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Samsung Gear VR lets you explore Waste Management Phoenix Open

Samsung Gear VR (13)

If you were hoping to attend the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz. but couldn’t, you’re in luck. The PGA has released its first virtual reality videos for Samsung Gear VR.

The videos were taken over the course of two days of the golf tournament. Two of the videos will allow viewers to see the practice area and receive an instructional session from PGA tour professionals Patrick Rodgers and Peter Malnati. Another video focuses on the 16th hole of tournament home TPC Scottsdale and the final video takes viewers behind the scenes of a PGA Tour Live broadcast.

The PGA plans to develop more VR videos throughout the season. The new content will allow viewers to see courses which they’ve never visited and watch their favorite golfers.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (February 10, 2016) – The PGA TOUR announced the release of its first-ever virtual reality (VR) videos on Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus. The videos and app were produced with the assistance of IM360, a leader in immersive and interactive content solutions.

The video was captured over two days at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale and is packaged in four separate VR videos. Two of the videos will take viewers to the practice area where they’ll be immersed in one-on-one instruction with PGA TOUR players Patrick Rodgers (@PRodgersGolf) and Peter Malnati (@PeterMalnati). A third video focuses on what it’s like to be on TPC Scottsdale’s famous 16th hole with Rickie Fowler. The fourth feature goes behind-the-scenes of a PGA TOUR LIVE broadcast.

“Our goal at the PGA TOUR is to bring fans as close to the game and players as possible,” said Sloane Kelley, PGA TOUR executive producer. “VR allows us to do that in a completely new way. Our initial focus with VR is around storytelling. We’ve opted to produce on-demand videos, which will reside in a dedicated PGA TOUR app on the Oculus platform. After doing test shoots last summer, we found the best VR experience is in stories that can immerse our fans in the most beautiful locations while allowing them to feel like they’re on the course with our players.”

The TOUR plans to create additional VR content throughout the season, finding opportunities to bring fans behind-the-scenes, to visit courses they’ve never seen, and to watch their favorite PGA TOUR players.

IM360 was the PGA TOUR’s vendor of choice, with the company producing the four videos involving 360-degree video capture, post production and distribution, featuring the top golf professionals in the world. To support the virtual reality experience, IM360 also built the custom PGA TOUR VR app on Oculus that includes exclusive content from instructional videos like bunker shots and putting, to behind-scenes footage on the PGA TOUR.

“The PGA TOUR has not only embraced virtual reality technology but has been fantastic to work with in building a revolutionary immersive experience for golfing fans around the world,” said IM360’s spokesperson Rich Flier. “It was a thrill and an honor to deliver a one-of-a-kind VR experience featuring the world’s top golf pros.”

Come comment on this article: Samsung Gear VR lets you explore Waste Management Phoenix Open


Samsung Galaxy A9 review

Samsung refreshed their Galaxy A series at the end of last year, with the new smartphones in the series borrowing heavily from the design language and construction of Samsung’s 2015 flagships. Apart from the 2016 editions of the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7, Samsung also added a new device to the lineup, which is also the largest of the bunch, and at least on paper, falls squarely in the “premium mid-range” category that we’re all increasingly familiar with.

What does this latest large Samsung offering bring to the table? We find out, in this comprehensive Samsung Galaxy A9 review!



Samsung has always had a penchant for bringing their flagship design language to the rest of their smartphone portfolio, so it’s not really surprising that the Galaxy A9 looks like an over-sized Galaxy S6, or a Galaxy Note 5, albeit without the curves on the back. What returns is the fantastic build quality, with two Corning Gorilla Glass 4 panels held together by a metal frame. A few elements do differentiate the Galaxy A9 from its flagship counterparts however; its corners are less rounded, resulting in a more angular look; meanwhile, flagship features like the S-Pen and the heart rate monitor aren’t to be found here.


Featuring a large 6-inch display, the handling experience is admittedly quite unwieldy, and while Samsung has done a great job in keeping the top part and the bottom chin relatively thin, one-handed use is quite literally a stretch. Some users will find hand gymnastics to be required to get across and to the top of the display, but with a somewhat slippery glass backing, using this phone with two hands will be your safest bet. Worth noting here is that despite being slightly thinner than the Galaxy Note 5, the camera unit on the back doesn’t protrude as much, which is one less thing to worry about when handling the device.


What you will notice right away when you first pick up the Galaxy A9 is its weight, and at 200 grams, it is certainly one of the heaviest smartphones we’ve come across. This heft does result in a substantial feel, but combined with the phone’s large dimensions, it can feel a little unbalanced when maneuvering it around. Given that the additional weight is likely a result of the huge battery packed into the device, it’s something that is at least understandable.  



