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printed October 8, 2015
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Samsung Says LoopPay Hack Didn't Harm Customer Data

Today, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said a recent hack of subsidiary LoopPay did not impact Samsung Pay, its mobile payment service. Samsung purchased LoopPay in February to bolster its Samsung Pay product, which is able to use NFC and LoopPay's MST technology to make mobile purchases in retail stores. "Samsung Pay was not impacted and at no point was any personal payment information at risk," said Samsung in a statement. "This was an isolated incident that targeted the LoopPay office network, which is a physically separate network from Samsung Pay." Samsung Pay launched just a few weeks ago. It allows owners of the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5 to pay for goods and services at a wide range of businesses around the U.S. LoopPay's MST technology makes Samsung Pay much more widely available than Android Pay and Apple Pay, which are limited to terminals with NFC.

Verizon Says Support for Samsung Pay On the Way

Tuesday, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon today voiced support for Samsung Pay and said the service will be added to compatible phones through a future software update. Samsung Pay initially launched with support from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but Verizon only said it was "consiodering" the mobile payment service. Verizon did not say what delayed its commitment to the app, but now it is on board. Samsung Pay will be added to the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 5, and S6 Edge+. Verizon didn't say when it plans to deliver the update.

Sony to Spin Off Camera Sensor Unit

Tuesday, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony today said it plans to split its imaging sensor business from the rest of the company. The move is meant to help the unit remain competitive against OmniVision and Samsung, its chief rivals. Earlier this year, Sony committed $374 billion to bolster the unit's manufacturing capacity in order to meet growing demand for high-quality sensors. Sony's sensors are found in a range of smartphones and tablets, including the Apple iPhone. Sony has not set a price for the unit, nor said if there are any initial bidders for the business. Sony will hold onto its smartphone and PlayStation businesses for now.

HTC: Monthly Security Updates Not Likely

Monday, 9:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC says it is on board with the concept of monthly security updates, but admits the reality is a different story. Jason Makenzie, president of HTC America, said the company "will push for them, but unrealistic for anyone to say guaranteed every month." The comment came in response to question posed to Makenzie about HTC handset security. Earlier this year, Google announced plans to push monthly security updates to Android handsets in the wake of the Stagefright vulnerability. Samsung and LG quickly followed suit. In order for the updates to reach HTC handsets, HTC has to take the security patch from Google, build it into their platform for each handset, and then seek carrier approval for those updated platforms. The process takes months from start to finish, and, thanks to sagging sales, HTC phones likely have a lower priority within their carrier partner labs than those from Samsung and LG. HTC today reported a near 50% drop in revenue for the quarter on weak smartphone sales, and recorded a loss of $138 million.

Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools

Oct 2, 2015, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The CTIA today announced that a number of member companies have agreed to take on additional measures to help prevent cellphone thefts. Following recommendations made by the FCC, wireless companies will make anti-theft tools available to all consumers that also respect consumer choice and privacy. All new phones made after July 2016 will "make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user's possession." Beyond this baseline tool, consumers will have the option to use other, third-party solutions to locate, wipe, or reinstate their devices if they so wish. Companies that have agreed to this include Apple, Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; Google; HTC; Huawei; LG; Microsoft; Motorola; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon, and ZTE. In response, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "CTIA members' ... enhanced voluntary commitment to adopt anti-theft features and educate consumers demonstrates their resolve in combatting it. I am hopeful that this new voluntary commitment will make a meaningful difference for consumer safety. As the enhanced commitment recognizes, these solutions work only if they are adopted widely. The FCC will remain vigilant in this area by pushing for further improvements to the theft-prevention toolbox, and also by monitoring closely whether the efforts of industry and others are producing meaningful results." Apple's iOS and Google's Android already contain features that let device owners find and protect their mobile devices. The FCC hopes allowing people to download and use the protective measure of their choice will help encourage consumers to make broader use of the tool.

