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Posts tagged ‘Samsung’

27
Dec

Samsung’s Gear VR browser gets improved WebVR content support


One of the best reasons to (still) consider a Galaxy S7 smartphone is the Gear VR headset support, and with Google’s Daydream a looming rival, Samsung wants to keep things that way. As such, Samsung recently updated its Internet for Gear VR browser used inside the virtual reality headset. The biggest change is support for WebVR 1.0, the first iteration of the experimental VR internet browser standard developed by Google and Mozilla. The feature makes it easier to view 3D images and streaming VR content on the device.

The company says with the 4.20 update (actually released last month), the browser now “allows users to surf the web and enjoy videos and photos on a large, virtual screen, just as if [they] were at the theater,” according to the blog post. It also supports 180 degree streaming video on the web, making it easier to view 3D VR videos from YouTube, for instance.

You can also set a 360 degree background image from one supplied by a cloud graphics company called OTOY. That, along with the “Skybox” feature (which lets websites set their own 360 background images), adds a stronger VR element to web browsing.

Samsung integrated its file browser in the Gear VR, making it easier to find and open movies and other content, aided by voice control and the on-screen keyboard, which now supports 11 languages. Intriguingly, Samsung also introduced Bluetooth capability to the browser, including support for the Gear S3 smartwatch. It didn’t specify what you could do with it, but hopefully it’ll give you a bit more control over content or games than just using the touchpad, on-screen keyboard or optional gamepad.

Source: Samsung

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26
Dec

The biggest losers of 2016


Last week we broke down the biggest winners of 2016. This week, we’re taking a look at the biggest losers.

Yahoo has clearly had one of the worst years in history for a company. And, unless something changes soon, this whole mess with the NSA and 1.5 billion hacked accounts could become the problem of Engadget’s parent company Verizon. So, there’s that. Of course there was Samsung’s parade of exploding gadgets and Twitter… well, Twitter just couldn’t seem to get its act together. It’s now known as the platform of choice for trolls and white supremacists as much as it is for forcing you to distill complex thoughts into 140-character fragments.

Of course, between the explosion of fake news and the continued hostility towards the science of climate change, the biggest loser of 2016, might just be the American public.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

20
Dec

Samsung TVs now play YouTube videos in HDR


If you have a recent Samsung TV and want more high dynamic range content without having to buy a game console, you’re in luck. Samsung’s 2016 quantum dot and 4K TVs are getting support for HDR YouTube videos thanks to an updated YouTube app rolling out to sets worldwide starting in December. You now only have to visit a special HDR section in the software to find a library of extra-vivid videos — no subscription services or dedicated media devices required. There’s still going to be a relatively limited selection of clips given how new HDR is for YouTube as a whole, but it’s an important step for making the color-rich technology available to a wider audience… and, of course, it’s a good excuse to show off your new TV.

Source: Samsung Newsroom

20
Dec

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier review: Lots of features, not enough apps


It seems like everyone is talking about how the smartwatch market is collapsing, but that hasn’t stopped Samsung from taking another stab at high-end wearables. Who could blame them, really? Last year’s Tizen-powered Gear S2 was full of good ideas, from that rotating bezel to its compatibility with non-Samsung Android phones. Not trying to build on that foundation would have been a shame.

Enter the Gear S3 Frontier. It’s a bigger, better, more refined take on Samsung’s smartwatch formula, and the company threw in every feature it could think of. That rationale is Samsung through and through, and it makes the Gear S3 worthy of your consideration, even if now might not be the best time to buy a smartwatch.

Hardware

Last year’s Gear S2 had a sleek, pseudo-futuristic vibe — so much so that the white model I reviewed looked like a prop straight out of THX 1138. Samsung ditched that clean aesthetic this time around — the S3 Frontier rocks a rugged look, with a knurled, rotating bezel and a chunky stainless-steel body. More often than not, people who saw the S3 on my wrist thought it was just a well-built mechanical timepiece. If you’re like me and enjoy thoughtful mashups of old and new, the S3 certainly scratches that itch. That is, unless you like your watches nice and thin.

