Displaying items by tag: Samsung
There were some incredible gadgets and devices on display at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, but one domestic appliance really stood out! Samsung’s latest vision for the connected family was unveiled at CES with the talking fridge getting people talking literally, excuse the pun!
Last year, the company released the Family Hub Fridge, which proved to be a big hit with consumers. The fridge was equipped with a king-size touch-screen, cameras positioned on the inside of the appliance in order to help you keep track of food and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, their newest upgrade of the Family Hub Fridge is set to be an even bigger success.
At CES 2017, Samsung launched its brand new line-up of fridges called ‘Family Hub 2.0’. Not only has it expanded the collection to 10 models, the fridge can now also be controlled via voice commands! In a design that has drawn comparisons to that of the LG connected fridge, it was disclosed that you can ask the Samsung Family Hub 2.0 to read out recipes, tell you what your itinerary for the day is, and inform you of anything you may need from the shops.
That’s not the only task and duty this incredible connected appliance can do – it will also dish out recipes based on the contents of your fridge and allows you to order food through a click of a button if supplies are running low. The connected smart appliance is the latest in a number of gadgets designed to transform your home into a ‘smart home’ with a range of innovative products.
In addition to the above, the Family Hub 2.0 also allows each family member to create a profile to run simultaneously with calendars, to-do lists and personalised messages. New collaborations with Spotify and iHeart-Radio also mean you can ask your fridge to serenade you whilst doing the dishes or preparing a meal.
Since the huge popularity of Amazon’s Alexa, not to mention the increased functionality of Siri and Google Assistant, voice-controlled assistants are becoming an increasingly integral part of the connected home.
Huawei release new smartphone aimed at challenging the iPhone
While many vendors wait until the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February to reveal their new range of smartphones for 2017, some took the decision to officially unveil their new products at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. One such vendor was Chinese company Huawei, who released a fabulous new android device aimed at challenging the iPhone called the Huawei Honor 6X.
The company have outlined a clear vision with the introduction of the Huawei Honor 6X and that is to take on the iPhone. Huawei’s primary aim is to lure away users (especially millennials) from the much-loved iPhone.
Management at Huawei have been greatly encouraged by the initial reaction to their new device. Its customer satisfaction scores on par with those of Apple’s iPhone. Advantages of the Honor 6X over the latest iPhones, says Huawei, is stronger battery life (at up to two days for average usage), a speedy octa-core processor and a far lower price starting at $249.99. The Honor 6X also comes with a dual-camera setup, improved photo editing software and high-definition video capabilities.
The Huawei Honor 6X is priced at $244.99 (3GB RAM, 32GB of storage) or $299.99 (4GB, 64GB of storage).
Nokia finally unveils long-awaited Android at CES 2017
Nokia finally remerged into the mainstream mobile market at CES 2017 with the introduction of its new android phone named the Nokia 6.
Nokia’s latest device the Nokia 6 is only available in China. However, there are fortunately more Nokia android phones to come with a big announcement expected at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona according to Nokia’s Facebook account. This Nokia 6 is merely just a taster.
Back in the early 00’s, Nokia were market leaders in the mobile phone industry, but the Finnish multinational corporation suffered a dramatic fall from grace. Once the biggest and best-known mobile phone manufacturer, following some tough competition from iPhone and Android Nokia in 2011 made the fatal mistake of agreeing to produce only Windows phones. In 2014 it packed up its mobile phone game and sold its business to Microsoft. Fast-forward to 2017, and with Android onboard, this could be the Nokia comeback we've been waiting for.
It's still not quite Nokia as we know it, since Finnish brand HMD Global currently owns the rights to develop, build and sell Nokia-branded phones - although it does so with Nokia's input.
The decision to launch the Nokia 6 only in China is "a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world.” With over 552 million smartphone users in China in 2016, a figure that is predicted to grow to more than 593 million users by 2017, it is a strategically important market where premium design and quality is highly valued by consumers.
