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Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 leak in new ‘gold-brown’ color as well Jun 9th 2013, 15:25
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 gold brown leakApparently Samsung really likes that “gold-brown” paint job that we saw the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 in earlier this month, because a new leak shows that the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 may be getting a similar treatment. Prolific leaker @evleaks has posted images of both the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 in the same dark brown hue that the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 was previously spotted with.

As with Samsung’s previous new paint job product re-releases, it seems likely that these three golden brown Galaxy Tab 3 models will feature spec lists that are similar to their officially-announced white counterparts. Exactly when these brown Tab 3s will get their own introductions is still a mystery, but hey, at least folks that liked the color on the Tab 3 7.0 now know that they’ll have the option of picking up the Tab 3 8.0 or Tab 3 10.1 in the same shade. Do you plan on picking up one of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 devices when they’re made available?

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 gold brown leak

Via @evleaks (1), (2)

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The Galaxy S 4 line should have been released as a suite, not separately Jun 8th 2013, 11:45
When the Samsung Galaxy S 4 was announced during its own event back in March, people were pretty excited. It’s got a fast processor, a 13-megapixel camera with some cool camera features, and it’s pretty much just a better version of the Samsung Galaxy S III (which people liked!) While some people were turned off by the fact that the Galaxy S 4 so closely resembled the S III, others welcomed the similar concept. This was a good way for Galaxy S III owners to feel like their model wasn’t completely outdated.

But while the Galaxy S 4 might have been a saving grace for the Galaxy S III, it hasn’t been doing the same for its own name.

I’ve expressed in the past how I’m a little annoyed with Samsung’s tactic to continuously pump out devices since the Galaxy S 4 has been introduced. It’s been three months since the flagship’s unveiling and Samsung has had the spotlight for about sevent different devices since then, five of which have the Galaxy S 4 name tacked on to it.

This is where Samsung starts to irk me: you have the Galaxy S 4, and you had a huge event for it. People got pumped. People were “ready” for the next Galaxy S 4. What people weren’t ready for was the next Galaxy that came after that, or the Galaxy that came after that, or the Galaxy that came after that (catch my drift?); they were only ready for that one Galaxy S 4.

Aside from the Galaxy S 4, you now presumably have a suite of other Galaxy S 4’s to choose from: The Galaxy S 4 Mini, the Galaxy S 4 Active, the Galaxy S 4 Zoom, and I suppose you could even throw in the Google Edition Galaxy S 4. (Although the Zoom is still considered a rumor, convincing leak photos suggest that the device may appear in Samsung’s June 20th event in London.) But it’s not the actual devices that bug me, it’s moreso two other things that get under my skin: flaunting the Galaxy S 4 name all over the place, and releasing these devices after the original Galaxy S 4 was released.

Particularly in the case of the Galaxy S 4 Active, I know a number of people who would have gladly waited for this version of the Galaxy S 4 had they known that it would be released in the near future. Liquid damage, dirt, dust, and other elements is an electronic device’s worst enemy. Samsung has the right idea by working on a device that can survive these elements (for those of us who fumble our phones over a body of water and don’t have cat-like reflexes to catch them before falling to their death). But that doesn’t change that Samsung had the wrong idea by releasing this after people thought that the Galaxy S 4 would be the only version released on the market.

While the Galaxy S 4 Zoom is more of a niche product on its own by basically being a camera with a phone attached to it, the same issue still applies. If people were concerned about having a good camera on their device they probably already went for a Galaxy S 4 or moved on to something else. Who could have known that Samsung was going to release a Galaxy S 4 that had an emphasis on a camera when part of the main focus of the Galaxy S 4 was the camera? I never looked at the Galaxy S 4 and thought “Wow, that phone has a nice camera. I bet they’re going to release a better version later with a better camera.” Not a clue was had.

Options aren’t a bad thing, and there are certainly people who would like to buy the Galaxy S 4, the Galaxy S 4 Mini, the Galaxy S 4 Active, Galaxy S 4 Zoom, and the GE Galaxy S 4 – but I feel like Samsung should have released them as a suite at the same time. They should have given customers the option on which Galaxy S 4 they want right from the jump start; trickling them out over time just means less people will purchase them because they’ve probably gone to other devices that could provide the similar qualities (Sony Xperia Z and ZL for waterproof and dustproof; Nokia Lumia line for cameras). It wouldn’t seem as bad if Samsung had intended for them to release together. But right now, to me, it just feels like they’re really milking this brand name and I wish they would have done things differently.

