Assuming you still have a phone to slot into your Gear VR, you’ll have something new to watch this weekend. Invisible is the first scripted series on the Samsung VR platform, and is helmed by Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity director, Doug Liman. The way Wired describes it, Invisible sounds pretty cool. The six-episode series follows the lives of an ultra-rich, but reclusive family with its hands in just about everything. The reason for living in secrecy? Well, as you might be able to guess from the show’s name, certain family members can disappear in plain sight.
A handful of the short (all are under 10 minutes) episodes are available on the Samsung VR website right now if you want to give them a look. Or, you can just peep the 360 degree trailer below and call it a day.
Source: Samsung VR
By Jon Chase
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read the full article here.
After researching more than 20 smart hubs—the brains that let all of your smart-home devices work together—and living with a half-dozen of them for a few months while putting them through their paces with an array of smart locks, thermostats, room sensors, switches, lights, and more, we think that the Samsung SmartThings Hub is the best hub for most people who want to buy right now. It’s competitively priced, is compatible with a large number of third-party devices, and supports most of the major wireless protocols relied on by smart devices.
We think it’s important to note, however, that we struggle to fully throw our support behind any one model without substantial reservations. The SmartThings hub is the most evolved among a number of well-rounded products out already. Still, to date, we don’t believe that any one smart hub is an unqualified, home-run purchase that would satisfy most people—our baseline standard.
Who this is for
A smart hub is essential for anyone who wants to use a single centralized app to control their wirelessly connected lights, thermostats, smoke alarms, motion detectors, sound systems, or any other smart-home devices and appliances. A smart hub acts as the middleman in a system, facilitating communications between all your various devices and enabling control of them too. It can also automate your devices so they work with each other without any interaction from you. You can easily set up simple scenarios such as having the system automatically turn on the lights whenever you unlock your front door; a more complex system and a little work can let you set up the hub to use inputs from various sensors and switches and adjust devices in your house accordingly. The DIY hubs we tested for our guide are a fraction of the cost of the top-shelf home-automation systems that are custom-installed by the pros, though to get anywhere near the same level of functionality and polish takes a little effort.
Setting up and using a smart hub requires a functional level of tech know-how, at a minimum the ability to use a smartphone or tablet and apps, as well as familiarity with pairing Bluetooth devices and/or logging your various devices onto your Wi-Fi network. Complicated setups may require a bit of patience, a few hours of perusing online help forums, or a call or two to tech support.
How we picked and tested
Because connected products have so many different competing technologies among them, we searched for hubs that offered compatibility with as many products and standards as reasonably possible, yet remained easy to set up and use. We also nixed hubs that required buying into a very expensive ecosystem to get started or require custom or professional installation. After cutting down our list, we consulted veterans in the field, including representatives from Apple, Nest, Insteon, Lutron, and the Z-Wave Alliance, as well as a number of editorial resources and customer testimonials.
To discover what these hubs are capable of, we pulled together a collection of test smart devices (from several manufacturers) that we think would be desirable for a typical household, including light bulbs, outlet switches, thermostats, door and window sensors, cameras, water sensors, and door locks. Our test regimen for each hub included downloading, installing, and registering an app, connecting the hub to our home network, going through the setup procedure, and then pairing each hub with as many devices as possible among our range of test accessories.
When performing our tests, we paid close attention to how friendly and intuitive the setup process was when setting up the hub and, in particular, when linking devices together to create scenes or macro actions. Compatibility with wireless protocols was a key concern, as well as whether a hub needed to be directly connected to our home router or could be located remotely—a major issue if you have a large home or one with spotty wireless issues. Almost as important as the physical components of a hub is the companion app you use to control it, so we spent most of our time using apps to set up devices, link them together, create scenes, and tweak notifications settings, wherever possible.
