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printed December 2, 2016
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Samsung to Weigh Restructuring

Tuesday, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it will consider a dramatic overhaul to its corporate structure, but it isn't making any immediate moves. The company is weighing whether or not it should split the firm into a holding company and operating company. The idea is to simplify its complicated structure while also appealing to shareholders to improve value. The company will weigh its options for the next six months before making any major decisions. Some items on the table include a new dividend program, a deep look at its cash holdings and investments, as well as new board-level directors for major business groups. Samsung is a family-run business and one of Korea's largest.

FreedomPop to Sell Refurbished Phones

Nov 17, 2016, 10:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FreedomPop today said it plans to sell low-cost, reconditioned smartphones to consumers in the U.S., the U.K., Spain, and Mexico. The FreedomShop will be a single, online space for people to shop for certified used handsets from a wide range of phone makers. FreedomPop said it will look to compete with other markets for used devices by offering competitive prices (up to 80% off original MSRP) on more than 100 phones from the likes of Apple, LG, Samsung, and others. It has forged relationships with more than 200 suppliers of refurbished phones from around the world to ensure its selection is top notch. Importantly, FreedomPop will offer a 30-day "no questions asked" money-back guarantee for any handset purchased from its on line shop. FreedomPop offers free and very-low-cost wireless service in a handful of countries, including the U.S.

Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon 835 and Quick Charge 4.0

Nov 17, 2016, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 835 processor, a collaborative effort with Samsung, and Quick Charge 4.0 for even faster battery charging. The Snapdragon 835 is now Qualcomm's top-of-the-line chip. Qualcomm decided to rely on Samsung's 10nm FinFET process technology for the chip, which introduces a number of performance upgrades over Samsung's 14nm process. For example, it allows processors to be up to 30% smaller while also improving speeds by 27% or dropping power consumption by 40%. The reduced footprint and boosted speed/power efficiency gives hardware makers more flexibility to create long-lasting and powerful devices. The Snapdragon 835 is already in development and Qualcomm expects to see it in flagship designs during the first half of 2017. Quick Charge 4.0 was created with the Snapdragon 835 in mind. Critically, Quick Charge 4.0 officially supports the USB-C port that's becoming more widely available on today's high-end devices, as well as USB-PD (Power Delivery). Qualcomm said its goal in developing the technology was to deliver faster charges more efficiently. Quick Charge 4.0 was engineered to push five or more hours of use into a battery with only five minutes of charging. It relies on what Qualcomm calls Dual Charge, a parallel charging technique, to deliver 20% quicker charging with a 30% higher efficiency rating when compared to Quick Charge 3.0. Qualcomm expects Quick Charge 4.0 to reach devices alongside the Snapdragon 835 during the first half of 2017.

Samsung Buys RCS Messaging Provider

Nov 15, 2016, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it has acquired NewNet Communication Technologies, a Canadian company that provides rich communication services (RCS) infrastructure. NewNet offers standards-based RCS tools that allow phone makers and network operators to deploy advanced messaging services, such as group chats, multimedia support, and enhanced calling. Samsung says the acquisition will allow it to add RCS to its own devices. The company also plans to offer RCS services to its network operator partners that don't have their own RCS infrastructure in place. NewNet will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung's Canadian business unit. Sprint and Google recently deployed a standards-based RCS service to the carrier's Android handsets. T-Mobile also offers a standards-based RCS service. AT&T and Verizon offer their own, proprietary RCS services that only work within their respective networks.

