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.
Google Fi has improved the international roaming offered with its plans, and improved overall iPhone compatibility. Google tripled its 5G coverage abroad, bumping the number of countries where users can roam on 5G from 26 to 39. (Full-speed 4G is available in over 200 countries.) Fi's Unlimited Plus plan has no extra roaming charges, so all your 50 GB of monthly full-speed data is available even overseas. Google also extended international 5G service to Samsung phones, instead of just its own Pixel phones. For iPhones, Google added international mobile hotspot and Wi-Fi calling, features that previously only worked with Android phones on Fi. Google Fi plan pricing remains unchanged.
Another affordable 5G phone from Samsung has launched in the US. AT&T has started online sales of the Samsung Galaxy A23 5G for $300, in both postpaid and prepaid channels. The A23 5G is a small step up from the A13 5G, which AT&T sells for $250. For that extra $50, you get a sharper FHD+ display instead of HD+, and an 8 megapixel selfie camera instead of 5 megapixel. It also adds a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera on the back, and is powered by a Snapdragon 695 chip instead of a MediaTek Dimensity 700. Other features and specs are similar, including a large 5,000 mAh battery, NFC, expandable storage, fingerprint reader, and a headset jack. AT&T's web site currently shows delivery dates starting Sept. 7th.
Samsung has announced its newest generation of foldable phones: the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Galaxy Z Flip4. Both have similar designs and features compared to their predecessors, with a slew of small updates and refinements across the board. Both have been updated with Qualcomm's newest, best Snapdragon chip: the 8+ Gen 1. Both also have upgraded main cameras that perform better in low light. Both have a "slimmer hinge", although the difference appears to be slight. Both are constructed from Armor Aluminum and Gorilla Glass Victus for durability, in addition to IPx8 water resistance.
- The Galaxy Z Flip4 has slightly slimmer bezels on the main display, a larger (3,700 mAh) battery, and 14% faster charging. The cover display has been enhanced with more functionality, including SmartThings home controls and Quick Shot in camera mode. Similarly, Flex Mode — when the phone is half-folded — now provides a special split-screen interface for more apps, particularly third-party social and video apps. Like the Z Flip3, it has dual 12 megapixel rear cameras, display refresh up to 120 Hz, mmWave 5G, and two-way wireless charging. Also like the Z Flip3, the Z Flip4 will start at $1,000 for the base model with 128 GB storage (and 8 GB RAM). A 256 GB version will also be available, as well as a new 512 GB option. It will come in Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, and Blue. On samsung.com, a Bespoke Edition will allow users to mix and match frame and cover colors in 75 different possible combinations.
- The Galaxy Z Fold4 is slightly lighter and more compact than the Z Fold3, while offering wider displays inside and out. The 7.6-inch main flexible display panel is brighter, 45% "stronger", and better hides the under-display camera. The main camera is upgraded to 50 megapixel, while the telephoto camera is now 10 megapixel instead of 12. The software has been overhauled thanks to Android 12L, Google's new version of Android optimized for foldable and large-screen devices exactly like this one. A new task bar floats at the bottom of the main display, and there are new options for split-screen multi-tasking and Flex Mode. Some apps can now be opened in two side-by-side instances of the same app. Other features and specs are similar to the Z Fold3, including the 6.2-inch HD+ AMOLED outer display with 120 Hz refresh, UWB, S Pen compatibility, 12 GB RAM, and two-way wireless charging. The Galaxy Z Fold4 will start at $1,800 with 256 GB storage. It will also be available 512 GB or a new 1 TB option. It will come in Graygreen, Beige, and Phantom Black, as well Burgundy exclusively from samsung.com.
Alongside its new foldable phones, Samsung has revealed its newest smartwatches and Bluetooth earbuds, each with significant engineering improvements. The new Galaxy Watch5 has a 13% larger battery and 60% more durable face compared to the Watch4. The new Galaxy Buds2 Pro are 15% smaller and filter out 40% more outside noise compared to the original Buds Pro. The company has also introduced an all-new "Pro" watch model.
- The Galaxy Buds2 Pro are not only smaller and block more outside noise, but improve comfort with improved air flow to reduce unwanted pressure, and a revised design to prevent rotation, helping them stay in the ear more securely. They also support 24-bit Hi-Fi audio, Bluetooth 5.3, and are "LE Audio ready". Misplaced buds can be located with SmartThings Find. They can also connect directly to the newest Samsung TVs. The buds alone provide up to eight hours of continuous music, or five when using ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). The charging case provides up to 30 hours total play time. The buds are made from 90% recycled plastic. The buds will cost $230 and come in three colors: Graphite, Bora Purple, and white.