VR a hot topic, but HTC lead the way with a number of amazing products
Virtual Reality (VR) was once again a hot topic at CES – and in truth it was everywhere in the convention centre – with countless booths displaying headsets and accessories. A large volume of studious and creators used CES to either launch or preview new experiences. But the biggest advancements may not be available to consumers for another year or two.
But the real winner in VR at CES was clearly HTC. The company not only unveiled its tracker, which makes it possible to turn toy guns, baseball bats and even fire hoses into trackable VR controllers. HTC also committed to building a standalone wireless VR headset, announced a VR subscription service and unveiled a content marketplace for VR arcade operators.
HTC’s efforts to monetize VR content could help smaller producers to see some return for their work. Right now, VR app stores favor popular apps, which tend to be video games, while burying some of the non-gaming and cinematic content.
It was further disclosed at CES that HTC will launch a new tracking module, subscription service for Vive VR. Viveport President, Rickard Steiber said: “Offering a subscription service can help with these kinds of discovery problems, and to entice consumers to give lesser-known fare a try.” “If you are app number 500 on that list, you are going to be very eager to be in the subscription plan,” he added. Steiber also said that subscriptions could enable more episodic content, and suggested that HTC could over time launch separate subscription packages for different types of content.
It has long been speculated that the cause of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle was due to faulty batteries – and a report published by Reuters confirms that it indeed was the case for the South Korean multinational giants.
Samsung’s intentions to dominate the smartphone market seemed well on track, when globally millions of units of the popular Galaxy Note 7 devices were purchased. However, disaster struck last September when reports emerged that Galaxy Note 7 phones were catching fire – and in some instances actually self-combusting.
It was a devastating moment for Samsung as they were forced to recall all units in October - and in addition to this Galaxy Note 7’s were also banned on flights all across the world. Samsung halted production and sales of the device in October - in December a press release issued by Samsung revealed that almost 96% of all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones had been returned to the company.
What caused this has been widely speculated, but it has always been suspected that faulty batteries were the primary cause for the malfunctions in the devices. It was believed faulty batteries manufactured by its sister company SDI where to blame, but it was never officially confirmed.
However, a report by Reuters suggests that a well placed source close to Samsung has confirmed that the cause of the fires were due to the issue of faulty batteries.
When manufacturing firm instrumental tore down the Note 7 month, it said that the phone’s design was what caused the issue, as there was no gap between the body and the battery inside – causing it to become compressed over time, even without outside pressure being exerted.
According to Reuters’ source, Samsung was able to replicate the fire and didn’t find hardware design or software-related issues to be the problem – so it’ll be interesting to learn exactly what caused the devices to burst into flames. At the beginning of January, South Korean news outlet JoongAng Ilbo reported that Samsung has completed its investigation of the issue plaguing the Note 7 and would publish its findings later this month. Reuters’ source says that we can expect to hear about that on January 23, just a day ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings results announcement.
Hopefully Samsung has learned something from the debacle, which costed the company $5.2 billion in operating profits over the last three quarters, and will avoid such mistakes as it attempts to bounce back with its upcoming Galaxy S8, which will likely be revealed at this year’s Mobile World Congress expo in February.
Samsung Electronics recently announced its latest Galaxy A series, including the 5.7-inch A7, 5.2-inch A5 and 4.7-inch A3 smartphones, with refinements that deliver beautiful design, powerful performance and ultimate convenience. The Galaxy A features a premium metal frame and 3D glass back. With a sleek camera and home key, the device is seamless and comfortable to hold and use.
“At Samsung, we are always trying to ensure our customers have the most advanced products on the market,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The latest Galaxy A series is a testament to this. We integrated our unique approach to design as well as the features Galaxy customers have come to love to provide added performance without compromising on style.”
The Galaxy A is available in four colors including Black Sky, Gold Sand, Blue Mist and Peach Cloud. You can capture important memories with the enhanced front and rear 16-megapixel cameras, which are now more stable with accurate autofocus, resulting in vibrant and clear photos and selfies even in low-light conditions.
