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10
Aug

Galaxy Note 9 pre-orders are now live!


Live in the U.S. or Canada? Here’s what you need to know about buying the Galaxy Note 9!

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 is here, and as you probably know by now, there’s a lot to get excited about. The all-new S Pen is more powerful than ever before, the cameras are shaping up to be the best we’ve seen from Samsung to-date, and the massive 4,000 mAh battery should be perfect for road-warriors.

Galaxy Note phones are usually available just about everywhere, and with the Note 9, that’s no different.

Whether you live in the United States or Canada, here’s everything you need to know about where to buy Sammy’s latest and greatest.

United States

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Straight Talk
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Xfinity Mobile
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • B&H
  • Samsung

For customers in the United States, pre-orders for the Note 9 are live now with official sales opening up on August 24. Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple are the two colors being sold in the country and are available no matter where you buy the phone.

AT&T

Starting first with AT&T, the carrier has both the 128GB and 512GB models that are priced at $999.99 and $1249.99, respectively. While you can pay that full price upfront if you’d like, you’ll also be able to finance both storage configurations over 30 months for $33.34/month and $41.67/month.

If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, AT&T’s giving customers $1,000 in credits when buying two Note 9’s in one transaction. One new line of service is required to get this, but even so, that essentially works out to getting a 128GB Note 9 for free!

On top of that, Note 9 pre-orders also come with a free pair of AKG headphones or 15,000 Fortnite V-Bucks + an exclusive Galaxy skin. Alternatively, you’ve got the option of getting all three of these goodies for $99.

See at AT&T

T-Mobile

Moving over to T-Mobile, everyone’s favorite Un-Carrier is selling the Note 9 in 128GB and 512GB flavors. Full retail pricing is the same, meaning that the 128GB version will set you back $999.99 while the 512GB one is going to cost $1249.99.

Alternatively, you can get the 128GB model for $30/month and $279.99 down on an equipment installment plan or $29/month for 18 months and $279.99/down with Jump! On Demand. The 512GB version is $529.99 down + $30/month for 24 months on an installment plan and $529.99 down + $26/month for 18 months with Jump! On Demand.

Looking to sweeten the deal even more? T-Mobile’s offering 50% off the Note 9 via 24 monthly bill credits when you trade-in an eligible Samsung phone. On top of that, you’ve got your choice between free AKG headphones or 15,000 V-Bucks and a Galaxy skin in Fortnite. If you want both, you can pick up the headphones and Fortnite goodies for just an extra $99.

See at T-Mobile

Verizon

Similar to AT&T and T-Mobile, Verizon is also selling the 128GB and 512GB Note 9.

By default, you’ll pay $999.99 and $1249.99 for each model, respectively. For Verizon’s installment plans, you’ll pay $41.66 for the 128GB unit and $52.08 for 512GB over the course of 24 months.

To make that deal a bit sweeter, Verizon’s also running a buy one, get one free promo when you purchase the 128GB Note 9.

This deal is available for a limited time, and if you don’t want a second Note 9, you can also get the Galaxy S9 or S9+ for free in its place. As if that wasn’t a good enough deal on its own, placing your pre-order by August 23 will secure you with either a free pair of AKG noise-canceling headphones ($299 value), 15,000 V-Bucks and a special Galaxy Skin in Fortnite ($150 value), or you can purchase both of them for $99.

See at Verizon

Sprint

If Sprint’s your carrier of choice in the U.S., your choices are a bit more limited. Specifically, Sprint is not selling the 512GB Note 9.

Instead, you can only pick up the 128GB model. Pricing is the same $999.99, but you’ve also got the option of leasing it for 18 months with the Sprint Flex plan for $41.66/month.

For a limited time, however, Sprint’s letting customers get the Note 9 through Sprint Flex for 50% off —resulting in a final price of just $20.83/month.

Lastly, if you pre-order through August 23, you can get your choice of free AKG headphones, 15,000 Fortnite V-Bucks + an exclusive Galaxy skin, or the headphones, skin, and V-Bucks for just $99.

See at Sprint

Straight Talk

Post-paid carriers are fine and dandy, but if you prefer buying pre-paid, Straight Talk Wireless has your back as it’s also carrying the Note 9.

Similar to Sprint, Straight Talk is selling just the $999.99 128GB model with no 512GB variant anywhere to be found.

Straight Talk customers also have access to the pre-order bonus, allowing them to get the free AKG headphones, 15,000 V-Bucks + Galaxy skin, or all three for $99.

See at Straight Talk

U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular isn’t nearly as popular as the above carriers on our list, but even so, it’s still carrying the Galaxy Note 9. Better yet, you can choose to pick up either the 128GB or 512GB configuration!

Pricing is the same at $999.99 and $1249.99, and you can also finance both models over 30 months for $33.30/month and $41.64/month, respectively.

See at U.S. Cellular

Xfinity Mobile

For the last U.S. carrier on our list, we’ve got Xfinity Mobile.