Indeed, the Gear S3 Frontier is a big watch, and it won’t work on every wrist. That’s not just because of the bright, 1.33-inch Super AMOLED display either. Between an integrated LTE radio and a relatively large 380mAh battery, the Gear S3 could not have been much smaller. Speaking of the screen, it’s a real standout — it can display up to 16 million colors (up from the Gear S2’s eight million) when the always-on display mode is enabled, so it almost looks like a real watch even when you’re not touching it. The Frontier tries to project an image of sturdiness, and that’s only helped by a new Gorilla Glass coating meant specifically for wearables. More important, the screen was crisp and readable in every situation I tested it in, even though its size and resolution (360 x 360) mean it’s less pixel-dense than the Gear S2. Whatever — when it comes to screens, bigger is almost always better.

So yeah, the Gear S3 Frontier won’t fit everyone. By now it’s probably clear that I don’t mind the size, though. There’s something undeniably cool about wearing a big timepiece, especially one as well constructed as this. It also helps that Samsung used a more traditional — and more flexible — design for its lugs. Last year’s Gear S2 required you to buy a watch strap specifically made for it, but with the S3 you can attach any standard 22mm band. That’s good news for people who don’t love the included textured silicon strap.

And the style options don’t end there either. If the Frontier’s masculine aesthetic doesn’t do it for you, there’s another version of the S3 called the Classic that’s a bit more elegant. To be clear, though, there are bigger differences here than just style: The Frontier has an additional LTE radio for messaging, voice calls and the occasional SOS from the wilderness, while the Classic is left with your standard Bluetooth/WiFi/NFC radios. Everything else is the same across both models, and that’s a long list of similarities. Both have heart rate sensors, a 1GHz dual-core Exynos processor, 768MB of RAM, IP68 waterproofing, 4GB of internal storage and MST (magnetic secure transmission) for Samsung Pay transactions.

Overall, the Frontier is impressive, but I’m still a little puzzled by Samsung’s decision to omit LTE on the Classic: The two devices cost the same! Spokespeople have said that it’s about offering consumers different options, but surely some who prefer the more elegant Classic would also want cellular data on their wrists. Samsung hasn’t officially ruled out a cellular version of the Gear S3 Classic, though, so it’s possible we’ll eventually see full feature parity between the two devices.

Software

The Gear S3 runs Tizen (version 2.3.1, for those keeping track) and, as usual, it’s very smartly laid out to take advantage of that wonderful spinning bezel. Crank it clockwise and you’ll get all of your notifications in one place. Spin it the opposite direction to breeze through the widgets you’ve added (by default, the watch shows you the current weather, favorite contacts, calories burned and what’s in your calendar). If you can handle that, congrats: You’ve basically just mastered the Gear S3’s interface.

That said, people responded so well to the spinning bezel that Samsung decided to use it for a few more things on this year’s model. Instead of having to swipe on the screen to dismiss a call or disable an alarm, it now takes just a quick twist of the dial. It’s much more convenient this way, but one could argue it’s a little too easy; I’ve woken up late just about every day this week because I could just smack and twist my alarm to shut it up.

You can also theoretically use the bezel to play games on the S3, but I wouldn’t recommend it, for two reasons. First, you’ll notice a tactile clicking whenever you turn the bezel, and that could make precision control tricky for some games. Second, and more important, there’s a noticeable shortage of great games — or other apps, for that matter — available on Tizen.

According to Samsung, there’s something like 10,000 apps in the Tizen Store, but just a fraction of those are tuned for the Gear’s small display. Even smaller is the number of apps that actually seem worth using, a fact made all the more ironic by the Gear S3’s newfound ability to install apps straight from the store, no smartphone connection required.