The Galaxy A9 comes with a 6-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 367 ppi. Samsung’s display prowess makes itself known once again with this screen, and everything you’d expect from a Super AMOLED panel, including vibrant, saturated colors, deep blacks, high brightness, and good viewing angles, are all to be seen here. The large display may not make for the best handling experience, but media-consumption and gaming-centric users will certainly appreciate the additional display real estate that is available to them.


With Quad HD being the current flagship standard, some may be disappointed with the comparatively lower resolution of the display, but Full HD definitely gets the job done in this instance. Granted, some texts may appear fuzzy, and you may notice that the images are not the sharpest, especially if you’ve moved over from a device with a Quad HD display. All said and done however, the resolution doesn’t make as much of a difference as the vibrant colors do, and this display in certainly gorgeous. Add that to the fact that using a Full HD display will also lead to some benefits in terms of battery life, and Samsung’s decision to stay with a 1080p screen does make sense.



You’ll find something quite different under the hood this time around, with Qualcomm returning to the Samsung fold with this device. The Galaxy A9 comes with the recently-renamed octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 GPU, backed by the Adreno 510 GPU, and 3 GB of RAM. Seeing a Snapdragon 6xx at the helm may make you think of this as a mid-range processing package, but in terms of performance, what you get is actually quite close to the Galaxy Note 5, and the A9 seemingly surpasses the Galaxy S6, which is very impressive.

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The device handles everyday tasks with ease – opening, closing, and switching between apps is a breeze, and gaming is a lot of fun, with few and far between dropped frames. Everything remains smooth and snappy for the most part, and the only instances of stutter that are noticeable are when moving to the Briefing screen to the left of the main homescreen, but that has been the case with previous Samsung smartphones as well, and is likely an issue with software optimization. The overall experience has been incredibly smooth, and the Galaxy A9 is certainly not going to disappoint as far as performance is concerned.



In hardware, the Galaxy A9 comes with a standard suite of connectivity options, including NFC, and you also get dual-SIM capabilities. 32 GB is the only storage option available here, but the great news is that expandable storage is now available with a near-flagship Samsung smartphone once again, with microSD card support up to 128 GB. The lack of expandable storage with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 caused an uproar among consumers, and it’s nice to see Samsung bring this feature back with a device that features a premium unibody construction, and perhaps, this is a little foreshadowing of the future as well.


Retained from its flagship counterparts is the fingerprint scanner, returning to its usual position up front and embedded in the physical home button. Its placement allows for the scanner to be accessed at any time, letting you quickly unlock the device even if it is resting on a table. It can be a little awkward to reach it when you hold the device up, in which case the rear positioning that some OEMs have opted could be preferable.


You still have to push the home button for the scanner to do its thing, but the scanner is otherwise very fast and accurate, failing to read the registered fingerprint only once in around twenty attempts. Apart from just unlocking the device, the fingerprint scanner is used with Samsung Pay as well, which is always a big plus. You may not get all the bells and whistles that Samsung packs into their flagship devices with the Galaxy A9, but it’s great to see the very useful fingerprint scanner making the jump.


The single speaker unit is located on the right side at the bottom, and, as is the case with most bottom-mounted speakers, the placement isn’t ideal, as the sound is directed away from you, and makes for a speaker that is also very easy to cover up when holding the phone in the landscape orientation. However, it does get loud and the audio is also quite clear, with only a small amount of compression to it.


Moving on to the battery, we were certainly excited to put the Galaxy A9 through its paces when we first heard that it featured a large 4,000 mAh battery, and along with that, the promise of fantastic battery life. It’s certainly great news that the device stands up to that promise, and comfortably so, easily lasting for as long as 2 days with average use. Even when using the device to take a lot of pictures, I experienced a very impressive 8 hours of screen-on time.

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You’ll be hard-pressed to drain this battery quickly unless you’re a heavy gamer. On the flip side, you can get even more juice out of the battery by using Samsung’s built-in battery saving modes when you’re running low. You will rarely find the need to charge the Galaxy A9 every night, and when you do have to, it charges really quickly as well, taking advantage of Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology.



The camera, on paper, seems to be a step down from the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5, with the Galaxy A9 featuring a 13 MP primary shooter with a f/1.9 aperture. Fortunately, optical image stabilization is available as well, and overall, this camera is capable of taking some really good shots. To take pictures at full resolution, you’ll have to resort to shooting in a 4:3 aspect ratio however.


