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Galaxy S10 Comes With Spotify Premium Free for Six Months

Mar 8, 2019, 10:15 AM   by Rich Brome

Spotify comes pre-installed as the default music-streaming app on all Samsung Galaxy S10 series phones globally, and US models come with six free months of Spotify Premium. Phones eligible for the free-six-months offer will also include the Galaxy Fold and certain A-series models. To be eligible, customers must be new to Spotify Premium / Unlimited, having never paid for it or used a trial offer. Spotify is also integrated with Samsung's Bixby assistant, including content and recommendations on the Bixby home screen.


The Correct Way to Train the Samsung Galaxy S10 Fingerprint Reader

Mar 1, 2019, 7:59 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 8, 2019, 3:13 PM

There's a special way you need to train the fancy new in-display fingerprint reader on the Samsung Galaxy S10. Some will get it right the first time, while others will be fooled by the misleading graphics during the training process. Do it wrong, and the phone will struggle to recognize your fingerprint. Get it right, and it's quite reliable. Our video explains the problem and shows you how to avoid it.

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Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy A50 and A30

Feb 26, 2019, 9:57 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung is going in a new direction with its A series of mid-range phones. Previous models married an understated but very premium design with popular features like Samsung Pay, with mid-range specs and prices. With the A30 and A50, Samsung is getting more adventurous with both the design and the features. They have dazzling prismatic finishes and surprising features like in-display fingerprint reader and 25-megapixel cameras. Now that everyone can make "premium" metal-and-glass designs at almost any price point, Samsung is experimenting with a material it calls "Glasstic" for the back. How is it? We checked 'em out.

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Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Feb 25, 2019, 4:37 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 5, 2019, 1:43 PM

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G might as well be synonymous with 5G at the moment. Every major US carrier will offer it as one of their first 5G phones. It has almost everything the S10+ has, and more, including the hot new tech of 2019: ToF depth sensors, front and back. It's larger than the S10+. There are a few things you should know about it, though, and a few things that surprised me when I finally got my hands on it. Read on for full first impressions.

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Samsung Galaxy A50 Has In-Display Fingerprint Reader, 25-Megapixel Cameras

Feb 25, 2019, 7:52 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 25, 2019, 8:35 AM

The Galaxy S10 isn't Samsung's only new phone with an in-display fingerprint reader; the Galaxy A50 also has this new technology. Samsung announced two new A-series phones today: the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30. Both phones appear similar on the outside, and in fact have the exact same 6.4-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with small notch, same dimensions, and same 4,000 mAh battery. Both phones also have 15W fast charging, dedicated wide-angle camera on the back, Samsung Pay, memory card slot, and a shiny "3D Glasstic" back.

  • Galaxy A50: Has an in-display fingerprint reader, 25-megapixel main cameras on both sides, an extra depth camera on the back, and 4-6 GB of RAM. Available in Black, White, Blue, and Coral, all with a prismatic finish.
  • Galaxy A30: Has a standard fingerprint reader on the back, 16-megapixel main cameras on both sides, and 3-4 GB of RAM. (not shown)
Pricing and launch details were not announced.


Sprint Details Initial 5G Network Launching in May

Feb 25, 2019, 6:16 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint today released new details of the 5G network it will launch this May and June. Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Kansas City will launch in May, while New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Phoenix, and Houston will launch in June. The NYC, LA, and Phoenix networks will each cover over 1 million people. Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Kansas City will all launch with over 100 square miles of 5G coverage, up to 270 square miles for the Phoenix area. The LA network will cover from downtown to the coast, The NYC network will cover most of Manhattan, La Guardia airport, and JFK airport. Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung are providing the network equipment. Sprint's first 5G phone will be the LG V50 ThinQ, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in the summer.

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TCL Shows Off Foldable Concepts

Feb 24, 2019, 11:00 AM   by Rich Brome

TCL Communication — the company behind Alcatel and BlackBerry phones — is planning to launch one or more foldable phones with a flexible display in 2020, and showed off several of its current concepts at the MWC trade show this week. The company has been actively working on the project for a couple of years already, the result of which is a proprietary, patented hinge design that the company calls DragonHinge. A TCL sister company manufactures the custom flexible AMOLED display. A TCL spokesperson said the company aims to make its foldable phones more affordable than competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The company also hinted that it's considering launching its foldable phone(s) under the TCL brand, or a new brand, instead of the Alcatel brand which is associated with less-expensive models. Several concepts were displayed, including tablet-style devices — both with and without an outer display — and phones that look like a tall smartphone but fold in half like an old clamshell phone, leaving a small strip of display exposed for notifications. The company is exploring additional new form factors as well, using the same hinge and display technologies.

