Published on December 2 2016

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Published on November 29 2016

Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors and news leaks

Samsung started 2016 out so well. The Galaxy S7 officially outsold the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and the Galaxy Note 7 came along and impressed everyone, until it went out with a bang. Samsung will want to leave 2016 behind, so attention has likely turned to next year’s flagship, which we know as the Galaxy S8. Samsung’s mobile communications vice president, Lee Jae-yong, has noted that, for starters, the Galaxy S8 will “feature slick design and an improved camera, as well as an enhanced artificial intelligence service.” There are plenty of rumors about the phone already, so here’s everything you need to know.

Display

Samsung may seriously step up its game for the display on the Galaxy S8 in an effort to tempt customers to purchase phones after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. So how nice will the display be? Well, according to Samsung mobile engineer Park Won-sang, who spoke at the iMID Display Exhibition in late October, the display on the Galaxy S8 will cover an impressive 90 percent of the front of the phone.

“Samsung Display would roll out a full-screen display whose display area ratio (a scale that measures space taken up by a display on the front part of a handset) reaches more than 90 percent next year,” said Won-sang, according to a report from The Next Web.

You have also always had a choice between an Edge display and a regular one on Samsung’s flagship smartphones, but will that be the same for the Galaxy S8? Maybe not, according to a report by The Korea Herald, which says the company is considering ending the regular model for its flagship line.

“Sources said the company has already started securing display panels in two sizes — 5.1 inch and 5.5 inch — from its own display-making unit Samsung Display, the world’s sole producer of double-edged screens,” the site reports. Those are the same size displays as the current Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

But now, South Korean news outlet The Bell has noted that Samsung will attempt to further appease Galaxy Note 7 customers by making an even larger display still — one will boast a 6.2-inch screen, the latest reports claim. And contrary to previous reports, it seems that the other version will have a 5.7-inch screen, which means both versions of the handset will be quite sizable.

As Pocket-Lint reported, “An analyst has been quoted as saying: ‘In order to attract potential Note consumers who prefer a large screen, Samsung has decided to adopt bigger screens for both new models of the S8.'”

The display is also rumored to surpass its predecessors’ thanks to a 4K resolution, according to My Drivers. The reasoning behind putting such a high-resolution screen on a smartphone may be virtual reality. Samsung already has its own VR headset with the Gear VR, and now that Google has set its own Daydream VR standard, it seems likely that future mobile devices would get 4K screens to better showcase VR content.

Others have noted that the “dream” code name for the S8 may refer to Google’s Daydream VR standard. The addition of a 4K screen might also be part of Samsung’s effort to future-proof the device for new high-resolution virtual reality content. Of course, this is just speculation about a rumor that may not prove to be true,

Still, Samsung showed off a 4K 5.5-inch display for VR at the SID Display Week in May, so the company is clearly working on bringing 4K to small screens. Of course, it was just a prototype, which indicates that it may take time before we see it on an actual device.

Rumors from China, however, once again reiterate the 5.5-inch 4K display rumor, and also claims that the S8 will come with 6GB of RAM for the best possible VR experience.

Reports say Apple is going to remove the physical home button on the iPhone 7S/8 in 2017. Samsung may do it first with the Galaxy S8. The latest reports suggest that the Galaxy S8 will have an all-glass front, with Qualcomm’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner mounted underneath the panel. This is in line with previous rumors that the home button would sit beneath tempered glass. With the physical home button gone, Samsung may go ahead with a bezel-less display on the front of the S8. That lines up with what Apple is trying to do — let us just hope Samsung doesn’t rush itself into another recall.

The latest news regarding the S8 circle around the “3D Touch” feature. Korean media is reporting that “an official of a Samsung supplier” is claiming the South Korean manufacturer is “mulling to adopt the force technology partially from the S8.” This is yet another very popular Apple feature that may soon be folded into competitors’ products.

Battery and USB Type-C

The battery inside the Galaxy Note 7 is potentially one that caused a lot of problems, and Samsung will not want history to repeat itself with the Galaxy S8. South Korean news sources, as detailed by the The Korea Herald, are reporting Samsung is in talks with LG Chem to produce the cells for use inside the upcoming phone. Samsung used its own batteries in the first batch of Note 7 phones, and another Chinese supplier named ATL for the second, and equally problematic batch.