That’s not to say the platform is completely bereft of good software; the preloaded Flipboard app is excellent for skimming headlines at a glance, and Uber does a fine job telling you when that dude in a Toyota Camry is going to show up. Trulia, meanwhile, is a capable tool for learning about the real estate for sale around you; in addition to showing you pictures, the app delivers a primer on local crime levels and school quality before offering you directions. If every major web service could be this conscientious about creating Tizen apps, we’d be golden. Too bad that’s definitely not the case.

At the very least, the rest of the features here work well. S Voice springs to life when you tap the bottom button, and you can use it to send messages, initiate calls and launch apps, among other things. I rarely had trouble with S Voice interpreting what I was saying, but the delay between issuing a command and seeing the watch respond usually took just a moment longer than I expected. Then again, this sort of delay seems typical of wearables; it’s slower than Siri on the Apple Watch Series 2, but only very slightly.

As far as new input methods go, you can also reply to messages by scrawling individual letters on the screen when a notification rolls in. I assumed this would be my least favorite way to respond to people, but I was wrong. Trying to peck out texts — even short ones — using a nine-key, phone-style keyboard on my wrist is still more cumbersome.

In use

In general, the Gear S3 Frontier nails the basics, but there’s also a lot of stuff here that doesn’t come standard on other smartwatches. Take that cellular radio, for instance. As mentioned, it allows you talk into your wrist Dick Tracy style, which somehow feels a little silly even in 2016. Still, call quality is surprisingly good, though you’ll have to crank the volume on the speaker all the way up if you ever want to use it outside of quiet spaces. The experience works even better when you add AT&T’s NumberSync to the mix — it routes phone calls and messages from your main device (and phone number) to the S3, provided you’ve added it to a Mobile Share plan. The truth is, most people will never need to do any of this, but either way, it’s nice to know that the cellular experience works well.

This is also the first Gear smartwatch to come with MST for mobile payments. I’ll spare you the tale of Samsung’s LoopPay acquisition — all you need to know is that you can use the watch to pay for your stuff regardless of the registers your favorite stores use. In other words, you’re fine whether there’s an NFC/contactless terminal or a traditional card-swiping one. Just hold down the S3 Frontier’s top button for three seconds and tap away. You can do this up to 10 times before you have to re-authenticate the S3 from a smartphone, which was more than enough to get me through days at the office when I left my wallet at home. You’ll have to punch in a PIN every time you want to try this, though, which can be a pain on such a small keypad.

While Samsung makes fitness-focused wearables like the Gear Fit 2, it built a slew of health-tracking features into the Gear S3 as well. The GPS radio, for instance, tracked my trail runs as accurately as the Apple Watch Series 2 did. Neither will replace a full-blown running watch, though it’s not as if Samsung and Apple are even trying to put Garmin out of business.

At first, I had the Gear S3 connected to a Galaxy S7 Samsung provided. Is it any surprise, then, that everything worked well? But what happens when you try to use the S3 with a non-Samsung Android phone? Long story short, you’ll enjoy almost the same level of functionality, just with more setup involved. See, the beauty of keeping everything within Samsung’s walled garden is that most of the software components needed to make a Galaxy play nice with a Gear are already on the phone itself.

By contrast, when I reset the Gear S3 and connected it to the Google Pixel XL, I had to wait for three apps to download and install before I could start using the watch in earnest. And if you want to use features like Samsung Pay, that requires yet another app download; make sure your phone is set to install apps from outside the Play Store. All told, the process took only a few extra minutes, and the Gear S3 experience was mostly identical regardless of which phone it was connected to.

The competition

The smartwatch market might be shrinking, but the Gear S3 still has plenty of rivals. On the Android Wear side, two devices stand out. Fans of the Gear S3’s rugged style might dig Nixon’s the Mission, a similarly masculine wearable. Beyond the peculiar name, Nixon says the Mission is the world’s first “action sports smartwatch,” because it’s built to be water-resistant up to 100 meters and tailored for days at the beach or on the slopes. At $400, it’s $50 more expensive than the S3 Frontier, but you do get Android Wear’s broader app support, a customizable design and software specifically tuned for surfing and skiing.