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Samsung Relents, Allows Bixby Button to Map to Something Else

Feb 22, 2019, 3:08 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's newest software will allow the controversial Bixby button on its phones to activate a custom action instead of Bixby. The change will be available on new S10 phones as well as older S9, S8, and Note phones.


The Galaxy S10 5G for AT&T Will Be Obsolete by the End of the Year

Feb 20, 2019, 3:44 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 20, 2019, 6:22 PM

By the end of this year, AT&T's 5G network will use sub-6 GHz radio bands to achieve broad coverage. The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G announced today won't be able to access that part of AT&T's 5G network; it can only access mmWave spectrum being launched only in dense urban areas. AT&T and Samsung are working on a second 5G phone that will be able to access the whole 5G network, to be available by the end of this year. AT&T's press release reads: "In addition to the Galaxy S10 5G, we previously announced that we're working with Samsung to make another 5G smartphone available in the second half of this year. This smartphone will be able to access 5G using sub-6 GHz spectrum broadly available later this year and nationwide in early 2020, as well as access 5G+ over mmWave in dense urban areas when available." Sprint and T-Mobile also plan to launch 5G networks in sub-6 GHz bands. Verizon has thus far only announced plans to launch 5G in mmWave bands, which cannot provide broad coverage.


The Galaxy S10+ with 1TB of Storage Will Cost $1,600 (& More S10 Pricing Details)

Feb 20, 2019, 3:34 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Mar 8, 2019, 3:13 PM

The Samsung Galaxy S10 series covers a wide range of prices, from $750 up to $1,600 for the best S10+, the Ceramic edition with 12 GB RAM and 1 TB storage. Although Samsung initially announced pricing only for the lowest-memory configuration of each S10 model, US carriers have now revealed additional details and deals, including pricing for the high-memory configurations, and monthly payment options. The pricing of the Galaxy S10 series is remarkably consistent across all US carriers, with up-front pricing being identical, and monthly options working out to an even split of the up-front price across the full term of the payment plans, with no interest. Most carriers are also offering special deals for multiple phones and/or adding lines to existing plans. Read on for full details.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds are Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper

Feb 20, 2019, 3:20 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's new Galaxy Buds are 30% smaller than the Gear IconX they replace, and lighter as well, at just 5.6 grams each. These fully-wireless Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds have adaptive dual microphones that can use an outer microphone for your voice, or automatically switch to an inner microphone when there's excessive background noise. They also support Samsung's Bixby voice assistant, including voice commands that query and control the Buds themselves. The Buds offer 5 hours of calling or 6 hours of music on a single charge. The Buds themselves have a 58 mAh battery, while the charging case has its own 252 mAh battery. The included charging case supports USB-C and wireless charging, so it can charge from the back of the new Galaxy S10 using its Wireless PowerShare feature. The Galaxy Buds will be available March 8th for $129 in either black or white. Customers who pre-order a Galaxy S10 or S10+ will receive the Galaxy Buds for free, while supplies last.


Hands On with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Series

Feb 20, 2019, 2:30 PM   by Rich Brome

The new Samsung Galaxy S10 isn't just one or two phones, but a series of four phones. We spent some time with the S10e, S10, S10+, and S10 5G. How much smaller is the S10e? What did they leave out to make it cheaper? How huge is the S10 5G? And does the whole lineup live up to the legacy of the Galaxy S line on its tenth anniversary? We have your answers.

