In late March, Samsung will release its One UI 6.1 software for the Galaxy S23 series, S23 FE, Z Fold5, and Z Flip5. It adds the following "Galaxy AI" features that debuted on the S24 series: Circle to Search, Live Translate, Interpreter, Chat Assist, and Generative Edit.
Samsung is rolling out an update to its Galaxy Buds series of earbuds. The update brings a new live language translation feature that Samsung calls Interpreter. It means you no longer have to pass your phone back and forth. "You can listen to translations through your earbuds, while the other person hears through your phone speaker, helping you to focus better on the conversation". Samsung is also enabling Auracast (one-to-many Bluetooth audio) between Galaxy phones and Galaxy earbuds. The update will roll out first to the Galaxy Buds2 Pro in late February, followed by the Buds2 and Buds FE.
Samsung has received a first-of-its-kind authorization for a sleep apnea detection feature of its Galaxy Watch smartwatches. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates health and medical devices, so its authorization is required for features relating to medical conditions. "The sleep apnea feature enables users over the age of 22 who have not been diagnosed with sleep apnea to detect signs of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) over a two-night monitoring period, a common and chronic sleep condition that often goes undiagnosed and untreated. To utilize the feature, users can simply track their sleep twice for more than four hours within a ten-day period." Samsung says it plans to roll out the feature on the Galaxy Watch series in the US in the third quarter.
While Samsung's big news today is the new S24 series of flagship phones, the company is also quietly launching two new affordable 5G phones today: the Galaxy A15 5G and Galaxy A25 5G. The Galaxy A15 5G updates last year's A14 5G with a 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with 90 Hz refresh, a major upgrade for a phone that sells for $200. It also has double the built-in storage (128 instead of 64 GB), faster fast charging (25W instead of 15), and replaces the depth camera with a 5 megapixel wide-angle camera. Other specs carry over from the A14 5G, including a 5,000 mAh battery, 50 megapixel main camera, NFC, fingerprint reader, expandable storage, and a headset jack. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ chipset. Verizon, T-Mobile, Boost, and US Cellular started selling the phone today, and samsung.com indicates that AT&T may offer it as well. The Galaxy A25 5G doesn't seem to be nearly as popular with US carriers, as there are no indications that any of the big three national carriers plan to offer it. It's quite similar to the A15 5G, with the upgrades being OIS on the main camera, an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, 4K video capture, and 120 Hz display refresh. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos 1280 chipset. For these upgrades, US Cellular shows a list price of $300. Boost and TracFone may offer it, as well.
Samsung has unveiled its lineup of flagship phones for 2024, the Galaxy S24 series. The phones sport multiple upgrades in both hardware and software compared to last year's models. Larger displays, larger batteries, and more RAM are among the hardware improvements. New "Galaxy AI" on-device AI leverages Qualcomm and Google technology to power a long list of unique new features. These include live two-way language translation for voice calls and messaging (even in third-party apps), one-tap removal of reflections in photos, and auto-summarization in Notes. A new "Circle to Search" feature lets you highlight anything in any app (including text and photos) to Google that. There is a new setting to explicitly turn off any cloud-based AI processing to protect privacy and enterprise security. Samsung is also committing to a full seven years of OS upgrades and security updates for these phones. The Galaxy S24 and S24+ are similar in size to last year's models, but a thinner bezel means slightly larger (by 0.1") displays. The batteries are also slightly larger (by up to 6.6%). The larger "plus" model also gets a boost to a QHD+ resolution display and 12 GB of RAM standard. All models now incorporate gyroscope data to improve noise reduction in photos. Other camera specs and most other features remain largely the same compared to least year. The top-end Galaxy S24 Ultra retains a built-in stylus but switches to a flat (instead of curved-edge) display and titanium frame. This permits a body that's slightly thinner overall. It also now comes with 12 GB of RAM standard. The camera system has improved (wider-angle) optical stabilization and larger pixels on the main sensor to take in more light. The Ultra still offers 10x zoom, but now accomplishes this with a 50 megapixel sensor behind a 5x lens, (instead of a 10 megapixel sensor behind a 10x lens.) All three models — at least in the US — are powered by a Qualcomm's "Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Mobile Platform for Galaxy" (a version of the 8 Gen 3 with slightly faster peak CPU speeds of up to 3.4 GHz.) This also enables Wi-Fi 7 on the Ultra model, and Qualcomm's unique ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. Storage options are: 128 or 256 GB for the standard model, 256 or 512 GB for the plus model, and 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB for the Ultra. The standard and plus models still start at $800 and $1,000, respectively, while the Ultra now starts at $1,300. This year's color options for all models are violet, yellow, gray, and black. Three more colors — green, blue, and orange — are available exclusively from samsung.com. The Samsung Galaxy S24 series is available for pre-order and ships January 31st. Pre-orders come with a free upgrade to the next storage option, including up to 1 TB on the Ultra.
