I Held the Future in My Hands, and It Was Foldable →

February 27, 2019 · 13:01

Vlad Savov, for The Verge:

Huawei’s zealousness about keeping journalists’ hands off its new Mate X foldable phone slipped a little today, and I got to hold and fold it for myself. The hands-on experience with this device confirmed and deepened all the feelings I had about it already: it’s a polished, refined physical design that gets us closest to the ideal of a foldable with minimal compromises. There are still huge questions about what the software UX will be like, how durable and scratch-resistant that wraparound display will be over the long term, and how long the battery will last if you use this 5G tablet to its fullest. I can’t answer those today, but I can tell you what I know about the Huawei Mate X so far.

I really, really want a small, thin device which can unfold into a larger screen when needed. Naturally, I don’t want something as large as the Mate X or Galaxy Fold, but one of those devices you get to see in Westworld or The Expanse would fit the bill nicely. Seeing as how Apple has been preparing its developers for apps adapting to different screen sizes, I hope to see them venture into this territory sooner rather than later.

‘AirPower Really Is Well and Truly Fucked’ →

September 17, 2018 · 11:52

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

What I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies, is that AirPower really is well and truly fucked. Something about the multi-coil design getting too hot — way too hot. There are engineers who looked at AirPower’s design and said it could never work, thermally, and now those same engineers have that “told you so” smug look on their faces. Last year Apple was apparently swayed by arguments that they could figure out a way to make it not get hot. They were, clearly, wrong. I think they’ve either had to go completely back to the drawing board and start over with an entirely different design, or they’ve decided to give up and they just don’t want to say so.

Meanwhile we now have two generations of iPhone’s supporting inductive charging and one of the best chargers for them are from Samsung, though the new Logitech Powered seems like an interesting proposition.

Samsung Phones Are Spontaneously Texting Users’ Photos to Random Contacts Without Their Permission →

July 3, 2018 · 10:17

Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge:

Bad news for Samsung phone owners: some devices are randomly sending your camera roll photos to your contacts without permission. As first spotted by Gizmodo, users are complaining about the issue on Reddit and the company’s official forums. One user says his phone sent all his photos to his girlfriend. The messages are being sent through Samsung’s default texting app Samsung Messages. According to reports, the Messages app does not even show users that files have been sent; many just find out after they get a response from the recipient of the random photos sent to them.

I wonder how many people actually received “dick pics” (as in nudes). This sounds funny at first, but it could really be catastrophic, depending on the people involved.

Three New iPhones in 2017, According to Bloomberg →

April 19, 2017 · 09:06

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple is preparing three iPhones for launch as soon as this fall, including upgraded versions of the current two iPhone models and a new top-of-the-line handset with an overhauled look, according to people familiar with the matter. For the redesigned phone, Apple is testing a new type of screen, curved glass and stainless steel materials, and more advanced cameras, the people said. Those anxiously awaiting the redesigned iPhone, however, may have to wait because supply constraints could mean the device isn’t readily available until one or two months after the typical fall introduction.

A fourth year, using the same design would be as surprising to me as Intel’s quick jump from their ‘tick-tock’ to a three-tier strategy and then almost immediately ending that for a four-tier one.

Mark’s words also suggest that the new ‘iPhone Edition’ will be available in only one size, which would be a poor show, especially since Samsung is already offering the S8 in two different sizes.

For the premium model, Apple is testing a screen that covers almost the entire front of the device, according to people familiar with the matter. That results in a display slightly larger than that of the iPhone 7 Plus but an overall size closer to the iPhone 7, the people said. Apple is also aiming to reduce the overall size of the handset by integrating the home button into the screen itself via software in a similar manner to Samsung’s S8, the people said.

This sounds like it will be similar to the Galaxy S8 then. At the same time, the S8+ is still smaller than a 7+, but with a larger screen. It’s smaller width also makes it easier to hold and use.

I just hope Apple decides to forgo the curved display in the style of the new Galaxy S8 — something akin to the current curve of the iPhone 7 would be a better design, hopefully not distorting the edges of the screen like the Galaxy does.

‘I Just Moved From iPhone to Samsung and It Has Been a Horrible Experience’ →

October 18, 2016 · 13:16

Rhett Jones quoting James’ email about his Note 7 experiences:

I have been in Asia for a few weeks and head back to the US early tomorrow. I called AT&T and Samsung (on several occasions) inquiring about what to do with my phone now that there is a ban.

Yesterday [10/16/16] when I called, AT&T sent me over to Samsung (and after a long hold time) I was told by a rep that I could smuggle the phone back in a sock!