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Samsung Grows Galaxy S Family with S10, S10+, S10e, and S10 5G

Feb 20, 2019, 2:30 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 25, 2019, 7:54 AM

The tenth edition of Samsung's Galaxy S series of flagship phones includes, for the first time, four different models spanning a range of sizes and price points. Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 series today at an event in San Francisco. In addition to the standard S10 and (larger) S10+ that mirror pervious years' offerings, Samsung also revealed a smaller, cheaper S10e, as well as the S10 5G, which is even larger than the S10+. All of the S10 models include the new, top-end Snapdragon 855 processor, Cat. 20 LTE, a new "Dynamic" AMOLED display with hole-punch design and HDR10+, and two-way wireless charging that can charge other phones or accessories. For photography, they all include the same 12-megapixel main camera as the S9 (with dual-pixel and dual-aperture technology), a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera, and a new 10-megapixel, auto-focus front camera that can record 4K video. All models keep the 3.5mm audio jack, as well as IP68 rating for water-resistance. Most S10 models (the S10e excluded) also have an ultrasonic fingerprint reader embedded in the display, a third camera on the back for telephoto shots, an Infinity Edge display that curves at the sides for thinner bezels, heart rate sensor, and a minimum of 8 GB of RAM / 128 GB built-in storage. The S10 5G also adds 3D depth cameras to both the front and back and 25W fast charging. The S10, S10e, and S10+ go on sale worldwide March 8th, with pre-orders available starting tonight at midnight Eastern time. Those models will be available in the US in Prism Black, Prism White, Prism Blue, and Flamingo Pink (which is based on Pantone's color of the year, Living Coral). Pricing will be the same unlocked and at all major US carriers: The S10e will start at $750, the S10 at $900, and the S10+ at $1,000. Variants with added memory will cost more. All four top US carriers will offer all four models. Those who pre-order the S10 or S10+ will receive a free set of Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds (normally $129). Samsung is also offering trade-in deals worth up to $550. The S10 5G will be available in the 2nd quarter, first with Verizon before the middle of the year, followed by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Spectrum, and Xfinity "at a later date this summer." Read on for more details.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold Does What its Name Says

Feb 20, 2019, 2:26 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 20, 2019, 2:58 PM

Samsung today announced the Galaxy Fold, the company's first commercial phone with a flexible display that folds in half. Folded, it resembles a thick smartphone with 4.6-inch HD Super AMOLED display; unfolded, it approximates a tablet in size and form factor, with a 7.3" "Infinity Flex" Dynamic AMOLED display. App Continuity allows users to start an Android app on the outer screen, then open the phone and continue uninterrupted on the larger screen. The inner screen also supports up to three apps side-by-side. It's powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor with 12 GB of RAM, and comes with 512 GB of storage. It also supports UFS 3.0 for faster storage access. Its two batteries total 4,380 mAh, and it supports fast wireless and wired charging. It has six cameras and a fingerprint reader on the side. The camera arrays are the same as on the new Galaxy S10+, including standard, wide, and tele cameras on the back, plus 10 megapixel selfie cameras on both the front and inside. The 4G LTE version will go on sale April 26th for $1,980, and a 5G version will also be available. Both AT&T and T-Mobile will offer the Galaxy Fold in the second quarter of this year. The phone comes in Cosmos Black, Space Silver, Martian Green, and Astro Blue, with choice of hinge color for further personalization.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 TV Ad Airs Early, Confirming Details

Feb 19, 2019, 10:59 AM   by Rich Brome

A television ad for the unannounced Samsung Galaxy S10 has aired in Norway, and it confirms several of the key features of the device. The ad clearly shows an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, "hole-punch" display, three rear cameras, and reverse wireless charging that can charge new wireless earbuds.


Phones with 1TB Storage Coming Thanks to New Samsung Chip

Jan 31, 2019, 11:40 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung has a new storage chip for phones that can hold twice as much data in the same space as last year's chip, and enables faster data access. The new embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1 chip can store 1 TB (1,000 GB) of data, in the same size as Samsung's 512 GB eUFS chip introduced in late 2017. 1 TB is enough for over 43 hours of 4K video. The new chip is also up to 38% faster at reading data, and up to 25% faster at writing, compared to Samsung's 512 GB chip. eUFS chips provide internal storage for phones, which is distinct from RAM and removable memory cards. If the past is any indication, Samsung will likely use the chip in its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S 10, which is slated to be announced on February 20th.


Affordable MVNO Visible Expands to Android, Starts Selling Phones

Jan 24, 2019, 12:43 PM   by Rich Brome

"Unlimited" Verizon 4G service is now available to anyone for $40/month through Visible, an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). The Verizon-backed company launched in May last year as an invite-only service for people bringing their own compatible iPhone. The company dropped the invitation requirement later in the year. As of today, the service is compatible with Android phones, and the company is selling new iPhone and Android phones. The initial Android selection is just the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. The 4G service is limited to 5 Mbps data speed, but all usage is otherwise unlimited. The company does not charge activation fees, SIM card kit fees, upgrade fees, nor restocking fees. The company now offers phone financing with no interest and no down payment, as well as phone insurance plans. Visible has no physical locations, offering activation, support, and all customer interactions via its app, now available for both iOS and in beta for Android.


