My favorite bit from the Disney-Lucasfilm purchase news

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will take over as President of the new Lucasfilm division and report to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn. Lucas himself will stay on as creative consultant for the new Star Wars films, with Kennedy serving as executive producer.

Kathleen Kennedy was one of the executive producers for my all-time favorite movie, Back to the Future.

Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8X by HTC Preview

For what it is, WP8 is a great update. It brings us the framework necessary to finally get modern hardware for Windows Phone, and will launch with what is without a doubt the best hardware from OEM partners in the 8X and Lumia 920. My time with HTC’s 8X has been extremely positive – I think they nailed the industrial design, in hand feel, and the right balance of features for a Windows Phone 8. The OS feels smoother than it ever has everywhere I look and in every app I’ve tried out.  

I really want people to give Windows Phone 8 a shot. I definitely prefer the design language of both the hardware and software to Android’s.

Samsung shipped a stunning 57M smartphones in Q3 — twice as many as Apple

Samsung shipped 56.9 million of the 162 million smartphones sold globally in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. That adds up to a massive 35 percent global share in a market that is also growing at 35 percent annually.

So yeah, more signs that Samsung is kicking ass. I bet Google is feeling great about that Motorola purchase.​

​There was one thing I didn’t like in John’s writeup:

Legal issues, billion-dollar lawsuitsITC judgements — none of it seems to be interfering with Samsung’s focus, which is winning with the customer. While Samsung shipped 56.9 million units, Apple — which just reported good but not great financial results in its recent quarter — shipped 26.9 million iPhones.

Good but not great? They beat Apple’s expectations and were the highest for the company for that quarter ever. But hey, let’s all keep listening to the analysts.

Samsung posts operating profit of $7.4b for Q3 2012

Samsung has just released its financial results for Q3 2012, and it’s a big one. Sales of smartphones and display panels drove up revenues to 52.18 trillion won (about $47.5 billion), a 26 percent increase over the same time frame last year. Operating profits came in at 8.12 trillion won — approximately $7.4 billion, and an all-time high for the company — which amounts to a whopping 91 percent increase from last year.

Amazing. That’s less than a billion dollars away from Apple, which had profits of $8.2 billion during the same quarter.​ Whether or not you think they coped Apple (or even if you don’t think it matters if they did), Samsung is kicking ass as a business.

Compare these numbers to Amazon’s. Clearly, there’s something to be said for selling hardware for a profit.​

Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’ tumbles to Earth

Finally, what sinks “Cloud Atlas” is not the largeness of its ambitions but the lack of skill it displays in terms of writing, directing and acting. Earthbound when it wants to be soaring, striving for a kind of profundity that is out of its grasp, this is simply not the film everyone hoped it would be.

Damn. I read this last year for a class on the apocalypse, and have really been hoping for positive reviews.​

​At least Les Miserables doesn’t look terrible.

Marissa Mayer Makes First Yahoo Acquisition: Stamped

The acquisition was purely for talent: Stamped’s nine-person team — of which five are ex-Google employees — will be joining a large mobile product team Yahoo plans to establish in New York under the leadership of Stamped’s three co-founders, we’re told. Stamped’s iPhone and web app will both be discontinued by the end of the year.

It makes sense that the startup was on Mayer’s radar. Mayer worked closely with Stamped co-founder Robby Stein while the pair were working at Google.

First the new COO, now this new mobile team – it sure seems like Mayer is is fixing Yahoo by turning it into a mobile-first Google. ​Not a bad plan, if you ask me.

The next 100 million iPads

There are still many factors that can slow growth, especially production capacity, but I believe that the iPad could growth between 50% and 80% which would mean 100 million more iPads could be sold by the end of 2013.

Horace thinks that there could be as many iPads sold in the coming year as in the last two years combined.​

That’s insane – and probably right.​

Asus Vivo Tab RT review

So, how does Windows RT do on a tablet/laptop hybrid?

So what can you do with the Vivo Tab RT, and how does it work? The interface is wonderful — the Start screen is fluid and smooth, the gestures are responsive and useful, and thanks to the great live tiles you can glean a lot of information without ever launching an app. If you do launch an app, though, the experience gets frustrating very quickly. Apps can take several seconds to load at all and several more to load fully; there are stutters and lags as you swipe through apps; some taps and gestures just don’t register.

I’d blame developers, but the problems are equally persistent within Microsoft’s own apps. I’d blame the hardware, but the Vivo Tab runs a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 processor, which we’ve proven over and over again is a very capable processor. I’m left with no choice but to blame Windows RT, which just doesn’t seem optimized for speed or fluidity beyond the Start screen. A couple of these problems exist on Intel-powered devices as well — apps are slow to load there, too — but they’re much more manageable on full-blown Windows 8. Windows RT just seems too resource-intensive for the hardware supporting it.

​Oh boy. 

It turns out that when I wished for an Asus Transformer Pad Infinity running the new version of Windows, I was half-right. I love the idea of the convertible form factor, and the fact that the Vivo Tab feels like both a tablet and a laptop. But it’s not a great example of either: the tablet has some build quality issues, and the whole laptop element is subpar because a 10.1-inch laptop doesn’t work. Plus I’m convinced that if you only want to have one device, it can’t run Windows RT.

So who wants to take bets on how many of those Surface RT pre-orders get returned? Anybody?​