- The new Galaxy Watch5 not only has a large battery, but 30% faster charging as well. The body sensors now make better contact with the skin for better accuracy, and are joined by a new temperature sensor. The watch no longer has a physically rotating bezel, but it is more durable, with an improved Sapphire Crystal glass face, Armor Aluminum case, IP68 water rating, and pressure resistance up to 5ATM. Updated software will support full navigation mode in Google Maps without a smartphone. Other features include an always-on Super AMOLED display, Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, and 16 GB of storage. The watch comes in two sizes: 40mm (with a 284 mAh battery) and 44mm (with a 410 mAh battery). Both sizes are available Graphite or silver, plus one other color; the smaller version is available in Pink Gold, while the larger one is available in Sapphire. All of these options are available with or without 4G LTE cellular. The LTE models start $330, while non-LTE models start at $280.
- The all-new Galaxy Watch5 Pro is similar to the larger Watch5, but with an even larger 590 mAh battery and a titanium case. It will come in black or gray, starting at $450 without LTE, or $500 with LTE.
Samsung has revealed the Galaxy XCover6 Pro, a new "enterprise-ready smartphone powerful enough to support today's most demanding businesses". Its rugged design carries an IP68 water and dust rating, and MIL-STD-810H certification for drops, altitude, humidity, immersion, salt fog, dust, and vibration. Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ protects the display, which is designed to work with gloves and wet fingers. The phone also has a removable 4,050 mAh battery, yet is only 9.9mm thick. The body includes two customizable shortcut buttons and POGO pins for dock charging. DeX support lets the phone offer a PC-like experience by connecting an external display, keyboard, and mouse. The phone comes with Android 12 plus four OS upgrades and five years of security updates. Specs include a 6.6-inch LCD display with 120 Hz refresh, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, NFC, and a fingerprint reader. It has 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, expandable via microSD card. The main camera 50 megapixel, paired with an 8 megapixel wide-angle camera and 13 megapixel front camera. North America is not in the list of markets where the phone is launching this July, but Samsung promises "availability expanding to other regions at a later date". A version has been approved by the FCC with excellent support for US 4G and (sub-6) 5G networks. AT&T has offered the XCover series in the past.
Arm has revealed 2022 Total Compute Solutions (TCS22), its next-generation CPU and GPU designs for mobile devices including phones, with a focus on improved mobile gaming performance. All-around performance of this year's solution is up to 28% better, with up to 16% power reduction. The new second generation Armv9 CPUs are designed to improve performance, efficiency, and scalability across the board, but "especially for gaming". Complementing those are a new range of Arm GPUs for advanced 3D graphics, including a new Immortalis brand for flagship GPUs that are even more powerful than the Mali line. The Immortalis-G715 is the first Arm GPU to offer hardware-based ray tracing support on mobile, while the new Mali-G715 supports Variable Rate Shading. The new Mali-G615 improves on the Mali-G610 and rounds out the lineup. All of the new GPUs offer a 15% performance improvement compared to the previous generation. On the CPU side, the new Arm Cortex-X3 delivers "a 25% performance improvement compared to the latest Android flagship smartphone". The new Cortex-A715 replaces the A710, offering 20% better energy efficiency and 5% better performance. For context, this matches the performance of the Cortex-X1. Meanwhile, an updated Cortex-A510 "little" core offers a 5% power reduction. A newly updated DSU-110 interconnect supports 50% more CPU cores (up to 12) and supports a high number of Cortex-X3 cores. With TCS22, Arm is also introducing two new security technologies to address memory safety vulnerabilities: Asymmetric Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) and Enhanced Privileged Access Never (EPAN). Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, and Google all use Arm's designs and technology as a starting point for their own processor chips that power essentially all of today's phones.
Samsung Electronics has announced a new camera sensor for phones with 200 megapixel resolution. While Samsung already makes 200 megapixel camera sensors, the new ISOCELL HP3 sensor has pixels that are 12 percent smaller, enabling "approximately 20 percent reduction in camera module surface area, allowing smartphone manufacturers to keep their premium devices slim." The sensor also has several cutting-edge features, including "Super QPD" auto-focus, where every group of four pixels can perform PDAF (phase-detection auto-focus) in both horizontal and vertical directions. The sensor also supports staggered HDR and a triple-ISO mode that can capture three different exposures at once, outputting 14-bit color depth. The sensor is designed to use pixel binning in most situations, and offers two different binning modes: combining four pixels into one for 50 megapixel output, or combining 16 pixels into one for 12.5 megapixel output. The Samsung ISOCELL HP3 is currently sampling, and "mass production is set to begin this year."