Next RAZR Might be a $1,500 Foldable Smartphone

Jan 16, 2019, 2:24 PM   by Rich Brome

Motorola will soon revive the RAZR brand for a pricey folding-screen phone for Verizon, the Wall Street Journal reports today. The phone is in testing but could launch as soon as February. The phone would cost roughly $1,500 and be exclusive to Verizon Wireless. Samsung has said it also plans to introduce a phone this year with a screen that bends, allowing the phone to fold in half. Motorola Mobility is owned by Lenovo. The original RAZR was a thin metal flip phone introduced in 2004. Motorola revived the RAZR brand in 2011 for a line of Droid phones that were also exclusive to Verizon. The new "foldable" RAZR has yet to be announced and no other details are available.


Samsung Announces Next Unpacked Event

Jan 10, 2019, 11:50 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung's next big launch event for a Galaxy-brand product will be February 20th in San Francisco. The company is teasing the event with a "10" and the Galaxy brand. Last year's flagships were the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note9, so the next version is logically the 10, and it will be the ten-year anniversary of the Galaxy S series in March.


Sprint to Offer Samsung's 5G Phone by Summer

Jan 7, 2019, 11:37 AM   by Rich Brome

Sprint joined the other top-tier US carriers in committing to sell Samsung's 5G phone next year. AT&T and Verizon have committed to offering the unnamed phone in the first half of next year. Sprint plans to launch the phone in "summer", which likely puts its launch after the other two carriers, although Sprint will offer a 5G phone from LG in the first half of the year. T-Mobile will offer the same Samsung phone, but has only committed to launching it some time in 2019. Sprint's version of the Samsung phone will access 5G in Sprint's 2.5 GHz radio frequency band, as well as 4G LTE in all of Sprint's usual bands. In the first half of 2019 Sprint plans to launch its mobile 5G network in nine cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., with additional markets to be announced.


Trump May Declare a 'National Emergency' to Block Huawei, ZTE

Dec 31, 2018, 8:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

President Donald Trump is weighing new action against Chinese telecommunications equipment makers Huawei and ZTE, says Reuters. The President might issue an executive order that would bar U.S. companies from buying telecom gear from either. Some in the U.S. government insist Huawei and ZTE have deep ties to the Chinese government. That relationship could give China the power to spy on the U.S., a claim Huawei has denied many times. Trump has been considering the executive order for more than eight months. The order would rely on the Department of Commerce to block equipment purchases from "foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks," say Reuters' sources. Huawei and ZTE themselves may not actually be named in the order. Such an order would hinge on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the President power to govern commerce directly when a national emergency threatens the U.S. Trump has already barred the U.S. government itself from purchasing equipment from Huawei and ZTE. The four largest carriers mostly rely on equipment from Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung, but smaller, rural operators do use gear from Huawei and ZTE. They are worried the Trump administration will force them to rip out existing Chinese-made gear at their own expense. Reuters says Trump may issue the order as soon as January.


T-Mobile to Offer Same 5G Samsung Phone As Other Carriers

Dec 20, 2018, 11:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said a 5G phone will be among its first mobile 5G devices, and that phone is the same Samsung device that AT&T and Verizon confirmed earlier this month. "That’s right," exclaimed Neville Ray, T-Mobile CFO, in a blog post. "T-Mobile is working on that phone too — and other 5G devices with other OEMs and chipset manufacturers. In fact, we expect to have multiple 5G devices — that will work across multiple spectrum bands — in 2019." Ray said that rather than focus on being the first to market with 5G, something he believes AT&T and Verizon are "hyperventilating" about, it will focus on "getting it right." Verizon kicked off fixed, non-standard 5G service in a handful of markets in October. AT&T's mobile, standards-based 5G services goes live December 21 with a mobile hotspot. T-Mobile has only specified that it will launch 5G in 2019. The company hopes for a much broader launch so it can deliver 5G to more people at once.