Like most other carriers, Xfinity Mobile is selling the Note 9 in 128GB and 512GB options for $999.99 and $1249.99. You can buy the phone outright if you’ve got the cash, or finance it over the course of 24 months to lessen the stress a bit on your wallet.

If you purchase a Note 9 on Xfinity Mobile, activate a new line, and port over an existing number, you can get a $300 prepaid card that you can use wherever you’d like.

See at Xfinity Mobile

Amazon

Stepping away from carriers, Amazon is one of the many retailers in the U.S. that’s got the Note 9 up for grabs.

Amazon’s offering the 128GB and 512GB models for $999.99 and $1249.99, respectively.

There’s no way to finance it with 0% APR like you can with the likes of AT&T, T-Mobile, etc., but you can always use an exisitng credit card or apply for Amazon’s own credit card that comes with up to 5% cash back on Amazon purchases if you’re a Prime member.

See at Amazon

Best Buy

Best Buy is the go-to store for all things tech, and as expected, you’ll be able to purchase the Note 9 here, too.

Just like the Note 8, Best Buy allows you to purchase the Note 9 through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or completely unlocked. Best Buy typically matches any promotions being offered by carriers, in addition to running its own from time to time. As such, if you’re looking for the vest best deal, you’ll want to hit up Best Buy’s site to see what’s being offered.

If you decide to pre-order the Note 9 through Best Buy, the retailer is touting a savings up to $200 with a qualified activation. For customers that prefer buying unlocked, you can save up to $450 with a qualified trade-in of an old device.

See at Best Buy

B&H

B&H is known for offering killer deals on new tech, and with the Galaxy Note 9, that’s no different.

You can pick up the Note 9 at B&H in 128GB and 512GB flavors and pricing is the same at $999.99 and $1294.99. However, B&H gets a nice edge as 0% tax is collected on your order if you live outside of New York or New Jersey.

Pre-ordering the Note 9 gets you your choice of free AKG headphones or 15,000 V-Bucks + the Galaxy skin for Fortnite, or you can buy all of this for just $99.

As if that wasn’t good enough, B&H customers also get a free DeX Pad and a Samsung Qi Wireless Charger Duo in either black or white (an extra value of $218.99).

See at B&H

Samsung

Rounding out our U.S. picks, the Galaxy Note 9 will be sold on Samsung’s official website and through the ShopSamsung app. Shocking, right?

Along with selling the unlocked version of the phone, Samsung also lets you buy the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile Verizon, and U.S. Cellular variants. And, although it should go without saying at this point, the 128GB option costs $999.99 and the 512GB model is $1249.99.

Samsung does offer financing to help make your purchase more managable, and if you pre-order through August 23, you can get a pair of AKG noise-canceling headphones or an exclusive Fortnite Galaxy skin and 15,000 V-Bucks.

If you want the Fortnite items and the headphones, you can get everything for $99.

Last but certainly not least, trading in a qualifying device will allow you to get up to $450 off your order.

See at Samsung

Canada

  • Bell
  • Rogers
  • TELUS
  • Freedom Mobile
  • Samsung Canada

Pre-orders for the Galaxy Note 9 in Canada are open right now with official sales beginning August 24.

The 128GB Ocean Blue model is available at all carriers/retailers, but if you want the 512GB Midnight Black option, you’ll need to buy the Note 9 directly through Samsung.

Bell

The first Canadian carrier on our list, Bell, is selling just the 128GB Note 9.

Buying the phone without any service will set you back $1379.99, and depending on the two-year term that you choose, you can decrease the upfront cost to either $749.99 or $549.99.

Pre-orders are live right now, and if you reserve your Note 9 between now and August 23, you’ll get a free pair of Gear IconX earbuds (retail value of $299.99)

See at Bell

Rogers

Rogers is also carrying the Galaxy Note 9 in the 128GB flavor, and just like Bell, placing a pre-order through August 23 will secure you with free Gear IconX earbuds that typically sell for $299.99.

Pricing for the Note 9 on Rogers is as follows:

  • No Tab — $1299
  • Talk & Text Tab — $1299
  • Smart Tab — $899
  • Premium Tab — $749
  • Premium+ Tab — $549

See at Rogers

TELUS

TELUS has also been confirmed to carry the Note 9, with the 128GB model likely being available for $1299.99.

Similar to other Canadian carriers, pre-ordering the Note 9 through TELUS will allow you to get free Gear IconX earbuds.

See at TELUS

Freedom Mobile

If Freedom Mobile is your carrier of choice, you’re in luck!

The 128GB Galaxy Note 9 is available with all of Freedom’s plans, and as expected, pre-ordering it will allow you to get free $299 Gear IconX earbuds.

Pricing for the Note 9 works out as follows:

  • $1300 with no plan
  • $820 + $20/month MyTab Boost for 24 months on current $30+ plans
  • $600 + $25/month My Tab Boost for 24 months on current $40+ plans
  • $200 + $35/month My Tab Boost for 24 months on current $50+ plans
  • $0 + $35/month My Tab Boost for 24 months on current $60+ plans

See at Freedom Mobile

Samsung Canada

Last but not least, you can pre-order the Galaxy Note 9 directly through the Samsung Canada website.

