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Samsung’s Galaxy S8 arrives April 21st

Now that the Galaxy S8 is finally official, the next most important piece of news is when you can buy it and how much it will cost. The new handset will be available in five colors — of these, the Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Arctic Blue options will be offered in the US when the phone arrives on April 21st. Major carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon Wireless, as well as low-cost options like Cricket Wireless and Straight Talk Wireless, will all start selling the device that day. If you want to make sure you’re not left high and dry in the event those outlets run out of stock, you can pre-order the Galaxy S8 starting tomorrow.

There are other benefits to pre-ordering the Galaxy S8 — namely, you’ll get a Gear VR headset and controller for free. Even if you just buy the handset the regular way on or after April 21st, there’s a chance you could snag one of the limited-edition premium bundles that gives you a 256GB memory card and a pair of AKG tuned earphones, a result of Samsung’s recent acquisition of Harman.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!


Samsung’s Bixby AI assistant can see as well as talk

With its latest Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones, Samsung also launched its very own AI assistant, Bixby. We know what you’re thinking — do I really need yet another Android helper bot like Google Assistant or even Cortana vying for my attention? Actually, Bixby might prove to be useful for Galaxy S8 owners than we expected, thanks to to its tight integration with the smartphones’ hardware.

Bixby has its own access button on the Galaxy S8 that helps you navigate services, apps and more via voice, touch and text commands. It also comes with a card-centric user interface that looks a lot like Google’s former Now app, letting you save cards as reminders for later use. At launch, it will integrate with Samsung’s camera, gallery, contacts, messages and settings, and with third-party apps in the future.

That will help it “see” and do things like shop, translate languages on street signs and more. For instance, you can point the camera at a building in a city, and it will tell you which one it is and give you info about nearby spots where you can find dinner.

In one demo, Samsung shows how you can just tell Bixby to “capture this and send it to Cindy,” so it contextually knows that you want to do a screengrab and send it to a contact. If you have more than one Cindy in your contacts, it will offer up a menu that lets you select the one you want.

All told, the app actually looks better than we expected, and may prove more useful for some chores than Google’s Assistant since it works directly with Samsung’s hardware. However, we’ve been similarly enthused about other AI assistants, then rarely used them, so we’ll reserve judgement for our upcoming review. Meanwhile, check out the Galaxy S8 and S8+ hands-on looks or the video below.


Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!


Facebook opens up 360-degree livestreaming to everyone

One of the most useful things that Facebook has done with Oculus is (ironically) make it work on Samsung’s GearVR and host 360 degree photos and videos that users can check out on the headset. The social network has now expanded that idea greatly with the wide launch of Live 360, a VR-like way for users to stream and consume live content. Provided you have the tech and bandwidth, the new app gives “your audience a chance to be in the moment through both place and time,” Facebook says.

If you have Samsung’s latest Gear 360 2017, the Insta360 Nano and Air (below) or professional models including Nokia’s Ozo, Live 360 works much like Facebook Live. You just hook up your camera to the phone as per the manufacturer’s instructions, pick your streaming audience, add a description and go live. On the other end, your friends can see the video from all directions by rotating their phones, or better yet, view it properly on a headset like the GearVR, Oculus Rift or Google’s DayDream.

To make the experience even more real, Facebook introduced spatial audio, “which gives viewers the ability to experience 360 degree sound just as they would in real life.” The tech will work with upcoming cameras, or you can do it record it manually using an ambisonic microphone.

If all this sounds a bit tricky, Facebook has created a Live 360 guide with tips on how to film. It recommends, for instance, that you have at least a 4 Mbps network connection and advises you to keep subjects within 20 to 30 feet from the camera so viewers can see them. (You can learn more about spatial audio via a support group for a software app called Spatial Workstation.)

On top of the two cameras mentioned, Facebook also supports the Giroptic IO, Allie Camera, and Z Cam S1. With some tweaking, you might be able to get other cameras working too, according to the guide.

Source: Facebook


Periscope livestreams now play inside Twitter Moments

Twitter Moments are supposed to capture the zeitgeist of cultural events, but that hasn’t been entirely true when you haven’t had access to as-it-happens live video. Thankfully, that’s changing today. You can now play live Periscope streams directly inside Moments, giving you an easy way to follow a still-unfolding event without visiting a broadcaster’s tweet or launching Periscope’s dedicated app. And if you’re more interested in hosting live video than watching it, there a pair of additional updates in store.

To begin with, the Periscope app on Android and iOS now has an activity tab that tells you both about new followers as well as people watching your replays. If you’re curious to know what kind of audience you’re building, it should be easy to figure out. Not detailed enough? On the web, you now have access to an analytics dashboard that gives you detailed stats for your videos. You’ll know which videos reel in the biggest crowds, how long people typically watch and other useful tidbits that could influence your strategy. The dashboard will only be of limited help if you’re an everyday streamer, but it could be vital if you’re streaming for a company or otherwise take your Periscope sessions very seriously.

