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printed April 18, 2015
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AT&T, Verizon Thwart Microsoft's App Deal with Samsung

Thursday, 10:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are limiting Microsoft's attempt to bulk up use of its mobile applications. Last month, Samsung agreed to preload Microsoft's OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype applications on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Verizon, however, won't pre-load any of the Microsoft apps on its versions of the S6 and S6 Edge. AT&T will include OneNote and Skype, but not OneDrive. The Sprint and T-Mobile versions of the S6 and S6 Edge are shipping with all three Microsoft apps aboard. Neither AT&T nor Verizon commented on their stance against the Microsoft-made apps. Even though the trio of apps won't be pre-loaded, people who buy the S6 and S6 Edge from AT&T or Verizon are free to download the apps, as well as Microsoft's Outlook email and Office productivity apps, from the Google Play Store for free on their own.


NFC Forum Approves New Security Specification

Thursday, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The NFC Forum today approved the Signature Record Type Definition (RTD) 2.0 technical specification, which will help authenticate the data stored on NFC tags. According to the NFC Forum, Signature RTD 2.0 lets developers verify the integrity of data within NFC Data Exchange Format messages, which is the core of how NFC tags and devices communicate with one another. The NFC Forum says the spec can assure companies that the data they're placing in NFC tags is protected from potential hackers. It also lets device owners know they won't be risking anything by reading the tag with their phone. The complete Signature RTD 2.0 specification is available for download from the NFC Forum's web site. NFC has become more critical in recent years with the launch of mobile payment services like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and soon Samsung Pay. The extra layer of security helps protect the ecosystem from abuse.


AT&T's Galaxy Alpha and S5 Active Updated to Lollipop

Wednesday, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today began updating its versions of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy S5 Active to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Both updates are available for over-the-air download and are rolling out over the next few days. Lollipop includes Google's Material Design language, battery-saving features, Smart Lock, and more. The update is free.


Verizon's Note 3 Earns Lollipop Update Today

Wednesday, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will begin to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop today. The over-the-air update will roll out to all users gradually. According to Verizon, seven of its handsets now run Lollipop, including the Motorola Moto X (2nd gen); Galaxy Note 4, S5, and Note 3; LG G2 and G3; and the HTC One M8.


Cricket Says Samsung Galaxy S6 Goes On Sale April 24

Wednesday, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said it expects to begin selling the Samsung Galaxy S6 online and in stores on April 24. Cricket is charging $649 for the handset, but service plans start at $40 per month and don't require contracts. Customers looking to defray the cost of the handset can choose one of Cricket's new payment plans. One option includes an initial payment of $19.99 followed by equal payments of about $26.25 for 24 months. Another requires an initial payment of $49.99 followed by payment in full within 90 days.


Nokia to Buy Alcatel-Lucent, Mulling Options for HERE Maps

Wednesday, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it has agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. The combined companies would be a giant in the telecom equipment space with more than 100,000 employees. The terms of the deal will see Nokia acquire all of Alcatel-Lucent's stock, as traded in both France and the U.S. The companies' boards of directors have approved the deal, though shareholders have yet to vote on the acquisition. The deal will also require regulatory approval. The companies expect the deal to close during the first half of 2016. Once combined, the companies will streamline redundant operations, but believe the 40,000 research and development at its disposal employees will be able to make the company a world leader in the connected IP space. Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent will specifically target the development of 5G wireless networks. The largest competitors remaining are Ericsson and Huawei, though ZTE, Samsung, and others make telecommunications equipment, too. In addition to announcing the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said it has begun a review of strategic options for its HERE Maps business. Nokia acquired Navteq's mapping business in 2007 and turned it into a competitive global company. Nokia's HERE Maps are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms, as well as online, and provide robust driving, walking, and transit directions. Nokia said its review of HERE Maps may or may not result in a transaction.


Sharp Develops 4K Smartphone Display Prototype

Tuesday, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sharp has engineered a 4K (Ultra HD) screen for smartphones. The prototype measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and includes 3860 x 2160 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch. By way of comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus's 5.5-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 401 pixels per inch. The prototype LCD relies on Sharp's IGZO technology, but the company is not sure if the prototype will ever be used. "Currently there are no driver ICs for small 4K panels, so the panel is not ready for mass production at this point," said Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama in an email to Computerworld. Some of today's flagship devices (LG G4, Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6) have jumped from full HD to quad HD, or 2560 x 1440 pixels. The majority of high-end phones still use full HD screens, while mid-range phones have moved to 720p screens. Entry-level phones generally offer 800 x 480 or 960 x 540 resolution displays.


