Posts with #tech news tag

Published on November 17 2017

Amazon launches Alexa, Echo, and Prime Music in Canada today

It has been a while coming. Amazon launched its Alexa virtual assistant and smart device platform in Canada today. In tandem with Alexa, Amazon is now shipping three devices there—the Echo Dot, the Echo, and the Echo Plus.

Amazon expects 10,000 skills to be available to Canadian users this year, "including skills from Air Canada, TD Bank, TELUS, CBC, The Weather Network, Bank of Montreal, Manulife, Aviva, Yellow Pages, and more." Amazon Prime Music has launched for Canadian users as well. It will compete with Spotify and Apple Music in the Canadian market with one million songs—and yes, that includes songs by The Tragically Hip.

The rollout is part of a wave of expansion to new countries; Japan just got a similar rollout last week. With a platform like Alexa, localization is both critical and complex. Even between the United States and Canada, there are linguistic differences that could trip up Alexa's functionality if not accounted for. To address that, Amazon has implemented local knowledge and local skills put together by Canadian developers.

Alexa also has a new English voice with a Canadian accent. Curiously, Amazon's announcement of the Canadian launch makes no mention of Canadian French.

The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that is designed to blend in with home furnishings and answer voice commands on a wide range of useful subjects. Ars found the recently released 2017 Echo to be a positive step forward for an already promising device. The Echo Plus offers similar functionality but also serves as a Zigbee smart home hub. And the Echo Dot is a slimmed-down cousin to the Echo. The three devices can be preordered right now, but they won't ship until December 5. The Echo retails for $99.99 CDN.

Article Source: Amazon launches Alexa, Echo, and Prime Music in Canada today

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Published on November 15 2017

Samsung's Galaxy S9 could fix one of the worst things about the Galaxy S8

Samsung's next flagship phone, tentatively dubbed the Galaxy S9, isn't expected until early next year, but we may already know a few things about it.

As is often the case, the rumor mill has started to leak out snippets on the phone. And from the sounds of it, it could give the iPhone X a run for its money while simultaneously solving one of the worst problems of the Galaxy S8.

Slashleaks, a collection for leaked images and rumors, published on Monday several CAD images it claims are of the Galaxy S9, though Mashable can't vouch for their authenticity.

The alleged 3D renders suggest the phone could have a similar design to the Galaxy S8, complete with curved edges on the back and front. 

Samsung's Galaxy S9 could fix one of the worst things about the Galaxy S8

Samsung is likely to add a dual camera system to better compete with the iPhone X and the myriad of other Android phones that have them as well, including Samsung's own Galaxy Note 8. Based on the images, it appears Samsung might switch from the Note 8's horizontal arrangement to a vertical one. 

There would be at least one benefit to this camera rearranging: The fingerprint sensor would be lower and easier to reach.

It certainly would make for a better design, but another prolific phone leaker Steve Hemmerst offer, better known as @OnLeaks, says the CAD images are likely to be fake.

Leaks used to be very reliable, but with more unknown brands making phones that look remarkably similar to Samsung's signature designs (curved edges, narrow bezels, edge-to-edge displays, etc.), it's become more difficult to separate the "probably real" from the "smells fishy."

Phone clones (like the infamous fake iPhone X's that were going around for the past month or so) have also made it extremely hard to identify what's authentic and what's not. 

Renders aside, there are some rumors that might paint a better picture of Samsung's next flagship phone:

  • It may not have a fingerprint sensor built into the screen

  • It may be powered by Samsung's newly announced Exynos 9810 system-on-chip (and maybe Qualcomm's rumored Snapdragon 845 chip)

  • It may come in two display sizes: a 5.8-inch regular and 6.2-inch larger model with even better AMOLED displays

  • It might have a 3D camera or sensor for improved and more secure face recognition

As always, these are all rumors (really early ones at that), so take them all with a large grain of salt. We'll likely get a more reliable overview of what the Samsung Galaxy Galaxy S9 looks once we make it into the new year.

Article Source: Samsung's Galaxy S9 could fix one of the worst things about the Galaxy S8

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Published on November 10 2017

T-Mobile now offers 1-gigabit-per-second mobile networks in 430 markets, an expansion it hopes will help it woo subscribers away from Verizon and AT&T.