When I suggested that wasn’t a good idea and that I wouldn’t do that, he said someone from management would contact me. It’s been more than 24 hours and I haven’t heard from them.

I just spent another exasperating hour on the phone with Samsung and was told someone would get in touch—but he didn’t even get my phone number correct.

I would be more than happy to have Samsung dispatch a courier to pick up my phone from my hotel in Bangkok—but that idea has fallen on deaf ears.

I am at my wit’s end. I have considered asking if the hotel would keep it, but I am not sure if they would be willing to suggest a request. It’s extremely frustrating. I just moved from iPhone to Samsung and this has been a horrible experience.

You can find more stories on Gizmodo.

Don’t Buy a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 →

October 9, 2016 · 22:13

Andrew Martonik:

Now, multiple reports of fires involving replacement Note 7s from the U.S., Taiwan and Korea suggest the high probability of a continuing battery safety issue with the phone. We’re no longer looking at a single incident on an airplane. The volume and similarity of these reports means Samsung has likely failed to address an underlying cause of the fires.

That’s why today we’re withdrawing our recommendation to buy the Galaxy Note 7, adding a disclaimer to our review to reflect this. We’re also retracting our Choice Award, and will be removing it from our Smartphone Buyer’s Guide over the coming days. As it stands, you should not buy this phone.

Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phone Catches Fire on Southwest Plane →

October 7, 2016 · 09:08

Jordan Golson:

Samsung is likely in full-fledged crisis mode at this point, as a replacement phone catching fire would be truly disastrous for the company’s image and finances. The Verge has been in contact with Samsung, which issued a statement that is questionable at best given our findings:

Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.

Green’s Note 7 is in the hands of the Louisville Fire Department’s arson unit for investigation. He has already replaced it with an iPhone 7.

Samsung should have recall all Note 7s and removed them from the market as soon as possible. It’s a miracle no one has died yet. Now imagine if that aeroplane was in the air and the fire it started spread. What if it brought down a whole plane full of people?

If you own a Note 7 then get rid of it. Replace it with something else — Green went for an iPhone, which in this case is a much safer choice. If you don’t care for your own safety, then don’t put others in danger unnecessarily.

Samsung Acquires Viv, a Next-Gen AI Assistant Built by Creators of Apple’s Siri →

October 7, 2016 · 08:57

Matthew Panzarino:

Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, an AI and assistant system co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham — who created Siri, which was acquired by Apple in 2010. The three left Apple in the years after the acquisition and founded Viv in 2012. Pricing information was not available, but we’ll check around.

Viv has been billed as a more extensible, powerful version of Siri.

Viv will continue to operate as an independent company that will provide services to Samsung and its platforms.

I don’t think Apple should have let them go, but then again, acquiring the same team for the second time seems ethically wrong.

Samsung Will Reportedly Issue Worldwide Recall of Galaxy Note 7 →

September 2, 2016 · 08:27

Chris Welch:

Samsung is preparing to announce a massive and global recall of its brand new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The Korea Herald also reported earlier that Samsung is “considering” a recall. The drastic and unprecedented step would be a direct result of Samsung’s ongoing investigation into reports that the Note 7’s battery has exploded while charging, and Samsung could announce a recall as soon as this coming weekend.


Samsung Stops Shipping New Note 7 Smartphones After a Couple of Them Blew Up →

September 1, 2016 · 08:31

Mark Sullivan:

The news comes from the Korea Herald, which states that Samsung stopped shipping the new devices earlier this week. At least two Galaxy Note 7 owners posted images and video of the new device burnt to a crisp after the battery blew up.

“Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 are being delayed due to additional tests being conducted for product quality,” Samsung said in a statement to Reuters. Samsung didn’t say what it’s testing.

Samsung Note 7 Delivers Embarrassing Real-World Performance →

August 22, 2016 · 15:22

Eric Hulse:

We have four units within our staff, and every one of our new Notes suffer clear performance issues, sometimes consistently and other times infrequently. The worst hiccups and stutters – or delays – happen only every now and then, but the phone itself is simply slower than its competitors at nearly every action. We have tested the application launch times, both hot and cold, of the Note 7 under the same conditions as our other devices and found it trailing behind not just other Snapdragon 820 phones like the OnePlus 3 and HTC 10, but also the year-old Nexus 6P running on Android’s latest preview. Considering that Samsung packs the cream of today’s processing power with its UFS 2.0 storage, LPDDR4 RAM and the Snapdragon 820, we can begin to entertain the notion that something went wrong with Samsung’s implementation.

Read the whole piece before you buy a Note 7.