Cricket Selling the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime for $180

Apr 10, 2015, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless announced the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime is available to customers today for $179.99. The phone has a 5-inch qHD display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and a 2,600mAh battery. The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is compatible with Cricket's LTE 4G network. Service plans start at $35. Cricket Wireless is owned and operated by AT&T.


Cricket to Let Customers Pay for Phones Over Time

Apr 8, 2015, 7:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced a series of payment plans it says will help customers get the phone they want while breaking down the costs over time. The first option for those with good credit is a straight up 24-month loan. Customers make an initial payment of $19.99 and then 24 monthly payments of equal amount at 0% interest. This option requires a credit check. The second option also asks for an initial payment of $19.99 and requires a credit check, but offers interest-free payments for just six months. Customers who pay off the device balance in six months won't be charged any interest, but customers who don't will have up to 18 months to pay the device off at 29.99% APR. The third option is a 90-days-same-as-cash deal. Customers need to make an initial payment of $49.99 and pay off the balance within 90 days. This option doesn't require a credit check. These financing plans are available for all devices that cost $199.99 and up, and can include accessories and taxes. A maximum of five devices may be financed per account. Cricket believes these options will allow its customers to obtain the handset of their choice, such as the $649 Samsung Galaxy S6, without hitting them with the full price all at once.


AT&T Pushing Lollipop to HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S4

Apr 7, 2015, 2:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today made Android 5.0 Lollipop available to its variants of the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Lollipop adds priority mode for managing notifications, battery saving tools, and Smart Lock for protecting devices with nearby Bluetooth accessories, among many other features. Both HTC and Samsung have also revised their Sense and Touchwiz user interface overlays for the One and GS4, respectively. AT&T suggests users download the system updates via WiFi. The updates are free to install.


LG Provides Peek at G4 User Interface and Camera

Apr 7, 2015, 7:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG is slowly revealing aspects of its forthcoming flagship smartphone bit by bit. The G4, expected to arrive at an event later this month, will have LG's newest user interface called LG UX 4.0. The UI has a new design based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. According to LG, UX 4.0 "provides more optimized and intuitive convenience to each individual at every user level." One new feature is called Quick Shot, which lets users to take pictures by double-tapping the phone's rear key even while the display is off. The camera itself gains new functions, too, including a manual mode that gives users full control over the camera's settings and behaviors. LG updated its calendar app with a drag-and-drop scheduler and improved its Smart Bulletin tool with the ability to collect data across more apps. The UX also introduces LG's version of Google Now, called Smart Notice. LG says Smart Notice provides personalized notifications for weather, travel, and more by analyzing users' daily routines and habits. LG also posted a teaser video on its YouTube channel regarding the G4's camera. The camera will have an aperture of f/1.8, which means it can let in a little bit more light than most competing smartphone cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S6, for example, has an aperture of f/1.9 and the HTC One M9 has an aperture of f/2.2. Earlier this month LG revealed a new 5.5-inch quad HD display for the G4. Together, these hints provide a decent picture of what the LG G4 will offer. The LG G4 launch event is scheduled for April 28.


Google Wallet Adds Search Functions

Apr 6, 2015, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated its Google Wallet application and added several new features that make it easier to find past purchases. A new search tool lets users find transactions within the app itself, and updated receipts provide more details about the merchant, such as the location of each transaction. Google Wallet is free to download from the Play Store. The app competes with Apple Pay on the iPhone and the forthcoming Samsung Pay service for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.


Apple Offering Credit for Some Android, Windows Phones

Mar 30, 2015, 9:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has expanded the scope of its Reuse and Recycling Program to include smartphones, tablets, and PCs not made by Apple. Customers can take their old smartphones directly to Apple Stores and receive credit towards new Apple gear for turning them in. Customers who don't have access to Apple Stores can mail in their devices for credit. Apple will recycle just about any old phone, tablet, or computer for free. Apple says not all devices are eligible for credit and suggests customers check eligibility (online) before heading to Apple Stores. According to Apple's web site, it is accepting handsets from Sony, Samsung, Nokia, LG, and BlackBerry. Apple has partnered with Brightstar and DataServ to handle the actual device recycling processes. The expanded Apple Reuse and Recycling Program is available in the U.S., the U.K., and select European countries.