Cricket Jumps Into 1,600 Target Stores

Oct 1, 2015, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 1, 2015, 12:51 PM

Cricket Wireless today announced a significant expansion of its retail footprint thanks to Target. Beginning Oct. 25, Cricket handsets and services will be available in some 1,600 Target stores around the country. Consumers will be able to purchase smartphones from HTC, LG, Samsung, and ZTE for prices ranging between $50 and $130, as well as SIM cards for BYOD customers. Cricket says the expansion means it now has a presence in 9,000 retail locations around the U.S.

Samsung's Gear S2 and S2 Classic Go On Sale Oct. 2

Sep 30, 2015, 8:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said its latest set of smartwatches, the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic (pictured), will reach U.S. stores on Friday, Oct. 2. The S2 will cost $299.99 and the S2 Classic will cost $349.99. The wearable will first be sold at a select number of retailers, including,, Best Buy, and Macy's. According to Samsung, the cellular variant of the S2 and S2 Classic will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless later this year. Pricing for the wireless model has not yet been revealed. The second-generation Gear smartwatches run Samsung's Tizen operating system and feature a unique rotating bezel that cycles through the user interface.

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BlackBerry Shows Off the Priv

Sep 29, 2015, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today posted some official images of the forthcoming Priv smartphone. The Priv is a vertical slider that runs Android. It offers a full QWERTY keyboard and can be managed by BlackBerry's enterprise software, making it a secure handset for business users. The images shared by BlackBerry clearly reveal a curved display, similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. BlackBerry will share more details about the phone in the weeks ahead.

Samsung to Pour Milk Video Down the Drain Nov. 20

Sep 28, 2015, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today indicated via the Google Play Store that it will discontinue its Milk Video app and service for Android smartphones. "While we remain committed to providing premium entertainment services, we have decided to end support for the Samsung Milk Video app as of November 20, 2015," said Samsung. The app debuted about a year ago and offered video content from select providers. People who've installed the app will not be able to use it to watch videos after Nov. 20. Samsung did not provide a reason for canceling the app. Milk Video was no preloaded on some of Samsung's most recent handsets, such as the Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge+. Samsung's Milk Music application is still available to Android devices.

Samsung Pay Launches In the US

Sep 28, 2015, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today made its mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, available to U.S. consumers. The service is compatible with only a few phones, including the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6 Edge, and S6. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular support Samsung pay, but Verizon Wireless does not. Consumers can add their American Express, Bank of America, Citibank, or USBank MasterCard or Visa credit/debit card to the service, but it lacks support for Chase at launch. Samsung Pay differs from Apple Pay and Android Pay in one significant respect: it supports both NFC and MST transactions. MST, in particular, is more widely available than NFC and works with most regular credit card terminals used by retailers around the country. Samsung Pay is secured via fingerprint, and credit card information is tokenized so it is protected during transactions. Samsung will reward Note 5 and S6 Edge+ owners who activate Samsung Pay with a free wireless charger or a free wallet flip cover (through Oct. 11). Samsung Pay is free to set up and use.

Samsung Offering Up to $120 Toward Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+

Sep 27, 2015, 9:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said it will make several monthly device payments for people who buy a new Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6 Edge, or S6. Under the terms of the promotion, Samsung will reward customers with up to $120 in payments towards their new phone as long as they register with Samsung and buy the device through an installment plan with their carrier. Customers must purchase the Galaxy smartphone between Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, and claim the promotion by Oct. 16. Samsung will then cover device payments through the end of the year. Further, Samsung is offer a $100 Google Play gift card to anyone who turns in a working iPhone (4s and up) when they purchase the new Galaxy handset. The offer is valid with most U.S. wireless network operators, with the exception of AT&T.

Samsung and Expedia Partner On Travel App

Sep 23, 2015, 10:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung and Expedia today announced Expedia for Samsung, an app meant to help Samsung Galaxy device owners find and book trips. The app features what Expedia calls the Samsung Collection, a launch screen that helps people discover new destinations. The app also offers deals exclusive to Samsung device owners, such as the best rates on hotel pricing. Expedia for Samsung offers a dedicated customer support line, too, that can be used as needed for help during trips. Expedia is offering early adopters $50 off their first hotel stay (minimum $250 stay required). Expedia for Samsung is free to download from the Galaxy App Store.

