Hey influencers, RTFM

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2019 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, foldable, Galaxy Fold

In today's world people are far more likely to listen to someone who is famous on one or more platform than to an expert in the topic of discussion.  The dead and dying Samsung Fold phones being sent to influencers is a perfect example of this, as these somewhat famous social media stars have been ignoring the instructions and removing a protective film from the screen.  Samsung was quite clear in their manual that this film is necessary to prevent the foldable screen from dying, as one of the quotes over at Ars makes quite obvious, "The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it ...".

When dealing with a brand new and possibly not quite ready for prime time technology, such as a foldable phone, perhaps it is worth spending the time taking a look at the manual or listening to someone who knows about the subject, rather than only listening to someone you 'know'?

rtfm.jpg

"YouTuber Marques Brownlee also tried peeling off this protective layer, thinking it was just a display protector for shipping. After picking at the layout a bit, Brownlee says "the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement."

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Source: Ars Technica

Samsung Announces Galaxy Smartphone Lineup for 2019

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 2, 2019 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: MWC, snapdragon 855, SD855, Samsung, galaxy, foldable, android 9

During Samsung's own Samsung's Unpacked press conference as well as Mobile World Congress in Spain the Sourth Korea-based tech giant unveiled a beaucoup of new smartphones, tablets, and accessories. The new Galaxy series smartphones were the headliners though with Samsung revealing a new flagship foldable smartphone at the top, four high-end S10 tier phones, and two budget A tier smartphones all within the Galaxy brand. Needless to say, it is a lot to process!

Samsung Galaxy Fold.png

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the new Galaxy flagship and is Samsung's first smartphone with a foldable AMOLED display [Video]. At first blush the new device is a thck bar of soap with rounded edges, a USB-C port along the bottom edge, and a camera bump around back with three lenses. A 4.6" full HD display sits in the center of the front face with a 10MP selfie camera and large bezels top and bottom. The right side is where the magic happens though, where the smartphone can be opened up like a book to reveal a larger 7.3" dynamic AMOLED display (QXGA) where it can be used like a tablet with up to three applications running at once in separate windows. Samsung claims that "app continuity" allows apps to switch between the cover display and the main tablet display with ease. When the 2-in-1 device is opened up in tablet mode there are two front facing selfie cameras (10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth camera). Around back there are three cameras including a 12MP wide angle, 16MP ulta wide angle, and 12MP telephoto camera. The camera system offers dual optical image stabilization as well.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Cover and Rear Camera.png

On the inside Samsung has opted for Qualcomm's Snaptdragon 855 platform paired with 12GB of LPDDR4x memory and 512GB of storage. Unfortunately there is no micro SD card support on the Galaxy Fold, but at least the internal memory is UFS 3.0 rather than the older (and slower) UFS 2.1 used in the rest of the Galaxy series. Two batteries (one in each half to balance the weight) add up to 4,380 mAh.

Samsung's new flagship comes at quite a premium though, with MSRP of $1980. It should be available starting in April 2019.

Moving down to the (slightly) more affordable S tier, Samsung has refreshed the Galaxy S series with four new devices: the S10+ at $999, the S10 at $899, and the entry-level S10e at $749. There is also the S10 5G that includes the optional X50 modem to all the largest S10 to connect to upcoming 5G cellular networks.

Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10Plus.jpg

The Galaxy S10+ offers a 6.4" Infinity-O edge QHD+ AMOLED display sans notch with a 10MP dual pixel camera and 8MP RGB depth camera in the top right corner of the display in a slim body with rounded corners. Around back, the S10+ features a triple camera system with a wide angle, ultra wide angle, and telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and dual OIS. The S10+ comes with glass display and either a glass back or a ceramic back with the ceramic variant weighing slightly more but, at least in theory, being much more durable.

The S10+ comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Ceramic White, and Ceramic Black. The glass backs' prism colors have a glossy pearlescent look while the ceramic models are more solid and matte.

Internally, the S10+ uses a Snapdragon 855 SoC, 4,100mAh battery, and comes in configurations of 8GB RAM / 128GB ROM, 8GB RAM / 512GB ROM, and 12GB RAM / 1TB ROM. Yes, that's 1TB of internal memory on a phone – and it can be expanded with a Micro SD card officially up to 512GB.