Apple shipped more phones than Samsung for the first time ever in 2023. Samsung had led the sales charts since 2010, when Nokia was #1. The shipment numbers have not been not confirmed by the companies, but two different research companies that track this information — IDC and Canalys — have reached essentially the same conclusion. IDC claims that Apple managed to grow both total shipments and market share in 2023, a year when most competitors saw a drop in phone shipments.
Google and Samsung have collaborated to merge their similar Nearby Share and Quick Share features into a single new standard called Quick Share. "Quick Share will start rolling out to current Nearby Share enabled devices next month."
Samsung has scheduled its next Unpacked product-launch event for January 17th at 10am PT (1pm ET). The event will take place in San Jose, CA and the main subject is expected to be the Galaxy S24 series of flagship phones. In promotional materials, Samsung teases a new feature called "Zoom with Galaxy AI", which could be a digital zoom feature that employs generative AI to add missing details. This would be like in TV and film where a computer magically "enhances" an image. As it does every year, Samsung is offering a $50 credit to anyone that places a "reservation" to pre-order a phone. The reservation carries no commitment to buy; only a name and email address are required. The credit can only be used against an additional purchase (like an accessory) at the time the phone order is placed. Samsung will also offer additional credits and storage upgrades to anyone who pre-orders, "while supplies last".
Google agreed to pay Samsung $8 billion over four years to make Google's search engine, voice assistant, and app store the default on Samsung phones, according to testimony presented the ongoing case of Epic Games vs. Google. Epic is suing Google claiming its Play Store is an unlawful monopoly.
Gabb is expanding its lineup of smart devices for kids with a new phone specifically targeted at teens. Unlike its watches and phones designed for younger kids, the new Gabb Phone 3 Pro does have some internet access and a curated app store with "apps that can be helpful or necessary at certain stages of teens' lives". But it doesn't allow social media, an open web browser, nor "other high-risk apps". The phone is the Samsung Galaxy A13 (4G) with custom Gabb OS software. Like all Gabb devices, messages are screened for harmful content and an approved contact list can be controlled via the app for parents. Parents can also track location via GPS and create geo-fencing alerts. Gabb also offers Gabb Music, a "music streaming service that boasts the largest kid-safe music streaming library with clean music from every genre and era." Gabb is selling its Phone 3 Pro for $200, with service running $35/month, including 3 GB of data per month.
Visible first launched its eSIM-based, 15-day free trial with iPhones in January 2022. Starting today, it's available to Samsung Galaxy S- and Z-series phones going back to the S20 series, and Google phones starting with the Pixel 3 series.
Samsung has revealed that its forthcoming One UI 6 software for its Galaxy phones will include a new feature called Auto Blocker. It's designed to block unauthorized app installations, including blocking all side-loaded apps (apps not from an official app store.) The feature can be turned off for users who wish to side-load apps. But by default it will help protect users against being tricked into installing malware via phishing. It will also help protect against attacks that leverage malicious images sent via messaging apps. Samsung announced a different type of protection against that type of attack in February with a feature called Message Guard. But that didn't cover third-party messaging apps, which this does.
