Apple’s iPhones take the top 9 spots of Japan’s top 10 smartphones ranking

BCN’s list of the top 10 sales ranking of smartphones in Japan.

The tenth ranked product was a ZTE phone. It is surprising that none of the local brands appeared in this list.

Soon you can install Sailfish on your Android device

Talouselämä Magazine reports that Sailfish will soon be available for installation on Android devices.

”There is no such culture in these parts of the world [Finland], but there are people that are installing new operating systems on their devices. In China it is mainstream. About half of the smartphone buyers are upgrading their older or cheaper devices with a better version of Android.”

“For us it is a possibility to distribute our operating system especially in China. There are websites that already distribute [OS] software and the Chinese customers are doing it ­so we don’t have to teach them. We just have to get Sailfish to those websites – and to make sure that Sailfish will run on different kind of Android devices.”

A group of ex-Nokia employees launched the Jolla phone earlier this week. It runs on the Sailfish operating system that allows installation of Android apps.

Apple goes red for World AIDS Day

MacRumours reports that Apple is recognising World AIDS Dayin its retail stores and on its website.

Every day, 900 babies are born with HIV. (RED) works with companies like Apple to fight for an AIDS‑free generation by creating (PRODUCT)RED merchandise. A percentage of gross profits from the sale of those products goes to the Global Fund to help fund AIDS programmes in Africa. Since its introduction, (PRODUCT)RED has generated more than $215 million for the Global Fund — more than $65 million from Apple alone. You can help make an impact by purchasing a (PRODUCT)RED iPod or (PRODUCT)RED accessories for iPhone and iPad.

US stolen smartphone database complete

The Verge reports on the completion of the US database that blocks activation of stolen phones.

Though most smartphones already offer tools to let you locate lost phones, only Apple has managed to offer a feature which satisfies SF and NYC prosecutors’ desire to deter theft. The Activation Lock feature of iOS 7 can not only remotely wipe a phone, but keep it from being reactivated without the owner’s credentials.

You should have invested in technology stocks in 2013

Bitcoin isn’t the only thing that you should be tracking

Bitcoin, Schmitcoin — Tech Stocks Also on a Frothy Run

LinkedIn, up more that 95 percent; Facebook, up over 76.5 percent; Yahoo, up 83 percent; Amazon, up 57 percent; Google, up close to 50 percent; and even perpetually stagnant Microsoft, up close to 43 percent. Apple lagged, up only 4.5 percent, and Twitter remains below its November IPO price, down 7.4 percent. Even suffering Groupon and Zynga did well, up more than 86 percent and 84 percent respectively.

Jony Ive’s early designs

These photos from the recent book on Jony Ive are really interesting and provide an insight into his early design ideas.

Check Out The Earliest Work Of Apple’s Design Leader Jony Ive

Kahney highlighted this quote from Paul Kunkel in a book about Apple design: “Unlike most of his generation, Ive did not see design as an occasion to exert his ego or carry out some pres ordained style or theory. Rather, he approached each project in an almost chameleon-like way, adapting himself to the product (rather than the other way around) … for this reason, Ive’s early works have no ‘signature style.’”

Microsoft ready to kill Windows RT

The Guardian reports that Microsoft is most likely terminating Windows RT.

Larson-Green, who is executive vice-president of Devices and Studios at Microsoft, said that the aim of Windows RT was “our first go at creating that more closed, turnkey experience [that Apple has on the iPad]…” but that Microsoft now has three mobile operating systems: “We have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three.”

It is no secret that Windows RT does not generate value for Microsoft.

Only Microsoft and Nokia’s handset division, which is being acquired by Microsoft, make any RT devices. Microsoft had to write down $900m at the end of the June quarter on unsold Surface RT devices.

Apple’s Newsstand app in its forgotten corner

PandoDaily writes about the dimming star that is the iOS Newsstand app.