Our winner, the Samsung SmartThings Hub. Photo: Jon Chase
The Samsung SmartThings Hub is the most evolved among a number of well-rounded products already on the market. It’s competitively priced, is compatible with a wide range of third-party devices, and supports most of the major smart-home wireless protocols, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Z-Wave. The companion controller app can be confounding, but within its many submenus and sections is a wealth of capability and, with some planning, the right smart accessories and devices, and patience—lots of patience—you can create a rich home-automation scheme that can hum along without requiring you to monitor it constantly. In the right hands, the SmartThings hub can steer the ship of a comprehensive DIY smart-home setup.
Setting up the SmartThings hub is straightforward, as it was with most of the hubs we tested. The SmartThings companion app, which is required for setting up and controlling the hub, takes a lot more work to understand. Compared with more streamlined app offerings, the SmartThings app is positively full of icons, buttons, submenus, and subsections. Though you could certainly get by using only a fraction of the functions offered, we recommend digging in a bit to get an idea of what SmartThings is capable of—and also why it may be a little too much for some potential users.
The Wink hub supports most of the popular wireless protocols and doesn’t need to be plugged into a router. Photo: Jon Chase
The Wink Hub supports most popular wireless protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Lutron Clear Connect, ZigBee, and Z-Wave Plus. For individual control of a device or even a few, it’s a great bargain, but for automation of several devices we believe the SmartThings hub remains a better option. The Wink does have a few advantages though. You can connect it to your home network via Wi-Fi instead of a cable, allowing you to place the hub anywhere in your home you like, which is especially helpful if reception is an issue. And the ability to pair some devices by scanning a barcode is far easier than the SmartThings hub’s often multistep approach.
In our tests we had no trouble pairing the Wink hub with a few smart locks (in fact, it was our test hub for our smart locks guide), as well as a Connected Cree LED bulb, a Nest thermostat, a Nest Cam, and an Amazon Echo. Controlling any of them and setting up notifications is straightforward via the Wink’s companion app, which is far easier to decode and use than the SmartThings app. One foible though is the method for creating automation schemes, dubbed “robots.” It’s an obtuse system of creating logic schemes for actions that tips the Wink into more-advanced-user territory. We also found that the Wink tended to suffer a greater lag time between when we triggered an action to when it occurred, which is a common complaint.
An updated Wink hub, which the company is calling Wink Hub 2, will launch at the end of October. It does everything the original Wink does, but adds Ethernet, Bluetooth Low Energy (BTE), a faster processor, and support for locally controlled automation routines.
HomeKit, Nest, and Echo
Amazon, Apple, and Google have each staked a claim in the smart home as well. Google snapped up smart-thermostat pioneer Nest a few years ago, and later acquired Dropcam. Despite ending support for Nest’s own hub, the Revolv, Google remains involved in (and hopefully committed to) home products, and maintains a Works with Nest program that provides standards for third-party products to maintain compatibility with the Nest. Apple has its Works with Apple HomeKit program for products that meet hardware and software standards and that will, in theory, interact with other enabled devices as well as Apple devices seamlessly, including voice control via Apple’s Siri. And Amazon moved strongly into smart-home voice control with its Internet-connected Echo speaker and its newer variants, the Tap and Dot.
For more about the options for HomeKit, Echo, and Nest and what to look forward to in smart-home technology, check out our full guide.
This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
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Samsung is having a tough time. The fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 is one the biggest blunders ever in tech and now President Obama is using it as a punchline.
During a speech about the Affordable Care Act at Miami Dade college in Florida, the Commander in Chief made an analogy about issues with Obamacare to new smartphones hitting the market:
When one of these companies comes out with a new smartphone, and it has a few bugs, what do they do? They fix it, they upgrade. Unless it catches fire and then they just, then they pull it off the market.
But you don’t go back to using a rotary phone! You don’t say, well we’re repealing smartphones — we’re just gonna do the dial-up thing
This is a simultaneous 🔥🔥🔥 on Samsung, Republicans and rotary phones. pic.twitter.com/HkHJeUfbL7
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) October 20, 2016
Neither Samsung or the Galaxy Note 7 are ever mentioned by name, but we all know which phone Obama is referencing.
While Samsung might not like this, it’s not like they can send a bogus copyright infringement claim to keep the joke off the Internet.