Verizon Talks Up Android Pay, Says Still Looking at Samsung Pay

Sep 18, 2015, 1:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today took the time to tout the benefits of Android Pay, the new mobile payment app and service from Google. Android Pay is a relaunch of Softcard, which Google bought from Verizon (and AT&T/T-Mobile) earlier this year. Verizon subscribers who own NFC-equipped Android handsets can download the Android Pay app from the Google Play Store, associate their debit/credit card, and make payments at a number of participating retailers, such as Macy's and Jamba Juice. Verizon said it is still evaluating whether or not it will support Samsung's mobile payment service, called Samsung Pay. Verizon already supports Apple Pay on the iPhone.

Samsung Makes S Health Available to All Androids

Sep 18, 2015, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung recently updated its S Health application and in so doing made it compatible with all Android devices running 4.4 KitKat and up. The app was previously only available to Samsung-branded handsets. S Health lets people track diet and exercise, set fitness goals, and manage training programs. S Health is free to download from the Google Play Store.

Court Says Samsung Phones Should Have Been Banned

Sep 17, 2015, 10:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

An appeals court today said a lower court was wrong to deny Apple's request of an injunction against select Samsung smartphones. In May 2014, a jury awarded Apple $120 million in a case against Samsung concerning patents. Despite the victory, the court did not agree with Apple's wish to ban the offending handsets. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the lower court "abused its discretion" by denying the injunction. The appeals court did not detail what steps Apple may take next, nor did it say if the ban should now be put in place. Apple did not immediately offer comment on the decision.

Bank of America Apps Add Biometric Authentication

Sep 15, 2015, 10:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Bank of America today updated its Android and iOS apps with biometric security. Consumers who own handsets with fingerprint sensors — such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Apple iPhone 6 — can now use their fingerprint to secure the Bank of America app. In addition to fingerprint login, the BofA app includes a redesigned account overview screen and security center, and a bank-by-appointment feature for setting up in-person meetings. The Bank of America app is free to download via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

Cricket Kicks Off Fall Promotions, Adds HTC Desire 520

Sep 10, 2015, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced availability and pricing details for the HTC Desire 520 in addition to a slew of other discounts and deals. The Desire 520 reaches Cricket stores Sept. 11 for $99.99. The 520 is an entry-level Android handset. Cricket is also offering significant discounts to new customers who port their number from another carrier. For example, it will drop the price of the LG Risio from $49.99 to $19.99 and the price of the LG Stylo from $149.99 to $99.99. Customers can grab the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $299, the S5 for $399, or the S6 for $499. Last, Cricket is holding open enrollment for its device protection program, called Cricket Protect. The service covers damage and other issues for $7 to $10 per month, depending on the handset.

Samsung Reveals 6GB High-Speed RAM Chips

Sep 9, 2015, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is preparing 6GB memory chips for flagship smartphones and tablets. Samsung today announced it has begun production of 12-gigabit, low power double data rate 4 mobile DRAM based on its 20nm processes. The 12Gb LPDDR4 chip follows the same path set by Samsung's 8Gb module, announced last year. It allows smartphone vendors to create RAM modules up to 6GB by pairing two together. Today's flagships include up to 4GB of RAM, though many still ship with 3GB. According to Samsung, the new 12Gb chip is 30% faster than the previous 8Gb LPDDR4 chip and is 20% more power efficient. The module supports input/output data rates of up to 4.26Gbps, which is swift enough to support 4K video recording and playback, and continuous shooting of images exceeding 20 megapixels. Samsung said it expects to deliver 6GB modules to phone makers in the near future.