In good lighting conditions, the camera performs very well, and there is some sharpening that happens during post processing, that helps create sharp looking pictures with vibrant colors. On the negative side, the camera can struggle with dynamic range, and lots of detail can get lost in the shadows. Overexposure is also very common for the camera, especially on overcast days, but HDR does a great job with fixing this while maintaining a realistic look. Image quality deteriorates as lighting conditions worsen, and you will start to see images that are quite dull, with not a lot of vibrancy to the colors, along with lots of noise as well.

Camera samples

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The front-facing camera of the Galaxy A9 is actually a step up from what is found with its flagship counterparts, and the 8 MP shooter, also with a f/1.9 aperture, makes for a noticeable difference. While the selfie cam of the Galaxy S6 lacked detail, the Galaxy A9 allows for a good amount of detail to be seen in images. It is a wide angle lens as well, which helps get a lot of information into the shot.

Overall though, the cameras of the Galaxy A9 are very capable, but the Galaxy S6 is still the one to beat.



Finally, on the software side of things, it is certainly very surprising, and disappointing, to see the Galaxy A9, a device launched in December 2015, running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. Granted, an official update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow is in the works, but with a device released so late in the year, we were certainly expecting it to come with the latest version of Android right away. For now, we have a version of TouchWiz that we’ve been familiar with for close to year.


Samsung has done a decent job in toning down this version of its software package, when compared to previous iterations, but there are a few nice features still included. The notification dropdown is very nicely designed, if you don’t mind the color choice, and you do get to customize the Quick Settings toggles for easier access. Dual window support is also available, which can easily be taken advantage of when using this large display, but the feature is limited to only a select set of applications for now. Finally, the robust Theme Store is returning, which gives you the opportunity to really make the experience your own.

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Granted, there is still work to be done here, like addressing the small stutters that are seen in relation to the homescreen animations, or when swiping over to the Briefing screen, but these will hopefully be taken care of when Samsung releases the official update to Marshmallow for the Galaxy A9.


DIsplay 6-inch Super AMOLED display
Full HD resolution, 367 ppi
Processor 1.8 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
Adreno 510 GPU
Storage 32 GB
expandable via microSD card by up to 128 GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
FM Radio with RDS
microUSB 2.0
Cameras 13 MP rear camera, f/1.9 aperture, OIS, LED flash
8 MP front-facing camera, f1/.9 aperture
Battery 4,000 mAh
Software Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Dimensions 161.7 x 80.9 x 7.4 mm
200 grams


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Pricing and final thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy A9 can be found on Amazon priced at close to the $600 mark, which is quite steep, but given the flagship features this device provides, it does make sense. Available color options include silver, white, gold, and pink gold.


So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy A9! This smartphone proves to be quite compelling, by offering a flagship design and build quality, high-end performance, and incredible battery life, along with expandable storage coming back into the fold as well. The display resolution may not be the highest out there, and the camera may not be as good as Samsung’s flagship devices, but they are certainly not bad either. The Galaxy A9 proves that Samsung can definitely find the balance between looks and functionality, and this device could put the company back on top when it comes to creating smartphones for the power user.


Samsung launching Korean LTE network for public safety



Anyone who has been near a national disaster – or even just a massive sporting event – knows the frustration of clogged cellular service. This phenomenon is known as ‘the nightclub problem,’ a term I just invented on the spot because the situation is a lot like trying to communicate in a crowded club. Once everyone gets excited and confused, they start shouting, and because everyone is shouting, nobody can hear anything, so of course one must shout louder to be heard, thus contributing further to the noise. There is no time when it is more essential to be able to communicate clearly than in emergency situations, which is why Samsung is rolling out the “first live PS-LTE network in the world using the 3GPP telecommunications standard.”

5G Logo Huawei 2015-4See also: 5G, one wireless technology to rule them all?14

Our techno-savvy world has something of an achilles heel. We have become so reliant on instant information and communication that when we’re stripped of it, we often don’t know what to do. This Public Service LTE network will serve as a kind of failsafe, allowing smartphone users to stay in contact with each other even when national calamity is at hand, potentially saving lives.

Samsung’s network will arrive first in Seoul, where the network’s main control center is housed. Over the next few months, the network will spread to encompass the full city, then the province of Gangwon, and ultimately all of South Korea. Samsung believes they should be able to provide nationwide emergency coverage sometime in 2017.