You can get the same Ocean Blue model with 128GB that’s available at all the carriers, but this is the exclusive place to go if you want the 512GB Midnight Black configuration.

The 128GB Ocean Blue Note 9 will set you back $1299.99 while the 512GB Midnight Black model costs a whopping $1629.99.

See at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview: $1000 well spent

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

AT&T
Verizon
T-Mobile
Samsung

10
Aug

Why the Galaxy Note 9 is the new king of the enterprise


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If you’re a heavy business user, there are plenty of reasons to love the Note 9.

The Note series has always been a bit… different. The original Galaxy Note was a behemoth — for the time — aimed squarely at enthusiasts. Compared to that year’s Galaxy S II, the Note brought a bigger screen, more powerful internals, and the now-classic S Pen. Since that time, the Note series has switched between being an enthusiast’s dream and being just a larger Galaxy S phone. In 2018, it looks like Samsung is priming the Note 9 to go back to being an enthusiast-first device.

But just because it’s aimed at the enthusiast crowd doesn’t mean other sectors won’t appreciate the Note 9. Corporate users are a healthy market for Samsung to target, and — unless you’re craving a physical keyboard — there are a few reasons to consider the Note 9 for your business needs!

  • The internal hardware
  • The S-Pen
  • Samsung DeX
  • Samsung Knox
  • Other considerations

The internal hardware

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The Galaxy S9 is no slouch on the inside, but the Note 9 makes some noticeable improvements. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 inside, paired with 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB the smaller S9 comes with. The Note 9 also includes 128GB of internal storage in the base model, while both the S9 and S9+ only include 64GB. All of the phones are expandable with a microSD card, but internal storage is going to be faster and more secure. While Google Docs and PDFs don’t take up a huge amount of space individually, more space for documents is only a good thing. If you need even more space for multitasking prowess, there will also be a 512GB storage/8GB RAM option.

Meanwhile, the Note 9 offers a slightly larger screen than that of the S9+. It’s only a 0.2-inch difference, but more screen real estate is more screen real estate. This does make the Note 9 more unwieldy than smaller phones, but the tradeoff may be worth it for some users. Another thing the larger size allows is a larger battery: 4000mAh on the Note 9 compared to 3500mAh on the S9+.

The Note 9 will also feature the latest and greatest LTE and Wi-Fi radios. This is something most businesses overlook, but being able to connect to a network is one of the most important things mobile workers need their phone to do. If your workers struggle with connectivity when they’re on the go, the Note 9 will be their best chance at staying connected.

The S Pen

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The trademark feature of the Note series is the S Pen stylus. When the Note first came out, the S Pen was really only useful for swipe typing, doodling and writing quick notes. But with each new Note phone, the capabilities of the S Pen have grown. This year, Samsung is making a big leap with the inclusion of a Bluetooth radio inside the pen. You’ll be able to use the pen as a presentation clicker, long-press to launch an app of your choice, and set specific actions inside each app. The pen can be used in this “smart” mode for 30 minutes, and 40 seconds inside of its silo will give it a full charge. If the pen does die, it can still be used as a regular capacity S Pen like older models.

Samsung DeX

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When DeX debuted with the Galaxy S8, it was a bit… impractical. $150 for a specific dock was a huge barrier to entry, especially if your business is buying a fleet of Galaxy phones. And if you’re already buying a dock, keyboard, mouse, and monitor, it’s not that much more work to just buy a Chromebox for that station as well.

That last part hasn’t really been changed, but DeX has grown in other ways. Apps work a lot better, and they scale to fit monitor screens much better. These are still mobile apps — so you can’t have two Google Docs open at once — but if an employee can do 95% of what they need to from their phone, DeX is a great solution to tackle the other 5%. As for the cost of entry, DeX will now work with any USB-C to HDMI adapter, and Samsung will sell its own adapter. You can use the S-Pen or the phone’s on-screen keyboard for text entry in DeX. Best of all, using DeX won’t lock you out of using the phone’s regular interface. If you’ve already invested in separate keyboards and mice, those will still work just fine.

Samsung Knox

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Out of the box, Android phones are perfectly secure enough for consumers. But if you have sensitive business data that employees are carrying with them everywhere, you’ll want a bit of extra protection. Samsung’s Knox system happily offers that protection. In fact, Knox is so secure that recent Galaxy phones were approved for use by the U.S. Department of Defense to handle sensitive military data.

Other considerations

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Being a big phone release from the biggest Android manufacturer, the Note 9 will have plenty of third-party accessories like screen protectors, rugged cases and car mounts for your employees to use to keep the phone itself safe. Cases also let your employees personalize their phones, which is a great way to tell everyone’s phone apart.