Dish has finally launched its own, from-scratch 5G Standalone (SA) network in "120+ Cities" spanning the US. The launch comes just hours before the FCC's deadline for the company to launch service covering 20% of the country. It's not immediately clear how much native coverage the network will provide in each city, but the company does provide customers with roaming service on other networks. Dish calls the network Project Genesis (sometimes written "Gene5is"), and the service "Smart 5G". Cities with service at launch include: Albuquerque, Boise, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Hartford, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Pueblo, Raleigh, Rochester, Salt Lake City, Spokane, Springfield, St. Louis, and Stockton. Dish currently appears to be offering only one phone option: the Samsung Galaxy S22 for $400 (50% off the usual price). This seems to be the phone of choice for 5G SA technology at the moment, as it's the same and only model that T-Mobile says is currently compatible with its new high-speed 5G SA service. Dish started offering commercial 5G SA service in launch city Las Vegas last month, after a beta period that started last September.
T-Mobile has successfully tested 5G triple carrier aggregation (NR CA) using 5G standalone (SA) and mid-band spectrum, achieving an impressive downlink data rate of 3 Gbps. Triple CA is not new, but non-standalone (NSA) 5G requires that one of those three carriers be slower 4G, limiting potential data speeds. SA mode allows all three carriers to be 5G, and two can even be in the same band. T-Mobile's band 41 mid-band spectrum is wide enough to allow that in some parts of the country. T-Mobile's test combined 100 MHz of band 41 (2.5 GHz) + another 90 Hz of band 41 + 20 Mhz of band 25 (1.9 GHz), for a total of 210 Hz of bandwidth. The test used a Samsung Galaxy S22, and customers with that phone can experience NR CA in some areas today. "This capability will expand across the Un-carrier's network and to additional devices in the near future."
T-Mobile has achieved commercial launch of VoNR (Voice over New Radio), the key technology that enables a phone to operate 100% on a 5G network, including voice calls, instead of relying on a 4G network. For now, the service is available only in limited areas of Portland, Oregon and Salt Lake City. But T-Mobile "plans to expand VoNR to many more areas this year." The initial launches of 5G were wholly dependent on a 4G network, making use of 5G only for specific data sessions. The launch of 5G SA (stand-alone) technology allowed phones to operate mostly on the 5G network when available, including when the phone is idle. T-Mobile launched this technology nationwide in 2020. But phones still need to switch to 4G for voice calls. VoNR addresses that last missing piece, enabling a "pure 5G" connection. For customers, the only difference for now will be faster set-up times at the start of voice calls. But the technology lays the foundation for "advanced capabilities like network slicing that rely on a continuous connection to a 5G core." Currently, the only T-Mobile phone with VoNR enabled is the Samsung Galaxy S21. But T-Mobile promises that more 5G phones will have the functionality enabled later this year, including the Samsung Galaxy S22.
Visible has added flagship Samsungs to the list of phones for which it supports activation via eSIM. New customers with a Samsung S22 series, S21 series, or Note20 series Samsung phone can now start mobile service with Visible "in as little as 15 minutes" by simply downloading the Visible app to sign up and activate their phone, with no physical SIM card required. Visible already supports eSIMs on newer Apple iPhones and Google Pixel phones. Visible says it has an "ongoing commitment to become a fully eSIM-based wireless carrier." Visible offers 5G service on the Verizon network, and the company is backed by Verizon.
Samsung Semiconductor has announced its first UFS 4.0 chips, which will provide internal storage for future phones that its both much faster and more power-efficient. The chips will be come in capacities up to 1 TB. UFS 4.0 offers a speed of up to 23.2 Gbps per lane, double that of UFS 3.1, the existing standard. Samsung will start mass production of the chips in the third quarter of this year.
