SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – After months of rumors and speculation, and one rather awkward press event, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is now an official smartphone. Indeed, we still have a month or more before it actually arrives, but Samsung has again changed the game for Android.
Or has it? What does the Samsung Galaxy S4 mean for other Android players and how should they react in the wake of the big reveal? As I see it, there are three important lessons to be learned from Samsung and the Galaxy S4.
Go big or go home
Watching last night's press event unfold, I came away with one big takeaway: Samsung will do whatever it can to get people chatting about its smartphones. Sure, I'm certainly not the only one who found the presentation of the Galaxy S4 to be cheesy, goofy, and even painful. But you know what? Everybody is talking about the phone today, right?
When we actually get the S4 in stores, I doubt that few people will even remember the stilted shenanigans. Yet, you can't deny that yesterday Samsung got your attention, for better or for worse. Other Android handset makers could learn a thing or two here. No, you don't have to take over Radio City Music Hall to introduce your phone. All you have to do, rather, is come up with a way of getting in front of people. Admittedly, Samsung's event may have not been quite the way to do that, but Samsung knows how to get its devices broad media and public exposure. And it has more than enough cash to keep doing so
I recently wrote an open letter to HTC advising the company on various ways of mounting the big comeback. One of the moves I suggested was to spend money in order to make money. It's harder to do this when you're starting from behind, but it's not an insurmountable task. The HTC One has yet to come out, but I've seen HTC become more active on social media to tout the phone. During yesterday's show, for instance, the company's Twitter account let the snark flow. If the trend continues after release, I expect to see television and other forms of advertisement beyond those used for the HTC One X.
LG, for its part, recently took to Times Square to have a bit of fun with Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch. While this might not be as expensive as mounting a full advertising blitz, it certainly wasn't cheap to procure the billboard. And, even while the Galaxy series is offered across more carriers, I applaud LG for plugging the Optimus G Pro.
Throw rocks at the giant
Samsung might be running away with the largest slice of the Android pie, but that doesn't mean the other vendors ought to lie in the road. Every bit of market share is valuable and is worth fighting for. After spending the last couple of years mocking Apple and its mobile fan base, Samsung has become an industry giant. Now is the time for other Android players to start taking shots at Samsung. Be it in the form of a billboard or bashing on Twitter, every move counts. If it's done right, you will gather some strong momentum.
If I were involved in the advertising arm of an Android smartphone maker, I'd gather up all the praise and kudos and make sure the average consumer sees it. The HTC One, LG Optimus G Pro, and Sony Xperia Z have received high marks, but how does a typical buyer understand the difference? Put together some print or television campaigns and let everyone know about your premium design and how it feels next to Samsung's plastic body. Find what sets you apart from the crowd, or specifically Samsung, and thump your chest.
Create experiences that matter
When it comes to finding features that separate a device from the rest of the pack, it's somewhat of an uphill battle. Samsung, somehow, seems to be one generation ahead of the other Android smartphone makers. We're not talking about the actual hardware, mind you. Samsung, rather, has been incredibly efficient about adding in new software features to the Galaxy experience.
The unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S4 was almost entirely focused on selling its real-world features. Samsung demonstrated countless ways that the Galaxy S4 could enhance your life or make things easier. Call it featuritis, but it's the little stuff that makes your phone different from the rest. While there were times that Samsung mentioned the specs in the announcement, they took a backseat to the user experience.
The first few generations of Android devices were almost entirely geared around being the first to offer a particular hardware feature. Think back a couple of years and you'll recall all of the headlines about dual-core this or world's thinnest that. And what was Apple doing all this time? Showing off how the next generation of iPhone would benefit the user. Samsung realized this earlier than most and has been adding standout features in the last few Galaxy S models. This is not to say that other players have not done the same; HTC has also done well on the camera front, for example.
It's getting increasingly harder to come up with innovative technologies, a problem that's compounded when your once-exclusive features end up as a standard part of Android. With that in mind, it's going to take more than a refreshed version of a custom skin to sway buyers. Samsung's TouchWiz UI has evolved since the Galaxy S3, but still manages to feel both new and familiar. Where the device will really stand out is in features like Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, S Voice Drive, and Air View.