With the Galaxy A, taking selfie has never been easier: you can touch anywhere on the screen to easily snap a high-resolution selfie with the floating camera button and use the display as a front flash for bright pictures. The camera on the Galaxy A offers a simplified UX, including easy swipe to quickly change modes or instant filters to activate picture effects. Users can leverage modes such as the Food Mode, to optimize photos and enhance the color of images.
Galaxy A takes the hassle out of everyday tasks. For the first time on the Galaxy A series, the smartphone offers IP68 water and dust resistance, allowing it to withstand the elements, including rain, sweat, sand and dust, making the device suitable for nearly any activity or situation.
The Galaxy A provides a larger memory, as well as expandable storage with microSD support up to 256GB. With a longer battery life to keep up with users’ active lifestyles, the device powers up quickly. The Galaxy A is equipped with reversible USB Type-C port for easy connectivity including hassle-free charging. It also features Always on Display so users can quickly glance at the time and calendar without waking up the device, saving time and battery.
With Samsung Pay, users can make safe and secure mobile payments almost anywhere through Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, and easily back up data and images through Samsung Cloud. With security top-of-mind, users can separate private data and keep the contents safe in a Secure Folder which supports biometric authentication.
Samsung have announced that they have recalled 90% of the faulty smartphones it sold in South Korea. Samsung were forced to have a global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 units in September - after batteries in the devices began to catch fire, and in some instances actually self-combusted.
Initially, Samsung said they would replace the phone for a new model with a different battery. However, it quickly emerged that the replacement phones were also overheating and catching fire –which subsequently led to Samsung’s global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 which inevitably had a negative impact on the organization with profits suffering.
However, the company has revealed that it has now recalled 850,000 units out of the 950,000 units sold in South Korea – which represents a figure of 90%. An investigation into what caused the phones to combust and go on fire has been launched, but thus far, it hasn’t been established as to what occurred. The retrieval of fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in Europe and the US also surpassed the 90% mark.
In a statement Samsung revealed that it is considering software upgrades to further limit the battery-charging capability – and in addition to this, it is also weighing up the option of an upgrade of the software patch the firm released in October to limit the maximum charging capability of Note 7 to 60 per cent.
Exchange and refunds of the fire-prone phones will continue in South Korea until next month, but benefits and favours from the replacement are scheduled to end by the end of this month.
The company is keen to establish the design flaw that caused phones to explode, so it can completely avoid making the same mistake on future models like spring's Galaxy S8 and next fall’s Note8. Stakeholders will be hoping Samsung’s new models can wow consumers in an effort to reset buyer’s memories for what happened with the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.
Samsung has announced the launch of its newest industry-leading gaming monitor. The CFG70 curved monitor, designed specifically for professional gamers, includes enhanced picture quality and player-friendly features for a truly immersive gaming experience. The display was first introduced at the Gamescom 2016 and IFA 2016 conferences.
As the industry’s first curved gaming monitor to feature quantum dot technology, the CFG70 monitor (24- and 27-inch models) expresses brilliant and accurate colors across a 125 percent sRGB spectrum. This added luminance produces a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and amplifies previously-hidden gaming details in both light and dark settings. The monitor also employs an environmentally-safe, cadmium-free design.
Fast Speed and Smooth Game Play
By combining Samsung’s advanced motion blur reduction technology with its VA panel, the CFG70 is the first curved monitor to produce a 1 ms moving picture response time (MPRT). The rapid MPRT rate reduces display transitions between moving and animated objects, and in turn eliminates potential visual distractions. The CFG70 also leverages integrated AMD FreeSync Technology over HDMI functionality to synchronize the screen’s 144 Hz refresh rate with users’ AMD graphics cards. This connectivity minimizes image tearing and input latency and stutter that can disrupt game-play and escalate visual fatigue.
Optimized Gaming Experience
Samsung has equipped the CFG70 with a range of user-friendly gaming UX that drives more convenient and easily-accessible game management. The CFG70 includes a dedicated gaming interface with an intuitive settings dashboard to better allow gamers to modify and personalize their game-play settings. Each CFG70 monitor also offers a series of hotkeys on the front and back of the display for users to easily adjust game-play settings.
