Today in Tech News Digest, there is confusion over just how successful the Samsung Galaxy Gear is, the PlayStation 4 is revealed to be a profit-maker for Sony, Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone division is greenlit, Snapchat eases past Facebook, Twitter explains itself, 3D Builder for Windows 8.1 is released, and ‘Selfie’ is named word of the year.
Galaxy Gear Sales Confusion
Samsung claims Galaxy Gear sales have hit 800,000, but Business Korea claims the true figure is actually closer to 50,000. Samsung told Reuters, “It’s the most sold wearable watch available in the market place… and we plan to expand its availability by expanding mobile devices that work with the Gear.” This statement was released 24 hours after the aforementioned Korean website claimed sales were below expectations.
The truth, as uncovered by The Verge, is that the figure of 800,000 units actually refers to worldwide shipments to retailers rather than sales to consumers. These, as any sensible person would know, are very different. Spin is a wonderful thing.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) November 19, 2013
The jury is still out on whether the very concept of a smartwatch — a smartphone you wear on your wrist — is going to persist or not. We won’t really know until Apple launches its long-rumored iWatch, but until then we have plenty of alternatives already on the market. The problem is smartwatches look positively prehistoric compared to Google Glass.
Piffling PS4 Profit
If research firm IHS is to be believed, then Sony is making just $18 in profit on every PlayStation 4 currently flying off store shelves. According to All Things D, IHS conducted a detailed teardown of the PS4 hardware and added up the cost of the parts and manufacturing. The total came to $381, $18 less than the $399 price tag Sony has placed on the games console at launch.
This may sound like a ridiculously low profit margin, especially when compared to the small fortune Apple manages to squeeze from its overly loyal customers, but a similar analysis was made when the PS3 was released, and Sony was spending $805 to manufacture a console selling for $599. The PlayStation 4 is a veritable goldmine in comparison.
NokSoft Is Go
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services unit has been given the go-ahead by the Finnish company’s shareholders. The deal, worth around $7.2 billion, was forged in September, with Microsoft hoping that the addition of the Lumia line of smartphones will ensure a positive future for Windows Phone. More than 99 percent of Nokia shareholders approved the deal which will see former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop returning to Microsoft in 2014. Elop is just one of a number of people being considered for the job of Microsoft CEO, vacant once Steve Ballmer retires in 2014.
Snapchat Surpasses Facebook
The Snapchat photos shared number is pretty silly. Interesting metric but it’s like comparing soap bubbles to spray paint.
— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) November 19, 2013
Snapchat users now share 400 million photos every day, compared to the 350 million shared on Facebook. This is interesting insofar as it may go some way to explaining why Facebook is so desperate to acquire Snapchat, as it reportedly offered $3 billion to do so. However, after the dual reporting of these figures from Business Insider and CNET, others tried to crunch the numbers to determine how many active users Snapchat may have. Buzzfeed and TechCrunch both arrived at dizzyingly different conclusions, and I suspect only Snapchat will know the truth until the company deems it suitable to actually share it with the rest of us.
Twitter Explains Itself
Twitter is an essential tool for many of us, but it remains an elusive wonderland of tweets and hashtags to the uninitiated mainstream population. After far too many years spent refusing to explain its objectives in any way, Twitter has finally done just that in a YouTube video first spotted by Mashable. It may not persuade you to become part of the Twitterati, but it should help cull any confusion you had over exactly what the point of it all is.
3D Builder For Windows 8.1
3D printers are very much in vogue, though they’re a long way off becoming mainstream. Still, this niche angle hasn’t dissuaded Microsoft from throwing its weight behind the concept, with the company having released 3D Builder for Windows 8.1. This app makes it much easier for budding amateurs to design and print 3D objects in the comfort of their own homes. Just don’t go expecting Star Trek levels of replication quite yet.
‘Selfie’ Named Word Of The Year
And finally, ‘Selfie’ has been named word of the year for 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries. It beat out other contenders for the honor, including ‘twerk’, ‘binge-watch’, and ‘schmeat’. Oxford Dictionaries define ‘Selfie’ as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” While I, and all right-thinking people in the world, define it as an affront to human decency that needs to stop. Now. Please.