Apple Out to Revolutionize Wearable Tech as Mobile Phone Sales Decline

In today’s mobile news roundup: 100 product designers working on iWatch; Red Galaxy Note 10.1 arrives for Valentine’s Day; HTC event countdown hints at another One device; Verve Mobile gets $14M funding; Galaxy SIV benchmark posted online; Mobile phone sales dropped in 2012; and Snapchat testing self-destructing video on Android.

100 product designers working on iWatch

According to two sources familiar with the matter, Apple has 100 product designers working on the wristwatch-like device many have dubbed as the iWatch.

A report from Bloomberg stated that the team consists of managers, members of the marketing group, and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad, and that one of the sources claimed that a team this bog means that the project is beyond the experimentation phase of the development process.

Apple senior director of engineering James Foster and another manager, Achim Pantfoerder, are said to be part of the iWatch team.  The unnamed sources also claimed that Apple has worked on wearable fitness trackers before, but never launched them in the market.  The iWatch could be Apple’s first wearable computing product that would be available for consumers.

Red Galaxy Note 10.1 arrives for Valentine’s Day

In time for Valentine’s Day, Samsung unveiled a red Galaxy Note 10.1, which will be available for purchase tomorrow.  Not only does it have a blood-red coat of paint, but it’s also an LTE version of the tablet.  Samsung stated that the red tablet is aimed at young women who like their gadgets funky, as well as couples willing to share a device with each other.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 features a 1.4GHz dual-core CPU with 1GB of RAM, access to HSPA+, WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0, 10.1-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) display, 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, S Pen, and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB versions.

HTC event countdown hints at another One device

HTC placed a countdown clock on its page for the February 19 simultaneous events in London and New York.  Every time the seconds counter features a number with one in the end, the number one gets highlighted.

The mysterious device is dubbed as the M7 features a 4.7-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display, 32GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, 13MP rear camera, and a 2MP front-facing camera for video calling.  The M7 is said to be using a new camera sensor that would produce Ultrapixels to produce crisper, cleaner images.  Sources have claimed that the M7 would go on sale on March 8.

Verve Mobile gets $14M funding
Location-based targeting ad network, Verve Mobile, announced the completion of a $14 million round of funding from Nokia Growth Partners and Qualcomm with the participation of existing investor BlueRun Ventures.  The round brings Verve’s total funding to at least $21 million.

John Gardner from Nokia Growth Partners joins Verve’s board while Quinn Li from Qualcomm Ventures becomes a board observer.

Galaxy SIV benchmark posted online
GLBenchmark posted benchmark results of the SHV-E300S, a device assumed to be the Korean version of the Galaxy SIV.  The Korean version of the SIV is said to be using Qualcomm’s MSM8960 chipset instead of the Exynos 5 Octa that we’ve been hearing about, but the international release of the SIV would use the Exynos chipset.

The results showed that the SHV-E300S trumps other devices in the offscreen test but came in second to Google Nexus 4 in the onscreen test.

Mobile Phone sales dropped in 2012

According to Gartner’s latest report, mobile phone sales have dropped in 2012.  The mobile market sold 1.75 billion handsets which is a 1.7 percent drop compared to last year.

The drop is attributed to “tough economic conditions,” as well as the declining interest in purchasing feature phones.  Smartphones cost more than feature phones and though many want to transition to these handsets, not many can actually afford them.

Snapchat testing self-destructing video on Android

Snapchat lets iOS users send self-destructing photos and videos to one another, but Android users can only send photos for now.  The self-destructing videos will soon be available to Android users as the feature is now in beta testing to some invited users.

Though Snapchat gained popularity serving as a sexting tool, its CEO, Evan Spiegel, does not recommend it.  According to Spiegel, though the videos and images self-destruct in a matter of seconds, a screenshot of the photo can be taken, or another camera can be used to take a photo of the screen, since senders are notified if a screenshot was captured.

Snapchat is also transforming into an advertising platform, as brands see the huge potential of this photo/video-sharing app.  One frozen yogurt chain, 16 Handles, used Snapchat to distribute purchase discounts in exchange for videos of its customers tasting its flavors.