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Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may make an appearance at CES 2018 in January

By John Callaham

The first appearance of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus may happen much earlier than previous Galaxy S smartphones. A new, unconfirmed report claims Samsung could show off its two flagships at an event during the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January.

The report comes from VentureBeat’s usually reliable gadget leaker Evan “@evleaks” Blass. He adds that there aren’t any more details on how much information we’ll get in January. Samsung is apparently still planning to hold an official launch event for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in March, around the time that the big Mobile World Congress trade event will be held in Barcelona. However, it sounds like the company wants to get ahead of the curve by showing off the phones several weeks ahead of time in a preview event, perhaps to get ahead of leaks.

Previous rumors about the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus claim that the phones will share the same design and Infinity Display screen size as the current Galaxy S8 (5.8 inches) and S8 Plus (6.2 inch). Inside, Samsung is expected to use the still unannounced Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in North America and its own Exynos 9810 chipset in other parts of the world.

The fingerprint sensors might still be on the back, but placed on the bottom of the devices.

Blass adds that the Samsung Galaxy S9 is expected to use 4 GB of RAM and a single rear camera, while the Galaxy S9 Plus may get 6 GB of RAM inside, plus a dual rear-camera setup, similar to the current Galaxy Note 8. Both are expected to have 64 GB of storage, a microSD card slot and (good news) a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The report also says that the fingerprint sensor on the phones will still be on the back, but placed on the bottom of the devices. Both will also come with AKG stereo speakers.

One other interesting bit of info in this report is that Samsung is reportedly working on a new version of its DeX docking station. The first version, which launched with the Galaxy S8, allows the phone to work like a PC when the dock is also connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The new version, which would reportedly be released alongside the Galaxy S9, is supposed to be backwards compatible with older Galaxy phones. More importantly, the dock will reportedly be designed so that its compatible phones can be placed flat instead of vertically, which will allow the handsets to be used as a virtual keyboard or touchpad.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Why you should never buy a phone in the first month

By Adam Doud

Smartphones are expensive— I know, breaking news, right? Even the average smartphone is way outside the “impulse buy” range. You really need to do your research to find the right one for you. You probably check out several reviews, read up on the specifications, and maybe even look at reviews of competing devices so you know what you’re getting into. All good precautions.

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So, if you’re putting all this calculated time and effort into picking the right smartphone, does it really make sense to then rush out there and camp out on launch day? Stop and think about it. Probably not, right? Sure it’s great to be the first to pop open a phone box in Australia on the local news and drop the phone on the ground, but isn’t it a better idea to wait? OEMs haven’t really given us any reason to rush out right away.

Screening out the bad ones

…at the price point of a flagship phone, shouldn’t we have an already-perfect device out of the box?

Consider the Google Pixel 2 XL. I don’t want to harp, but that phone’s screen alone has a bevy of issues. Between burn-in, sensitivity problems, and a washed out display, the Pixel 2 XL hasn’t been much of a prize in the screen department. Google has since issued, or promised to issue, fixes for almost every problem – awesome, right? Well, sure. But wouldn’t it be better to have a great phone out of the box, rather than having to wait on fixes from an OEM?

Arguably, these issues should never have been issues from the start, but they were. It’s not unheard of for phones to be released when they could still use some more time in the oven— sometimes launch windows simply must be met. What always happens is the new users come across issues and the OEM promises to fix them. This is all well and good, but at the price point of a flagship phone, shouldn’t we have an already-perfect device out of the box?

Can you hear me now?

It’s not just hardware that can have issues. Software can give just as much grief. Let’s talk about Bixby. Samsung was so proud of its new digital assistant that it put a hardware button on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus specifically for launching Bixby. But when the phone came out, Bixby was only available in Korea. It took months for Bixby to finally make it to Samsung’s flagship phone here in the U.S.. It got to the point where people were angrily Googling how to remap their Bixby button to something else— even after Bixby was released.

All of the fault here lies on Samsung’s shoulders. Early adopters aren’t to blame. But that’s the big risk of early adoption. By all accounts, Bixby is a pretty good personal assistant – at least on par with Alexa or Google Assistant. But legions of early adopters will now never give Bixby a chance because of a misstep by Samsung.

Price dropping

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It’s not uncommon to see rapid price drops too. Essential recently dropped the price of its phone by $200. In this case Essential is trying to make good with its early adopters by offering a $200 discount code— essentially (no pun) a store credit of sorts. Other OEMs have made similar offers, but no one is forced to, by any stretch, so you certainly shouldn’t count on such benevolent measures in the wake of a quick price drop.

