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.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy A52 5G, the update to last year's Galaxy A51 5G. Upgrades over the A51 include 120 Hz display refresh, 64 megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), IP67 water resistance, and stereo speakers. Other specs remain similar to least year's model, including 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, 4,500 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, quad rear cameras, 6–8 GB RAM, expandable memory, and NFC. Samsung didn't reveal US launch details, but regulatory filings indicate that a US version is planned for multiple carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile. While the A51 5G was Samsung's most affordable 5G phone in 2020, Samsung's Galaxy A32 5G, announced in January, is likely to be the company's most affordable 5G phone in 2021. A recent FCC approval indicates Samsung is preparing to bring the A32 5G to the US market as well. The Galaxy A32 5G has a 6.5-inch HD display, 48 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, 5,000 mAh battery, 15W fast charging, 4–8 GB RAM, and a side-mounted fingerprint reader. Samsung also announced a 4G-only Galaxy A72 today. It's similar to the A52 but with a larger display and battery. There is no indication yet that the A72 will come to the US.
Esolutions has started selling privacy-focused phones preloaded with the /e/ OS in the US. The /e/ OS is based on an open-source version of Android 10 (LineageOS, specifically) without any Google-controlled services that would enable tracking and data scanning by Google or third parties. /e/ replaces Chrome with its own Chromium-based browser, Gmail with K-9 Mail, and has its own app store and cloud storage service. Many popular third-party apps rely on Google Play Services for important functions like push notifications. /e/ OS includes a dummy API called MicroG to ensure such third-party apps don't crash, but those features like push notifications remain non-functional. Esolutions has offered phones pre-loaded with /e/ OS in Europe for some time, but has just started sales in the US for the first time. There are two refurbished Samsungs to choose from: a Galaxy S9 for $380, or a Galaxy S9+ for $430. The phones come with a one-year warranty and the e Foundation says "We aim to support with at least 3 years of software updates and security patches." The /e/ OS is also available for download for a number of other Android phones.
Samsung today announced a new camera sensor featuring a number of new technologies that will offer improved HDR, low-light performance, and auto-focusing. The ISOCELL GN2 is a 50 megapixel sensor with 1.4-micrometer (μm)-sized pixels. The GN2 supports staggered HDR, which lets a device capture short and long exposures simultaneously, for HDR images with fewer motion artifacts. Staggered HDR can also enable computational HDR for video. Support for staggered HDR sensors is a key feature of Qualcomm's latest flagship chip for phones, the Snapdragon 888. Samsung also claims that staggered HDR is 24% more power-efficient compared to the traditional HDR technique. The GN2 also sports Dual Pixel Pro, an improved auto-focus (AF) system that uses all sensor pixels for focusing. While previous dual-pixel AF systems can only detect pattern changes horizontally, Dual Pixel Pro splits pixel elements diagonally, so it can also use vertical information to lock focus quickly. The GN2 also has Smart ISO Pro, which does for ISO what staggered HDR does for exposure length. The technology "takes readouts from both high and low ISO to instantly create high dynamic range images with less motion-artifacts." It can also take and process multiple high-ISO frames quickly, for an effective maximum ISO of "close to one-million". For video, the GN2 supports full-HD videos at 480 frames-per-second (fps) or 4K at 120fps. The ISOCELL GN2 is already in mass production, meaning it should make its way into phones soon.
Samsung today made a new commitment to provide security updates for its Galaxy phones and other devices for "a minimum of four years after the initial phone release." The promise covers phones launched in 2019 and later, including the S10 series, Note10 series, Z series, Fold, A50, A20, A10e, as well as newer models launch in 2020, 2021, and onward. Security updates protect users from security vulnerabilities discovered after launch. Such discoveries are relatively common. That means the longer a device has gone without a security update, the more vulnerable it is to hacking and malware. Security updates alone generally do not add new features nor update to a new OS version. Samsung made a separate commitment last August to provide three full OS upgrades for its higher-end Galaxy devices.