Samsung to Shutter Mobile Phone Plant in China

Dec 12, 2018, 9:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung says it plans to stop making phones at its manufacturing plant in Tianjin, China. Samsung will close the factory entirely, laying off some 2,600 people by the end of the year. "As part of ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency in our production facilities, Samsung Electronics has arrived at the difficult decision to cease operations of Tianjin Samsung Electronics Telecommunication," said Samsung in a statement. The Tianjin plant is responsible for making about 36 million phones per year. Samsung's share of the Chinese market has sunk from 15% in 2013 to about 1% in 2018. Samsung's high-priced Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones have found steep competition from lower-cost devices from Chinese rivals such as Xiaomi, Meizu, and Huawei. Samsung will keep its plant in Huizhou, which makes about 72 million phones per year, operational. Samsung insists that China "remains an important market" for the company.


AT&T Says Second 5G Phone On Deck for Later in 2019

Dec 5, 2018, 11:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it plans to release a second 5G smartphone during the latter half of 2019. Samsung will make this new device for AT&T and, unlike the first 5G phone from AT&T, this second one will support 5G in both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands. AT&T says it is still on track to launch mmWave mobile 5G before the end of 2018. It has been installing software upgradeable sub-6 GHz radios throughout 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019. AT&T didn't say when it intends to light up sub-6 GHz spectrum with 5G service. AT&T's mobile 5G network will only be available in a handful of cities to start and will grow over time.


AT&T Say It Too Will Offer Samsung's 5G Phone Next Year

Dec 4, 2018, 12:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it plans to sell a 5G smartphone from Samsung during the first half of 2019. The device is likely similar to, if not the same as, the mobile 5G device that Verizon recently said it will sell next year. The 5G phone from Samsung will join the 5G mobile hotspot already announced by AT&T. AT&T expects to sell the hotspot before the end of 2018. The company says it has installed mobile 5G network equipment in the 12 markets where it plans to kick off 5G this year. Those cities include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Louisville, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, San Antonio, and Waco. AT&T will expand its 5G service during the first half of 2019 to parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. AT&T is working with Samsung on what it calls a "manufacturing-focused 5G Innovation Zone." This testing ground will explore how robotic manufacturing can be improved with 5G.


Verizon and Samsung to Launch 5G Phone In First Half of 2019

Dec 3, 2018, 11:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless and Samsung today said the companies are working together to bring a 5G phone to market during the first half of 2019. The pair said they'll show off a proof-of-concept device at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Tech Summit later this week. The device will rely on the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and antenna modules, including the RF transceiver and RF front-end. Next year's mobile 5G networks will be many times faster than today's LTE 4G, with minimal latency. Verizon and Samsung have been working together on 5G for years on both the network and device sides. Verizon says its 5G mobile service will go live in "early 2019" and "expand rapidly." Verizon plans to use the brand "5G Ultra Wideband" for the network when it goes live. Verizon has already launched fixed 5G service in a handful of markets. The company hasn't made clear which will be the first of its mobile 5G networks.


Samsung's Flagship Exynos 9 Mobile Processor Adds NPU to Power AI

Nov 14, 2018, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung is upping its AI game. Samsung today announced the Exynos 9 Series 9820, a system-on-a-chip for premiere smartphones such as the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series. The key upgrade for Samsung's latest mobile processor is the adoption of a neural processing unit to bring artificial intelligence calculations onto the device. Samsung says the dedicated NPU helps the 9820 perform AI tasks about seven times faster than the 9810 by negating the need to route such calculations over the network to a server. In addition to raw speed, Samsung says this also adds a layer of security for end users. The NPU will allow camera applications to instantly adjust settings based on the surroundings, or recognize objects in AR/VR settings. Apple, Qualcomm, and Huawei adopted AI-dedicated NPUs in their premium processors in 2017. Beyond the AI upgrade, Samsung elevated the 9820's performance across the board. It features a new, custom CPU that's 20% faster than its predecessor in single-core mode or 40% more efficient. Multi-core performance is up by about 15%. The 9820 includes the Mali-G76 GPU for improved mobile gaming experiences. It is 40% faster or 35% more power efficient than before. The SoC supports the latest in LTE connectivity. It relies on LTE-Advanced and LTE-LAA with 4x4 MIMO, 256 QAM, and eight-channel carrier aggregation to deliver download speeds up to 2 Gbps and upload speeds up to 316 Mbps. On the multimedia front, the Exynos 9820's multi-format codec can decode 4K video at 150 frames per second as well as render 10-bit color. Samsung says the Exynos 9 Series 9820 is expected to be in mass production by the end of this year and will show up in devices in 2019. Samsung's Exynos processors are mainly found in global variants of its phones. Samsung phones bound for the U.S. typically rely on Qualcomm processors.