Samsung to Reward Samsung Pay Users

Nov 14, 2016, 4:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced the pending launch of Samsung Rewards, a loyalty program for its Samsung Pay mobile payment service. Moving forward, people who sign up for Samsung Rewards will be able to earn points with Samsung when they use Samsung Pay to pay for goods and services. The Samsung Pay rewards points can be redeemed for Samsung products, vouchers for, Samsung Rewards Visa Prepaid Cards, and gifts cards to select retailers. Samsung says it will let Samsung Rewards enrollees "double dip" with their credit card issuer. Samsung Pay users will earn rewards points via Samsung Rewards and may also earn rewards points through their credit card issuer. People who sign up for Samsung Rewards during November or December will receive double points on purchases made during those months. Samsung says its rewards program will eventually expand to include other Samsung products and services, like and S Health. Samsung Pay is limited to a small selection of Samsung's high-end smartphones, including the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, and Galaxy Note 5.

Samsung Rolls Out Nougat Test Program for Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Nov 10, 2016, 8:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is allowing owners of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge to experience an early look at its Nougat builds through the Galaxy Beta Program. The program is meant more for Samsung's benefit than that of end users, as it will use feedback generated by beta users to improve the experience and reliability for all users. Samsung says beta testers will have an opportunity to see its latest user experience elements based on Android 7.0 Nougat. The company hopes for direct feedback about the betas' performance, stability, and usability as it prepares the software for general release next year. Samsung warns that beta software is not official and may cause unexpected errors or malfunction. It may also not have the full feature set when compared to the final version. People will be able to leave the beta program and return their devices to official, functional builds of Android 6. The program is open to the Sprint-, T-Mobile-, and Verizon-branded variants of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge only. People will be required to download the Galaxy Beta Program application from the Galaxy Apps store and apply via the registration menu. A Samsung account (free) is required. Samsung expects to ship test builds of Nougat between now and the end of December.

T-Mobile's Galaxy S7 Gets Wireless Speed Boost

Nov 7, 2016, 3:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A system update for the T-Mobile variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge should improve wireless speeds. Specifically, the update gives the built-in Snapdragon X12 LTE modem support for 256QAM on the downlink and 64QAM on the uplink. These wireless improvements are better table to take advantage of the 4x4 MIMO support pushed to the S7 and S7 Edge last month for a 133% increase in wireless speeds. The update is free to download over the air.

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Samsung Says Galaxy S8 to Get Its Own Personal Assistant

Nov 7, 2016, 8:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said its Galaxy S8 smartphone, due next year, will include a digital personal assistant to help owners with spoken requests. The assistant will rely on artificial intelligence technology that Samsung acquired last month when it closed its purchase of Viv. Beyond offering help with Samsung's own apps and services, Samsung said the personal assistant will work with third-party apps. "Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong about the assistant. Samsung had previously said it would use Viv to add a personal assistant to its phones, but had not specifically named the Galaxy S8. The company hopes next year's flagship handset will revive its fortunes and offset the losses incurred during the Note7 recall.

Samsung to Cripple Unreturned Galaxy Note7s

Nov 4, 2016, 4:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is prepared to employ a more aggressive tactic in order to convince those who've not yet returned their Galaxy Note7 smartphone that they should do so soon. The company says about 85% of all Note7s sold in the U.S. have been safely returned, but 15% have not. "To further drive participation [in the Note7 Refund and Exchange Program], we will be releasing a software update in the coming days that will limit the phone's ability to charge beyond 60%, as well as issue a reminder pop-up notification every time a consumer charges, reboots, or turns on the screen of their Note7 device," said the company. Samsung says Note7 owners who still have their device should power it down immediately and bring it to the point of sale for a refund or exchange as soon as possible. Samsung ceased manufacturing the Note7 and issued a global recall for the phone after some of the devices overheated and sparked fires.