Sales of phones that don’t sport a Samsung or Apple sticker can start off sluggish. One of the easiest ways to boost sales is to offer discounts, sometimes permanently. Where does that leave those who have already bought the phone? It’s a risk, and some might even argue it’s a risk worth taking. But this happens so regularly that maybe it’s not worth it. There are always deals to be had, just rarely on launch day.

I don’t want to harp only on Essential. But it, Sony, and LG nicely illustrate my point all the time.

Beta testers

…phones don’t always show all of their spots in the first 48 hours, nor even in the first week.

Phones are rigorously tested— as they should be. But there is nothing like having hundreds of thousands, or millions, of hands on a device to see how it will perform under every conceivable condition. OEMs rely on early adopters to find out if anything is going to go horribly wrong under unforeseen circumstances. Early adopters have their place, as do reviews.

Reviews are helpful, but …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Black Friday 2017: Here are four great smartphone deals you should check out

By Williams Pelegrin

Thanksgiving is only a few days, but who cares about spending time with and appreciating others when there are great Black Friday smartphone deals to take advantage of. After all, the holidays tend to be a good time to pick up a smartphone for either yourself or a love one, so why not corral together some of the better smartphone deals out there.

If you have no interest in picking up a smartphone during the holidays, be sure to swing by our Black Friday 2017 round-up, which we update on a regular basis and includes all sorts of deals we think are the better ones out there.

For the rest, let’s take a look at some of those smartphone deals.


Samsung – Trade in your old phone, get up to $400

For a limited time, trading in an older phone nets you up to $300 off the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, or Galaxy Note 8. That amount gets bumped up to $400 once Black Friday rolls around, though you can take advantage of the promotion right now if you can’t wait that long.

According to Samsung, devices eligible for trade-in include the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Active, iPhone SE, iPhone 5 and up, LG V20, LG G4 and up, Pixel, and Pixel XL. Regardless of the device you want to trade in, it must be able to turn on and hold a charge, have a working display, no breaks or cracks or other defects that go beyond normal wear and tear, and is not on any blacklist.

There is a bit more fine print to go through, so make sure to click the link below to go through it all and take advantage of Samsung’s promotion.


T-Mobile – Buy one phone, get one free

These type of deals tend to be very popular, particularly around Black Friday, though T-Mobile ups the ante by making this promotion available for more than one phone. Whether you strictly live in Apple’s camp and want to get either last year’s or this year’s iPhone models, or reside in the world of Android and want either something from Samsung or LG, T-Mobile’s BOGO promotion covers them all.

More specifically, the phones covered under the promotion are the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy S8 Active, LG V30, LG V30 Plus, LG G6, and LG V20.

Keep in mind that the second phone won’t be “free” in the truest sense of the word, since you’ll get a prepaid MasterCard card in the mail to cover the purchase. Also, you will need to open a new line of service to take advantage of the promotion, and if you cancel your wireless service, you will need to pay the remaining balance. Finally, you can’t cross-purchase the aforementioned phones – if you’re buying a Samsung smartphone, you must pick up another Samsung smartphone, and so on.

If none of that impede your want for T-Mobile to be your next carrier of choice, you can take a closer look at the promotion at the link below.


Walmart – Get a $300 gift card when you buy a new phone

It might come as a surprise, but around 15 percent of wireless sales are made through Walmart. It helps when the retailer puts out deals like this one, which nets you a $300 gift card if you buy an iPhone through AT&T or Verizon and a $300 gift card if you buy the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, or Galaxy Note 8.

You cannot just buy these phones outright and expect a gift card in the mail – you will need to active these phones on a wireless plan to do so. Also, the promotion does not go live until Black Friday, though at this point, you will not need to wait much longer.

Depending on which ecosystem you live in, you can take advantage of the accompanying promotion at the links below.


Sprint – Save $360 on the LG G6 with activation

The last smartphone deal we have lined up for you is courtesy of Sprint, which knocks off $15.01 every month for the LG G6 for 24 months. This effectively lowers the phone’s price to a hilariously-low $119.76, which is sure to make your wallet very happy if you want a 2017 smartphone.

Things to keep in mind? The monthly discount only applies if you choose to pay the G6 over 24 months. Also, you must be on a Sprint plan during the 24 months, and you must be either a new customer or eligible for an upgrade.

