With Apple, Motorola and others releasing phones without 3.5mm headphone jacks this year, there’s been a looming question: will Samsung follow suit? Like it or not, SamMobile sources claim the answer is yes. Reportedly, the Galaxy S8 will rely solely on its USB-C port for sound — if you want to use your own headphones, you’ll likely either need to use an adapter (no guarantee that you’ll get one in the box) or go wireless. But why make the move, outside of being trendy?
The tipsters don’t have an official explanation, but there are a few advantages that might come with ditching the legacy port. It would create more room for a larger battery, more sensors, stereo speakers and other upgrades that aren’t as practical right now. Alternately, it could let Samsung slim the S8 without having to make significant compromises on other features. That’s not much consolation if you like to listen to music while you charge your phone, but you may well get something in return for this sacrifice.
You might not have too much longer to learn whether or not the rumor is true. In recent years, Samsung has introduced new Galaxy S models at or near the Mobile World Congress trade show, which kicks off February 27th in 2017. SamMobile is confident that the S8 will show up there, although it’s not an absolute lock given the possibility of delays. Whenever it arrives, it’s safe to say there will be an uproar if there’s no 3.5mm jack. Some people swore off the iPhone 7 precisely because it didn’t have a native headphone port — what happens if their main alternative doesn’t have that hole, either? They may have to either buy from brands they previously hadn’t considered, or accept that conventional audio jacks are a dying breed in mobile.
Via: The Verge
Like the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S8 will not feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, reports SamMobile. Samsung will instead use a single USB-C port to deliver both power and audio capabilities, using the space once taken by the jack for other components.
Samsung often takes design inspiration from Apple, something that’s caused legal problems that are still ongoing today, but the decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack is curious given Apple’s move was so controversial.
According to Apple, removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus took a lot of “courage.” Apple executives have claimed that the 3.5mm jack is outdated technology that was taking up essential space and holding Apple back from implementing features like a new Taptic Engine and waterproofing.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7
Many iPhone users have not been happy with the removal of the headphone jack, a fact that Samsung took advantage of when announcing the now-defunct Galaxy Note 7. “Want to know what else it comes with?” Samsung VP Justin Denison asked on stage, mocking the iPhone. “An audio jack, I’m just saying.”
With the removal of the headphone jack in the Galaxy S8, Samsung users will face the same drawbacks iPhone users have had to deal with since September. There will be no way to charge and listen to music at the same time without a special adapter, and existing headphones will also be useless without a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter.
Samsung plans to debut the new Galaxy S8 at the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which takes place in February. In addition to overcoming any negative reaction to the removal of the 3.5mm audio jack, Samsung will also need to quell customer fears over the device’s build and its battery.
The Galaxy Note 7 suffered from an exploding battery issue that injured dozens of people and eventually led Samsung to discontinue the device and pull it from store shelves.
Tags: Samsung, Galaxy S8
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The Supreme Court ruled that Samsung’s violation of design patents made by Apple can only involve components, not entire products. This could mean a severely reduced penalty that the Korean company will have to pay… and a rare bit of good news for the troubled company.
Samsung was facing a penalty of $548 million for imitating elements of the iPhone’s design — this itself was reduced from an initial charge of nearly $1 billion. However, during the company’s most recent appeal, the justices said that the patent infringement could affect just a component of the phones, like its design or appearance, rather than the sum total of the device. The Justices voted unanimously 8-0 in Samsung’s favor. Chief Justice John Roberts noted Samsung did not infringe on “all the chips and wires” during the case in October.
The case (still) isn’t over. Now it will return to a lower court to determine a recalculated portion of profits that Samsung will have to pay to Apple — something that part of the Supreme Court noted wouldn’t be easy. “The term ‘article of manufacture’ is broad enough to embrace both a product sold to a consumer and a component of that product whether sold separately or not,” Justice Sotomayor wrote.
Source: Reuters, USA Today
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Samsung in its longstanding smartphone design lawsuit with Apple, reversing a $399 million damages judgment awarded to Apple by a lower court. The case will now return to lower court for further proceedings.
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously sided with Samsung’s argument that damages should not be based on the total device, but rather for individual components like the front bezel or the casing. Samsung now has another chance to collect the penalty it paid to Apple in 2012 following an earlier jury verdict.
The lawsuit dates back to 2011, when Apple successfully sued Samsung for allegedly infringing upon the patented design of the iPhone, including its rectangular front face with rounded edges and grid of colorful icons on a black screen. Apple was awarded $399 million in damages based on Samsung’s entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones.