What are your thoughts regarding Samsung’s public safety network? Will these kinds of redundant networks become standard, or will it be more important to push for the development of 5G networks capable of supporting national communication even in the event of crises? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

best valentine's day appsNext: 10 best Valentine’s Day apps for Android!7


Samsung’s Gear S2 Classic is finally available in Rose Gold and Platinum

samsung gear s2 colorsSamsung’s Gear S2 Classic has been teased in Rose Gold and Platinum for a few months now, with Samsung repeatedly showing off the premium iterations of their flagship smartwatch to build up some anticipation. The company announced that the new colors would be available in February, and they’re finally here.

If you’re interested, you can buy both models for $449 at tons of retailers, including Amazon, Best Buy, and directly from Samsung. The 18K Rose Gold comes with an ivory band, while the Platinum comes with a black leather band. Everything else about the watch has stayed the same, including Samsung’s unique rotating bezel that controls the interface of the watch.

Anyone interested in picking one of these up?

source: Samsung

Come comment on this article: Samsung’s Gear S2 Classic is finally available in Rose Gold and Platinum


iPhone 7 A10 chip to be made exclusively by TSMC, Samsung semiconductor in trouble

iphone 6s aa (17 of 24)

Samsung semiconductor just can’t catch a break right now. With global semiconductor sales peaking in 2015 and a weak forecast for 2016, the holy grail of chip contracts in 2016 was always going to be the A10 for the iPhone 7. Samsung was, understandably, going after it in earnest, but a new report out of South Korea claims Samsung rival TSMC has been awarded the exclusive rights to produce the A10 for the iPhone 7, sending Samsung into a “state of emergency”.

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While Samsung and TSMC have previously shared the load of chip production for the iPhone, TSMC reportedly won the exclusive contract due to its more advanced 10 nm process compared to Samsung’s 14 nm process. Full-scale production is scheduled to begin in June. Samsung was left reeling back in 2014 when TSMC got the exclusive rights to the A8 chip-production for the iPhone 6, but successfully managed to split the chip supply contract with TSMC for the 6s and 6s Plus.


Losing half of the contract to TSMC is going to mean very bad things for Samsung’s System LSI division. While this news is only being reported in South Korea today, Samsung’s semiconductor division apparently knew about the contract being awarded solely to TSMC back in the latter half of last year and is perhaps why Samsung was forecasting a tough year ahead for semiconductor sales. This is perhaps also why Samsung has been aggressively courting Qualcomm over the contract to produce the Snapdragon 820.


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Samsung’s 14 nm process might be enough to win additional business producing the latest Qualcomm chip, but the company already has a plan to get back on top in 2017. Samsung is reportedly working on a new 7 nm process to win the contract back from TSMC for the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. But this year doesn’t look good, with officials claiming it will be difficult for Samsung’s System LSI to be profitable in 2016.

samsung galaxy note 5 review aa (15 of 32)See also: Flashbacks and Forecasts: Samsung in 201620

Considering the performance differences uncovered between the different iPhone 6s models last year, Apple’s choice seems a wise one for the iPhone 7. Not only is the TSMC process more advanced, iPhone 6s models that used the TSMC A9 were found to run cooler and offer better battery savings – however marginal – than their Samsung twins. It may have been the first time iPhone users actually cared about the specs of the latest iPhone.

Do you think Samsung will get the A11 contract next year? What do you think this means for Samsung’s overall profitability?

Up Next: iPhone 7 flexible displays to be made by Samsung


Samsung Galaxy S7 may signal launch of Samsung Pay in UK, Spain


Samsung Pay has only rolled out to a couple countries so far, the U.S. and Korea. Samsung clearly wants to see that list expand, but making that happen has proven to be a long, slow process. A couple new markets appear to be ready with a launch just over the horizon as signs point to Samsung Pay coming to the U.K. and Spain markets in conjunction with the launch of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

This development surfaced thanks to comments made by Nathalie Oestmann at a Samsung company event, the European Forum 2016. Oestmann, the Head of Samsung Pay Europe, said Samsung Pay will be “coming to the UK and Spain very soon this year. More details [will follow] at MWC in a few weeks time.” MWC 2016 will take place later this month and Samsung is planning to unveil their new smartphones on February 21 in conjunction with MWC 2016.

Oestmann did not give any clues as to an actual “go live” date for Samsung Pay in the U.K. and Spain. If Samsung is ready to say something at the same time they launch their new Galaxy smartphones, the odds are good the mobile payment platform will be launched in those new markets along with the phones.