Source: Twitter, App Store, Google Play


Samsung’s Galaxy S8 can sign into websites using your face

The Galaxy S8’s face and fingerprint detection are about more than unlocking your phone: If Samsung has its way, you’ll use them to sign into seemingly everything online. The company is expanding its Samsung Pass feature to use biometrics to sign into not only a wider array of financial services, but also shopping (as rumored) and other websites. Yes, you could start shopping just by staring at your phone for a while. And if you’re health conscious, the S8 might just save you a trip to the clinic.

As rumored, the S8’s version of S Health includes an option to talk to a doctor. If you have a quick question about your condition, you don’t have to plan a trip or turn to a third-party service. The live chat feature will only be available in a few countries on launch, but that does include the US.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!

S Health on the Galaxy S8


All the places you can buy the Galaxy S8 and S8+

If you’re looking to make sure you’re among the first to own Samsung’s swanky new Galaxy S8 but don’t want to line up outside a store on April 21st, you’re in luck. Major and minor carriers alike have announced that they’re running pre-order campaigns (with some hefty incentives) starting as early as tomorrow. Here’s what each has planned:

Inside An AT&T Inc. Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures

AT&T will begin taking orders both online and in stores tomorrow, March 30th. If you’re on the AT&T Next program, the $750 S8 will cost $25 a month for 30 months and the $850 S8+ can be had for $28.34. For AT&T Next Every Year customers those prices increase to $31.25 and $35.42, respectively, over 24 months.

The carrier is offering a whole slew of incentives if you do opt to pre-order. First, you’ll receive up to $750 in credits towards another Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+. It also comes with a Gear VR headset, controller and some bundled content. You can also pick up a Gear S3 smartwatch for $50 (they normally retail for $300) with a two-year service agreement. And finally, AT&T will try to unload a Tab E or Gear S2 on your for $1 if you go in on a 2 year service agreement.

A Verizon Communications Inc. Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures

Verizon Wireless’ offers are a bit more… nuanced. For a limited time with an eligible trade in device and enrollment in the Verizon Unlimited Plan, you can get the S8 or S8+ for as little as $15 a month. Otherwise you’ll pay $30 for the S8 and $35 for the S8+. There are a bunch of restrictions on that offer so make sure you read the fine print before you pull out your wallet.

To sweeten the deal, Verizon will throw in one of two Samsung Gear VR bundles. You can get the Controller Bundle ($180 value) for free, which includes a Gear VR with controller and Oculus content. Or you can splurge on the Experience Box ($550 value) for $100, which includes the Controller Bundle plus a pair of Harman Kardon headphones and a 256GB micro SD card. These bonuses are only available before April 21st and must be redeemed at the Samsung promotions site before May 21st.

Inside A T-Mobile US Inc. Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures

T-Mobile isn’t one to be left out. In addition to opening its pre-order window at 9:01 PT tonight, the company will offer the S8 for $30 a month on its Equipment Installment Plan, though you’ll need to pay $30 up front. The S8+ will cost you the same per month but you’ll need to drop $130 when you order. Whichever size you go for, you will get a free Gear VR with controller and Oculus content. MetroPCS customers won’t be able to pre-order but they can still score the Gear VR bundle when the phone launches on April 21st.

We also expect Sprint, Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk Wireless and US Cellular to carry the handsets, however they have yet to release information on bundles and availability. As they do, we’ll update this post.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!


Self-assembling wires could lead to faster processors

There’s a very real fear that processor speed upgrades will slow to a crawl as it becomes increasingly difficult to make denser chips. Don’t tell that to a team of researchers at MIT and in Chicago, though — they’ve devised a chip-making technique that could keep Moore’s Law relevant for a while longer. Their approach produces much finer wires by letting them partly assemble themselves, rather than relying on the very deliberate (not to mention slow) ultraviolet or scanning processes used to make chips today.

The team starts out with the conventional process of using an electron beam to etch patterns on a chip, but that’s where much of the familiarity ends. The next step is to lay down a mix of two polymers that naturally separate themselves into patterns. When you place a protective polymer coating on top of those polymers, you force them to self-assemble in a dense, vertically oriented way that produces four wires where there would usually be one.

There’s a long way to go before you see this method put into practice. Thankfully, it promises to be relatively simple. You could use existing chip lithography techniques, and it wouldn’t be difficult to add the coating process. This would use well-understood materials, to boot. As such, there’s a real possibility that companies could build very dense (that is, denser than 10nm) chips without throwing out their current technology, leading to speed and energy improvements that once seemed unrealistic.