Today's mobile networks are powered by a technology called LTE (Long Term Evolution), and T-Mobile has brought an updated version called LTE Advanced to 920 US markets, it said at a press conference Thursday. In nearly half of those markets, T-Mobile has the equipment and radio airwaves available to offer an even faster version gigabit download speeds.

One of those places is San Jose, California. At a press conference here, T-Mobile and Qualcomm demonstrated a download speed of 611 megabits per second, which the companies call "gigabit class" if not exactly 1Gbps.

With LTE Advanced, T-Mobile is "eclipsing every other national wireless company," the company said in a statement.

Verizon called T-Mobile's assertions "inaccurate." For example, it's got LTE Advanced in nearly 2,000 markets and has the underpinnings for gigabit LTE in 560 markets to T-Mobile's 430. "This is another example of T-Mobile's marketing getting ahead of the facts," spokesman Howie Waterman said.

AT&T offers LTE Advanced in two markets -- Austin, Texas and Indianapolis -- and will announce another new city next week as part of a plan to reach 20 cities by the end of the year, the company said. It's also begun testing gigabit LTE, with a San Francisco test reaching 979Mbps speeds this summer.

The unending progress in mobile networks is remarkable though you may not fully appreciate it. For one thing, networks might not feel faster because we're taxing them heavily with music, photos and videos that rapidly sponge up new capacity. For another, it takes a while for phones to support new network technology. And if you live somewhere far from a major population center -- where new networks are a priority -- bummer for you.

Today, only 10 phones have all the abilities needed for gigabit LTE, said Pete Lancia, a Qualcomm vice president of marketing. That includes Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, the LG V30 and the HTC U11, But it doesn't include the Apple iPhone 8 or iPhone X. Qualcomm makes phone processors and radio chips.

T-Mobile has been more aggressive than rivals and, through its "un-carrier" marketing campaign, has made progress winning us over. It has outgrown other US carriers for the last seven quarters when it comes to the important category of postpaid customers, those who pay bills at the end of the month. It's got 70 million customers today, said Mark McDiarmid, vice president of network engineering at T-Mobile.

"Verizon and AT&T have a bunch of legacy issues. T-Mobile is a bit more nimble," Endpoint Technology analyst Roger Kay said. And T-Mobile already invested in base station designs that are easier to update to the gigabit speeds, he said.

LTE Advanced uses a number of tricks to pump bits faster over the airwaves. Among those tricks is what's called carrier aggregation, which lets phones use multiple radio communication channels at the same time. Today that happens over radio spectrum that carriers license from governments, but another trick taps into unlicensed spectrum, notably the 5GHz frequency band that many Wi-Fi routers use.

"Gigabit-class" speeds don't exactly mean gigabit speeds, though. T-Mobile's lab tests have reached 900 megabits per second, but the top speed in the real world is closer to 800Mbps. Demos at the press conference showed devices reaching speed of 685Mbps.

LTE Advanced is able to use radio waves more efficiently. That means even if you don't have a phone that can handle the new speeds, you might benefit. That's because people who do have the faster phones will grab their data and get out of the way sooner.

Article Source: T-Mobile's gigabit network push reaches 430 markets in US

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Published on November 9 2017

Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

The Galaxy S8 may be the Samsung phone to buy right now, but it will likely be replaced by another phone in 2018, and we expect it to be named the Galaxy S9. Although the S8 only began reaching store shelves in the last several months, talk of its successor has already begun.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the phone, but pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together. Here are all the rumors so far about the next Galaxy phone.

Design

According to a few recent leaks, the Galaxy S9 will get a pretty major redesign. The first leak comes from Chinese leaker Ice Universe, whose post on Twitter claims that the back of the phone will “change a lot.” What does that mean? Well, it’s obviously a little vague, but it’s likely that the phone will get a dual-sensor camera like the Galaxy Note 8.