AT&T Taking Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Orders Starting Nov. 4

Nov 3, 2016, 1:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said customers can place orders for the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch beginning November 4. The wearable, announced by Samsung earlier this year, supports AT&T's NumberSync service, which allows owners to use their main number to make/receive calls and send/receive messages from the watch. AT&T also says the S3 Frontier is the first wearable to support controls for its DirecTV and Digital Life services. For example, the Gear S3 Frontier can serve as a remote for DirecTV, allowing subscribers to watch and record shows, change channels, and pause/rewind programming. Together with the AT&T Digital Life app, S3 Frontier owners can set alarms, view camera images, and lock doors. The Tizen-based Gear S3 features a 46mm face with 1.3-inch round display, Exynos 7270 processor powers, 768MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, and a 380mAh battery that Samsung claims can provide three to four days of uptime. The Gear S3 adds full support for Samsung Pay, including NFC and MST for mobile payments. AT&T is offering the watch for $17.50 per month for 20 months when purchased on an AT&T Next plan, or for $49.99 when purchased with a two-year agreement and a Samsung Galaxy smartphone on an AT&T Next plan. AT&T didn't say when the wearable will ship.

H2O Wireless Adds 1 GB of LTE Data to Each Plan

Nov 1, 2016, 9:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

H2O Wireless, an MVNO that operates on AT&T's network, rolled out a limited improvement to its service plans. Starting today, all new customers will have access to 1 GB more LTE data across H2O's various plans. The entry level $30 plan now offers 2 GB, while the $40, $50, and $60 plans offer 4 GB, 6 GB, and 7 GB, respectively. The data offer runs through March 31, 2017, after which the extra 1 GB of data will no longer be available and the plans revert to their normal allotments of 1 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB, and 6 GB. H2O Wireless does not charge overages, but will throttle speeds back to 2G once customers use up their data. H2O Wireless offers a 10% discount on monthly plans when customers sign up for auto-pay. H2O sells a variety of older Android handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, the Moto X, and a handful of Blu devices. Customers may bring their own unlocked, compatible GSM device if they wish.

Samsung to Invest $1B In Austin SoC Plant

Nov 1, 2016, 8:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced plans to invest more than $1 billion in its Austin chip facility during the first half of 2017. The company said the investment will improve its ability to manufacture system-on-a-chip products for mobile and electronic devices. Growing demand for its SoC products are necessitating the investment. The plant has been in Austin since 1997 and employs more than 10,000 people.

Samsung to Bring Blue Coral Galaxy S7 Edge to US

Nov 1, 2016, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said it will expand the availability of the blue coral version of the Galaxy S7 Edge to more markets beginning November 1. Samsung didn't specify exactly which regions will have access to the new color other than to say at least one U.S.-based carrier will sell the phone before the end of the year. The blue coral variant was previously limited to several overseas markets.

Samsung to Pay Note7 Suppliers for Unused Parts

Oct 18, 2016, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it will pay its component suppliers for any Galaxy Note7 parts they may have already made. The company will also compensate suppliers for in-progress or unfinished parts, as well as any materials those suppliers purchased to manufacture the parts. Further, Samsung will look to give those suppliers orders for future devices to soften the economic impact of cancelling the phone. "Samsung will determine the inventory levels for the partner companies and carry out compensation quickly," said the company. It did not provide details on how much it might spend to compensate its parts suppliers. Samsung already said it expects the cancelled phone to cost it some $5.5 billion in profit between the fourth quarter of 2016 and first quarter of 2017. Samsung was forced to fully cease production of the phone and recall all units after defective batteries led to burns and fires.

Samsung Sets Up In-Airport Kiosks to Facilitate Note7 Returns

Oct 18, 2016, 7:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has begun accepting Galaxy Note7 returns at airports in several countries. The action follows the recent ban from the Dept. of Transportation that makes it a federal crime to bring the Note7 on any airplane. Other countries have put similar bans in place. Samsung began accepting Note7 returns at airports on its home market of Korea, followed by Australia and some locations in the U.S., including San Francisco International Airport. The idea is to help prevent travelers from carrying the Note7 onto planes, which poses a safety risk, while also providing them with a replacement device (even if only temporarily). The booths are located before security checkpoints at "high-traffic" terminals. Samsung has not provided a list for U.S. airports, nor said if it will expand beyond those already in operation.

