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Here's What U.S. Carriers are Charging for the Samsung Galaxy Note9

Friday, 8:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

All the major carriers in the U.S. plan to sell the Samsung Galaxy Note9 when it becomes available August 24. Each has a different offer on hand to entice consumers to buy the phone.

  • AT&T: AT&T is asking customers to pay $33.34 per month for 30 months for the $999.99 128 GB version of the Note9. For a limited time, customers who buy the Note9 can get a second Note9 or Galaxy S9/S9+ for free when the phones are financed on an installment plan.
  • Sprint: Sprint customers can get the Note9 for half off for a limited time, which puts monthly payments on the Sprint Flex Lease at $20.83. Customers who opt for the Galaxy Forever plan can upgrade to a new phone after completing 12 monthly payments. Sprint's deal includes the AKG headphones and/or Fortnite V-bucks.
  • T-Mobile: The Uncarrier is asking customers to make a downpayment of $280 for the 128 GB Note9 and then pay $30 per month for 24 months. The 512 GB Note9 will require a $530 down payment followed by 24 months of payment at $30 each. For a limited time, T-Mobile is offering 50% off the price with a qualifying Samsung trade-in. The price will be reduced via the monthly payments.
  • U.S. Cellular: The carrier is offering $150 in bill credits to those who buy the Galaxy Note9 with a new line of service.
  • Verizon Wireless: Big Red is asking for $41.66 per month for 24 months for the 128 GB model and $52.08 per month for 24 months for the 512 GB model. For a limited time, customers who initiate a new line of service and buy one Note9 on a monthly plan can score a free 128 GB Note9, or Galaxy S9/S9+. Verizon's deal includes the AKG headphones and/or Fortnite V-bucks.


YouTube Highlights Phones with the Best Screens for Video

Friday, 7:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube has begun to recognize what it calls Signature Devices, or phones that deliver the best-in-class experience for YouTube content. YouTube says these phones have the latest technology and provide optimal viewing. In order to qualify as a Signature Device, a phone must include features such as high dynamic range, 4K, 360 video, reliable DRM performance, and a high frame rate. YouTube says it has worked with select manufacturers to verify a handful of Signature Devices. They include the new Samsung Galaxy Note9, as well as the S8, S8+, Note8, S9, and S9+; the LG V30 and G7 ThinQ; the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium, XZ2, and XZ2 Compact; the HTC U12+; the Huawei Mate 10 Pro; the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S and Mi 8; the HMD Global Nokia 8 Sirocco; the OnePlus 6; and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. People who own these devices don't need to do anything in order to enjoy a good YouTube experience. YouTube will add devices to the list over time.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Watch

Thursday, 12:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung debuted a new smartwatch in Brooklyn called the Galaxy Watch. This Tizen-based wearable has a classier air about it when compared to last year's Gear S3. Here are our first thoughts about Samsung's latest smart device.

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Samsung Signs New Partnership with Spotify

Aug 9, 2018, 11:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung devices will feature Spotify as the default music service moving forward thanks to a new partnership between the two companies. Samsung Galaxy phone owners will be guided through the process of signing up for Spotify out of the box. People will be able to access Spotify not only on their phones, but also Samsung’s tablets, smart TVs and other products. The service supports seamless listening as people move about their day, transitioning between devices at home, on the road, or in the office. Samsung didn’t say if Spotify will be preloaded on the Galaxy Note9.


Samsung Shows Off Galaxy Home, a Bixby-Powered Speaker

Aug 9, 2018, 10:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today unveiled a smart speaker for the home. The Galaxy Home is powered by Bixby and Samsung’s Smart Hub technology. Speaking the “Hi Bixby” catchphrase wakes the speaker thanks to eight microphones. It can handle requests, such as accessing playlists and controlling smart home technology. There are multiple speakers and a built-in subwoofer for rich sound. It relies on natural sound processing to produce a stereo effect. Samsung said more information about Galaxy Home will be shared during the Samsung developer conference later this year.


