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1. The biggest things from Samsung’s Galaxy event
Samsung’s Unpacked event showed us that smartphones are interesting, again!
Here’s the big stuff that’s worthy of your attention:
- Finally, we saw Samsung’s foldable smartphone (Android Authority).
- It’s a phone-to-tablet hybrid device, without a seam or line on the full-size screen.
- The device rocks a 4.6-inch phone screen embedded within the front, which then opens out to the larger 7.3-inch tablet with an Infinity Flex Display, as you see above.
- The opening mechanism is a hinge system with multiple interlocking gears, and Samsung say it can handle being opened hundreds of thousands of times.
- It packs an as-yet unannounced Qualcomm processor, and the Fold is a powerhouse of top-end specs: offering 5G connectivity, 12GB RAM, 512GB storage, six cameras sprinkled across the device to allow for a triple-rear camera, and selfie cameras from both open and closed views. A fingerprint-sensor is placed on the side to be always-available, plus two batteries for a total 4,380 mAh capacity.
- When the Fold is opened, Samsung offers up to three-app same-screen multitasking, with apps like YouTube, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Office all been optimized for the new display and modes.
- Samsung is planning to launch the Galaxy Fold on April 26th.
- It will start at $1,980. More on the specs and availability (AA).
- This is groundbreaking early technology. It’s an exciting new development in technology and I’d be astounded if this didn’t become the norm within 2-3 years. It’s also very much a version 1.0.
- No one expects the first generation to be perfect, as the Royole Flexpai showed. We’re already with a much, much improved device it would appear, with a desirable form-factor. It’s a great piece of engineering.
- That doesn’t mean the Galaxy Fold gets a pass no matter what.
- It’s expensive, which is no surprise, and not really a negative – it’s just what it costs, and that cost will likely come down over the generations. How much cheaper can China-made folding devices be?
- The negatives are the phone configuration or front-display is a touch disappointing. It just doesn’t look good. It’s likely to be all the things first-generation devices are: blocky, heavy, thick, as refinement takes time.
- Interestingly, the press didn’t get hands-on with the device. This is something that’s coming out in just months – April 26 is about two months off. The design won’t change.
- What is Samsung hiding? Will anything change before the April 26 date?
- Huawei and possibly Xiaomi are expected to show off their devices within the next week at MWC. Will we see a first-generation winner, or a bunch of foldables with obvious compromises that will only appeal to hardcore early-adopters? Is the extra utility worth the expense and design short-falls?
- Buyers will be taking a leap of faith. And that’s fine, because that’s what early technology is. Let’s just hope the devices do hold up over months of folding and unfolding.
Galaxy S10: Four planets in this new galaxy
The four new and super high-end (and non-folding) Galaxy S10 devices (AA) are some of the best phones we’ve ever seen, with few, if any, compromises: The S10, S10 Plus, the S10 5G for 5G LTE, and the value S10E.
Explaining all the specs would take several newsletters, so I’ll touch on the four devices and give you all the links you need to figure out which appeals to you most:
- Each device, as you step up in screen size (and price), offers a bigger battery, more and better cameras, more RAM, and more storage. They also all have a hole-punch camera on the front of the screen as the improvement over the notch. These are the pillars of the S10 range.
- Also, each make use of Samsung’s new Dynamic OLED display panel, come with Android 9, and have a headphone jack!
- S10 and S10 Plus: These follow the previous S devices we’ve seen. Larger and even larger premium devices, packing the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6.1-inch or 6.4-inch QuadHD+ displays, plus Samsung’s new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that is already seeing rave reviews for simplicity.
- Samsung Galaxy S10 starts at $899.99 (128GB), with the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus starting at $999.99 (128GB).
- Then there’s the S10 5G, the first 5G phone, and Samsung is throwing everything at it. It’s an overpowered behemoth at 6.7-inches, a huge 4,500mAh battery, 3D depth-sensing camera, up to 12GB of RAM – but Samsung is coy on the price and availability. Soon, is all we know.
- The S10E, which is a smaller form-factor at 5.8-inches, saves $150 on the S10, starting at $749.
- Samsung is keen to make sure this S10E isn’t called a ‘budget’ device – it drops the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for a side sensor, and some camera elements, but remains an upgrade over the S9 models.
- It’s very much going to be compared to the iPhone XR given the price and positioning.
- Overall, the Galaxy S10 has refined the premium category in an aggressive way.
Other reads out of the event:
- Samsung is reportedly letting users remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S10 (AA).
- Samsung Galaxy Buds hands-on: AirPods killers? (AA).
- The Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader is amazing and fast (The Verge).
- The headphone jack lives! (TechCrunch).
- This is how Android will work on the Samsung Galaxy Fold and other foldable phones (PC World).
- Wearables refresh: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Fit are here! (AA).
2. Xiaomi up to its old tricks, offering a brazen copy of macOS Mojave’s dynamic wallpaper (The Verge)
3. Disney, Nestle and Epic pull YouTube ads over child exploitation claims (BBC). This kind of action leads to swift change, but most advertisers return.
4. Kids googling themselves for the first time face shock, frustration, and sometimes excitement at content their parents had been posting about them since their birth (The Atlantic).
5. Someday your self-driving car will pull over for police – but until AI recognizes this, and it’s a thorny problem, they won’t be allowed on the open roads (Bloomberg).
6. “The curse of the Twitter reply guy” (Mashable).
7. With the best air pressure sensor ever on Mars via InSight, scientists find a mystery (Ars Technica).
8. Israel to launch first privately funded moon mission this week (The Guardian).
9. Sweden: How to live in the world’s first cashless society (InterestingEngineering).
10. At 18 stories, Mjøsa Tower is world’s tallest wooden building, and better for the environment than concrete structures (Archinect). (There’s a 24-story wooden building in Vienna called HoHo, but Mjøsa added a tall antenna!)
11. Were you ever that 1 in 1,000,000? If so, what’s your story? (r/askreddit).
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