Rumors suggest that Samsung has been looking for a way to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the phone’s display, but a new report notes that the company may have ditched those plans. The report comes from South Korean publication The Investor, and it says that Samsung has been working on an in-display sensor for years — but it reportedly keeps running into technical difficulties that prevent the tech from working properly. Still, that doesn’t mean Samsung isn’t working on an in-display fingerprint sensor at all — on the contrary, the report suggests that its still planning the tech for the Galaxy Note 9.

Another leak from TechDroider basically shows two concept images of the phones, and it looks like the phones are almost identical to the Galaxy S8, save for the near elimination of the phones’ chins. It also shows that Samsung may get rid of the headphone jack — although Ice Universe said in a separate tweet that Samsung will keep the headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

Software

The Galaxy S9’s software remains a mystery, but a new report gives an idea of what to expect.

According to SamMobile, Samsung’s engineering team has kicked off development of two separate sets of firmware for the Galaxy S9, one for the regular-size phone (G960FXXU0AQI5) and the other for the S9 Plus (G965FXXU0AQI5). The code names would appear to confirm the rumored model numbers, SM-G960 and SM-G965.Camera

As far as the Galaxy S9’s cameras go, the phone could feature dual cameras, with placement similar to the Note 8. But they’re likely to be much more capable.

Samsung is working on a sensor capable of shooting at 1,000 fps, according to a new report published by ETNews. It’s expected to enter mass production in November, months ahead of the Galaxy S9’s rumored release date — leaving plenty of time for Samsung to incorporate it into the design.

The rumor, if true, would be something of a triumph for Samsung’s imaging division. Sony’s Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ Premium have sensors that can shoot 960 frames per second, the highest of any smartphone. But the Galaxy S9’s sensor would best them.

Specs

The Galaxy S phones are among Samsung’s most powerful devices, and some of the best smartphones you can buy, so we should expect the S9 to follow the tradition. It’s rumored the phone will use the next top-of-the-range Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, rumored to be the Snapdragon 845. Like the Galaxy S8 did with the Snapdragon 835, the Galaxy S9 may get the new chip before other manufacturers.

A recent report from XDA Developers corroborates previous rumors that the Galaxy S9 will not only include the Snapdragon 845, but will be shipped with Android Oreo 8.0. The source also claims the device will have 4GB of RAM with 64 GB of internal storage.

A deal could already be in place — a known industry analyst publishing on the Weibo social network says Qualcomm has agreed to ready an initial batch of Snapdragon 845 chips for the Galaxy S9’s rumored launch in 2018. Samsung had the monopoly on the Snapdragon 835 processor, as chip supply was low for other manufacturers during the first months of 2017.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard the rumor. A report published by The Investor said Samsung and Qualcomm would team up again for the Galaxy S9, and the new phone may use a next-generation, as-yet-unconfirmed processor.

Little has been said elsewhere about a Snapdragon 845 processor. A rumor originating from a Weibo social network source at the beginning of 2017 said a future Qualcomm chip referred to as the Snapdragon 84x would be revealed during the final three months of 2017. Whether this will end up being an 840 or 845 remains to be seen. Apparently, the chip will have eight cores.

Display

The Galaxy S8 set a precedent for Samsung’s flagships with its edge-to-edge curved display. It was recently reported that the company has decided on screen sizes for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

The news comes from South Korean publication The Bell, by way of The Investor, and claims the regular-size S9 will feature a 5.77-inch panel, while the bigger S9 Plus will sport a 6.22-inch screen. Those sizes may sound familiar, because they’re exactly the same as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

After the Galaxy S8’s significant leap forward, it’s not terribly surprising Samsung would play it safe in the Galaxy S9, refining its display tech rather than revolutionizing it. It’s very early in the Galaxy S9 rumor cycle, however, and as Apple has shown with the multitude of display technologies surrounding its upcoming iPhone 8, there’s time for those plans to change — if they’re even true at all.

The industry has made major strides since Samsung last attempted the feat. Vivo presented a public demo of the first-ever device with on-screen scanning in June, and Qualcomm hashed out serious plans about letting manufacturers sample their implementation of the tech before the end of the year.

While the device will retain the same shape and form as past Galaxy devices, it’s still unclear whether it will include the rounder Galaxy S8 display or if it’ll mimic the squared-off shape of the Note 8’s screen.