For folks who take their exercise seriously, there’s also the Polar M600 ($330). It’s nowhere near as good-looking as the Gear S3, but you weren’t going to buy one of these for its fashion cred anyway. Indeed, the M600 is the most fitness-friendly Android Wear watch to date, pairing an accurate heart rate monitor with an interface tailored to tracking your vitals and workouts.

And of course, there’s still the Gear S2, now priced at $230. Rather than discontinue the year-old smartwatch, Samsung is keeping it around as a cost-conscious option and has updated it with some of the S3’s features to boot. If Android Wear feels stale to you — and it does to me — the Tizen-powered Gear S2 is a fine way to try something new without blowing through your budget.

Wrap-up

With the Gear S3 Frontier, Samsung did a commendable job building a wearable with a little something for everyone. The device still falls short in a lot of ways, including its overzealous automatic fitness tracking and a limited app selection, even after a year. Still, with so few truly interesting smartwatch options out there, the Gear S3 can’t help but feel like a refreshing change of pace. If you’re in the market for a high-end wearable, the S3 is worth considering. Just remember: Android Wear 2.0 is coming early next year, so waiting for the next crop of watches is probably the smartest move.

20
Dec

Samsung’s new 15-inch laptop weighs little more than a MacBook


Samsung’s Notebook 9 really pushed the envelope on size while still offering solid performance in a no-nonsense package. Today, the company is updating those extremely light laptops: a new pair of Notebook 9 computers has just been announced, and they are even lighter than those that came before. The 13-inch weighs only 1.8 pounds, while the 15-inch version comes in at a ridiculously light 2.17 pounds. That 15-inch weight in particularly is noteworthy, because the earlier version came in at a still-light 2.9 pounds. To put things in perspective, Apple’s 12-inch MacBook weights 2 pounds even — the 15-inch Notebook 9 is barely heavier than that.

The Notebook 9 doesn’t skim on performance, either — the lineup offers 7th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and lets you put in up to 16GB of RAM. Naturally, the storage is solid-state, with drive options “up to” 256GB, and the screen resolution comes in at 1080p on the dot. But Samsung had to cut corners somewhere to get this much computer in such a small package, and it looks like battery life is what’ll take the hit. Samsung says these machines are rated for seven hours. Fortunately, USB-C power provides a full charge in 80 minutes.

From a design standpoint, the new computer looks a bit different than the original. It has a bit more of a distinctive flavor and looks less like a MacBook Air clone. The whole machine is a lighter shade of silver and grey, with keys to match (rather than the black key caps that marked the previous model). And Samsung added in a fingerprint scanner here — so if you liked the TouchID scanner in the new MacBook Pro but hated everything else, the Notebook 9 might work for you.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t say how much the new Notebook 9 models cost (or when they’ll be available). Last year’s model 15-inch model started at $1,200; hopefully these new ones will be in that same ballpark. We’ll have to really get our hands on these and try them out before we can pass judgement, but Samsung had a good thing going with the last model. It looks like the company kept what worked with the first Notebook 9 while somehow reducing the weight of that 15-inch model in a big way. There are also more configurations available this time out — so if you’re looking for a light but otherwise basic laptop (no touchscreen, no tricks like a detachable screen), the new Notebook 9 could be worth a look.

Source: Samsung

19
Dec

Samsung reportedly plans to use LG batteries in future phones


Samsung is determined to avoid another Galaxy Note 7-style disaster, and that may lead it to make strange bedfellows. Chosunilbo sources claim that Samsung is in serious talks with LG Chem about using its Korean arch-rival’s batteries in smartphones. There’s a “strong chance” that you could see LG batteries in Samsung phones by the second half of 2017, one tipster says. You likely wouldn’t have an LG power pack in your Galaxy S8 if this is true, but you might see one in the Note 7’s successor.