Samsung Debuts New Galaxy Watch with Multi-Day Battery

Aug 9, 2018, 10:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 12:26 PM

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Watch. It includes the company’s signature circular, rotating bezel. It comes in two sizes, 42mm and 46mm in rose gold, silver, and black. The Galaxy Watch is powered by a Samsung-made Exynos processor and it comes with 4 GB go storage. The wearable is water resistant (for swimming) and is rugged for protection from drops and other abuse. One variant will come with LTE for constant connectivity. Samsung says it is compatible with most worldwide LTE bands. The company says the new low-power architecture of the processor helps the battery last much longer, up to several days on a single charge. The watch can charge wirelessly. The 46mm Watch has a 472mAh battery and the 42mm Watch has a 270mAh battery. Samsung is targeting health and fitness with the watch. New stress management tools can monitor heart rate to establish a baseline and then offer a breathing guide when it senses that the wearer is stressed. The watch is designed to make workouts easier to track, and can handle 39 different exercises, 6 of which can be detected automatically. The watch also tracks sleep. All three of these work together to monitor and manage health. Samsung says the phone is compatible with most normal watch straps, and it has access to 60,000 watch faces via the software. The Galaxy Watch will go on sale in select markets August 24. The Bluetooth-only model costs $330, while the LTE model costs $350.


All Major U.S. Carriers to Sell Galaxy Note9

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Preorders for the Samsung Galaxy Note9 kick off on August 10. The 128 GB capacity variant will be available in blue and lavender from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S Cellular, and Xfinity for $999.99. Samsung will sell an unlocked version of the phone on its web site. The device will also be available from Amazon, Best Buy, CostCo, Sam’s Club, StraightTalk Wireless, Target, and Walmart. The 512 GB model will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless, but not Sprint for $1,249.99 The Galaxy Note9 streets August 24.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy Note9

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's new flagship is here, and it's an enormous piece of hardware. The Galaxy Note9 showcases Samsung's best in terms of technology and design. With a bigger screen, bigger battery, and fancy S Pen features, the Note9 is vying to be the productivity and creativity champ. Here are our first impressions.

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Samsung Offering Free Headphones for Note9 Preorders

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

People who preorder the Samsung Galaxy Note9 from Samsung directly will be able to score a pair of free headphones. The noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones come from AKG and have a retail value of $299. Samsung didn’t indicate how long the headphon offer will be available. Preorders for the Galaxy Note9 stat August 10 and the phone goes on sale August 24.


Samsung Debuts New Dual Wireless Charger

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced a new wireless charging accessory that can charge two devices at the same time. It incorporates two separate charging pads, one upright and one laying down, so people can charge their Galaxy phone, such as the new Note9, and another device. The Galaxy Duo comes in black or white. It goes on sale August 10. Pricing wasn’t immediately announced.


Samsung Galaxy Phones First to Gain Access to Fortnite

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung said a handful of its Galaxy phones will the the first to be able to download and play the popular game Fortnite. Samsung said the game will be made available to the new Galaxy Note9 as well as all Galaxy S and Note phones from the 2016-era S7 and up. This includes the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, S9, S9+, as well as the Tab S3 and Tab S4. The game will not be distributed by the Google Play Store directly; instead, the game will be available via the Samsung Game Launcher app. People who preorder the Galaxy Note9 will be able to score 15,000 Fortnite V-Bucks for in-game purchases. Those not interested in Fortnite can opt for a free pair of AKG Bluetooth headphones instead.


Samsung Galaxy Note9 Touts AI-Assisted Camera, Big Battery, Refreshed S Pen

Aug 9, 2018, 10:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Note9, its premiere flagship phone for the year. The Note series has always featured Samsung's newest technology, a big screen, and a stylus. This year, Samsung iterated on the design of the Note8 while introducing new camera and stylus capabilities. The Note9 is a nearly all-glass device with curved panels on the front and back. A thin metal frame supports the chassis. The Super AMOLED screen has been stretched to 6.4 inches at quad HD+ resolution (2,960 x 1,440). The U.S. variant of the phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. Samsung says it has boosted the performance of the 845's GPU with a new algorithm, a water carbon coolant, and a larger heat sink to get every bit of power for games. The phone will come with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, or 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage with support for an additional 512 GB via the microSD slot. The phone adopts the camera setup from the Galaxy S9+. The main, wide-angle sensor is 12 megapixels and includes a variable aperture that can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4. The secondary telephoto lens has a 12-megapixel sensor at f/2.4. Both include OIS. Samsung is introducing a dash of artificial intelligence thanks to the Snapdragon 845. The camera can recognize 20 different scenes and adjust the settings automatically for the best shot (similar to the Huawei P20 Pro and LG V35s). It also has flaw detection and can manage things such as blinking, lens smudging, and image blur. The front camera has an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus at f/1.7 for better low-light selfies. Samsung has improved the S Pen. It now includes Bluetooth Low Energy and can act as a remote control for select apps, such as the camera to take a picture or PowerPoint to advance a presentation. The phone stores a 4,000mAh battery that Samsung says will last all day. It runs Android 8 Oreo. The battery supports rapid charging and rapid wireless charging. The Note9 will include a Cat 18 LTE modem with 4x4 MIMO, carrier aggregation, and LAA for theoretical download speeds up to 1.2 Gbps. Other radios include dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and GPS. The phone is rated IP68 for protection against water, it includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, and stereo speakers tuned by AKG. Samsung repositioned the fingerprint reader on the rear surface so it is easier to reach. The Note9 will be sold in blue with a yellow S Pen and lavender with a purple S Pen. Preorders start August 10 and the device will go on sale August 24. The 128 GB model costs $999.99 and the 512 GB model costs $1,249.99.