Samsung is apparently already supplied with camera modules by LG Innotek, another part of the LG Group, so although the pair are rivals, business deals have been struck between them in the past. However, the battery deal with LG Chem hasn’t been finalized, according to local news sources.

The Galaxy S8 may also adopt the USB Type-C reversible charging port, which offers fast charging and quicker data transfers.

Camera

The Galaxy series has seen a serious improvement in camera quality over the past few years, and we even rated the Galaxy S7’s camera as better than the camera on the iPhone 6s in some respects. According to recent reports, however, Samsung will go a step further for the Galaxy S8. According to a tip from Chinese social media site Weibo, the Galaxy S8 will feature a dual 12MP + 13MP rear-facing camera, a move that will likely put the camera in line with the upcoming iPhone 7, which is also expected to have a dual camera, at least for one version.

Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S8 is also rumored to have an Iris scanner, boosting the phone’s biometric security and bringing it in line with the Galaxy Note 7.

Operating system and specs

With Android 7.0 Nougat already here, it’s almost certain that the Galaxy S8 will ship with the latest flavor of Android when it launches. Of course, if the S8 does indeed have a 4K screen, it will need a large battery to keep it powered for more than a day.

Rumors also suggest that Samsung may use an Exynos 8895 processor with ARM’s new Mali-G71 GPU, which is nearly twice as powerful (1.8 times, to be exact) as the Mali-T880 MP12 GPU found in the Exynos 8890-powered Galaxy S7. This new GPU makes use of ARM’s Bifrost architecture, which allegedly allows for high-end 4K and VR experiences. Moreover, it’s compatible with Vulkan, OpenGL ES 3.2, GPU Compute, and Android RenderScript APIs.

The latest reports are pushing the notion of Viv AI’s inclusion in the new Samsung phone and with the company’s planned acquisition of the artificial intelligence firm, this does not seem like a far-fetched idea. If it were true, however, Viv AI would most likely replace Samsung’s S Voice, which has not proven as popular as Apple’s Siri.

Perhaps most exciting is the latest information from China, which suggests that the S8’s internal RAM will be pushed up to 6GB, and the internal storage will be an impressive 256GB. It’s unclear as of yet if the new phone will still feature a MicroSD card slot, which Samsung customers have previously depended upon to increase memory.

Family Care

Another feature rumored to make its debut alongside the S8 is a new app known as Family Care. As its name suggests, the app will allow for parents — or the powers that be within a family — to serve as the final arbiters over what apps can be installed on a handset, or how long the device can be used. Family Care would also give users control over notifications and reminders and parents can sync their own phones with their children’s with a QR code.

Kids can even request a pickup from their chauffeur (read: mom or dad) with the Family Care app, sending their location and a pickup timeframe to their parents.

Release date

As was the case with the Galaxy S7, we may see the device at Mobile World Congress 2017, but we cannot say for sure. As per the latest reports, it looks like we won’t be seeing the phone until April (two months after MWC). We will update this post as we learn more information.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors and news leaks

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Published on November 29 2016

Apple is considering more than 10 designs for its 10th anniversary iPhone next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A curved screen, long-rumored to be in the cards for Apple, is among the prototypes, people familiar with the matter told the Journal. Apple suppliers have been asked to create thinner screens with better resolution to one-up Samsung's Galaxy Edge, the Journal reported.

In addition to competing with Apple's smartphones, Samsung is one of the only companies in the world that can make large enough quantities of flexible screens for Apple. Experts had previously told CNBC that it was unlikely any other supplier could match Samsung's expertise at a large scale within the next year.

But Apple might have to cooperate with the enemy, as flexible screens pave the way for innovations like foldable smartphones. A new form factor like a foldable phone could silence critics who have decried Apple's recent lack of innovation.