Samsung will soon let you back up your whole phone or tablet to unlimited cloud storage for free, but only for 30 days. The service, called Temporary Cloud Backup, is designed for users that are either upgrading to a new Samsung device or sending their Samsung device in for repairs. The service is only available from Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets running One UI 6 and requires a Samsung account. It will be available "globally this fall ... starting with Galaxy S and Z series smartphones in Korea." There is no total storage limit, but individual file sizes are capped at 100 GB, which could impact some longer and/or higher-quality videos. Users will receive alerts before a backup is automatically deleted at the end of 30 days.
Samsung is enhancing it Samsung Wallet app to support mobile driver's licenses and state ID cards using the ISO/IEC 18013-5 industry standard. Arizona and Iowa will be the first US states supported. They will be accepted as ID at the 25 US airports where the TSA already equipped to read them. Next year, Samsung will also release a software development kit (SDK) "so developers can integrate online age and ID information into their applications to help reduce fraud and friction with the verification process." Both Apple and Google added support for mobile driver's licenses to their respective wallet apps last year.
After skipping a year last year, Samsung has brought back the more affordable model of its flagship phone series with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE. As with previous "FE" devices, this is effectively Samsung's "affordable flagship" device at $600, filling out the lineup just above the top end of the company's A-series phones. The S23 FE has a 50 megapixel main camera, 12 megapixel ultra-wide camera, and 3x telephoto camera with 8 megapixel resolution. The 6.4-inch AMOLED display has adaptive refresh up to 120 Hz. The 4,500 mAh battery can be charged up to 50% in around 30 minutes with 25W charging. It also supports fast and reverse wireless charging. It's powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired with 8 GB RAM and either 128 or 256 GB of storage. Other features include an IP68 rating for dust and water, Bluetooth 5.3, and Wi-Fi 6E. It will be available in several colors, including Mint, Cream, Graphite, and Purple. (The 256 GB storage option is only available in Graphite.) The Samsung Galaxy S3 FE will be available from Verizon on October 26 for $600, and from AT&T on October 27. Samsung.com will also offer exclusive Indigo and Tangerine colors.
Samsung has introduced its third generation of Tactical Edition smartphones designed primarily for military personnel. For the first time, they support AT&T's FirstNet network and will be available to first responders. Also for the first time, there are two different models: a Galaxy S23 Tactical Edition, and a more-rugged Galaxy XCover6 Pro Tactical Edition. Samsung's Tactical Edition phones have a long list of specialized features and certifications tailored to military needs, including support for tactical radios, drone feeds, laser range finders, external GPS, and SDR receivers. Samsung now offers serverless license activation for streamlined setup. Samsung partnered with Juggernaut Case and Kagwerks to develop rugged, military-grade cases (available separately). The Samsung Galaxy S23 Tactical Edition and Samsung Galaxy XCover 6 Pro Tactical Edition are available starting today through select IT channel partners.
AST SpaceMobile has achieved another important testing milestone by successfully making a 5G phone call on an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 via its BlueWalker 3 test satellite currently in orbit. The phone was located in a cellular dead zone on Maui, Hawaii. The connection used AT&T spectrum; the same radio frequencies AT&T uses for its land-based 5G network. The company has conducted a series of different tests over the past year to validate its technology, including the first phone call in April, followed by 4G data in June, data download rates of up to 14 Mbps, video calls, streaming video, and "full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers". The company says it is on track to launch five commercial BlueBird satellites — already under construction — in the first quarter of 2024. AT&T is one of the many companies worldwide that AST has an agreement with to provide satellite coverage where its land-based network does not reach. AST's technology is made possible by the satellite's massive antenna, "the largest-ever commercial communications array deployed in low Earth orbit."