LG recently introduced eye-based video controls for the LG Optimus G Pro and future devices. My advice to LG and anyone else looking to incorporate this feature is to heavily promote it and take that one nifty detail away from Samsung. Again, this is easier said than done. On the other hand, Apple is not above running a commercial in 2013 for a feature (two microphones) that has been in Android devices (Nexus One) since 2010. The real trick comes in finding the right way to sell it. Even if your handset isn't all that different from the rest, focus on the features that nobody else is talking about.
Indeed, all of these observations and bits of advice could be summed up in one word: copy. Samsung aped Apple over the last few years and has since been able to jump out in the front of the smartphone pack. The more a company copies Samsung's overarching moves, the better its chances of success. Personally, I am all for the competition and would welcome a battle for top Android vendor. I'm seeing signs from a number of players who appear ready for the fight and look forward to concerted efforts from all involved.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – An Israeli soccer club notorious for the anti-Arab chants of its fans plans to recruit two Muslim players, fueling protests in the stands.
At a Premier League game on Saturday (January 26), Beitar Jerusalem supporters held a banner reading “Beitar will always remain pure”. Other signs hoisted by fans also protested against its owner's intention to have two Muslim Chechen players join.
The Beitar club is a bastion of Israel's political right-wing and the only leading soccer team in the country never to have signed an Arab player because of fan pressure.
A Muslim player, Nigerian defender Ibrahim Nadalla, was on the team briefly in 2005 but left after experiencing consistent hostility from its supporters.
“Imagine, just imagine what would have happened if (soccer) clubs in England and Germany had announced that a Jew cannot join their teams. We, the Jewish people, who should lead the fight against racism and fascism; we, who will bear the scars of these phenomena on our bodies for generations to come, cannot and must not stay silent in the face of these calls,” Israeli Knesset speaker and a senior ruling Likud member, Reuven Rivlin said on Sunday during an event marking international Holocaust Day in Tel Aviv.
Police at the match arrested three supporters on suspicion of incitement, and at least one of them appeared in a Jerusalem court on Sunday, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The Israel Football Association (IFA) said it would take disciplinary action against the club. In a ruling against the team a year ago, an IFA court said that Beitar Jerusalem “had not made an honest effort to combat fans' racist chants”.
Beitar Jerusalem is owned by Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak. He said he would not be deterred from bringing the two Chechens, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev, from Russian premier league club Terek Grozny to Israel later in the week.
Arab citizens make up around 20 percent of Israel's population of 7.8 million and no other Israeli club, many of whom have Arab players, has ever effectively barred them. Arab players have long been included in Israel's national team.
Beitar Jerusalem is now in fourth place in the Premier League, a position that could earn it a place in European club play next season.
1976 to 1986, said Beitar Jerusalem's fans had shown “wanton racism”. He called on the IFA to take firm action against the club.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — There have been many good Muslim sportsmen over the years, playing in a large variety of sports all across the world. A lot of them come from either cricket or football. In cricket it is mainly the sub-continental players, but in football they come from a wide variety of nation. Here are, in my opinion, the current top ten Muslim footballers in the world.
10. Ibrahim Afellay – D.O.B, 2 April 1986 (age 25)
Ibrahim Afellay is a Dutch professional footballer who plays for FC Barcelona as an attacking midfielder or winger. He started his youth career at the age of 10 with his local club, Dutch giants, PSV. He then went on to play for the first team in 2004 aged 17. In the 2010-2011 seasons he was bought by Barcelona, the Spanish club who have won the champions league four times, and made a big impact. He has since then played 17 matches scoring 1 goal and assisting many times. He has the potential to be a very good footballer.
9. Edin Džeko – D.O.B 17 March 1986 (age 26)
Edin Džeko is a Bosnian footballer who currently plays for Manchester City in the English Premier League. Edin started his career at Željezničar, a Bosnian club, at the age of 10 for the youth academy. He stayed there and made the first team seven years later. Three years later he joined Czech club FK Teplise and was loaned to Usti nad Labem straightaway. When he returned to Teplise, he got into goal scoring form, scoring 13 goals in as many games. This caught the sight of German club, Wolfsburg. He had an excellent career there scoring over 60 goals in 112 games. He became the main striker and was respected by his club and country. He then, in 2011, joined Manchester City and made a big impact. He is part of their ‘Big 3’ strike force also containing Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero.