Samsung today announced the availability of its One UI 3.1 software update, which brings select software features of the new Galaxy S21 series to most higher-end Galaxy phones from 2020 and 2019. New features include an improved "Single Take" camera mode, which captures a variety of still and video formats simultaneously. It also brings Object Eraser (shown), an intelligent photo editing tool to cut out unwanted parts of photos. "If you want to edit out distracting objects, simply tap the area you wish to remove and it will be automatically selected and deleted." Other new features include Private Share, to control who is allowed access to the content you send and how long it is available, and Eye Comfort Shield, which automatically adjusts the display's blue light output based on the time of day. Finally, there's Multi Mic Recording, which, when in Pro Video mode, allows you to simultaneously record audio through both your phone and a connected Bluetooth. The One UI 3.1 update is available starting today for the following Galaxy phones: S20 series, Note20 series, Z Fold2, Z Flip, S10, Note10, Fold, A71, A51, A90, A80, A70, and A50. All of those phones will receive the new Single Take, Object Eraser, Private Share, and Eye Comfort Shield features. Multi-Mic Recording will only be available on 2020 flagship phones: Galaxy S20 series, S20 FE, Note20 series, Z Fold2, and Z Flip 5G.
Samsung is permanently dropping the price of its Galaxy Z Flip 5G. Separately, Motorola is offering major discounts on its 2020 phones — including the 2020 razr with 5G — in the first half of February. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G is getting a $250 price cut, putting it at $1,200 unlocked or from AT&T. (T-Mobile is still offering the Z Flip 5G for $1,450.) Motorola is offering discounts on unlocked phones from today through February 14th in celebration of Valentine's Day. The razr (2020), edge, and one zoom are all on sale with $200 discounts. That brings the new razr down to the same $1,200 price as the competing Galaxy Z Flip 5G. Motorola is also taking $150 off the one fusion+ and one action. Finally, Motorola is offering $30–50 off last years' g-series models. All of Motorola's discounts are for its unlocked models and available through motorola.com, bestbuy.com, and amazon.com.
Samsung today officially unveiled its Galaxy S21 series of flagship phones for 2021. All three models sport a distinctive new "Contour Cut Camera" design where the metal frame extends around one corner to surround the rear cameras. Each of the three new phones has a starting price a full $200 lower than last year's models. Samsung achieved this on the S21 and S21+ by reducing RAM from 12 to 8 GB and switching from curved QHD-resolution displays to flat FHD displays. Also, none of the S21 series has a memory card slot nor ToD depth camera. Naturally the processor has been updated on all models to Qualcomm's new flagship chip, the Snapdragon 888. Samsung is also using Qualcomm's new Gen 2. ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader, which offers a 70% larger sensing area and is 50% faster. The phones ship with Android 11 and have a number of software improvements to the camera, such as Director's View, Vlogger View, and multi-mic recording. Samsung has also used AI to improve Single Take, Portrait Mode, and Space Zoom. The camera hardware on the S21 and S21+ is nearly identical to that on the S20 series. The S21 Ultra has the most-upgraded specs of the three, despite starting at a lower price than last year's model.
- Galaxy S21: The specs are very similar to last year's S20, including 4,000 mAh battery, 120 Hz refresh display, 64-megapixel main camera, 8K video capture, IP68 water resistance, fast wireless charging, and Wireless PowerShare. Unlike the S20, the S21 will come with mmWave 5G (including support for Verizon's "Ultra Wideband" network) from day one. It will come with 128 GB of storage, in Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, and Phantom White, for $800. A 256 GB version will also be available in Phantom Gray for an extra $50. Phantom Gold and Phantom Red colors will be available exclusively from samsung.com.
- Galaxy S21+: Its 4,800 mAh battery is larger than that in both the S21 and last year's S20+. It also adds UWB for directional tag-finding and wireless car keys. This is the first time Samsung has put UWB in its S-series. It retains all of the other specs and features of the S21, with a larger 6.7-inch display like the S20+. It will come with 128 GB storage, in Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Black, for $1,000. A 256 GB version will also be available in Phantom Black for an additional $50. As with the S21, samsung.com will be exclusive seller of Phantom Gold and Phantom Red colors.