Samsung to Slice 10% of Workforce at Korea Headquarters

Sep 8, 2015, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is prepared to lay off as much as 10% of the employees at its headquarters in South Korea, says the Korea Economic Daily. The company is likely targeting employees in the human resources, public relations, and finance departments. At last count, Samsung had about 99,000 employees at its South Korea headquarters, which means close to 10,000 workers may lose their jobs. The move is meant to help control costs. Samsung's latest wave of smartphones (Galaxy S6, S6 edge) haven't resonated with consumers as the company hoped, and Samsung has seen sales numbers drop for five months straight. Since April, Samsung has lost more than $40 billion in market value. Samsung did not confirm the Korea Economic Daily's report, which cited unnamed sources.

Verizon Looking to Be First to Deploy 5G

Sep 8, 2015, 8:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless wants to stay ahead of the curve and be among the first to launch fifth-generation (or 5G) wireless network technology. The company plans to begin field tests at its Innovation Centers, which are dedicated sandboxes for testing apps and services, located in San Francisco and Waltham, Mass., at some point in 2016. Verizon will use gear supplied by partners Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung to conduct the trials. Moreover, Verizon expects to reach "some level of commercial deployment" as soon as 2017, according to Roger Gurnani, chief information and technology architect for Verizon. Verizon's timeline is ambitious, especially considering 5G hasn't been defined. The International Telecommunications Union only agreed on the basic framework for developing what will eventually become the 5G wireless data specification in June of this year. The 5G roadmap is being referred to as IMT-2020, which the ITU hopes to have finalized by the year 2020. The core definition of 5G will be wireless networks that can transmit data at speeds up to 20Gbps. Most of today's LTE networks are allowing for connections as fast as 50Mbps in real-world conditions. Verizon's Gurnani said the company is targeting real-world speeds that are 30 to 50 times faster than current LTE 4G. Verizon didn't say if it intends to adhere to the ITU's vision for what 5G technology should truly be. Verizon is the first U.S. network operator to put 5G on its public roadmap, but others are sure to follow quickly.

Gear S2 Ships In October, Works with Non-Samsung Phones

Sep 3, 2015, 12:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said its Gear S2 smartwatch will ship worldwide beginning in October. Exact pricing details for the various models, however, remain elusive. The wearable is made to serve as a companion for Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, but the Gear S2 will work with any Android handset running Android 4.4 and up. Previous Samsung wearables required Samsung handsets. Expanding to all Android phones gives the Gear S2 a much larger potential customer base.

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Hands On with Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch

Sep 3, 2015, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's second-generation Gear S smartwatch is a well-conceived and executed wearable. The snazzy UI is leagues better than Android Wear and the hardware isn't too bad, either. Here are our first impressions.

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Samsung's Gear S2 Runs Tizen and Can Make Calls

Sep 1, 2015, 3:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's latest wearable features a circular shape, rotating bezel, and the ability to make phone calls independent from a smartphone. The device comes in two basic models: the Gear S2 has a simpler, more modern look, while the Gear S2 Classic has a more traditional appearance. Both feature a 1.2-inch circular AMOLED screen with 360 by 360 pixels. The Gear S2 is powered by a dual-core 1.0GHz processor and has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. Samsung says the 250mAh battery provides up to two days of battery life. Connectivity includes Bluetooth, NFC, and WiFi, and internal sensors include an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, ambient light, and barometer for tracking movement and otherl conditions. The Gear S2 runs Samsung's Tizen operating system and comes with a handful of tools for managing email, messaging, calendar appointments, and weather. Other functions include voice commands, S Health and Nike+ Running apps, a media player, and photo gallery. The Gear S2 is also available in a 3G variant with the ability to make calls and handle limited data when not around a smartphone. The 3G version has a larger 300mAh battery and a thicker chassis than the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic. T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to voice support for the 3G version of the watch. For $5 per month (when added to a phone plan), Gear S2 owners will be able to make unlimited calls, send unlimited messages, and use 500MB of data from their smartwatch. Pricing and availability were not disclosed.