8. Thierry Henry – D.O.B 17 August 1977 (age 34)
Thierry Daniel Henry is a French footballer who plays as a striker for New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer. Henry has been very successful throughout his career at big clubs like Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona. As well as domestic he has been amazingly playing for France. It is said that whilst playing for France Zinadine Zidane, a former world class Frenchman, converted Henry to Islam. Now he is believed to be a practising Muslim. He holds many records as well as being Arsenals highest goal scorer with 254 goals. Because of lack in form, Henry has not made it high as he is worthy of, maybe he’ll get better in the near future.
7. Karim Benzema – D.O.B 19 December 1987 (age 24)
Karim Benzema is a French international footballer who currently plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga. He is a very talented, practising Muslim who has been at the top of Spanish football for a while now. He started his career in his home town at the youth academy of SC Bron Terraillion. At the mere age of 9 he was scouted by Lyon, the French masterminds of football, and who would refuse to such an offer. He remained there till 2009 scoring 43 goal in 112 appearances. This talent wasn’t something to waste; it caught the sight of Real Madrid. He has now scored 37 goals in 82 appearances.
6. Éric Abidal – D.O.B 11 September 1979 (age 32)
Eric Abidal is a French footballer who captain FC Barcelona in the La Liga. He is also the French national team captain. He started his youth career in the year 1999 with Lyon. In 2000 he moved Monaco and then in 2002 he was bought by Lille. He had a great career that lasted 60 games with the French club. He then returned to his home town and played for the Lyon first team. Whilst playing for Lyon the Left back scored his first goal. That same summer he was sold to FC Barcelona for 9 million Euros. He has since then won many trophies with the Catalan club including 2 Champions League title! He missed out the 2009 Champions League final due to suspension, receiving this by fouling fellow Frenchman Nicolas Anelka. But then in the 2011 final he was given the honour to captain Barcelona to a 3-1 victory against Manchester United and took the Champions League Trophy. Abidal has an illustrious career playing over 300 games for both club and country scoring only a few, but very important, goals. He is a practising Muslim with a bright future.
5. Samir Nasri – D.O.B 26 June 1987 (age 24)
Samir Nasri is a French footballer of Algerian decent currently playing for Manchester City. He is the eldest of four siblings and is a non-practising Muslim. He is a much respected player and part of a very strong Manchester City attack. He started his career at the tender age of just 8 with Pennes Mirabeau, then, two years later, he went to his home town Marseille. He was picked for the first team in 2004 and made a difference straightaway by scoring on his debut. He had scored 11 goals all together in his 4 years at French club, and then was bought by Arsenal. He got playing straightaway, with the number 8 shirt on his back, against VfB Stuggart. Nasri scored 18 goals and assisted over 30 with the Gunners and was a key member of the team. Then in 2011 he joined Manchester City for a whopping £25 million. He has scored 4 goals in 22 games and remains a great player.
4. Mesut Ozil – D.O.B 15 October 1988 (age 23)
Mesut Ozil is a German footballer who plays for Real Madrid and for the German national team. He is a practising Muslim who recites the Qur’ān before every match. Ozil has been a great example to the young German footballers and looks to be a very good player in the near future. He started his youth career in the year 1995 aged only 7, he was scouted by many teams in a ten year period before making the Schalke04 first team in 2006. He remained there for a short period of time before leaving to join Werder Bremen. At Werder he scored 13 goals in 71 games, an excellent achievement for a centre-midfielder, and didn’t get a sending of once. He then moved to Real Madrid for around 15 million Euros. In Madrid he has scored 7 goals in 63 games against the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan and Manchester United. He is also very good whilst playing for Germany. Ozil has scored 8 goals in 31 appearances and is a consistent part of the team. Ozil is one of Germany’s best players and has a bright future ahead of him.