Code names and release date

Samsung has apparently started developing the Galaxy S9 in earnest, and the code name it has given the device has been leaked by The Bell. According to the report, the Galaxy S9 is code-named Star, and a larger version of the phone, which we can assume is the S9 Plus, is known as the Star 2. It’s rumored that development started several months earlier than it did for the Galaxy S8, which may imply either an earlier release date, or the inclusion of new features and technology that require time to integrate. No official sources have confirmed this story.

A release date during the first half of 2018 is anticipated.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

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Published on November 9 2017

Samsung Galaxy S8 wins Phone of the Year 2017 at the Trusted Reviews Awards

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones have jointly won the Phone of the Year 2017 gong at this year’s Trusted Reviews Awards.

Samsung has gone from strength to strength with its flagship Galaxy smartphone series in recent years, and the Galaxy S8 is the culmination of those bold efforts.

 

The handsets debuted to critical acclaim earlier this year, showing off first-to-market features such as the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and a space-age Infinity Display.

We were highly impressed by the Galaxy S8, awarding it a perfect 5/5 score in our review. The device was praised for its awesome display, futuristic design and stunning camera.

Our verdict reads: “The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a new beginning for flagship phones. It’s a gorgeous sliver of tech that utilises its power for extending the experience beyond the 5.8-inch display, but manages to still be a phone that’s easy to use.”

The Galaxy S8+ went down similarly well at Trusted Reviews HQ, also earning a 5/5 score in the review. The stunning design, great software experience, and reliable camera were all key plus points in our assessment of the phone.

The brief verdict reads: “The best big phone ever. Comfortable to use, stunning to look at and an all-round winner.”

 

The two phones are clearly class-leading handsets, so we’re happy to award Samsung with Phone of the Year 2017 at the #TrustedReviewsAwards.


Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S8 wins Phone of the Year 2017 at the Trusted Reviews Awards

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Published on November 6 2017

T-Mobile and Sprint announced that plans for a merger have officially ended after the two companies were unable to find "mutually agreeable terms." 

Rumors last week suggested the merger might be called off because Sprint parent company SoftBank was having doubts about the deal over the ownership terms. SoftBank was concerned about "losing control" of the combined company, as T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom wanted a controlling stake. 

T-Mobile and Sprint Officially Call Off Merger

The two companies allegedly attempted to save the merger by negotiating new terms after Deutsche Telekom submitted a revised offer, but an agreement was not able to be reached. 

In a statement, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said a that while a deal with Sprint was "compelling," it would have needed to offer "significant benefits" for both consumers and shareholders.

"The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders. However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile's shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record. Going forward, T-Mobile will continue disrupting this industry and bringing our proven Un-carrier strategy to more customers and new categories - ultimately redefining the mobile Internet as we know it. We've been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders, and driving significant change across wireless. We won't stop now."

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said Sprint had decided that it would be best to move forward alone. Sprint will instead aim to "compete fiercely" in the wireless industry.

"While we couldn't reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination. However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth. As convergence in the connectivity marketplace continues, we believe significant opportunities exist to establish strong partnerships across multiple industries. We are determined to continue our efforts to change the wireless industry and compete fiercely. We look forward to continuing to take the fight to the duopoly and newly emerging competitors."

This is the second time that T-Mobile and Sprint have failed to reach a merger agreement. Sprint parent company SoftBank attempted to purchase T-Mobile back in 2013 in a deal worth more than $20 billion, but ultimately abandoned its plans in 2014 amid regulatory scrutiny. 

Even had the deal succeeded this time around, it's not clear if it would have gained regulatory approval. Back in 2014, U.S. antitrust regulators said having four national carriers in the United States was important for maintaining a competitive market.

Article Source: T-Mobile and Sprint Officially Call Off Merger

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Published on November 3 2017

Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

The Galaxy S8 may be the Samsung phone to buy right now, but in 2018, it will likely be replaced by another phone, which we expect to be named the Galaxy S9. Although the S8 only began reaching store shelves in the last several months, talk of its successor has already begun.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the phone, but pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together. Here are all the rumors so far about the next Galaxy phone.