For an Apple design, the Newsstand icon looks decidedly juvenile. But what’s worse for publishers is that there is now no visual reminder within the Newsstand icon that there are publications inside, waiting to be read. On top of that, in iOS7 users can now hide the Newsstand icon inside a folder. The once-special treatment that Apple gave publishers in order to encourage the distribution of magazines to the iPhone and iPad had apparently vanished, at least in terms of visual prominence.

However, Newsstand still offers more than apps in some ways.

He also says the Newsstand’s background downloads – which means publications are available for immediate reading every time Newsstand is opened – is also still the most reliable way to get a new issue onto a subscriber’s device, and “only in the Newsstand is the delivery all but guaranteed.” (However, background downloads are now available for all iOS apps.) The Newsstand also still boasts some unique advantages over other apps, including free trials, the ability to update covers, and the opportunity for subscribers to share direct contact information.

Samsung’s $14 billion splurge in advertising this year not bringing in desired results

Reuters reports that Samsung is expected to spend $14 billion in advertising and marketing this year. That’s more than what Google paid to buy Motorola Mobility.

Despite the heavy spending, the marketing efforts backfired on a few occasions. Samsung was under fire for blatant product placement:

Last month, a Samsung-sponsored short-film contest finale at the Sydney Opera House received poor reviews for blatant product placement in a series of ‘behind the scenes’ videos. In Britain, viewers panned a product placement deal with ITV’s popular X-Factor talent show. “Is this a singing competition or an extended Samsung advert?” asked Twitter user Ryan Browne.

Some of the advertisements were outright sexist:

Earlier this year, Samsung’s New York launch of its latest top-of-the-range Galaxy smartphone came under fire for being sexist, portraying giggling women chatting about jewelry and nail polish while the men discussed the new phone, and the company’s new fridge and washing machine launch in South Africa drew similar complaints as it featured swim-suit dancers.

To have a picture of how ineffective it’s marketing campaigns are, compare it with how much Apple spent on advertising:

But, while Samsung has become the world’s biggest advertiser, spending $4.3 billion on ads alone last year, its global brand value of $39.6 billion is less than half that of Apple, which spent only $1 billion on advertising, according to Interbrand and ad researcher Ad Age.

Analysts attribute the poor returns to Samsung’s weak branding. While it has established itself as a reliable brand, its mobile devices are simply a part of Android market, and not a differentiated product like the iOS devices or Windows and Windows Phone devices.

“The stronger, more differentiated the product, the less it needs to be propped up by advertising,” said Horace Dediu, founder of independent research firm Asymco and a former Nokia business development manager, referring to Apple’s ad spend.

“When your brand doesn’t have a clear identity, as is the case with Samsung, to keep spending is probably the best strategy,” said Moon Ji-hun, head of brand consultant Interbrand’s Korean operation. “But maintaining marketing spend at that level in the longer term wouldn’t bring much more benefit. No one can beat Samsung in terms of (ad) presence, and I doubt whether keeping investing at this level is effective.”

“Samsung’s marketing is too much focused on projecting an image they aspire to: being innovative and ahead of the pack,” said Oh Jung-suk, associate professor at the business school of Seoul National University. “They are failing to efficiently bridge the gap between the aspiration and how consumers actually respond to the campaign. It’s got to be more aligned.”

Fujitsu launches laptop with contactless palm authentication

TechWeekEurope reports that Fujitsu has launched a laptop that scans the palm to authenticate its user.

“Vein authentication” uses image recognition and optical technology to scan the normally invisible vein pattern of the palm, back of the hand and fingers. It works by radiating the hand with near-infrared rays. The deoxidised haemoglobin in the palm veins absorbs these rays, thereby reducing the reflection rate and causing them to appear as a black pattern. This vein pattern is then verified against a pre-registered pattern to authenticate the individual.

So the next time you see people holding their palm at their laptop, know that they are not asking their laptops to talk to the hand.