3. Yayah Touré – D.O.B 13 May 1983 (age28)
Yayah Toure is an Ivorian player who currently plays Centre-attacking Midfield for Manchester City. Yayah is a practising Muslim with two other siblings (Kolo Habib Toure and Ibrahim Toure). Both his siblings too are practising Muslims, with one of them (Kolo) also playing for Manchester City. Toure started his career at his local club ASEC Abidjan and remained there for 5 years. He then moved to Europe and played for Belgian side Beveren for two-and-a-half years and later for one and a half years at Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk. Then in 2005 he was signed by Greek club Olympiacos but only stayed for one season before leaving for Monaco in France. Toure was offered by Barcelona but the French club rejected the offer. They then came with a much improved offer which they couldn’t resist. He remained at Barcelona for 4 years scoring four goals in 74 appearances. He provided some good goals including one that knocked out Schalke 04 in the Champions League quarter finals. In 2010 Yayah Toure left for Manchester City where once again he provided many goals. Only last season Toure scored the only goal that won the FA cup for Manchester City. This season he has been a key part of the team and that showed when City lacked form in his absence, when he left for the African Cup of Nations.
2. Franck Ribery – D.O.B 7 April 1983 (age 28)
Franck Ribery is a French footballer currently playing for German side Bayern Munich. He is a converted practising Muslim who goes by the name Bilal Yusuf Mohammad or Franck Bilal Ribery. Ribery started his youth career in the year 1989 at the young age of 5. He played at Conti Boulogne, Lille and then Boulogne. Aged only 17 Ribery made the Boulogne first team scoring 8 times in 28 games. He was a great addition to the team and looked to be a future star in waiting. He joined Allez, a French club, after that and had a disappointing season. He scored once in 20 games. He then left Allez for Stade Brestois and then went to Metz, at the age of just 20, and got back into good form. Ribery played for 3 clubs in the space of a year Metz, Galatasaray and Marseille all in 2005. When playing for Galatasaray, Ribery didn’t score once in his 15 appearances. He had a good start at Marseille that continued for the rest of his career. He was given the name, by Zinadine Zidane, Jewel of French football. Ribery left the French team for Bayern Munich. He has scored 42 goals in 112 appearances, very impressive for a winger. He delivers dangerous cross from different angles, and is among the most feared players in football. Not only is he famous on-field but off the pitch too. He has some of his own TV shows and has been invited to many chat shows too. He is truly a football legend.
1. Robin van Persie – D.O.B 6 August 1983 (age 28)
Robin van Persie is a Dutch footballer currently playing for the English club Arsenal. He is truly a master of football. He is a non-practising Muslim who has been at the top of professional football for a couple of years now. He has had an excellent career and it looks to continue to be like that. Van Persie started his career at the age of 14. He switched between two clubs, Excelsior and Feyenoord, for two year before moving fully to Feyenoord. He made the first team in 2001, aged 18, and did a very good job. Van Persie scored 26 goals in 60 appearances. He played there for 3 years before moving to Arsenal for £2.5 million. He made his debut against Manchester United in the Community Shield and came on as a substitute to accompany Thierry Henry up front. They came on top that day beating United 3-1. Later that season, Van Persie scored a Gem of a goal against Blackburn Rovers to knock them out of the FA Cup. In the same match he scored again before being taken off due to injury. He ended the season with 10 goals. His next three seasons were very good scoring 12, 14 and 10 goals respectively. This saw Van Persie win numerous Man of the Match awards and was now the main striker. The following season Robin scored 21 goals all together as well as leading Arsenal to 5 consecutive victories as stand-in captain.
Van Persie had a disappointing season in 2009/2010 mainly due to injury and lack of form; but he bounced back the following season with 25 goals, helping Arsenal to 3rd place in the Premier League. This season Robin van Persie has hit the limit scoring from every different direction, in every different way. In 30 league appearances he has scored 26 goals and 33 in all competitions. He has kept arsenal in the game when they aren’t and has kept their title chances alive. What a find by Wenger! This £2.5 million find is now worth over £80 million, he has everything that a good footballer needs and is truly the greatest Muslim footballer in the world.
This is what I think the world’s best Muslim footballers, but what do you think? Is this your top ten, or could you find better players? What is your top ten?— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — President Barack Obama is joining NBA legend Michael Jordan and an array of basketball stars to raise money for his re-election campaign later this month.