Currently Samsung Pay only works with certain smartphones including Samsung Galaxy S devices produced during the past year and the Galaxy Note 5. There does not seem to be any reason the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge would not join the portfolio of devices that support the app. One issue for U.S. customers has been the limitation to certain carriers, so we will have to watch to see if a similar restriction is put in place in the U.K. and Spain.

source: Pocket-lint

Come comment on this article: Samsung Galaxy S7 may signal launch of Samsung Pay in UK, Spain


[Deal] AT&T hosting BOGO promotion with Samsung’s high-end phones


Samsung’s next two flagships are on the way, and that means carriers and retailers want to burn through existing inventory of last year’s devices. First up to start dumping Samsung phones is AT&T with a new promotion that includes the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 Active, and even the Galaxy Note 5.


AT&T customers can purchase any of the aforementioned Samsung phones through an AT&T Next installment plan before picking up a Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Active with 32GB of internal storage for free. Since AT&T Next is part of the promotion and you’re not buying devices outright, the carrier will issue credit within three billing cycles. However, the credit will be spread across thirty months.

The deal expires on March 31, and select locations are not eligible to redeem the offer. AT&T says the deal is a no-go in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

Source: AT&T

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Pre-orders for Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will allegedly go live on February 21st


The leaks and rumours just keep on coming, with this latest information about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagships saying that both handsets will be available to pre-order after the launch event on February 21. We have more details after the break.

According to Android World, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will be available to pre-order in the Netherlands on launch day, with Samsung throwing in a set of Gear VR (reviewed here) goggles free of charge for all orders placed before March 10. Why March 10th? Because March 11th is when the handsets are believed to become available, i.e. orders should start being shipped from retailers such as Cool Blue, Belsimpel, MediaMarkt, as well as the official Samsung store.

For the moment, it’s believed that only the 32GB versions of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge will be available in the Netherlands, with users being able to expand storage by up to 128GB thanks to the rumoured return of the MicroSD card slot.

Other leaks include various renders and images of the handsets, the rumoured return of waterproofing, and bigger batteries. We’ve seen the stock wallpapers for the S7 Edge leaked, and even the news that the Galaxy S7 Edge+ will not be released in the UK this year. One wonders if Samsung has anything up its sleeve for the actual launch event on February 21st.

As always, it’s important to remember that leak and rumours are just that: leaks and rumours. As such, the proverbial pinch of salt should be taken with them. With just ten days left until Samsung officially announces the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, we don’t have too long until everything is confirmed as fact or fiction. Until then, I’m sure the leaks will keep on coming.

Source: Android World

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Microsoft apps now come with Android devices from 74 companies

If finding Microsoft apps on the Galaxy S6 caught you off-guard, you’re in for a real surprise this year. Microsoft has announced that its apps are now bundled with current and future Android devices from 74 companies, including newcomer Acer as well as ASUS, LG, Samsung and Sony. That’s a healthy boost from 31 vendors last year. There are bound to be gaps in coverage, but the odds are now fairly high that you’ll find the Office suite, OneDrive, Skype and other Redmond-made tools on your brand new smartphone or tablet.

As is usually the case, though, this isn’t coming out of sheer eagerness to embrace Microsoft’s vision. The Windows maker notes that “IP alignment” is a key factor here — to put it another way, these companies are bundling Microsoft apps in part to avoid patent disputes over their use of Android. They do stand to profit from the deal, but it’s clear that Microsoft is using its leverage to get its apps and services on as many gadgets as possible.

Source: Official Microsoft Blog, Microsoft News Center


Deal: Get a free Galaxy S6 with any other Galaxy flagship purchase at AT&T

samsung galaxy s6 active vs galaxy s6 and edge (18 of 20)

Dayum, this is a pretty sweet deal. AT&T is offering a free 32 GB Galaxy S6 to anyone that purchases a Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S6 Active or Note 5 on an AT&T Next instalment plan. Both devices will need to be on a Next plan, but considering one of them is for free, it’s a pretty awesome offer.

If you’re not particularly keen on the Galaxy S6, AT&T is also offering the S6 Active as the free device, or up to $595 in monthly bill credits so you can choose any other eligible Galaxy device you like. The free S6 will need to be a new activation and you’ll have to pay the taxes on both devices upfront.

AT&T free Galaxy S6 offer AT&T

The offer isn’t available in Connecticut, Rhode Island or Miami-Dade and you need to keep both devices “in good standing” (that means pay your bill) for the first month before the monthly bill credits kick in after three bill cycles. The offer is available until March 31 (at least in Puerto Rico) and both handsets must be on Next plans of at least $70 per month. With the Galaxy S7 being unveiled in less than two weeks at MWC 2016, you know more deals like this are coming soon.

Buy one, get one free Galaxy S6 with AT&T


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