Microsoft Avoids Import Ban in InterDigital Case

Aug 29, 2015, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft escaped what could have been a harmful ban on its devices as the U.S. International Trade Commission decided not to block the import of Microsoft's smartphones into the U.S. Microsoft lost a patent case against InterDigital in April when it was found to be infringing on two patents. The individual trade judge who reached that decision recommended Microsoft's handsets be banned from import. The full ITC panel rejected that judge's decision on Friday, however, which means Microsoft will continue to be allowed to bring its handsets into the U.S. Microsoft expressed relief at the decision, while InterDigital voiced disappointment. Earlier this month, Microsoft filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital, claiming the company charges exorbitant fees for standard-essential patents. Such patents must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discrimonatory rates. InterDigital is a patent-holding company and has had mixed success in suing companies such as Samsung, ZTE, and Huawei.

Apple Strikes Deal with PayAnywhere to Expand Apple Pay

Aug 27, 2015, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced that Apple Pay is now compatible with PayAnywhere, a type of credit card reader that's in use at about 300,000 locations around the U.S. Apple will sell the newest version of the PayAnywhere terminal to merchants through its own stores. The deal expands the availability of Apple Pay significantly. Apple said it hopes to see Apple Pay accepted at more than 1.5 million locations before year's end. In order to boost interest in the terminal, PayAnywhere is offering new customers $5,000 in free Apple Pay transactions. Apple Pay makes use of NFC to power tap-and-go payments at supporting terminals. Google and Samsung are on the cusp of releasing Android Pay and Samsung Pay, respectively, which will offer similar capabilities to Android handsets.

Samsung Kicks Off Beta Testing for Samsung Pay

Aug 27, 2015, 10:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is inviting a select number of people to beta test Samsung Pay in the U.S. In order to trial the mobile payment platform, consumers need to have a Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Note 5 smartphone. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular are supporting Samsung Pay at launch, Verizon Wireless is not. The beta requires users to have an active Samsung account and a MasterCard or Visa credit/debit card from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, U.S. Trust, or U.S. Bank. Samsung Pay uses both NFC and MST for tap-and-go transactions. Apple Pay and Android Pay, in comparison, use only NFC. Consumers can request an invite to test Samsung Pay from

Microsoft Accuses InterDigital of Antitrust Behavior

Aug 21, 2015, 7:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has filed an antitrust lawsuit against InterDigital, a patent-licensing firm, for charging exorbitant rates to license standard-essential patents. The two companies have been embroiled in patent litigation for years. Earlier this year, Microsoft was found by the U.S. ITC to be violating two wireless patents owned by InterDigital. The judge in that case recommended Microsoft's handsets be banned from import. Microsoft says InterDigital is using this potential import ban as a bargaining chip to jack up licensing rates. Patents deemed essential must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. Microsoft charges that InterDigital's "abusive licensing practices" violate federal antitrust law. InterDigital has taken ZTE, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and others to court over patents with mixed success.

Samsung Offers Test Drive to iPhone Owners

Aug 21, 2015, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has unfurled the "ultimate test drive" in order to tempt iPhone owners to switch to a new Samsung handset. The company is letting iPhone users test drive a Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, or Galaxy S6 Edge for 30 days for just $1. Samsung will send a handset and an active SIM card to those who register for the promotion from an iPhone. The rental must be returned at the end of a month and borrowers will be on the hook for any damage incurred during the trial (cracked screens, etc.). People who don't return the handset will be charged the full retail amount. The test drive promotion is only available to U.S. residents.

Samsung to Take Apple Patent Case to Supreme Court

Aug 20, 2015, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung wants the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal regarding on-going patent litigation with Apple. Last week, a federal U.S. court refused to hear Samsung's appeal and upheld a lower court's decision. Taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court is Samsung's last avenue of defense in order to escape paying Apple hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The original case was decided by a jury in 2012 and awarded Apple more than $1 billion. The total amount of damages has been reduced to about $548 million, but Samsung still wants to avoid paying it. "The questions present issues of enormous importance to patent litigation and the scope of innovation, especially in high-technology industries," said Samsung in paperwork filed this week. The Supreme Court may decide to hear the case in mid 2016.