- Galaxy S21 Ultra: This top-end model keeps the curved-edge, QHD-resolution display, 12 GB RAM, 108 megapixel main camera, and 40-megapixel front camera of last year's model, while adding several new features, all for a lower $1200 starting price. New this year is Wacom technology bringing full support for Samsung's S Pen, previously only offered on the Note series. The S Pen is an optional accessory. It also adds UWB, Wi-Fi 6e, adaptive display refresh from 10 – 120 Hz for power efficiency, and the ability to use 120 Hz refresh at QHD resolution. The telephoto camera system now includes dedicated 3x and 10x cameras, both 10 megapixel with OIS and dual-pixel auto-focus. All five cameras (front and back) can now shoot 4K video at 60 fps. The 108mp main sensor now has 12-bit HDR and can capture 12-bit RAW photos. It also has laser auto-focus. Pricing starts at $1,200 for 12 GB RAM / 128 GB storage in Phantom Silver or Phantom Black. Versions with 12 / 256 GB (for an extra $50) or 16 / 512 GB (for $1,380) will also be available, in Phantom Black only. Samsung.com exclusive colors will include Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy. and Phantom Brown.
Qualcomm has introduced 3D Sonic Sensor Gen. 2, a new and improved version of the ultrasonic, in-display fingerprint sensor used in the Samsung Galaxy S10, Note10, S20, and Note20 series. The new sensor is 50% faster and has a 1.7x larger sensing area. The sensor itself is just 8 x 8 x 0.2 mm, allowing it to fit under the display without impacting phone size. (The first-generation sensor was 4 x 7 x 0.2 mm.) This line of standard-size sensors is not to be confused with 3D Sonic Max, a much larger sensor at 20 x 30 mm. Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors have an advantage of working even while the surface or finger is wet. Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen. 2 is expected to debut in mobile devices early this year.
Samsung has set January 14th at 10 AM EST as the date and time for its next Unpacked event to launch its "next Galaxy" flagship device. The event will be live-streamed in samsung.com. The company is also offering $60 in instant discounts when customers "reserve" a pre-order prior to the event. The $60 comes in the form of $50 toward accessories in your order, plus $10 in the Android Shop Samsung App. The event is widely anticipated to include the Samsung Galaxy S21, the company's next flagship phone. A teaser video for the event features a series of past Galaxy S flagship phones.
Samsung's President & Head of Mobile Communications Business Dr. TM Roh published a blog post this week giving broad strokes of what to expect from Samsung's phone lineup in 2021. Roh promised that Samsung will be "expanding our portfolio of foldables, so this groundbreaking category is more accessible to everyone." He also revealed that the Samsung will bring some of the "most well-loved features" of its Galaxy Note phones to other devices in the company's lineup.
Samsung today launched new color options for two of its flagship phones, available "in limited quantities". The Galaxy Note20 will be available in a new Mystic Red color. This new color joins the current line-up that also includes Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green and Mystic Gray. Also, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G will be available in Mystic White, which joins Mystic Bronze and Mystic Gray. Samsung.com is offering special deals on both phones when trading in an eligible phone.
Samsung's Galaxy XCover Pro is now available from AT&T for $510. The phone was first launched by Samsung at the start of the year as an unlocked phone for use on the Verizon network. With its launch on AT&T, the XCover Pro is now a certified FirstNet Ready phone, offering priority access to band 14 for first responders. The XCover Pro also supports band 48 and the private LTE networks that are possible in that band. As an "enterprise-ready smartphone", the XCover Pro is "designed and engineered for frontline workers across a variety of industries, as well as first responders." Like many rugged phones designed for frontline workers, it has an IP68 water/dust rating, military drop rating, removable battery, POGO pin charging, a display that works with gloves and wet fingers, and programmable shortcut buttons. But unlike most competing phones, it has a modern all-screen design and is relatively thin at 9.9mm. Specs include a 6.3-inch full-HD display, 4,050 mAh battery, 4 GB RAM, memory card slot, 25 megapixel main camera, 8 megapixel wide camera, NFC, fast charging, and a fingerprint reader. AT&T also offers the Samsung Galaxy XCover FieldPro, which has a thicker, more rugged design with a larger battery but a smaller 5.1-inch screen.