Design

We’ve heard some rumors and can speculate on specs, but we haven’t really heard much about the phone’s design — until now, that is. According to a few recent leaks, the Galaxy S9 will get a pretty major redesign. The first leak comes from Chinese leaker Ice Universe, whose post on Twitter claims that the back of the phone will “change a lot.” What does that mean? Well, it’s obviously a little vague, but it’s likely that the phone will get a dual-sensor camera like the Galaxy Note 8. It’s also likely that Samsung will shift the position of the fingerprint sensor, given that its awkward positioning on the Galaxy S8 was widely criticized.

The second leak is a little more comprehensive, and comes from TechDroider. It basically shows two concept images of the phones, and it looks like the phones are almost identical to the Galaxy S8, save for the near elimination of the phones’ chins. It also shows that Samsung may get rid of the headphone jack — although Ice Universe said in a separate tweet that Samsung will keep the headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

Software

The Galaxy S9’s software remains a mystery, but a new report gives an idea of what to expect.

According to SamMobile, Samsung’s engineering team has kicked off development of two separate sets of firmware for the Galaxy S9, one for the regular-size phone (G960FXXU0AQI5) and the other for the S9 Plus (G965FXXU0AQI5). The code names would appear to confirm the rumored model numbers, SM-G960 (the S9) and SM-G965 (the S9 Plus).

Camera

As far as the Galaxy S9’s cameras go, the phone could feature dual cameras, with placement similar to the Note 8. But they’re likely to be much more capable.

Samsung is working on a sensor capable of shooting at 1,000 fps, according to a new report published by ETNews. It’s expected to enter mass production in November, months ahead of the Galaxy S9’s rumored release date — leaving plenty of time for Samsung to incorporate it into the design.

The rumor, if true, would be something of a triumph for Samsung’s imaging division. Sony’s Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ Premium have sensors that can shoot 960 frames per second, the highest of any smartphone. But the Galaxy S9’s sensor would best them.

Specs

The Galaxy S phones are among Samsung’s most powerful devices, and some of the best smartphones you can buy, so we should expect the S9 to follow the tradition. It’s rumored the phone will use the next top-of-the-range Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, rumored to be the Snapdragon 845. Like the Galaxy S8 did with the Snapdragon 835, the Galaxy S9 may get the new chip before other manufacturers.

A recent report from XDA Developers corroborates previous rumors that the Galaxy S9 will not only include the Snapdragon 845, but will be shipped with Android Oreo 8.0. The source also claims the device will have 4GB of RAM with 64 GB of internal storage.

A deal could already be in place — a known industry analyst publishing on the Weibo social network says Qualcomm has agreed to ready an initial batch of Snapdragon 845 chips for the Galaxy S9’s rumored launch in 2018. Samsung had the monopoly on the Snapdragon 835 processor, as chip supply was low for other manufacturers during the first months of 2017.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard the rumor. A report published by The Investor said Samsung and Qualcomm would team up again for the Galaxy S9, and the new phone may use a next-generation, as-yet-unconfirmed processor.

Little has been said elsewhere about a Snapdragon 845 processor. A rumor originating from a Weibo social network source at the beginning of 2017 said a future Qualcomm chip referred to as the Snapdragon 84x would be revealed during the final three months of 2017. Whether this will end up being an 840 or 845 remains to be seen. Apparently, the chip will have eight cores.

Display

The Galaxy S8 set a precedent for Samsung’s flagships with its edge-to-edge curved display. It was recently reported that the company has decided on screen sizes for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus.

The news comes from South Korean publication The Bell, by way of The Investor, and claims the regular-size S9 will feature a 5.77-inch panel, while the bigger S9 Plus will sport a 6.22-inch screen. Those sizes may sound familiar, because they’re exactly the same as the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

After the Galaxy S8’s significant leap forward, it’s not terribly surprising Samsung would play it safe in the Galaxy S9, refining its display tech rather than revolutionizing it. It’s very early in the Galaxy S9 rumor cycle, however, and as Apple has shown with the multitude of display technologies surrounding its upcoming iPhone 8, there’s time for those plans to change — if they’re even true at all.