Samsung Shares More Details About Its Infinity Flex Display

Nov 8, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung revealed more information about its new Infinity Flex Display, which it expects to begin manufacturing in volume within the coming months. The cover display measures 4.58 inches across the diagonal with 840 by 1,960 pixels, making for an aspect ratio of 21:9 and density of 420ppi. The main display measures 7.3 inches across the diagonal with 1,526 by 2,152 pixels, making for an aspect ratio of 4.2:3 and density of 420ppi. Continuity will be key for the pair of screens, which means tasks being performed on one will automatically adjust to the other when the phone is opened or closed. The main display supports multiple multi-tasking modes, with one, two, or three windows each supporting individual apps. Flipboard was among the first outside developers to announce support for the Infinity Flex Display. Samsung said it is doing its best to ensure that battery life of its multi-screened device will be equivalent to current Galaxy phones. Samsung has not said anything else about the phone that will make use of this display other than that the first phone to carry the Infinity Flex Display will be priced as aggressively as possible.


Samsung Shows Off Its Flexible Display Concept

Nov 7, 2018, 2:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today showed its folding display technology for the first time. The company had been hinting for several months that it would debut a folding phone. The Infinity Flex Display is what Samsung calls the future of smartphone screens. Samsung used new materials to design the display from scratch. Samsung says the Infinity Flex Display can be unfolded and folded hundreds of thousands of times without degradation. The company created a new adhesive, reduced the thickness of the polarizer by creating a new, thinner material, and made changes to the OLED panel itself to ensure flexibility. The cover display is a fully functioning touchscreen of unspecified size. For a bigger screen experience, users can unfold it to reveal the full 7.3-inch display. Together with One UI, the foldable display relies on continuity so the app on the cover display ports to the inner display fort seamless transitions. It can support up to three apps running in multitasking mode. This is called Multi-Active Windows. Samsung said it should be able to start mass production of the Infinity Flex Display in the coming months.


Samsung Debuts 'One UI' for Phones and Other Devices

Nov 7, 2018, 2:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced One UI, a brand new user interface that it intends to roll out to devices such as phones and tablets. It relies on new design language based on the idea of blocks floating over a surface to give it a more modern feel. In the settings menus, Samsung will ensure that similar or related functions are put together in the UI. Moreover, it will put the most-used settings closer to the top of the screen. Samsung hopes to make the UI more natural. It has moved many of the touch controls to the bottom of the screen so they are easier to reach. Samsung says another goal of One UI is to make the user experience more visibly comfortable. The company is increasing font size in some menus and adding a more thorough dash of color to better indicate the status of some controls. Users will be able to choose from a handful of basic color schemes for their phone. Samsung says it is launching a One UI beta testing program in the U.S., Germany, and Korea later this month. The beta will allow people to test the user experience before its official release. One UI will be available to the Galaxy S9, S9+, and Note9 early next year.


Samsung Opens Its Bixby Assistant to Developers

Nov 7, 2018, 1:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 7, 2018, 1:32 PM

Samsung today said it is redesigning Bixby to be a scalable AI platform. The most important part of this change means developers will soon have access to the AI-assisted Bixby. Samsung plans to release an SDK with associated APIs to developers so they may integrate Bixby into their own apps. This will make Bixby more useful and more powerful on mobile devices. Samsung hopes to expand Bixby to more devices as well, such as refrigerators, TVs, and speakers. Samsung said Bixby is expanding the number of supported languages by five, which should greatly increase the number of people who can use Bixby. Bixby is installed on most of Samsung's newer devices. On the latest Galaxy S and Note series, Bixby has a dedicated hardware button. Samsung didn't immediately say when the SDK will be available to developers, though it did introduce the Bixby Studio, which is what contains all the needed tools. Samsung shared the news at its annual developer conference.