To further inspire gamer immersion and bring out the best in even the most complex game designs, including compatibility with the FPS, RTS, RPG and AOS genres, each CFG70 monitor undergoes rigorous pre-shipment factory calibration. This process optimizes various settings, including contrast ratios, black gamma levels for enhanced brightness and white balance levels for temperature management. As a result, gamers can enjoy a sharp and brilliant picture regardless of the game in play.
Comfortable and Immersive Viewing with the Curved Design
The CFG70’s “Super Arena” design, featuring industry-best 1,800R curvature and a 178-degree ultra-wide viewing angle, is formatted to match the natural curve of the human eye. Complementary sound-interactive LED lighting further creates a lifelike presentation and keeps users focused during the most paramount moments.
The US Supreme Court have decided to reverse a patent penalty which was imposed on Samsung for copying Apple’s iPhone design - in a case which was labelled as having major implications for technology innovation. Samsung had been ordered by the courts to pay the patent infringement fine of $399 million, but that has been subsequently overturned following an appeal from Samsung – although the case has still not been settled.
It now means that the case will be sent back to a lower court, following the decision by the justices who emphatically ruled 8-0 that Samsung should not be required to forfeit the entire profits from its smartphones for infringement on design components.
The ruling was vague in relation to specifics in the case, but analysts have observed that it is likely to curb litigation from patent holders expecting to reap big profits from infringement on a component. The eleven-page ruling found that the $399 million penalty was ‘inappropriate’ because it represented ‘Samsung’s entire profit from the sale of its infringing smartphones’ for copying the iPhone’s rectangular front face with rounded edges and a grid of colourful icons on a black screen.
However, the court stopped short of divulging any further details of how the lower court now tasked with the case should proceed with the trial in terms of determining what the penalty should be. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her opinion that "doing so would require us to set out a test for identifying the relevant article of manufacture and to parse the record to apply that test in this case."
The court sent the case back to the appellate court in Washington to resolve the details. The case is one element of the $548 million penalty - knocked down from an original $1 billion jury award -Samsung was ordered to pay for copying iPhone patents.
The general consensus among many in the tech sector is that both sides will be left disappointed by the decision because it sets no real precedent. Samsung won the backing of major Silicon Valley and other IT sector giants, including Google, Facebook, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, claiming a strict ruling on design infringement could lead to a surge in litigation.
Apple was supported by big names in fashion and manufacturing. Design professionals, researchers and academics who said they had no financial interest in the case filed an amicus brief arguing on the basis of "fundamental principles of visual design," citing precedents like Coca-Cola's iconic soda bottle.
It is not known how the district court will settle the case with some predicting they may well end up allowing the entire amount to stand, while others feel it is much more likely that the penalty will be substantially reduced.
Samsung Electronics is reportedly considering splitting the company into two. The South Korean company is facing growing pressure as it seeks to ensure a smooth succession to Lee Jae-Yong, Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman and scion of Samsung Group’s founding Lee family. Samsung’s electronics arm is also struggling after globally recalling its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device after reports of exploding batteries, as well as a political scandal in South Korea.
Samsung Electronics said in a statement that it would consider breaking into a holding firm and a producing and operating unit. According to the company, it would take about six months to study the option and fork out a way forward. It also mentioned that it would increase its dividend payout to shareholders to over 4 trillion won ($3.4 billion) this year, up more than 30 percent from 2015.
The suggestion for Samsung Electronics to split was made by U.S. hedge fund Elliott who urged the company to divide into listed holding and operating firms to streamline a byzantine ownership structure, according to AFP. The firm also advised for an increase in share dividends, as well as the addition of new independent board members with “global corporate experience”, and a listing in New York.
The vast Samsung Group is controlled by the lee family, through a web of complicated cross shareholdings among its units including the flagship Samsung Electronics. Lee Sang-Hun, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, suggests that Samsung has expressed a “strong determination to overhaul its governance structure.” He continued that the company’s recent announcement implies that it could eventually split up “in May or June next year.”