Neither Samsung nor LG has commented, Reuters warns, so it’s important to take the report with a grain of salt. However, the supplier shift reportedly reflects a fundamental change in attitude at Samsung, which has suffered both a bruised ego and financial damage as a result of the Note 7 mess. The electronics giant can no longer afford to let “emotions get in the way,” an unnamed executive tells Chosunilbo — it’s not worth jeopardizing products simply to spite LG. Between this and a recent switch to LG for LCDs (prompted by Sharp’s exit), Samsung may no longer be so proud that it risks hurting itself to hurt its competitors.

Via: Reuters

Source: Chosunilbo

19
Dec

This was the year of VR, until AR stole it


This was supposed to be the year of virtual reality, but barely had 2016 started when Microsoft threw a spanner in the works with the announcement of HoloLens. Rather than taking us to a virtual world, Microsoft’s headset pulls virtual objects into our own. Microsoft calls these objects Holograms, much to the chagrin of hologram enthusiasts, but most people know them as tenets of mixed, or augmented, reality. It’s already being touted as the next next big thing.

Of course, 2016 was full of VR. With spring came the retail launch of the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Valve-endorsed Vive. Both require two things: a lot of cash and a lot of power. The Rift costs $599 while the Vive is $799 (including controllers and tracking accoutrements). But then you need to factor in the price of a PC that can support the high-fidelity, high-speed visuals VR requires. A typical all-in price started from $1,500, putting it out of the range of all but the most ardent of gamers. That price has dropped and will continue to drop as cheaper, better graphics cards are released.

There are no firm figures for how many VR kits have been sold. Steam statistics suggest that just 0.34 percent of its users in November had a headset. Even counting gamers who don’t use Steam, that would likely put the total figure sold across both Vive and Oculus at well under a million. That estimation is in line with VR analytics group SuperData Research, which projected around 450,000 HTC Vive sales and 355,000 Oculus Rift sales for 2016.

Just as Oculus and HTC should’ve been dominating the news cycle, Magic Leap, the secretive Google-backed mixed reality (MR) startup, finally broke cover with a Wired feature. Magic Leap is basically promising to do the same things as HoloLens, but better.

Details are scant, but rather than projecting images onto a portion of a giant helmet (like Microsoft’s headset), Magic Leap will beam light into your eyes, using a system called Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal to give these objects depth and solidity. The company has yet to show off any hardware or software or even suggest a year when its tech will be ready, but it’s nonetheless one of the best-funded startups around. Wired’s Magic Leap feature came in April, within weeks of the Vive and Rift launches. The timing was obvious, and the message was clear: There’s something better around the corner.

In the meantime, an ex-Google startup with a couple dozen employees was preparing to steal everyone’s attention with a mobile game. I’m talking about Niantic, of course, and Pokémon Go, which was undoubtedly the hit game of the summer, if not the year.

Somewhat erroneously referred to as an augmented reality (AR) game, Pokémon Go is better described as a location-based game, like geocaching, with a pervasive layer on top. Definitions aside, there can be no doubt that AR has been a big part of its huge success. When catching Pokémon, players are shown a live feed from their device’s camera with a monster overlaid. Hundreds of thousands of people shared these images on social media, helping spread intrigue about the game.

pikalens.jpg

Before long, packs of Pokémon hunters were roaming New York, London, Paris and other locations around the world, searching for new monsters and using an AR system to help catch them. Unlike Niantic’s last game, Ingress, this wasn’t just geeks and gamers. I can count on one hand the number of Ingress players I know. With Pokémon Go, I can count on one hand the people I know who didn’t play it. My 64-year-old mom played. My 10-year-old son played. It felt like, at one point, almost everyone gave it a shot. By the time Niantic announced an Apple Watch app for Pokémon Go, the game had already been downloaded 500 million times. That’s a ridiculous number.

Of course, crazes rise and fall, and it’s safe to say that Pokémon Go is, if not gone, seemingly on its way out of the public’s imagination. But its impact remains. My colleague Kris Naudus referred to Pokémon Go as AR’s aha moment, and I agree. For a fleeting minute, the game brought a little Pokémon magic into our world. It’s one of the most basic implementations of AR around, but we found it compelling. That should be encouraging for Microsoft, Magic Leap and any other company that’s planning a mixed or augmented reality product.

