Also: Apple’s internal design teams play nice; Samsung guns for low-end smartphone market.
Google’s Android unit reportedly building a smart watch [THE VERGE]
According to a recent report from The Financial Times, Google might also be getting into the smartwatch game. And unlike Glass, which was developed in the company’s experimental X Lab, the watch (not pictured above) is said to be under development by the Android unit, possibly indicating that Google sees it as a more immediately viable product. According to FT’s source, the Google watch is separate from Samsung’s recently-announced effort.
Apple design teams get cozier [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
That dynamic is changing, according to the people close to the company. The stealth software developers still exist. But now, Apple’s mobile software, or “human interface” team, which has been led by executive Greg Christie, is being briefed about industrial prototypes earlier, these people said. The person described the change as “a thawing.”
Ive, who is well-known for his sleek, iconic hardware designs, now sits in on the human interface team’s regular review sessions to vet new designs, these people said. While he and Christie, known as a blunt talker, have very different styles, the people familiar with the process described the sessions as “pleasant and cordial.”
HBO CEO mulls teaming with broadband partners for HBO GO [REUTERS]
Plepler said late Wednesday that HBO GO could be packaged with a monthly Internet service, in partnership with broadband providers, reducing the cost.
Customers could pay $50 a month for their broadband Internet and an extra $10 or $15 for HBO to be packaged in with that service, for a total of $60 or $65 per month, Plepler explained.
“We would have to make the math work,” he added.
Samsung covets low-end of smartphone market, too [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
Despite the buzz surrounding its Galaxy smartphones, which cost hundreds of dollars, the South Korean giant has been quietly launching a greater number of cheaper handsets with little fanfare. Among the eight handsets unveiled so far this year by Samsung, only the Galaxy S 4 is a high-end device. Its low-end phones, typically with price tags of less than $100, are meant for emerging markets such as Indonesia and India—its growth markets in the future.
BlackBerry hoping long-awaited U.S. launch pays off [ALL THINGS D]
However, the Canadian company’s comeback effort will face a key test Friday when its first BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10, hits retail stores in the U.S.
“We are launching in the U.S. on the back of a successful launch in now more than 25 countries, and we expect the U.S. market to be no different,” BlackBerry Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said in an interview on Thursday.
Launching in the U.S. took longer than other key markets due to regulatory requirements and carrier testing; however, that is often the case here, Boulben said. And, in the meantime, the number of apps available has grown to 100,000, up from the 70,000 that were ready when the Z10 was first announced on Jan. 30.
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