While AT&T (and Cricket) already offers the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G, the company has confusingly just launched a very different model called the "Samsung Galaxy A13" (no 5G). Besides lacking 5G, most of the specs are also different, including the display, cameras, processor, RAM, and storage. Instead of a 6.5-inch HD+ display with 90 Hz refresh, it has a 6.6-inch FHD+ display with 60 Hz refresh. It also adds a 5 megapixel wide-angle camera, but the front camera is 8 megapixel instead of 32. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos chip instead of a MediaTek. The RAM goes from 4 to 3 GB and the storage takes a hit from 64 to 32 GB. Both models do share a 5,000 mAh battery and 50 megapixel main camera. For all the downgrades, the new 4G model is only $10 cheaper from Cricket ($160 instead of $170). From AT&T, the new 4G model is available with prepaid service for $190 ($95 with a new line), while the 5G model is available to prepaid and postpaid customers for $250.
Samsung will launch a self-repair option this summer for the company's most popular models, including the Galaxy S20 and S21 series. Customers will be able to order a kit that will let them replace their broken display assembly, back glass, or charging port themselves. The kits are being made in partnership with iFixit, and include genuine Samsung parts, repair tools, and intuitive, visual, step-by-step repair guides. The program also makes it easy to return used parts to Samsung for responsible recycling. Samsung plans to expand the program to more devices and repair types in the future.
Troomi — a phone and phone service designed specifically for kids as a safe introduction to phones — has introduced Remote Text Monitoring. Troomi phones are Samsung smartphones with Troomi's unique KidSmart OS. Parents can monitor and manage their kids' phones via the cloud-based Troomi Parent Portal, where parents can now view all texts and images sent and received by their children. KidSmart OS and the Parent Portal provide a number of expected features for this type of service, including real-time location tracking, remote activation of specific phone features, and the ability to control access to specific apps and contacts. A special web browser only allows access to white-listed web sites that are known to be safe for kids. A Troomi phone works with a Troomi service plan, which starts at $20/month for unlimited talk+text and 1 GB of data. Access to (curated) apps and the safe web browser requires a $30/month plan.
Samsung today fleshed out more of its 2022 lineup of affordable Galaxy A-series phones. The new Galaxy A73, A53, and A33 are nearly identical in design and features, differing only in a few display and camera specs. All three models have a full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with a thinner bezel. The A73 and A53 have 120 Hz display refresh, while the A33 is 90 Hz. The screen sizes are 6.7", 6.5", and 6.4", respectively. The A53 has a 64 megapixel main camera with OIS, 12 megapixel wide-angle camera, 5 megapixel macro camera, depth camera, and a 32 megapixel selfie camera. The A73 bumps the main camera up to 108 megapixel, while A33 steps down the resolution a bit with a 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, and 13 megapixel selfie camera. All three models have 5G, a large 5,000 mAh battery, 25-watt fast charging, expandable storage (up to 1 TB), and a fingerprint reader. The stereo speakers have been made louder and support Dolby Atmos. The body uses Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and provides IP67 water resistance. Samsung has brought some key camera features from its flagship phones to the A series for the first time, such as 12-frame night mode, auto frame rate for better low-light video, and enhanced portrait mode with better edge detection. The phones ship with Android 12 (Samsung One UI 4.1), and Samsung will offer an industry-leading four generations of major OS updates. Samsung calls the new design Ambient Edge; both the A33 and A53 (shown in photo) will be available in black, white, blue, and peach. Samsung also announced an A23 for markets outside the US that steps down the specs with 4G and an LCD display. Samsung isn't commenting on US launch details for the A73 and A33 just yet, but the Galaxy A53 will be available on March 31st at T-Mobile and Verizon, as well as AT&T and Samsung.com on April 1st. It will start at $450 and come with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB built-in storage. Pre-orders start today and are eligible to receive a pair of Galaxy Buds Live.
Samsung is starting to roll out its One UI 4.1 software to more phones, bringing new features to much of the company's lineup. The new features include Google Duo Live Sharing, grammar correction in the Samsung keyboard, and streamlined photo sharing. Samsung has also enhanced its Object Eraser for photos to intelligently handle shadows and reflections. Finally, the S21 series will gain access to the Expert RAW camera app, which gives users more manual control and a "DSLR-like experience". The update will be available first for the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3, followed by the S21 series and A series, followed by the S20 series, Z Fold, Z Flip, Note series, and S10 series.
Samsung was recently accused of limiting device performance ("throttling") for certain apps — but not benchmark apps — on recent Galaxy phones. Samsung says this is intended behaviour of its Game Optimizing Service, but will nonetheless provide new options for users to control these features.