Readers, what are your thoughts on Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 line? Did you ever think that it would be this big? Are you interested in a particular Galaxy S 4 model?

Image via LaptopMag

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Microsoft, don’t make your notification center just another Live Tile Jun 8th 2013, 09:30
Windows Phone has moved on from it’s 7 origins, traveled on past 7.5, and even 7.8, and is now fully embedded into 8. That’s a few new versions of Microsoft’s mobile software, and with each new iteration Microsoft has managed to make Windows Phone a bit more enjoyable. A bit more desired. With the switch to Windows Phone 8, though, there were plenty of other things to get excited about for anyone who has already jumped into the Microsoft waters, or even plans to.

Windows Phone 8 wasn’t so much about the mobile platform by itself, but how it connects to everything else in the Microsoft stable. Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and Microsoft’s entertainment box, the Xbox 360 (and soon to be Xbox One), are all inter-connected by things like the Cloud, and other services. It’s about the whole experience for Microsoft.

As long as you’re whole house, or even multiple rooms, are all part of the same ecosystem.

But that’s not anything new, obviously. Samsung’s got features in its phones that only work for other Samsung phones. And then there’s Apple, which has no qualms about trying to get your whole house under the Apple banner. That’s what Microsoft wants, and with Windows Phone 8 they got a little bit closer to that goal.

Of course, there are still features missing from Windows Phone. Last May I asked all of you how you would change Microsoft’s Windows Phone notification system, and a lot of you had plenty of good ideas. Most of you pointed out that just a notification center-type thing would be a good idea. And that is a good idea. Microsoft’s Live Tiles are great, and they get a bonus for being a fresh idea in the mobile market, but it’s not a surefire way to get all your notifications. If you have an app installed, but you don’t put a Live Tile up on the Start screen, well, you’d never know beyond an initial Toast notification that the app was trying to get your attention.

Microsoft made it clear that they had been working on a notification center-like experience, but that the feature couldn’t make it to the initial launch of Windows Phone 8. They were still working on it, though, and when the time came for them to show off the finished product, they’d do it. I think we all should have expected that unveiling to wait for the next major upgrade to the Windows Phone software, though. Officially, anyway.

There will probably be a new upgrade to Windows Phone later this year. And with it, new features. A notification center is more than likely going to be one of those new features. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t there. And sure enough, earlier this morning, a leak showcasing what Microsoft’s notification center will look like began to make the rounds on the Internet.

However, I need to make clear that this isn’t official. The is a rumor amongst rumors. And I’ll be the first one to tell you right now that I really, really hope Microsoft changes the way it looks, if it is indeed real. It’s so bland, it’s remarkably boring to look at. Right now, as I’m looking at it, I don’t have any desire to use that notification center. Not even a little bit.

But, let’s go ahead and assume that this particular notification center for Windows Phone is indeed real. As our own Alex Wagner pointed out in his initial report for the leak, the notification center is accessed by touching the Tile right next to the stock Messages Live Tile. As you can see from the image above, the application “Baconit” has two separate notifications, which you can see inside the notification center. On the screen shot to the left, you can see that the “Baconit” Live Tile shows two notifications waiting.

And yet, that “notification center” Tile doesn’t show anything. The more I look at it, the more I’m assuming that the BlackBerry-like star icon may be present to show that there are notifications waiting, maybe? Either that, or these leaked images are meant to show that the notification center Tile isn’t a Live Tile. It’s just there.

What I think is funny is that this notification center Tile is right next to the “Me” Live Tile, and I think right there shows what’s wrong with this idea. For one, just throwing a Tile at the screen and calling it a notification center doesn’t add to the experience. Especially if it isn’t a Live Tile. That actually contradicts the whole idea of the Start screen, by adding a Tile that doesn’t do anything to let you look at it with a glance. Furthermore, why on Earth would you not just include the notification center function in the “Me” section of the phone?

You could just have the “Notification Center” be a couple swipes (or, if you ask me, it would be the first thing that popped up) in the “Me” area. No additional Tiles, or hanging your hopes on another Live Tile and calling it good. Actually bake it in, Microsoft. The “Me” area of Windows Phone is a good idea, so just expand on that.

It just makes sense to have the notification center in that area.

What do you think of the Windows Phone notification center leak? Do you think it will finally give Microsoft’s mobile platform one step closer to the competition? Or do these leaks make you think Microsoft has a bit more work to do? Let me know!

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