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Weekly mobile news recap: Facebook gets into search, BB 10 is looking good

After all of the awe-inspiring designs of the not-so-distant future that were on display at CES 2013 last week, it’s hard to return to reality without a little bit of a let down. Sure, we have devices that could barely have been imagined 15 years or so ago, but there were devices we have to wait months until we’ll get our hands on them and we want them now! Given that we’re stuck living in the now and there were no DVRs for life on display at CES so we can’t fast forward at all, we’ll just have to make due with what we’ve got. For right now, we’ve got the news worth knowing from the mobile world from January 13-18, 2012.

Apple’s core is rotting

You know who would probably like to travel back in time instead of forward right now? Apple. The world’s most profitable company, one that has sold more products with the Apple name than orchards have sold actual apples (a fact I totally made up right now), is seeing its sales dwindle. The iPad has taken the biggest hit, as production is at the lowest its ever been for the full size tablet. It’s been surpassed by the Nexus 7 in Japan. The Apple spin on this is probably something about how everyone already owns an iPad or demand has shifted to the smaller and sleeker iPad Mini, but that wouldn’t explain why the even smaller version of the iPad Mini that’s capable of making phone calls, the iPhone 5, may also be experiencing weaker demand. A visit to my local coffee shop would indicate there is no shortage of hipsters or illuminated Apple logos (Full disclosure: I’m typing on a Macbook Pro and wearing a plaid shirt, so I’m fully aware of my hypocrisy), but the numbers probably aren’t lying here. Maybe the rumored cheaper versions of the iPhone will spark some demand, but what about a cheaper iPad? Apple’s lived off the premium quality of its products for awhile now, but demand for the experience is so high that people have been settling for less expensive versions of it. Apple either needs to redefine the market again in a new way or learn to play the game it’s “copycats” have perfected.

Samsung intends to cover entire earth in mobile devices

Speaking of companies that perfected copying Apple, Samsung’s doing pretty good, huh? The Galaxy S series has sold over 100 million units. Fun fact: if you were to stack 100 million Galaxy S devices on top of one another, you would have wasted a lot of time. Clearly not satisfied with those impressive sales figures, Samsung appears intent on rolling out as many devices as humanly possible. The Galaxy Note 3 is going to get a bigger screen, surpassing the 6 inch mark. A 4.99 inch, 1080p screen teased at CES 2013 might find its home on the upcoming Galaxy S 4. An 8-inch version of the Galaxy Note tablet could be revealed soon. Our best guess is Samsung is trying to make devices with screens of every size so it can have a modernized version of those Russian dolls that can be stacked inside one another.

BlackBerry 10 seems really exciting

Remember before when we were talking about time machines? Well here’s a trip to the past: Close your eyes and imagine a time when BlackBerrys were popular. You’ve probably created a world where pants are accompanied by phone clips and everyone talks in vague business terms and no one has ever seen a black president. Without even going retro, Blackberry 10 may be able to recreate that popularity that seems so far gone. Research in Motion said over 1,600 companies have signed on for a training program for the new OS and over 15,000 BB 10 apps were submitted by developers in a single weekend. Visa has signed on to offer NFC mobile wallet support and T-Mobile will be bringing BB 10 phones to market in March. What does all of this mean? It’s hard to say for sure, but I’d suggest reactivating your LiveJournal account and get your tips frosted just to be safe.

Life’s not that good at LG

If you’ve been after a Nexus 4 for awhile and haven’t been able to get your hands on one thanks to a supply shortage, don’t go blaming LG. The South Korean manufacturer has made it clear that there is absolutely no issue in its production line, so you can rule that out of the question. Afraid that didn’t get the message across well enough, LG came out with a follow up statement by saying, “In case you didn’t catch the message the first time, we’re saying this is Google’s fault.” LG then pointed its finger at Google and said, “Seriously, we’re not sure how to make this any clearer. It’s totally on Google.” Perhaps it’s no surprise then that LG also expressed some interest in returning to the Windows Phone market. Nothing like a bad rebound relationship to make you go running back to your ex. We’ll see how long it will take for LG to realize why it went off to Google in the first place.

Facebook wants to be involved in everything you do

Remember all those times we all freaked out because of privacy concerns with Facebook? We were afraid the social network might have been storing information we didn’t want it to have or maybe even selling it to advertisers and just generally being a little too nosey about all our stuff? Funny how little we care about that stuff when a new feature gets announced and it seems really cool. A press conference this week unveiled a new search engine being created by the networking site, or essentially a way for them to take all that information you were afraid it would have and make it totally searchable. Facebook did address privacy concerns with the project and seems somewhat intent on making the search safe and customized, but the execution will have to be the proof of that. Meanwhile, why not trust the company that once had a supposed bug that accidentally made private messages publicly viewable with phone calls?