Galaxy S7 vs. iPhone 6S Plus Camera Shootout ‘Proves iPhone Still Best’ →

March 9, 2016 · 12:46

Daniel Bader writing for iMore:

It’s not easy to tell which device wins this contest, as both the iPhone 6s Plus and Galaxy S7 dominate a couple of categories. The iPhone’s strengths are in situations with ample light, particularly with the sun as a source; Apple manages to capture photos with more natural colors and less artificial sharpening. This is especially evident in shots with lots of minute detail, or in macros.

The Galaxy S7, on the other hand, performs well in lower light, owing to a larger sensor and wider aperture. That said, the device doesn’t outright dominate, as photos taken in dim situations tend to emerge warmer and less lifelike.

I hope I get a review unit to test this out personally, but it appears from the samples Daniel posted, that the iPhone takes the more naturally pleasing and technically better photos, while the Galaxy S7 prefers to go for more ‘pop’ (eg. in HDR mode). Having said that, many users prefer the latter, just like they like the screen’s colours to be unnaturally saturated.

Duplicate Software on Samsung Galaxy S7 →

March 9, 2016 · 12:42

Walt Mossberg:

I agree that the S7’s have the cleanest software build of any Galaxy I’ve tested, and that Samsung’s TouchWiz interface has been toned down. But there’s still too much duplicate software for my taste. For instance, out of the box, there are still two email apps, two music services, two photo-viewing apps, two messaging apps, and, except on Verizon, two browsers and dueling wireless payment services.

I still don’t understand this.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Has ‘Basically Perfect’ Colour Saturation →

March 9, 2016 · 10:15

Joshua Ho writing for AnandTech in his preliminary review:

The next portion of our testing is the standard saturation sweep test. Here, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are basically perfect. It’s great to see that Samsung continues to provide their Basic color mode with a real focus on providing accurate color calibration for those that care about these things, and the user experience with getting to the right color calibration is pretty much as painless as it can be compared to some other devices where things like saturation curves, white balance, and other parts of a display calibration can only be adjusted using unitless sliders that basically require a spectrophotometer to actually use.

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect:

It’s likely that the green tint issue may only appear on a device to device basis, but to see that such issues haven’t been resolved for years is somewhat concerning given that phones costing hundreds of dollars less don’t seem to have the same problems.

Samsung Galaxy S7’s Confusing Camera →

March 9, 2016 · 10:11

Phil Nickinson:

It’s the end result that’s … well, it’s a little confusing. We’re gotten some great shots out of the Galaxy S7 in daylight, for sure. But we’ve also gotten some that have a good bit of yellow tinge to them. Or others with details that aren’t as crisp as we expected. Or a beautiful blue sky that’s noisy when viewed at 100 percent. Or sometimes the shot is simply blown out with any sort of direct sunlight. It’s good, but maybe there’s a little more tuning to be done?

One thing that I want in any hardware that I use is consistency — I don’t want to come home and find that half of my shots are unacceptable to me in some way.

“iPhone 6 Fans, Your Phone Brought Up the Rear in Almost Every Test” →

August 25, 2015 · 12:06

Alex Cranz published a “turbo charging” test on Tom’s Guide yesterday, with various Android handsets competing for the title of “fastest charging phone.” Oh, and there was an iPhone 6 in there too. And it came last.

He specifically noted that some phones need chargers that have to be bought separately to get maximum performance out of them:

Qualcomm’s technology promises to get your battery to a full charge in less than 2 hours, but some Quick Charge-capable phones, like the LG G4, don’t actually ship with the necessary brick. Other companies rebrand the technology. Motorola calls its solution Turbo Charge in the Droid Turbo and the Google Nexus 6. The Zenfone 2 uses Asus’s branded “Boostmaster technology” and requires a special power brick (only available with the $299 edition) that’s supposedly 17 percent more potent than the typical Quick Charge 2.0 brick.

He then proceeded to comment on the iPhone’s lacklustre performance:

As for iPhone 6 fans, your phone brought up the rear in almost every test.

Apple users will be delighted to know that the iPhone was no longer the slowest of the lot. It was charged to 36 percent (…)

Alex however forgot to mention one important detail—he used the 5W/1A charger with the iPhone 6, instead of one capable of delivering at least 2.1A, such as the iPad 10W/2.1A brick. This would cut the charge time from over two and a have hours by almost a full hour.

I’m sure it was an honest oversight.

P.S. To clarify—the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the first iPhones capable of charging faster by using a more powerful charger, such as the iPad 10 or 12W/2.1A power brick. I personally use a Belkin 2.1A model and it gets the job done.