Samsung will offer a version of its Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (FE) with 256 GB of built-in storage, double the amount previously available. The new option will be available from Samsung as well as carriers in Cloud Navy for $770 starting tomorrow.
Samsung has officially launched SmartThings Find, a device-tracking solution roughly similar to Tile, as well as Apple and Google's respective Find My services. "SmartThings Find uses Bluetooth Low Energy and ultra-wideband (UWB) technologies to help people find select Galaxy smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and earbuds." Uniquely, it can utilize the UWB feature of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold2 to help you find lost devices quickly using an AR interface. It also supports common features of competing platforms such as offline device finding and secure, private crowdsourced device finding. It can help you navigate to lost devices on a map, and, when nearby, "ring" those devices. SmartThings Find is available within the SmartThings app on phones and tablets running Android 8 or later, and can be used to find Galaxy phones and tablets, as well as Galaxy Watch devices running Tizen 5.5 or later, and Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Live.
Google Fi today launched 5G phones and 5G service, now that Google has launched its own 5G Pixel phones. Google Fi will include 5G service with all plans at no extra charge. They are offering the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note20, Note20 Ultra, S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, and A71 5G.
Samsung has a new, more affordable Galaxy S20 phone that starts at $699 while keeping the S20 specs and features that Samsung says surveyed users cared about most. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition (abbreviated "FE") keeps flagship-level specs in many areas. This includes Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset, large (6.5") AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh, 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, LPDDR5 RAM, DeX, memory card slot, IP68 dust and water rating, and a metal frame. It also has triple rear cameras (12 megapixel main, 12 megapixel wide, and 8 megapixel tele), 32 megapixel selfie camera, NFC, in-display optical fingerprint reader, and Samsung's latest advanced camera features such as Single Take and Space Zoom (30x). Most US carriers will offer three color options: Cloud Mint, Cloud Navy, and Cloud Lavender. Verizon will also offer a Cloud Red option. The unlocked version from samsung.com will come in those four colors plus Cloud Orange and Cloud White. Most US carriers are expected to offer the Galaxy S20 FE. Most versions will only support sub-6 GHz 5G, but a version that also supports mmWave 5G will be available from Verizon for $750, ($700 after $50 instant discount when choosing a two-year payment plan and either: adding a new line, or upgrading while on a premium Unlimited plan). While the 6.5" screen and 4,500 battery are closer to the $1200 S20+, the S20 FE naturally makes a few compromises compared to the $1000 S20 to achieve its low price: less RAM at 6 GB, a full-HD screen that's perfectly flat, no 8K video capture, and a polycarbonate back instead of glass. Pre-orders start today and include a $70 credit (for accessories, for example) on samsung.com. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition ships on October 2nd.
Recent listings in the public Bluetooth database show approvals for an unannounced Samsung phone called the "Galaxy S20 FE 5G" or "Galaxy S20 FE UW". We assume that "FE" stands for "Fan Edition", a model name modifier Samsung used recently in the Note series. The model numbers in the database indicate versions for every major US carrier, with variants such as "SM-G781V ... for VZW", "SM-G781U ... for ATT", and "SM-G781U ... for TMB". The Bluetooth approvals reveal little else, except that the phones will offer Bluetooth version 5.0.
