Confirming its own estimates from earlier this month, Samsung announced tonight that it accumulated an operating profit of $3.9 billion in Q3. That's not a bad haul for most companies in the July to September period, but last year Samsung proudly celebrated a record profit of $9.6 billion and now it's down to less than half that. Now the company is breaking down the reasons behind the drop, and everything starts with the flagship Galaxy S smartphones. Reuters notes that phones drove its growth over the last couple of years, but profits in that area dropped from 6.7 trillion Korean won last year, to 1.75 trillion in the same period this year.
That drop came as a result of price cuts for older phones and "declined shipments" of high-end models. Even slightly higher sales of midrange smartphones apparently weren't enough to right the ship, and the Galaxy Note 4 hasn't been on sale long enough to contribute. Worse, the phone sales have an effect across the company for its display, memory and CPU businesses. It expects to sell more Ultra HD and curved TVs to close out 2014, but investors will likely be more interested in how it responds to cheaper Chinese phone manufacturers.
YouTube promised that you'd see many videos playing at a brisk 60 frames per second this year, and it looks like the streaming site has made good on its word. While there were a few 60FPS test clips in the spring, you can now see regular uploads with silky smooth motion. There are some fairly strict conditions you'll need to meet before you see these high-quality videos, mind you. You'll have to watch in Chrome at HD resolution, and the content providers naturally have to upload 60FPS content in the first place. Provided all the stars align, though, you're in for a good time -- it's not often that you can watch video game replays at the same quality that you'd get from a console in your living room.
[Image credit: MK8 Records, YouTube]
If you've splurged for a Chromecast or pre-ordered the newfangled Nexus Player, streaming from Google Play to your television just got better. Mountain View's Movies & TV app for Android update brings actor and soundtrack cards to your mobile device, putting that requisite casting gadget's display to good use while you watch. Not all content will showcase the new feature though, so you'll have to look for the Info Cards badge when making a selection. Material Design is being applied in other bits of software, and with this latest version, Movies & TV gets a fresh flat coat of paint to match. The Watch Now tab serves up more recommendations and trailers can be watched right inside the app. If you're not seeing the update just yet, sit tight: it's rolling out to all users over the course of the next week.
Google's wanted a piece of your living room for ages, and now -- after two attempts that never really went anywhere -- the search giant seems poised to get what it wants. Android TV is coming to, well, a TV near you, and we just spent a few brief moments wrapping our heads around Mountain View's vision of television with its new, ASUS-made Nexus Player.
LucasArts may no longer exist thanks to Disney, but that doesn't mean its legendary games are lost forever. Like we pointed out yesterday, Good Old Games posted the download links to the likes of TIE Fighter and X-Wing a bit prematurely. Well, the classic-game emporium's fixed that wrong and now you can grab those games from a galaxy far, far away right now. Need something a bit funnier perhaps? That's what Sam and Max: Hit the Road and Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition are for. Now if you'll excuse us, we have a Death Star to destroy.
Apparently Mayor Giuliani's defense worked: Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega's case against Activision for including his likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has been dismissed by a California judge. As Kotaku spotted, Activision issued a press release stating that this was an important win for not just video games, but historical fiction in general."This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we're gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn't win," Giuliani says. So there's that! Anyone who wants to bend the history books a bit to suit their narrative needs should be pretty much in the clear from here on out.
Right now internet services don't always have the opportunity to show the same content as traditional TV, but the FCC might be about to change that. Chairman Tom Wheeler described in his blog post "Tech Transitions, Video, and the Future" the "first step" to open cable programs and local TV to internet services, by giving them the same classification that cable and satellite providers have. That wouldn't apply to Netflix or Amazon (as they currently exist), but anyone streaming live TV channels over the internet -- like Sony, Verizon and Dish are planning, Intel tried before selling to Verizon, and Apple's TV project has been rumored to include -- would be covered.