US Cellular Accepting Preorders for Galaxy S6

Mar 27, 2015, 10:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular has begun accepting preorders on its web site for the Samsung Galaxy S6. U.S. Cellular wants $199.99 for the 32 GB S6 or $299.99 for the S6 Edge, each with a two-year contract. Customers who prefer to pay over time can score the S6 for $34 per month or the S6 Edge for $39.50 per month. The 64GB models of the S6 and S6 Edge cost $299.99 and $399.99 with a two year contract, respectively, or $38.50 and $44 per month. U.S. Cellular is offering the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in black or white, but not the gold color being sold by the big four carriers. U.S. Cellular didn't specify shipping dates.


Verizon Not Yet Saying when Galaxy S6 Goes On Sale

Mar 26, 2015, 3:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon was the last of the major carriers today to announce pricing and availability details for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. The company will begin taking pre-orders for the phones on April 1, but Verizon did not provide a shipping or in-store date. The 32GB Galaxy S6 will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract, $24.99 per month with an Edge plan, or $599 at full retail. The 64GB model will cost $299.99 with a contract, $29.16 per month, or $699. The 128GB model will cost $399.99 with a contract, $33.33 per month, or $799. Verizon is offering the S6 Edge with similar pricing breakdowns. The 32GB model starts at $299.99 with a contract, $29.14 per month, and $699; the 64GB model runs $399.99, $33.33, and $799; and the 128GB model runs $499.99, $37.49, and $899. (All on-contract prices reflect a $50 mail-in rebate.) Both the GS6 and GS6 Edge will include VoLTE and HD Voice, as well as simultaneous voice and data access.


Sprint Offering Galaxy S6 and Service For $80 Per Month

Mar 26, 2015, 11:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint is hoping to attract customers to its network with a combined promotion that includes the Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Sprint Unlimited Plus service plan for $80 per month. The plan includes the 32GB GS6 for "free" after a $20-per-month credit with a 24-month lease; unlimited talk, text, and data; international value roaming; and annual upgrades. Customers who want the 64GB or 128GB models can get them for $85 and $90 per month, respectively, with the same service plan. Families interested in the Galaxy S6 can score four of them with unlimited talk and text, and 20GB of shared data for a total monthly price of $200 per month. Annual upgrades would cost another $10 per line per month. Customers looking for the Galaxy S6 Edge can snag one for $85 per month ($5 per month after $20-per-month lease credit) with the Sprint Unlimited plan. Customers not interested in contracts or leases can pay full price for the Galaxy S6 ($649.99) and pair it with a Boost Mobile plan. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge go on sale in Sprint stores April 10, with pre-orders beginning March 27.


T-Mobile Asking $780 for Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

Mar 26, 2015, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile was the first carrier today to reveal pricing information for its variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. T-Mobile listed the full retail prices at $679.92 and $779.76, respectively, for the two handsets. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge share nearly all specs and features, but the S6 Edge has a display that's curved on two sides. Customers can pre-order the phones beginning at 7:00 AM Pacific on March 27. The S6 will go for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $28.33, while the S6 Edge will require 24 monthly payments of $32.49. T-Mobile customers who order before April 12th can also receive a one-year Netflix subscription at no cost.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Lands In Carrier Stores April 10

Mar 26, 2015, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced the general availability details for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The devices can be pre-ordered beginning Friday, March 27 and should reach most carrier stores on April 10. Samsung said the black, white, and gold models will be sold in the U.S. in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB configurations. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular all plan to sell the GS6 and GS6 Edge. Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and MetroPCS will only offer the Galaxy S6. In addition to carrier stores, the two phones will be available at Samsung Experience Shops at Best Buy, as well as Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. Some carrier stores will have the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge on display beginning tomorrow, even if sales don't commence until April 10. Samsung said carriers will announce individual pricing details later. The devices include 5.1-inch quad HD screens, 16-megapixel cameras, fingerprint readers, and multi-standard wireless charging.