Samsung has revealed new details of its Galaxy Z Fold2 foldable phone, the successor to last year's pioneering Galaxy Fold. While Samsung has improved or refined most aspects of the design — including the hinge — the much larger outer display stands out, having grown from 4.6 to 6.2 inches, and now protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The flexible inner display is also larger thanks to thinner bezels, and is protected by Samsung's proprietary Ultra Thin Glass material that debuted on the Galaxy Z Flip earlier this year. It also supports adaptive screen refresh up to 120 Hz. Both screens have a single hole punch for a 10-megapixel selfie camera. The three rear cameras (standard, wide, and 2x telephoto) are all 12 megapixel. It has a 4,500 mAh battery. It supports 25W fast charging, 11W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging. Its radios include both sub-6 and mmWave 5G, UWB, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. It's available in one spec configuration — 12 GB RAM + 256 GB storage (no memory card slot) — for $1999. Samsung is also expanding the "Galaxy Z Premier Service" included with all of its Z series phones with new VIP amenities such as Founders Card membership. Color options for the Z Fold2 are: Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. Optionally, the hinge color can be customized, which a choice of four metallic hinge colors: silver, gold, red, or blue. Starting September 18th, it will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked directly from Samsung. Pre-orders start at midnight tonight. Read on for a photo gallery, full specs, and new software feature info.
Samsung's Note series phones are pricey and aimed at road warriors. So you might think they're ill-suited for 2020. But they do have very unique capabilities that can help you up your video conferencing game as you work from home, as we demonstrate in this video using the Galaxy Note20 Ultra.
Samsung has provided key details on a new commitment to offer major new versions of Android to existing phones. All Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, and Galaxy Z (foldable) series devices will receive "three generations of Android operating system (OS) upgrades". For example, current models that shipped with Android 10 will receive an update to Android 11, plus the next two major versions. Higher-end Galaxy A models — such as the A51 and A71 — are also included, as well as last year's models (the S10 and Note10 series) and the original Galaxy Fold. Samsung also revealed that the S20 series will be its first models to receive the Android 11 update, "with other devices to follow shortly thereafter." Samsung briefly mentioned the new commitment during its Note20 launch event, but did not elaborate on the details until today.
Samsung has revealed the first details of its next premium foldable, the Galaxy Z Fold2. Also, T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T have all announced that they will offer the Z Fold2. Both screens have been made larger compared to the original Fold. The outer display is now a full 6.2 inches, covering most of the front surface, a huge improvement over the 4.6-inch display on the original Fold. The inner, flexible display has been enlarged from 7.3 to 7.6 inches. The flexible display is now protected by Samsung's UTG (Ultra Thin Glass) just like the Galaxy Z Flip. The hinge looks similar, but has been re-engineered using over 60 precision parts. The phone also has a small camera hole punch on both displays, and 4,500 mAh battery capacity. The Z Fold2 will come in Mystic Black and Mystic Bronze. Samsung is keeping full details under wraps until September 1st, when pre-orders will also go live. Read on for more photos.
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Watch3, its newest wearable devices. The Galaxy Buds Live are bean-shaped true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. They feature a bigger, 12mm speaker compared to Galaxy Buds+, plus a bass duct and three microphones. Outside noise can be adjusted. They're available starting tomorrow for $170, and come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black. The Galaxy Watch3 brings back the physically-rotating bezel, with a new, thinner bezel design that maximizes screen-to-body ratio. The Watch3 includes all major smartwatch features, including heart rate and sleep tracking. A new Trip Detection feature ensures that help is never too far away if you take a hard fall outdoors or in your home, allowing you to send a custom SOS message to emergency contacts. It's available in two sizes. The Bluetooth version starts at $400, while the LTE-enabled version starts at $450. Add $30 for the larger 45mm size. All versions are available starting tomorrow. Read on for a few hands-on photos.
Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra. The specs are impressive, but what else should you know about these super-phones? We take you a bit deeper with some first impressions, point out some things you may have missed, and explain some things that might be confusing at first glance.