Google announced that its "Material You" interface design — introduced with Android 12 and launched first on Pixel phones — will soon launch on phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and more. Specifically, these phones will all get the "dynamic color" feature, which automatically matches the user interface color scheme to your chosen wallpaper. This personalized color scheme applies not only to the system interface and Google apps, but also within third-party apps that have been fully updated for Android 12. The new Samsung Galaxy S22 series will ship with this feature, and a forthcoming software update will bring it to OnePlus phones such as the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Samsung today announced a new commitment to offering "up to four generations of One UI and Android OS upgrades" — as well as five years of security updates — on its premium smartphones. The company previously only promised three years of upgrades. This industry-leading commitment applies to the Galaxy S21 series (including the S21 FE), the new S22 series announced today, as well as the Z Fold3 and Z Flip3. The promise will also apply to future S- and Z-series devices.
Google and Samsung have announced a new "live sharing" feature of Duo, Google's video calling app. Much like Apple's new SharePlay in FaceTime, the feature lets people on a video call share specific experiences like watching a video. Live Sharing also supports Samsung Notes, Gallery, Google Maps, and Jamboard, Google's "digital whiteboard" app. The feature will be available first on the new Samsung Galaxy S22 series.
Samsung today announced its lineup of flagship phones for 2022: the Galaxy S22 series. The top-end S22 Ultra sees the biggest changes as it essentially absorbs Samsung's Note series with an integrated S Pen stylus and a more Note-like shape and design, instead of the Contour Cut design of the other models. Those two other models — the Galaxy S22 and S22+ — have a reconfigured camera system that's more like the Ultra models, with the main camera having extra resolution instead of the telephoto camera like last year. The main camera is 50 megapixel, plus a 12 megapixel wide-angle camera and 10 megapixel 3x tele camera. All three models have new Adaptive Pixel technology that captures both pixel-binned and non-binned images and merges them so users don't have to choose between high resolution and better low-light image quality. A new AI Stereo Depth Map feature delivers portrait shots with well-defined edges down to the hair level, and works with both people and pets. Auto Framing can track up to ten subjects at once and adjust focus and zoom to match. The S22 and S22+ are slightly smaller and lighter than their predecessors, with slightly smaller displays and batteries to match. All three models use the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 flagship chip from Qualcomm in their US variants. Other specs and features are mostly the same compared to last year's models, including 120 Hz AMOLED displays, 8K video capture, IP68 water rating, at least 8 GB RAM, ultrasonic fingerprint reader, and two-way wireless charging. Pricing and availability are also in line with last year.
- The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a slightly shorter and wider shape compared to last year, but the display still measures 6.8" diagonally, and the battery is still 5,000 mAh. The camera configuration and basic specs are the same, including a 108 megapixel main camera, dual telephoto cameras (10x and 3x), and a 40 megapixel front camera. An exclusive Expert RAW app provides a "DSLR-like experience" and lets you capture 16-bit RAW images using any camera. The OIS (optical image stabilization) has been improved with wider correction angles. The S Pen has 70% lower latency compared to the S21 Ultra. The S22 Ultra also supports up to 45W fast charging. The starting configuration still costs $1,200 and comes with 128 GB storage, but only comes with 8 GB RAM instead of 12 like last year. (Samsung made a similar tweak with the S21 and S21+ last year.) Step-up options come with 256 GB, 512 GB, or 1 TB of storage, all with 12 GB RAM. Color options are Phantom Black, Phantom White, green, and burgundy. Samsung will offer three additional colors exclusively through its web site: Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red.
- The Galaxy S22+ has a 6.6-inch display, 4,500 mAh battery, 45W fast charging, and Wi-Fi 6E. It's more durable thanks to a body made almost entirely of two new materials: Samsung's own Armor Aluminum, and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+. The S22+ starts at $1,000 for 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, with a 256 GB option also available. It will be available in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Pink Gold, and green. The samsung.com exclusive colors will be Graphite, Cream, Sky Blue, and Violet.
- The standard Galaxy S22 is smaller, with a 6.1-inch display and 3,700 mAh battery. Other differences compared to the S22+ include 25W fast charging, Wi-Fi 6 (not 6E), and no UWB. But it keeps everything else, including the same camera system and advanced materials. The color and storage options are also the same. It starts at $800.
