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printed January 17, 2017
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S. Korean Authorities to Arrest Samsung Heir On Bribery Charges

Yesterday, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Prosecutors in South Korea plan to arrest Lee Jae-yong, the heir to Samsung's massive array of businesses. The special prosecutor's office is recommending Lee be charged with bribery, embezzlement and perjury, though the warrant must be approved by a Korean court before it can be served. The bribery charges pertain to alleged actions that took place in 2015 between Lee and President Park Geun-hye, South Korea's leader. Lee is said to have paid Park's government a total of $36 million in bribes in order to facilitate government approval of the merger of two lower Samsung affiliates. The merger helped pave the way for Lee's succession plan, which has been in the works for several years. Samsung is a family run business, though it is also publicly traded. If Lee is arrested and held, three co-CEOs will continue to run Samsung's day-to-day business operations, but Lee's path to succession will become much less clear. President Park has already been impeached by the Korean government, which is weighing whether or not to remove her from office. It appears Park may be the real target here. "We believe the bribery is linked to the president," said a spokesperson for the special prosecutor's office. Park is said to have profited from widespread corruption since taking office. Lee's arrest would be another black mark in Samsung's book, which has suffered in recent months from the Note7 recall.


FAA to Halt Galaxy Note7 Warnings Thanks to 96% Return Rate

Jan 11, 2017, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said this week that the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration are no longer requiring airlines to warn passengers about the Galaxy Note7 during boarding. Samsung says high participation of its refund and exchange program has helped it collect most outstanding devices. "By leveraging our digital technology to target each device, we've had over 96% of Galaxy Note7 phones returned to date," said the company in a statement. "Together with our wireless carriers, we have taken aggressive action to limit the remaining phones' ability to work as mobile devices, further enhancing participation in the recall." Over the last few weeks, U.S. carriers have distributed a system update to remaining Note7 handsets that prevents them from charging, effectively rendering them useless. Samsung thanked consumers, airlines, airports, and the government for their patience during the recall. Samsung was forced to cancel the phone after a number of units overheated and caught fire.


Samsung's Gear Smartwatches Now Work with iOS

Jan 7, 2017, 3:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has followed through on a promise it made last year and made the Gear S2, S3 and Gear Fit2 compatible with iOS. iPhone owners can download the Gear S app to use with their Samsung-branded wearable. Samsung says the exact Gear S features available to iOS phones will vary a bit by device, but all users can expect to use the GPS, speedometer, and other sensor for tracking workouts and monitor fitness. Fitness tools include distance and route traveled, pace, calories, and heart rate. The Samsung Gear S application is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3

Jan 5, 2017, 6:39 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 7, 2017, 7:11 PM

Samsung is bringing much of its acclaimed S-series design and features to its much more affordable A-series in 2017. In the A3, A5, and A7, you'll find a premium metal-and-glass design, water resistance, fingerprint security, Samsung Pay, Super AMOLED displays, and USB-C. What are they like in person? Read on for our first impressions.

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Samsung Intros Refreshed Galaxy A Series

Jan 2, 2017, 3:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced the Galaxy A7, A5, and A3, three new handsets that fill in the middle of Samsung's lineup of Android phones. All three phones feature metal frames, glass front and back panels, IP68 protection against water and dust, dedicated camera buttons, and support for Samsung Pay. Each phone ships with Android 6 Marshmallow and supports memory cards up to 256 GB.

  • A7: The largest of the new Galaxy A series (pictured), the A7 has a 5.7-inch full HD display with a 1.9 GHz octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. It boasts front and rear 16-megapixel cameras, both of which have an aperture of f/1.9 for better low-light performance. The A7 includes a 3,600mAh battery with rapid charging.
  • A5: The A5 lands in the middle of the Galaxy A series with a 5.2-inch full HD display, 1.9 GHz octa-core processor, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage. It includes front and rear 16-megapixel cameras. The A5 packs a 3,000mAh battery with rapid charging.
  • A3: The A3 is the smallest of the three Galaxy A handsets with a 4.7-inch 720p HD display, and a 1.6 GHz octa-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It includes a 13-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel front camera, both at f/1.9. The A3 includes a 2,350mAh battery with rapid charging.
Samsung said the Galaxy A series will ship in Russia later this month with other markets to follow later.


Samsung Releases Focus, a Combined Email and Calendar App

Dec 30, 2016, 8:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung recently made a new productivity app called Samsung Focus available to its Android devices. Focus handles basic productivity functions, including email, calendar, contacts, tasks, and memos all in a single application. Focus supports Exchange, IMAP, and POP email services with functions such as push synchronization (email, contacts, calendar events) and support for multiple accounts. People will be able to use their Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, Exchange, Office 365, IBM Notes, and other email services with Focus. Users can easily join conference calls and add tasks/events from emails, and take advantage of unified search across all the functions. Samsung Focus is free to download from the Google Play Store for Samsung smartphones running Android 6.0.1 and up.


T-Mobile Has Neutered Its Variant of the Galaxy Note7

Dec 29, 2016, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile this week pushed a device-killing, over-the-air update to all remaining Galaxy Note7 devices still being used by its customers. The update prevents the battery from charging, effectively rendering the phone useless. The idea is to convince people still using the Note7 to trade it in immediately. The Note7 suffers from a battery issue that may lead to overheating and fires. In some cases, Note7 owners reported car fires and house fires. Samsung was forced to recall the device earlier this year. T-Mobile competitors AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all plan to deliver the same update during the first week of January. All carriers are offering replacement devices and/or refunds.