Samsung today revealed its latest Galaxy Note phones: the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra. On the software side, the new Note phones include an overhauled Samsung Notes app with free cloud sync, PDF annotation, nested folder structure, personalized handwriting neaten-ing, sound recordings time-synced with your own notes, and sync with both OneNote and Outlook. The S Pen supports five new gestures, allowing general Android navigation using only the S Pen as a remote control. The Note20 series also includes advanced video features such as 8K video capture, multi-track audio including remote mics (USB or Bluetooth), manual controls, variable-speed zoom, and the ability to use the extra mics in the new Galaxy Buds Live earbuds to better cancel out background noise. Updated Link to Windows integration now lets you access your mobile apps directly from your Windows 10 PC. The Note20 series also features 120 Hz display refresh, brighter screens, Snapdragon 865+ processor, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, 5G (including mmWave in most versions), and IP68 water resistance. The standard Note20 has a more rounded design, flat 6.7-inch FHD+ display, 4,300 mAh battery, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB storage. The Note20 Ultra has a more sharp-cornered design, 6.9-inch QHD+ display with curved sides and the new Gorilla Glass Victus, 4,500 mAh battery, 12 GB RAM, 128 or 512 GB storage, and a memory card slot. The Ultra also adds UWB for precise relative positioning, similar to a feature introduced in the iPhone 11. At launch, the Note20 Ultra will support UWB for Point To Share file-sharing and digital key applications, with more uses planned. On the camera side, the two models take different approaches to implementing zoom, much like the S20 series. The standard model has a 12 megapixel standard camera, plus a 64 megapixel camera for 8K video and up to 3x real zoom. The Ultra model has a 108 megapixel main camera for 8K video and 1–4x zoom, plus a 5x optical tele camera (12 megapixel). Samsung's "Space Zoom" adds 10x digital zoom, for total zoom of 30x on the Note20 and 50x on the Ultra. Both models also have a 12 megapixel wide camera and 10 megapixel selfie camera with auto-focus. The standard model will come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green, and Mystic Gray, while the Ultra will come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White. Select colors have a "haze" effect matte finish that resists fingerprints. Pre-orders start August 6th, will full availability on the 21st. The Note20 Ultra will start at $1300, while the standard Note20 will start at $1000. Most US carriers will offer the Note20 series, including Verizon and Xfinity Mobile. The phones will also be available unlocked. All pre-orders include a credit to spend with Samsung on accessories, etc.: $100 for the Note20 and $150 for the Ultra. The credit can be used for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Bundle, which includes a Bluetooth game controller and 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with cloud gaming.
T-Mobile, Metro, and Verizon will all launch the Samsung Galaxy A51 5G this month, starting with T-Mobile on August 7th. The A51 5G is just $500, making it the most affordable 5G phone offered by US carriers to date. Verizon's model, which adds mmWave 5G, will run $550, according to a Verizon spokesperson. The A51 5G was announced in April. Compared to the 4G A51, the A51 5G adds not only 5G, but also a larger battery and more RAM. AT&T, Verizon, and Xfinity already offer the 4G version. Other specs include a 6.5-inch OLED display, four rear cameras, 32-megapixel front camera, fast charging, NFC, and a memory card slot.
Microsoft's Project xCloud cloud-based game-streaming service will officially launch September 15th as a "cloud gaming" feature included with the new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service. Game Pass Ultimate costs $15/month, with an intro price of $1 for the first month. In addition to cloud gaming, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes access to more than 100 high-quality games for console and PC; exclusive member discounts, deals, perks, and Xbox Live Gold. Cloud gaming will be available via the "Xbox Game Pass" app for Android. An iOS version is planned, but not yet available. Razer and other companies are developing new phone accessories designed to work with the service, including "different types of phone clips..., travel controllers..., and exclusive Xbox-branded controllers that split apart and attach to the side of your phone." The new cloud gaming service replaces the Project xCloud "preview", which will end September 11th. Microsoft also revealed that it will have related news to share at tomorrow's Samsung event, where the next Note-series phone is expected to be announced.
AT&T has set a date for switching off its 3G WCDMA network. Starting February 2022, customers will need a 4G phone with VoLTE technology (a feature AT&T refers to as HD Voice) to connect to AT&T's network. Most smartphones released since 2014 support this technology, as well as most feature phones released in the last two-three years. Phones that will stop working include the Apple iPhone 5s and older, Samsung Galaxy S4 and older, the original Google Pixel, and the OnePlus 6T and older. Shutting down the 3G network will allow AT&T to allocate all of its airwaves to more-efficient 4G and 5G technologies, enabling greater network capacity and data speeds for 4G and 5G customers. AT&T sent an email to some customers earlier this week saying they needed to upgrade their phone without making clear the 2022 deadline. AT&T issued the following statement about the email: "This email was one of many planned to keep customers informed about the shutdown of our 3G network in early 2022. It should have included the date that certain devices would no longer be supported. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused and will be more clear in future updates."