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 and Galaxy Z Fold5 are now officially available. Samsung is offering some previously-unannounced free trials as extras when the phones are ordered from samsung.com. With either phone, get four months of YouTube Premium, four months of Microsoft 365 Basic, and two months of Adobe Lightroom. Like the wireless carriers, Samsung has its own trade-in deals that let customers save up to $600 on the Flip5 and up to $1,000 on the Fold5.
Samsung and Microsoft have launched a new technology called device attestation that allows companies and other organizations to confirm that a mobile device has not been compromised before it is allowed to access company resources, even with unmanaged personal devices. The companies claim that this solution is "the industry's first on-device, mobile hardware-backed device attestation solution that works equally well on both company and personally owned devices." The solution requires a Samsung Galaxy device and Microsoft Intune. It enhances security, helps organizations implement Zero Trust policies, and opens up new possibilities for BYOD (bring your own device) in the enterprise.
Samsung has unveiled its newest generation of Galaxy Z foldable phones: the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Galaxy Z Flip5. The Z Flip5 has an outer display that's almost 4x larger. Samsung calls it Flex Window and it has greatly increased functionality — including quick reply and widgets — much like Motorola's new razr+. Other changes are more minor, including a new hinge design that folds completely flat, allowing both phones to be thinner. The Z Fold5 is lighter as well, and its inner display can reach a higher peak brightness when outdoors. Samsung has also made the S Pen Fold Edition and its special case slimmer and more compact. The bodies of both phones are made from Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and Armor Aluminum, and are still rated IPx8 for water resistance. Both phones have been updated to Qualcomm's latest flagship chip: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. The Z Flip5 comes with double the storage by default (256 instead of 128 GB) and it now supports Wi-Fi 6E. Otherwise, both phones have nearly identical specs and features compared to their predecessors, including the cameras, battery, charging, and RAM. Pricing also remains the same, starting at $1,000 for the Z Flip5 and $1,800 for the Z Fold5. Pre-orders are eligible for a free storage upgrade (from 256 to 512 GB, for example). The Z Flip5 will be available in Mint, Graphite, Cream, and Lavender, plus the samsung.com exclusive colors Blue, Gray, Green, and Yellow. The Z Fold5 will be available in Icy Blue, Phantom Black, and Cream, plus the samsung.com exclusive colors Blue and Gray. Samsung and carriers are offering generous trade-in deals of up to $1,000 off. Pre-orders are now open and the phones will be available August 11.
Samsung has announced its new lineup of smartwatches for this year, including a Galaxy Watch6 Classic with a "fan-favorite" rotating bezel, a model that was conspicuously missing from the Watch5 lineup. The Watch6 series brings a long list of upgrades over last year's models, including significantly thinner bezels that allow the displays to be 20% larger. The displays are also brighter and higher resolution. To compensate, the batteries are larger and the watches have "reduced battery consumption". Eight minutes of charging can deliver eight hours of battery life, ideal for the improved sleep tracking and coaching features. A new fabric band (free with pre-order) improves comfort for sleep tracking. For runners, the watch now supports personalized heart rate zones. The heart tracking also now provides FDA-certified Irregular Heart Rhythm Notification. The watch now supports full Samsung Wallet features, including IDs, event tickets, and boarding passes. Find My Phone now works directly on the watch, including a map to your lost phone. New APIs support custom deployments in healthcare and enterprise settings. Both watches come in two sizes, two colors, and are available with or without 4G LTE. The Galaxy Watch6 starts at $300 while the Watch6 Classic starts at $400. Add $30 to either for the larger size. Add another $50 for 4G LTE versions (instead of Bluetooth-only). Pre-orders are now open, with full availability on August 11. Samsung will also continue offering the Galaxy Watch5 Pro with its larger battery and titanium case.