Samsung Galaxy S7 Susceptible to Meltdown Attacks

Aug 8, 2018, 8:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a serious security flaw, according to researchers from Austria’s Graz Technical University. A microchip security issue leaves the S7 open to Meltdown attacks. Meltdown takes advantage of a CPU tool called speculative execution, which allows processors to predict where instructions will travel. Hackers could use certain techniques to manipulate speculative execution in order to access privileged memory, such as that of the kernel. Meltdown and a similar vulnerability called Spectre were discovered to impact devices from a wide range of manufacturers late last year and early this year. "There are potentially hundreds of million of phones out there that are affected by Meltdown and may not be patched because the vendors themselves do not know," said the researchers. They plan to look at devices from other phone makers to see if other models are impacted by the flaw. Samsung claims to have plugged the Meltdown security hole in patches issued in January and again in July. "Samsung takes security very seriously and our products and services are designed with security as a priority," said the company. There are no known cases of Meltdown being used to attack the Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 was first released in 2016 and is used by about 30 million people, according to Strategy Analytics.


MetroPCS Rolls Out Some Smartphone Deals

Aug 2, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS today kicked off several promotions meant to encourage people to sign up for its service. To start, MetroPCS is offering those who switch a $200 discount that can be applied toward the purchase of a new phone. Some phones, including the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime, LG Stylo 4, Moto E5 Plus, and iPhone SE, would be effectively free after the $200 discount. This deal requires users to subscribe to MetroPCS' Unlimited LTE plan. Second, customers who buy one iPhone can earn a $200 rebate toward the purchase of a second iPhone of equal or lesser value. This promo is good for new and existing customers. Customers who switch to MetroPCS can buy the iPhone 6 for $49. Last, customers who bring their own device to MetroPCS will receive a free month of service. These deals are available online and in stores.


Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Gain 'Frozen' AR Emoji

Jul 31, 2018, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has made new AR emoji stickers available to its Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones. Owners of these devices can download an AR pack that contains characters from Disney's movie "Frozen," including Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff. The S9/S9+ launched with access to several core Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck, and later added characters from The Incredibles. AR emoji allow people to animate cartoon characters using their own face in coordination with the front-facing camera. The new AR Emoji are free to download from Samsung through the camera application.


Samsung Teases Note 9's Long Battery Life

Jul 26, 2018, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today posted a teaser video that suggests its forthcoming Galaxy Note 9 phone will offer users extended battery life. The video portrays the stress and worry created by a nearly dead phone battery and goes on to say "a lot can change in a day." Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy Note 9, what it calls "the only device you need to manage work, play and everything in between," at an event scheduled for August 9 in New York.


Samsung Creates 'Unbreakable' Display Panel for Phones

Jul 25, 2018, 7:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung Display today said it has developed an unbreakable smartphone panel, and that the panel has been certified by the Underwriters Laboratories. The flexible OLED panel has an unbreakable substrate and an overlay window adhered to the front, says Samsung. The Underwriter's Laboratory said the panel surpasses military specifications. It handled repeated drops from 1.2 meters onto all edges, as well as extreme high (169F) and low (-26F) temperatures. The display panel was also dropped from 1.8 meters with no damage. Samsung Display says the OLED panel can be used on smartphones, in-car displays, military devices, portable game consoles, and tablets. "The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass," said Samsung Display's Hojung Kim. Samsung did not say when the unbreakable OLED panel will reach devices. Samsung is expected to announce its next flagship phone, the Galaxy Note 9, at an event in early August.