  S10e S10 S10+ S10 5G Fold
Display 5.8" Flat FHD (2280x1080) 6.1" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.4" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.7" QHD+ 4.6" (FHD) - 7.3" (QXGA)
Cameras

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle

OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

 

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom) + 3D depth sense camera (ToF sensor)
Dual OIS

Cover: 10MB

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

CPU SD855 SD855 SD855 SD855 + X50 SD855
RAM 6GB / 8GB 8GB 8GB / 8GB / 12GB 8GB 12GB LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB / 256GB 128GB / 512GB 128GB / 512GB / 1TB 256GB 512GB
mSD Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Battery 3,100 mAh 3,400 mAh 4,100 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,380 mAh
Dimensions 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm 57.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.94 mm ?
Weight 150 g 157 g 175 g (glass) or 175 g (ceramic) 198 g ?
Price $749 $899 $999 $? $1980

Stepping down to the standard S10 model gets you a slightly small phone with a similar quality edge QHD+ AMOLED display albeit at 6.1". There is only one front facing camera here though, with the depth sensor being removed and only the 10MP dual pixel camera remaining. Bokeh effects in selfie portraits are still possible, but using the NPU to simulate it rather than doing it in hardware. Around back, the S10 matches the triple camera system of the S10+ model so you are not losing anything there. The smaller phone is also lighter at 157 grams vs 175+ on the S10+ and it comes in the same Prism color options sans the ceramics.

You lose some battery going with the smaller S10 though at just 3,400 mAh as well as hardware specifications with the smartphone maxing out at 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 storage.

Samsung also introduced the S10e which is a new entry level tier to the Galaxy S series that gets you most of the features at a more affordable (for today's smartphones anyway) price with some compromises. The S10e is the smallest and lightest of the bunch and offers a 5.8" flat full HD+ display that is still Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED and HDR10+ certified like the higher end models but is flat rather than curved. There is a single front-facing 10MP camera in the top right corner of the display and a dual camera system on the back of the phone which includes a 12MP wide angle and a 16MP ultra wide angle lens. There is no telephoto lens for optical zoom and the optical image stabilization is also of lower caliber. While the higher-end S10 and S10+ have ultrasonic fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, the budget S10e opts for an optical fingerprint reader integrated into the side power button which is not the end of the world so long as it's fast.

Specifications wise, the S10e retains the Snapdragon 855 (or Exynos 9820 depending on market) of the rest of the S series but RAM and storage options are limited to 6GB / 128GB or 8GB / 256GB respectively though there is still a micro SD card slot. You also lose a bit of battery at just 3,100 mAh but the loss is not as big as the gap between the S10 and S10+.

The S10+ comes in all of the same glossy Prism color as well as a Canary Yellow option with not all regions getting the same colors (if you want the yellow version you'll need to import it in the US, for example). The prism colors have a pearlescent look while the Canary Yellow is a solid flat but bright color.

According to Samsung, the various S10 models (which are all also IP68 rated) are the first smartphones with HDR10+ and Wi-Fi 6 certifications. The Snapdragon 855 offers 29% more CPU and 37% GPU performance versus last year's Galaxy S9. Samsung is using an intelligent battery algorithm to improve battery life by up to 25% by analyzing how you use apps and reducing CPU usage accordingly. The phones support wireless charging (Fast Wireless Charging 2.0) as well as reverse wireless charging with Powershare to charge other Qi devices (like the new Samsung Galaxy Buds (video), but that's a different story). All the S10 smartphones reportedly offer displays that can get very bright (850 to 1250+ nits) which should help a ton when trying to use it outdoors on sunny days. Other interesting tidbits of information that have come out include a heart rate/oxygen sensor on the back of the S10 and S10+, the S10+ (and only the plus version) using heat pipe / vapor cooling, and the ability to (finally) remap the Bixby button coming soon (for the S10 and older Galaxy devices).

The S10e, S10, and S10+ are slated for US availability on March 8th, with the Galaxy Fold coming sometime in April and the S10 5G making its debut over the summer.

Engadget got hands-on with the S10 5G at MWC 2019 on a test 5G network.