Samsung has revealed "Sensor OLED", a new display panel technology that has many tiny light sensors embedded directly into the whole OLED panel surface. This allows the panel to read fingerprints anywhere on the display, as well as check cardiovascular health. Current in-display fingerprint readers utilize a seperate sensor module under a small part of the display; this new technology is embedded directly in the display itself and covers the whole display area. When placing two fingers on the display, (one from each hand,) the display "can measure the user's heart rate, blood pressure and stress level". Samsung also showed off several new foldable phone concepts using its flexible display technology. One is called Rollable Flex, a display that unrolls like a scroll to become five times larger, essentially transforming from a slim phone to a large tablet.
Apple and Google have announced a new industry standard that will enable cross-platform alerts when people are potentially being tracked without their consent using any popular Bluetooth location-tracking device, regardless of manufacturer. For example, this would allow someone to receive an alert on their Android phone when an unknown Apple AirTag seems to be following them, or the same for an Apple iPhone and a Samsung SmartTag. Current anti-stalker features are either siloed in one company's ecosystem or require the manual download and use of a special app. This new standard will eventually come baked right into both iOS and Android. Besides Apple and Google, "Samsung, Tile, Chipolo, eufy Security, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, which offers best practices and instructions for manufacturers, should they choose to build these capabilities into their products." Today marks the start of a three-month comment period on the draft standard. The companies plan to finalize the standard by the end of 2023 and implement it "in future versions" of iOS and Android.
BMW is rolling out its Digital Key Plus feature to compatible Android phones with UWB, such as the Samsung Galaxy S23+ and Pixel 7 Pro. The feature is already available for Apple products. The enhanced "Plus" version lets you keep your phone in your pocket, whereas the earlier Digital Key feature (already available for select Android phones) requires that you tap your phone on the door handle. Cars with the feature produced since November 2022 are compatible with Android, while a future remote software update will add compatibility to older cars. Older Samsung and Google phones are compatible as well, as long as they have the necessary UWB feature. This includes most Plus and Ultra Galaxy S phones, Samsung foldables, and the Pixel 6 Pro. Digital Key Plus is based on an industry standard from the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC).
AST SpaceMobile has successfully completed a test of the first full two-way voice call using a standard, off-the-shelf cell phone connecting directly to a satellite in orbit (instead of to a land-based network.) Other recently-announced space connectivity solutions have focused only on messaging, not voice calls, and/or require new phones with added satellite technology. This test used an unmodified Samsung Galaxy S22 connecting directly to AST's BlueWalker 3 test satellite in orbit. It took place in Texas using AT&T radio frequencies; AT&T plans to use AST's system to provide coverage in remote areas. AST has completed additional tests that "confirm the ability to support cellular broadband speeds", as well as multiple cellular technologies from 2G to 5G. Tests also confirm compatibility with a variety of different phones and other cellular devices.
Samsung is launching Samsung News, an app offering free news content. The app is not entirely new, but rather a relaunch of the Samsung Free app, which previously offered video and game content as well. The new app is more focused, offering just news articles and podcasts. Despite the app's new name, the podcasts section will still include both news and entertainment podcasts. On the articles side, the app will offer a customizable feed as well as twice-daily curated "Daily Briefings" of top headlines. Samsung is working with Upday to source the syndicated content, which currently includes Bloomberg Media, CNN, Fortune, Fox News, Glamour, GQ, HuffPost, Money, Newsweek, New York Post, Parade, POLITICO, Refinery29, Salon, Slate, Sports Illustrated, The Daily Beast, TheStreet, USA TODAY, and Vice, with more to come. The rollout of the new app starts today on select devices and for existing users of Samsung Free. It will be available for "all addressable devices" "in the coming weeks".
Google has discovered and disclosed a set of severe security vulnerabilities in the Samsung modems found in many recent Google Pixel phones and some recent Samsung phones, mostly A-series models. Software updates made available this month fix the issue, but are not yet available for all models. The flaws allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone with no user action, knowing only the victim's phone number. Users of the Google Pixel 6 series should immediately disable Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE until a software update is available for those models. A software update has been released to address the issue on the Pixel 7 series. Also affected are the Samsung Galaxy A71, A53, A33, A21, A13, A12, and A04 series.