Google Brings YouTube VR to Samsung’s Gear VR Headset

Jul 25, 2018, 12:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said YouTube VR is available on more platforms and devices. For example, owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S devices and the accompanying Samsung Gear VR headset can now download YouTube VR from the Oculus store and experience YouTube VR on their existing headset. A new “watch together” icon now appears in YouTube VR, allowing multiple people to enjoy and comment on VR clips at the same time. The communal space is supported by Google’s DayDream VR and Samsung’s Gear VR viewers. Last, Google says more creators are sharing content via YouTube VR, such as Olympic athletes and daredevils. Support for Samsung Gear and the new watch together feature are rolling out this week.


Samsung AR Emoji To Gain More Customization, Better Motion

Jul 24, 2018, 9:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is updating AR Emoji on the Galaxy S9 and S9+ so that the feature works better. To start, AR Emoji will give people new control over the shape of their face. Samsung says users will be able to make more detailed adjustments to their AR Emoji’s hair, ears, and facial features, as well as fine-tune eyes, nose, lips, and cheeks. Samsung says AR Emoji will include more facial tracking points, too, which means the animated characters will offer smoother, more accurate movement when users interact with the AR Emoji. The updated AR Emoji tool is rolling out to S9 and S9+ devices over the next few days.


Samsung's 8 Gb LPDDR5 DRAM Module Targets Mobile Artificial Intelligence

Jul 17, 2018, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced what it says is the first 10nm 8 Gb LPDDR5 DRAM module for mobile devices. The new memory chip can push data at 6,400 Mbps, or 50% faster than current chips. The DRAM module can operate in two bandwidths to aid in compatibility with circuit designs. The module makes its gains by doubling the number of memory bank subdivisions from eight to 16, which lets it run faster while also using 30% less power. Samsung claims the 10nm 8 Gb LPDDR5 DRAM module will assist with mobile artificial intelligence and 5G applications. The company has finalized testing of the chip and will begin manufacturing it in its home market of Korea for devices as needed.


Verizon and Verizon Prepaid Offering Samsung Galaxy J3

Jun 29, 2018, 12:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 29, 2018, 12:12 PM

Verizon Wireless today added the Samsung Galaxy J3 to its lineup of postpaid and prepaid phones. The Galaxy J3, announced earlier this month, has a 5-inch HD display, 8-megapixel main camera at f/1.9, and a 5-megapixel selfie cam at f/2.2. The J3 has a 2,600mAh battery and includes Android 8 Oreo, 2 GB of memory, 16 GB of storage, Bluetooth 4.2, and WiFi. It is powered by an octa-core Exynos processor. This phone includes Samsung's Easy Mode UI skin for bigger fonts and icons and offers the Bixby Home app for learned recommendations. The phone is available as the Galaxy J3 V via Verizon's postpaid service for $168, or $7 per month. It is available as the Galaxy J3 3rd Gen via Verizon's prepaid service for $124.


Apple and Samsung Settle Their Lengthy Patent Suit

Jun 27, 2018, 2:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and Samsung today said they have reached a settlement in their ongoing fight over patents. The two companies began filing litigation against one another in 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of copying its designs. In 2012 a jury award Apple with $1 billon, finding that Samsung willfully copied Apple's designs. The reward has been whittled down to $539 million in subsequent appeals, most recently in May. The companies have already settled other claims made after 2012. Terms of the deal concerning the 2011 patent suit between Apple and Samsung were not disclosed.


Samsung ISOCELL Plus Camera Sensor Captures Color More Accurately

Jun 27, 2018, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today introduced an update to its CMOS sensors called ISOCELL Plus. ISOCELL sensors work by placing a physical barrier between pixels to prevent light and color from bleeding between them. In Samsung's existing sensors, this barrier is made out of metal. The new ISOCELL Plus sensors put a new material made by Fujifilm to use, which Samsung says minimizes optical loss and light reflection. The end result is better color, better low-light performance, and sharper photos. Samsung claims the new sensor improves light sensitivity by 15% while also delivering higher color fidelity. The new material also allows Samsung to create pixels as small as 0.8 micrometers, which can help when designing super-resolution sensors with over 20 megapixels. This allows more pixels to fit in a smaller space. Samsung is showcasing the technology this week. It didn't say how soon ISOCELL Plus technology will reach its phones.