Of course, not everything about Samsung phones is appealing. The biggest reservation that most businesses will have is the speed of updates. The Note 9 is launching with Android 8.0 Oreo just a few weeks after Android 9 Pie is released. More troubling is the speed of security updates, especially if you buy the phone from a carrier. It’s not uncommon for Galaxy phones to lag a month or two behind Pixel phones when it comes to security updates. While that may not be the end all be all, it’s an important consideration.

What say you?

Would the Note 9 be a good match for your business? Let us know down below!

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

AT&T
Verizon
T-Mobile
Samsung

10
Aug

Netflix HDR playback comes to the Galaxy Note 9, Tab S4, LG G7, and more


Educate yourself on the world’s biggest video streaming service 📺

When it comes to video streaming companies, few are as iconic as Netflix. What started out as a DVD rental service quickly turned into the world’s largest platform for binging old movies, classic TV shows, and a heap of original programming.

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No matter if you’re looking to cut your cable cord or simply want some extra content to supplement it, Netflix can be a great addition to any household’s entertainment needs.

To ensure it has exactly what you’re looking for in a video service, here’s everything you need to know!

The latest Netflix news

August 10, 2018 — Galaxy Note 9, LG G7, Honor 10, and more officially support HDR Netflix playback

Netflix regularly updates its list of devices that support HDR playback to ensure everyone has the best streaming experience possible, and today, the company brought HDR video to the following gadgets:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • LG G7
  • LG V35
  • Honor 10

All of the above phones are also supported for HD playback, in addition to the Huawei MediaPad M5 10 Lite, MediaPad T5 10, and Nova 3.

July 25, 2018 — New profile images are coming

It’s been five years since Netflix introduced multiple profiles on a single account. And today they’re getting a little face-lift. That is, the face of your profile is getting a face-lift. Your profile icon is changing. If you want it to.

You’ll soon have the ability to use characters from some of your favorite (or most hated) shows to represent each of up to five profiles in your account. If your kid wants to be, say, Pablo Escobar from Narcos, your kid can be Pablo Escobar. If your 5-year-old daughter has a thing for Luke Cage, well.

Read more at CordCutters.com

All the important details

Plans start at just $7.99/month

Netflix has three main plans to choose from, including Basic, Standard, and Premium.

Basic is the cheapest plan with a subscription fee of just $7.99/month, but since it’s limited to Standard Definition and only allows you to have one stream going at a time, you’ll likely want to upgrade to the Standard tier for $10.99/month. With Standard, you’ll get access to HD streams and can watch Netflix on up to 2 screens at once.

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If you’ve got a 4K television and/or have a big family that wants to use one account, Netflix’s Premium plan will likely be the best fit. For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to Ultra HD video content and can watch any shows you’d like on 4 different screens at once.

New members can sign up for a 1-month free trial of whatever plan you’d like, and you can cancel at any time as there’s no commitment required.

T-Mobile customers get the Standard plan for free!

Netflix’s current pricing is more than reasonable, but if you happen to be a T-Mobile customer, you’ll get it for free!

T-Mobile subscribers get Netflix’s Standard plan bundled with their cell service at no extra charge, and if you want to upgrade to the Premium tier, you’ll pay just $3/month extra.

It’s available on pretty much everything

In addition to its excellent library of content, one of Netflix’s strong suits is its wide availability across pretty much any gadget you can think of.

For watching Netflix on the big screen, you can download its official app on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, cast it from your phone using Chromecast, and access built-in apps across a variety of smart TVs and Blu-Ray players.

You’ll also find the Netflix app on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and from your desktop/laptop at netflix.com.

Netflix’s official list of all supported devices

The Android app recently got a big overhaul

Netflix’s Android app is one of the best ways to access the service, and it recently got a big update that makes everything look much more polished.

The old navigation menu on the left-hand side has been replaced for a simple navigation row at the bottom for Home, Search, Downloads, and More. Home is where you’ll be taken upon opening the app and tapping the TV Shows, Movies, and Originals tabs near the top will allow you to quickly filter the content that’s presented to you.

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The Search and Downloads sections are pretty self-explanatory, and More is where you’ll be able to switch profiles, customize notifications, and adjust all of your other account/app settings.

Everything works about the same as it did before, but the new layout is still greatly appreciated and considerably easier to understand.

New content’s being added (and removed) all the time

Every month, Netflix changes its content library by adding and removing titles from its lineup. The company’s taken a big bet on original movies and TV shows over the last few years, but you can still find a wide array of third-party content, too.

The Netflix app does a pretty good job at highlighting new/trending content as it’s released, and Joseph Keller at iMore does a regular roundup of the best shows you should be watching at any given time.

Best TV shows and movies on Netflix right now

Some Android phones support HDR playback

The displays on our smartphones are crispier and more colorful than ever before, some of which go as far to support High Dynamic Range (more commonly known as HDR). HDR offers more vivid colors and higher contrast, and Netflix supports this type of content on the following phones:

  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Huawei P20 / P20 Pro
  • LG V30
  • Razer Phone
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
  • Sony Xperia XZ2

You can still rent physical DVDs

Although renting physical DVDs to customers may not be its primary focus anymore, this is something that Netflix does still offer.