If none of that bother you, you can pick up the heavily discounted G6 on Sprint through Best Buy at the link below.


So there you have it! These are some smartphone deals we thought are worthwhile, so let us know in the comments if you plan on doing some early Black Friday shopping in the comments below. While you’re at it, I’d like to once again point you toward our Black Friday round-up, which contains all sorts of deals for the biggest shopping day of the year including even more smartphone deals, especially from prepaid carriers and the like. …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+ may show up at CES in January

By Evan Selleck

Samsung will follow up this year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ with new flagships next year, and a new report aims to shed some light on what’s coming down the pipe.

According to information gathered by VentureBeat, Samsung plans on giving a sneak peek of the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. However, while the publication learned that Samsung will have the phones on hand, what the company will actually talk about might be minimal because they still plan on holding a launch event in March.

Today’s report indicates that the S9 and S9+ will share plenty of design cues from this year’s S8 and S8+. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will still have the 5.8- and 6.2-inch displays, respectively, and they’ll each offer an Infinity Display with minimal bezel. The expectation is that they will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor under the hood, based on a 10-nanometer fabrication technique, and that some models will have a similarly-designed Exynos processor instead.

Interestingly enough, Samsung may be changing some things up next year. While the company has kept both the smaller and bigger models close when it comes to specifications and features, making only the display size the differentiator between the two, that apparently won’t be the case next year. The Galaxy S9 might have 4GB of RAM while the Galaxy S9+ will have 6GB of RAM. In addition to that, the larger of the two flagships will apparently have a dual rear camera setup, similar to the Galaxy Note 8, while the Galaxy S9 will just have a single camera on the back.

The best news, though, might be that Samsung is reportedly moving the rear fingerprint reader down, so it should be easier to reach on a regular basis. Both devices will keep the 3.5mm headphone jack around for a year longer, too, if the report pans out.

Finally, Samsung will apparently launch a backwards-compatible DeX dock station which will let the devices lay flat, so owners can use them as a virtual keyboard or a touchpad.

Based on these rumors, are you starting to look forward to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Original Pixel phones on Android 8.1 gain Pixel 2 feature in latest update

By Matt Adams

The original Pixel phones are getting a new feature, as long as they’re running the Android 8.1 developer preview. Google launched a preview of Android 8.1 Oreo last month, which brought some previously Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL exclusive features to its predecessors. The At a Glance widget, transparent app drawer, and search bar placed between the icons in the dock and the navigation buttons all made an appearance. But, there were some differences left to be reconciled. Now Google is pushing an update to begin that work.

The biggest difference was how search worked in the app drawer. The search bar on the original Pixel and Pixel XL would return just apps that match your search. But, the search bar on the Pixel 2 would suggest past searches and return web results, as well as apps. It’s a more unified search experience that combines the app drawer and desktop search experience. This new look is also available when you launch the search bar from the home screen.



In addition to some new functionality, the search bar is getting a facelift. Once the update hits your device, you’ll notice that it now has rounded corners and has the “G” logo on the left side. This matches how the search bar appears on the Pixel 2.

The update is starting to roll out today for Pixel and Pixel XL owners on the Android 8.1 developer preview. It comes in the form of a server-side update so if you don’t see it yet, just wait a bit and should come through.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google Play Black Friday deals include four months of free Play Music

By Evan Selleck

Google wouldn’t miss out on Black Friday 2017, and so there are plenty of deals coming to the Play Store.

There are discounts in place for eBooks, mobile games, TV shows, and movies, but the biggest deal of the bunch relates to a subscription to Google Play Music. For Black Friday, Google is offering up four months of free service. After that, it’s back to the standard $9.99 per month.

You can also find discounts up to 80% for “premium games,” which include titles like Monument Valley ($1.29), Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition ($0.99), and LEGO: Jurassic World ($0.99). The Play Store is also offering discounts up to 50 percent on “hundreds of apps,” which includes a 50% discount on a monthly subscription to Colorfy.

The discounts extend to TV seasons and movies. Google will offer 50% discounts on a single movie purchase and 25% off a purchase of a single TV season. That goes into effect beginning November 23. Google Play will also be offering movie rentals at only $0.99 for just a single day on November 25.

And finally, digital books. Google Play will offer up a $5 credit towards the purchase of a book through Google Play Books that cost more than $5. There are additional discounts on “top titles” as well, which all go live on November 23.

The discounts will be available through the Black Friday weekend, ending on Cyber Monday.