Samsung Intros 48mp ISOCELL Camera Sensor for Phones

Oct 30, 2018, 7:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced two high-megapixel camera sensors bound for flagship smartphones. The Samsung ISOCELL Bright GM1 and the ISOCELL Bright GD1 offer 48 megapixels and 32 megapixels, respectively. Both features 0.8-micrometer (μm) pixels, which is what allows Samsung to pack so many into the tiny sensors. The size is critical for phone makers seeking to put multiple cameras into a single phone. The ISOCELL technology prevents light bleed between pixels in order to help keep images sharp and free from noise. At the same time, the sensors support pixel binning, what Samsung calls Tetracell, which combines four pixels into one for better low-light performance. The sensors include gyro-supported EIS, and the GD1 includes real-time HDR for dynamic video capture and video streaming. Samsung expects the chips to be in mass production before the end of the year. It's possible the GM1 and GD1 will appear in future Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy S10.


Cricket Wireless to Sell Samsung Galaxy A6

Oct 29, 2018, 8:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said customers will be able to buy the Samsung Galaxy A6 starting November 2. The phone is already available from Cricket parent AT&T, as well as Sprint and Sprint-operated Boost Mobile. The Galaxy A6 is an affordable mid-range device with a 5.6-inch screen with Gorilla Glass 5, octa-core Exynos processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, and front/rear 16-megapixel cameras. Other features include a fingerprint reader, microSD card support, LTE 4G, and a 3,000mAh battery. Cricket says the Samsung Galaxy A6 will cost "less than $400." Other carriers are selling it for $385.


Netflix HDR Support Reaches More High-End Phones

Oct 24, 2018, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix has added more smartphones to the list of those capable of supporting HDR10 playback. The newest phones include the LG G7, and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and Xperia XZ3. These phones have the high-contrast displays needed to boost colors and improve the visible range between bright and dark regions of each frame. HDR10 playback is already available to a number of flagship-grade devices, including the LG G7 One, V30, and V35; the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Note8, and S9; the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ2; and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, P20, and Honor 10. In order to view HDR10 content on mobile devices, people need to subscribe to the premium Netflix plan.


Google Updating Your Movies to 4K for Free

Oct 23, 2018, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said movies people own via the Google Play Store will automatically be upgraded to 4K at no extra cost. When Hollywood studios make their titles available in 4K, Google will upgrade previous purchases, even if those purchases were for originally SD or HD resolution. Google indicated that 4K movies will begin to cost less when purchased in the Play Store. The 4K content should be easier to watch on 4K TVs, according to Google, without additional hardware. It has updated the Play Movies & TV app for the majority of Sony's Bravia 4K TVs and Samsung's 4K Smart TVs, and Google is doing the same for LG. The app allows connected TVs to access the Play Movies service directly for streaming programs. Google will continue to make improvements to the app and bring 4K movies and TV shows to more devices over time.


Qualcomm Makes More Progress On 5G NR Tech for Phones

Oct 23, 2018, 7:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm has announced a number of achievements and updates in its work developing 5G NR technologies. First and foremost, the company revealed the second wave of QTM052 mmWave antenna modules with 5G NR specifically for smartphones and other mobile devices. Qualcomm says this new family of antennas is 25% smaller than those announced earlier this year, which will help phone makers fit them into smaller form factors. The reduced-size also gives phone makers more freedom in antenna placement and flexibility when designing their 5G NR devices. The antennas are paired with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem and can fully handle mmWave technologies, such as beam forming, beam steering, and beam tracking. Last, the QTM052 includes a 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end, and phased antenna array. It can utilize up to 800 MHz of spectrum in various mmWave bands. Qualcomm says this antenna / modem combo will appear in devices in early 2019. In other 5G news, Qualcomm has together with partner Ericsson successfully completed an over-the-air call in sub-6 GHz bands using 3GPP Rel-15 compliant 5G NR in a smartphone phone factor test device. The test was completed in Ericsson's Stockholm lab using 3.5 GHz spectrum. This successful test joins similar ones made using mmWave 5G NR in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. All the tests relied on Ericsson’s 5G NR radio AIR 6488 and baseband products together with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem. Last, Qualcomm announced that it is working together with Samsung to develop 5G small cells, a vital part of the way 5G networks will be deployed. Small cells will be a building block for 5G with the goal of network densification. The companies plan to pair Qualcomm's FSM 100xx 10nm 5G tech with Samsung's 5G Small Cell form using both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum. The combo will offer MIMO baseband functionality with multi-gigabit throughput speeds in a compact form able to support indoor and outdoor deployments. Qualcomm and Samsung expect to begin sampling this jointly-developed small cell in 2020.