Samsung's new Galaxy A54 5G launches April 6th for $450. This mid-range phone has nearly identical specs compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy A53 5G. The design is significantly updated, however, more closely resembling the company's flagship S series. The body and display are more rounded, with a flat back punctuated by three cameras aligned vertically. Like the A53, it has a FHD+ AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 5,000 mAh battery, IP67 water rating, 6 GB of RAM, 5G, NFC, memory card slot, 12 megapixel wide camera, and a 32 megapixel front camera. The main camera is 50 megapixel instead of 64. The Galaxy A54 5G will be available in graphite or violet. Pre-orders start March 30th and entitle buyers to the Galaxy Buds Live earbuds for $50 (normally $100 – $150).
T-Mobile has announced two key steps in upgrading its 5G network to be faster and more advanced. First, the company has successfully tested four-carrier aggregation with 5G SA (stand-alone). In the test, this technology allowed a Samsung Galaxy S23 to hit peak speeds topping 3.3 Gbps. The test combined two channels (carriers) of 2500 MHz spectrum (band 41) and two channels of 1900 MHz spectrum (band 2/25), creating an one effective channel of 5G SA that was 225 MHz wide. "Customers with the Samsung Galaxy S23 will be among the first to experience four-carrier aggregation later this year with more devices to follow." The other announcement is the deployment of VoNR in six cities. VoNR is 5G-native voice calling; currently, most voice calls are still made over 4G LTE. The six cities that now have VoNR enabled are: New York City, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Salt Lake City. Consumers are unlikely to notice a change, although voice call setup time should be slightly faster. Behind the scenes, VoNR allows phones to stay connected to 5G continuously, which in turn enables 5G SA features like network slicing (for enterprise customers). VoNR is also necessary to enable the eventual phase-out of 4G LTE, although that is not expected any time soon.
Samsung today announced Message Guard, a new security feature that protects Galaxy S23 phones (which go on sale today) against zero-click attacks delivered as images in messages. Samsung will update other Galaxy phones with the feature later this year. Message Guard intercepts incoming images before they reach Samsung Messages and Messages by Google, sandboxing and inspecting the files before they can carry out an attack. Only once Message Guard ensures a file "cannot infect the rest of your device" does it become available to the messaging app for viewing (processing an image for viewing is when this kind of attack can occur.) Samsung also committed to extending Message Guard to third party messaging apps "at a later date".
Samsung has started rolling out an OS update that brings several key features of the new S23 series to older high-end models such as the Galaxy S22, S21, and S20 series. The update is also rolling out for the S21 FE, S20 FE, Z Fold4, and Z Flip4, and soon the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3. The One UI 5.1 update adds Expert RAW features as part of the Galaxy Camera app, bringing new pro-level options and a new Photo Remaster tool. (Only higher-end models will get this feature.) Samsung Notes with Google Meet offers new real-time collaboration tools. The update also includes new connectivity and integration features with Galaxy Book laptops. There's also a new weather widget, and "Modes and Routines have expanded to enable custom wallpapers, ringtones, touch sensitivity and fonts".
