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Samsung all but drops off of the top 10 best-selling smartphones in 1st half of 2020 – 9to5Google

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It’s no secret that Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers have been struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the bad news for Samsung specifically doesn’t seem to stop. In a new report, the top 10 smartphones for the first half of 2020 have been revealed and Samsung has all but disappeared.

Omdia reports that, in the first half of 2020, the top-selling smartphone worldwide was Apple’s iPhone 11. That comes as absolutely no shock, especially considering at the same point in 2019, the iPhone XR topped the charts.

In 2019, though, Apple’s top seller was followed by four Samsung smartphones, all mid-range models. Those were, specifically, the Galaxy A10, A50, J2 Core, and A30. Oppo’s A5 sat in fourth place and Xiaomi helped round out the list with its Redmi 6A and Note 7.

The results in 2020 are much, much different. Samsung still takes the second slot with its popular Galaxy A51 pushing 11.4 million units so far this year, but Samsung doesn’t make a single other appearance in the top 10. Instead, Xiaomi’s Redmi takes up four slots and Apple makes up the rest of the list with iPhone 11 Pro/Max, iPhone XR, and the iPhone SE.

The addition of iPhone SE (2020) to Apple’s portfolio in April of this year helped the company position four models in the global top 10 list. iPhone SE, a new budget iPhone, shipped 8.7 million units in the second quarter – good enough for 5th in first half shipment volume.

On the other hand, only one Samsung model made the top 10 this year. Like last year, a mid-end smartphone, the Galaxy A51, took second place with a total of 11.4 million units shipped. This is a significant shift for Samsung, as this list featured four of Samsung’s models last year. No Samsung flagship device reached the top 10.

first half 2020 smartphones top 10 sales

For Samsung, these results have got to hurt. While the company’s flagship Android smartphones are absolutely floundering amid the pandemic, Apple’s high-end iPhone 11 Pro models are doing great and the super-affordable iPhone SE, just even better.

Hopefully these disheartening results will be reflected in next year’s prices.

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Apple's smaller rivals unite to fight iPhone app store rules – Vancouver Courier

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WASHINGTON — Spotify and the makers of Fortnite and Tinder are taking on Apple and Google as part of a newly formed coalition calling for “fair treatment” in the way the tech giants run their app stores.

The Coalition for App Fairness, a Washington-based non-profit, launched Thursday and will advocate for legal and regulatory changes, such as measures that could block Apple and Google from favouring their own apps in the iPhone and Android operating systems they control. The activism from smaller rivals adds to scrutiny the tech giants are facing from U.S. and European regulators and lawmakers.

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The group aims to be the “voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” said a statement from Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs and chief legal officer for music-streaming pioneer Spotify.

Apple is the group’s main target, though Google’s app store policies are also on its radar. Both companies this summer dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.

Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases, which has long been a sore spot with developers.

Fortnite’s developer, Epic Games, responded by suing the companies over what it sees as anti-competitive behaviour. Epic is backing the new coalition along with Spotify, online dating app maker Match Group, and other members including Tile, Basecamp, ProtonMail and European media industry associations.

In addition to the app stores, Big Tech is facing fresh scrutiny from antitrust regulators. As the Trump administration moves toward antitrust action against search giant Google, it’s campaigning to enlist support from sympathetic state attorneys general across the country.

The anticipated lawsuit against Google by the Justice Department could be the government’s biggest legal offensive to protect competition since the ground-breaking case against Microsoft almost 20 years ago.

Lawmakers and consumer advocates accuse Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits.

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Xbox Series X’s expansion card costs $219.99 – Polygon

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The officially licensed Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X and Series S costs $219.99, according to a product listing at Best Buy.

Seagate makes the solid-state drive, which Microsoft announced but gave no price for in March. It’s pitched as “the only available expansion card that replicates the Xbox Velocity Architecture,” which is what delivers “faster load times, richer environments, and more immersive gameplay” on the next-generation Xbox consoles.

Microsoft has promised that all the accessories you use on your Xbox One will work on the Xbox Series X. This goes for external hard drives, too, with USB 3.1 or 3.2 connectivity. However, all Xbox Series X games must be installed to the console’s internal SSD or the Seagate card — USB external hard drives are far slower than these NVMe SSDs, which use the new PCIe 4.0 standard. (Series X games can be backed up to a USB external drive, but can’t be played from one.)

Backward-compatible Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Xbox games can still be played on the Xbox Series X if they’re installed on a USB external drive. And if you have one piled up with installed games for your Xbox One right now, it will be plug-and-play compatible with the new console launching Nov. 10. But Xbox One games that are “optimized for Xbox Series X,” like Gears 5 will be, can’t be played off a USB drive if users want “optimal performance,” says Microsoft.