Apple, Samsung Support Digital Key for Unlocking Cars with Phones

Jun 21, 2018, 10:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Car Connectivity Consortium this week announced release 1.0 of its Digital Key specification, which will let people use their phone to unlock their car. The spec supports the ability to lock, unlock, start, and share access to cars from smartphones and other devices. The underlying technology makes it possible for carmakers to securely transmit a digital key to a mobile device, which then makes use of NFC and a secure element to provide vehicle access. The Car Connectivity Consortium says it has lots of support from both phone and car makers. Some of the member companies include Apple, Audi, BMW, Continental, Gemalto, GM, LG, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Volkswagen. The CCC is already working on release 2.0, which it expects will arrive during the first quarter of 2019. The group didn't say how long before consumers can expect to see the technology gracing their local automobile showroom.


FreedomPop's Unreal Mobile MVNO Launches with $10 Plan

Jun 20, 2018, 10:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 21, 2018, 1:01 PM

Unreal Mobile officially launched today after signing up some 50,000 beta users over the last month. Unreal Mobile is a new MVNO from FreedomPop. It is offering unlimited service that includes a VPN, mobile ad blocking, and the ability for customers to use their Unreal phone number on tablets, phones, and computers. All three Unreal service plans include unlimited talk, text, and 2G data. The entry-level plan costs $10 per month and includes 1 GB of LTE, while the $15 plan includes 2 GB and the $30 plan includes 5 GB. The MVNO also lets subscribers carry unused data over to the next month and offers live support. The first three phones being sold by Unreal are the Alcatel Dawn for $50, a certified pre-owned Samsung Galaxy S6 for $150, and a pre-owned iPhone 7 for $300. The carrier says customers will be able to bring their own phone later this summer. Consumers interested in Unreal Mobile can sign up via Unreal's web site.


Samsung Brings the Gold Galaxy S9 and S9+ to the US

Jun 20, 2018, 8:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ phones will be available in gold starting June 24. The company announced the new color last month, but initially said it would be limited to other markets. The gold color joins the red, black, blue, gray, and purple hues that are already available. Samsung says the gold S9/S9+ will only be sold at Best Buy stores, BestBuy.com, and Samsung.com. Pricing for starts at $720 for the gold S9 and $840 for the gold S9+.


Samsung Brings More Disney Emoji to Galaxy S9

Jun 19, 2018, 6:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has made new AR emoji stickers available to its Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones. Owners of these devices can download an AR pack that contains Disney's Daisy Duck and Goofy. The S9/S9+ launched with access to several core Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, and later added characters from The Incredibles. AR emoji allow people to animate cartoon characters using their own face in coordination with the front-facing camera. The new AR Emoji are free to download from Samsung.


3GPP Approves Spec for Standalone 5G New Radio

Jun 14, 2018, 12:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The 3GPP today ratified another piece of the 5G specification, termed the Standalone 5G New Radio, or SA 5G NR. This spec is for 5G networks that are developed on their own, apart from legacy or pre-existing networks. The Non-Standalone portion of the 5G spec was ratified late last year and covers 5G that hooks into existing LTE 4G systems. "The freeze of Standalone 5G NR radio specifications represents a major milestone in the quest of the wireless industry towards realizing the holistic 5G vision," said Balázs Bertényi, chairman of 3GPP RAN. "5G NR Standalone systems not only dramatically increase the mobile broadband speeds and capacity, but also open the door for new industries beyond telecommunications that are looking to revolutionize their ecosystem through 5G." The SA 5G NR and the NSA 5G NR standards will together include the technology used by commercial entities, the air interface, and end users. The spec was approved by more than 600 delegates from the world's leading carrier, handset, and silicon vendors. Some participants included AT&T, DISH, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Kyocera, LG, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, SoftBank/Sprint, Sony, Verizon, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The 3GPP said the technical specifications for the ratified SA 5G NR will be published in the days ahead.


AT&T-Run FirstNet More Generally Available to First Responders

Jun 11, 2018, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said fire, medical, police, and other first responders now have more access to its FirstNet network. FirstNet has been available for purchase by agencies, but hasn't been directly sold in stores. Beginning today, any verified first responder can walk into one of AT&T's 5,300 retail shops and initiate service with a new device. The retail availability of FirstNet will be a boon to first responders who volunteer and/or aren't issued communications devices by their agency or local government. A fairly wide number of phones are compatible with FirstNet, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, S8 Active, Note 8, S9, S9 Plus, and J3; Apple iPhone 6/Plus, 6s/Plus, 7/Plus, 8/Plus, and X; LG V35 ThinQ; Motorola Moto G6 Play; Sonim XP5S and XP8; BlackBerry KEYone; and the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router. The public safety network is available nationwide in its own, reserved spectrum (Band 14). First responders may also sign up for FirstNet service using AT&T's web site.