Source: MIT News, Nature


The Galaxy S8 vs. the competition: Both beauty and beast

Samsung’s had a rough year, but it’s hoping that its new flagship phones can turn things around. In fact, the company’s wants you to see the Galaxy S8 as a new type of handset: bigger and bolder in shape, with personal assistant Bixby and a desktop mode to sweeten the pot. But it’s entering a market already full of swank devices like the Google Pixel (with its amazing camera) and the iPhone 7. While you’ll have to wait for our full review to see how the S8 fares in the wild, we’ve lined up its specs against some of the competition to see if it’s bringing the right tools to the field.

Galaxy S8
Google Pixel
iPhone 7
Not available; varies by carrier
$649, $749 (off-contract)
varies by carrier (ranging from $650 at T-Mobile to $719 at AT&T)
$649, $749, $849 (off-contract)
Known dimensions
148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm (5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches)
143.84 x 69.54 x 7.31mm (5.66 x 2.74 x 0.29 inches)
148.84 x 71.88 x 7.87mm (5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches)
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches)
155g (5.47 ounces)
143g (5.04 ounces)
162.73g (5.74 ounces)
138g (4.87 ounces)
Screen size
5.8 inches (147.32mm)
5.0 inches (127mm)
5.7 inches (144.78mm)
4.7 inches (119.38mm)
Screen resolution
2,960 x 1,440 (570ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (441 ppi)
2,880 x 1,440 (564 ppi)
1,334 x 750 (326 ppi)
Screen type
QHD Plus LCD with DolbyVision HDR
Retina HD
Internal storage
External storage
Rear camera
12MP, f/1.7
12.3MP, f/2.0, 1.55µm pixel size
Dual cameras: 13MP, f/1.8; 13MP, f/2.4
12MP, f/1.8
Front-facing cam
8MP, f/2.4, 1.4µm pixel size
5MP, f/2.2
7MP, f/2.2
Video capture
4K at 30fps
4K at 120fps
4K at 30fps
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Apple A10 Fusion
2.3GHz octa-core
2.15GHz quad-core
2.35GHz quad-core
2.34GHz quad-core
Adreno 540
Adreno 530
Adreno 530
PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system
Android 7.0
Android 7.1
Android 7.0
iOS 10
Notable features
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C
Fingerprint sensor, IP68 certified, MIL-STD-810G-tested shock resistant, USB Type-C
Touch ID, IP67 certified, Lightning connector

Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!


Samsung’s Galaxy S8 UK pricing starts at £689

Samsung just unwrapped its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, along with some all-important prices and release dates. If you live in the UK, here’s what you need to know: The phone comes in two models, the S8 and S8+, and will be sold for £689 and £779 respectively. Both come with 64GB of storage as standard, so you just have to worry about the size and the color — your options are black, silver, gold, blue or a purple-ish “orchid gray.” The official release date is April 28th in Europe, however if you pre-order before April 19th there’s a chance you’ll get it up to eight days early.

So what’s new with the phone? The main attraction is the new “infinity display” which takes up almost the entirety of the front. It’s another step up from the curved display found on the Galaxy S7 Edge, cramming more screen into a big-but-still-not-monstrous smartphone form factor. For the S8, it’s a 5.8-inch screen, while the S8+ has a slightly larger 6.2-inch panel — both are “Quad HD+,” with a 2,960 x 1,440 resolution. They’re powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM, coupled with a 3,000 mAh battery in the S8 and a 3,500 mAh cell in the S8+.

Other new features, such as Samsung’s ‘Bixby’ assistant, certainly intrigue. The company is also promising a lighter version of TouchWiz and a vastly improved front-facing camera. We’re keen to see how Bixby fares against the Google Pixel, which puts the Google Assistant at the heart of its software experience, and the bevy of other voice-activated helpers on the market. If you’re on the fence (there’s also the Huawei P10, LG G6 and Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium to consider) look out for our full review.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 launch event!


Google’s official calendar app is finally ready for your iPad

Google Calendar for iOS can be exceptionally useful if you’re tired of Apple’s stock scheduler, but there has always been one inescapable catch: it’s only designed for iPhones… or rather, it was. Two years later, Google has updated Calendar to add iPad support. Yes, you can finally jot down appointments and set goals while taking advantage of your Apple tablet’s larger canvas. That’s the only major update on deck right now, but there are promises of more in the pipeline.

Most notably, Google is prepping a Today View widget that will show your upcoming schedule on both the lock screen and the notification center. That’s not completely revolutionary (just ask Android users), but it should address one of the biggest requests since the iOS version arrived.

Source: App Store

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