Another interesting aspect of the report claims that Samsung will once again look to tackle on-screen fingerprint recognition with the Galaxy S9. The company failed to incorporate the feature in the Galaxy S8, and may miss the boat on the Galaxy Note 8 as well. But XDA Developers recently reported that the fingerprint sensor will be centered in a rectangular cutout — which rules out an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The industry has made major strides since Samsung last attempted the feat. Vivo presented a public demo of the first-ever device with on-screen scanning in June, and Qualcomm hashed out serious plans about letting manufacturers sample their implementation of the tech before the end of the year.

While the device will retain the same shape and form as past Galaxy devices, it’s still unclear whether it will include the rounder Galaxy S8 display or if it’ll mimic the squared-off shape of the Note 8’s screen.

Code names and release date

Samsung has apparently started developing the Galaxy S9 in earnest, and the code name it has given the device has been leaked by The Bell. According to the report, the Galaxy S9 is code-named Star, and a larger version of the phone, which we can assume is the S9 Plus, is known as the Star 2. It’s rumored that development started several months earlier than it did for the Galaxy S8, which may imply either an earlier release date, or the inclusion of new features and technology that require time to integrate. No official sources have confirmed this story.

Article Source: Samsung Galaxy S9: News and rumors

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Published on November 3 2017

Shortly after showing off the squeezable U11+ in Taipei today, HTC President Chialin Chang confirmed that his company is re-entering the dual-camera smartphone space in 2018. "We'll definitely be releasing a dual-camera phone next year, but we'll need to figure out how to make this feature stand out," the exec told the media in an interview session.

Folks who are familiar with HTC's history will no doubt be amused by this move. Its EVO 3D was one of the first smartphones equipped with a dual-camera system, but after the short-lived mobile 3D hype, the Taiwanese firm eventually started championing its pseudo-depth-sensing "Duo Camera" to offer bokeh photo effects on two generations of flagship devices. Ironically, just as HTC decided to ditch the dual camera for the 10, the likes of LG, Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple started pushing this feature.

While Chang didn't provide further detail about HTC's upcoming dual-camera device, he did mention that much like this year, next year his company will be releasing just five to six smartphone models in total. HTC also plans to tackle the fierce 2,000-yuan (about $300) smartphone market in China at some point, as opposed to just focusing on the premium tier which is currently covered by its U Ultra, U11 and U11+.

As for the progress on Google's acquisition of HTC's Pixel team, Chang said it's still on track to be approved and closed by early 2018. I then followed up with a related question that had been on my mind for some time: was the U11+ originally destined to be Google's Pixel 2 XL? We understand from a reliable source that HTC designed both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but Google only kept HTC's Pixel 2 and took the other design to LG for a cheaper production (ouch). Also, unlike the U11, the U11+'s fingerprint sensor is placed on the back, which led to me thinking that the latter wasn't originally intended to be a sibling device. Maybe this was HTC's way of making use of components that it had already ordered before Google changed its mind.

HTC will make a 'noteworthy' return to dual-camera phones in 2018

"The question you asked is too tough, I don't know how to answer you," Chang replied, followed by a long pause. "I can't comment on Google's products. Due to our relationship with Google, there are obviously things that we know and don't know about them, but either way, we can't comment. I can only comment on our own U11+: we actually started planning it as such around end of last year, like the way we sourced its key components and whether they made sense, it was planned that way at the time. We are also very happy that our U11+ used these parts."

It's hard to tell whether this vague response confirms my theory. It is possible that at one point the U11+ coexisted with HTC's original Pixel 2 XL design, because after all, one would get a better deal for parts by ordering in larger quantities, and then share them amongst similar models -- a practice that our source also confirmed. And to address my observation on the repositioned fingerprint reader, Chang said placing it on the back makes more sense for a device carrying a long 18:9 display, so if HTC had really designed two similarly-specced variants, it could well have wanted the same rear fingerprint reader design on both, anyway. Either way, one thing's for sure: the outcome looks promising, but HTC will have to work its magic to sell a lot of U11+.