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The DVD business has since been moved to DVD.com, but it’s just a full-featured as ever before. Plans start at $4.99/month to rent one disc at a time with a cap of two discs per month, or you can step all the way up to $11.99/month to have two discs out at once and rent as many movies as you want each month (prices are increased to $5.99/month and $14.99/month respectively for HD Blu-Ray).

Netflix finally brought its DVD app to Android in October of 2017, and while the service may not be nearly as popular as the on-demand streaming platform, it’s still alive and kicking for anyone that wants to see that iconic red envelope in their mailbox.

What are you waiting for?

If you somehow still haven’t checked out Netflix, you owe it to yourself to at least sign up for a free trial. My fiance and I use Netflix just about every day, and whether you’re using it to re-watch The Office for the eighth time or catch up on the latest Marvel movies, it’s well worth every penny.

See at Netflix

10
Aug

Spotify Testing Way for Free Tier Users to Skip Ads ‘Any Time They Want’


Spotify has begun a test for select users in Australia, allowing free tier listeners to skip “any” audio and video ads that they come across “as often as they want,” according to a new report by Ad Age. Currently, users who don’t pay for a Spotify Premium subscription ($9.99/month) have to listen to ads and can’t skip them.

Spotify’s head of partner solutions, Danielle Lee, explained that unlimited ad skipping is something the company is interested in because it will allow users to hear or watch only the ads they are interested in. As such, Spotify will know which ads each user lets play to the end, “informing Spotify about their preferences in the process” and tailoring the ads to their liking.

The company calls this “Active Media,” and ensures advertisers won’t have to pay for any ads that are skipped, suggesting Spotify is confident it will learn and create enough compelling ads that free tier users won’t want to skip. According to Lee, Spotify’s hope is to debut Active Media on a global scale, but at this time the Australia-based testing is only one month old.

“Our hypothesis is if we can use this to fuel our streaming intelligence, and deliver a more personalized experience and a more engaging audience to our advertisers, it will improve the outcomes that we can deliver for brands,” Lee says. “Just as we create these personalized experiences like Discover Weekly, and the magic that brings to our consumers, we want to inject that concept into the advertising experience.”

In comparison, Apple Music doesn’t offer a free tier for its service, instead gifting new subscribers a three month free trial of the streaming service. In an interview from May 2017, former Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine stated that if Apple Music did have a free tier it “would have 400 million people on it” and easily eclipse Spotify, but that’s not what the company wanted for the service.

Instead, Apple built Apple Music as a “special experience” for “people who are paying,” with no ads anywhere on the service. Apple Music and Spotify have been rivals since the former service debuted in 2015, and in a more recent interview Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he “worries about the humanity being drained out of music,” alluding to Spotify’s more algorithmic approach to suggesting new music to its users.

For Spotify, the company is now trying to boost free tier users in a number of ways, and eventually convince those users to pay for Spotify Premium. The company expanded the free tier with on-demand playlists in the spring, letting those listeners pick and choose which music they want to listen to as long as the tracks appear in one of 15 curated discovery playlists. This is an upgrade from the previous way free tier listeners heard music, which was simply shuffling songs at random.

Secondly, in a major announcement during Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 presentation yesterday, it was revealed that the Spotify app will now come pre-installed on all Samsung smartphones. Because of this, many Android users will now find it easier to jump into Spotify and begin streaming their music on that service, instead of searching for the Android-based Apple Music app.

As of the last count in July 2018, Spotify has 83 million paid subscribers globally and 180 million total monthly active users if you count the free tier. Apple Music was last counted to have about 40 million subscribers, although Apple’s service could have more paid users than Spotify in the United States.

Tag: Spotify
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10
Aug

Qualcomm and Taiwanese Regulators Reach Settlement ‘Reversing Most’ of $773M Fine


Nearly one year after Qualcomm received a $773 million fine by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission regarding how the company prices smartphone chips and patents, Qualcomm this week reached a settlement agreement with the Taiwanese regulators that “reverses most” of the $773 million fine.

In the settlement, Qualcomm will invest $700 million over the next five years to “boost research activities in Taiwan.” The company will also stop paying fines and retains the right to charge manufacturers royalties on its technology. The Taiwanese regulators will keep around $89 million in fines already paid by Qualcomm and “waive the rest.”

“Both parties felt the FTC’s fines were controversial. And we feel, if we continue with the lawsuit, it will take too long should we take Taiwan’s industry progress into consideration,” FTC Commissioner Hong Tsai-Lung told reporters. A lengthy legal process “will have a very negative impact on Taiwan’s development, so that is why our stand has changed following an internal collective decision.”