Samsung has officially unveiled its new flagship phones for 2023: the Galaxy S23 series. The S23 and S23+ have modest upgrades over last year's models, while the S23 Ultra has a significantly upgraded main camera. All three models are powered by a custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 "for Galaxy" chip, with an accelerated CPU and upgraded GPU compared to the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering other flagship phones this year. Samsung will use this chip from Qualcomm in all S23 variants worldwide, instead of using its own Exynos chips in some markets as in past years. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 200 megapixel main camera, which can output full 200 megapixel images or use 16-pixel binning for very low-noise photos even in low light. An Astrophoto mode lets users capture the night sky. The main camera also has wider OIS, meaning the camera can now move up to 3 degrees to compensate for hand shake, reducing blur. All three models have an AMOLED display with adaptive refresh up to 120 Hz. On the S23 Ultra, it's a 6.8-inch panel with QHD+ resolution. The edges are curved, although the curve has been reduced compared to the S22 Ultra. The battery stays at 5,000 mAh, but Samsung claims up to 20% better battery life thanks to the more-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip. The Ultra still has an integrated stylus. All three models come with 8 GB RAM standard, although a 12 GB option is available for the Ultra. The Galaxy S23+ and Ultra both come with 256 GB storage standard, up from 128 GB last year. The Galaxy S23 and S23+ both have slightly larger batteries (an extra 200 mAh for each) and upgraded front cameras (now 12 megapixel). The design is more unified across all three models, with the Contour Cut design scrapped in favor of "floating" cameras on matte glass, with the same four color options for all three models: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. All three feature Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (front and back) set in an Armor Aluminum frame. Most other specs and features carry over from the last year's S22 series. This includes dedicated wide and telephoto cameras (3x tele on all, plus a second 10x tele camera on the Ultra). All three also include IP68 water rating, mmWave 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader, fast charging, and two-way wireless charging. The S23+ and S23 Ultra also include UWB and faster wired charging (45W instead of 25W). Like last year, the standard and Plus models have flat FHD+ displays and 50 megapixel main cameras. The Galaxy S23 starts at $800 (128 GB storage; 256 GB also available). The Galaxy S23+ starts at $1,000 (256 GB storage; 512 GB also available). The Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at $1,200 (256 GB storage; 512 GB and 1 TB also available). Pre-orders start today, with widespread availability on February 17th. Pre-orders include a free upgrade to more storage, and pre-orders through samsung.com also include a $100 credit to spend with Samsung. Samsung.com is also offering four additional exclusive colors: Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red.
Samsung will hold its next Unpacked event next week, on February 1st. The winter Unpacked is usually when the company reveals its next flagship phones, expected to be the Galaxy S23 series. Samsung is offering a $50 store credit to people who place a reservation for a pre-order before February 1st. The credit is toward any additional purchase when placing the pre-order for a phone, not a discount on the phone itself. Samsung will live-stream the event at 10am PT on Wednesday.
Cable company Cox has formally launched its mobile service, Cox Mobile. Like Comcast's Xfinity Mobile, Cox Mobile is only available to customers of Cox home internet service. Rather than a bundle offering, customers will receive a separate bill for the mobile service. The service is available via two different plans: "Pay As You Gig" is priced at $15/GB of data, while Unlimited is $45/month. Both plans include unlimited talk and text, as well as 5G. Customers can easily switch between the two pricing options as often as they like, with no limits, commitments, or activation fees. Cox Mobile offers a full lineup of Samsung phones, from entry-level to the Z Fold. Cox is operating as an MVNO, using Verizon's 5G and 4G network. Cox operates its cable/internet service in 18 states.
Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy A14 5G, its most affordable 5G phone to date. The new phone shares most specs with its predecessor, the Galaxy A13 5G. The biggest upgrade is the front camera, which goes from 5 megapixel to 13 megapixel. The display is also slightly larger at 6.6 inches. Other features remain the same, including a 50 megapixel main camera, 5,000 mAh battery, and a fingerprint reader. Cricket's price is $190, while AT&T is offering the phone for $2/month over 36 months (to both new and existing customers, no trade-in required. Both brands will start selling the phone on January 13th.