Article Source: HTC will make a 'noteworthy' return to dual-camera phones in 2018

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Published on November 3 2017

I honestly thought HTC had sent the wrong phone in the mail when the U11 Life arrived. The new phone looks almost identical to its namesake at first glance — and that’s by design. Of course, on closer inspection, the differences are pretty clear, particularly when you’ve got the standard U11 on-hand.

The Life is essentially the budget version of HTC’s latest flagship, running $349 — actually a pretty steep discount over the U11’s $649. That doesn’t come without cutting some corners, of course — and HTC found places to cut back just about everywhere. Even still, the phone looks to be a pretty solid deal for the price.

The most immediate difference is the downgraded display, which drops from a 5.5-inch Quad HD to 5.2 inches at 1080p. Perfectly fine for a budget handset, but the kind of thing you’d be pretty disppointed with if you payed more than $400 for thing. The other big aesthetic change is the move from the extremely reflective glass finish to the just kind of reflective glass. That’s both a move to lower costs and to ruggedize the phone a bit more by sticking the coloring under the surface. But don’t worry, it’s still a fingerprint magnet.

The rest of the key spec differences are as follows:

  • The rear facing camera has been knocked down from 16-megapixels to 12, the dual-LED is now a single and optical image stabilization is gone. Interestingly, the front-facing camera is staying put at 16MP.
  • The flagship Snapdragon 835 chip is now a middle 630.
  • The battery has been bumped down from 3,000mAh to 2,600.
  • The entry-level 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM are now 32GB/3GB.
HTC intros a $349 version of the U11

The position of the USB-C port and down-facing speaker have been swapped for some reason. Of, and it’s worth noting that, as with the standard U11, the headphone jack is gone here, marking one of the first time a budget handset has dropped the port. Up to now, that’s primarily been the realm of premium devices with the implicit understanding that people who can pay the price for a high-end flagship probably also have access to Bluetooth headphones

Otherwise, you’re getting a lot of what you’d also get on the standard U11, including Edge Sense, the squeezable sides that Google coopted for the Pixel 2. Though here, as with the U11, it can either trigger Google assistant or Alexa, rather than having to call them out by name.

HTC’s also added the ability to use it to launch apps and trigger features within them. The water/dust resistance is the same rating at IP67. The phone also ships with the company USonic earbuds, which feature built-in noise cancelling. The handset ships with Android Nougat, but HTC plans to upgrade it to Oreo within a month of so (with an Android One version being made available in other markets).

As far as potentially cannibalizing potential U11 sales, HTC says the plan here was to stagger release by about six months, in order to offer up a cheaper alternative as interest in the company’s latest flagship was naturally winding down. Interestingly, the company has also announced the six-inch U1+, though that one’s not destined for sale in the US.

The U11 Life, meanwhile, is currently available online. It will hit T-Mobile stores on November 3.

Article Source: HTC intros a $349 version of the U11

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Published on November 3 2017

Samsung's 43-inch Frame TV is now available for $1,300

The 43-inch version of Samsung's 4K TV that can disguise itself as an art piece is now available on Samsung.com and various retailers in the US. It's the latest entry in the Korean conglomerate's "The Frame" series, following the 55- and 65-inch versions' debut back in June. This one will set you back $1,300 -- definitely not cheap, but relatively more affordable than the biggest variant that will cost you $2,799.

Like its bigger siblings, the smallest Frame displays artwork when it's not playing any show or movie. In addition to the 100 pieces of preloaded artwork, you can buy more from Samsung's Art Store, which has over 400 pieces of artwork on offer curated by organizations, galleries and museums. The TV comes with a single transparent cable so it can look like a painting when you want it to look like a painting. Want to ensure it blends with your decor? You can buy bezels with different designs for $180 each. Because, hey, if you're buying an expensive TV that would look good displayed in your home, you might as well go all out.

Since it could be hard to convince people to purchase a pricey experimental TV, Samsung is showcasing the 43-inch Frame at Starpower's Southlake, Texas showroom on November 7th, 6 to 8 PM. That event's exclusive to a select group of people, but don't worry: We also took videos and photos of the Frame at IFA 2017 in Berlin, which you can check out right now.

Article Source: Samsung's 43-inch Frame TV is now available for $1,300

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