Tags: Samsung, lawsuit
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If you were hoping the smartwatch market would bounce back from its recent slump when a slew of new models hit the market, you’re about to be disappointed. IDC estimates that wearable device shipments grew ever so slightly (3.1 percent) in the third quarter of 2016, but that fitness trackers were almost exclusively responsible for the increase. Fitbit, Garmin and other activity band makers improved their shipments by the double digits, while the smartwatch world actually shrank.
Apple still leads the smartwatch sphere in these estimates, with 1.1 million Apple Watches shipped over the summer. However, that’s a steep drop of roughly 70 percent year-over-year — Apple was moving 3.9 million in the third quarter of 2015. Samsung was a rare star in this field with shipments doubling, although IDC cautions that the numbers are artificially inflated thanks to Galaxy Note 7 buyers who got to keep their free Gear Fit 2 and Gear IconX extras despite having to return the phone. A significant chunk of its shipments came from cellular-equipped Gear S2 watches sold through carriers.
It’s hard to say how much of a decline the smartwatch market is facing, assuming it faces one at all. Apple Watch Series 2 only started shipping two weeks before the quarter ended, and Samsung’s Gear S3 didn’t arrive until mid-November. A recovery was unlikely during the summer — if it happens, it’ll be thanks to holiday shoppers picking up new models. No matter what, it’s clear that smartwatches aren’t as red-hot as companies initially thought they would be.
Wouldn’t it be great if your umbrella told you if it was going to rain before you left the house each morning? That’s the idea behind the Opus One, a(nother) smart brolly that’s been designed by a team of former Samsung engineers. The device (for it is not an umbrella now, but a device) connects to your smartphone over Bluetooth and pulls weather reports every morning. When it’s time to go out, you simply shake the handle and a light will flash red or green, depending on what’s coming.
That’s not the only thing that it can do, however, and Opus One will also offer up smartphone notifications in the form of vibrations. Should you receive an incoming call or message, the handle will shake to let you know that there’s something you need to check. In addition, the handle doubles as a Bluetooth tether, so if you leave your phone — or umbrella — behind, the other device will let you know before you get too far away.
Rather than a built-in battery, Opus One is designed to use a quartet of AAA batteries that, the company says, will last for a year with normal use. It’s already available in Japan and Korea, but the startup is looking for distributors to get its products out in the western world. The team designed it with England in mind, since the handles come either in the shape of a bowler-hatted gentleman or a Queen’s guard. Apparently the company’s head watched a lot of Kingsman: The Secret Service during the development phase.
2016 has been a good year for mobile payments, thanks to the arrival of Android Pay and the majority of big banks adopting Apple Pay. Samsung was also meant to join the party, but the company has confirmed that Galaxy smartphone and Gear smartwatch owners will now have to wait until next year to use its payment service. The Telegraph reports that the launch has been “tied up amid negotiations with banks,” a story that some British banking customers are already all too familiar with.
Samsung first touted a 2016 launch for its payment service at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. It then reiterated that desire at the unveiling of the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 in August. The company already allows customers in the USA, Canada, Korea, Spain, China, Australia, Singapore, Puerto Rico and Brazil to use Samsung Pay.
While Samsung Pay, like Apple and Google’s mobile services, supports NFC for contactless payments, it does have one advantage over its rivals. It supports Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), a technology that emits a signal that can mimic the magnetic strip on the back of a debit or credit card. That means Samsung Pay can be used on terminals that don’t already allow contactless payments.
Source: The Telegraph
Samsung Electronics announced on Tuesday it is considering splitting itself into a holding company and an operating company in order to boost shareholder value, in what could be the biggest shake-up in the South Korean tech giant’s history.
According to Reuters, the move is part of a bid to improve investor returns after Samsung came under pressure from shareholders to simplify its business structure. Critics argue that the current structure makes it difficult to value Samsung since its assets are spread across various sister companies and affiliates. Establishing a separate holding firm would bring these under one name, improve transparency, and make it easier to value Samsung Electronics’ business.
Samsung said it would also increase returns to shareholders by one third and accelerate its share buy-back program. The plans come after U.S. hedge fund Elliot Management, which owns 0.6 percent of Samsung, called for a managed split of the company last month.
A split in two of the company has been a subject of speculation among market analysts for a while and would allow Samsung to list on additional stock exchanges around the world. However, some say any potential split could hand more control back to the original family owners and be a particularly favorable outcome for Samsung heir apparent Lee Jae-Yong, who was recently nominated for a seat on the company board.
Despite the announcement, Samsung offered little detail on the potential restructuring and said it was “absolutely neutral” about whether to proceed. “The review does not indicate the management or the board’s intention one way or another,” said the company in a statement, adding it had hired external advisers for a potentially six month-long review process.