T-Mobile Tempting Galaxy S6 Buyers with Year of Netflix

Mar 25, 2015, 11:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today revealed via Twitter that customers who buy the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge will receive a year-long subscription to on-demand video service Netflix. T-Mobile didn't provide any other details about the promotion, nor has the company said when the latest smartphones from Samsung will go on sale.


Seniors Wireless Adds Doctor Access to Wireless Plans

Mar 25, 2015, 11:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Seniors Wireless, a Sprint MVNO, announced a new service that gives subscribers direct phone access to a doctor at all times. TeleMED Assist provides customers with unlimited calls to doctors for emergency, urgent, or non-urgent purposes 24/7. Over-the-phone medical consultations are included in the service, which costs $30 per month for singles or $40 per month for couples. TeleMED Assist is a separate service and does not require a Seniors Wireless telephone account. Seniors Wireless offers a handful of standard service plans ranging from $10 to $30 per month. The company has several handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5 and Note 3, the Sharp Aquos Crystal, the LG Vigor, and the Apple iPhone 4. Seniors Wireless competes with GreatCall, which also offers access to health professionals over the phone. Both target the over 55 set.


Samsung Agrees to Preload More Microsoft Apps

Mar 23, 2015, 10:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung plans to preinstall a wide range of Microsoft's productivity apps on its Android devices moving through the first half of the year. Samsung already announced the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will have Microsoft's OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype apps on board. Today, Samsung said will will put Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype on some of its Android tablets. The GS6 and GS6 Edge will also have access to 100GB of OneDrive storage for a period of two years. Microsoft and Samsung believe the expanded partnership will provide potential business customers with improved productivity options via Office 365, and better security through Samsung's KNOX program. The companies did not specify if Microsoft's productivity apps will be preinstalled on more smartphones, but Microsoft Office apps are already free for most Android devices to download from the Google Play Store.


Total Wireless MVNO Launching Through Walmart

Mar 17, 2015, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Total Wireless, an MVNO, recently launched exclusively in Walmart stores. The prepaid service provider offers a handful of low-cost, no-contract plans in addition to a limited lineup of smartphones. The entry-level plan, for example, costs $25 per month and offers unlimited calling and messaging, but no data. Adding $10 buys access to 2.5GB of data. The company also offers shared data plans for two, three, or four lines for $60, $85, and $110, respectively. These plans include 5GB, 9GB, and 12GB of shared data, respectively. The company also offers a data rollover add-on for an extra $10 per month. Total Wireless' handsets include entry-level devices from Alcatel OneTouch, Motorola, Samsung, and ZTE. Total Wireless has not named its carrier partner, but based on the coverage map it is likely Verizon Wireless.


Sprint Pitching Galaxy S5, Tab 4 Combo for $100

Mar 16, 2015, 11:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced a smartphone/tablet bundle that combines the Samsung Galaxy S5 or S5 Sport and the Galaxy Tab 4, plus service, in one monthly payment. The offer costs $100 per month, which includes a Sprint Easy Pay lease on the smartphone and the tablet. The service includes unlimited talk, text, and data on the smartphone line, and up to 2GB of data on the tablet line. Sprint says the deal saves customers as much as $300 over a two-year period.


AT&T to Sell Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini On March 20

Mar 16, 2015, 8:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said customers can scoop up the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini beginning March 20. The phone costs $429 at full retail, but is available for $14.30, $17.88, or $21.48 per month via AT&T's Next 24, Next 18, or Next 12 plans, respectively.


Sprint's Galaxy Note 4 Gains Android 5.0 Upgrade

Mar 11, 2015, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can expect to update their devices to Android 5.0 Lollipop over the next few days. The update adds Material Design, support for Android TV, improved multitasking, actionable lock screen notifications, and improves battery efficiency. The update is free and can be downloaded and installed over the air.


Samsung's Milk Music Service Expands to Web

Mar 9, 2015, 11:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has created a version of its Milk Music service that's accessible from any desktop browser. Milk Music uses Slacker's music library, but has a unique user interface for browsing through songs, albums, artists, and radio stations. It has been available as an application to Samsung devices since last year. On the web, users can choose from 200 pre-set radio stations or create and play their own. The service requires a free Samsung account and offers up to six skips at no cost. Milk Music Premium on the web costs $4 per month and allows for unlimited skipping. Samsung hasn't said if it will also expand its Milk Video service to the web.