Samsung Kicks Off Production of 10nm SoCs

Oct 17, 2016, 7:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it has begun producing systems-on-a-chip using its 10nm FinFET process. The SoCs will eventually be used in application processors for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Samsung's 10nm FinFET process relies on 3D transistors and new methods such as triple-patterning to generate significant improvements over its 14nm process. For example, SoCs made with the 10nm process are 30% smaller, require 40% less power, and can boost performance by up to 27%. Samsung believes the first devices to rely on its 10nm FinFET process will reach the market it early 2017, with more to follow throughout the year.

DoT Bans Galaxy Note7 From All Flights

Oct 14, 2016, 3:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Consumers who still own a Samsung Galaxy Note7 will not be allowed to bring them onto airplanes at all beginning noon on Oct. 15. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation today classified the Note7 as a forbidden hazardous material under the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations. Passengers cannot transport the phone on their person, in their carry-on bags, or in their checked bags on any/all flights in the U.S. "We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk." The FAA had previously asked Note7 owners to keep the devices powered off while aboard aircraft. This new ban replaces the previous action. The Dept. of Transportation said travelers who attempt to fly with the phone may face fines and criminal prosecution. Moreover, those who attempt to hide the phone in baggage will likely see the device confiscated. Flight crews will be instructed to keep an eye out for the device and take action if necessary.

Samsung to Reward Note7 Owners' Loyalty with Cash

Oct 13, 2016, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is offering a cash incentive to Galaxy Note7 owners if they stick with the Samsung brand. U.S. consumers who exchange their Note7 for any other Samsung handset will be rewarded with $100 in bill credits. Consumers who exchange their Note7 for a phone made by another company will be given $25 in bill credits. The financial incentive arrives as Samsung expands its recall of the Note7 to all devices, both the original and the replacement. The number of Note7s being recalled in the U.S. stands at about 1.9 million. Samsung hasn't said how many have even returned/exchanged. "We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carriers, and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times," said Samsung Electronics America COO Tim Baxter. "We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right." There have been 96 documented cases of the Note7 overheating in the U.S., according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, with 15 of those coming from supposed safe devices.

Samsung Ceases Production and Sales of Note7

Oct 11, 2016, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today pulled the plug on the Galaxy Note7 handset, ostensibly putting an end to the embattled smartphone. Late Monday, the company asked carriers and retail partners to stop sales and exchanges of the phone while it continued its investigation. Today, the company went a step further. "Taking our customer's safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note7." The company urged all Note7 owners to power the device down and return it as soon as practical. A manufacturing defect of some mind impacted an unknown number of Note7 batteries, some of which overheated and caught fire causing burns and property damage. Samsung later identified what it thought were safe Note7 units and offered those as replacements. Unfortunately, a number of the Note7 replacement units deemed safe also caught fire. It's unclear what future the Galaxy Note series in general has now that Samsung has cancelled the Note7. Analysts cited by the Wall Street Journal suggest the cancellation could wipe about $2.8 billion in profit from Samsung's fourth quarter earnings. Investors have already punished Samsung's stock, and the company has lost some $17 billion in value this week alone.

Samsung to Halt Galaxy Note7 Sales Globally

Oct 10, 2016, 5:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung this evening said it will halt all sales of the Galaxy Note7 smartphone on a global basis. "Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place," said the company in a statement. "We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation." Samsung urged people who have either an original or replacement Note7 to power it down and return it to the point of sale.

Sprint Is Last Major Carrier to Cease Note7 Sales

Oct 10, 2016, 2:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today followed AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless in discontinuing the Samsung Galaxy Note7. "Given recent issues reported in the media, Sprint is halting sales of replacement Note7 devices pending the conclusion of the investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung," said the company in statement provided to media. "If a Sprint customer with a replacement Note7 has any concerns, we will exchange it for any other device." Sprint's competitors halted sales of the Note7 a day earlier. Samsung said it has "adjusted" production of the Note7 as it continues to investigate the device's safety. All consumers who have a Note7 are urged to power it down and return it for a new phone.