While Samsung moves to assuage investor concerns, the company still has to win back confidence in its consumer mobile division after its disastrous Galaxy Note7 recall in early September. Samsung’s share of the smartphone market dropped in the third quarter of 2016 to its lowest level in nearly two years, with financial results for the fourth quarter expected to suffer more after the subsequent discontinuation of the flagship phone.
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Samsung has always been a family-run company, and it’s apparently bent on keeping things that way. As part of sweeping plans to reward investors (more on that in a bit), the South Korean tech giant says that it’s considering the creation of a “holding company structure.” It’s not certain how this would work, but analysts believe that this would give greater control to vice chairman Lee Jae-yong (son of chairman Lee Kun-hee) and his sisters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, all of whom play crucial roles in the company. They wouldn’t have to worry as much about losing influence.
The review of this possible shift is expected to take “at least” 6 months, and Samsung stresses that it isn’t leaning one way or the other. It is diversifying beyond the Lee family in other areas, at least. Its Board of Directors is looking for independent members with “international corporate experience” (read: not limited to South Korea), and hopes to nominate at least one by March 2017.
However things shake out, shareholders are likely to be very happy. The company is promising that 50 percent of its free cash flow in 2016 and 2017 will go directly to investor returns, and that its share dividends will jump 30 percent this year. It’ll start paying quarterly dividends in April 2017, too. But why the sudden generosity?
To start, Samsung is facing the same nice-to-have problem Apple has — it’s drowning in cash. Investors don’t like that the company has been hoarding money ($70.3 billion as of the third quarter of 2016) that it seemingly has no inclination to spend. Handing out that money could keep shareholders from jumping ship. We’d add that the payouts might help restore confidence in Samsung stock following the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. If you have an investment in Samsung and were worried that it faced a bumpy ride, you now have a better reason to stick it out.
Source: Samsung Newsroom
When major versions of Android are announced, it normally takes third-party OEMs a few months to update their devices with the latest version. Motorola and LG are normally two of the first manufacturers to release updates to their devices, while others, such as HTC and Samsung, tend to lag behind a bit.
This year, though, Samsung began rolling out a beta version of Android 7.0 Nougat to its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices before many other manufacturers could. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these devices and are wondering what to expect, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at Android 7.0 Nougat (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Android 7.0 Nougat review: an Android version for Android fans
October 21, 2016
First thing’s first – want to test out Android Nougat on your S7 or S7 Edge? You can! Just make sure you have an active Samsung account and the Galaxy Beta Program app installed (it can be downloaded through Samsung’s Galaxy Apps store). Alternatively, users can download the Samsung Members app which is available in the Google Play Store or Galaxy Apps depending on the region. Once you’re signed up, just wait for a software update to arrive for your device. That’s it. Once the update is complete, your device will be running the latest version of Android.
Before we get into what’s new in Nougat, let’s first talk about something many users are curious about:
Just how stable is Android 7.0 (beta) on the Galaxy S7 Edge?
Very. Unlike the experience you’d get with other software preview programs, this build (NRD90M to be exact) is extremely stable. Personally, I’ve found day-to-day performance to be a breeze, and I haven’t experienced much lag at all.
With that said, if you do opt to test it out, don’t be surprised if an app crashes here or there.
- Samsung Galaxy S7 review
- Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
Now let’s talk about what changes Nougat brings to the table. To start, let’s focus on improvements in the user interface:
UI improvements galore
Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge brings along with it a good amount of improvements and tweaks throughout the user interface. New animations, a completely revamped settings menu, and a new font are just some of the things you’ll notice right off the bat.
Samsung has been changing the way it approaches its TouchWiz interface for years now, and we’re seeing even more changes to the interface with Nougat. Everything is cleaner, simpler, and much more easy to use, which is a huge step up from TouchWiz in years past.
Pulling down the notification shade for the first time, you’ll notice a lightly-colored row of quick settings below the date and time. Pulling down once more will open the quick settings menu, which is now completely customizable. Why is this good news? If, for example, you don’t want to keep a rarely-used quick settings tile (like Smart View or Ultra Power Saving Mode) front and center, you can now remove it.
Blue Light Filter
Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has been working hard to bring a number of features found in the Note 7’s Grace UX to the S7 lineup. One of the most useful features Samsung was able to bring over to the S7 line is the new blue light filter. In case you’re unfamiliar, blue light filters reduce the amount of blue light emitted from your screen, which allows for less eye strain particularly at night.