Verizon Starting Galaxy S6, S6 Edge Preorders April 1

Mar 6, 2015, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today indicated via one of its official Twitter accounts that preorders for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will start April 1. Verizon did not provide pricing nor availabiliy details.


Sprint's Galaxy Note 4 Earns Its Lollipop Update

Mar 6, 2015, 8:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint said it is pushing the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. In addition to the new operating system, the update improves Sprint's WiFi calling service. The update is rolling out over the next few days.


Softcard to Shutter At the End of March

Mar 5, 2015, 1:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Softcard, the mobile wallet service developed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, has informed users the application will go offline March 31. Softcard customers can use the app through that date, but afterward their accounts will automatically be closed. Softcard recommends users who wish to be able to make mobile payments in the future download Google Wallet. Google purchased certain Softcard assets in a deal announced last month. Google Wallet will replace Softcard on Android handsets later this year. Softcard never caught on with consumers due to limited handset, credit card, and retail support. General interest in mobile payments has increased after the launch of Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Samsung recently announced plans for its own mobile wallet service, called Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay will first be available to the Galaxy S6.


Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and HTC One M9 MirrorLink-Enabled

Mar 4, 2015, 4:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Car Connectivity Consortium today announced that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and the HTC One M9 support the MirrorLink standard for connecting to cars. MirrorLink is a platform-agnostic tool that allows smartphones to push apps and content to in-dash consoles. It competes with Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay. With MirrorLink on board, the GS6, GS6 Edge, and One M9 will be able to connect to the infotainment systems of supported cars.


Samsung Intros 8-Megapixel Selfie Sensor

Mar 3, 2015, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced two new components that will find their way into high-end phones later this year. The first is an 8-megapixel RWB (red-white-blue) image sensor based on ISOCELL technology. Samsung says it provides dramatically improved low-light performance by reducing noise and keeping colors more accurate when compared to back-side illumination sensors. Samsung believes it is ideal for user-facing cameras. Samsung also debuted a fourth-generation NFC radio that improves RF performance by 100% when compared to its predecessor. Samsung says this allowed it to reduce the size of the antenna. It can be attached to a smartphone battery without an extra booster integrated circuit. Together, these benefits will let smartphone makers add the NFC radio to their phones without compromising design. The ISOCELL camera module is expected to go into production during the second quarter, but the NFC radio is already being manufactured at volume.


Google to Work with Samsung On Mobile Payments

Mar 2, 2015, 7:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google's Sundar Pichai today said that it doesn't see Android Pay and Google Wallet competing with Samsung's recently announced Samsung Pay. Android Pay is an API that will be used by developers across the entire Android ecosystem. Samsung Pay is a complete solution to make mobile payments possible on Samsung's handsets. Google expects to work with Samsung to see how Android Pay and Samsung Pay can work together. There was some concern over friction between Google and Samsung.

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Samsung's Knox Platform Adds More BlackBerry Tools

Mar 1, 2015, 5:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung and BlackBerry today announced that Samsung's Knox enterprise security service will adopt BlackBerry's WorkLife and SecuSUITE services. The WorkLife tool will let Samsung device owners keep their work and personal data separate on the device. Businesses will be able to access, control, and secure work data stored on smartphones, but won't be able to access personal files, photos, and so on. The SecuSUITE service offers encrypted and protected voice and SMS communications for those who work in high-security settings. Samsung believes offering these two BlackBerry services will entice more businesses to equip employees with its smartphones and tablets. The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge will be the first two smartphones compatible with these new business tools.


Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge

Mar 1, 2015, 4:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 2, 2015, 8:53 AM

Samsung trotted out two versions of its flagship smartphone for 2015 and took them in a new direction with respect to design. The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge boast the highest quality materials and build we've seen from Samsung. Here are our first impressions of these two phones

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Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge Tout Metal and Glass Designs

Mar 1, 2015, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 1, 2015, 5:31 PM