Despite Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission lifting the pressure off Qualcomm, the company still faces numerous lawsuits and fines, including from Apple. Qualcomm and Apple have been embroiled in an escalating legal battle since the beginning of 2017 after the FTC complained that Qualcomm engaged in anticompetitive licensing practices. Shortly after, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion and accused the company of charging unfair royalties for “technologies they have nothing to do with” and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Also in the United States, Qualcomm is facing an FTC lawsuit for using anticompetitive tactics to remain the dominant supplier of baseband processors for smartphones. In Europe, regulators fined Qualcomm $1.2 billion at the beginning of 2018 for paying Apple to use its LTE chips in iOS devices to further ensure Qualcomm’s monopoly in the market.

According to Bloomberg, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf has said that the company plans to maintain its record of “prevailing in court” for all of the legal challenges it faces. For this year’s iPhones, it’s expected that Apple will avoid Qualcomm and “solely” use Intel’s modems in the smartphones.

Tag: Qualcomm
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10
Aug

Airbus flew its Zephyr solar aircraft straight into the record books


Airbus

A solar-powered aircraft built by Airbus recently broke the record for the longest continuous flight.

On its first outing, the unmanned Zephyr S stayed aloft for 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes after taking off from Arizona on July 11.

The achievement smashes the previous record — set by an earlier Zephyr prototype several years ago — by 11 days.

The Zephyr S harnesses the sun’s rays to power motors that drive its two propellers, a system that allows it to operate entirely on solar power. At night, the vehicle relies on power stored by its onboard batteries during daylight hours.

The Airbus creation flies at an altitude of 70,000 feet, way above weather systems and conventional air traffic. “The only civil aircraft that used to fly at this altitude was Concorde, and only the famous military U2 and SR-71 Blackbird could operate at similar levels,” the aerospace giant said in a release.

Sporting a 25-meter (82-foot) wingspan and tipping the scales at just 75 kilos (165 pounds), the flimsy looking aircraft was built at a facility in Farnborough, England.

The ability of the Zephyr S to stay in the sky for such a long period of time — the goal is to keep it aloft for months at a time — has prompted Airbus to describe it as “not quite an aircraft and not quite a satellite,” preferring instead to call it a “pseudo-satellite.”

Indeed, the plan is to offer companies satellite services that are cheaper to launch and maintain than space-based options. The first customer for the aircraft has been confirmed as the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence.

Airbus says its solar-powered aircraft has the potential to provide a wide range of applications, including reconnaissance missions, maritime surveillance, border patrol missions, communications, and also disaster management, helping, for example, to monitor the spread of wildfires or oil spills.

‘Significant milestone’

“This very successful maiden flight represents a new significant milestone in the Zephyr program,” said Jana Rosenmann, head of unmanned aerial systems at Airbus.

Rosenmann added that the team will shortly begin preparations for further Zephyr S flights later this year from its new operating site at the Wyndham airfield in Western Australia. There are also plans to introduce a more powerful Zephyr T aircraft.

Building a machine of this nature is clearly no mean feat. Facebook, for example, recently ended development of a similar vehicle following four years of development. The aim had been to use the solar-powered “Aquila” aircraft to bring internet connectivity to communities in remote parts of the world, but numerous engineering challenges, as well as a crash during a test flight, prompted the company to abandon its program and instead seek partnerships for the project.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Some folks still think it’s a good idea to fly drones over wildfires



10
Aug

Just when you thought spam was dead, it’s back and worse than ever


(in)Secure is a weekly column that dives into the rapidly escalating topic of cybersecurity.

Emails promising millions of dollars from a Nigerian prince, to malicious attachments, and nefarious links. All of it falls under the banner of spam. An incredible 40 years have passed since the first email spam was sent out over the progenitor of the internet, the ARPANET, but it remains a threat today. In fact, 2018 is becoming the year of spam.

When all else fails, spam

Spam is making a comeback because other attack vectors aren’t working like they used to. Throughout the history of malware, hackers have discovered many methods of attacking end users and businesses, but a new attack is usually met with a response. Methods that were effective a few years ago, like drive-by downloads, aren’t getting the job done any more.

As cyber-security company F-Secure pointed out in its recent blog post, killing off the Adobe Flash plugin support in browsers has clamped down on many browser-based attacks. By removing that potential attack vector, exploit kits have become far less effective and therefore far less common. Combined with the ever evolving abilities of anti-malware software utilizing machine learning and behavioral tracking, spam’s relative success rate is creeping back up.

“We’ve reduced criminals to spam, one of the least effective methods of infection.”

“We’ve reduced criminals to spam, one of the least effective methods of infection,” F-Secure’s security advisor, Sean Sullivan said. “Anti-malware is containing nearly all commoditized, bulk threats. And honestly, I don’t see anything coming over the horizon that could lead to another gold rush, so criminals are stuck with spam.”

That’s despite the fact modern email clients are better equipped than ever to identify and quarantine spam to prevent its malicious intent from being realized.

Fighting with filters

Just last year Google announced brand new features for its Gmail service that helped it detect 99 percent of spam emails and swiftly dump them into the junk folder. It still faces the odd issue though, like users finding spam emails in their sent folder just a few months ago.