Corning's newest Gorilla Glass for phones is Gorilla Glass Victus, which the company claims provides improved drop and scratch resistance compared to Gorilla Glass 6 and the competition. Samsung will be the first company to use Gorilla Glass Victus "in the near future". Most advanced glass materials optimize for either drop protection or scratch resistance. For example, the first versions of Gorilla Glass focused on scratch resistance, while more recent iterations have focused on drop protection. Gorilla Glass Victus improves both, providing "up to a 2x improvement in scratch resistance" compared to Gorilla Glass 6, while also providing "drop performance up to 2 meters when dropped onto hard, rough surfaces", compared to 1.6 meters for Gorilla Glass 6.
Samsung Pay users can now sign up for Samsung Money in the new Money tab of the Samsung Pay app. Samsung Money is a debit card linked to a dedicated cash management account (similar to a checking account). Samsung has now sweetened the deal by announcing today that Samsung Money users will have access to exclusive "discounts on Samsung Galaxy smartphones, tablets, wearables, TVs, laptops, washers, refrigerators and more on Samsung.com".
Samsung today announced the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, a variant of the company's folding-screen, clamshell-style phone that adds sub-6 GHz 5G and a faster processor, but is otherwise similar to the 4G version. In the US, it will be available for $1,450 starting August 7th from AT&T and T-Mobile, and unlocked from Samsung, Amazon, and Best Buy. The processor is Qualcomm's new, top-end Snapdragon 865+, compared to the older Snapdragon 855+ in the 4G version. The Z Flip 5G will support the sub-6 GHz 5G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile in bands 2, 5, 25, 41, 66, and 71, as well as 4G LTE in all US bands. The 5G variant looks identical to the 4G model, except it comes in new colors: Mystic Gray and Mystic Bronze, both with a haze finish that minimizes fingerprints. The Z Flip has a unique bending display featuring "flexible glass". The Z Flip also has a 3,300 mAh battery and 8 GB of RAM.
US carriers have launched a flurry of new entry-level phones from LG and Samsung in recent weeks. The phones include three new models from each of the two manufacturers. They range in price from $60 to $260.
- LG's new most affordable phone goes by many names and ranges in price from $60 to $160. It's offered by just about every carrier except Verizon. T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro offer it as the Aristo 5. Boost offers it as the Tribute Monarch. U.S. Cellular offers it as the K8x. All of those versions come with 32 GB of storage. Only AT&T's version comes with just 16 GB of storage, which they offer from AT&T Prepaid as the Phoenix 5, or from Cricket as the Fortune 3. Oddly, Cricket also offers this phone as the Risio 4. The Risio 4 and K8x have a front camera that's downgraded from 5 to 3 megapixel. Key specs in common include a 5.7-inch HD display with notch, MediaTek Helio P22 processor, 2 GB RAM, and a 3,000 mAh Battery. It also has a 13-megapixel main camera, dedicated wide-angle camera, and a rear fingerprint reader.
- LG Harmony 4: Currently available only from Cricket (for $140), this step-up model has a larger display (6.1-inch), larger battery (3,500 mAh), and more RAM (3 GB). It also has USB-C and a better front camera. Regulatory filings indicate it may also come to Verizon prepaid and TracFone using the Sprint network.
- LG K51: Already available from T-Mobile, Metro, and Boost, this model is now available from Verizon for $168. Compared to the Harmony 4, it offers an even larger display and battery. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 processor.
- Samsung A01: First launched on Verizon in April, Samsung's most affordable phone is now available from AT&T, Cricket, and Metro, for $115, $60, and $160, respectively. It has USB-C and fast charging, but no fingerprint reader.
- Samsung A11: A big step up from A01, this $180 phone is now available from AT&T and Verizon. It will launch with Boost on July 21st at a limited-time price of $130. It has a 6.4-inch HD display with a hole-punch design, 4,000 mAh battery, fast charging, fingerprint reader, and a dedicated wide-angle camera.