T-Mobile Debuts 3-Year Device Payment Plan

Oct 17, 2018, 11:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced new handset and service promotions that offer new phones for low monthly payments with one big catch: the equipment installment plan runs for 36 months. That means it will be three years before customers pay off their device, rather than the customary two years. The basics are these. Beginning October 19, customers can trade in an eligible phone for a new Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note9, LG G7, LG V40 ThinQ, and others for payments as low as $10 per month. T-Mobile hopes customers taking advantage of this promo will jump on the T-Mobile Essentials plan, which provides a family of four new phones with unlimited service for $40 per line per month, or $160 total. This breaks down to $30 per month per line for service and $10 per month for device payments. The actual device payment may be different. Customers who want the T-Mobile One plan will need to pay another $10 per month per line, or $50. This deal requires auto-pay. Eligible phone trade-ins will be credited to customer accounts monthly over a period of 36 months. The maximum trade-in value is $360 per device, but that will depend on the trade and its condition. T-Mobile didn't immediately list a set of devices eligible for trade-in. The trade can be applied to the purchase price of most phones LG sells, including the forthcoming iPhone Xr.


Samsung Says Foldable Phone to Act Like Tablet

Oct 12, 2018, 7:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's forthcoming foldable phone will perform like a tablet when unfolded, and like a phone when folded, according to Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh. When in tablet configuration, the device will support side-by-side multitasking for power users. "When we deliver a foldable phone, it has to be really meaningful to our customer," said Koh to CNET at the recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy A9. "If the user experience is not up to my standard, I don't want to deliver those kind of products." Koh went on to say he believes the product has staying power and won't be a gimmick that vanishes just months after it reaches the market. The phone will be made available globally. Folding phones have struggled in the modern smartphone era. The Kyocera Echo and ZTE Axon M failed to resonate with consumers. Koh believes Samsung's phone has what it takes to survive. "Possibly when we start selling the foldable phone, it may be a niche market, but definitely, it will expand," said Koh. "I'm positive that we do need a foldable phone." Koh has hinted strongly that the device will arrive this year. It's possible Samsung will use its upcoming developer conference, scheduled for November, as a launch point for the phone.


Fortnite for Android No Longer Requires An Invitation

Oct 11, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Epic Games today made its popular Fortnite game available without an invitation. The app has been available in beta since August, though an invite was required for access. Epic Games has dropped the need for an invitation and most anyone can download the game. Fortnite is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, people interested in the game will need to go to Epic's web site to download an installer. The installer then puts the game on the phone. The game started as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and was later discovered to have a major security flaw in the installer (since patched). Fortnite is best played on high-end devices that have Android 8 Oreo installed. Some compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9 series; all Google Pixel phones; the LG G5, G6, G7, V20, and V30; the Asus ROG Phone and 5Z; the Essential Phone; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Honor 10, and Honor Play; the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6; the HTC 10, U Ultra, U11+, U12+; the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ2, and XZ3 series; as well as a handful of others from Xiaomi, ZTE, Nokia, and Lenovo.


Samsung Galaxy A9 Adopts 4-Camera Configuration

Oct 11, 2018, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung has announced the Galaxy A9, a mid-range device that is among the first to include a four-camera array on the rear panel. The stand-out feature is this camera, which includes wide, telephoto, and normal lenses, as well as a depth-of-field camera. The wide-angle lens has an 8-megapixel sensor at f/2.4, the 2x optical zoom telephoto lens has a 10-megapixel sensor at f/2.4, the main camera has a 24-megapixel sensor at f/1.7, and the depth camera has a 5-megapixel sensor at f/2.2. Samsung says these cameras allow people to flex their creative muscles. Software such as Scene Optimizer and Portrait Mode help expand and improve imaging. The front camera has a 24-megapixel sensor. The Galaxy A9 has a 6.3-inch full HD+ AMOLED display, octa-core processor, 6 or 8 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 512 GB. Other specs include a 3,800mAh battery, fingerprint reader, NFC and Samsung Pay, dual-band WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, and Cat 9 LTE. The phone runs Android 8 Oreo and includes Bixby and Samsung Health. It goes on sale in select markets starting in November. Pricing was not disclosed.


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