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Samsung 'Adjusts' Note7 Production; Verizon Halts Exchanges

Oct 10, 2016, 6:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today stopped short of saying it has halted production of the Galaxy Note7 and instead said it is making changes for safety reasons. "We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters," said the company in a statement provided to Android Central. The admission comes after a number of media sites claimed on Sunday that Samsung had halted production of the phone altogether. The Note7 was recalled on Sept. 2 after various owners reported fires and burns. Replacement devices were make available to consumers on Sept. 21, but over the course of the last week several replacement Note7s have also caused fires. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon halted their replacement programs Sunday. "Samsung is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate the safety of replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones. While the investigation is underway, Verizon is suspending the exchange of replacement Note7 smartphones," said Verizon in a statement provided to The Verge. "Any Verizon customer concerned about the safety of their replacement Note7 smartphone may take it back to the original point of purchase to exchange it for another smartphone. Verizon online customers may also exchange their replacement Note7 smartphones at Verizon stores."

T-Mobile, Too, Halts Note7 Replacements

Oct 9, 2016, 7:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile this evening joined AT&T in putting a stop to exchanges, replacements, and sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note7. "While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note7 and exchanges for replacement Note7 devices," said the company. Customers can bring their new and/or replacement Note7 (along with any purchased accessories) to a T-Mobile store for a full refund and choose from any device in T-Mobile's inventory. The company said it will waive restocking fees, as well as allow those who preordered the Note7 to keep the free Netflix subscription, Gear FT, or SD card they might have received as a gift with the phone. Last, T-Mobile will give all Note7 customers a one-time $25 bill credit for the hassle. The carrier encourages all customers to stop using the Note7, power it down, and return it to T-Mobile as soon as practical. Sprint and Verizon are still selling the device.

AT&T Stops Exchanging the Galaxy Note7

Oct 9, 2016, 2:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T says it will not swap out the original Note7 for replacement devices. "Based on recent reports, we're no longer exchanging new Note7s at this time, pending further investigation of these reported incidents," said the company in a statement provided to media. "We still encourage customers with a recalled Note7 to visit an AT&T location to exchange that device for another Samsung smartphone or other smartphone of their choice." All four major carriers have said customers may bring their Note7 — original or replacement — to stores for a refund or exchange. The Note7 has vanished from the web sites of AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but it is still available from Verizon hasn't said if or when it might halt sales/exchanges. Anyone with a Note7 should power it down and bring it bak to the point of sale as soon as possible.

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More 'Safe' Note7s Burn and Catch Fire

Oct 9, 2016, 2:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Following Thursday's report that a Samsung Galaxy Note7 caught fire on a plane, more stories have piled up suggesting the replacement Note7 being sold by Samsung and its carrier partners is not as safe as claimed. A Farmington, Minn., teen claims her replacement Note7 burned her hand and melted its case on Oct. 7. "It felt like pins and needles except a lot more intense," said Abby Zuis to KSTP. The Zuis family has receipts that detail the authenticity of the replacement handset. Earlier in the week, a Nicholasville, Ky., man was awoken in the middle of the night by smoke created by a burning Note7. "The whole room just covered in smoke, smells awful. I look over and my phone is on fire," said Michael Klering in a statement provided to WKYT. "The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe. It wasn't plugged in. It wasn't anything, it was just sitting there." Klering was sickened by the smoke and sought medical attention. He was diagnosed with acute bronchitis brought on by the poisonous fumes. Further, Klering claims Samsung erroneously sent him a text message that alarmed him. Samsung said to him, "Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it." Klering believes the message was intended for another Samsung employee. He is seeking legal help to determine what steps he might take next. Perhaps most troubling is that the Nicholasville event took place before the incident in which a replacement Note7 caught fire on a plane, prompting the plane to be evacuated and the flight to be cancelled. In all three cases, Samsung said it is working with authorities to determine the cause of the fires. The original Note7 was recalled Sept. 2 due to potentially hazardous batteries. So far, the replacement devices haven't fared much better.