We've been singing Sunset Overdrive's praises for awhile now and it's finally time that the rest of the world gets a chance to play it. The Xbox One exclusive isn't just a killer game, but it's one of the stand-out releases in this year's crowded holiday launch season. What makes it so awesome? Well, for starters it places pure fun over everything else, and coming from the folks responsible for the excellent Ratchet and Clank series for PlayStation hardware it really shouldn't be a surprise. Sunset City is where you're free to dress up exactly how you want (my character is rocking an orange-and-blue pompadour and a pair of underwear with a stuffed kangaroo head dangling off the front; seriously) and shoot ridiculous weapons at former humans while grinding around on power-lines and bouncing off of cars. Never before have we seen vinyl records used to mow down cartoonish mutants, but hopefully it happens a lot more in the future.
If you're like me, you regularly enjoy catching up on favorites from Comedy Central via Hulu. But what about the older stuff? Well, after extending its partnership with Viacom, the streaming service is adding a lot more content for your viewing pleasure. Shows from Nickelodeon will be available for the first time -- including popular items like Hey Arnold! and The Ren & Stimpy Show. The library of previous seasons will benefit as well, with a backlog of Key & Peele, Tosh.0, Mob Wives and more being added "over the next few weeks." Of course, current episodes will continue to be a few clicks away, keeping you up to date on The Daily Show and others.
It may seem as if YouTube Live is still a work in progress for Google, and in many ways that continues to be the case. That's far from being a bad thing, though. Over the course of the past couple of years, YouTube's live-streaming feature has become available to an increasing number of people on both ends of the camera, by way of different devices and platforms. Soon, with a new open-source project called YouTube WatchMe for Android, the video service is hoping that developers will start integrating its real-time broadcasting capabilities to their apps. Google says the tool is only an experiment right now, but it wouldn't surprise us to see it become more than that in the not-so-distant future. If you're interested in digging a little deeper, or contributing your wisdom to the project, be sure to take a gander at the GitHub repository right here.
Earlier this month, Warner Bros. announced its roadmap for DC Comics movies through 2020, and today, Marvel Studios revealed its plans as well. Basically, if you're into superhero/comic book movies, you're set for the next seven years. Need a quick rundown of all that's coming? No worries, we've got you covered. All of the box office favorites are on the list, including Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, alongside the debuts of Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and more. In addition to the officially outed titles, DC Comics says that standalone Batman and Superman films will also be released during this timeframe. For the list of upcoming films, jump on past the break.
Update: Not enough for you? There's also a decent-sized preview from The Avengers: Age of Ultron that aired during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Want a surreal experience? Try watching a documentary about virtual reality on the device it's meant to cover. As promised, Condition One has released Zero Point, an investigation of the virtues and vices of VR that you can only watch on an Oculus Rift headset. The $15 title ($12 for the first week) won't provide shocking insights to its target audience -- you're clearly interested in VR if you bought a developer kit -- but it does provide a range of panoramic shots that show off the potential for immersive movies. You can always try the free demo, so there's no harm in visiting the source link if you're eager to do more with your Rift than play games and paint in 3D.
Own a PlayStation 4? Today's your day: the console's big 2.0 update is finally live. Sony's been teasing the update for weeks, lauding the console's new ability to play music from a USB drive, the availability of system menu themes and promising new voice commands, party options and a less crowded home-screen. The update also gives the console's unique "share" button a little more power: the ability to upload video clips directly to YouTube and, most notably, remotely stream your games to a friend over the internet. Sony invited me to try some of these features ahead of today's launch and, yes, they all seem to work just fine -- at least in a controlled environment.
Let's face it: not everyone wants to go through the hassle of setting up a surround sound system piece by piece. As for other alternatives, even the best headphones are only viable for the person wearing them. In an effort to hit a sweet spot between the two (the price of headphones and room-filling audio of multiple speakers) the folks at Razer are launching the Leviathan soundbar and subwoofer kit. For $200 you get an adjustable speaker bar packing four drivers and a separate 5.25-inch subwoofer, which marry to handle your 5.1 surround needs for movies and games. The unit uses Dolby Virtual Speakers to fill in the audio gaps left by its 4-speaker system, while Dolby Digital processing will convert any incoming signal, be it analog stereo or multichannel from an optical cable, to surround sound.