You can toggle the blue light filter on and off by tapping the quick settings tile. A long-press of the quick settings tile will take you to the blue light filter settings, where you can change the opacity and set which time you’d like it to turn on or off. You have the option to set a custom schedule for the filter, or it can turn on and off automatically with the sunset and sunrise.
Revamped settings menu
Gone are the days of giant, confusing settings icons.
One other stark change with Nougat is a revamped settings menu. The entire menu is now in list format, which makes the menu much easier to navigate. Each category is listed in bold font with a short description of what you’ll find in that category. For instance, under the Display category, you’ll find “brightness, blue light filter, font” settings and more.
One other notable addition to the settings menu: if you’re looking for a particular setting but can’t seem to find it, you’ll get little suggestions at the bottom of each settings page that will help point you in the right direction. If you’re in the Display category, for instance, and can’t seem to find what you’re looking for, you can find a small prompt at the bottom of the settings page with suggestions. Simply tap on one of those suggestions to jump right to that page.
You might also notice the font looks a bit different. That’s because the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are now using the company’s SamsungOne font, which was unveiled back in June 2016. Samsung says SamsungOne isn’t just a font; it’s a family of scripts that covers 26 writing systems, more than 400 languages and over 25,000 glyphs. Overall, the font seems clean, legible and Samsung-y. For reference, check out the image of Google’s Roboto font compared to SamsungOne:
The S7 Edge’s user interface has been quite snappy overall, and that’s thanks to the new animations Samsung threw in with Nougat. Below we’ve attached a short video showing these new animations in action:
Samsung also included a new Device Maintenance tool, which can be found in the device’s settings menu. What does it do, exactly? If your phone is running slowly, draining battery too quickly or experiencing any other normal smartphone problems, this new tool will help find the culprit. Once you open it up, it’ll automatically begin running a test. Your device will then be given a performance score out of 100. You can choose the Optimize now button which will fix the errors, or tap on the separate categories at the bottom of the screen to get more granular information.
In my experience, this new Device Maintenance tool has done a good job at finding the obvious things. Most of the time it will offer up suggestions to close background apps, clear cached data, or some other semi-obvious outlier. This feature won’t be for everyone, but it’s there if you need it.
Also, if you need help remembering to clear these things out regularly to help with device performance, you can add a Device Maintenance shortcut to your home screen.
Since none of us use our phones in the same way, Samsung has added in a few new modes that will cater to those who spend more time gaming, watching videos, and more. Your Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge should be in Normal mode by default, but you can easily switch to a different mode that will better suit your needs by heading to the Device Maintenance app and tapping on Performance Mode.
Depending on which mode you select, your phone’s settings will change to better cater to that profile. For instance, choosing Entertainment mode will result in your display increasing to 100% brightness, your screen resolution increasing to WQHD, and your video enhancer and UHQ upscaler being turned on.
New display settings
Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution
With Android 7.0 Nougat, Samsung is giving users the option to scale down their displays to a lower resolution. Under the Display portion of the settings menu, you can opt for the full WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, or bring it down to FHD (1920 x 1080) or HD (1280 x 720). This feature first debuted on the Galaxy Note 7, which offered users more screen resolution options as part of the phone’s Power Saving Mode.
It’s worth noting that the latest Android 7.0 beta scales down the display to 1080p by default, so you’ll need to manually change it back to Quad HD if you’d like to take full advantage of the high resolution display.
Latest Nougat beta for the Galaxy S7 defaults to 1080p display
5 days ago
Improvements to Always On Display
Last but not least, Samsung included some improvements to the Always On Display that makes it a little more functional.
Samsung’s Always On Display has been one of the most customizable implementations among Android manufacturers, though it’s been pretty useless if you need to actually interact with anything on your screen. Previous versions of the Always On Display would show when your phone receives a new notification, but there was no easy way to jump to that notification if you wanted.
Now Samsung’s Always On Display can jump right to a notification with a simple double-tap. It took a pretty long time for this feature to arrive, but I’m really thankful it’s finally here.
Other Nougat goodness
There’s a lot more where that came from. Samsung packed a lot of good stuff in this update, some of which we’ve already talked about in our Android 7.0 Nougat review. With Android Nougat, you’ll see improvements to multi-window and the ability to quickly switch between apps with a double tap of your recent apps key. You’ll also be able to directly reply from notifications without jumping into the app, as well as take advantage of bundled notifications.
Overall, I’ve been enjoying Android 7.0 Nougat on the Galaxy S7 Edge. Not only has Samsung brought its users a solid, feature-rich beta experience, but the company is building this version with user feedback. It’ll be interesting to see what features make it into the final, consumer-ready version of Nougat, and what features are left out.
Are you liking what you see so far with Nougat on the S7 and S7 Edge? Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below.