AT&T, T-Mo, Verizon to Allow Note7 Replacement Exchanges, Too

Oct 7, 2016, 1:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless followed Sprint's lead today and said customers who have a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 can exchange the phone for any other sold in carrier stores. T-Mobile specified that any customer can return any phone within the initial 14-day trial period, and that includes both replacement and new Note7 handsets. AT&T and Verizon will accept any replacement Note7, regardless of replacement/purchase date. Sprint implemented a similar exchange program late Thursday. The latest action is a response to a replacement Note7 that caused a fire aboard an aircraft.

Appeals Court Says Samsung Owes Apple $120M

Oct 7, 2016, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A federal appeals court today reinstated a $120 million patent verdict against Samsung. Samsung was initially found to be infringing on Apple's slide-to-unlock and autocorrect patents in 2014. Later, a three-judge panel reversed the decision and said Samsung didn't owe Apple damages. This week's decision was determined by a larger panel of judges that said the smaller panel didn't follow U.S. Supreme Court guidelines in reviewing the case. The court also upheld $160,000 in damages awarded to Samsung that Apple must pay over digital photo technology. Last year, Samsung paid Apple almost $550 million in damages stemming from a 2012 jury verdict. Apple hit Samsung with a number of patent-related complaints after the firm's Galaxy S handsets began to genuinely challenge the iPhone in the market.

Sprint to Allow Replacement Note7 Owners to Swap Phones

Oct 7, 2016, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint said on Thursday that customers who have a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7, and harbor lingering doubts about its actual safety, can turn it in for any other device sold by Sprint. Sprint made the decision after a device deemed safe by Samsung burned up on an airplane, forcing passengers to evacuate and the airline to cancel the flight. "[Sprint] is working collaboratively with Samsung to better understand the most recent concerns regarding replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphones," said the company in a statement provided to Recode. "If a Sprint customer with a replacement Note7 has any concerns regarding their device, we will exchange it for any other device at any Sprint retail store during the investigation window." Sprint did not say how long that window might be open. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless are still selling the replacement phones, despite the most recent setback for Samsung. Consumers who still have the the original Note7 are urged to exchange it at their local carrier store. Samsung recalled the device in early September after reports of burns and fires due to a faulty battery.

Samsung to Buy AI Startup

Oct 5, 2016, 6:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it has agreed to purchase Viv, an artificial intelligence startup run by the team that originally developed Apple's Siri. Siri's creators left Apple to form Viv, which is based in San Jose. Samsung plans to add Viv's artificial intelligence technology to its own Galaxy smartphones and other consumer electronics products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Samsung did not explain if Viv will have its own personality, or if it will be baked into Samsung's S Voice app, which is already on its phones. Samsung wants to ensure its devices can compete with the voice-activated personal assistants available on products from Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.

Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note7 Causes Fire On Plane

Oct 5, 2016, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A Samsung Galaxy Note7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville, Ky., this morning, forcing the plane to be evacuated and causing damage to the plane's carpeting. The owner, Brian Green, says the Note7 was a replacement device with a marked box indicating the phone was safe. He swapped out his original Note7 at an AT&T store on Sept. 21. Replacement phones are supposed to have safe batteries and pose no risk of fire. The phone was powered down in Green's pocket when it overheated. Green tossed the phone on the floor where it began to emit smoke and eventually caught fire. The plane was still at the gate and Southwest evacuated the aircraft. No one was injured. Samsung initially expressed doubt about the phone's status as a replacement, but said it will work with authorities to determine the cause of the fire. Samsung was forced to recall the Note7 last month amid instances of it burning owners and igniting fires.

