Google Glass, or if this is just a prototype. Projected demand for wearable technology like Google Glass is low: In a recent Forrester Research poll, reports the Journal, only 12% of respondents said they would wear a Web gadget on their face.
Rumors that Microsoft could be working on smartglasses reach back to November 2012, when a Microsoft patent for augmented reality glasses was discovered, reports Digitrends.
A recent patent filing shows Samsung is preparing to enter the electronic eyewear space, as well.
For more on wearable tech, check out this nifty infographic.
In Desperation, Has BlackBerry Turned to False Reviews?
On its last breath, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) launched its popular BBM messaging app on Google Android and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS earlier this week. In the Google Play store, the BBM app has already been downloaded 10 million times. It's received plenty of positive reviews, too. Enough, in fact, to cause suspicion, since thousands of these reviews are identical.
Ars Technica pieces the story together well here, but the bottom line is that a notable chunk of the 150,000 reviews contain an identical or near-identical version of the following message:
There's no evidence that BlackBerry is somehow behind the reviews, but what's known as "astroturfing" is not an uncommon practice on the Web. In late september, the New York Times reported that the New York State Attorney General reached an agreement with 19 so-called "reputation management firms" to cease misleading practices on the Web such as fake commenting and reviewing. Just this week, Samsung was fined $340,000 for paying writers to post fake reviews of its HTC (TPE:2498) phone on Taiwanese forums.
With Modest IPO, Twitter Looks to Avoid Facebook Plunge
Twitter plans to offer 70 million shares between $17 to $20 each in its initial public offering, bringing in $1.4 billion for the company. This could be $1.6 billion if the underwriters choose to sell an additional 10.5 million shares, reports Reuters. The valuation is far below the $15 billion some analysts had predicted. But Twitter is shooting much lower, following the botched Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPO in 2012.
Many believe that it was Nasdaq's poor handling of the Facebook IPO -- which led to delayed trading and forced some traders to purchase shares at inflated prices -- that pushed Twitter to list on the NYSE, reports CNN Money. Twitter has not release an official comment.
Despite the hype around the company's IPO, Twitter has yet to turn a profit.
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