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals atTheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends atThe Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot—some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi 128GB
Street price: $475; MSRP: $500; Deal price: $425
September’s Apple event brought with it news of lowered iPad pricing, at $425, this Best Buy deal is the lowest price we’ve found for the 128gb iPad Air 2, our pick for the best tablet. It’s available in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray colors with free shipping.
Dan Frakes writes, “Though it hasn’t seen a significant update since late 2014, the iPad Air 2 (with 128 GB of storage, though 32 GB will be enough for some people) is still the best overall tablet for most people. Despite the recent release of two iPad Pro models and a big update to the iPad mini in late 2015, the Air 2 continues to provide the best combination of speed, features, screen size, ecosystem, and price.”
Samsung SmartThings Hub
Street price: $100; MSRP: $100; Deal price: $75
A new low on a great smart hub. It’s only $4 less than our previous deals, but since this sale also includes discounts on a variety of other Samsung SmartThings devices, you can build up your smart home at a nicely discounted price.
The Samsung SmartThings Hub is our pick for the best smart hub. Jon Chase wrote, “The Samsung SmartThings Hub is a polished, powerful option for tech-savvy DIYers who have a desire for an integrated smart home but lack the budget for or interest in a professionally installed system. It’s easy to set up on your home network, and pairing it with other smart devices is largely seamless.”
He went on to say, “We did extensive research on hubs in general and the SmartThings hub in particular, and believe our experience is consistent with the reviews and findings of most other outlets: Namely, of all the hubs on the market, the Samsung SmartThings Hub is the most powerful and promising, but is best suited to devout tinkerers and those willing to spend a fair amount of time tweaking and refining their smart-home system.”
Refurbished Nikon D7200 DX DSLR w/ Lens Bundle
Street price: $1,250 (new); MSRP: $1,450 (new); Deal price: $850
We’ve featured this deal at this price before, and it’s still a great purchase. While we’ve seen the camera body alone for $80 less, this deal comes with 2 lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm) that are good practice lenses, or at very least lenses that you can sell to recoup part of the cost of the bundle. Beach Camera is an authorized Nikon retailer, and Nikon is offering a 90 day warranty on the camera.
The Nikon D7200 is our pick for the best midrange DSLR. Amadou Diallo wrote, “The D7200 is considerably more expensive than a beginner DSLR—but the extra expense will buy you a 24-megapixel APS-C camera that takes clean, detailed photos at high ISOs, as well as a professional-grade autofocus system that works in near darkness. You also get dual SD card slots, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of storage space. After dozens of research hours poring over reviews and test results for 12 different cameras, and real-world shooting with the top contenders, we’ve determined that the Nikon D7200 is the one we would buy.”
Refurbished Apple Airport Extreme Wireless Base Station
Street price: $180 (new); MSRP: $200 (new); Deal price: $100
At $100 refurbished, this is the lowest price we’ve seen on the Apple Airport Extreme Wireless Base Station, which runs $200 new. This router is GeekSquad refurbished and includes a 90 day warranty. It includes free shipping.
The Apple Airport Extreme was highlighted as our also great pick for best wifi router (for most people), with the caveat that it was recommended only for all-Apple households. David Murphy writes, “The Apple AirPort Extreme is the easiest router to set up in an all-Apple household, but its performance at longer ranges doesn’t match that of our top pick, and it lacks features found in other, cheaper routers….Whether you’re using iOS or macOS, you can easily get started with Apple’s router and use it as your primary router or as a new access point in your Apple network. Basic features such as Time Machine backups and remote connections to USB storage (using Apple’s “Back to My Mac” feature) work great with Apple devices…”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
While Samsung’s customers (and stock price) are still reeling from the Galaxy Note 7 immolation debacle, the tech giant is focusing on the future. As such, the company has introduced a new type of memory that should “greatly improve mobile user experiences, especially for those using Ultra HD, large-screen devices,” according to a statement. Specifically, it’s 8GB LPDDR4 (low power, double data rate 4) that takes advantage of 16Gb LPDDR4 chips working in concert with 10-nanometer class process technology. Now, note that’s not 10nm proper, but somewhere between 10-and-20 nanometers. It seems 1-nm is too far in the future for now.
