Tech wrap: Nokia throne in Samsung’s sights

January 10, 2012

Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Las Vegas the company overtook Nokia in handset revenue terms in its latest reported quarter and was confident of topping the Finnish group in shipments this year. Samsung’s bullish forecast is in line with some analysts, including Royal Bank of Scotland, but on average analysts have expected Nokia to keep its lead on the market. According to the latest polls by Reuters, Nokia was expected to sell 418 million phones in 2011, versus Samsung’s 320 million, the gap narrowing this year to 388 million versus 359 million.

Google made changes to its search engine, combining content posted by users of Google’s social network Google+ and pic sharing site Picassa with regular search results. Links shared by a Google+ user’s connections are given more weight and will show up in Web search results with a person icon beside them, VentureBeat’s Jolie ‘Odell writes. The changes increase Google+’s prominence online, which is lagging behind Facebook in total number of users.

Sony’s videogaming business, led by its just-launched handheld “Vita”, will prove pivotal in returning the company to profitability, Kazuo Hirai, the executive pegged to succeed Howard Stringer as president, said.

YouTube is looking to increase viewership on its online video service by making the service available on an array of connected devices and by adding new content, according Robert Kyncl, vice president in charge of content partnerships. Kyncl spent 2011 forging new partnerships with content providers to expand YouTube’s offerings. YouTube has also reorganized its website to offer consumers video “channels” to cater to personal interests with an aim to making the site more appealing. Kyncl said that from about 500 content provider proposals YouTube received last year, YouTube had signed on about 100 partners, with whom it shares advertising revenue.

The U.S. government embarked on a rare criminal trial against a publicly traded company, AU Optronics, indicted in 2010  for fixing prices of liquid crystal display panels.  The conspiracy illegally cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars, a U.S. prosecutor said in court on Tuesday. Several other companies, including LG, have already pleaded guilty in the LCD probe, while Samsung cut an early deal to avoid prosecution.

Telecom startup LightSquared is mounting a last-ditch effort to win U.S. regulatory approval for a new wireless network after being outmaneuvered by the GPS industry, which has spun doomsday scenarios of interference problems that could cause planes to fall out of the sky and threaten national security, Jasmin Melvin writes. It is a long shot, analysts say, for LightSquared to overcome the scare tactics effectively sold to lawmakers by the GPS industry. The company is staring down an end-of-the-month deadline for the government to give the green light, before partners start bolting and as its cash position gets more dire, Melvin adds.

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