Article Source: Apple has more than 10 prototypes for the next iPhone, report says

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Published on November 29 2016

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Published on November 28 2016

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Published on November 25 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 May Update To Android 7.0 Nougat Starting In December

The Android 7.0 Nougat beta program for the Galaxy S7 is going so well, Samsung may expand it to other markets, according to SamMobile. The program is currently live in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea and China; however, it may come to the Philippines as soon as next week. A SamMobile user shared with the tech blog a conversation in a consumer assistance chat room, in which a representative said the beta program would come to the Philippines.

The Android 7.0 Nougat beta program allows users of unlocked Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge handsets to test out the software being developed and report any issues they uncover to Samsung. Users must install Samsung’s Galaxy Beta Program application to begin receiving over the air updates pertaining to Android 7.0 Nougat.

Samsung has also released an Android 7.0 Nougat beta consumer guide to help users navigate the changes going from Android Marshmallow to Android Nougat.

Samsung may begin rolling out the official Android 7.0 Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 as early as December, according to Android Central. The tech blog noted the beta program is scheduled to end in mid-December. In 2015, Samsung’s initial beta program, which allowed users to test Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the Galaxy S6 before release, began in December and official updates began in January.

Much like the beta program, unlocked Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets in Asia and Europe should begin updating officially to Android 7.0 Nougat, followed by unlocked U.S. models. It may take some time for U.S. carrier models to receive Android Nougat updates.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S7 May Update To Android 7.0 Nougat Starting In December

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Published on November 25 2016

Samsung moves on from Note 7 crisis after throwing SDI under the bus

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 fiasco prompted the company to announce an unprecedented recall of about a million handsets that wiped a few billions from its market value. While the full extent of the damage done to the brand’s reputation remains to be seen, Samsung SDI, its affiliate battery division that largely took the blame for the incident is reportedly struggling to keep its roster of clients intact.

According to Reuters, Samsung SDI is quietly reassuring anxious clients including Apple that its batteries are safe. The company — a joint venture between Samsung and Japan's NEC — has lost around a fifth of its market value since the problem first emerged, and its third quarter operating loss was more than double that of a year earlier, suggesting some customers may be fleeing already.

SDI has said the battery problem was limited to the Note 7 and that reliability checks on products with major customers resulted in no problems. The company holds a 25% market share in small device batteries. Its close ties to Samsung Electronics have helped it build scale and reputation, but its efforts to expand to the automotive industry and other sectors might be slowed down by the Note 7 fiasco.

Samsung was quick to blame the battery for causing some Note 7 devices to catch fire, but it has since widened its investigation after replacement phones using batteries from China's Amperex Technology also caught fire. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, surveys indicate the Samsung brand has weathered the storm. Consumers still view the name and its products favorably. That’s not the case for SDI, however.

It would be interesting to see a more conclusive report on the reason behind Galaxy Note 7 devices catching fire and how much of the blame actually lies on Samsung’s design.

Article Source: Samsung moves on from Note 7 crisis after throwing SDI under the bus

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Published on November 25 2016

Amazon deletes over 500,000 sketchy reviews in massive cleanup effort

Amazon has long had a problem with fake reviews, but an even bigger problem might be reviews of products that were received either for free or at a large discount with the promise that a review would follow. Now, Amazon is finally cutting them out.

Even if a positive review wasn’t actually a condition of a complimentary product, the numbers suggest that reviews from customers who received these special deals were often significantly higher than the product’s average. That bias, whether intended or not, is harmful to the entire review system, and following on Amazon’s pledge to dosomething about it, the company has culled over 500,000 of these sketchy reviews from tens of thousands of its products. 

Review analysis site ReviewMeta tracks the ridiculous number of reviews that flood into Amazon every day, and as TechCrunch reports, the site’s data shows a sharp decline not only in the number of incentivized reviews on Amazon but also a dip in the overall average rating of all reviews.

ReviewMeta found that over 500,000 reviews have been deleted, with an average rating of 4.75/5. 71 percent of those reviews were flagged as having been incentivized. The overall average for all reviews dipped by about one-tenth of a star when Amazon’s ban went into effect.