LG Display to Invest More In OLED Technology

Aug 17, 2015, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today said it plans to invest about $8.5 billion in OLED displays for television sets, smartphones, and wearables. The company wants to boost its capabilities with the technology to stay ahead of the adoption curve as OLED becomes more mainstream. OLED screens offer improved color and are more power efficient than LCDs, but they are more costly to manufacture at the present. Making large panels for television sets is particularly pricey. LG Display plans to improve its abilities in order to lower the cost for manufacturing OLED screens for TVs, while also making flexible OLED panels for smartphones and wearables. It eventually hopes to push OLED adoption to other form factors, such as signage and automobiles. LG Electronics uses OLED is some of its products, but the majority of its smartphones still use LCD panels. Samsung has adopted OLED screens across a much wider swath of its handsets and tablets.

Court Blocks Samsung's Attempt to Appeal Apple Ruling

Aug 14, 2015, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A federal appeals court has shut down Samsung's hopes of overturning a jury verdict that found it guilty of violating Apple's patents. In 2012, a jury found Samsung had willfully violated a number of Apple patents in handsets such as the Galaxy S and S2. The jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages, though that figure has since been sliced down to about $548 million. The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld the core of Apple's allegations and refused to alter the lower court's decision. Samsung's only option left in this particular case is to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. A second patent case between Samsung and Apple, which Apple also won, is still winding its way through the appeals process. Apple and Samsung have settled a handful of other cases.

Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+

Aug 13, 2015, 12:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's new flagship phablets are here and they are impressive. They adopt the high-quality design of Samsung's S6 smartphone and toss in a number of compelling new features to help give them their own identity. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+

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Samsung Note 5, S6 Edge+ Play Better with Others

Aug 13, 2015, 10:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ offer a few new applications to make connecting to other devices and sharing content easier. The phones include a new feature called HD Live Broadcast, which lets owners stream live video from their Note 5 or S6 Edge+ directly to others or the public YouTube Live. The live YouTube broadcasts can be viewed from any phone, tablet, or PC. Samsung also debuted a connectivity tool called SideSync 4.0. This lets the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ connect wirelessly to PCs for sharing files, responding to text messages, or answering calls. SideSync 4.0 is compatible with Windows 10 and Apple OS X.

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Most Carriers to Sell Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+

Aug 13, 2015, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The majority of U.S. wireless network operators will offer the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless all plan to sell the new handsets from Samsung. The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ will also be sold by, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and some Walmart stores. Carriers and retailers will confirm specific pricing and availability details.

Samsung Pay Launches In September

Aug 13, 2015, 10:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 13, 2015, 10:40 AM

Samsung today said its mobile payment service will launch in the U.S. next month. Samsung claims the service will be available nearly everywhere, thanks to its support for NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technologies. MST is located in most retail environments and will allow Samsung Pay users to make tap-and-go payments virtually anywhere. Samsung Pay is protected by Samsung Knox, fingerprint verification, and digital tokenization to anonymize user information. Samsung has partnered with major payment network operators American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, as well as a selection of financial institutions, including Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, USBank, First Data, and Synchrony. The service is available to the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 5, and S6 Edge+. It goes live September 28.

Samsung Updates Note Series with Metal and Glass Design

Aug 13, 2015, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 13, 2015, 10:03 AM