For comparison, a Seagate-made 2 TB external hard drive that’s designed for Xbox One is currently available for $89.99. The $219.99 cost for the Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card may be a fair price for the cutting-edge technology in the device, although it’s hard to say; very few PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs are on the market, and even so, this is a custom-built SSD that’s designed to plug directly into the back of an Xbox Series X or Series S.

Unlike Microsoft with the Xbox Series X and Series S, Sony will not require a proprietary storage expansion solution for the PlayStation 5. PS5 owners will be able to upgrade the console’s 825 GB internal storage with an off-the-shelf PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, although Sony will have to certify specific drives as compatible with the console. (For reference, Samsung announced its Evo 980 Pro SSD this week, and the 1 TB model will retail for $229.99.) It’s worth noting that stand-alone PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs will get cheaper over time, but a proprietary product like the Seagate-branded Xbox Series X card may not.

While NVMe SSDs are the state of the art for storage, 1 TB is not a lot of space for any PC or console currently available. The Xbox Series X itself has a 1 TB internal NVMe SSD, so $219.99 only doubles that capacity. The Xbox Series S has only 512 GB of internal storage — just above the amount of storage in launch Xbox One consoles seven years ago. (Next-gen games will at least take up less space on the Series S than on the Series X, because the smaller console is designed for gaming at 1440p resolution rather than 4K.)

Assuming an average of 50 GB per game — and that may be on the low side for next-gen games — you could store at most 20 games on a 1 TB card, despite a Best Buy listing that promises gamers can “collect thousands of games across four generations of Xbox without sacrificing performance.”

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Apple responds to antitrust pressure with App Store PR blitz – 9to5Mac

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Apple is today responding to increasing antitrust pressure with an App Store PR blitz. This includes a complete revamp of its main App Store page, a new page promoting the benefits of the App Store to developers, new messaging, and a new program for developers of streaming video apps.

The response begins on Apple’s homepage, with a large banner at the top pointing visitors to the new App Store page. The headline message is ‘The apps you love from a place you can trust’ …

The new page again stresses the consumer benefits of a curated app store.

For over a decade, the App Store has proved to be a safe and trusted place to discover and download apps. But the App Store is more than just a storefront — it’s an innovative destination focused on bringing you amazing experiences. And a big part of those experiences is ensuring that the apps we offer are held to the highest standards for privacy, security, and content. Because we offer nearly two million apps — and we want you to feel good about using every single one of them.

The new page for developers is headed ‘Together we turn apps into opportunities.’

Apple is committed to helping developers turn their brightest ideas into apps that change the world. That’s why the App Store helps you from start to finish — to build, test, market, and distribute your products and grow your business. Our marketplace is secure, trusted, and accessible — connecting you to over 1.5 billion devices in 175 regions. The App Store and you. Together every step of the way.

This again stresses the privacy and security message.

Over a decade of trust and success. In 12 years, the App Store has grown from 500 apps to 1.8 million — all reviewed to comply with our rigorous standards for privacy, security, and content. All along the way, we’ve provided developers with the cutting‑edge tools and end‑to‑end support they need. So they can keep making the apps that change how people work, play, meet, learn, travel, and live their lives.

The pages contain some new facts and figures, the most notable of which is that more than a million apps have been rejected for objectionable content, with more than 150,000 apps rejected last year alone for failing to adhere to Apple’s privacy requirements.

One of the antitrust accusations leveled against Apple is that it doesn’t live up to its claim to treat all developers equally. There is evidence of Apple offering special deals for large developers whose apps the company wants to have on its platform.

We learned in July that Amazon Prime Video pays half the usual App Store commission, in a special deal agreed between Jeff Bezos and Eddy Cue.

Apple is also accused of creating arbitrary rules to allow it to appease companies like Netflix. It claims that it has since 2016 offered a program open to all video streaming apps, but has for the first time formalized and promoted this in the form of a new webpage for the Apple Video Partner Program.

This program is designed for apps that deliver premium subscription video entertainment services. Participating apps are required to integrate with a number of Apple technologies, such as Universal Search, Siri, AirPlay, and single sign-on or zero sign-on, to ensure a seamless experience for customers.

As a result of this integration, these apps are featured on the Apple TV app and throughout tvOS, and their content is discoverable through Universal Search and Siri.

As a program member, you earn 85% of sales from customers who sign up using Apple’s in-app purchase system. You may also allow customers who subscribe using your payment method outside of the app to use that payment method for additional video transactions within the app. You must enable in-app purchase to enjoy these economic benefits.

Apple’s response comes as a number of big developers banded together to form a coalition intended to coordinate antitrust battles over the App Store.

I argued back in July that Apple’s antitrust woes aren’t going anywhere, and it needs to address them head-on. The company seems to be getting halfway there with the PR blitz offering better messaging, together with a more formal and consistent approach to its exceptions, but it still seems determined to resist any move likely to reduce its income from developers.

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