The Obama campaign is planning a fundraising "shoot-around" and dinner in New York on Aug. 22 featuring several NBA stars, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and others. Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Obama's favorite NBA team, and NBA Commissioner David Stern are co-hosting a $20,000-per person fundraising dinner with the president later in the day.
Obama is a longtime basketball fan who regularly plays pickup games with friends and aides. His campaign held a fundraiser last February at the Orlando-area home of NBA player Vince Carter, who is also involved in the New York events.
The campaign is holding a "shoot-around" with players at New York's Chelsea Piers sports complex, including Anthony, Rondo, Wall, Paul Pierce, Kyrie Irving, Joe Johnson and former NBA centers Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. WNBA stars Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley are also participating in the event, which will cost $5,000 for a parent and child or two people to have a "shoot-around skills session" with the players. A $250 donation provides an autograph session with the players.
Obama's campaign plans to raffle off the chance for grass-roots supporters to attend the events.
A similar "Obama Classic" basketball event planned for last December was postponed after team owners and players reached a labor deal following a lockout.—www.shafaqna.com/englis
Source: Associated Press
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Two Chinese Olympic badminton players and their team leader have been told to make a public apology, the country's official news agency says.
China's top-seeded pair Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were among eight players disqualified for trying to lose games.
Meanwhile, Team GB will be looking again to cycling and rowing to provide medals on day six of the Games.
And a man was arrested after a cyclist was killed by a collision near the Olympic Park involving a media bus.
The man, in his mid-sixties, was held on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
In other developments:
The GB men's football team beat Uruguay 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium to reach the quarter-finals
GB's Michael Jamieson took the silver in the men's 200m breaststroke
Russian President Vladimir Putin is to make his first trip to Britain for seven years when he arrives on an unofficial visit, to attend Olympic judo bouts
Demands by Chinese officials for the badminton players' public apology were reported by the Xinhua news agency.
But one of the disgraced Chinese badminton players, Yu Yang, has now said she is quitting the sport.
"This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation; goodbye beloved badminton," she said on her Twitter-like weibo account.
Apart from Yu and Wang, South Korean badminton pairs Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, along with Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia were disqualified from the women's doubles competition.
All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose, in an attempt to secure a better draw for the knockout stage.
Postage stamps of Britain's first 2012 gold medallists, cyclist Bradley Wiggins and rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, go on sale Thursday.
Tour de France winner Wiggins became the most decorated Olympian in British history with his victory on Wednesday, with a total of seven medals.
'Not a celebrity'
He won the cycling time trial after Glover and Stanning rowed to victory the same day in the women's pairs, the first British women to win an Olympic gold medal for rowing.
Speaking at a press conference, Wiggins said that despite his success, he did not consider himself to be Britain's greatest ever Olympian.
"I am very normal in my life aside from cycling and I'm not a celebrity," he said.
He also said that, fresh from his victory in the Tour de France, he had been "greedy" and also intended to win Olympic gold, adding that the crowd support on his Olympic time trial ride was "incredible".
Cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton are two of Team GB's main medal hopes on Thursday, as cycling action switches to the velodrome.
Sir Chris is teaming up with German-born Philip Hindes and also Jason Kenny for the men's team sprint.
Also competing for a medal for Team GB is Jess Varnish, who will partner Pendleton as the women's team sprint cycling event makes its Olympic debut.
The main British medal hopes in rowing on Thursday lie with the men's lightweight four of Richard Chambers, Peter Chambers, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley.
Fran Halsall is competing in the women's 100m freestyle swimming race.
David Florence and Richard Hounslow will be taking part in the men's canoe double race, while Gabby Douglas and Aliya Mustafina take part in the women's all-around gymnastics.
Peter Wilson and Richard Faulds are going for a medal in the men's double trap shooting event.
Meanwhile, a BBC investigation has found illegal websites still offering tickets - which they have no right to sell - and which buyers may never receive.
Police have warned that such sites do not have access to tickets.
Det Supt Nick Downing, the head of the Olympic crime squad, said: "If they're an authorised site selling tickets, you've got to ask the question - where did they get their tickets from? How can they guarantee a supply? They can't."—www.shafaqna.com/english