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Both handsets adopt the design language seen on the Galaxy S6/S6 Edge, which were announced earlier this year. They feature metallic frames and dual-Gorilla Glass 4 surfaces. The Note 5 carries forward the stylus with dedicated productivity apps, while the S6 Edge+ is essentially a larger version of the S6 Edge. The S6 Edge+ does not have a stylus, but features dual curved screens with content that is visible on the side panels. The Note 5 an S6 Edge+ specs mirror those of the smaller handsets closely. The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ measure 7.6mm and 6.9mm thick, respectively. The Super AMOLED display measures 5.7 inches across the diagonal and includes 2560 by 1440 pixels (quad HD). The 16-megapixel main camera boasts optical image stabilization, auto HDR, and a Quick Launch feature that starts the camera app in less than a second. The user-facing camera rates 5-megpaixels; both have an aperture of f/1.9 for better low-light performance. The two handsets rely on Samsung's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor. It pairs two banks of quad-core processors, one clocked at 2.1GHz and the other clocked at 1.5GHz. The processor is paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and UFS 2.0 flash for faster storage performance. The phone includes a 3,000mAh battery that supports both the WPC and PMA wireless charging standards, in addition to quick charging. Other specs include Category 6 LTE, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, ultra power-savings mode and Android 5.1 Lollipop. The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be available in 32GB and 64GB internal storage options. The Note 5 comes in either black or white, and the S6 Edge+ comes in either black or gold. Preorders for the phones start today and they ship August 21.

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MCX Set to Test CurrentC Mobile Payment Service

Aug 12, 2015, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

CurrentC, the mobile payment service backed by Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, will commence significant testing in the next few weeks. The tests will be offered to consumers in a handful of stores in the Columbus, Ohio, area. "We are currently in a beta with several of our merchants and employees, and we will now extend that beta to the public in the next few weeks," said MCX CEO Brian Mooney. CurrentC, under development by the Merchant Customer Exchange for several years, generates a scannable code on smartphone screens to initiate mobile payments. It is a rival to services such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. MCX has about 40 merchant partners that operate 110,000 retail locations. MCX signees Best Buy and Rite-Aid recently said their stores will also support the competing Apple Pay service. MCX doesn't expect CurrentC to launch fully until next year. Consumers have been slow to adopt mobile payments. Android Pay and Samsung Pay are set to launch in the weeks and months ahead, and may help spur adoption of the technology.

TextNow Scores More Smartphones and Payment Locations

Aug 11, 2015, 2:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

TextNow today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG Volt, two new additions to its roster of handsets. TextNow is selling the Galaxy S5 for $399 new or $299 refurbished. The LG Volt is just $13.99. Both handsets are more than a year old. The company said its phones, starting with the Moto G, are now available at all Fry's Electronics location. Moreover, TextNow will soon accept cash payments at more than 10,000 varied retail locations around the country, including Gates Petroleum, Sunoco, NMart, and Circle K stores, among others. TextNow Wireless offers all customers unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of 4G data for $18.99 per month. TextNow runs on Sprint's cellular network but defaults to WiFi whenever possible. TextNow Wireless already offers a number of new and refurbished Sprint devices, including the LG Optimus F3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Rite Aid to Accept Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Android Pay

Aug 11, 2015, 10:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Rite Aid today said it will begin accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet in its 4,600 U.S. stores. Rite Aid will also accept Android Pay when it launches later this year. Rite Aid had originally voiced support for the Merchant Customer Exchange-developed CurrentC mobile payments service, but CurrentC has yet to launch. Rite Aid did not say if it still plans to support CurrentC if/when it goes live, nor did it say if it will support Samsung's forthcoming Samsung Pay service, expected later this year. Rite Aid customers who have Apple Pay and/or Google Wallet activated on their handsets will be able to make tap-and-go mobile payments beginning August 15. In other Apple Pay news, Apple recently said American Express Corporate cardholders can use their cards with Apple Pay. Further, Apple Pay is now available to Bellco cardholders in Colorado.

Motorola to Issue Stagefright Fix to Most Phones

Aug 9, 2015, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has said it, too, will push a security patch to resolve the Stagefright vulnerability found on its Android smartphones. Motorola's newest phones, the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Moto G (3rd Gen) will have the patches installed in the factory. Motorola is actively building patches for the Moto X, G, and E (1st Gen, 2nd Gen); Moto X Pro; Moto Maxx/Turbo; and Droid Turbo and Droid Ultra/Mini/Maxx. Motorola will begin handing the patch to its carrier partners on August 10, but it will be up to carriers to deliver the final version of the patch to end users via over-the-air software updates. Google, Samsung, Alcatel OneTouch, and LG have all said they plan to issue Stagefright security patches in the near future.

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