Samsung also showed off the "Galaxy S10 5G" which is an even larger Galaxy phone with a 6.7" display. The company did not reveal as much information about this 5G capable devices as it did about the others, but it is a bit of an odd duck. It has the same front facing camera setup and the rear camera system has been beefed up with a fourth sensor: a Time of Flight sensor that allows for more realistic depth of field as well as adjustable bokeh effects when recording video and taking portraits.

The S10 5G gets the Snapdragon 855 and the X50 modem along with a larger 4,500 mAh battery, but storage has been limited to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is no microSD card support on this model.

Pricing and available colors are still an unknown though it is expected to launch this summer in the US.

Left: The Galaxy A30. Right: the Galaxy A50. (Image Credit: Samsung)

Finally, it is worth also mentioning that Samsung also announced two budget A tier Galaxy phones with the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50. These cheaper Galaxy devices use Samsung's notched Infinity-U displays at 6.4" (2340x1080 resolution) and a "3D Glasstic" body construction. The A50 gets a 25MP + 8MP ultra-wide + depth camera in back along with a single 25MP front camera while the A30 only have a dual rear camera system (16MP + 5MP wide angle) and a 16MP front camera. The Galaxy A50 is powered by an Exynos 9610 SoC, Mali G72 GPU, and either 4GB RAM / 64GB storage or 6GB RAM / 128GB storage. It uses a 4,000 mAh battery. The A50 will come in black, white, blue, and coral colors. Meanwhile the Galaxy A30 steps things down to a Exynos 7885 Octa and Mali-G71 GPU along with 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM or 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM. It will be available in black, white, or blue. While the A50 has an in-display fingerprint reader, the A30's fingerprint reader is mounted on the back of the phone. The A series is also IP68 dust and water resistant like its more expensive S siblings. These budget phones which are primarily going to launch in non-US markets (e.g. India, China, et al) are expected to be available in Q1.

What are your thoughts on Samsung's 2019 lineup? I think they did some interesting things and while I'm not sold on the Galaxy Fold (the front/cover display bezels are a bit much especially on an almost $2,000 phone!), I am looking forward to the reviews on the S10+ and the S10 5G with the video recording and photo/camera improvements they've made along with things like the laser cutout for the front cameras eliminating the need for a notch and the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor (though I think I would still prefer the rear mounted sensor like my V30 has as the positioning seems more natural than at the bottom of the front face). The battery AI sounds cool, but how useful it will be in practice remains to be seen. If the reports of the much brighter displays is true though, that's going to be pretty huge as viewing OLED in direct sunlight is a pain.

Source:

Huawei Knows When to Hold ‘em and When to Fold ‘em, Shows Off Mate X Foldable Smartphone

Subject: Mobile | February 27, 2019 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: nm card, MWC, mate x, Leica, Kirin 980, Huawei, foldable, balong 5000, android 9

Huawei raised the stakes at MWC 2019 with the reveal of its new flagship foldable smartphone that is nearly all screen wrapping around the front and back in phone mode and able to fold outwards into an eight-inch tablet.

Huawei-Mate-X16.jpg

The upcoming Mate X measures 78.3 x 161.3 x 5.4 to 11mm when folded up in phone mode and expands to 146.2mm x 161.3 x 5.4-11mm in tablet mode. The Interstellar Blue phone weighs in a 259 grams (0.57 lbs) and is nearly all OLED display except for a small bump along the right side (which can double as a useful handle when in tablet mode akin to Kindle devices or Lenovo’s smaller tablets) where the three cameras, fingerprint sensor/power button, volume controls, USB Type-C port, and many of the internal hardware components are nestled.

As far the screen, Huawei is using an OLED panel covered with plastic (no glass here, unfortunately, but that’s the tradeoff for going foldable) with a resolution of 2480 x 2200 when unfolded in tablet mode or 2480 x 1148 for the 6.6” front display and 2480 x 892 for the 6.38” rear display when folded. Huawei’s Mate X is a very sleek design with rounded edges and corners that is able to fold into a fairly slim package (slimmer than Samsung’s Galaxy Fold which folds inwards). A button on the side unlocks the rear display and allows it to fold outwards to make a display that is reportedly flat without a crease or visible divider though does have a different feel to it than other flagship smartphones that have moved to glass displays. It certainly looks impressive though long-term reviews will flesh out how well the display holds up over time and many folds.

