But if there's one company it needs to look out for, it's Facebook
Google on Thursday reported its second-quarter results for fiscal year 2014. We already posted a brief summary of the numbers, and now it's time to dive a bit deeper. Let's the the disclaimers out of the way: I'm a Google shareholder and have been for many years. I'm optimistic on the company's outlook and while I will continue to hold my shares (probably for many more years), I'm not recommending any specific actions to anyone else.
While Wall Street loves to micro-analyze quarterly results. I prefer to look at them in the context of long-term growth. From the angle of an investor (rather than a stock trader) I am quite satisfied with the company's performance and opportunity set going forward.
Analysts expected Google to post $15.6 billion in revenue compared to the $16 billion it actually reported. So that's a small positive surprise. But on the earnings line, analysts thought Google would post $6.24 earnings per share (EPS) while it actually posted $6.08. This is about a 3 percent shortfall relative to the best guess of the analyst community, so it's hardly a big miss. What matters to me is that Google posted 22 percent growth year-over-year. Google has been posting results like this quite consistently, which tells me Google continues to be well-managed in a world where there is plenty of opportunity for the company to take advantage of.
Gesture controls are becoming increasingly common in Android phones — being able to control certain features by moving or flipping your phone dates back to the early days of HTC Sense. However it's easy to overlook the LG G3's gesture controls if you're not aware of them, and there are a few useful time-savers included.
Samsung has teamed up with Lionsgate to announce that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 will see its first official trailer premiere on Galaxy Tab S hardware. The trailer will go live on July 25 at the Samsung Galaxy Experience during Comic-Con, presented by cast members from the popular movie. Fans will be able to enjoy the trailer outside of the massive convention too, heading down to a local Best Buy or downloading the movie pack app for Android.
Amazon has today announced a new ebook rental service called Kindle Unlimited. The new service enables consumers to choose from over 600,000 books, listen to thousands of audiobooks from Audible and more for just $9.99 a month. Think of it as a music streaming package, but for books with Amazon.
If you are a subscriber of UK broadcaster Sky, you'll now be able to manage your account while on the move with the company's latest Android offering. Titled Sky Service, the app enables you to get into account areas, find help for TV, broadband and phones services, as well as easy access to the service status checker. It's a must-have for anyone with a Sky package.
It was only yesterday when LG announced the Beat / G3 s, which caters for consumers looking for a mid-range Android smartphone. Today, LG Germany revealed that the new mobile phone will set purchases back €349. The G3 Beat and "G3 s" are the same phone — those in Asia will get the G3 Beat and Europe will receive the "LG G3 s". It's also stated by LG Germany that the G3 s will launch sometime in August, presumably alongside other nearby markets.
Almost 200 Samsung managers have opted to voluntarily return a quarter of their first-half bonuses in a bid to help mitigate the upcoming quarterly report, which will show a decline in profits and consumer demand. Samsung itself is facing some issues with slowing market growth and heightened levels of competition from the industry as a whole, leading to the company releasing an operating profit guidance falling short of analysts' predictions.
Google Maps is receiving an update to version 8.2 today, with a solid set of new features including in-navigation voice control, elevation change information for bicyclists and faster access to voice input from the main maps screen. The biggest change in this latest version is the ability to give Google Maps voice controls while you're navigating, something that hands-free driving advocates (and just frequent drivers) will be a fan of. While navigating you'll now see a small microphone button in the bottom left corner of the interface, which you can tap and then give commands to the phone with.
We've found a few different actions you can take:
How is traffic ahead?
Show route overview
What's my next turn?
Show alternate routes
When will I get there?
What is my next turn?
Navigate to [place]
After playing around with it the system doesn't seem too terribly smart just yet — for example you can't say "hide traffic" to remove the traffic display, or make other seemingly-natural language requests that deviate from the scripted queries. There also doesn't seem to be a completely hands-free wakeup phrase such as "OK, Google" that we're all used to. For now you're tapping the on-screen button, but that's miles ahead of performing several taps just to see what's coming up on the map.
As we close in on a week until the Amazon Fire Phone becomes available, Amazon has just released its first 30-second ad for the product. Building on the messaging that was put in the launch event of the Fire Phone, the short ad shows two children using the phone and talking up a few features to their older counterparts who don't yet know about the device. "It comes with Amazon Prime — tons of stuff, for no extra charge," the little girl says convincingly after going through her library of apps and content on the phone.
It looks like owners of the Xperia Z2 are starting to notice a minor firmware update being pushed out to them from Sony. The firmware version number is 17.1.2.A.0.314. Though the update is rolling out now, it doesn't bring the latest Android 4.4.4 to the table as it keeps the Xperia Z2 at Android 4.4.2.
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