T-Mobile to Resume Galaxy Note7 Sales Oct. 5

Oct 4, 2016, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile says it will once again sell the Samsung Galaxy Note7 starting October 5. Samsung was forced to recall the Note7 in early September after reports of burns, fires, and explosions blamed on the device surfaced around the world. Samsung investigated and determined that a small percentage of about 2.5 million devices might have a bad battery. To be safe, Samsung halted sales and recalled the entire batch. Replacement Note7s have been available in the U.S. for a couple of weeks. Verizon and Sprint began selling the device again in late September. T-Mobile said the Note7 will be available online and in stores this Wednesday.

Samsung to Examine Overheating Replacement Note 7s

Sep 28, 2016, 10:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said it will investigate claims from customers that their replacement Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are overheating. Some consumers in the U.S. and Samsung's home market of S. Korea say their new devices get too hot to use. "There have been a few reports about the battery charging levels and we would like to reassure everyone that the issue does not pose a safety concern," said Samsung in a statement. "In normal conditions, all smartphones may experience temperature fluctuations." For example, processor-intensive apps such as virtual reality or games will cause devices to warm up. Even so, Samsung said it will replace the replacements and examine them to be sure there are no on-going issues with the batteries. Samsung recalled 2.5 million Note 7s earlier this month after numerous reports of overheating, fires, and explosions. About 60% of consumers have exchanged their original Note 7 for a replacement device, and Samsung says 90% of those consumers are sticking with the Note 7 rather than opting for an alternative.

Samsung Adds Coupons to Samsung Pay

Sep 28, 2016, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has updated its Samsung Pay mobile payment service with the ability to search for and use coupons within the app. Samsung Pay users can upload membership and loyalty cards from select retailers, including grocers, convenience stores, and pharmacies. Coupons are linked to member accounts and savings are applied automatically during checkout with Samsung Pay. The app supports gift cards, too, as well as rewards programs. Samsung Pay now offers a cloud storage feature to help users restore membership and reward account details when adding Samsung Pay to a new device. Samsung says its mobile payment service works with over 500 banks nationwide, covering more than 80% of all U.S. debit and credit cards. To celebrate the service's first anniversary, Samsung is giving away 365 Samsung Gear S2 smartwatches. People can participate by interacting with Samsung's Twitter account on Sept. 28. Samsung Pay is available to the company's high-end devices, including the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S6 Active, S7, S7 Edge, S7 Active, Note 5 and Note 7.

Sprint and Verizon Resume Sales of Galaxy Note7

Sep 21, 2016, 9:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint and Verizon Wireless are once again selling the Samsung Galaxy Note7. Both companies' web sites list the device for sale and also reveal where the phone can be found at local stores. Supply of the device is limited, but determined consumers can buy the phone. Samsung and its carrier partners halted sales of the device early this month after Samsung discovered a quality issue with some batteries. About 2.5 million devices in total were recalled due to the possibility of fire risk, though the actual number of impacted devices isn't clear. Incidences of burns, fires, and explosions blamed on the phone have been reported in the media. On Tuesday, Samsung said about 500,000 replacement units are now available to original Note7 buyers who have yet to exchange their phones. Samsung and its carrier partners are pushing a software update to the Note7 so owners know whether or not their device is safe. Recalled devices will display an alert stating such, while safe devices will display a green power indicator in the status bar.

Samsung Says 500,000 Note7 Replacements Available

Sep 20, 2016, 3:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung Electronics America today said that 500,000 replacement Galaxy Note7 smartphones have been shipped to carrier and retail stores in the United States. The replacement devices will be made available starting September 21 to people who previously bought the Galaxy Note7 and need to exchange it for one with a known-safe battery. Further, Samsung plans to push a software update to all Note7s to help consumers identify safe devices from those that still might pose a fire risk. Once updated, new/safe Note7 units will display a green battery icon on the status bar found on the top right hand of the screen. Samsung and the U.S. CPSC urge everyone who bought a Note7 before September 15 to power down their device. A software update will be pushed to all recalled devices that will prompt owners with a safety notice urging them to turn the phone off and and exchange it. The notice will appear every time Note7 owners power up or charge their impacted phone. Note7 owners can visit Samsung's web site for more information.