Korea Blasts Qualcomm with $865M Fine

Dec 29, 2016, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm this week refuted accusations made by the Korea Fair Trade Commission that it has violated Korean antitrust laws. The KFTC says Qualcomm has abused its dominant position in the market with unfair and unnecessarily broad licensing practices for wireless technology and modems. The fine is the largest ever filed by South Korea against a single company. The Korean agency also says Qualcomm inhibited competition by refusing to license its standard essential patents to rivals, such as Intel, MediaTek, and Samsung. Qualcomm says the KFTC's accusations lack merit and it will fight the decision in court. It plans to ask for an immediate stay and will appeal the amount of the fine. In February 2015, Qualcomm was forced to settle with China's antitrust agency for $975 million. Later that same year, Qualcomm faced down the European Union over similar business practices. It may be years before the case with Korea is fully settled.


TDK to Pick Up InvenSense for $1.33 Billion

Dec 21, 2016, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

TDK Corp has agreed to acquire InvenSense for $1.33 billion in cash. TDK is a Japan-based maker of electronic components. InvenSense is a U.S. company that primarily makes gyroscopic motion sensors for mobile devices. Its sensors are most often found in smartphones from Apple and Samsung. The gyroscopes enable games and other apps that require movement calculations. TDK is already a large supplier of smartphone components. It expects to combine InvenSense's sensors with its own portfolio of magnetic, pressure, temperature, and microphone sensors. TDK sees the acquisition as a way to reach new customers. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards, but requires regulatory approval.


Verizon Has Change of Heart, Will Kill Galaxy Note7 Jan 5

Dec 15, 2016, 3:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today updated its stance on Samsung's plan to brick remaining Galaxy Note7 handsets and will allow the update to go through on January 5. Earlier this month, Samsung announced plans to brick active Note7 units through a software update to be pushed December 19. The update will prevent the Note7 from charging and negate its ability to function as a mobile device. Verizon previously refused to allow the update as it didn't want to leave customers without a working handset. Now, it says it will allow the update to go through after the holidays. "We want to make sure you can contact family, first responders, and emergency medical professionals during the holiday travel season. However, we urge you to stop using your Note7, upgrade it to another device, and return the Note7 to us," said the company. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all plan to push the update, too.


Verizon Refuses to Brick Note7, Will Not Issue Samsung Update

Dec 9, 2016, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said it will not brick its customers' phones during the holiday season. Samsung this morning said it will update remaining Note7s over the next few weeks and kill the phone's ability to charge. Samsung believes this will coax remaining owners to return or exchange the device. Verizon disagrees with this strategy. "Verizon will not be taking part in this update because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note7 users that do not have another device to switch to. We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation." Verizon says most of its Note7 customers have already returned the device. The carrier reiterates that any Note7s still in the wild need to be exchanged as soon as practical. The Note7 is subject to overheating and causing fires. The device was recalled and cancelled by Samsung.


Samsung to Brick Unreturned Note7s

Dec 9, 2016, 11:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it plans to take aggressive steps in order to convince Note7 owners to exchange their devices. Beginning December 19, Samsung will issue a software update that will prevent the Note7 from charging and kill its ability to work as a mobile device. "Together with our carrier partners, we will be notifying consumers through multiple touchpoints to encourage any remaining Galaxy Note7 owners to participate in the program and to take advantage of the financial incentives available," said the company in a statement. According to Samsung, about 93% of U.S. consumers who purchased a Note7 have returned and/or exchanged their device. The company implores remaining owners to shut the device down and turn it in as soon as possible. A number of Note7 units overheated and caught fire. The device was recalled in full and cancelled by Samsung.


Samsung Debuts Black Pearl Color for Galaxy S7 Edge

Dec 8, 2016, 8:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said a black pearl version of the Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone will go on sale in select markets starting December 9. The black pearl color will only be available with 128 GB of storage, which means the price will be in the neighborhood of $870. Samsung did not specify which markets will sell the black pearl S7 Edge, nor if any carriers will sell the black pearl version directly. Last month, Samsung introduced a blue coral color for the S7 Edge.


T-Mobile Looks to Redefine the Phone Number with 'Digits'

Dec 7, 2016, 12:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced Digits, a new service that will let customers use the same phone number across multiple devices, or multiple numbers on a single device. The service makes use of T-Mobile's LTE network and works with virtually all connected devices, including phones, tablets, wearables, and computers. Digits relies on an app. Users can sign in on whichever device is most convenient and immediately have access to their phone number, complete with voicemail, text messages, call history, and other features. The service allows a single handset to support up to five phone numbers without requiring additional SIM cards. Similarly, a single number can be used across up to five separate devices. T-Mobile believes Digits will be particularly appealing to business customers, which will be able to assign a T-Mobile Digits number to workers, regardless of the carrier the employee already uses. Digits can run on phones that connect via AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, et al. Digits works natively with the dialer in Samsung's newer smartphones, including the Galaxy S6, S7, Note 5, and others. T-Mobile customers who have iPhones or other Android phones will be able to use Digits through a mobile app. T-Mobile is allowing a limited number of postpaid customers to test Digits, which is available as a beta. T-Mobile did not say how much the service costs. The company expects to fully launch Digits early next year.


Samsung Handed Major Victory In Patent Fight with Apple

Dec 6, 2016, 11:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Supreme Court today vacated a $399 million reward that Samsung had been ordered to pay Apple for violating the iPhone maker's designs. The court agreed with Samsung's position that it should not be forced to forfeit all the profits from the infringing devices because their design is just one aspect. The court said the lower courts had improperly calculated the fine and sent the case back to those courts for further deliberation. The case dates back to April 2011, when Apple first sued Samsung over its smartphones. An initial trial found Samsung guilty of willfully infringing on Apple's designs and rewarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That reward has been whittled down over the years in subsequent hearings.


Samsung to Weigh Restructuring

Nov 29, 2016, 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.com, 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 Samsung.com 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.com. 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.


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