Samsung is rolling out new versions of its advanced camera apps for the Galaxy S22 phones, as well as a new feature to protect user's data when select Galaxy devices are handed over for repair. The Expert Raw camera app gains two new "Special Photo options" in Settings: Astrophoto and Multiple Exposure. Astrophoto is for "professional-looking photos of stars and dark sky activity", including a "Sky Guide" feature which can pinpoint constellations. The Multiple Exposure feature takes multiple shots and combines them for better photos. In the Camera Assistant app, new options (also available from the main camera app) let you customize which features are active. Features you can now disable this way include: Auto lens switching, Auto HDR, Soften pictures, Video recording in Photo mode, and Faster shutter. You can also now choose how many photos are taken in timer mode, and how long before the camera app times out. Separately, a new feature for Galaxy devices called Maintenance Mode lets you essentially create a temporary guest account on your phone that repair staff can use to diagnose issues and verify repairs. This keeps your private data and apps locked. When your device is returned to you, you confirm your identity to exit Maintenance Mode, which wipes the temporary account (and any apps downloaded during repair), returning your device to its previous state.
Google has announced a variety of new features for Messages, its messaging app for Android based on the RCS industry standard.
- In addition to correctly displaying certain emoji reactions from iPhone users over SMS, Messages will now let you send reactions to SMS messages sent by iPhone users, and display them correctly on the Android side.
- Another new feature will you reply to a specific message in an RCS thread, so it's clear what you're replying to in a busy conversation.
- Google will also bring Voice Message Transcription to more phones. Originally announced for the new Pixel 7 series, the feature can present an audio message as text, for situations where it might be difficult or inappropriate to listen to the audio. The feature is coming to the Pixel 6 series as well as the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Fold 4.
- The app will now make even more pro-active intelligent suggestions based on your activity. These include birthday and anniversary reminders; prompts to "star" messages that appear to contain important info like addresses, door codes, and phone numbers; and shortcuts to make calls or add things to your calendar when receiving relevant messages.
- You will now be able create your own reminders without leaving the app. "Remind yourself to call Mom on her birthday, or [to] schedule that appointment during regular business hours."
- The app can now play YouTube videos without leaving Messages.
Verizon is now offering the "enterprise-ready" Samsung Galaxy XCover6 Pro to business customers for as little as $50. The full price is $600, but a two-year agreement brings that down to $300, and an instant discount (available through the end of this year) brings that down to $50.
Samsung has revealed the design and key features One UI 5, the company's own spin on Android for its Galaxy phones. Besides a design refresh (including an iOS-like lock screen), several key features have been added. Bixby Text Call lets you participate in a phone call by typing text, which the phone converts to audio. The feature is designed for environments where a phone call would be difficult or not allowed, such as a loud concert, theater, or library. One UI 5 also includes a new video wallpaper function. Widgets can now be stacked, enabling fewer, tidier home screens. The software also makes it easy to extract text from images and paste that text elsewhere.
Samsung will bring its newest rugged phone for enterprise customers — the Galaxy XCover6 Pro — to the US next month. The XCover6 Pro replaces the original XCover Pro, which launched with AT&T in late 2020. The XCover6 Pro has a wide range of features designed to appeal to business users in a wide variety of industries. Compared to the original, it sports (sub-6) 5G, a larger 6.6-inch FHD display, a better main camera, and better durability thanks to Gorilla Glass Victus+. Like the original, it has a durable, waterproof body, replaceable 4,050 mAh battery, side fingerprint reader, 8 megapixel wide-angle camera, expandable storage, and a headset jack. The new model is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chip paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. It supports Wi-Fi 6E as well as NFC designed to support the phone's use as a PoS (Point of Sale) payment terminal. The main camera is now 50 megapixel and supports "enterprise-grade" barcode scanning. The display is designed to work with gloved and/or wet fingers, and the phone has a "significant increase" in maximum speaker volume when using VoIP apps. It supports fast charging, including via pogo pins (for use with a dock). It also supports Samsung DeX for "PC-like productivity out in the field or in a vehicle". Samsung is providing industry-leading OS support for the XCover6 Pro at four OS upgrades and five years of security updates. Samsung did not announce which US carriers would offer the XCover 6 Pro, only that "select carriers" would offer it in the US starting Oct. 20th. Both AT&T and Verizon offered the original model, although the version approved by the FCC recently seems better suited to AT&T's network, including support for AT&T's new 3.45 GHz mid-band spectrum.