Samsung Rounds Out Entry-Level Roster with Galaxy J7 and Galaxy J3

Jun 7, 2018, 2:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 7, 2018, 3:39 PM

Samsung today announced the Galaxy J7 and Galaxy J3, simple phones that offer basic functionality at affordable price points. Shared features include Android 8 Oreo, 2 GB of memory, 16 GB of storage, Bluetooth 4.2, and WiFi. The international configuration of these phones ship with Samsung Exynos processors on board, but U.S. versions will likely swap for Qualcomm processors.

  • Galaxy J7: The larger of the two phones (top) features a 5.5-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera at f/1.7 for better low-light photography, and a 13-megapixel front camera at f/1.9. Samsung says the phone has a large 3,300mAh battery for all-day use.
  • Galaxy J3: The smaller of the two phones (bottom) has a 5-inch HD display, 8-megapixel main camera at f/1.9, and a 5-megapixel selfie cam at f/2.2. This phone also includes Samsung's Easy Mode UI skin for bigger fonts and icons. The J7 has a 2,600mAh battery.
Both devices include the Samsung Knox security suite. Pricing and availability was not disclosed. Samsung said carrier variants will be announced at a later date.


Memoji Lets iPhone Users Make their Own, Self-Styled Animoji

Jun 4, 2018, 1:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 4, 2018, 2:49 PM

iOS 12 will make iMessage more fun, says Apple, thanks to the addition of Memoji. Similar to the way Samsung's AR Emoji work, the iOS 12 Memoji will let people customize an animated emoji sticker that resembles their face. It offers lots of tools for customizing hair color and style, eye color, accessories such as glasses, and much more. The tool works natively with iMessage and the new FaceTime app so people can dress up their conversations in real-time. The Memoji are animated just like Animoji. This lets people record short clips of their Memoji for sharing with others. The new Memoji will arrive with iOS 12 later this year.


China Investigating Memory Chipmakers

Jun 4, 2018, 8:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Chinese government has launched an investigation into several U.S. and Korean chipmakers, according to the Wall Street Journal. It has visited the offices of U.S.-based Micron Technology, as well as Korea's Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. The matter under investigation has not yet been disclosed by the Chinese authorities. All three firms make DRAM modules, which are used in electronic devices such as phones. DRAM prices have risen in recent years, which has had the effect of making certain China-made devices more expensive. Micron, Samsung, and SK Hynix confirmed that their offices were visited by authorities, but did not otherwise comment on the matter.


Unicode 11 with Dozens of New Emoji Arrives June 5

Jun 1, 2018, 11:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

New emoji are coming to a phone near you, eventually. Unicode 11.0, which was finalized in February, will be released on June 5, according to Emojipedia. Some of the new options will let men and women emoji select from various hair styles (including red-haired and bald), while new hero and villain styles support new gender and skin tone options. There are new colors available for leg, foot, bone, and tooth emoji; new animals such as badgers, swans, peacocks, and llamas; new food such as mangos, leafy greens, and moon cakes; and many new places, activities, games, objects, and symbols. Support for Unicode 11.0 will be gradual. For example, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft are expected to adopt Unicode 11.0 between June and August, while Google and Apple likely won't add Unicode 11.0 to Android and iOS, respectively, until September or October. Phone makers such as Samsung may not adopt Unicode 11.0 until January or February of next year.


ARM's Cortex A76 Core Relies On 7nm Process for Speed and Efficiency Gains

May 31, 2018, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

ARM today announced a new series of processors cores for mobile devices that it says will increase performance without impacting battery life. The new Cortex A76 processor core is built using a 7nm process that ARM says delivers a 35% boost in speed and a 40% improvement in efficiency when compared to its previous 10nm core. The A76 generates a 4x increase in compute performance for artificial intelligence and machine learning. ARM also announced the Mali G76 GPU to improve gaming across a variety of device form factors. The G76 boosts speed and efficiency by 30%. Last, ARM announced the Mali V76 video processor. This chip is dedicated to pushing 8K video at 60fps, or four concurrent 4K video streams at 60fps. ARM designs processor cores. It is up to companies such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and Huawei to include them in their system-on-a-chip modules for mobile devices. The A76/G76 pair could, for example, serve as the heart of a Snapdragon or Exynos processor. None of these companies has publicly announced yet that they'll use the ARM Cortex A76.