Internally, Huawei is using the Kirin 980 SoC along with the Balong 5000 5G modem to power the smartphone. The smartphone further includes 8GB of RAM and 512GB of internal memory. The Kirin 980 SoC is comprised of two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 2.6 GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 1.92 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.8 GHz, a Mali-G76 GPU, and NPU for AI acceleration tasks. The Balong 5000 modem supports 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G multi mode in stand alone or non standalone configurations. The phone supports a dual SIM design with one SIM for 5G and the other for up to 4G networks. Alternatively, instead of a second SIM card users can slot in a nano memory card (NM card) up to 256GB which is Huawei’s expandable storage form factor that is a memory card with the size and form factor of a nano SIM. A 4,500 mAh battery powers the foldable phone with a 55W SuperCharger able to charge the battery from 1% to 85% in 30 minutes (4G standby, screen turned off). Connectivity options include 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0 (with AptX and other features supported), and USB Type-C 3.1 gen 1 with a cable purchased separately (the out-of-the-box cable is USB 2.0). The Mate X runs Android 9 with Huawei’s EMUI 9.1.1 skin.

Huawei-Mate-X-Camera-Selfie-2.png

The Leica cameras include a 40MP wide angle, 16MP ultra-wide angle, and 8MP telephone camera with the ability to mirror the screen when taking photographs (or selfies) so that the subjects can see the photo at the same time as the photographer to help compose the shot.

Huawei’s flagship Mate X foldable will be available in around the second half of 2019 with a MSRP of 2299 Euros (~$2615 though we likely won't see it in the US unless imported) that demands your wallet to go all in or fold. With that asking price, it is likely out of reach of most people, but it is an interesting look at the future and what it could bring as costs go down and the hinges and bendable display technologies are refined. I was admittedly not very excited about the idea of a foldable phone, especially seeing the rumor now reality where Samsung’s Galaxy Fold has a smaller screen in phone mode, but Huawei’s design has piqued my interest of what’s possible and I’m ready. Having a bigger screen on tap would be very helpful in being able to blow up text and make reading textbooks and fiction not yet available as an audiobook much easier on the eyes. It also just looks cool and futuristic to me as well(heh) with the only thing missing being a stylus/pen input hidden away in the ridge on the right side (if only!).

If you are curious to see the folding action, Michael Fisher was able to get hands on video  at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

I’m ready. What are your thoughts on these foldable flagships and the idea of a foldable phone?

Source: Huawei

Samsung is the next to say they are launching a bendy phone

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2018 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, foldable

You still shouldn't hold your breath, as we have seen announcements like this before, but it is possible Samsung will be showing off a foldable phone next month.  Even more ambitious is their announcement that they will also be developing a foldable laptop screen.  We have seen numerous other companies work on this before, but so far none have released a working model.  If they can pull it off there are numerous applications which could benefit from this technology; with current hybrid tablet/laptops becoming truly foldable and eReaders offering a much more paper-like feel.  The Inquirer has links to the rumours here.

Will-it-bend-Imagining-Samsungs-1500-foldable-Galaxy-F-phone.jpg

"While the South Korean tech giant is supposedly set to unveil a smartphone with a foldable display next month, the company is apparently going to push that tech to laptops, reported The Verge."

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Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft goes on a bender in Andromeda

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, andromeda, foldable

Microsoft have completely abandoned their mobile line which is why they have announced the new prototype Andromeda foldable mobile device.  The foldable eReader-like device will run Win10 on ARM and will take advantage of Windows Ink to allow users to take accurate notes on the touchscreen.  The device is rumoured to have celluar capabilities so it could replace an executives phone, or at least let them leave the laptop at the office.  Unfortunately the announcement left out the most interesting detail, we do not know if the fold is between two seperate screens or if the Andromeda will feature a folding screen.  Hopefully Windows Central will have an updated post soon.

andromeda-patent.jpg

"Microsoft isn't building this device for your average consumer. If it ever comes to market, and that's a big if, it isn't going to be an iPhone or Android competitor because as Microsoft has publicly claimed in the past, it's just too late for that."

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