Samsung today announced the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, two Android smartphones that marry high-quality design with leading specs. The devices are made with a mix of metal and glass materials, with the GS6 Edge offering a curved display on two sides. According to Samsung, the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and comes in several jewel tones with names like black sapphire, white pearl, blue topaz, and gold platinum. Aside from the display, all specs are shared between the two phones. The GS6 and GS6 Edge measure 6.8mm and 7.0mm thick, respectively. The Super AMOLED display measures 5.1 inches across the diagonal and includes 2560 x 1440 pixels (quad HD). Samsung says it has enhanced brightness for better outdoor viewability. 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. Samsung is relying on its own technology to power the GS6 and GS6 Edge. It ships with an octa-core processor with a quad-core bank of processors clocked at 2.1GHz and a second quad-core bank clocked at 1.5GHz. The processor is paired with 3GB of LPDDR4 memory and UFS 2.0 flash for faster storage performance. The phone includes a 2,600mAh battery that supports both the WPC and PMA wireless charging standards, in addition to quick charging. Samsung says it has upgraded its KNOX security platform to better protect the device, added a Find My Device tool and remote wipe/remote reactivate tools, and improved the fingerprint scanner. The security tools will help when Samsung launches Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service planned for the second half of the year. The device will be preloaded with several Microsoft applications, including OneDrive (115GB of free storage) and OneNote. Other specs include Category 6 LTE, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, ultra power-savings mode and Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will be available globally starting April 10 with 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB internal storage options.


Samsung Pay to Be Accepted At 30 Million Locations

Mar 1, 2015, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service that it claims will be readily available at tens of millions of retail locations around the world. The service can use either NFC or MST (magnetic secure transmission), technology it recently acquired via its purchase of LoopPay. The MST tech allows Samsung Pay to work at most credit card terminals, unlike solutions based solely on NFC, which require special terminals. According to Samsung, its mobile payment service will use something called tokenization to hide customer's credit card numbers and protect transactions. Samsung is working with MasterCard and Visa, and has the support of financial institutions such as American Express, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and U.S. Bank. Samsung Pay will initially launch in the U.S. during the summer months and will reach select markets in Europe and Asia later this year. It will only be available to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.


Liveblog of Samsung's Galaxy S6 Launch

Mar 1, 2015, 12:02 PM   by Rich Brome

It's zero secret what Samsung is "revealing" today, but plenty of details remain unconfirmed. We're live at Samsung's Unpacked event at MWC in Barcelona for the launch of the Galaxy S6. Samsung itself has promised a new design with a metal body. Leaks point to a version with a screen that curved slightly at the side edges. We'll bring you every detail as it happens on stage.

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Samsung Shows Off 128GB Embedded Flash Module

Feb 25, 2015, 6:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced that it is producing embedded memory modules for flagship smartphones using the new Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 standard. UFS is a generational leap compared to the eMMC standard, which is used widely in mobile devices today. The UFS standard uses a serial interface rather than an 8-bit interface common to eMMC modules, which helps produce speed gains. Samsung claims its UFS-based storage offers significantly faster read/write speeds compared to eMMC, while still delivering a 50% reduction in energy needs. Further, the ePoP (embedded package on package) solution can be stacked directly onto the logic board, reducing space requirements by 50%. The UFS chips can support 4K (Ultra HD) video playback while performing other tasks. Samsung is manufacturing 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB varieties of the module. Samsung imagines the new UFS memory modules will be ideal for flagship smartphones and tablets. It will continue to use eMMC-based memory products for mid-range and entry-level phones.


Apple Hit with $533 Million Judgment in Patent Trial

Feb 25, 2015, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple was found guilty of infringing on three patents held by a company called Smartflash and must pay the firm $532.9 million. A federal jury in Texas reached the verdict Tuesday and said Apple violated the patents willfully. According to Smartflash, Apple's iTunes software uses its patented technology for storing and retrieving music, movies, and games. Apple was disappointed with the verdict and railed against Smartflash, which is a patent holding firm. "We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system," said Apple in a statement provided to Reuters. Smartflash has filed similar lawsuits against Google, HTC, and Samsung.


Verizon to Sell Samsung Galaxy Core Prime Feb. 26

Feb 23, 2015, 11:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced plans to sell the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime smartphone beginning on Feb. 26. The device, which is also being sold as the Galaxy Prevail LTE, is a mid-range smartphone that has a 4.5-inch screen, Snapdragon 400 processor, and a 5-megapixel camera. The phone will ship with Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 feature for VoLTE, and though it ships with Android 4.4 KitKat, it will be upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop shortly after release. Verizon is asking $29.99 with a two-year contract or $8 per month via Verizon Edge.


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