Do you plan on taking advantage of any of these deals?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Amazon’s Deal of the Day offers huge savings on the Huawei Mate 9, Honor 6X, and more

By Oliver Cragg

We’re still two days away from Black Friday proper, but that hasn’t stopped Amazon wading into the frenzied discount season with some whopping savings a little early. Today’s aptly-named Deal of the Day has seen multiple Huawei products go on sale and if you’re after a bargain on a phone, tablet, smartwatch, or laptop (or maybe the whole lot!) then you’ll want to take a look.

On the Android front you’ve got the Mate 9, Huawei’s flagship phablet from last year, in a bundle the Band 2 Pro fitness tracker. The pairing costs $399, which is a nice price considering the Mate 9 alone usually retails for $499.

The model you’ll be getting comes unlocked and is compatible with GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. For a more detailed look at the Mate 9 be sure to read our full review, but for the current asking price it’s safe to say you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

If you fancy just the Band 2 Pro you can grab the wearable on its own for $49. The Bluetooth device features 5ATM water resistance, built-in GPS, sleep and heart rate tracking, and a personalized running coach to help you achieve your targets. Alternatively, if you want a chunkier, more feature-packed fitness device the Android Wear-powered Huawei Watch 2 is also going for $179, down from $299.

Huawei’s youth-focused brand Honor makes the cut with the Honor 6X – a mid-range phone that preceded the recently revealed Honor 7X. It comes unlocked with 32 GB storage and costs $144 which represents a humble $55 saving.

The Huawei MediaPad M3 8.0 is also on sale for $224, down from $299. For that you’ll get a Wi-Fi only, 8.4-inch tablet running Android Marshmallow with 32 GB of storage. Or if you’re in the market for a new laptop, the MateBook X starts at $799 (was £1,099), or the cheaper MateBook E is available from $499 (was $799).

As the name suggests, Amazon’s Deal of the Day offers end tomorrow so if any of the above strikes your fancy you’ll want to act fast and grab yourself a deal.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

The Razer Phone will receive a number of camera improvements over the next few weeks

By Williams Pelegrin

The Razer Phone may have plenty of strong points, but taking a look around, the phone’s dual 12 MP rear-facing cameras are not part of that conversation. Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan seems to know that and took to Facebook to say that upcoming updates should change some of the talk around the cameras.

Those updates, which will arrive “over the next few weeks,” include improvements to shutter speed, low-light capabilities, and other other optimizations. The next camera app update, according to Tan, will add new features like an instazoom button, which lets you jump to optical zoom with the Razer Phone’s telephoto lens, and 4x slow-motion video capture.

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Features like portrait mode and 60 fps video capture will arrive with Android Oreo, which will land sometime before the end of the first quarter of 2018. Razer is also looking into making further speed and performance improvements with the Oreo update, and Tan says updates to improve the camera software should arrive with some sort of regularity moving forward.

All in all, it looks like Razer is paying close attention to what people have to say regarding the cameras on its first smartphone, but it remains to be seen how much can be improved through software. As we’ve seen with the Essential Phone, the image quality can be salvaged from the abyss, but the phone still struggles to capture consistently good images.

Of course, some well-aware people opted to sideload the Google Camera app onto the Essential Phone and use it in lieu of the stock camera app, which led to improved images. There’s no doubt that folks with the Razer Phone will have done the same thing, but this doesn’t mean that Razer gets a pass for shipping a phone that takes mediocre images, particularly for a phone that costs $699.

If you own the Razer Phone, share your thoughts on the cameras in the comments below and tell us whether the image quality is good enough for your purposes.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

OnePlus 5T is the fastest selling OnePlus smartphone to date

By Evan Selleck

The OnePlus 5T went up for sale yesterday, and according to the company behind the new flagship smartphone, it’s been a cracking success so far.

The OnePlus 5T is breaking company records, becoming the fastest selling device from OnePlus to date. It only took six hours for the 5T to break that record.

There are two OnePlus 5T variants to choose from: one with 64GB of built-in storage and 6GB of RAM and the other with 128GB of built-in storage and 8GB of RAM. Prices start at USD $499/EUR 499/GBP 449.

The OnePlus 5T offers a few key changes from last year’s flagship, including a redesigned display that offers minimal bezels. It also bears a 6.01-inch 2160x1080p AMOLED display that boasts an 18:9 aspect ratio. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor runs the show, there’s a fingerprint reader on the back, and there’s a battery that measures in at 3300mAh.