The announcement goes on to expound the silicon’s ability to handle dual cameras, namedrops 4K UHD twice, and VR. More than that, Samsung claims that the chips are more power efficient and will enable even thinner devices than we have now. Long story short, this is where the company sees the future of mobile devices going: More VR, more 4K and, hopefully, batteries that last longer and don’t catch fire between charges.
As far as professional sports leagues go, the NBA may be the most tech-forward of the bunch. Last year, for example, it teamed up with NextVR to stream the first game of its 2015-2016 season in virtual reality. Today, both parties are taking that partnership one step further. The NBA and NextVR have announced that, starting this season (which tips off October 25th), they will be livestreaming one game per week to Gear VR headsets. It is the first deal of its kind, according to NextVR, something that bodes well for virtual reality as an entertainment medium.
There is one caveat, however: You’ll need a $200 yearly subscription to NBA League Pass, a streaming service that lets you watch live and on-demand games on smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes and the web. You can now add Samsung’s VR headsets to that list. Similar to when the league worked with NextVR last season, the live action in the upcoming VR streams is limited to a 180-degree field of view, though there will be some 360-degree content, NextVR tells Engadget.
For Laguna Beach-based NextVR, this is a huge step in its goal to make virtual reality mainstream. Most recently, the company also worked with Live Nation to stream concerts in VR to fans all over the world. Danny Keens, VP of Content and Partnerships at NextVR, says that the multi-year partnership with the NBA is only the beginning, noting that his team is in active conversations with “many of the world’s top sports leagues” to create similar experiences.
While the plan right now is to only stream one game every week in VR, Keens says that the idea is to produce more games weekly as the partnership matures. Of course, there is the question of “do NBA fans really want or need this?” After all, as a basketball fan myself, I’m perfectly fine watching hoops the way I do now, sitting on the couch across from my 65-inch high-definition TV. And, when the San Antonio Spurs come to New York City, I’d rather be at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.
Keens says one of the most important things was to make sure fans have easy access to important features and information as they’re watching a game in VR. That includes live commentary, score, real-time stats, shot-clock and surround sound, similar to what you get with more traditional platforms.”We’re not talking incremental change,” he adds about watching NBA content in virtual reality. “It’s more a transformational change.”
The NBA, for its part, seems to be excited about what virtual reality can offer its fans. Just last month, the league released a VR documentary based on the 2016 NBA Finals, a 360-degree film that’s free to download on Gear VR. The NBA has been exploring virtual reality for several years now,” says Jeff Marsilio, NBA Vice President of Global Media Distribution. “And while we’ve learned a lot from our experiments with live VR so far, we felt we needed to make a bigger commitment to really drive innovation forward.”
If you want to give it a try before spending $200 on League Pass, the NBA will be offering a trial on October 27th, during the game between Spurs and Kings. All you’ll need is a Gear VR headset with a compatible smartphone.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 has been the butt of its fair share of internet jokes since it started exploding in September, but it’s hard to surpass what one Grand Theft Auto V modder did when he turned the phone into an in-game grenade. Apparently, Samsung doesn’t think it’s very funny, though — the company appears to have filed a totally bogus copyright infringement claim on the YouTube video showing this mod.
If you try to watch the video now, you’ll see that Samsung has blocked it by using YouTube’s tools for reporting infringing material. Of course, this isn’t how those tools were meant to be used — they’re for reporting instances in which video or audio is posted in violation of copyright. Using the Note 7’s likeness in a video made from a video game mod doesn’t really seem like what YouTube’s tools are meant to be used for.
Fortunately, that was far from the only YouTube video that shows off the Galaxy Note 7 being used as an incendiary device. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s probably not worth the effort for Samsung to chase down these videos — the company has a lot more serious things to be worrying about right now.