A model previously rumored to have fallen victim to supply-chain issues, the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition) is finally coming to market this month. Samsung will use the new model as the more-affordable alternative to the forthcoming S22 series, rather than keep last year's flagship S21 models on the market at lower prices as the company has done in the past. This new strategy should help the company address ongoing supply-chain issues. Compared to the standard Galaxy S21 model, the new S21 FE has a larger display (6.4"), larger battery (4,500 mAh), and higher-resolution front camera (32 megapixel). It still achieves a lower price point with less RAM (6 GB), a less-capable telephoto camera (8 megapixel instead of 64), and an optical fingerprint reader instead of ultrasonic. It keeps "fan-favorite" features of the S21 series such as the Snapdragon 888 chip, 120 Hz display refresh, triple rear cameras (including wide and tele), IP68 water rating, wireless charging, fast charging, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It ships with Android 12 and the US version will support both sub-6 GHz and mmWave 5G. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE goes on sale January 11th for $700 (with 6 GB RAM + 128 GB storage). A version with 8 GB RAM + 256 GB storage will also be available, for $770. It will be available in four colors: lavender, white, olive, and graphite. AT&T, Cricket, Verizon, and US Cellular will carry the phone, and it will also be available directly from Samsung's web site. Verizon confirmed that it will offer all four colors and both memory options, starting January 11th.
Samsung has revealed that it sold more Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 phones in the first month of sales than all the foldable phones it sold in 2020. Samsung's total foldable phone shipments for 2021 were four times that of 2020.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy A13 5G, its most affordable 5G phone yet at $250. Typically, the two most affordable phones in Samsung's annual lineup are the A1x and A0x models, leaving the new Galaxy A03s as possibly the only model in Samsung's 2022 US lineup without 5G. Key features of the Galaxy A13 5G include a 50 megapixel camera, 90 Hz adaptive refresh display, 5,000 mAh battery, and NFC. It also has 15W fast charging, 64 GB of expandable storage, a fingerprint reader on the side, headset jack, macro camera, and depth camera. It's powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip. It launches this Friday with AT&T and on samsung.com. T-Mobile will also launch it in January. The Galaxy A03s will sell for just $159. It has "a long-lasting battery, triple camera system, and fingerprint security". It launches in January with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Samsung has completed the beta period of its One UI 4 software for Android and started rolling out the final version to its phones, starting with the Galaxy S21 series. One UI 4 is Samsung's customized version of Android 12, which was finalized and launched by Google last month. One UI 4 includes many key features of Android 12, including improved widgets, visible indicators when the camera and/or microphone are in use, and a new privacy dashboard in the settings area. The S21 series will get the update starting today, while recent S series, Z series, and A series phones will get the update "soon". This includes the S10 series and newer, Note10 series and newer, all Z series and Fold models, and the Ax2 series models, from the A42 and higher.
Samsung has announced a next-generation RAM chip that offers 1.3 time faster speeds while using 20% less power. This new type of RAM is called LPDDR5X, and the improvements are compared the best existing RAM technology for phones, LPDDR5. Samsung is the first company to announce chips based on the new LPDDR5X standard. LPDDR5X will offer data processing speeds of up to 8.5 gigabits per second (Gbps). Samsung's chip leverages a 14nm manufacturing process technology. The chip being announced is 16 Gb (gigabits), which is 2 GB (gigabytes). Samsung's multi-chip package technology will allow them to make parts that pack up to 64 gigabytes (GB) of this RAM into one physical component. AnandTech expects devices using these new chips to hit the market in 2023.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition today. For a $100 premium, Samsung will now let you choose your own frame color, as well as the outer cover glass colors. Samsung is offering five different colors for the outer cover glass (Blue, Yellow, Pink, White, or Black), which can be different for the top and bottom. You can also choose from black or silver for the metal frame. The Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition is available today from samsung.com, starting at $1099. Samsung also announced a future service to swap cover glass colors "for a fee" "later on".
Samsung's new Isocell HP1 camera sensor features 200 megapixel resolution. That unprecedented number of pixels enables several specific new capabilities. The most important is variable pixel binning, which Samsung calls "ChameleonCell". While existing high-res sensors are designed with a fixed pixel binning mode of either 2x2 or 3x3, the HP1 can switch between 4x4 binning (offering 12.5 megapixel output), 2x2 binning (offering 50 megapixel output), or no pixel binning for full 200 megapixel output. The 4x4 mode combines 16 pixels acting as one, for better low-light performance. The 2x2 mode enables, for the first time, the capture of 8K video while benefitting from pixel binning for better quality. The HP1 is small enough that it "fits comfortably in today's handheld devices". The Isocell HP1 is sampling to device makers now. Samsung's first 108-megapixel sensor was announced in August 2019 and ended up in Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra the following February.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 include a new "Protect battery" option that stops charging when the battery reaches 85%. The feature should extend the useful life of the battery over several years.