At the time of publication, the 64GB/6GB variant ships in 10 days. Meanwhile, the 128GB/8GB model will ship out in eight days if you order now.

Did you buy a OnePlus 5T? If not, do you plan to?

…read more

Source:: androidandme

    

Display specs: the good, the bad, and the completely irrelevant

By Bob Myers

Let’s talk display specifications. I don’t mean which screen has the biggest brightness or contrast numbers, or which is the latest and greatest technology; I want to talk about the specifications themselves. Which ones are really important? Which ones really don’t matter (at least not nearly as much as marketing departments would have us believe)?

Believe it or not, some of the specs trumpeted the most really don’t have all that much to do with whether or not the display is any good.

>>AMOLED, LCD, Infinity Displays and Retina: what’s the difference?

Contrast ratio

Take contrast. It’s a pretty simple concept: measure the brightness of the display in a white area and a black area, and the contrast ratio is simply the ratio of those two numbers. Obviously, the bigger the number, the better the display is going to look, right?

A display can only get so bright, and presumably that’s the value you measure for the white. Let’s face it: no real-world display is designed to be eye-searingly bright. So a display’s contrast ratio is pretty much always determined by how dark the blacks get. With the advent of OLEDs, that can be pretty dark, indeed.

Let’s face it — no real-world display is designed to be eye-searingly bright.

OLEDs emit light in relation to how much current is put through the device, and if you turn off the current completely, there can be no light at all emitted. Zero or near-zero emission in the “black” state is going to make for some staggeringly high contrast ratio numbers. Some OLED phones are claiming contrast ratio specs of a hundred thousand to one or even a million to one. Some makers have even claimed “infinite” contrast for their OLED screens.

The problem here is that these numbers are what you’d get if you’d measure the black level in a totally dark, non-reflecting environment (assuming you actually could measure such low black levels – in practice, this requires some pretty sophisticated equipment). Under normal viewing conditions, even in a fairly dark room, the actual delivered contrast of most displays is limited by the amount of ambient light reflected by the screen (including the display’s own light, which is reflected by its surroundings back to its surface), which is what really limits the “black” brightness. Most screens deliver an effective contrast in the range of 50:1 to 100:1 at best under typical viewing conditions, with a reasonable level of ambient light. Approaching, let alone exceeding, 200:1 is outstanding.

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So the bottom line? Beyond a certain level – and definitely by the time you get past the hundreds or low thousands to one – contrast ratio specs as they’re usually quoted are virtually meaningless, unless you do your viewing in a very dark room. What you really should be looking at is the screen’s reflectance (the lower the better) and the actual delivered contrast under real-world conditions.

What you really should be looking at is the screen’s reflectance (the lower the better) and the actual delivered contrast under real-world conditions.

Color gamut

Another spec where the “bigger is always better” mindset leads us astray is color gamut, which, simply put, is the range of colors (or the fraction of the total visible “color space”) the display is capable of producing. Typically, color gamut specs are given as a percentage of a particular reference space or gamut; the traditional reference was the gamut used in the original U.S. color TV standard, the so-called “NTSC gamut.” Some displays claim “105% NTSC” or something similar, which leads us to believe that bigger gamut numbers mean a better display.

Simply providing a larger gamut does nothing for the quality or accuracy of the image.

In reality, simply providing a larger gamut does nothing for the quality or accuracy of the image. Still pictures and videos are made with a specific set of “color space” specs in mind — including the display gamut. Unless the display matches those specs (or it has color management software) the resulting image won’t be accurate.

Show a given picture on a display with a gamut significantly larger than what the image was made for, and the colors will look overly bright and cartoonish.

What you really want is not a display with a big gamut percentage, but instead one whose gamut is a good match to the intended space of the images you’ll be viewing. Almost all TV programming and digital camera images today are produced for the sRGB/”Rec. 709″ gamut, which itself is only about 72% of the standard NTSC reference’s area. More recent standards, such as the digital cinema DCI-P3 gamut or that of the digital TV “Rec. 2020” standard are a good deal larger than this, but still the point isn’t to just get a big percentage number; it’s to match the standard gamut as closely as possible.

Color bit depth

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When we talk about the future of mobile displays, much of the focus has been on the continued transition to OLED, the emergence of bezelless designs, and the possibility of bendable and flexible models on …

While we’re on color-related specs, there’s another one that’s often abused and generally misunderstood. It goes by several names, but usually we see it as “color bit depth” or …read more

Source:: android authority