But Sang-Hun warns that Samsung’s recent political scandal involving President Park Geun-Hye, which has engulfed the company, could overshadow any moves to evolve Samsung. The President has been accused, as well as her confidante Choi Soon-Sil, of coercing the major firms in the country into donating tens of millions of dollars to non-profit foundations. These donations were going straight to Choi’s pocket.
Samsung was dragged into the scandal because it made the biggest contribution of 20 billion won, and has been accused of separately offering millions of euros to Choi to fund her daughter’s equestrian training in Germany. Samsung’s headquarters were raided as a result of the scandal multiple times, and several top managers including Lee Jae-Yong were interviewed by prosecutors.
To complement the Gear VR, Samsung’s Gear 360 camera, with its ability to capture one’s entire surroundings, provides an entirely new way to film and share life’s memorable moments, says the South Korean tech giant. Studies indicate that augmented and virtual reality market will grow strongly over the next five years. The Gear 360 is the only such device that enables users to shoot with a real-time view, stitch and trim their videos on their smartphones, and to edit what they recorded on PCs using a single tool.
What makes the Gear 360 so special is that it is making VR affordable and putting this content creation within this technology in the public realm, just like how traditional cameras started out. Serious design considerations were at play for the Gear 360 to do what it does. Traditional cameras allow you to capture an image within a limited angle of view through the lens. In typical lenses, there is a central area and a peripheral area. Because we naturally focus on the center of a photograph, camera lenses, in general, produce the best picture quality at the center and relatively lower quality on the sides.
But 360-degree cameras are different. They shoot in all directions and don’t distinguish between the central and peripheral areas. When using Gear VR, for example, the “center” of an image or video changes as you turn your head in different directions. If there were a drastic difference in picture quality between central and peripheral areas, it wouldn’t feel very lifelike. Therefore, Samsung engineers had to minimize this difference on the Gear 360, and placed a great emphasis on designing and manufacturing the lens to ensure consistency in picture quality.
A typical camera design might incorporate multiple lenses into a single lens module to allow for more sophisticated functions. To do this, it is critical to align the optic axis of each lens accurately. But developing the Gear 360 was even more challenging, as designers had to square each lens module perfectly with the other.
Another key element in manufacturing a camera is to set a perfect locational relation between the lens and sensor, says Samsung. While the tilt of the sensor is typically the top priority in smartphone cameras, the designers’ focus with the Gear 360 was on both three-directional motion components (x, y and z) as well as spin components (yaw, pitch and roll). Since users need to shoot everything in a full field of view of 360 degrees with two lenses, each lens has to capture more than 180 degrees. Also, one might need some overlap of the two images or videos for stitching.
Videos and images taken with a fish-eye lens are displayed in a sphere-like form. When seen in 2D, such as on a smartphone, they look flattened and distorted. Considering a 360-degree camera needs to shoot and record everything around you, a fish-eye lens is favorable because it captures things more accurately. To put this into perspective, imagine a globe in a classroom. Thanks to its spherical shape, it represents scale and size more accurately than a flat world map.
Since people shoot with two 195-degree lenses that face opposite directions, the excess parts of the images (from 180 to 195 degrees) tend to overlap each other. The software processes this overlap to seamlessly connect the two images on the sides. For optimal results, Samsung designers have attempted to make colors and other elements in the two stitched images appear as natural as possible even before being processed by the software. To this end, Samsung has made diverse efforts, including minimizing the difference in colors and exposure of the two lenses by adjusting ISO/AWB, and fine-tuning the optics in the engineering process.
These factors contribute to the camera’s ability to capture immersive content makes viewers feel as if they, too, are experiencing the sights and sounds in the same way the camera user might when capturing the subjects and settings in view. With its universal tripod hole, the Gear 360 can be attached by various third-party accessories, such as selfie sticks, drones and helmet mounts, depending on users’ needs. Users can take the Gear 360 for a spin on a car or a bicycle using a camera dock, and attach the device to guitars or other instruments with a clamp. With the Gear 360, users can shoot and edit UHD-grade videos in addition to features such as Time-lapse and Looping Video.