Samsung has partnered with The Commons Project to enable digital COVID vaccine passports within the Samsung Pay wallet. Vaccine passes must be set up via the CommonHealth app.
By the end of this year, apps such as Samsung Weather, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Theme will cease displaying ads. The change is in response to user feedback.
Samsung's third-generation foldable phones are slimmer, lighter, more durable, and more affordable. The Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3 both feature IPx8 water resistance as well as bodies crafted from a new "Armor Aluminum" material and Gorilla Glass Victus. The flexible displays inside use Samsung's Ultra Thin glass, but with updated protective layers that that are stronger and more durable. The displays now offer adaptive refresh up to 120 Hz, including on the cover display of the Z Fold3. The Z Flip3 now supports mmWave 5G, and has a 4x larger outer display. The Z Fold3 now supports Samsung's S Pen stylus. A standard S Pen for the Z Fold3 runs $50, while a new S Pen Pro for $100 supports other Samsung phones and supports remote-control and mid-air gesture features. The Z Fold3 also has Samsung's first under-display camera, on the main (inner) display. Both phones sport Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 888 chip. The two phones are otherwise similar to their predecessors in design and features, including camera specs. The Galaxy Z Flip3 will come with 8 GB RAM and 128 or 256 GB storage, starting at $1,000. It will be offered in cream, green, lavender, and matte black. Samsung's web site will also offer it in pink, grey, and white. The Galaxy Z Fold3 will come with 12 GB RAM and 256 or 512 GB storage, starting at $1,800. It will come in green, silver, and black. Pre-orders for both phones start today, with full availability August 27th. Pre-order customers get a credit of $150–200 to spend with Samsung on accessories, etc. All three national US carriers will offer both phones. Verizon is offering a Samsung Fold Cover and S Pen bundle for free with the Fold3 "while supplies last".
Samsung today announced new smartwatches and Bluetooth earbuds: the Galaxy Watch4 series and Galaxy Buds2. Both feature a long list of small improvements over their predecessors. The Galaxy Watch4 has a smooth, thin design similar to the old Galaxy Watch Active, with an aluminum body. The Galaxy Watch4 Classic steps up to stainless steel and adds a physically rotating bezel. Both are available with or without 4G LTE, and in two sizes. The Watch4 series now includes more and better Google apps, faster automatic workout recognition, more accurate calorie counts, better sleep tracking, a sharper always-on AMOLED display, faster charging, and a thinner body. A new "BioActive" sensor combines optical and electric heart sensors, plus Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, which offers body composition stats. The Watch4 series also has a Samsung Exynos processor that uses cutting-edge 5nm technology for greater efficiency. The Watch4 series is the first tangible fruit of a collaboration between Google and Samsung. The two companies have combined the best of their smartwatch technology to create "Wear OS Powered by Samsung". Samsung has added their own software on top of that called One UI Watch, which lets a Samsung phone, watch, and/or earbuds act intelligently as one system. Key settings and app installs are automatically synced between phone and watch. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds2 are 15% smaller and 20% lighter than their predecessor. They include ANC that can cut background noise "by up to 98%", and triple mics with beam-forming for clear outbound audio, enhanced with machine learning. The ambient audio feature is adjustable. The Galaxy Watch4 series starts at $250, or $300 with 4G LTE. The Watch4 Classic is $100 more. Pre-orders start today. The Buds2 are $150 and come in graphite, white, olive, and lavender. Both will hit stores August 27th.
Samsung today announced a number of specific features of its new smartwatch OS developed in collaboration with Google. That collaboration was first revealed at Google's I/O developer event last month. The new platform is based heavily on Google's WearOS, but will incorporate many technologies from Samsung's existing Tizen smartwatch software in order to deliver better performance, better battery life, and sensor readings that are both more accurate and more consistent. A new Samsung Galaxy smartwatch using the new software will be announced at an event "this summer". The watch will feature Samsung's One UI design to match the company's phone software. When users install an app on their phone that also has a watch version, the app will automatically be installed on their Galaxy watch as well. Certain data will automatically sync between phone and watch, such as world clocks and caller blocking. The watch will also support continuous heart rate tracking. Samsung has its own watch face design tool that it will release to Android developers later this year. Devloper APIs will continue to be Android-based, as with WearOS, and third-party apps will continue to be available via Google's Play Store. Samsung will continue to support its older, Tizen-based watches for three years from product launch date.