- Samsung A21: Now available from Verizon, T-Mobile, Metro, Sprint, and Boost. While the standard price is $250, Metro is charging $260 while Boost is currently offering it for $200. It has a similar display and battery compared to the A11, but has upgraded cameras, MediaTek Helio P35 processor, 3 GB RAM, and NFC.
Verizon will offer Samsung's Galaxy A71 5G starting July 16th (pre-orders July 9th) for $650, making it Verizon's cheapest 5G phone to date. That's still $50 more than the A71 5G offered by other carriers, but Verizon's version adds supports for faster mmWave 5G.
Samsung's new mid-range 5G phone, the Galaxy A71 5G, will be available from T-Mobile and Sprint this Friday for $600. Samsung has also made it official that both Verizon and AT&T will offer the phone "later this summer", and that it will also be available unlocked. We broke the news about the Verizon version of the A71 5G a month ago. T-Mobile and Sprint will offer the Galaxy A71 5G in a "Prism Cube Black" finish. The A71 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, has a 6.7-inch full-HD Super AMOLED display, 4,500 mAh battery, 25W fast charging, quad rear cameras including a 64 megapixel main camera, and 6 GB of RAM. T-Mobile also announced today that it will carry many of the other models in Samsung's latest A-series of phones. The slightly cheaper Galaxy A51 5G will come to the T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro brands this summer. The company will also offer the entry-level A01, A11, and A21, at prices ranging from $160 to $250.
This summer, Samsung will launch Samsung Money by SoFi, a new financial product integrated with Samsung Pay. Like Apple Card, Samsung Money can be used as a payment method with the wallet app (Samsung Pay), the account is managed within the wallet app, and the product also includes a physical payment card. However, Samsung Money is not a credit card like Apple Card. Instead, it consists of a Mastercard debit card linked to a SoFi cash management account, which functions much like a free (no-fee) online checking account. The account will earn interest at a variable rate that would currently be 0.20% APY. Using Samsung Money earns Samsung Rewards points, which can be redeemed for purchases on samsung.com or with the Shop Samsung app. Or, one time only, points can be redeemed for cash at a rate of 1,000 points = $5 (minimum 1,000 points). (Apple Card offers 2% unlimited cash back on all purchases — and 3% with select retailers — which can be spent on anything.) The debit card can be used to withdraw cash without fees at any of the 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs. As with Apple Card, the physical card will not display the card number, expiration date, or CVV; those can be accessed securely from the Samsung Pay app when needed. Users are not liable for unauthorized transactions. Although Samsung Money presents itself to the user as one checking-like account, behind the scenes, SoFi "sweeps" money daily into accounts at partner banks, which in turn provide FDIC insurance protection once those "sweep" transactions clear. Because SoFi has partnered with six different banks for this service, and can divide your money between them, it can provide up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance coverage, instead of the usual $250,000. The Samsung Pay app will enable Samsung Money users to check their balance, review past statements, search transactions, flag suspicious activity, pause or restart spending, freeze or unfreeze their card, and more. Samsung has just updated its Samsung Pay app with a new "Money" tab where those interested can join a waitlist, or they can head to www.samsung.com/us/money.
Samsung is developing a version of its Galaxy A71 5G phone for Verizon, according to information made public today in the Bluetooth SIG's database of devices that have passed the Bluetooth qualification process. The new listing describes the device as "Galaxy-A71-5g US VERIZON". Samsung announced the A71 5G last month, saying it would launch in the US and cost $600. The phone has a 6.7-inch full-HD display, 64-megapixel camera, 4,500 mAh battery, and 25W fast charging. 5G phones must be specifically designed for Verizon to work with the company's 5G unique network, since Verizon is currently one of the few carriers worldwide to rely exclusively on mmWave 5G. So while it cannot be confirmed that Verizon will definitely sell the Galaxy A71 5G, it would be very unusual for Samsung to expend the (considerable) effort to develop such a phone and then cancel it.