Samsung has extended its reach into the ‘connected car’ space by purchasing U.S auto parts manufacturer Harman International Industries for a whopping $8 billion. It is the largest deal in Samsung’s history, and could help the Korean tech giant move past the exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone fiasco that has hurt Samsung’s reputation and is expected to cost billions of dollars.
Samsung said in a statement that its board had approved the all-cash purchase of the Connecticut-based auto firm for $112 a share. The deal will give Samsung – currently the world’s largest producer of smartphones – a “significant presence” in the global market for online connected auto parts, the company said. Samsung is hoping to complete the deal by the third quarter of 2017 after getting approvals from Harman shareholders and regulators.
“Harman perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time," Samsung vice chairman Kwon Oh-Hyun said in a statement. "Harman immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform."
With Harman’s expertise in high-end audio systems and other internet-enabled entertainment features for global automakers such as General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, Samsung Electronics will be able to combine it with its own expertise in mobile, home appliances and semiconductors. Samsung is making clear moves outside of its key business of mobile handsets as the market slows.
“Samsung is trying to fill what it lacks by tapping into a new growth engine,” said HMC Investment Securities analyst Greg Roh, AFP reported. “We can say that Samsung took a big step in gaining a competitive edge in the car infotainment sector.”
Roh said the search for a new growth engine for Samsung would also likely be aimed at giving the company a boost amid a power transfer to the scion Lee Jae-Yong. The 48-year-old Lee, who is already vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and has seen his influence grow since his father, Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-Hee, suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized in 2014, joined the board last month during an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.
Samsung last year established a new automotive electronics business team, which will work closely with Harman. The company says the market for smart, connected electric vehicles including self-driving cars will grow by an average of 13 percent each year to 186.4 billion dollars by 2025. The Samsung group dabbled in the car manufacturing business in the 1990s but was soon forced to sell the business to the French carmaker Renault in the wake of the crippling 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
With 3840 x 2160 pixels, 4K TVs can show much greater detail than even before, but the key to the ideal 4K resolution is to address the all-important issues of contrast ratio, says Samsung. That’s where HDR technology steps in. HDR an acronym for ‘High Dynamic Range’ is all about the expression of images and is a result of the depth of contrast between light and dark colors that a TV can produce.
Producing images at up to 1000 nits brightness, Samsung’s HDR 1000 feature harnesses the available brightening and dimming technology’s power to make blacks look really dark and whites vibrantly bright. At the same time, not all 4K TVs in the market can process HDR videos.
Organizations that create their own content are adopting the technology necessary to create and distribute content that is compatible with 4K HDR TVs, says Samsung. At the current rate, it looks certain that HDR is something that the industry will be increasingly embracing. Even for older films and TV series that may not be 4K or HDR ready, Samsung SUHD TV will upscale content to the extent possible in order to maximize image quality.
The newly introduced HDR+ Mode (available as an automatic update) will improve picture quality even further by adjusting the color and brightness range, ensuring that standard dynamic range (SDR) content will look like HDR content.
It not only enhances SDR, but the new HDR+ algorithm also enhances standard HDR content increasing the level of contrast ratio to differentiate objects from the background, while still depicting more image details on the screen for an overall better picture. With HDR native contents, HDR+ also uncovers previously hidden images from darker content scenes, supplementing the level of brightness to express objects hidden in darker shadows.
Features designed specifically for picture quality experts have also been enhanced with HDR+. In “Expert Mode,” picture quality experts can customize HDR effects to suit individual users by calibrating brightness, contrast ratio and gradation to the finest degree.
SUHD TVs also employ a technology called Ultra Black that channels light in a manner that reduces glare on the display surface. So even when you’re watching TV in a room drenched in sunlight, you can still savor every tiny detail because you won’t be distracted by the reflection of your surroundings on the screen.