Google today announced a major revamp of its smartwatch platform, combining its existing WearOS with Samsung's Tizen, together with a new health and fitness platform from FitBit. Although Samsung will use the new platform in its future smartwatches, it will be available to other manufacturers as well. Google is redesigning all of its apps for the platform. Google promises apps that are 30% faster, better battery life, and enough efficiency to offer continuous heart rate monitoring 24/7. The platform will utilize the Google Play Store for third-party apps.
Samsung today launched a beta version of Galaxy Upcycling at Home, software that enables people to put old Galaxy phones to use as smart-home devices. Samsung's Upcycling program is an environmental one. "By offering consumers a way to upcycle their products with new features and alternative purposes, Samsung is helping to extend the lifecycle of its products while diverting its users from contributing to global e-waste." Two modes are available at launch: a Light Sensor and a smart Sound Sensor. The Light Sensor uses the phone's ambient light sensor to automatically turn on lights when the ambient light level goes below an adjustable threshold. The Sound Sensor is more sophisticated, using machine learning to detect specific sounds such as a baby crying, dog barking, cat meowing, or a knock. When selected sounds are detected, the user receives an alert on their primary phone, and can optionally listen to a recording of the sound. These features are available starting today through SmartThings Labs, a feature within Samsung's SmartThings app.
Samsung today announced the US launch of five new phones in the company's affordable Galaxy A series, including three 5G models. The Galaxy A32 5G will be the most affordable 5G model at just $280, and will be exclusive to T-Mobile (and Metro) at launch. Samsung is able to offer 5G at this prince thanks in part to the MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G chip in the A32 5G, whereas the two pricier 5G models use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G. Samsung announced the A32 5G and A52 5G a few weeks ago, but withheld US launch details at that time. The Galaxy A52 5G will run $500 and come to both AT&T and T-Mobile (including Metro). New is the Galaxy A42 5G, which is similar to the A32 5G but adds mmWave 5G for Verizon. It also swaps the 90 Hz LCD display for a 60 Hz Super AMOLED display, switches to an in-display (optical) fingerprint reader, and has double the storage at 128 GB. Most other keys specs are identical to the A32 5G. The A42 has a unique design on the back divided into four equal parts. Verizon starts selling the Galaxy A42 5G tomorrow for $400. All three 5G models will be available by the end of this week. The two more affordable 4G models are the A12 and A02s. We reported on the Galaxy A12 for AT&T on Monday. That model will also come to T-Mobile this week, and Verizon on April 29th. The most affordable model is the new Galaxy A02s (shown), "starting at" $110, although Verizon will sell it for $150 and T-Mobile says "Stay tuned for pricing details." The A02s has the same 6.5-inch HD display and huge 5,000 mAh battery as the A12, but with expected cost-trimming on the cameras (13 megapixel main and no wide-angle), processor (Snapdragon 450), and RAM (2 GB instead of 3). The A02s also loses NFC and the fingerprint reader, but keeps 15W fast charging, USB-C, memory card slot, and the headset jack. The A02s is distinguished by its textured design on the back, divided into sections diagonally. Verizon starts selling the A02s on April 29th; T-Mobile has yet to announce a launch date.
AT&T has started selling the Samsung Galaxy A12, a new entry-level phone, for $180. The A12 replaces the Galaxy A11 and has several upgrades, most notably a huge 5,000 mAh battery (up from 4,000) and the inclusion of NFC. The amount of RAM has also been bumped up to 3 GB and the processor is a MediaTek Helio P35. The main camera is 16 megapixel, a step down from the 48 megapixel sensor in the international version. The A12 also has wide-angle (5 megapixel), macro, and depth cameras. Other specs remain similar to the A11, including an 8 megapixel selfie camera, 6.5-inch HD display, 32 GB storage (expandable), fast charging, and a headset jack. Design-wise, the A12 switches to a notched display (from a corner hole-punch on the A11) and moves the fingerprint reader to the side of the phone. AT&T is currently only offering the phone in black, although red, white, and blue versions are available in other parts of the world. A new entry-level phone from Samsung is timely, as LG did well in this segment in the US. LG announced earlier today that it is leaving the phone business, leaving a void that phones like the A12 could fill.