News Scan: Samsung to launch 5 smartphones; Cross-platform mobile app development tools; more

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>> Samsung could launch 5 smartphones in first quarter

Samsung could launch up to five smartphones in the first quarter of 2014, including the Galaxy S5, according to a report by Korea's ET News cited by Android Guys. The Galaxy S5 is expected by the end of March, and the Galaxy Note 3 Lite is expected to be ready for the Mobile World Congress in February, the report notes. Also in the pipeline are a Galaxy Grand Lite and a Galaxy Gear successor. Not all of these devices will make it to the U.S. market, Android Guys observes. Read more on the Samsung rumors.

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>> Cross-platform tools ease mobile app development task

Cross-platform app development tools ease the process for developing apps for both iOS and Android, according to a report by CIO Magazine. Cross-platform tools enable developers to avoid the need for developing and maintain two source code bases. And, if Windows Phone 8 gains traction in the enterprise, that will make three source code bases that have to be maintained. "There is huge need out there amongst mobile developers and especially in enterprises where mobile development is escalating rapidly, to increase the productivity of development," Al Hilwa, IDC's software development research program director, tells CIO. Read more on cross-platform tools.

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 >> Siri, come home!

Apple is applying for a patent for a "smart dock" that would give Siri a place in the home, reports AppleInsider. The dock would include a speaker, microphone and built-in screen and would enable the user to access Siri while the phone was docked. "Basically, the dock listens for a specific prompt, recognizes an activation request by the user, relays commands to the docked iPhone and executes any operations returned by the device. Examples could be playing a song or facilitating communication between the user and Siri," the report explains. Read more about Siri's possible new home.

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>> Europe beats US in mobile app store deployment

European IT departments are outpacing their North American counterparts in deploying corporate mobile apps stores, according to a survey by Forrester cited by Mad Mobile News. A full 43 percent of European IT shops have or will deploy mobile app stores, while only 26 percent of North American shops have similar plans. The rapid deployment of mobile app stores by European IT departments likely stems from their design to control how mobile devices function in the workplace. Read more about the survey.

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>> Google unveils 'smartphone crawl errors' tool

Google added a "smartphone crawl errors" tool to its Webmaster toolkit so that Web app developers can fix coding errors that prevent mobile users from reaching a website. "Some smartphone-optimized Websites are misconfigured in that they don't show searchers the information they were seeking. For example, smartphone users are shown an error page or get redirected to an irrelevant page, but desktop users are shown the content they wanted….Starting today, you can use the expanded Crawl Errors feature in Webmaster Tools to help identify pages on your sites that show these types of problems," explains Pierre Far, a Google Webmaster analyst, in a blog post. Read more of Far's blog.

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