Other companies offer similar services with their email clients. Outlook has a “Junk” folder that automatically scans messages and provides manual controls for blocking or whitelisting certain email addresses and top-level-domains. Thunderbird puts the power in the hands of the users by offering a junk filter that it asks you to “train” by showing it what you consider to be junk mail. Popular free email services like EM Client use open source platforms like Apache SpamAssassin.

There’re also several third-party services that can be used to augment existing anti-spam efforts. Mailwasher and SpamSieve are two of the most popular, and though the best versions of them aren’t free, they provide intelligent filtering systems which do a great job of blocking most spam emails.

Despite all of these built-in and add-on options for filtering out junk emails, some are still slipping through. That, combined with the ease of sending spam, is helping it proliferate, and as more malware authors and distributors resort to spamming to make their nefarious gains, they invented new ways to trick both spam filters and people who think they know better.

New spam for a new age

Spam was originally named after the luncheon meat of the same name due to a Monty Python sketch where the word was chanted in an annoying, incessant fashion. But the comparison of a heavily processed product is just as apt today. Modern spam is often smarter and more convincing than you’d expect.

“Spam is becoming an increasingly successful attack vector, with click rates rising from 13.4% in the second half of 2017 to 14.2% in 2018,” said Adam Sheehan, Behavioral Science Lead at MWR InfoSecurity, told The Economic Times.

Spammers personalizing emails to make them seem to come from a legitimate source, or someone known to the recipient, is the most effective tactic, raising the chance of a click on a link or email attachment by 12 percent.

Other methods to increase spam’s efficacy include having a subject line that’s free from errors. That ups the chances of a successful attack by 4.5 percent. Phishing emails can be more successful if an emergency is implied, rather than explicitly stated.

“They are using links that are these crazy redirect loops, that are redirecting you from page to page.”

The requisite steps that the recipient must take to infect themselves with the content of spam emails are changing, too. Malicious email attachments now account for 23 percent of spam emails, as per F-Secure’s Päivi Tynninen. But a new wrinkle to that old attack vector is adding a password to the file which is provided in a second attachment. That means that automated detection tools may not be able to analyze the malicious file, as they can’t access it directly.

Modern spam emails frequently use malicious links. They make up 31 percent of spam emails according, to F-Secure. Those links will eventually lead the clicker to a malicious file download, often executing through some form of macro embedded in a document for Word, Powerpoint, or Excel. Even those links are changing. Where once the original link would send you straight to the malicious software, now your browser will jump through a few hoops first.

“Attackers are adding additional layers to avoid automatic analysis and researchers trying to intercept their potentially good infections and creating detections for those,” Tynninen said during a recent episode of the Security Sauna podcast. “They are using these links that are these crazy redirect loops that they are redirecting you from page to page, and after a couple to maybe seven different page redirections you get the final payload, which is only the downloader document with macros. ”

That number of redirects might seem excessive, but if researchers try to retrace the steps to provide better detection for such attacks, the attackers can take down just one of the redirect websites. That breaks the chain and makes investigation more difficult.

The biggest spam attack vector of them all? Tugging at the heart strings of email users. A full 46 percent of spam emails focus on some form of dating scam. These trick recipients into thinking someone has found their profile on a dating site and wants to chat or meet up.

Old advice still stands

While new methods of attack from spammers and scammers are always a little scary, spam remains as easy to avoid as it is to send.

Unless you specifically requested to receive a certain email attachment from a specific person – don’t open it. Better yet, don’t open anything and have your friend or work colleague send you the file in a more secure platform like a cloud storage service. Don’t click links in emails, either. Always go to the source. If you do have to click a link for whatever reason, check where it’s sending you first by hovering over the link. Chrome, Firefox, and Edge all showcase the raw link in the bottom-left of your screen when you do so. Make sure it’s not sending you somewhere unexpected.

Don’t click links in emails, either. Always go to the source.

F-Secure also highlights a number of brands that are commonly spoofed in spam emails. UPS, Amazon, FedEx, Apple, and Paypal are the companies most often faked, so be wary when receiving emails from those companies.

Above all else, take heart that the effort you put into digital security is paying off. Spam isn’t an effective foodstuff, and it’s not a great way to spread malware either — but when it’s all scammers have to work with, they’ll gladly scoop out another gelatinous spoonful. Don’t join them at the table.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • The best free antivirus for Mac



10
Aug

Galaxy Note 9 to cost ₹67,900 in India as Samsung kicks off pre-orders


Samsung is rolling out a series of attractive offers for those buying the Galaxy Note 9.

note-9-front-in-hand.jpg?itok=uARLMoev

Samsung is set to launch the Galaxy Note 9 in India in the coming weeks, and the South Korean manufacturer has kicked off pre-bookings for the device in the country. Like the Galaxy S9 — which debuted at the same price point as the Galaxy S8 — the Note 9 is set to retail for ₹67,900 ($985) — the same price as the Note 8. The key difference is that the Note 9 offers 128GB of storage as standard, and Samsung is also rolling out a 512GB model, which will be available for ₹84,900 ($1,230).

