This Week In Android: Oct 21st – 27th

Samsung announces Samsung S4 sales figure, T-Mobile begins free data plan for tablets, HTC teases upcoming wearables and BlackBerry Messenger launches on Android. Oh, and Apple may or may not have updated their juggernaut tablet competition. Let’s check out this week in Android!

Samsung Sales and Fines

Samsung co-CEO JK Shin announced this week that the company has shipped 40 million units of the Galaxy S4 since it launched earlier in the year. Of these 40 million, ten million are attributed to first month shipments, a number that can be compared to Apple’s 9 million iPhones sold in September’s 5S/5C launch weekend. Samsung did not reveal, however, whether 40 million devices had been sold or simply shipped to retailers.

The Galaxy S3 shipped 30 million units after six months — approximately the same period as the S4 — showing Samsung earning themselves a year-on-year increase.

Samsung's Galaxy S4: one in 40 million.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4: one in 40 million.

Samsung also came under fire this week following the culmination of a controversy over fake online comments. The company allegedly encouraged astroturfing — the practice of masking paid sponsorship as an unbias commentary — on Taiwanese forums through the proxy of two marketing firms. The two marketing companies each received a fine cumulatively totalling over $100,000 while Samsung was fined just over $340,000.

HTC Teases Wearables

HTC teased upcoming products in the wearables category this week, calling the market “critical segment”. In an interview with The Financial Times, CEO Peter Chou said, “[a smartwatch] has to meet a need, otherwise it’s just a gimmick or concept” and promised HTC wouldn’t put out a novelty “version one” device.

report from Bloomberg followed this up with a suggestion that HTC’s smart watch would be released before the second half of 2014. Launching in 2014 could potentially see competition from Apple who has been long-rumoured to be working on a wearable product for a possible launch next year.

BlackBerry Messenger on Android

BlackBerry launched BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone and Android this week, bringing the previously-exclusive service to the masses after an initial delay. In just 24 hours, BlackBerry announced that the app had been downloaded more than ten million times between the two platforms.

The official BBM app running on Android.

The official BBM app running on Android.

However, the launch was somewhat tarnished by the Google Play Store listing being populated by a large quantity of fake positive reviews, all bearing the same phrase: “Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth”. BlackBerry stated publicly that they did not approve of such activity, thus the origin of the fake reviews are unknown.

The app is available as a free download from Google Play and if you’re still on the fence about using it, you can check our review and guide to the app: Everything you need to know about using BBM on Android.

Other Updates

  • Plants vs Zombies 2, the sequel to the original tower defense-style game, has finally launched on Android after it initially debuted on iOS earlier this year. It’s a free download through Google Play.
  • HTC has begun rolling out an update to Sense 5.5 for HTC One this week, updating the skin to running over Android 4.3 and giving users the ability to disable BlinkFeed. The update also offers users 25GB of storage space on Google Drive for two years, redeemable by simply opening the Google Drive app before the end of 2015.
  • Alongside the launch of Apple’s iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display this week, T-Mobile announced it would begin offering 200mb of free 4G data to tablet owners beginning November 1st.

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