So where does that leave virtual reality? Well, there are still plenty of headsets out there, and VR is not going away anytime soon. Sony launched the PlayStation VR just a month ago, and it’s expected to equal Vive and Rift sales combined by the year’s end. It’s not that PSVR offers a better experience than its PC-based cousins. It’s just a lot cheaper — $399 to $499, depending on your needs — and has a way bigger reach. Steam stats suggest little over 10 percent of PC gamers have a VR-ready computer. Every PlayStation 4 owner can plug in a PSVR and get started. That gives Sony somewhere between two and four times the potential audience.

And even PSVR’s prospective audience is dwarfed by the potential market for smartphone VR. Google has sold cheap Cardboard viewers for a couple of years, but this year the company announced Daydream, a new initiative to bring a more premium VR experience to mobile users. Daydream View is a $79, comfortable headset sold with a bundled motion controller. At present, only Google’s Pixel and the updated Moto Z are Daydream-certified — a side effect of the high standard of experience that Google is hoping to maintain — but you can bet that many Android phones will support the standard in 2017.

VR, AR, MR and every other “R” need to coexist for a while. For now virtual reality is the easiest to pull off — software and hardware makers have the fewest things to keep track of and complete control of the virtual environment — and also the most developed. It’s fairly easy for a developer to build a VR app or for a manufacturer to make a VR-ready phone. Mixed reality is clearly harder.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is effectively a wearable computer, making thousands of calculations every second just to understand its environment. And its limitations, such as field of view, are way more apparent than those of a VR headset. The virtual objects of HoloLens have to be small enough — or faraway enough — to fit into a small square in the middle of the headset. You simply can’t see the whole illusion. Perhaps Magic Leap already has the answer to that problem, but given how many years it’s been in development — and how little it’s shown so far — it’s likely not a simple thing to figure out.

In 2017, Microsoft’s partners will release a handful of $300 VR headsets for Windows. Rather than competing with existing VR products, these headsets are more like a diet HoloLens. You’ll get the same experience, interface and apps as HoloLens, but your entire environment will be virtual. Think of it like a gateway drug for mixed reality. In one swoop, it’s getting both developers and users ready for MR, without the tribulations of dealing with first-generation, hyper-expensive headsets.

At the same time, Google is currently working on a device that uses cameras and algorithms to display mixed reality inside a virtual reality headset. It’s essentially going to be a combination of VR and Google’s Tango computer vision efforts, with a lot of extra smarts added on top. Again, the project seems almost like a stepping-stone toward a more complete mixed reality experience. The device has yet to be announced, but sources familiar with the matter say it’s of great importance to the company.

The dark horse in all of this is Apple. As is tradition, there’s been a lot of speculation and questions asked about the company’s plans for virtual, augmented and mixed reality. CEO Tim Cook has said that AR is more interesting than VR, as it’s less closed off and more social. The company has already acquired an AR company, and it has experts in the field within its ranks. Its iPhones clearly have the power and sensors to pull off a Daydream-like VR experience immediately, but it’s obviously waiting to offer something more compelling to its users.

nextgenpika.jpg

There can be no doubt that ‘virtual reality’ headsets like the Vive, Rift and Daydream View are just a stopgap until mixed reality is ready.

There can be no doubt that “virtual reality” headsets like the Vive, Rift and Daydream View are just a stop-gap until mixed reality is ready. That probably sounds like a bold statement, but it’s easy to justify. Mixed reality headsets will, at some point make virtual objects appear solid. HoloLens isn’t there yet, sure, but Magic Leap claims to be, and you can be sure Microsoft is working on it.

Once these headsets are able to display opaque objects and cover our entire field of view, developers and creatives will have total control over what we see. They can decide to mix or augment our surroundings, like we’ve already seen with Magic Leap and HoloLens, or completely scrap that environment and put us in a virtual space, like with a VR headset. It should only take a few taps to send us to an augmented reality, a virtual one and back to our own.