It’s a big step towards making Amazon’s review system trustworthy again, but it’s not a catch-all. Amazon’s “Verified Purchase” tag is still the best way to spot reviews that are the most trustworthy, but short of banning reviews from all non-verified purchasers as a whole, incentivized reviews — including ones that aren’t labeled as such — will continue to exist.

Article Source: Amazon deletes over 500,000 sketchy reviews in massive cleanup effort

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Published on November 25 2016

Next year’s 4.7-inch iPhone 8 might come with a big surprise

Apple will release three new iPhone 8 models next year, according to reports from a source with an outstanding track record. The new models will supposedly include a flagship handset that features an OLED display, and then there will also be two LCD versions. The LCD iPhones would still come in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch flavors, while the OLED model would measure 5.1-inch or 5.2-inch — that’s tipped to be the active area of a curved screen, not the full diagonal measurement. While the OLED iPhone will be the talk of the town in 2017, the same source believes that the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 will launch along with a big surprise that Apple fans (and analysts) are going to love.

An update to the iPhone SE isn’t expected for early next year, which could suggest that the 4.7-inch might replace it. Apple’s 2017 iPhones are expected to feature all-glass, buttonless designs, which means the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 could be smaller in size than its predecessors.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kou said in a research note seen by Apple Insider that the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 could become either a new mid-range or low-end iPhone for Apple. In other words, the big (and much appreciated) surprised that could come along with the smaller iPhone 8 next year is a price drop. The 5.5-inch iPhone 8 would still be more expensive than the 4.7-inch version, but likely cheaper than the OLED iPhone 8.

The LCD iPhones are expected by Kuo to account for 30-35% of sales in the fiscal year 2017, while the OLED iPhone could account for as much as 50-55% of sales. The iPhone 8 Plus would account for between 10-15% of new iPhone shipments next year.

Kuo expects Apple to sell anywhere from 90 million to 110 million new iPhone units in 2017. The analyst also explained recently that the new all-glass design coming to next year’s iPhone 8 lineup will accommodate an exciting new feature: Wireless charging.

Article Source: Next year’s 4.7-inch iPhone 8 might come with a big surprise

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Published on November 24 2016

Xiaomi Might Finally Launch A Smartphone In The US

Xiaomi, one of the most successful Chinese electronics manufacturers today, just announced that it will be attending the Consumers Electronics Show (CES) in 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time. The company said that it’s planning to announce a new product that will be available globally.

Xiaomi announced its attendance at CES 2017 on Twitter teasing fans on what its all-new global product is going to be. A lot of people are hoping that the manufacturer will finally launch one of its smartphones in the United States. Xiaomi gained a lot of attention in the last few weeks with the very limited release of the Mi Mix, a concept smartphone with nearly no bezels in sight.

Xiaomi Vice President of International Hugo Barra has been teasing for a couple of years now that they’ve been planning to release its first smartphone in the U.S., as pointed out by 9To5Google. However, Barra also cited that the competitive market and building a customer service infrastructure poses a huge challenge. The company has already launched the set-top box Mi Box in the U.S. early this year.

Other Chinese smartphone makers like OnePlus, Huawei and, most recently, LeEco all have been able to successfully launch their own products in the U.S. through some different strategies. Xiaomi could possibly make up its own strategy in order to penetrate the U.S. market, which is currently dominated by Apple and Samsung.

One of the possible Xiaomi products that could launch at CES 2017 could be the Mi Note 2, a 5.7-inch smartphone recently released in China. Since the Mi Mix turned a lot of heads in the last couple of weeks, it’s possible that it could officially be available in the U.S. as well, as pointed out by Android Headlines.

However, Xiaomi isn’t just known for its smartphones; it has a slew of other products. Some companies are making a lot of effort in turning virtual reality more accessible to the public. Xiaomi could also launch a new VR headset that could work on other smartphones  aside from its own Mi-branded phones. Xiaomi could also launch a tablet or a smartwatch.

Right now, there are only speculations as to what Xiaomi is planning to launch. Everyone will have to wait until Jan. 5, 2017 at CES 2017 to find out what exactly the company has in store for the American market. 

Article Source: Xiaomi Might Finally Launch A Smartphone In The US

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