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Galaxy S9 and S9+ Gain More AR Emoji from Samsung

May 31, 2018, 1:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

People who own the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+ now have access to twice as many AR Emoji stickers. Samsung today pushed an update to the My Emoji Maker tool in its camera app, allowing people to make use of 36 custom AR Emoji. The AR Emoji are created based on the face of the owner. Once users record their face, the phone generates 36 animated stickers that can be shared via messaging apps. Samsung said it will add another 18 AR Emoji later this year, making for an eventual total of 54. The AR Emoji are available from the Samsung keyboard application and the gallery. The updates to My Emoji Maker is free to download from the Galaxy Apps Store.


T-Mobile Trots Out Thirteen BOGO Offers for Summer

May 30, 2018, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today rolled out a big BOGO deal that sees the company offering free phones across a handful of brands. T-Mobile says the BOGO deal applies to the latest flagships from top-tier device makers including Apple, Samsung, and LG. Each brand has its own eligibility requirements, but there are some rules that apply to all the BOGO offers. First, customers can't mix and match brands, but they can mix and match models from the same brand. The second phone must be of equal or lesser value than the first. Both devices need to be financed on a T-Mobile equipment installment plan. Some of the offers include money back via prepaid card rebate while others are credited monthly on customer bills. T-Mobile customers get free access to Netflix, unlimited LTE on a T-Mobile One plan, T-Mobile Tuesday promos, GoGo in-flight WiFi on some domestic flights, and free data roaming in more than 140 countries. T-Mobile's summer BOGO deals will be available starting June 1.


Jury Says Samsung On the Hook for $539M Over Apple Designs

May 24, 2018, 7:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A California jury today decided that Samsung must pay Apple $539 million for copying its smartphone designs. The decision comes after a retrial concerning the amount of damages owed for the 2012 case that found Samsung guilty of infringing on Apple's design patents. A jury in that case initially awarded Apple $1.05 billion, though that amount was later reduced in subsequent appeals and hearings. The courts eventually decided to retry the damages portion of the case, as the original jury was improperly instructed on how to calculate damages. Samsung later paid Apple $399 million in December 2015. If today's award survives appeal, Samsung will owe Apple another $140 million to cover the entire $539 million figure. Apple said it was pleased with the outcome. "We believe deeply in the value of design," said the iPhone maker in a statement. "This case has always been about more than money." Samsung did not immediately say if it will appeal this latest decision, but it did say, "Today's decision flies in the face of a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in favor of Samsung on the scope of design patent damages. We will consider all options to obtain an outcome that does not hinder creativity and fair competition for all companies and consumers." Apple and Samsung eventually settled all outstanding lawsuits and patent fights other than this case.


Samsung's 'Incredibles' AR Emoji Stickers Now Available

May 23, 2018, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has made new AR emoji stickers available to its Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones. Owners of these devices can download an AR pack that contains characters from Disney's "The Incredibles" movies. The pack includes Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash, Jack-Jack, and Frozone. The S9/S9+ launched with access to several core Disney characters. The join the initial batch and Samsung says more are on the way. AR emoji allow people to animate cartoon characters using their own face in coordination with the front-facing camera. The new AR Emoji are free to download from Samsung.


Netflix Brings HDR Support to 3 More Phones

May 17, 2018, 8:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix has granted three newer phones the ability to stream HDR video. The latest devices include the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the Huawei P20 Pro, and the Sony Xperia XZ2. HDR content has more contrast than standard content, creating deeper blacks and brighter brights for a richer viewing experience. Other devices already able to access HDR playback on Netflix include the LG G6 and V30, Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ Premium, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note 8, and the Razor Phone.


Samsung Adds Gold and Burgundy to Galaxy S9/S9+ Range, But They Won't Reach the US

May 16, 2018, 7:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today introduced two new colors for its flagship Galaxy S9 and S9+ phones, gold and burgundy. The new colors join the red, black, blue, gray and purple hues that are already available. According to Samsung, the gold and burgundy colors are being reserved for select markets. Burgundy will reach Korea and China this month, with gold following in Australia, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam, in June.


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