This year showed millions of people how fun it can be to see a digital creation entering their world. And maybe 2017 won’t be the year, but as technology catches up to its aspirations, we might soon be able to see how fun it is to have millions of digital creations do the same.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

16
Dec

Samsung is working on a new Gear VR and AR tech


If you’re waiting on Samsung to unveil a new version of its Gear VR headset, you might get your wish soon enough. At the Virtual Reality Summit in San Diego this week, Samsung vice president Sung-Hoon Hong revealed that the company is not only working on a new virtual reality headset, but that it has plans for an augmented reality device as well. Hong explained that Samsung plans to improve upon existing tech like Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap when it comes to AR.

The next version of the Gear VR “will be presented in a short time” according to Hong, so we may see that headset debut at Mobile World Congress in February. Samsung typically makes some big announcements at that show. The company just refreshed the Gear VR in August and Hong didn’t offer any details as to what we can expect from the upcoming model.

One thing we do know about the company’s plains for Barcelona is that it’s planning to show off its AR work. Hong said the team at Samsung is developing a “light field engine” that makes for more realistic holograms.

“Samsung’s hologram technology is really, really realistic,” he said. “It looks really touchable.”

Hong also explained that Samsung’s augmented reality aspirations are more focused on businesses than consumers. HoloLens is priced at $3,000, after all. Samsung is also looking for possible collaborators for the project, including a potential tie-up with Magic Leap. Just last week, a report from The Information reported that Magic Leap is having trouble getting its plans for mixed reality off the ground, including issues making its technology mobile.

Via: The Verge

Source: Wearable Zone

16
Dec

Verizon Decides to Support Galaxy Note7 Brick Update, But Not Until After Holidays


Verizon has announced that it will support an incoming update for potentially dangerous Galaxy Note7 devices that will effectively render the smartphones useless, after originally stating that it would not roll out the update “because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note7 users that do not have another device to switch to” (via The Verge). Samsung’s update is aimed at the remaining Note7 smartphones only within the United States.

The carrier believed the holiday season was reason enough to prevent remaining Galaxy Note7 users from having a bricked smartphone, and its support of Samsung’s software update is keeping that in mind: Verizon will introduce the update after the holidays, on January 5. Verizon joins a staggered release of the update by most of the other major U.S. carriers, including T-Mobile on December 27, AT&T on January 5, and Sprint on January 8.

In its new statement, Verizon still urges remaining Galaxy Note7 owners — which reportedly total less than 10 percent of the owners for the recalled device — to stop using the smartphone immediately.

Verizon will not be pushing this software update to your device until January 5, 2017. We want to make sure you can contact family, first responders, and emergency medical professionals during the holiday travel season.

However, we urge you to stop using your Note7, upgrade it to another device, and return the Note7 to us.

Samsung’s update will effectively prevent any Galaxy Note7 from being able to charge, as well as “eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices.” The decision by Samsung is the company’s attempt to finally put the infamous months-long coverage of exploding Note7 devices behind it for good, while moving forward into 2017 and the Galaxy S8.

Tags: Samsung, Verizon, Galaxy Note 7
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16
Dec

Verizon will disable the Galaxy Note 7 on January 5th


If you were hoping that Verizon’s decision against disabling the Galaxy Note 7 would give you a long while to use the ill-fated smartphone, you’re in for some disappointment. The carrier has revealed that it’s pushing the phone-crippling update on January 5th, 2017, or just over two weeks after it reaches devices on other US networks. As before, the later-than-usual cutoff is about making sure that you can contact family and emergency services over the holidays if you still haven’t turned in your Note 7.

This isn’t exactly a shocking move, since the writing was on the wall the moment that Samsung started disabling Note 7 charging features. About 93 percent of American buyers had already returned their units before the news, and that ratio is only likely to climb in the days ahead. However, the January 5th Verizon push is still notable. Think of it as an official end date for the Note 7’s brief, turbulent life in the US — it’s the day when Samsung can stop worrying about battery fires and focus on mending its image.

Via: The Verge

Source: Verizon

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