That’s a lot of money to spend on a phone, even one as impressive as the Note 9. To incentivize the purchase, Samsung is rolling out a range of offers for those interested in picking up its latest phone. First up is a ₹6,000 cashback for HDFC credit and debit card holders; and if you don’t have a card from the bank, you’ll be able to avail the same cashback by purchasing the Note 9 from Paytm Mall at retail outlets. Those buying the Note 9 will also be able to pick up the Gear Sport for just ₹4,999 ($70), a massive ₹18,000 discount.

Here’s @Asim_Warsi- SVP Samsung India, telling you why you should get your hands on the new super powerful #GalaxyNote9 along with the best offers. https://t.co/lFq8j46vNr pic.twitter.com/mTcIOHiyoY

— Samsung Mobile India (@SamsungMobileIN) August 10, 2018

There’s also no-cost EMI schemes from leading banks as well as lenders like Bajaj Finance and Capital First, and the Note 9 will be available in three color options at launch: Ocean Blue (with a yellow S Pen), Midnight Black, and Metallic Copper.

Samsung didn’t specify a date for the Note 9 launch in India, but if the Galaxy S9’s pre-order window is any indication, the Note 9 should make its way to India in under two weeks.

See at Samsung India

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

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10
Aug

Xiaomi is creating a new sub-brand to take on OnePlus


Xiaomi is turning to the Poco sub-brand to effectively target the premium category.

poco-xiaomi.jpg?itok=CVDxaX-8

Xiaomi is now firmly entrenched in India’s handset market, but the brand is primarily associated with being a budget player. While the Chinese manufacturer launched the Mi Mix 2 in India last year, reception was lukewarm as best as customers were unwilling to shell out over ₹30,000 ($435) for a Xiaomi phone.

Xiaomi is now looking to break the mold with a new sub-brand called Poco, which is being led by Jai Mani. Mani joined Xiaomi from Google back in 2014 as Lead Product Manager, and subsequently became a key figure in the company’s product launches in India. The exec tweeted a manifesto for Poco on Twitter, starting that the project was born out of a need to make a phone with technologies “that truly matter:”

Thanks for all the love! Many friends asked me questions about this new project I mentioned yesterday, here’s my answer: @IndiaPOCO @GlobalPOCOPHONE pic.twitter.com/MK9MZUz0Zy

— Jai Mani (@jaimani) August 10, 2018

Mani didn’t go into details on the upcoming Pocophone, but numerous leaks over the last two weeks give us a better idea of what’s in store. The first Poco phone will be called the Pocophone F1, and it will be powered by the Snapdragon 845. Interestingly, the phone also sports liquid cooling, and a 4000mAh battery, IR blaster — a mainstay on Xiaomi phones — along with a 20MP front camera that has face unlock, 3.5mm jack, and USB-C. And like most Android phones in the market today, the F1 will have a notch.

The Pocophone F1 is set to be sold in two variants: a 6GB/64GB model that is rumored to cost in the vicinity of $480 and a 6GB/128GB version for $540. Poco will bring the devices to global markets as well as India, and current rumors indicate a launch sometime next month or early October.

Xiaomi launching a sub-brand to target the mid-range segment is a smart move, as it allows the company to go up against the likes of OnePlus more effectively. That said, how Pocophone fares will come down to the software, as one of the main reasons for the OnePlus 6’s success in India is OxygenOS. We should be hearing more about the company in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, what do you want to see from the Pocophone F1?

10
Aug

Will a leftover Galaxy Note 8 screen protector work on the Galaxy Note 9?


Have a spare Note 8 screen protector lying around? Don’t throw it away quite yet!

note-9-front-in-hand.jpg?itok=uARLMoev

Although the Galaxy Note 8 from last year is a more than powerful Android phone in 2018, the all-new Note 9 is still worth the upgrade thanks to its Bluetooth-equipped S Pen, AI camera features, and ginormous battery.

The Note 9 should feel like a very familiar phone for Note 8 owners, and while a radical new design would have been fun to have, the similarities between the two devices might actually work out in your favor — specifically when it comes to screen protectors.

If you bought a screen protector for your Note 8, chances are you still have one lying around somewhere as they usually come in packs of two or three. While a protector designed specifically for the Note 9 will work the best, a Note 8 one should still be just fine on your new phone.

The Note 9 has a slightly larger display than the Note 8 at 6.4-inches compared to 6.3, and while that means your Note 8 screen protector won’t fit the Note 9 like a glove, it’ll still cover the vast majority of your display and offer considerably more protection as opposed to using the phone totally naked.

So, while a Note 9 screen protector is ideal if you’re using a Note 9, one that’s made for the Note 8 will work just fine in a pinch.

Best Screen Protectors for the Galaxy Note 8 in 2018

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

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T-Mobile
Samsung

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