Via: The Verge
Sasmung has officially cancelled the Galaxy Note 7 following its exploding battery scandal, but there are still plenty of people out there who need to exchange their phones. If you’re planning to fly soon, that need got stronger a few days ago, when the US banned the phone from all flights. To help air travelers get a phone that they’re actually allowed to have on a plane, Samsung is setting up exchange stations in airports to give customers refunds or a new phone.
So far, the company has only officially announced the program in Australia, but ABC News out of San Francisco reports that Samsung is set up at the San Francisco International Airport to help customers exchange their phones. If you get a new phone from Samsung at an airport, the company will transfer all the data from your Note 7 so you don’t lose any vacation pictures.
Samsung has a team of representatives at SFO to help customers with the Note7 phone. It’s banned from US flights. pic.twitter.com/2IiEcg6hsU
— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) October 17, 2016
CNET notes that Samsung also has exchange stations set up in South Korea and has plans to get them into high traffic airports around the world. They’re set up ahead of security checkpoint, where the Note 7 would be cause to turn passengers around, at least in the US. If it somehow hasn’t become clear yet, the obvious message here is that you should turn in your Note 7 and get another phone, as soon as possible. Why wait until you get to the airport? But for those who have been traveling while the airplane ban went into effect, these exchange stations could be quite handy.
Via: The Verge
Source: Samsung, ABC 7 News, CNEt
Samsung has coordinated with aviation officials around the world to set up exchange booths in “high traffic” airport terminals for owners of recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones (via The Verge).
The booths first appeared in South Korean airports, with similar exchange sites set to open across Australia and the U.S. for travelers to hand in the potentially dangerous devices.
According to one reporter, a Samsung exchange desk manned by the company’s staff is already operational at San Francisco’s international airport.
It’s now a federal crime to board a flight with a Note 7 phone, following two global recalls by Samsung that failed to stem reports of the devices setting on fire, which caused property damage and injuries. Anyone caught with a Note 7 on a plane risks facing fines and up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
Samsung is said to have cut its third quarter operating profit by $2.3 billion and adjusted profit expectations from $6.9 billion to $4.6 billion, following its discontinuation of the ill-fated Note 7.
Samsung has a team of representatives at SFO to help customers with the Note7 phone. It’s banned from US flights. pic.twitter.com/2IiEcg6hsU
— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) October 17, 2016
The company is set to overhaul its mobile strategy next year to ensure product quality, according to one report. A supply source told the Korea Herald that the company is likely to scrap its annual two-flagship models strategy in favor of focusing on a single device.
Speculation suggests that would be the Galaxy S8, expected to launch in late February 2017, although Samsung will probably shake up its marketing strategy before then, meaning the new phone could be rebranded.
Tags: Samsung, Galaxy Note 7
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Chip companies are battling Moore’s Law tooth and nail, but Samsung says it’s the first to start building processors using a 10-nanometer process, ahead of Intel and others. To put that into scale, the transistors will be just 50 times the size of a silicon atom, which is around 0.2 nanometers across. Samsung didn’t say who it’s building the system-on-chip for, but Korea’s Electronic Times says it has an exclusive deal to build Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 830 processors using 10-nanometer tech.
The company is using its 10-nanometer FinFET process to build a multi-layer 3D transistor structure with an improved design. That’ll yield 27 percent better performance and 40 percent lower power consumption than its 14-nanometer chips, resulting in faster and more battery-friendly devices. With transistors approaching atomic sizes, Samsung needed to do “triple-patterning,” etching the chips three times with electron beams to increase the feature density.
Samsung’s 10-nanometer chip tech will likely power the next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 and many of Samsung’s own upcoming phones.
Samsung said that first-gen system-on-chips will start to appear in devices early next year, while second-gen tech will come in the second half of 2017. If it does build the Snapdragon 830 as rumored, Samsung tech will find its way into devices by Google, HTC, Sony and others. They’ll also power US versions of Samsung’s own Galaxy S7 successor, and possibly a new Note product. Given the Note 7 disaster, it’s probably not hyperbolic to say those will be Samsung’s most important mobile products ever.