US Government Issues Recall for Samsung Galaxy Note7

Sep 15, 2016, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 15, 2016, 4:27 PM

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a formal recall for the Samsung Galaxy Note7. The CSPC says consumers should immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note7 devices purchased before September 15, 2016. The agency suggests consumers contact the carrier or other retailer from which they purchased the device to exchange the original Note7 for a new one with a different battery, refund, or other replacement. The recall applies to about 1 million devices shipped in the U.S. Prior to today's CPSC action, Samsung had recalled the device on its own. Samsung said, "We confirmed that new Note7 replacement devices will be available in the United States at most retail locations no later than September 21st, 2016." That means people waiting to exchange their Note7 for a new one will have to wait until next week. Consumers not willing to wait for a straight replacement can select another Samsung device, such as the Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, and receive cash back for the price differential.

MTA Asks NYers to Turn Off the Samsung Galaxy Note7

Sep 14, 2016, 1:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 15, 2016, 6:46 AM

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority is asking the public not to use their Galaxy Note7 smartphone on subways or buses. "MTA customers should turn off Samsung Galaxy Note 7 before entering station or boarding bus due to concerns device's battery can ignite," said the agency via its Twitter account. The MTA admits there have been no incidents on NYC's buses and subways, but it is asking customers and employees to avoid using the phone while transiting around the city. Earlier this month, the FAA asked airplane passengers to power the device down and avoid charging it while on board aircraft. Samsung issued a recall for the device after some Note7s overheated and caught fire. It recalled about 2.5 million units that might have shipped with a defective battery and could pose a risk of fire. The actual number of dangerous phones is likely much smaller. Samsung is offering customers a replacement device.

LG and Samsung Sued Over Hiring Practices

Sep 13, 2016, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A former LG employee is suing both LG and Samsung, alleging the companies have a no-recruit agreement between them in the U.S., which can impact employees' potential earnings. Accuser A. Frost, once an LG employee, claims a recruiter from Samsung reached out to him for a job, but later reneged saying, "I’m not supposed to poach LG for Samsung!" The recruiter went on to explain the companies have an agreement not to hire away one another's workers. Mr. Frost is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. Silicon Valley companies have been taken to task in recent years for such agreements. For example, in 2015 Apple, Intel, Adobe, and Google agreed to pay some 64,000 workers $415 million to settle similar class-action lawsuits. Those companies never admitted wrongdoing. Neither LG nor Samsung commented on this latest legal action.

Samsung to Formally Recall Galaxy Note7

Sep 9, 2016, 4:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is now working with the U.S. government to more proactively recall the Galaxy Note7 smartphone. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is now recommending Note 7 owners "to power them down and stop charging or using the device" while waiting for replacement devices. Samsung recalled the phones last week due to a risk of fire from the battery. Samsung and U.S. carriers have launched exchange programs to replace the impacted devices.

FAA Warns Consumers Not to Use Galaxy Note7 On Planes

Sep 9, 2016, 7:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't want people to use the Samsung Galaxy Note7 smartphone on aircraft. "In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note7 devices, the FAA strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage," said the FAA in a statement. Samsung recalled the device due to the possibility of fires and/or explosions caused by the battery. The company already has an exchange program in place for U.S. consumers who may have purchased the phone. Anyone who bought the phone should exchange it at their earliest convenience. Since Samsung issued the recall, the phone has been blamed for igniting fires in a garage in South Carolina and a Jeep in Florida. The house and Jeep were total losses due to the fires. Local fire authorities have not yet confirmed the cause of those blazes.

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